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feiT. 70 




RACHEIi DYER: 



A NORTH AKBIUO ABT STORT. 



BY JOHN NEAL. 



PORTZiASn: 



PUBLISHED BT SHIRLET MSD HIDE. 



XSftS. 









DISTRICT OF MAINE....TO WIT: 

DISTRICT CLHRK'8 OFFICE. 

BE IT REMKIWBERKD, That on the eigbth day of October, A. I). 1828. and 
ill the fifty-third year ol the Independence of the United States of Anieriea, 
Shiiluv &, Hyde <if <>aul District, ha\e deposited in thi?i office, thr tiilr .:f a book, 
tiie right whc'-e«>f they claim as pioprietors. iu th*: words lollowing, to toit. 
'' Rachel Dyer : A North American Story. By John Neal. Portland." 
In conformity to the act of the Congress of the United States, entitled " An 
Act for the encouragement of learning, hy seruring the copies of maps, charts 
and books.'to the autliors and pniprietors of such copies, during the tinios therein 
mentioned -,*' an I also, to an act, entitled " An Act supplementary to an act. en- 
titled An Actfoi the encouragement of learning, by securini^ tte copies of n<.aps, 
charts and b<.oks, to the author'^ and proprietors of such copies, during the times 
ttereiu iiientKmed ; and for extending the benefits thereof to the artK of dciign- 
iog, engravint and etching historical and other prints." 

J. MUS8EY, CUrkqf the Ditriet of Maine, 
A true copy as of record, 

AttMt, . J. MUSSEY, Chrk B, C. JtfotM. 



"iJ 



PREFACE. 



I have long entertained a suspicion, all that has been 
said by the novel-writers and dramatists and poets of our 
age to the contrary notwithstanding, that personal beau- 
ty and intellectual beauty, or personal beauty and moral 
beauty, are not inseparably connected with, nor appor- 
tioned to each other. In Errata, a work of which as a 
work, I am heartily ashamed now, I labored long and 
earnestly to prove this. I made my dwarf a creature of 
great moral beauty and strength. 

^Godwin, the powerful energetic and philosophizing 
Godwin, saw a shadow of this truth ; but he saw nothing 
more — the substance escaped him. He taught, and he 
has been followed by others, among whom are Brown, 
Scott and Byron, (I observe the chronological order) 
that a towering intellect may inhabit a miserable body ; 
that heroes are not of necessity six feet high, nor of a 
godhke shape, and th^t we may be deceived, if we ven- 
ture to judge of the inward by the outward man. But 
they stopped here. They did not perceive, or perceiving, 
would not acknowledge the whole truth ; for if we con- 
sider a moment, we find that all their great men are ^ 
scoundrels. Without one exception I believe, their he- 
roes are hypocrites or misanthropes, banditti or worse ; 
while their good men are altogether subordinate and 
pitiable destitute of energy and wholly without char- 
ftcterjj 



iT PREFACE. 

Now believing as I do, in spite of such overwhelm- 
ing authority, that a man may have a club-foot, or a 
hump-back, or even red hair and yet be a good man — 
peradventure a great man ; that a dwarf with a distort- 
ed shape may be a giant in goodness of heart and great- 
ness of temper ; and that moral beauty may exist where 
it appears not to have been suspected by the chief crit- 
ics of our age, and of past ages — namely, in a deformed 
body (like that of iEsop,) I have written this book. 

Let me add however that although such was my prin- 
oipal, it was not my only object. I would call the at- 
tention of our novel-writers and our novel-readers to 
what is undoubtedly native and peculiar, in the early 
history of our Fathers ; I would urge them to believe 
that though there is much to lament in that history, 
there is nothing to conceal ; that if they went astray, as 
they most assuredly did in their judgments, they went 
astray conscientiously, with what they understood to be 
the law of God in their right hands. The " Salem Trag- 
edie*^ is in proof — that is the ground- work of my story ; 
and I pray the reader to have patience with the author, 
if he should find this tale rather more serious in parts, and 
rather more argumentative in parts, than stories, novels 
and romances generally are.^ 

I do not pretend to say that the book I now offer to 
my countrymen, is altogether such a book as I would 
write now, if I had more leisure, ner altogether such a 
book as I hope to write before I die ; but as I cannot af- 
ford to throw It entirely away, and as I believe it to be 
much better, because more evidently prepared for a 
healthy good purpose, than any other I have written, I 
have concluded to publish it — hoping it may be regard- 
ed by the wise and virtuous of our country as some sort 
of atonement for the folly and extravagance of my 
earlier writing. 



PREFACE. T 

The skeleton of this tale was originally prepared for 
Blackwood, as the first of a series of North-American 
Stories : He accepted it, paid for it, printed it, and sent 
^me the proofs. A misunderstanding however occurred 
between us, about other matters, and I withdrew the 
story and repaid him for it. It was never published 
therefore ; but was put aside by me, as the frame- work 
fbr a novel — which novel is now before the reader. 

JOHN NEAL. 

Portland, October J, 1828. 

P. S. After some consideration, I have concluded to 
publish a preface, originally intended for the North 
American Stories alluded to above. It was never pub- 
lished, nor has it ever been read by any body but my- 
self. Among tho«e who are interested for the encourage- 
ment of our native literature, there may be some who 
will not be sorry to see what my ideas were on the sub- 
ject of novel-writing, as well as what they are. Chang- 
es have been foretold in my views — and I owe it to our 
people to acknowledge, that in a good degree, the pre- 
diction has been accomplished I do not feel now as I 
did, when I wrote Seventy-Six, Randolph, and the rest 
of the works published in America ; nor even as I did, 
when I wrote those that were published over sea. The 
mere novel-reader had better skip the following pages 
and go directly to the story. The introductory chap- 
ter in all human probability will be too much for him. 

J. N. 



♦i UNPUBLISHED PftEPACE. 



UNPUBLISHED PREFACE 

TO THE NORTH- AMERICAN STORIES, ALLUDED TO IN PAGE V, 

The author of this work is now under the necessity of bid - 
. ding the novel-readers of the day, on both sides of the water, 
farewell, and in all probability, forever. By them it may be 
considered a trivial affair — a time for pleasantry, or peradven- 
ture for a formal expression of what are called good wishes. 
But by him, who does not feel like other men — or does not un- 
derstand their language, when they talk in this way, it will ever 
be regarded as a very serious thing. He would neither con- 
ceal nor deny the truth — he would not so affront the feeling 
within him — and he Says therefore without affectation or cer- 
emony, that it goes to his heart even to bid the novel-readers 
of the age, the few that have read his novels, it were better to 
say — farewell. 

These volumes are the last of a series which even from his 
youth up, he had been accustomed to meditate upon as a wor- 
thy and affectionate offering to his family and to those who 
have made many a long winter day in a dreary climate, very 
cheerful and pleasant to him — the daughters of a dear friend— 
of one who, if his eye should ever fall upon this page, will un- 
derstand immediately more than a chapter could tell, of the 
deep wayward strange motives that have influenced the author 
to say thus much and no more, while recurring for the last 
time to the bright vision of his youth. And the little that he 
does say now, is not said for the world ; — for what care they 
about the humble and innocent creatures, whose gentleness and 
sincerity about their own fire-side, were for a long time all 
that kept a man, who was weary and sick of the great world, 
from leaving it in despair ? No, it is not said for them ; but 
for any one of that large family who may happen to be alive 
now, and in the way of remembering " the stranger that was 
within their gates'' — when to the world he may be as if he nev- 
er had been. Let them not be amazed when they discover the 
mitb ; nor afnod nor ashamed to see that the man whom they 



I 



UNPUBLISHED PREFACE. vii. 

knew only as the stranger from a far country, was also an au- 
thor. 

In other days, angels were entertained in the shape of trav- 
ellers and way-faring men ; but ye — had ye known every stran- 
ger that knocked at your door to be an angel, or a messenger 
of the Most High, could not have treated him more like an 
immortal creature than ye did that unknown man, who now 
bears witness to your simplicity and great goodness of heart. 
With you it was enough that a fellow-creature was unhappy— 
you strove to make him happy ; and having done this, you sent 
him away, ignorant alike of his people, his country and bis 
name. 

♦ ♦ * • ♦ 

This work is the IdSt of the sort I believe— the very last I 
shall ever write. Reader — stop! — lay down the book for a 
moment and answer me. Do you feel no emotion at the sight 
of that word? You are surprised at the question. Why should 
you feel any, you ask. Why should you ? — let us reason to- 
gether for a moment. Can it be that you are able to hear of 
the final consummation of a hope which had been the chief 
stay of a fellow-creature for many — many years ? — Can it 
be that you feel no sort of emotion at hearing him say, Lo ! I 
have finished the work — it is the last — no sensation of inqui- 
etude.^ Perhaps you now begin to see differently; perhaps 
you would now try to exculpate yourself. You are willing to 
admit now that the affair is one of a graver aspect than you 
first imagined. You are half ready to deny now that you ever 
considered it otherwise. But mark me — out of your own 
mouth you are condemned. Twice have I said already — three 
times have I said already, that this was the last work of the sort 
I should ever write, and you h^ve read the declaration as you 
would, the passing motto of a title-page. 'You neither cared 
for it, nor thought of it; and had I not alarmed you Ify my ab- 
ruptness, compelled you to stop and think, and awed you by . 
steadfastly rebuking your inhumanity, you would not have 
known by to-morrow whether I had spoken of it as my last 
work or not. Consider what I say — is it not the truth .^— can 
70U deny it ? And yet you— yow are one of the multitude 



a 



viii UNPUBLISHED PREFACE. 

who dare to sit in judgment upon the do!ns;s of your fellow 
men. It is on what you and such as you say, that nuthors are 
to depend for that which is of more vahie to them than the 
breath of life — character. How dare you! — You read without 
reflection, and you hear without understanding. Yet upon the 
judgment of such as you — so made up, it is tliat the patient 
and the profound, the thoughtful and the gifted, are to rely for 
immortality. 

To return to what I was about saying — the work now before 
you, reader, is the last of a series, meditated as I have already 
told you, from my youth. It was but a dream at first — a dream 
of my boyhood, indefinite, vague and shadowy ; but as I grew 
up, it grew stronger and braver and more substantial. For 
years it did not deserve the name of a plan — it was merely a 
breathing after I hardly knew what, a hope that I should live 
to do something in a literary way worthy of my people — ac- 
companied however with an inappeasable yearning for the 
time and opportunity to arrive. But so it was, that, notwith- 
standing all my anxiety and resolution, I could not bring my- 
self to make the attempt — even the attempt — until it appeared 
no longer possible for me to do what for years I had been very 
anxious to do. The engagement was of too sacred a nature 
to be trifled with — perhaps the more sacred in my view for be- 
ing made only with m/self, and without a witness; for engage- 
ments having no other authority than our moral sense of du- 
ty to ourselves, would never be performed, after they grew irk- 
some or heavy, unless we were scrupulous in proportion to 
'the facility with which we might escape if we would. 

^his indeterminate, haunting desire to do what I had so engag- 
ed to do, at last however began to give way before the serious 
and necessary business of life, and the continually augmenting 
pressure of duties too solemn to be slighted for any — I had al- 
most said for any earthly consideration. Yea more, to con- 
fess the whole truth, I had begun to regard the enterprise it- 
self—so prone are we to self-deception, so ready at finding ex- 
cuses where we have a duty to perform — as hardly worthy of 
much power, and as altogether beneath an exalted ambition. 
^ But here I was greatly mistaken ; for I have an idea now, that 




UNPUBLISHED PREFACE. ix 

a great novel — such a novel as might be made — if all the pow- 
ers that could be employed upon it were found in one man, 
would he the greatest production of human genius. It is a law 
and a history of itself — to every people — and throughout all 
lime — in literature and morals — in character and passion- 
yea — in what may be called the fire-side biography of nations. 
It would be, if rightly managed, a picture of the present for fu- 
turity — a picture of human nature, not only here but every 
where — a portrait of man — a history of the human heart — a 
book therefore, written not only in a universal, but in what 
may be considered as an everlasting language — the language 
of immortal, indistruclable spirits. Such are the parables of 
Him who spoke that language best. 

Again however, the subject was revived. Sleeping and 
waking, by night and by day, it was before me ; and at last I 
began to perceive that if the attempt were ever to be made, it 
must be made by one desperate, convulsive, instantaneous ef- 
fort. I determined to deliberate no longer — or rather to stand 
no longer, shivering like a coward, upon the brink of adven- 
ture, under pretence of deliberation ; and therefore, having 
first carefully stopped ' ray ears and shut my eyes, I threw my- 
self headlong over the precipice. Behold the result ! If I have 
not brought up the pearls, I can say at least that I have been 
to the bottom — and 1 might have added — of the human heart 
sometimes — but for the perverse and foolish insincerity of the 
world, which if I had so finished the sentence, would have set 
their faces forever against my book; although that same world, 
had I been wise enough — no, not wise enough but cunning 
enough, to hold my peace, might have been ready to acknowl- 
edge that I had been sometimes, even where I say— to the ve- 
ry bottom of the human, heartj 

I plunged. But when I did, it was rather to relieve my own 
Soul from the intolerable weight of her own reproach, than 
with any hope of living to complete the design, except at a sac- 
rifice next in degree to that of self-immolation. Would you 
know what more than any other thing — more than all other 
things determined me at last ? I was an American. I had 
heard the insolent question of a Scotch Reviewer, repeated on 



X UNPUBLISHED PREFACE. 

every side of me by native Americans — " Who reads an Amtr- 
ican BookT I could not bear this— I could neither eat nor 
sleep lill my mind was made up. I reasoned with myself — I 
strove hard — but the spirit within me would not be re mked. 
Shall I go forth said I. in the solitude of my own thought, and 
make war alone against the foe — for alone it must he made, or 
there will be ho hope of success. There must be but one 
head, one heart in the plan — the secret must not even be guess- 
ed at by another — it must be single and simple, one that like 
the wedge in mechanics, or in the ancient military art, nmst 
have but one pomt, and ttiat point must be of adamant. Being 
so it may be turned aside : A thousand more like itself, may 
be blunted or shivered ;^ but if at last, anyone of the whole 
should make any impression whatever upon the foe, or effect 
any entrance whatever into the sanctity and strength of his tre- 
mendous phalanx, then, from that moment, the day is our own. 
Our literature will begin to wake up, and our pride of country 
will wake up with it. Those who follow will have nothing to 
do but kttp what the folorn hope, who goes to irretrievable 
martyrdom if he fail, has gained, \ ^ 

Moreover — who was there to stand by the native American 
that should go out, haply with a sling and a stone, against a 
tower of strength and the everiasting entrenchments of preju- 
dice ? Could he hope to find so much as one of his country- 
men, to go with him or even to bear his shield ? Would the 
Reviewers of America befriend him ? No — they have not 
courage enough to fight their own battles manfully.(l) No — they 
would rather flatter than strike. They negociate altogether too 
much — where blows are wanted, they give words. And the best 
of our literary champions, would they ? No ; they would only 
bewail his temerity, if he were the bold headlong creature he 
4 should be to accomplish the work ; and pity his folly and pre- 
sumption, if he were any thing else. 

After all however, why should they be reproached for this ? 
They have gained their little n»putation hardly. "It were too 
much to spend that little" — so grudgingly acquiesced m by 
their beloved couutrymen — " rashly.'* No wonder they fight shy. 

(1) Or had nut b.Uora this wu writtea. Look to the Nortb-Americaa Review 
iMUre 1825, fur proot , 



¥NPUBLISHED PREFACE. xi 

It is their duty — considering what they have at stake— their 
little all. \ There is Washington Irving now ; he Ikis obtained 
the reputation of being— what ? — why at the best, of being only 
the American Addison, in the, view of Englishmen. And is 
this a title to care much for ? Would such a name, though 
Addison stood far higher in the opinion of the Eiiglish them- 
selves, than he now does, or ever again will, be enough to 
satisfy the ambition of a lofty minded, original thinker ? 
Would such a man falter and reef his plumage midway up the 
altitude of his blinding and brave ascent, to be called the 
American Addison, or even what in my view were, ten thous- 
and times better, the American Goldsmith. (2) No — up to 
the very key stone of the broad blue firmament ! he would 
say, or back to the vile earth again : ay, lower than the earth 
first ! Understand me however. I do not say this lightly 
nor disparngingly. I love and admire Washington Irving. I 
wish him all the reputation he covets, and of the very kind he 
covets. Our paths never did, never will cross eHch other. 
And so with Mr. Cooper ; and a nmltitude more, of whom we 
may rightfully be proud They have gained just enough pop- 
ular favor to make them afraid of hazarding one jot or tittle of 
it, by stepping aside into a new path. No one of these could 
avail me in my design. They would have everything to lose, 
and nothing to gain by embarking in it^JWhile I — what had I to 
lose — nay what havt I to lose ? I am not now, I never have 
been, I never shall be an author by trade. The opinion of the 
public is not the breath of life to me ; for if the truth must be 
told, I have to this hour very little respect for it — so 4ong as . 
it is indeed the opinion of the public — of the mere multitude^ 
the careless, unthinking judgment of the mob, unregulated by 
he wise and thoughtful. 

To succeed as I hoped, I must put everything at hazard. It 
would not do for me to imitate anybody. Nor would it do^' 
for my country. Who would care for the Amtrican Addison 
where he could have the English by asking for it ? Who would 
languish, a twelvemonth after they appeared, for Mr. Cooper's 
imitations of Sir Walter Scott, or Charles Brockden B own's 
(2) I tpeak here of Goldsmith's prose, not of his poetry. HeaTen forbid L 



xii UNPUBLISHED PREFACE. 

imitations of Godwin ? Those, and those only, who after 
having seen the transfiguration of Raphael, (or that of Talma,) 
or Dominichino's St. Jerome, would walk away to a village 
painting room^ or a provincial theatre, to pick their teeth and 
play the critic over an imitation of the one or a copy of the 
other, ^t the best, all such things are but imitations. And 
what are imitations ? Sheer mimicry — more or less exalted 
to be sure ; but still mimicry-— wherever the copies of life are 
copied and not life itself: a sort of high-handed, noon-day 
plagiarism — nothing more. People are never amazed, nor 
carried away, nor uplifted by imitajtions. They are pleas- 
ed with the ingenuity of the artist — they are delighted with the 
closeness of the imitation — but that is all. The better the 
work is done, the worse they think of the workman. \ He who 
can paint a great picture, cannot copy — David Tcniers to the 
contrary notwithstanding ; for David never painted a great 
picture in his life, though he has painted small ones, not more 
than three feel square, which would sell for twenty-five thou- 
sand dollars to day. 

Yes— to succeed, I must imitate nobody — I must resembh no- 
'^ body ; for with your critic, resemblance in the unknown to the 
known, is never anything but adroit imitation. To succeed 
therefore, I must be unlike all that have gone before me. That 
were no easy matter ; nor would be it so difiUcult as men are apt 
to believe. Nor is it necessary that I should do better than all 
who have gone before me. I should be more likely to prosper, 
in the long run, by worse original productions — with a poor 
story told in poor language, (if it were original in spirit and 
character) than by a much better story told in much better lan- 
guage, if after the transports of the public were over, they 
should be able to trace a resemblance between it and Walter 
Scott, or Oliver Goldsmith, or Mr. Addison. 

So far so good. There was, beyond a doubt, a fair chance 
in the great commonwealth of literature, even though I should 
not achieve a miracle, nor prove niysell both wiser and better 
than all the authors who had gone before me. And moreover, 
might it not be p: ssible — possible I say — for the mob are a 
jealous guardian of sepulchres and ashes, and high-soimding 



.-I 



UNPUBLISHED PREFACE. xiii 

names, particularly where a name will save them the trouble of 
judging for themselves, or do their arguments for them in the 
shape of a perpetual demonstration, whatever may be the na- 
ture of the controversy in which they are involved-knight it 
not be possible then, I say, that, as the whole body of mankind 
have been growing wiser and wiser, and better and betteri 
since the day when these great writers flourished, who are now 
ruling ^ our spirits from their urns," tliat authors may have 
improved with them ? — diat they alone of the whole human 
race, by some possibility, may not have remained altogether 
stationary age after age— while the least enquiring and the 
most indolent of human beings — the very multitude— have 
been steadily advancing both in knowledge and power ? And 
if so, might it not be possible for some improvements to be 
made, some discoveries, even yet in style and composition, by 
lanching forth into space.', True, we might not be certain of 
finding a new world, like Columbus, nor a new heaven, like 
Tyho Brahe; but we should probably encounter some phenom- 
ena in the great unvisited moral sky and ocean ; we should at 
least find out, after a while — which would of itself be the next 
greatest consolation for our trouble and anxiety, after that of 
discovering a new world or a new systenij — that there remain- 
ed no new world nor system to be discovered ; that they who 
should adventure after us, would have so much the less to do 
for all that we had done ; that they must follow in our steps ; 
that if our health and strength had been wasted in a prodigious 
dream, it would have the good effect of preventing any future 
waste of health and strength on the part of others in any simi- 
lar enterprize. 

Islands and planets may still be found, we should say, and 
they that find them, are welcome to them ; but continents and 
systems cannot be beyond where we have been ; and if there 
be any within it, why — they are neither continents nor systems^ 
But then, after all, there was one plain question to be asked, 
which no honest man would like to evade, however much a 
mere dreamer might wish to do so It was this. After all 
my fine theory — what are my chances of success ? And if suc- 
cessful, what have I to gain ? I chose to answer the last quei^ 
2 



xW UNPUBLISHED PREFACE. 

tion first. Gain I—of a truth, it were no easy matter to say. 
Nothing hertf nothing nou^— certainly nothing in America, till 
my bones have been canonized ; for my countrymen are a 
thrifty, calculating people — they give nothing for the reputation 
of a man, till they are sure of selling it for more than they give. 
Were they visited by saints and prophets instead of gifted men, 
they would never believe that they were either saints or proph- 
ets, till they had been starved to death — or lived by a miracle 
*— by no visible means ; or until their cast-off clothes, bones, 
hair and teeth, or the furniture of the houses wherein they were 
starved, or the trees under which they had been chilled to death, 
carved into snuff-boxes or walking-sticks, would sell for as 
much as that sympathy had cost them, or as much as it would 
come to, to build a monument over — I do not say over their un- 
sheltered remains, for by that time there would be but little or 
no remains of them to be found, unmingled with the sky and 
water, earth and air about them, save perhaps in here and there 
a museum or college where they might always be bought up, 
however, immortality and all— for something more than com- 
pound interest added to the original cost — but to build a mon- 
ument or a shed over the unappropriated stock, with certain 
privileges to the manufacturer of the walking-sticks and snuff- 
boxes aforesaid, so long as any of the material remained ; tak- 
ing care to provide with all due solemnity, perhaps by an act 
of the Irgislatuie, for securing the monopoly to the sovereign 
atate itself. 

Thus much perhaps I might hope for from my own people. 
But what from the British ? They were magnanimous, or at 
least they would bear to be told so ; and telling them so in a 
iimple, off-band, ingenuous way, with a great appearance of 
iincerity, and as if one had been carried away by a sudden im- 
pulse, to speak a forbidden truth, or surprised into u prohibit- 
ed expression of feeling by some spectacle of generosity, in 
spite of his constitutional reserve and timidity and caution, 
would be likely to pay well. But I would do no such thing. 
I would flatter nobody— no people^no nation. I would lit- td 
Dtbody—- neither to my own countiymen, nor to the British-^ 



UNPUBLISHED PREFACE. xr 

unless I wore better paid for it, than any of my countrymen 
were ever yet paid either at home or abroad. 

No — ^I choose to see for myself, by putting the proof touch 
like a hot iron to their foreheads, whether the British are in- 
deed a magnanimous people. But then, if I do all this, what 
are my chances of reward, even with the British themselves J 
That was a fearful question to be sure. The British are a na- 
tion of writers, nrheir novel-writers are as a cloud. True- 
true — but they still want something which they have not. 
They want a real American writer — one with courage enough 
to write in his native tongue. That they have not, even at 
this day. 7%at they never had. Our best writers are English 
writers, not American writers. They are English in every 
thing they do, and in every thing they say, as authors -in the 
structure and moral of their stories, in their dialogue, speech 
and pronunciation, yea in the very characters they draw. Not 
so much as one true Yankee is to be found in any of our na- 
tive books : hardly so much as one true Yankee phrase. Not 
so much as one true Indian, though you hardly take up a story 
on either side of the water now, without finding a red-man 
stowed away in it ; and what sort of a red-man ? Why one 
that uniformly talks the best English the author is capable of 
--more than half the time perhaps out-Ossianing Ossian. 

I have the modesty to believe that in some things I am un- 
like all the other writers of my country — both living and dead; 
although there are not a few, I dare say who would be glad to 
liear of my bearing a great resemblance to the latter. For 
my own part I do not pretend to write English — that is, I do 
not pretend to write what the English themselves call English 
'—I do not, and I hope to God— I say this reverently, although 
one of their Reviewers may be again puzzled to determine 
*' whether I am swearing or praying" when I say so— that I never 
shall write what is now worshipped under the name of classical 
English. It is no natural language— it never was~ it never 
will be spoken alive on this earth : and therefore, ought never 
to be written. We have dead languages enough now ; but the 
deadest language I ever met with or heard of, was that in dj^ 
aju^ong the writers of Queen Anne's da(^» 



zvi UNPUBLISHED PREFACE. 

At laDt I came to the conclusion — that the chances were sd 
least a thousand to one against me. A thousand to one said I, 
to myself, that I perish outright in my headlong enterprise. 
But then, if I do not perish— if I triumph, what a triumph it 
will be ! If I succeed, I shall be rewarded well — if the British 
are what they are believed to be^n fair proportion to the toil 
and peril I have encountered. At any rate, whether I fail or 
not I shall be, and am willing to be, one of the first hundred to 
carry the war into the very camp, yea among the very house- 
hold gods of the enemy. And if I die, I will die with my right 
arm consuming in the blaze of their altars — like Mutius Scae- 
Tola. 

But enough on this head. The plan took shape, and you 
have the commencement now before you, reader. I have had 
several objects in view at the same time, all subordinate how- 
ever to that which I first mentioned, in the prosecution of my 
wayward enterprise. One was to show to my countrymen that 
there are abundant and hidden sources of fertility in their own 
beautiful brave earth, waiting only to be broken up ; and bar- 
ren places to all outward appearance, in the northern, as well 
as thf* southern Americas — ^yet teeming below with bright 
sail — where the plough share that is driven through them 
with a strong arm, will come out laden with rich mineral and 
followed by running water: places where — if you but lay your 
ear to the scented ground, you may hear the perpetual gush of 
innumerable fountains pouring their subterranean melody 
night and day among the minerals and rocks, the iron and the 
gold : places where the way-faring man, the ])i]grim or the 
wanderer thrriugh what he may deem the very deserts of lite- 
rature, the barren-plares of knowledge, will find the very roots 
of the withered and blasted shnibberv, which like the traveller 
in Peru, he miy have accidentally uptorn in his weary and dis- 
couraging ascent, and the very bowels of the earth into which 
he has torn hiv wn\, heavy with a brightness that may be coin- 
ed, like th« soil aiiout the favorite hiding places of the simny- 
baired Apollo. 

Another, was to teac'* my countrymen, that these very En- 
glishmen, to whom as the barbarians of ancient story did by 



UNPUBLISHED PREFACE. Xvii 

their gods when they would conciliate them, we are accustom- 
ed to otfer up our own offspring, with our own hands, wheney- 
sr we see Che sky darkening over the water — the sky inhabited 
of them ; ay, that these very Englishmen, to whom we are 
89 in the habit of immolating all that is beautiful and grand 
among us— the first born of our youth— our creatures of im- 
mortality — our men of genius, while in the fever and flush of 
their vanity, innocence and passion-— ere they have had time 
to put out their first plumage to the sky and the wind, all 
above and about them^-^at they, these very Englishmen, I 
would not love us the less, nor revere us the less, if we loved I 
and revered ourselves, and the issue of our blood and breath, * 
and vitality and power, a little more. No— the men of En- 
gland are men. They love manhood. They may smile at our 
national vanity , but their smile would be one of compassionate 
benevolence and encouragement, if we were wise enough to 
keep our yoimg at home, till their first molting season were 
well over — and then, offer to pair them, even though there 
would be a little presumption in it, high up in the skies, and the 
strong wind — with their bravest and best: not, as we do now, 
upon the altars of the earth— upon the tables of our money- 
changers — half fledged and untrained— with their legs tiecf, 
and wings clipped ; or, peradventure, with necks turned, and 
heads all skewered under their tails^a heap of carrion and 
garbage that the braver birds, even among their enemies, 
would disdain to stoop at. Such would be their behavior, if we 
dealt as we ought with our own ; there would be no pity nor dis- 
dain with them. They would cheer us to the conflict — pour their 
red wine down our throats if we were beaten ; and if their 
birds were beaten, they would bear it with temper — knowing 
that their reputation could well afford an occasional trumph, 
to the young of their favorite brood. The men of England are 
waiting to do us justice : but there is a certain formality to be 
gone through with, before they will do it We must claim it. 
And why should we not ? I do not mean that we should claim 
it upon our knees^ as the condemned of their courts of jus- 
tice are compelled to claim that mercy, which the very law it- 
ielf, has predetermined to grant to him—but will oot, unless, 
2* 



xviu UNPUBLISHED PUEPACfi. 

that idle and unworthy formality has been submitted to ; no— 
I mean no such thing. We do not want mercy : and I would 
have my countrymen, when they are arraigned before any mere 
English tribunal — not acting under the law of nations in the 
world of literature, to go at once, with a calm front and un- 
troubled eye, and plead to their jurisdiction, with a loud clear 
Toice, and with their right hand upon the great book of £n« 
glish law, and set them at defiance. This, they have the right, 
and the power to do ; and why should they not, when some of 
the inferior courts, of mere English criticism, have the au- 
dacity at every little interval, to call upon a sovereign people, 
to plead before them — ^without counsel — and be tried for some 
infringement of some paltry municipal provision of their stat^ 
ute book — some provincialism of language— or some heresy 
in politics — or some plagiarism of manner or style ; and 
abide the penalty of forgery— or of ecclesiastical censure— or 
the reward of petit-larceny ; re-transportation — or re-banish- 
ment to America. 

' It is high time now, that we should begin to do each other 
justice. Let us profit by their good qualities ; and let them, by 
ours. And in time, we shall assuredly come to feel like 
brothers of the same parentige-^an elder and a younger — dif- 
ferent in temper— but alike in family resemblance — and alike 
proud of our great ancestry, the English giants of olden time. 
We shall revere our brother ; and he will love his. But when 
bhall this be ? — not, I am sorely afraid — till we have called 
home all our children, from the four corners of the earth ; 
from the east and from the west ; from the north and from the 
south— and held a congress of the dead— of their fathers, and 
of our fathers — and published to the world, and to posterity — 
appealing again to Jehovah for the rectitude of our intentions 
— another Declakation of Indbpenderck, in the grept Re- 
ruBLic OF Letters. And, yet this may soon be. The tiro« 
is even now at hand. Our representatives are assembling : 
the dead Greek, and the Roman ; the ancient English, and 
the fathers of literature, from all the buried nations of dll the 
«arth, and holding counsel together, and choosing their dels- 
^tes. And the genentioii is alrtady born^ thst shall yet liesr 



UNPUBLISHED PREFACE. xix 

tke heavens ringing with acclamations to their decree — ^that 
another state has been added to the everlasting confederacy of 
literature ! 

And now the author repeats to the people of America, one 
and all, farewell ; assuring them that there is very little proba. 
bilit/ of his ever appearing before them again as a novel-wri- 
ter. His object has been, if not wholly, at least in a great 
degree accomplished. He has demonstrated that a bold and 
direct appeal to the manhood of any people will never be made 
in vain. Others may have been already, or may hereafter 
be incited to a more intrepid movement ; and to a more con- 
fident reliance upon themselves and their resources, by what 
he has now accomplished — where it is most difficult to ac- 
complish any thing — among his own countrymen : and most 
devoutly does he pray, that if they should, they may be more 
fortunate, and far more generously rewarded, than he has ever 
been ; and if they should not, he advises them to go where 
he has been already — and trust to another people for that, which 
bis own have not the heart to give him, however well he may 
deserve it. ^Abroad — if he do not get a chaplet of fire and 
greenness — ^he will, at least, get a cup of cold water, — and It 
may be, a tear or two of compassion, if nothing of encourage- 
ment — whatever he may do. At home — he may wear himself 
out — like one ashamed of what he is doing, in secrecy and 
darkness — exhaust his own heart of all its power and vitality, 
by pouring himself into the hearts of others — with a certain- 
ty that he will be called a madman, a beggar and a fool, for hit 
pains— unless he persevere, in spite of a broken heart, and a 
broken constitution, till he shall have made his own country- 
men ashamed of themselves, and afraid of him. 

It is a sad thing to say goodhy*e, even for an author. If you 
mean what you say—- it is a prayer as well as a blessing, an 
audible breathing of the heart. And if you do not — it is a wick- 
ed profanation. So far, reader, you have been the familiar 
companion of the author ; and you may be one of those, who 
liave journied with him before, for many a weary day, through 
much of his wandering and meditation :-^that is, you may be 
«iie of those who, having been admitted before, to touch hid 



^ TfNPUBUdHBB PRBPACE. 

heart with a naked hand — have felt in ohe pulsation — in one 
single hour's fellowship with it, all tliat he had felt and thought 
for many a weary year. You have been teith him to a more 
holy place than the fire-side ; to him, more like 'he invisible 
creatures — for he hath never seen your face, and peradventure 
never may, though you have been looking into his very soul — 
that hover about the chamber of prayer — the solitude of the poet 
—•or the haunted place under the shadow of great trees, where 
the wearied man throws himself down, to muse upon the face 
of his Creator, which he sees in the sky over him, or beneath 
the vast blue water before him. Is it wonderful therefore that 
there should be a little seriousness about his brow — although ye 
are invisible to him — when he is about to say farewell to you — 
farewell forever — without having once heard the tone of your 
voice— nor one of the many tears, that you may have dropped 
over him, when you thought yourself altogether alone : — 

Nor can he look back, without some emotion, upon the la- 
bour that he has undergone, even within that flowery wilderness, 
where he hath been journeying with you, or lying and rumina- 
ting all alone, for so long a time ; and out of which, he is now 
about to emerge — forever — with a strong tread, to the broai 
blue sky and the solid earth ; nor without lamenting that he 
cannot go barefooted— ^nd half-naked among men ; — and that 
the colour and perfume — the dim enchantment, and the sweet, 
breathing, solemn loneliness of the wild-wood path, that he is 
about to abandon, for the broad dusty highway of the worlds 
are so unpropitious to the substantial reputation of a man : nor, 
without grieving that the blossom -leaves, and the golden 
flower-dust, which now cover him, from head to foot, must be 
speedily brushed away ;— and that the scent of the wilderness 
may not go with him— -wherever he may go— wandering through 
the habitation of princes — the courts of the living God — or, 
the dwelling places of ambition — ^yea, even into the grave. 

I have but on9 other request to make. Let these words be 
engraven here.<f\er on my tomb-«tone : **Wbo reaim aJ 
Aiouucixf Bo«c V 



RACHEL DYER. 



The early history of Nevr-England, or of Massachu- 
setts Bay, rather; now one o( the six New- (England 
States of North America, and that on which the Ply- 
mouth settlers, or '< Fathers" went ashore— the ship- 
wrecked men of mighty age, abounds with pi oof that 
witchcraft was a familiar study, and that witches and 
wizards were believed in for a great while, among the 
most enlightened part of a largo and well-educated re- 
ligious population. The multitude of course had a like 
faith ; for such authority governs the multitude every 
where, and at all times. 

The belief was very general about a hundred years 
ago in every part of British America, was very common 
fifty years ago, when the revolutionary war broke out, 
and prevails now, even to this day in the wilder parts of 
the New-England territory, as well as in the new States 
which are springing up every where in the retreating 
shadow of the great western wilderness — a wood where 
half the men of Europe might easily hide from each 
other — and every where along the shores ot the solitude, 
as if the new earth were full of the seed of empire, as 
if dominion were like fresh flowers or magnificent her- 
bage, the spontaneous growth of a new soil wherever 
it is reached by the warm light or the cheerful r^in of a 
new sky. 



RACHEL DYER. 



The early history of Nevr-England, or of Massachu- 
setts Bay, rather; now one o( the six New-lLngland 
States of North America, and that on which the Ply- 
mouth settlers, or '< Fathers" went ashore— the ship- 
wrecked men of mighty age, abounds with pi oof that 
witchcraft was a familiar study, and that witches and 
wizards were believed in for a great while, among the 
most enlightened part of a largo and well-educated re- 
ligious population. The multitude of course had a like 
faith ; for such authority governs the multitude every 
where, and at all times. 

The belief was very general about a hundred years 
ago in every part of British America, was very common 
fifty years ago, when the revolutionary war broke out, 
and prevails now, even to this day in the wilder parts of 
the New-England territory, as well as in the new States 
which are springing up every where in the retreating 
shadow of the great western wilderness — a wood where 
half the men of Europe might easily hide from each 
other — and every where along the shores ot the solitude, 
as if the new earth were full of the seed of empire, as 
if dominion were like fresh flowers or magnificent her- 
bage, the spontaneous growth of a new soil wherever 
it is reached by the warm light or the cheerful r^in of a 
new sky. 



as RACHEL DYER. 

It is not confined however, nor wa? it a hundred and 
thirty five years ago, the particular period of our story, 
to the uneducated and barbarous, or to a portion of the 
white people of North-America, nor to the native In- 
dians, a part of whose awful faith, a part of whose in- 
heiited religion it is to believe in a bad power, in witch- 
craft spells and 80rcery. It may be met with wherever 
the Bible is much read in the spirit of the New-England 
Fathers. It was rooted in the very nature of those who 
were quite remarkable in the history of their age, for 
learning, for wisdom, for courage and for piety ; of men 
who fled away from their fire-sides in Europe to the rocks 
of another world— where they buried themselves alive 
in search of truth. 

^ We may smile now to hear witchcraft spoken serious- 
ly of ; but we forget perhaps that a belief in it is like a 
belief in the after appearance of the dead among the 
blue waters, the green graves, the still starry atmosphere 
and the great shadowy wiods of our earth ; or like the 
beautiful deep instinct of our nature for worship, — older 
than the skies, it may be, universal as thought, and sure 
as the steadfast hope of immortality.^ 

We may turn away with a sneer now from the devout 
believer in witches, wondering at the folly of them that 
liave such faith, and quite persuading ourselves in our 
great wisdom, that all who have had it heretofore, how- 
ever they may have been regarded by ages that have 
gone by, were not of a truth wise and great men; but 
we forget perhaps that we are told in the Book of Books, 
the Scriptures of Truth, about witches with power to 
rai^e the dead, about wizards and sorcerers that were able 
to strive with Jehovah's anointed high priest before the 
wiisbelieving inRJesty of Egypt, with all his ourt and 
people gathered about his throne for proof^and ef others. 



1!^.^ 



RACHEL DYER. f$ 

\vho could look into luturity with power, interpret the 
vision of sleep, read the stars, bewitch and afflict whom 
they would, cast out devils and prophesy — false prophets 
were they called, not because that which they said was 
untrue, but because that which they said, whether true 
er untrue, was not from above — because the origin of 
their preternatural power was bad or untrue. And we 
forget moreover that laws were made about conjuration, 
spells and witchcraft by a body of British lawgivers, 
renowned for their sagacity, deep research, and grave 
thoughtful regard for truth, but a few years ago— the 
other day as it ^ere — and that a miihitude of superior 
men have recorded their belief in witchcraft — men of 
prodigious power — such men as the great and good Sir 
Mathew Hale, who gave judgment of death upon sever- 
al witches and wizards, at a period when, if we may 
believe a tithe of what we hear every day of our lives, 
from the mouth of many a great lawyer, there was no 
lack of wit or wisdom, nor of knowledge or faithful en- 
quiry; and such men too as the celebrated author of the 
Commentaries on the Laws of England, which are, <' as 
every body knowsj or should know, and a man must be 
exceedingly ignorant not to know" the pride of the Brit- 
ish empire and a pillar of light for the sages of hereafter; 
and that within the last one hundred and fifty or two 
hundred years, a multitude of men and women have 
been tried and executed by authority of British law^ 
in the heart of £ngland,for having dealt in sorcery and 
witchcraft. 

We may smile — we may sneer— but would such things 
have occurred in the British Parliament, or in the British 
courts of law, without some proof — whatever, it was— 
proof to the understandings of people, who in other mat- 
ters are looked up to by the chief men of this age with 



£4 RACHEL DYER. 

absolute awe — that creatures endqwed with strange, if 
not with preternatural power, did inhabit our earth and 
were able to work mischief according to the popular 
ideas oi witchcraft and sorcery ? 

We know little or nothing of the facts upon which 
their behef was founded. All that we know is but hear- 
say, tradition or conjecture. They who believed were 
eye-witnesses aod ear witnesses of what they believed ; 
we who disbelieve are neither. They who behoved 
knew all that we know of the matter and much more; 
we who disbelieve are not only ignorant of the facts, but 
we are living afar off, in a remote age. Nevertheless, they 
believed in witchcraft, and wg^regard all who speak of it 
seriously, with contempt. 'How dare we! What right 
have we to say that witches and witchcraft are no more, 
that sorcery is done with forever, that miracles are never 
to be wrought again, or that Prophecy shall never be 
heard afi;ain by the people of God, uplifting her voice 
like a thousand echoes from the everlasting solitudes of 
the sea, or like uninterrupted heavy thunder breaking 
over the terrible and haughty nations of our earth ? 

Why should we not think as well of him who believes 
too much, as of him who believes too little? Of him 
whose faith, whatever it may be, is too large, as of him 
whose faith, whatever it may be, is too small? Of th« 
good with a credulous temper, as of the great with a 
suspicious temper? Of the pure in heart, of the youthful, 
of the untried in the ways of the world, who put much 
faith in whatever they are told, too much it may be, aa 
of them who being thoroughly tried in the ways of the 
world put no faith in what thay hear, and little in what 
they see? Of the humble in spirit who heMeve, thou^ 
they do not perfectly understand, as of the haui:hty who 
will not believe because they do not perfectly understand? 



RACHEL DFER. tb 

Of the poor child who thinks a juggler eats tire whea 
he does not, as of the grown-up sage who thinks a jug- 
gler does not swallow a sword when he does? Of the 
believer in Crusoe, who sits poring over the story under 
a hedge, as of the unbeliever in Bruce who would not 
believe, so long as it was new, in the Tale of Abyssinia? 
Of those in short who are led astray by self-distrust, or 
innocence, or humility, as of them who are led astray by 
self-conceit, or corruption, or pride? 

In other days, the Lion of the desert would not believe 
the horse when ho came up out of the bleak north, and 
told a story of waters and seas that grew solid, quiet and 
> smooth in the dead of winter. His majesty had never 
heard of such a thing before, and what his majesty had 
never heard of before could not be possible. The mighty 
lord of the Numcdian desert could not believe — how 
cou'd he? — in a cock-and-a-bu 11-story, about ice and 
aaow ; for to him they were both as a multitude of such 
things are to the philosophy of our age, out of the course 
of nature. 

A solid sea and a fluid earth are alike to stich as have 
BO belief in irhat is new or contrary to that course of 
nature with which they are acquainted— whatever that 
may be. There is no such thing as proof to the over- 
wise or over mighty, save where by reason of what t hey 

already know, there is not much need of other proof 

They would not believe, though one should rise from the 
dead— they are too cautious by half; they are not satis, 
fied with any sort of testimony; they dare not believe 
their own eyes— they do not indeed ; for spectres when 
they appear to the eye of the philosopher now, are attri- 
buted altogether to a diseased organ.(l.) They car^ 
not for the cloud of witnesses — they withdraw from the 
Bible, they scoff at history, and while ^they themselves 

(1) As by tbe printer of Berlin. See also Beasley's Search after Truth. 



2g RACHEL DYER. 

reject every kind of proof, whatever it may be, such 
proof as they would be satisfied with in a case of mur- 
der, were they to hear it as a jury— such proof as they 
would give judgment of death upon, without fear, proof 
under oath by men of high character and severe probity^ 
eye-witnesses and ear-witnesses of what they swear to — 
they ridicule those who undertake to weigh it with care, 
and pursue with scorn or pity those who shiver through 
. all their arteries at a story of the preternatural. 

As if it were a mark of deplorable fatuity for a babe to 
believe now as a multitude of wise and great and gifted 
men have heretofore believed in every age of the world! 
As if to think it possible for such to have been right in 
their belief, were too absurd for txcuse now — such men 
as the holy Qreek, the upright immovable Socrates, 
who petsuaded himself that he was watched over by 
a sort of household spirit; such men too as the '* bald" 
CsBsar, and the rock-hearted Brutus, both of whom 
spite of their imperial nature and high place among the 
warlike and mighty of their age, believed in that, and 
shook before that which whether deceitful or not, sub- 
stance or shadow, the very cowards of o\ir day are too 
brave to be scared with, too full of courage to put their 
trust in — afraid as they are of that, which the Roman pair 
would have met with a stern smile and a free step; such 
men too of a later age, as the profound, wise and pure 
Sir Matthew Hale, who put many to death for witchcraft 
— so clear was the proof, and so clear the nature of the 
crime — while the nature of larceny, the nature of com* 
mon thefl was forever a mystery to him, if we may be- 
lieve what we hear out of his own mouth; such men too 
as the celebrated Judge Blackstone, who after a thorough 
sifting of the law, says — ^^ It seems to be most eligible 
to conclude that in general there has been such a thing 
as witchcrafti though we cannot give credit to any par- 



..^» * 



■•3 



RACHEL DYER. «7 

• 
ticalar modern instance of it;" such men too as Doctor 

Samuel Johnson, L. L. D. who saw through all the hjr- 
pocricy and subterfuge of our day, when he said, speak- 
ing of a superstitious belief, that men who deny it by 
their words, confess it by their fears — nothing was ever 
so true! we who are most afraid, want courage to own 
it; such men too as the Lord Protector of England, 
while she was a commonwealth ; and such as he, the Des- 
olator — 

" From whose reluctant hand, 

The thunder-bolt was wrung" — 

for they were both believers in what the very rabble of 
our earth deride now; such men, too, as the chief among 
poets — Byron — for he believed in the words of a poor^ 
old gypsey, and shook with ftar, and faltered on the way 
to his bridal-chamber, when he tho«jght of the prophecy 
she bad uttered years and years before, in the morning of 
his haughty youth; such men too as the head lawgiver 
of our day, the High-Priest of Legislation, the great and 
good, the hAnevolent, the courageous Bentham, who to. 
ibis nour is half afraid in the dark, and only able to sat- 
isfy himself about the felly of such fear, when his night- 
cap is off, by resorting with suitable gravity to his old re- 
fuge, the exhaustive mode of reasoning. If a ghost ap- 
pear at all, argues he, it must appear either clothed or 
not clothed. But a ghost never appears not clothed, 
or naked ; and if it appear clothed, we shall have not only 
the ghost of a human creature — which is bad enough ; 
but the ghost of a particular kind of cloth of a particu- 
lar fashion, the ghost of a pocket-handkerchiel, or a 
night-cap — which is too bad. 

Thus much for authority : and here, but for one little 
circumstance we shoijld take uf\ our narrative, and pur- 
sue it without turning to the right or the left, until we 
came to the sorrowful issue ; but as we may have bera 



2« RACHEL DYER. 

I 

and there a reader, io this unbelieving age, who has d* 

regard for authority, nor much respect for the wisdom 
of our ancestors, what if we try to put the whole argu- 
ment into a more conclusive shape? It may reqiire 
but a few pages, and a few pages may go far to allay 
the wrath of modern philosophy. If we throw aside the 
privilege of authorsliip, and speak, not av a multitude but 
as one of the true faith, our argument would stand thus: 
In a word, whatever the philosophy of our age may 
• say, I cannot look upon witchcraft and sorcery as the 
unbeliever does. 1 know enough what the fashion is 
now ; but 1 cannot believe, I do not believe that we 
know much more of the matter than our great progeni- 
tors did ; or that we are much wiser than a multitude 
who have been for ages, and are'now, renowned for their 
wisdom ; or that we are much more pious than our noble 
fathers were, who died in their belief— died for their 
belief, I should say, and are a proverb to this hour on 
account of their piety. Nor can 1 persuade myself that 
such facts would be met with in grave undoubted history, 
if they were untrue, as are to be met with in every pitgo 
of that which concerns the period of our story; facta 
which go to prove not only that a fixed belief in witch- 
craft prevailed throughout Europe as well as America* 
and among those with whom there was no lack of probi- 
ty or good sense, or knowledge, it would appear ; but 
that hundredii of poor creatures were tried for witchcraft 
under the authority of British law, and put to death, 
under the authority of British law, (and several afler 
confession) for the practice of witchcraft and sorcery. 
May it not be worth our while therefore, to speak 
seriously and reverently of our mighty forefathers ? to 
bear in mind that the proof which they offer is affirma- 
tive and positive, while that which we rely upon, is 
aegativo—a matter of theory ? to keep in view, more- 



RACHEL DYER. 19 

over, that if a body of witnesses of equal worth were 
equally divided, one half saying that on such a day and 
hour, at such a place, when they were all together, such 
or such a thing, preternatural or not, mysterious or not, 
occurred ; while the other half say positively, man for 
man, that so far as they heard or saw, or know or be- 
lieve, no such thing did .occur, at such a time or place, 
or at any other time or place, whatsoever — still, even 
here, though you may believe both parties, though you 
may give entire credit to the words of each, you may be 
justified, in a variety of cases, in acting qpon the testi- 
mony of the former in preference to that of the latter. 
And why 1 Because the contradictory words of both 
may not be so contradictory as they appear — not so con- 
tradictory as to neutralize each other on every hypothe- 
sis ; but may be reconcilable to the supposition that such 
or such a fact, however positively denied by one party, 
and however mysterious it may seem, really did occur : 
and this while they are not reconcilable to the supposition 
that such or such a fact really did not occur. — It being 
much more easy to overlook that which is, than to see 
that which is not ; much more easy to not see a shadow 
that falls upon our pathway, than to see a shadow where 
indeed there is no shadow ; much more easy to not hear 
a real voice, than to hear no voice. 

If the multitude of trustworthy and superior men, 
therefore, who testify to the facts which are embodied 
in the following narrative, and which may appear in- 
eredible to the wise of our day, or out of the course of 
nature to the philosophy of our day, like ice or snow to 
the Lord of the Desert ; if they were positively contra^ 
dieted step by step, throughout, by another hke \nnlti- 
tude of trustworthy and superior men — still, though the 
two parties m ere alike numerous and alike worthy fif 
credit, and although you might believe the story of eaoh, 
3* 



so RACHEL DYER. 

and every word of it, and give no preference to either : 
— Still I say, you might be justified in supposing that 
after all, the facts which the former testify to really did 
occur. And why 1 Because though both speak true, 
that hypothesis may still be sup^iorted ; while if both 
speak true, the contrary hypothesis cannot be supported. 
Facts may occur without being heard or seen by the 
whole of a party who are together at the time they oc- 
cur : but how are they to be seen or heard, if they do 
not occur at all ? 

I have put a much stronger case than that on which 
the truth of the following story is mad^ to depend ; for 
no such contradiction occurs here, no such positive tes- 
timony, no such array of multitude against multitude of 
the same worth, or the same age, or the same people. 
On the affirmative side are a host here — a host of respec- 
table witnesses, not a few of whom sealed their testimony 
with their blood ; on the negative, hardly one either of 
a good or a bad character. What appears on the nega- 
tive side is not by facts, but by theory. It is not positive 
but conjectural. The negative witnesses are of our age 
and of our people ; the affirmative were of another age 
and of another people. The former too, it should be 
remarked were not only not present, but they were not 
born — they were not alive, when the matters which they 
deny the truth of, took place — if they ever took place at 
all. Now, if oaths are to be answered by conjecture, 
bloodshed by a sneer, absolute martyrdom by hypothesis, 
much grave testimony of the great and the pious, by a 
speculative argument, a brief syllogism, or a joke-— of 
what use are the rules by which our trust in what w% 
hear is regulated 7 our faith whatever it may be, and 
whether it concern this world or the next, and whether 
iljbe of the past, the present or the future ? Are we t» 
belisve only so far as we may touch and see for our- 



RACHEL DYER. 91 

selves 1 Wliat is the groundwork of true knowledge ? 
where the spirit of true philosophy 1 Whither should 
we go for proof; and of what avail is the truth which 
we are hoarding up, the truth which W4i are extracting 
year after year by laborious investigation, or fearful ex-» 
periment ? If we do not believe those who go up to the 
altar and make oath before the Everlasting God, not at 
men do now, one after another, but nation by nation, 
to that which is very new to us, or wonderftil, why 
should posterity believe us when we testify to that which 
hereafter may be very new to them or very wonderful ? 
Is every day to be like every ether day, every age like 
every other age in the Piary of the Universe t Earth- 
quake, war and revolution — the overthrow of States and 
of empires, are they to be repeated forever, l^sfmeii 
should not believe the stories that are told of them ! 



VA 1. ■ '■' ^ . 'I. 



CHAPTER II. 



But enough. It is quite impossible to doubt the sia- 
eerity of the Plymouth settlers, the Pilgrims, or Fathers 
of New-England, who escaping over sea laid the foun- 
dations of a mighty empire on the perpetual rocks of 
New-Plymouth, and along the desolate shores of a new 
world, or their belief in witchcraft and sorcery, whatever 
we may happen to believe now; for,at a period of sore and 
bitter perplexity for them and theirs, while they were yet 
wrestling for life, about four hundred of their hardy brave 
industrious population were either in prison for the al- 
leged practice of witchcraft, or under accusation for 
matters which were looked upon as fatal evidence there- 
of. By referring to the sober and faithful records of 
that age, it will be found ttiat in the course of about fif- 
teen months, while the Fathers of New-England were 
beset on every side by the exasperated savages, or by 
the more exasperated French > who led the former through 
every part of the British- American territory, twenty 
eight persons received sentence of death (of which 
number nineteen were executed) one died in jaiLto whom 
our narrative relates, and one was deliberately crushed 
to^death— according to British law, because forsooth, 
being a stout full hearted man, he would not make a 
plea, nor open his mouth to the charge of sorcery, be- 
fore the twelve, who up to that hour had permitted no 
one who did open his mouth to escape; that a few more 
succeeded in getting away before they were capitally 
oharged ; that one hundred and fidy were set free after 



54 RACHEL DYER. 

the outcry was over ; and that full two hundred more of 
the accused who were in great peril without knowing it, 
were never proceeded against, after the death of the 
individual whose character we have attempted a sketch 
of, in the following story. 

Of these four hundred poor creatures, a large part of 
whom were people of good repute in the prime of life, 
above two-score made confession of their guilt — and this 
although about one half, being privately charged, had no 
opportunity for confession. The laws of nature, it would 
seem were set aside — if not by Jehovah, at least by the 
judges acting under the high and holy sanction of Brit- 
ish law, in this day of sorrow; for at the trial of a wo- 
man who appears to have been celebrated for beauty and 
held in great fear because of her temper, both by the 
settlers and the savages, three of her children stood up, 
and children though they were, in the presence of their 
mother, avewed themselves to be witches, and gave a 
particular account of their voyages through the air and 
over sea, and of the cruel mischief they had perpetrated 
by her advice and direction; for she was endowed, say 
the records of the day, with great power and preroga- 
tive, and tha Father of lies had promised her, at one of 
their church-yard gatherings that she should be ^' Quean 
of Hell." 

But before we go further into the particulars of our nar- 
rative which relates to a period when the frightful i>iiper* 
stition we speak of was raging with irresistible pouer^a 
rapid review of so much of the earlier parts of the Ne%- 
England history, as immediately concernf the break- 
ing out, and the growth of a belief in witchcraft among 
the settlers of our sai age country, may be of u^e to 
the reader, who, but for some such preparation, would 
never be able to credit a fiftieth part uf what is undoubt- 
edly true IB the following story* 




RACHEL DYER. 95 

The pilgrims or " Fathers" of New-England, as they 
are now called by the writers of America, were hut a 
ship-hiad pf pious brave men, who while they were in 
search of a spot of earth where they might worship their 
God without fear, and huild up a faith, if so it pleased 
him, without reproach, went ashore partly of their own 
accord, hut more from necessity, in the terrible winter 
of 1620-21, upon a rock of MassachusettH-Bay, to winch 
they gave the name of New-Plymouth, after that of the 
port of England from which they embarked. 

They left England forever.... England their home and 
the home of their mit^hty fathers — turned their bucks 
forever upon all that was dear to them in their beloved 
country, their friends, their houses, their tombs and 
their churches, their laws and their literature with all 
that other men cared for in that age ; and this merely 
to avoid persecution for a religious faith ; fled away as' 
it were to the ends of the earth, over a sea the very 
name of which was doubtful, toward a shore that was 
like a shadow to the navigators of Europe, in search of 
a place where they might kneel down before their Fa- 
ther, and pray to him without molestation. 
rBut, alas for their faith ! No sooner had these pilgrims 
touched the shore of the new world, no sooner were they 
established in comparative power and security, than 
they fell upon the Quakers, who had followed them over 
the same sea, with the same hope ; and scourged and 
• banished them, and imprisoned them, and put some to 
death, for not believing as the new chMrch taught in the 
new world. Such is the nature of man ! The persecu- 
ted of to-day become the persecutors of to-morrow. 
They flourish, not because they are right, but because 
they are persecuted ; and they persecute because they 
have the power, not because they whom they persecute 
are wrongA 



36 RACHEL DYER. 

The quakers died in their behef, and as the f^reat aU 
ways die — without a word or a tear ; praying for the mis- 
guided people to their Inst breath, but prophecying hea- 
vy sorrow to them and to theirs — a sorrow without a 
name — a wo without a shape, to their whole race for- 
ever; with a mi£;hty series of near and bitter afBicticm to 
the judges of the land, who while they were uttering 
the words of death to an aged woman of the Quakers* 
(Mary Dyer) were commanded with a loud voice to set 
their houses in order, to get ready the accounts of their 
stewardship, and to prepare with the prienthood of all 
the earth, to go before the Judge of the quick and the 
dead. It was the voice of Elizabeth Hutchinson, the 
dear and familiar friend of Mary Dyer. She spoke as 
one having authority from above, so that all who heard 
her were afraid — all ! even the judges who were dealing 
out their judirinent of death upon a fellow creature. And 
lo! after a few years, the daughter of the chief judge, 
before whom the prophecy had been uttered with such 
awful power, was tri^d for witchcraft and put to death 
for witchcraft on the very spot (so says the tradition of 
the people) wheie she stayed to scoff at Mary Dyer^ 
who was on her way to the scaffold at the time, with 
her little withered hands locked upon her b<isom....her 
grey head lifted up....not bowed in her unspeakable die- 
tress....but lifted up, as if in prayer to something Tisible 
above, something whatever it was, the shadow of which 
fell upon the path and walked b} the side of the aged 
martyr ; something whatever it was, that moved like a 
spirit over the green smooth turf....now at her elb^iw, 
now high up and afar off.. ..now in the blue, bright air; 
86nif'fliing whose holy guardianship was betrayed to the 
multitude hy the devout slow motion of the eyes that 
were abf»ut to be extinguished forever. 

Not long afler the death of the daughter of the chief 



RACHEL DYER. 97 

judge, another female was executed for witchcraft, and 
other stories of a similar nature were spread iivei ;he 
whole country, to pro?e that she tuo had gone out of 
her waj to scoff at the poor quaker-woman. I'nis oc- 
curred in 1655, only thirty-fi?e years after the arrival 
of the Fathers in America. From this period, uiitiJ i^-^l, 
there were but few trials for wiichcraft among tlw: Ply- 
mouth settlers, though the practice of th^^ art wh.. be* 
lieved to be conmun throughout Europe as well as 
America, and a persuasion was rooted in the very tii arts 
of the people, that the prophecy of the quakers nrirf of 
Elizabeth Hutchinson would assuredly be accom- 
plished. 

It was accomplished. A shadow fell upon the earth 
at noon-day. The waters grew dark as midnight. Ev- 
ery thing alive was quiet with fear — the trees, the birds, 
the cattle, the very heiirts of men who were gatlif^red 
together in the houses of the Lord, every where, 
throughout all the land, for worship and for mutual huc- 
cor. It was indeed a " Dark Day" — a day never to be 
thought of by those who were alive at the time, nor by 
their children's children, without fear. The shadow of 
the grave was abroad, with a voice like the voice of the 
grave. Earthquake, fire, and a furious bright storm 
followed ; inundation, war and stife in the church. 
Stars fell in a shower, heavy cannon were heard in the 
deep of the wilderness, low music from the sea — trum- 
pets, horses, armies*, mustering for battle in the deep sea. 
Apparitions were met in the high way, people whom 
nobody knew, men of a most unearthly stature ; evil 
spirits going abroad on the sabbath day. The print of 
huge feet and hoof-marks were continually discovered 
in the snow, in the white sand of the sea-shore — nay, in 
the solid recks and along the steep side of high moun- 
4 



38 RACHEL DYER. 

tains, where no mortal hoof could go ; and sometimes 
they could be traced from roof to roof on the house-tops, 
though the buildings were very far apart ; and the shape 
of Elizabeth Hutchinson herself, was said to have ap- 
peared to a traveller, on the very spot where she and 
her large family, after being driven forth out of New- 
England by the power of the new church, were put to 
death by the savages. He that saw the shape knew it, 
and was afraid for the people ; for the look of the wo- 
man was a look of wrath, and her speech a speech of 
power. 

Elizabeth Hutchinson was one of the most extraor- 
dinary women of the age — haughty, ambitious and crafty; 
and when it was told every where through the Plymouth 
colony that she had appeared to one of the church that 
expelled her, they knew that she had come back, to be 
seen of the judges and elders, according to her oath, 
and were siezed with a deep fear. They knew that she 
had been able to draw away from their peculiar mode of 
worship, a tithe of their whole number when she was 
alive, and a setter forth, if not of strange gods, at least of 
strange doctrines : and who should say that her mis- 
chievous power had not been fearfully augmented by 
death ? 

Meanwhile the men of New Plymouth, and of Massa- 
chusetts Bay, had multiphed so that all the neighborhood 
was tributary to them, and they were able to send forth 
large bodies of their young men to war, six himdred* 
seven hundred, and a thousand at a time, year after 
year, to fight with Philip of Mount Hope, a royal bar- 
barian, who had wit enough to make war as the great 
men of Europe would make war now, and to persuade 
the w bite |ieople that the prophecy of the Quakers re* 
lated to him. It is true enough that be made war like 



RACHEL DY£R. 89 

a savage— and who would not, if he were surrounded as 
Philip of Mount Hope was, bj a foe whose hatred was 
a part of his religion, a part of his very blood and being? 
if his territory were ploughed up or laid waste by a su- 
perior foe 1 if the very wilderness about him were fired 
while it was the burial-place and sanctuary of his mighty 
fathers ? if their form of worship were scouted, and 
every grave and every secret place of prayer laid open 
to the light, with all their treasures and all their myste- 
ries ? every temple not made with hands, every church 
built by the Builder of the Skies, invaded by such a foe 
and polluted with the rites of a new faith, or levelled 
without mercy — every church and every temple, wheth- 
er of rock or wood, whether perpetual from the first, or 
planted as the churches and temples of the solitude are, 
with leave to perpetuate themselves forever, to renew 
their strength and beauty every year and to multiply 
themselves on every side forever and ever, in spite of 
deluge and fire, storm, strife and earthquake ; every 
ehurch and every temple whether roofed as the skies 
are, and floored as the mountains are, with great clouds 
and with huge rocks, or covered in with tree-branches 
and paved with fresh turf, lighted with stars and purifi- 
ed with high winds ? Would not the man of Europe 
make war now like a savage, and without mercy, if he 
were beset by a foe — for such was the foe that Phihp of 
Mount Hope had to contend with in the fierce pale men 
of Massachusetts Bay, — a foe that no weapon of his 
could reach, a foe coming up out of the sea with irresis- 
tible power, and with a new shape ? What if armies 
were to spring up out of the solid earth before the man 
of Europe — it would not be more wonderful to him than 
it was to the man of America to'see armies issuing from 
ihe deep. What if rhey were to approach in ballpons — 
or in great ships of tlie air, armed all over as the foe of 



40 RACHEL DY£R. 

the poor savage appeared to be, when the ships of the 
water drew near, eharged with thunder and with Ught- 
ntng, and with four-footed creatures, and with sudden 
death ? Would the man of Europe make war in such a 
case according to what are now called the usages of 
war? 

The struggle with this haughtj savage was regarded 
for a time as the wo without a shape, to which the 
prophecy referred, the sorrow without a name ; for it 
occupied the whole force of the country, long and long 
aiter the bow of the red-chief was broken forever, his 
people scattered from the face of the earth, and his roy- 
alty reduced to a shadow— a shadow it is true, but still 
the shadow of a king ; for up to the last hour of his life, 
when he died as no king had ever the courage to die, he 
showed no sign of terror, betrayed no wish to conciliate 
the foe, and smote all that were near without mercy, 
whenever they talked of submission ; though he had no 
hope left, no path for escape, and every shot of the en- 
emy was fatal to some one of the few that stood near 
him* It was a war, which but for the accidental discov- 
ery of a league embracing all the chief tribes of the 
north, before they were able to muster their strength 
ior the meditated blow, would have swept away the 
white men, literally to the four winds of heaven, and 
left that earth free which they had set up their dominion 
over by falsehood and by treachery. By and by however, 
just when the issue of that war was near, and the fright 
of the pale men over, just when the hearts ef the church 
had begun to heave with a new hope, and the prophecy 
of wrath and sorrow was no longer to be heard in the 
market-place, and by the way-side, or wherever the peo- 
ple were gathered together for business or worship, 
with a look of awe and a subdued breath— just when it 
#amf to be no longer thought of nor cared for by the 



aACHEL .DY£R. 41 

judges and the elders, to whom week after week and 
year after jear, it had been a famihar proverb of death 
(if bad news from the war had come o?er night, or news 
of trouble to the church, at home or abroad, in Europe 
or in America) they saw it suddenly and wholly accom*- 
plished before their faces— ^Tery word of it and every 
letter. 

The shadow of the destroyer went by.. ..the type was 
no more. But lo ! in the stead thereof, while every 
mother was happy, and every father in peace, and every 
child asleep in security, because the shadow and tne 
type had gone by — lo ! the Destroyer himself appeared ! 
The shadow of death gave way for the visage of death 
— ^filling every heart with terror, and every house with 
lamentation. The people cried out for fear, as with one 
voice. They prayed as with one prayer. They had no 
hope ; for they saw the children of those who had offer- 
' ed outrage to the poor quaker-woman gathered up, on 
every side, from the rest of the people, and after a few 
days and a brief inquiry, afflicted in their turn with re- 
proach and outcry, with misery, torture and cruel death ; 
— and when they saw this, they thought of the speech of 
Elizabeth Hutchinson before the priesthood of the land, 
the judges and the people, when they drove her out from 
among them, because of her new faith, and left her to 
perish for it in the depth of a howling wilderness ; her, 
and her babes, and her beautiful daughter, and her two 
or three brave disciples, away from hope and afar from 
succor y —and as they thought of this, they were filled 
anew with unspeakable dread : for Mary Dyer and Eliz* 
abeth Hutchinson, were they not familiar, and very dear 
friends T.^were they not sisters in life, and sisters in 
death 1 gifted alike with a spirit of sure prophecy, though 
of a different faith ? and martyrs alike to the church / 
4* 



CHAPTER III. 



** A strange infatuation had already begun to produce 
misery in private fathilies, and disorder throughout the 
community," says an old American writer, in allusion 
to the period of our story, 1691 — 2. '* The imputation 
of witchcraft was accompanied with a prevalent belief 
of its reality ; and the lives of a considerable number of 
innocent people were sacrificed to blind zeal and super- 
stitious credulity. The mischief began at Naumkeag, 
^Salem) but it soon extended into various parts of the 
colony. The contagion however, was principally within 
the county of Essex. The sera of English learning, had 
scarcely commenced. Laws then existed in England 
against witches; and Xhe authority of Sir Matthew 
Hale, who was revered in New England, not only for 
bis knowledge in the law, but for his gravity and piety, 
bad doubtless, great influence. The trial of the witches 
in Suffolk, in England, was published in 1684; and 
there was so exact a resemblance between the Old 
England deemons and the New, that, it can hardly be 
doubted the arts of the designing were borrowed, and 
the credulity of the populace augmented from the parent 
country. * ♦ * * * 

^ The gloomy state of New England probably facili- 
tated the delusion, for * superstition flourishes in times 
of danger and dismay.* The distress of the colonist, at 
Ibis time, was great The sea-coast was infested with 
privateers. The inbuMl frontiersi east and west, were 



44 RACHEL DYER. 

continuallj harassed bj the French and Indians. The 
abortive expedition to Canada, bad exposed the conutry 
to the resentment of France, the effects of which were 
perpetually dreaded. The old charter was ^one, and 
what evils j^ould be introduced by the new, which was 
very reluctantly received by many, time only could de- 
termine, but fear might forbode. * * How 
far these causes operating in a wilderness that was 
scarcely cleared up, might have contributed toward the 
infatuation, it is difficult to determine. It were injuri- 
ous however, to consider New England as peculiar in 
this culpable credulity, with its sanguinary effects ; for 
more persons have been put to death for witchcraft, in a 
single county in England, in a short space of time, than 
have suffered for the same cause, in all New-England, 
since its first settlement.*' 

Another American writer who was an eye witness of 
the facts which are embodied in the following narrative, 
says, ** As to the method which the Salem justices do 
take in their examinations, it is truly this : A. warrant 
being issued out to apprehend the persons that are 
charged and complained of by the afflicted children, 
(Abigail Paris and Bridget Pope) said persons are 
brougin before the justices, the afflicted being present* 
The justices ask the apprehended why they afflict these 
poor children ; to which the apprehended answer they 
do not afflict them. The justices order the apprehend- 
ed to look upon the said children, which accordingly 
they do ; and at the time of that look (I dare not say 
by that look as, the Salem gentlemen do) ^e afflicted 
are cast into a fiit. The apprehended are then blinded 
and ordered to touch the afflicted ; and at that touch, 
though not by the touch (as above) the afflicted do oi^ 
dinarily come out of their fits. The afflicted persons 
tlien declare and affirm that the apprehended have af- 



RACHEL DYER. 4:> 

flicted tbem; upon which the apprehended persons 
though of never so good repute are forthwith committed 
to prison on suspicion of witchcraft." 

At this period, the chief magistrate of the New-Pljm- 
outh colony, a shrewd, artfiil, uneducated man, was not 
only at the head of those who believed in witchcraft as 
a familiar thing, but he was a head-ruler in the church. 
He was a native New-Englander of low birth — so say 
the records of our country, — where birth is now, and 
ever will be a matter of inquiry and solicitude, of shame 
perhaps to the few and of pride to the few, but of inquiry 
with all, in spite of our ostentatious republicanism. He 
was the head man over a body of men who may be re- 
garded as the natural growth of a rugged soil in a time 
of religious warfare ; with hearts and with heads like 
the resolute unforgiving Swiss- protest ant of their age, 
or the ScoU^i-covenanter of an age that has hardly yet 
gone by, 'They were the Maccabees of the seventeenth 
century, and he was their political chief. They were 
the fathers of a new church in a new world, where no 
church had ever been heard of before ; and he was ready 
to buckle a sword upon his thigh and go out against all 
the earth, at the command of that new church. They 
were ministers of the gospel, who ministered with fire 
and sword unto the savages whom they strove to convert; 
believers, who being persecuted in Europe, hunted out 
of Europe, and cast away upon the shores of America, 
set up a new war of persecution here— even here — in the 
untrodden — almost unapproachable domain of the Great 
Spirit of theWniverse y pursued their brethren to death, 
scourged, fined, imprisoned, banished, mutilated, and 
where nothing else would do, hung up their bodies be- 
tween heaven and earth for the good of their souls ; 
drove mother after mother, and babe after babe, into the 
woods for not believing as their church taught ; made 



46 RACHEL DYER. 

war upon the lords of the soil, the savages who had been 
their stay and support while they were strangers, and 
sick and poor, and ready to perish, and whom it was 
therefore a duty for them — after they had recovered 
their strength — ^to make happy with the edge of the 
sword ; such war as the savages would make upon the 
wild beast-w ay-laying them by night, and shooting them 
to death, as they lie asleep with their young, without so 
much as a declaration of war ; destroying whithersoever 
they went, whatsoever they saw, in the shape of a dark 
man, as if they had authority from above to unpeople 
the woods of America ; firing village after village, in the 
dead of the night — ^in the dead of winter too — and going 
to prayer in the deep snow, while their hands were 
smoking with slaughter, and their garments stiffening 
with blood — the blood, not of warriors overthrown by 
warriors in battle, but of the decrepit, or sick, or help- 
less ; of the aged man, or the woman or the babe — set 
fire to in their sleep. — Such were the men of Massa- 
chusetts-Bay, at the period of our story, and be was 
their political chief. 

He had acquired a large property and the title of Sir ; 
a title which would go a great way at any time among 
the people of New-England, who whatever elso thej 
may be, and whatever they may pretend, are not now, 
and were not during the governship of Sir Williaoi 
Phips, at the period we refer to, and we dare say, never 
will be, without a rcgnrd for titles and birth, and ribbons, 
and stars, and garters, and much more too, than woald 
ever be credited by those who only judge* of them hj 
what they are pleased to say of themselves in their 
fourth-of-July orations. His rank and wealth were ac- 
quired in rather a strange way — not by a course of rude 
mercantile adventure, such as the native Yankee is fa* 
miliar with from bis birth, through every unheard*of 



RACHEL DYER. 47 

sea, and along eve>ry unheard-of shore; but by fishing up 
ingots of gold, and bars of silver, from the wreck of a 
Spanish hulk, which had been cast away on the coast of 
La Plata, years and years before, and which he had 
been told of by Mr. Pans, the minister of Salem, — a 
wori^ y,studi(^U8, wayward man, who had met with some 
account of the affair, while rummaging into a heap of 
old newspapers and ragged books that fell in his way. 
Another would have paid no attention, it is probable, 
to the advice of the peacher — a man who had grown 
old ip poring over books that nobody else in that coun- 
try had ever met with or heard of; but the hardy New- 
Englander was too poor and too auxiuus for wealth to 
throw a chance away ; and having satisfied himself in 
some degree about the truth of a newspaper-narrative 
which related to the ship, he set sail for the mother 
country, received the patronage of those, who if they 
were not noblemen « would be called partners in every 
such enterprise, with more than the privilege of part- 
ners — for they generally contrive to take the praise and 
the profit, while their plebeian associates have to put up 
with the loss and the reproach ; found the wreck, and 
after a while succeeded in weighing a prodigious quan- 
tity of gold and silver. He was knighiei^' in conse- 
quence,'* we are told ; but in consequence of what, it 
would be no easy matter to say : and after so short an ab- 
sence that he was hardly missed, returned to his native 
country with a new charter, great wealth, a great name, 
the title of Sir, and the authority of a chief magistrate. 

Such are a few of the many facts which every body 
that knew him was acquainted with by report, and 
which nobody thought of disbelieving in British-Ameri- 
ca, till the fury about witches and witchcraft took pos- 
session of the people ; aftef which they began to shake 
their haads at the story, and getting more and more 



L 



48 RACHEL DYER. 

courage as they grew more and more clear-sighted, thej 
went on doubting firit one part of the tale, and then an-* 
other, till at last thej did not scruple to say of their 
worthy Go?ernor himself, and of the aged Mr. Paris, 
that one of the two— they did not like to say which—had 
got abo?e their neighbors' heads, after all, in a very 
strange way — a ?ery strange way indeed' — they did not 
like to say how ; and that the sooner the other was dona 
with old books, the better it would be for him. He had 
a Bible of his own to s^udy, and what more would a 
preacher of the Gospel have ? 

Governor Phips and Matthew Paris were what are 
called neighbors in America. Their habitations were 
not more than five leagues apart. The Governor lived 
at Boston, the chief town of Massachusetts-Bay, and the 
preacher at Naumkeag, in a solitary log-house, com- 
pletely sourrouuded by a thick wood, in which were 
many graves ; and a rock held in great awe by the red 
men of the north, and avoided with special care by the 
whites, who had much reason to believe that in ather 
days, it had been a rock of sacrifice, and that human 
creatures had been offered up there by the savages of 
old, either to Hobbamocko, their evil deity, or to Raw- 
tantoweet, diherwise Ritchtau, their great Invisiblie Fa- 
ther. Matthew Paris and Sir Wilham Phips had each 
a faith of his own therefore, in all that concerned 
witches and witchcraft. Both were believers — but their 
belief was modified, intimate as they were, by the cir- 
cumstances and the society in which they lived. With 
the aged, poor and solitary man^a widower in his old 
age, it was a dreadful superstition, a faith mixed up 
with a mortal fear. With the younger and richer man« 
whose hope wa? not in the prave, and whose thoughtt 
were away from the death-bed ; who was never alone 
perhaps for an hour of the day ; who lived in the very 



EACIIEL DTEE. 49 

whirl of lociety, surrounded by the cheerful facet of 
them that he most io?ed on earth, it wore a lets harrow- 
ing shape— it was merely a faith to talk of, and to teach 
on the Sabbath day, a curious faith suited to the bold 
inquisiti?e temper of the age. Both were belie?ers, and 
fixed belie?ers ; and yet of the two, perhaps, the specu- 
lative man would have argued more powerfully— with 
fire and sword — as a teacher of what he believed. 

About a twelvemonth before the enterprise to La 
Plata, whereby the *' uneducated man of low birth" 
came to be a ruler and a chief in the land of his nativi- 
ty, Matthew Paris the preacher, tu whom he was in- 
debted for a knowledge of the circumstances which led 
to the discovery, bad lost a young wif^— a poor girl who 
had been brought up in his family, and whom he marri- 
ed not because of her youth, but in spite of her youth ; 
and every body knew as he stood by her grave, and naw 
the fresh earth heaped upon her, that he would never 
hold up his head again, his white venerable head, which 
met with a blessing wherever it appeared. From that 
day forth, he was a broken-hearted selfish man, weary/ 
of life, and sick, with insupportable sorrow. He began 
to be afraid with a strange fear, to persuade himself that 
his Father above had cast him ofi^, and that for the rett 
of his life he was to be a mark of the divine displeasure. 
He avoided all that knew^ him, and chiefly those he had 
been most intimate with while he was happy ; for their 
looks and their speech, and every change of their breath 
reminded him of his poor Margaret, his meek beautiful 
wife. He could not bear the very song of the birds — 
nor the sight of the green trees ; for she was buried in 
the summer-time, while the trees were in flower, and 
the birds singing in the branches that overshadowed her 
grave ; and so he withdrew from the world and shut 
himself up in a dreary solitude, where neglecting his 



s^ RACHEL DYER. 

4utj as a preacher of the gospel, he gKve np his whole 
thoe lo the edueatioa of his little daugliter — the chiU of 
bis old afe, aad the live miniauire of its mother — who 
was Uke a child, from the day of her birth to the dav of 
ber death. His grief would have been despair, but for 
this one hope. It was the sorrow of old age — that in- 
supportable sorrow— the sorrow of oue who is readj to 
erj out with everj sob, and at wwerj breath, in the des- 
olation of a widowed heart, wbenefer he goes to the 
fireside or the table, or sees the sun set, or the skj 
change with the lustre of a new day, or wakes in the 
dead of the night from a cheerful dream of his wife — 
his dear, dear wife, to the frightful troth ; finding the 
heavy solitude of the grave about bim, his bridal cham- 
ber dark with the atmosphere of death, his marriage 
bed — his home— -his very heart, which had been occopi- 
ed with a blessed and pare love a moment before, unin- 
habited forever. 

His family consisted now of this one child, who was 
in her tenth year, a niece in her twelfth year, and two 
Indians who did the drudgery of the house, and were 
treated as members of the family, eating at the same ta- 
ble and of the same food as the preacher. One was a 
female who bore the name of Tituba ; the otlier a pray- 
ing warrior, who had become a by-word among the 
tribes of the north, aod a show in the houses of the 
white men. 

The preacher had always a belief in witchcraft, aad 
so had erery body else that he knew ; but he had never 
been afraid of witches till after the death of his wife 
He had been a little too ready perhaps to put faith in 
€wery tale that he heard about apparition or shadow, 
star-shooting or prophecy, unearthly musick, or spirits 
going abroad through the very streeu of Salem village, 
and over the green fields, and along by the sea shore, 



RACHEL DYER. il 

the wilderness, the rock and the hiliotop, aod always at 
noon-daj, and always without a shadow — shapes of 
death, who never spoke but with a voice like that of ihe 
wind afar off, nor moved without making the air cold 
about them; creatures from the deep sea, who are 
known to the pious and the gifted by their slow smooth 
motion over the turf, and by their quiet, grave, un- 
changeable eyes. But though he had been too ready to 
believe in such things, from his youth up, he had never 
been much afraid of them, till after he found himself 
Widowed forever, as he drew near, arm in arm with an ' 
angel, to the very threshold of eternity ; separated by 
death, in his old age, from a good and beautiful, and 
young wife, just when be had no other hope — no other 
joy — nothing but her and her sweet image, the babe, to 
care for underneath the sky. Are we to have no char- 
ity for such a man — weak though he appear — a man 
whose days were passed by the grave where his wife 
laj, and whose nights were passed literally in her death- 
bed ; a man living away and apart from all that he 
knew, on the very outskirts of the solitude, among those 
who had no fear but of shadows and spirits, and witch- 
craft and witches ? We should remember that his faith 
after all, was the faith, not so much of the man, as of the 
age he lived in, the race he came of, and the life that he 
led. Hereafter, -when posterity shall be occupied with 
our doings, they may wonder at our faith — perhaps at 
our credulity, as we now wonder at his. 

But the babe grew, and a new hope flowered in his 
heart, for she was the very image of her mother ; and 
there was her little cousin to6, Bridget Pope, a child of 
singular beauty and very tall of her age — how could he 
be unhappy, when he heard their sweet voices ringing 
together ? 



54 RACHEL DT£R. 

Speak softly to Bridget Pope at such a time, or look 
at her with a look of love, and her quiet eyes \yould fillf 
and her childish heart would run oyer— *it would be im- 
possible to say why. But if you spoke sharply to her, 
when her head was at the little window, and her thoughts 
w«re away, nobody knew where, the poor little thing 
would grow pale and serious, and look at you with such 
a look of sorrow — and then go away and do what she 
was bid with a gravity that would go to your heart. And 
it would require a whole day after such a rebuke to re- 
store the dye of her sweet lips, or to persuade her that 
you were not half so angry as you might hare appeared. 
At every sound of your voice, at every step that came 
near, she would catch her breath, and start and look up, 
as if she expected something dreadful to happen. 

But as for Abigail Paris, the pretty little blue-eyed 
cousin of Bridget Pope, there was no dealing with her 
in that way. If you shook your finger at her, she would 
laugh in your face ; and if you did it with a grave air, 
ten to one but she made you laugh too. If you scolded 
her, she would scold you in return but always in such a 
way that you could not possibly be angry with her ; she 
would mimic your step with her little naked feet, or the 
toss of your head, or the very curb of your mouth per- 
haps, while you were trying to terrify her. The little 
wretch ! — everybody was tired to death of her in half an 
hour, and yet everybody was glad to see her again. 
Such was Abigail Paris, before Bridget Pope came to 
live in the house with her, but in the course of about half 
a year after that, sbe was so altered that her very play- 
fellows twitted her with being *« afeard o' Bridgee Pope.*' 
She began to be tidy in her dress, to comb her bright 
hair, to speak low, to keep her shoes on her feet, and 
Ker stockings from about her heels, and before a twelve- 



CHAPTER IV. 



Bridget Pope was of a tlioughtful serious turn — ^tbe 
little Abb/ tiie veriest romp that ever breathed. Bridg- 
et was the elder, by about a year aod a half, but she 
looked five years older than Abby^ and was ia every 
way a remarkable child. Her beauty was like her stat- 
ure, and both were above her age ; and her aptitude far 
learning was the talk of all that knew her. She was a 
favorite every where and with every body — she had such 
a sweet way with her, and was so unlike the other chil- 
dren of her age — so that when she appeared to merit 
reproof, as who will not in the heyday of innocent 
youth, it was quite impossible to reprove her, except 
with a mild voice, or a kind look, or a y^ry affectionate 
(vord or two. She would keep uway from her slate and 
book iiff whole days together, and sit for half an hour at 
a time without moving her eyes off the page, or turning 
away her head from the little window of their school- 
houses (a log-hut plastered with blue cli^y in stripes and 
patches, and lighted with horn, oiled-paper and isiu- 
. glass) which commanded a viewof Naumkeag,orSalem 
village, with a part of the original woods of North 
America— "huge trees that were found there oothe fiest 
arrival of the white man; crow/i^'l together and covered 
with moss and dropping to pieces of oldrage ; a meeting- 
liouse with a short wooden spire, and the figure uf death 
on the top fora weathercock, p multitude m^ cott^gjos 
tliat appearedto be lost in the laiids^ftpe) «iid a, brroad 
beautiful approach from the sea. 
5* 



54 RACHEL DT£R. 

Speak soflly to Bridget Pope at such a time, or look 
at her with a look of love, and her quiet eyes \youId fiUi 
and her childish heart would run oyer-^it would he im- 
possible to say why. But if you spoke sharply to her, 
when her head was at the little window, and her thoughts 
w«re away, nobody knew where, the poor httle thing 
would grow pale and serious, and look at you with such 
a look of sorrow — and then go away and do what she 
was bid with a gravity that would go to your heart. And 
it would require a whole day after such a rebuke to re- 
store the dye of her sweet lips, or to persuade her that 
you were not half so angry as you might have appeared. 
At every sound of your voice, at every step that came 
near, she would catch her breath, and start and look up, 
as if she expected something dreadful to happen. 

But as for Abigail Paris, the pretty little blue-eyed 
cousin of Bridget Pope, there was no dealing with her 
in that way. If you shook your finger at her, she would 
laugh in your face ; and if you did it with a grave air, 
ten to one but she made you laugh too. If you scolded 
her, she would scold you in return but always in such a 
way that you could not possibly be angry with her ; she 
would mimic your step with her little naked feet, or the 
toss of your head, or the very curb of your mouth per- 
haps, while you were trying to terrify her. The little 
wretch ! — everybody was tired to death of her in half an 
hour, and yet everybody was glad to see her again. 
Such was Abigail Paris, before Bridget Pope came to 
live m the house with her, but in the course of about half 
a year after that, she was so altered that her very play- 
fellows twitted her with being ** afeard o' Bridgee Pope.** 
She began to be tidy in her dress, to comb her bright 
hair, to speak low, to keep her shoes on her feet, and 
Ker stockings from about her lieeli, and before a twelve- 



RACHEL DTER. 55 

ttionth was over, she left off waHiiig in the mow, and 
grew very fond of her book. 

They were alwfiys together now, creeping about un- 
der the nk\ beach-trees, or huntinsr for hazle nutiv, or 
searching for suu-baked apples in the short thick grass, 
or feeding the fidh in the smooth clear sea — Bridget 
poring ovf^r a story that she had picked up, nobody 
knows where, and Abigail, whatever the story might be, 
and although the water might stand in her eyes at the 
time, always ready for a roll in the wet grass, a dip in 
the salt wave, or a slide from the very top of the hay- 
mow. They rambled about in the great woods together 
on tip-toe, holding their breath and saying their prayers 
at every step ; they lay down together and slept togeth- 
er on the rery track of the wolf, or the she-bear ; and if 
they heard a noise afar off, a howl or a war-whoop, 
they crept in among the flowers of the solitary spot and 
were safe, or hid themselves in the shadow of trees that 
were spread out over the whole sky, or of shrubbery that 
appeared to cover the whole earth — 

Where the wild grape hangs dropping in the shade, 
O'er unfledged miiistreJs that beneath are laid ; 

Where the scarlet barberry glittered among the sharp 
green leaves like threaded bunches of coral, —where at 
overy step the more brilaant ivory-plumbs or clustered 
bunch-berries rattled among the withered herbage and 
rolled about theit feet like a handful of beads, — where 
they delighted to go even while they were afraid to speak 
above a whisper, and kept fast hold of each other's 
hands, every step of the way. Such was their love, 
such their companionship, such their behaviour while 
•p pressed with fear. They were never apart for a day, 
till the time of our story ; they were together all 'lav nd 
all night, going to sleep together and waking up togeth- 



06 KACHEL DYER. 

er, feeding out of the same cup, and sleepiug in the aama 
bed, year after year. 

But just when the preacher was ready to believe that 
his Father above had not altogether deserted him — for 
he was ready to cry out with joy whenever he looked 
upon these dear children ; they were so good and so 
beautiful, and they loved each other so entirely ; just 
when there appeared to be no evil in his path, no shad* 
ow in his way to the grave, a most alarming change 
took place in their behavior to each other. He tried to 
iind out the cause, but they avoided all inquiry. He 
talked with them together, he talked with them apart, 
he tried erery means in his power to know the truth, 
but all to no purpose. They were afraid of each oth- 
er, and that was all that either would say. Both 
were full of mischief and appeared to be possessed with 
a new temper. They were noisy and spiteful toward 
each other, and toward every body else. They were 
continually hiding away from each other in holes and 
corners, and if they were pursued and plucked forth to 
the light, they were always found occupied with mischief 
above their ag«5. Instead of playing together as they 
were wont, or sitting together in pence, they would 
creep away under the tables and chairs and beds, and 
behave as if they were hunted by something which nobo- 
dy else could see ; and they would lie there by the hour, 
snapping and snarling at each other, and at everybody 
that passed near. They had no longer the look of 
health, or of childhood, or of innocence. They were 
meagre and pale, and their eyes were fiery, and their 
fingers were skinny and sharp, and they delighted in 
devilish tricks and in outcries yet more denliih. « They 
woulrl play by themselves in the dead of the night, and 
shriek with a preternatural voice, and wake everybody 
with strange laughter — a sort of smothered giggle, which 



RACHEL DYER. 57 

would appear to issue from the garret, or from the top 
of the house, while they were asleep, or pretending to 
be dead asleep in the great room below. Thej would 
break out all over in a fine sweat like the dew on a rose 
bush, and fall down as if they were struck to the heart 
with a knife, while they were on the way to meeting or 
school, or when the elders of the church were talking to 
them and every eye was fixed on their faces with pity 
or terror. They would grow pale a« death in a moment, 
and seem to hear voices in the wind, and shake as with 
an ague while standing before a great fire, and look 
about on every side with such a piteoaslook for children, 
whenever it thundered or lightened, or whenever the sea 
roared, that the eyes of all who saw them would fill 
with tears. They would creep away backwards from 
each other on their hands and feet, or hide their faces 
in.the lap of the female Indian Tituba, and if the preach- 
er spoke to them, they would fall into a stupor, and 
awake with fearful cries and appear instantly covered 
all over with marks and spots like those which are left 
by pinching or bruising the flesh. They would be struck 
dumb while repeating the Lord's prayer, and all their 
features would be distorted with a savage and hateful 
expression. 

The heads of the church were now called together, 
and a day of general fasting, humiliation and prayer 
was appointed, and after that, the best medical men of 
the whole country were consulted, the pious and the 
gifted, the interpreters of dreams, the soothsayers, and 
the prophets of the Lord, every man pf power, and every 
woman of power, — but no relief was had, no cure, no 
hope of cure. 

Matthew Paris now began to be afraid of his own 
child. She was no longer the hope of his heart, the joy 
of his old age, the live miniature of his buried wife. She 



08 RACHEL DYER. 

was an evil thing — she was what he had no courage to 
think of, as he covered his old face and tore his white 
hair with a grief that would not he rehuked nor appeased. 
A new fear fell upon him, and his knees smote together, 
and the hair of his flesh rose, and he 8aw a spirit, and 
the spirit said to him look ! And he looked, and lo ! the 
truth appeared to him ; for he saw neighbour after 
neighbour flying from his path, and all the heads of the 
church keeping aloof and whispering together in alow 
voice. Then knew he that Bridget Pope and Abigail 
Paris were bewitched. 

A week passed over, a whole week, and everj daj and 
every hour they grew worse and worse, and the soJitode 
in which he lived, more dreadful to him; but just when 
there appeared to be no hope lefl, no chance for escape, 
just whsn he and the few that were still courageous 
enough to speak with him, were beginning to despair, 
and to wish for the speedy death of the little sufferers, 
dear as they had been but a few weeks before to' every- 
body that knew them, a discovery was made which tbrev 
the whole country into a new paroxysm of terror. The 
savages who had been for a great while in the habit of 
going to the house of the preacher to eat and sleep *' with- 
out money and without price," were now seen to keep 
aloof and to bo more than usually grave ; and yet when 
they were told'of the children's behaviour, they showed 
no sort of surprise, but shook their heads with a smile, 
and went their way, very much as if they were prepared 
for it. 

When the preacher heard this, he called up the two 
Indians before him, and spoke to Tituha and prayed to 
know why her people who for years had been in the habit 
of lying before his hearth, and eating at his table, and 
coming in and going out of bis habitation at all hours of 



EAOHEL DYEU. ou 

the day and ni^it, were bo longer seen to appro&ch bis 
door. 

" Tituppa no say — Tituppa no know," the replied. 

But as she replied, the preacher saw her make a sign 
to Peter Wawpee, her Sagamore, who began to show 
his teeth as if he knew something more than he chose to 
tell ; but before the prea9her could rebuke him as he de- 
served, or pursue the inquiry viith Tituba, his daughter 
screamed out and fell upon her face and lay for a long 
while as if she were death-struck. 

The preacher now bethought him of a new course, and 
after watching Tituba and Wawpee for several nights, 
became satisfied fn)m what he saw, that she was a wo- 
man of diabolical power. A part of what he saw, he 
was afraid even to speak of; but he declared on oath be- 
fore the judges, that he had seen sights, and heard nc.ises 
that took away his bodily strength, his hearing and his 
breath for a time; that for nearly five weeks no one of her 
tribe, nor of Wawpee's tribe had slept upon his hearth, or 
eaten of his bread, or lifted the latch of his door either 
by night or by day ; that notwithstandmg this, the \ery 
night before, as he went by the grave-yard where his 
poor wife lay, he heard the whispering of a multitude ; 
that having no fear in such a place, he made a search ; 
and that after a long while he found his help Tituba con- 
cealed in the bushes, that he said nothing but went his 
way, satisfied in his own soul however that the voices he 
heard were the voices of her tribe ; and that after the 
moon rose he saw her employed with a great black 
Shadow on the rock of death, where as every body koeiv^ 
sacrifices had been offered up in other days by another 
people to the god of the Pagan — the deity of the savage 
— employed in a way that made him shiver with fVf^ht 
where he stood ; for between her and the huge black 
shadow tkera lay what he knew to be the dead body of 



60 RACHEL DYEfH 

his own dear child stretched out under the awfal trees — 
her image rather, for she was at home and abed and 
asleep at the time. He would have spoken to it if he 
could — for he saw what he believed to be the shape of 
his wife ; he would have screamed for help if he coald, 
but he could not get his breath, and that was the last he 
knew ; for when he came to himself he was lying in his 
own bed, and Tituba was sitting by his side with a cup 
of broih in her hand which he took care to throw away 
the moment her back was turned ; for she was a crea- 
ture of extraordinary art, and would have persui^ded him 
that he had never been out of his bed for the whole day. 
The judges immediately issued a warrant for Tituba 
and Wawpee, both of whom were hurried off to jail, and 
after a few days of proper inquiry, by torture, she was 
put upon trial for witchcrafl. Being sorely pressed by 
the word of the preacher and by the testimony of Bridget 
Pope and Abigail Paris, who with two more afflicted 
children (for the mischief had spread now in every quar- 
ter) charged her and Sarah Good with appearing to 
them at all hours, and in all places, by day and by night, 
when they were awake and when they were asleep, and 
with tormenting their flesh. Tituba pleaded guilty mud 
confessed before the judges and the people that the poor 
children spoke true, that she was indeed a witch, and 
that, with several of her sister witches of great power — 
among whom was mother Good, a miserable woman who 
lived a great way off, nobody knew where — and pass- 
ed tl.e greater part of her time by the sea-side, nobody 
knew how, she had been persuaded by the black man to 
pursue and worry and vex them. But the words were 
hardly, out of her mouth before she herself was taken 
with a fit, which lasted so long that the judges believed 
her to be dead. She was lifted iifv nnd carried out into 
the air ; but though she recovered her speech and htt 



-z^H 



RACHEL DYER. 61 

strength in a little time> she was altered in her looks 
from that day to the day of her death. 

But as to mother Good, when they brought her up for 
trial, she would neither confess to the charge nor pray 
the court for mercy ; but she stood up and mocked 
the jury and the people, and reproved the judges for 
hearkening to a body of accusers who were collected 
from all parts of the country, were of all ages, and swore 
to facts, which if they ever occurred at all, had occurred 
years and years before — facts which it would have been 
impossible for her to contradict, even though they had 
all been, as a large part of them obviously were, the 
growth of mistake or of superstitious dread. Her be- 
havior was full of courage during the trial ; and after 
the trial was over, and up to the last hour and last 
breath of her life, it was the same. 

You are a liar ! said she to a man who called her 
a witch to her teeth, and would have persuaded her to 
confess and live. You are a liar, as God is my judge, 
Mike ! I am no more a witch than you are a wizard, 
and you know it Mike, though you be so glib at prayer ; 
and if you take away my life, I tell you now that you 
and yours, and the people here, and the judges and the 
elders who are now thirsting for my blood shall rue the 
work of this day, forever and ever, in sackcloth and ash- 
es ; and I tell you further as Elizabeth Hutchinson told 
you. Ah ha ! . . . k . how do you like the sound' of that 
name. Judges ? You begin to he afraid 1 see ; you are 
all quiet enough now ! . . . . But I say to you neverthe- 
less, and I say to you here, even here, with my last 
breath, as Mary Dyer said to you with her last breath, 
and as poor Elizabeth Hutchinson said to you with 
hers, if you take away my life, the wrath of God shall 
pursue you !— you and yours !^-forever and ever ! Ye 

6 



6f RACHEL Dt£R. 

are wise men that I see, and mighty in faith, and ye 
should be able with such faith to make the deep boil like 
a pot, as they swore to you I did, to remove mountains, 
yea to Shake the whole earth by a word — mighty in faith 
or how could you have swallowed the story of that 
knife-blade, or the story of the sheet ? Very wise are 
you, and holy and fixed in your faith, or how couM you 
have borne with the speech of that bold mah, who ap- 
peared to you in court, and stood face to face before 
you^ when you believed him to be afar off, or lying at 
the bottom of the sea, and would not suffer you to take 
away the life even of such a poor unhappy old creature 
as I am, without reproving you as if he had authority 
from the Judge of judges and the King of kings to stay 
yoii in your faith ! 

Poor soul but I do pity thee ! whispered a man 
who 8t6'6d near with a coiled rope in one hand and a 
drawn sword in the other. It was the high-sheriff. 

Her eyes filled and her voice faltered for the first 
time, when she heard this, and she put forth her hand 
with a smile, and assisted him in preparing the rope, 
saying as the cart stopped under the large beam. Poor 
sou! indeed ! — You are too soft-hearted for your ofiice, 
and of the two, you are more to be pitied than the poor 
old woman you are a-going to choke. 

Mighty in faith she continued, as the high-sheriff 
drew forth a watch and held it up for her to see that she 
had but a few momeftts to live. I address myself to 
ybu, ye Judges of Israel ! and to you ye teachers of 
truth ! Believe ye that ai mortal woman of my age, with 
a tope abbut her neck, hath power to prophesy f If ye 
'do,' give ear to my speech and remember my words. For 
death, Jre shdl have death ! For blood, ye shall hvfe 
Uood-^^obtt on the earth ! Mood in the sky ! blood m 



RACHEL DTEK. 69 

the waters ! Ye shall drink blood and breathe blood, 
you and yours, for the work of this day ! 

Womau, woman! we pray thee to forbear! eried 
a voice from afar off. 

I shall not forbear, Cotton Mather-*— it is youjr voice 
that I hear. But for you and such as you, miserable 
men that ye are, we should now be happy and at peace- 
one with another. I shall not forbear— why should 1 1 
What have I done that I may not speak to the few that 
love roe before we are parted by death ? 

Be prepared woman — if you will die, for the clock 
is about to strike said another voice. 

Be prepared, sayest thou 1 William Phips, for I 
know the sound of thy voice top, thou hard-hearted mis- 
erable man ! Be prepared, sayest thou 1 Behold 

stretchingr forth her arms to the sky, and lifting herself 
up and speaking so that she was heard of the people on 
the house-tops afar off, Lo ! I am ready ! Be ye . also 
ready, for now ! — now ! — eyen while I speak to you, he 
is preparing to reward both my accusers and my judg- 
es . 

He!— who! 

Who, brother Joseph ? said somebody in the 
crowd. 

Why the Father of lies to be sure ! what a question 
for you to ask, after having been of the jury ! 

Thou scoffer 1 — 

Paul ! Paul, beware ! — 

Hark — what's that ! Lord have mercy upon us ! 

The Lord have mercy upon us ! cried the people, 
giving way on every side, without knowing why, and 
looking toward the high-sea, and holding their breath. 

Pho, pho, said the scoffer, a grey-haired man 
who stood leaning over his crutch with eyes full of pity 



64 RACHEL DYER. 

and sorrow, pho, pho, the noise that you hear is only the 
noise of the tide. 

Nay, nay. Elder Smith, nay, nay, said an associate of 
the speaker. If it is only the noise of the tide, why have 
we not heard it before ? and why do we not hear it now 7 
just now, when the witch is about to be — 

True . . . true .... it may not be the Evil one, after all. 

The Evil one, Joe Libby ! No, no ! it is God him- 
self, our Father above! cried the witch, with a loud 
voice, waving her arms upward, and fixing her eye upon 
a group of two or three individuals who stood aloof, dec- 
orated with the badges of authority. Our Father above, 
I say ! The Governor of governors, and the Judge of 
judges ! . . . The cart began to move here . . , He will re- 
ward you for the work of this day ! He will refresh you 
with blood for it ! and you too Jerry Pope, and you too 
Micajah Noyes, and you too Job Smith, and you .... 
and you .... and you .... 

Yea of a truth ! cried a woman who stood apart from 
the people with her hands locked and her eyes fixed up- 
on the chief-judge. It was Rachel Dyer, the grand- 
child of Mary Dyer. Yea of a truth I for the Lord will 
not hold him guiltless that spilleth his brother's blood, or 
taketh his sister's life by the law — and her speech was 
followed by a shriek from every hill-top and every house- 
top, and from every tree and every rock within sight of 
the place, and the cart moved away, and the body of the 
poor old creature swung to and fro in the convulsions of 
death. 




CHAPTER y. 



It is not a little remarkable that withia a few dayi af- 
ter the death of Sarah Good» a part of her pretended 
prophecy, that which was directed by her to the man 
who called her a witch at the place of death, was yeri- 
fled upon him, letter by letter, as it were. 

He was way-laid by a party of the Mohawks, and car- 
ried off to answer to the tribe for having reported of 
them that they ate the flesh of their captives. — ^It woul4 
appear that he had lived among them in his youth, and 
that he was perfectly acquainted with their habits and 
opinions and with their, mode of warfare ; that he had 
been well treated by their chief, who let him go free at 
a time when he might lawfully have been put to death, 
according to the usages of the tribe, and that he could 
not possibly be mistaken about their eating the flesh of 
their prisoners. It would appear too, that he had been 
watched. for, a long while before he. was carried off; that 
his path had been beset hour after hour, and week after 
week, by three young warriors of the tribe, who might 
have 9hot him down, over and over again if they would, 
en the step of his oiwn door, in the heart of a populous 
village^but they wojild qot ; for they h^A sworn to trap 
their pray alive,.and to bring it off with th^hide and the 
hair on ; ^bat after they had carried bm to the territory 
of the Mohawks, they put him on trial fpr the Qharge 
£ace toDiJi^e with a ^ed.^^puser ; tit^at they fqtfiad him 

^HtjrMA that, ^ith 4[t#(er.l#ttgh|.th!»7^der9d^hw to 
6* 



66 RACHEL DYER. 

eat of the flesh of a dead man that lay bleeding on the 
earth before him ; that he looked up and saw the old 
chief who had been his father when he belonged to the 
tribe, and that hoping to appease the haughty savage, 
he took some of the detestable food into his mouth, and 
that instantly — instantly^-beforo he could utter a prayer, 
they fell upoR him with clubs and beat him to death. 

Her prophecy therefore did appear to the people to 
be accomplished ; for had she not said to this very man, 
that for the work of that day, " He should breathe blood 
and eat blood ?" 

Before a week had passed over, the story of death, 
and the speech of the prophetess took a new shape, and 
a variety of circumstances which occurred at the trial, 
and which were disregarded at the time, were now 
thought of by the very judges of the land with a secret 
awe ; circumstances that are now to be detailed, for they 
were the true cause of what will not be forgotten for 
ages in thai part of the world.. ..the catastrophe of our 
«tory. 

At the trial of Sarah Good, while her face was turned 
away from her accuser, one of the afflicted gave a loud 
scream, and gasping for breath, fell upon the floor at 
the feet of the judges, and lay there as if she had been 
struck down by the weight of no mortal arm ; and being 
lifted up, she ' swore that she had been stabbed with a 
knife by the shape of Sarah Good, while Sarah Good 
herself was pretending to be at prayer, on the other side 
of the house; and for proof, she put her hand into her 
bosom and drew forth the blade of a penknife which was 
bloody, and which upon her oath, she declared to have 
been left sticking in her flesh a moment before, by the 
shape of Sarah Good. 

The Judges were thunderstruck. T|ie people were 
ttiute with terror, and the wretched woman herself cor- 



RACHEL DYER. 67 

ered her face with her hands ; for she knew that if she 
looked upon the sufferers, they would shriek out, and 
foam at the mouth, and go into fits, and He as if they 
were dead for a while ; and that she would be coramand- 
ded by the judges to go up to them and lay her handi 
upon their bodies without speaking or looking at them, 
9nd that on her doing so, they would he sure to revive, 
and start up, and speak of what they had seen or nuf- 
fered while they were in what they called their agony. 

The jury were already on their way out for consulta- 
tion — they could not agree, it appeared ; but when they 
saw this, they stopped at the door, and came back one 
by one to t1ie jury box, and stood looking at each other, 
and at the judges, and at the poor old woman, as if they 
no longer thought it necessary to withdraw even for 
form sake, afraid as they all were of doing that, in a case 
of life and death, for which they might one day or other 
be sorry. A shadow was upon every visage of the twelve 
— the shadow of death ; a look in the eyes of everybody 
there, a gravity and a paleness, which when the poor 
prisoner saw, she started up with a low cry — a cry of 
reproach — aery of despair — and stood with her hands 
locked, and her mouth quivering, and her lips apart be- 
fore God — lips wiute with fear, though not with the 
fear of death ; and looked about her on every side, ias if 
she had no longer a hope left — no hope from the jury, no 
hope from the multitude ; nay as if while she had no 
longer a hope, she had no longer a desire to live. 

There was a dead preternatural quiet in the house — 
not a breath could be heard now, not a breath nor a mur- 
mur ; and lo I the aged foreman of the jury stood forth 
and laid his hands upon the Book of ^he Law, and lifted 
up his eyes and prepared to utter the verdict of death ; 
l^ut before be could speak so as to be heard, for his 



RACHEL DYER. bO 

white hair blowing about your agitated mouth and your 
dim eyes, are you able to see your way clear, that you 
have the courage to pronounce a verdict of death on your 
aged sister who stands there ! And you Jo8h Carter, se- 
nior ! and you major Zach Trip ! and you Job Salton- 
stall ! Who are ye and what are ye, men of war, that ye 
are able to see spirits, or that ye should become what ye 
are — the judsfesof our afflicted people ! And who are we, 
and what were our fathers, I beseech you, that we should 
be base enough to abide upon earth but by yoiir leave ! 

The judges looked at each otiier in consternation. 

Who is it ! ... . who is it ! cried the people as they 
rushed forward and gathered about him and tried to get 
a sight of his face. W^io can it bo ! 

Burroughs — Bur — Bur — Burroughs, I do believe ! 
whispered a man who stood at his elbow, hut he spoke 
as if he did not feel very sure of what he said. 

Not George Burroughs, hoy ? ' 

I'd take my oaih of it neighbour Joe, my Bible-oath 
of it, leaning forward as far as he could reach with safe- 
ty, and shading his eyes with his large bony hand — 

Well, I do say ! whispered another. 

I see the scar ! — as I hve, I do ! cried another, peering 
over the heads of the multitude, as they rocked to the 
heavy pressure of the intruder. 

But how altered he is ! .... and how old he looks ! . . .**. 
— and shorter than ever ! muttered several more. 

Silence there ! cried the chief judge — a militia-cap- 
tain, it is to be observed,^ and of course not altogether so 
lawyer-like as a judge of our day would be. 

Silence there ! echoed the High Sheriff. 

Never see nobody so ahered afore, continued one of 
the crowd, with his eye fixed on the judge — I will suy 
that much, afore f stop, Mr. She riff Berry, an' (dropping 



70 RACHEL DYER. 

his voice) if you dontlike it, you may lump it ... . y»h9 
cares for you ? 

Weli^-aa' who cares for you, if you come to that. 

0£$cer of the court, how now ! cried the chief judge 
in a very loud sharp voice. 

Here I be mister judge — I ain*t deef* 

Take that man away. 

I say .... you ! cried the High-Sheriff, getting up and 
fetchinji; the man a rap over the head with his white-oak 
staff .... do you hear that 1 

Hear what ? 

What Mr. judge Sewall says . 

I don't care for Mr. judge Sewall, nor you nyther. 

Away with him Sir ! out with him ! are we to suffer 
this outrage on the dignity of the court .... ia the House 
of the Lord — away with him. Sir. 

Here's the devil to pay and no pitch hot — whispered 
a sailor-looking fellow, in a red baize shirt. 

An' there's thirteen-pence for you to pay, Mr. Out- 
landishman, said a little neighbour, whose duty it was 
to watch for offenders in a small way, and fine them for 
swearing, drinking, or kissing their wives on the sabbath 
day. 

What for ? 

Why, for that air oath o'yourn. 

What oath ? 

Why, you said here's the devil to pay ! 

Ha — ^ha — ha— and there's thirteen-pencc for yoii to 
pay. 

You be darned ! 

An' there's thirteen-pence more for you, my lad — ha 
— ha — ha — 

The officer now drew near the individual he was or^ 
dered to remove ; but he did so as if a little afraid of his 




RACHEL DFER. 71 

man — who stood up face to face with the judge, and 
planted his foot as if he knew of no power on earth able 
to move him, declaring he would'nt budge a peg, now 
they'd come to that; for the house they were in bad been 
paid for out of the people's money, and he'd as much 
right there as they had ; but havin' said what he had to 
say on the subject, and bein' pooty considr'ble easy on 
that score now, if they'd mind their business he'd mind 
his ; and if they^d behave, he would. ^ 

Yery well, said the chief judge, who knew the man to 
be a soldier of tried bravery. Very well ! yon may stay 
where you are ; I thought we should bring you to your 
senses, neighbour Joe. 

Here the stranger broke away from the crowd and 
leaped upon the platform, and setting his teeth and smi- 
ting the floor with a heavy iron-shod staff, he asked the 
jndges why fhey did not enforce the order ? why with 
courage to take away life, they had no cotkrage to de- 
fend their authority. How dare ye forgive this man ! 
daid he ; how dare you bandy words with such a fel- 
low 1 What if you have been to the war with him ? Have 
ye not become the judges of the land 1 With hardihood 
enough to undertake the awful representation of majes- 
ty, have ye not enough to secure that majesty from out- 
rage 1 

We know our own duty sir. 

No such thing sir ! you do not — if you do, it shall be 
the worse for you. You are afraid of that man- 
Afraid sir !-^Who are you ! 

Yes — you are afraid of that man. If you are not, why 
allow him to disturb the gravity of such an hour as this? 
Know your own power — Bid the High-sheriff take him 
into custody. 

A laugh here from the sturdy yeoman, who having paid 
his quota for building the house^ and fought his share of 



iTia. 



7« RACHEL DYER. 

the fight with the Indiaos, felt as free as the best of 
them. 

Speak but the word. Sirs, and I uill do what I see 
your officer hath not valor enough to do. Speak but the 
word, Sirs ! nod I that know your power, will i)bey it» 
(upUftin:^ the staff as he spoke, while the fire dashed 
from his eyes, and the crowd gave way on every side as 
if it were the tomahawk or the bow of a savage) — speak 
but the word I bay ! and I will strike him to the earth ! 

George Burroughs — I pray thee ! said a female, who 
sat in a dark part of the house with her head so mufiled 
up that nobody could see lier face — I pray thee, George ! 
do not strike thy brother in wrath. 

Speak but the word I say, and lo ! I will stretch him 
at your feet, if he refuse to obey me, whatever may be 
the peril to me or mine. 

I should like to see you do it, said the man. I care 
as little for you, my boy, — throwing off his outer-garb as 
he spoke, and preparing for a trial of strength on the 
spot — as little for you, George Burroughs, if that is joar 
name, as I do for your master. 

Will you not speak 1 You see how afraid of him 
they all are, judges ; you know how long he has braTed 
your authority — being a soldier forsooth. Speak, if ye 
are .wise ; for if ye do not— 

George ! George !....No, no, George ! said somebody 
at his elbow, with a timid voice, that appeared to belong 
to a child. 

The uplifted staff dropped from his hand. 



CHAPTER YI. 



Here the venerable Increase Mather stood up, and 
af^er a short speech to the people and a few words to the 
court, he begged to know if the individual he saw before 
him was indeed the George Burroughs who had former- 
ly been a servant of God. 

Formerly, sir ! I am so now, I hope. 

The other sat down, with a look of inquietude. You 
appear to be much perplexed about me. You appear 
even to doubt the truth of what I say. Surely....8ure]y 
••••there are some here that know me. I know you, 
Doctor Mather, and you, Sir William Phips, and you.... 
and you....aiid you; addresssing himself to many that 
stood near — ^it is but the other day that we were associa* 
ted together ; and some of us in the church, and others 
in the ministry; it is but the other day that — 

Here the Judges began to whisper together. 

— That you knew me as well as I knew you. Can I 
be 80 changed in a few short years 1 They have been 
years of sorrow to be sure, of uninterrupted sorrow, of 
trial and suffering, warfare and wo ; but I did not sup- 
pose they had so changed me, as to make it over-hard 
for my very brothers in the church to know me — 

It is Burroughs, I do believe, said another of the 
judges. — But who is that boy with you, and by what 
authority are you abroad again, or alive, I might say, 
if you are the George Burroughs that we knew 1 

By what authority, Judges of Israd ! By autbority 



74 RACHEL DTER. 

of the Strong Man who broke loose when the spirit of 
the Lord was upon him ! By authority of one that hath 
plucked me up out of the sea, by the hair of my head, 
breathed into my nostrils the breath of new life, and en- 
dowed me with great power — 

The people drew back. 

You have betrayed me ; I will be a hostage for you 
no longer. 

Betrayed you ! 

Yes! and ye would have betrayed me to death, if I 
had not been prepared for your treachery — 

The man is mad, brother Sewall. 

You have broken the treaty I stood pledged for ; yoa 
have not been at peace for a day. ' You do not keep 
your faith. We do keep ours. You are churchmen...^ 
we are savages ; we I say, for you made me ashamed 
years and years ago of my relationship to the white 
man ; years and years ago ! and you are now in a fair 
way to make me the mortal and perpetual foe of the 
white man. The brave Iroquois are now ready for ba^> 
tie with you. War they find to be better than peace 
with such as you-|- 

Who is that boy 7 

Ask him« Behold his beauty. Set him face to faee, 
if you dare, with the girl that spoke to the knife juat 
now. 

And wherefore 7 said one of the jury. 
Wherefore, Jacob Elliot — wherefore ! Stay yoa in 
that box, and watch the boy, and hear what he has to 
say, and you shall be satisfied of the wherefore. . 
Be quick Sir. We have no time to lose — 
No time to lose — How dare ye ! Is there indeed 
such power with you ; such mighty power....and you not 
afraid in the exercise of it ! No time to lose ! Here- 
after, when you are upon your death-bed, when every 



RACHEL DYER. 75 

moment of jour life is numbered as every moment of 
her life is iiow....the poor creature that stands there, 
what will you saj if the words of that very speech ring 
in your ears ? Believe me — there is no such hurry. It 
will be time enough to-morrow, judges, a week hence or 
a whole year to shed the blood of ' a miserable woman 
for witchcraft. For witchcraft ! alas for the credulity ^ 
of man 1 alas for the very nature of man ! 

Master Burroughs ! murmured a compassionate-look- 
ing old man, reaching over to lay his hand on his arm, 
as if to stop him, and shaking his head as he spoke. 

Oh but I do pity you ; sages though you are — contin- 
ued Burroughs, without regarding the interposition. — 
For witchcraft 1 I wonder how you are able to keep 
your countenances ! Do you not perceive that mother 
Good, as they call her, cannot be a witch 1 

How so ? asked the judge. 

Would she abide your seareh, your trial, your judg- , 
ment, if she had power to escape ? 

Assuredly not brother, answered a man, who rose up 
as be spoke as if ready to dispute before the people, if 
permitted by the judges . • . . assuredly not, brother, if 
«he had power to escape. We agree with you there. 
But we know that a period must arrive when the power 
that is paid for with the soul, the power of witchcraft 
and sorcery shall be withdrawn. We read of this and 
we believe it ; and I might say that we see the proof 
now before us — 

Brother, I marvel at you — 

— If thi woman be unexpectedly deserted by the 
Father of lies, and if we pursue our advantage now, we 
may be able both to succeed with her and overthrow him, 
and thereby (lowering his voice and stooping toward 
Burroughs) and thereby deter a multitude more from 
entering into the league of death. 



76 RACHEL DYER. 

Speak low • . . • lower— much lower^ deacon Darbj, 
or we shall be no match for the Father of lies : If he 
should happen to overhear you, the game is up, said 
another. 

For shame, Elder Smith — 

For shame ! cried Barroughs. Why rebuke his levi* 
ty, when if we are to put faith in what you say, ye are 
preparing to over-reach the Evil One himself 1 Tou 
must play a sure game, (for it is a game) if you hope to 
convict him of treachery in a cascf where according to 
what you believe, his character is at stake. 

Brother Burroughs ! 

Brother Willard ! 

Forbear, I beseech you. 

I shall not forbear. If the woman is a witch, how do 
you hope to surprise her ? • • . . to entrap her / • • • • to 
convict her ? And if she is not a witch, how can she 
hope to go free 1 None but a witch could escape jour 
toils. 

Ah Sir ... . Sir ! O, Mr. Burroughs ! cried the poor 
woman. There you have spoken the truth sir ; there 
you have said just what I wanted to say. I knew it ... . 
I felt it • ... I knew that if I was guilty it would be bet- 
ter for me, than to be what you know me to be, and whet 
your dead wife knew me to be, and both of your dead 
wives, for I knew them both — a broken-hearted poor 
old woman. God forever bless you Sir ! whatever may 
become of me — however this may end, God forever 
bless you, 'Sir ! 

Be of good faith Sarah. He whom you serve will be 
nigh to you and deliver you. 

Oh Sir — Sir — Do not talk so. They misunderstand 
you —they are whispering together — it will be the death 
of me ; and hereafter, it may perhaps be a trouble to 
you. Speak out, I beseech you ! Say to them whom it 



RACHEL DYER. 77 

18 that you mean, whom it is that I serve, and who it is 
that will be nigh to me and deliver me. 

Who it is, poor heart ! why whom should it be but 
our Father above ! our Lord and our God, Sarah 1 
Have thou courage, and be of good cheer, and put all 
thy trust in him, for he hath power to deliver thee. 

I have — ^I do— I am no longer afraid of death sir. 
If they put me to death now — I do not wish to live — I 
am tired and sick of life, and I have been so ever since 
dear boy and his poor father — I told them how it would 
be if they went away when the moon was at the full — 
they were shipwrecked on the shore just underneath the 
window of my chamber — if they put me to death 
now, I shall die satisfied, for I shall not go to my grave 
now, as I thought I should before you came, without a 
word or a look of pity, nor any thing to make me com- 
fortable. 

Judges — may the boy speak 1 

Speak 1 speak 1 to be sure he may, muttered old Mr. 
Wait Winthrop, addressing himself to a preacher who 
sBt near with a large Bible outspread upon his knees. 
What say you 1 what say you Brother Willard, what 
says the Book ? — no harm there, I hope ; what can he 
have to say though, (wiping his eyes) what can such a 
lad have to say ? What say you major Gidney ; what 
say you — (half sobbing) dreadful affair this, dreadful 
affair ; what can he possibly have to say ? 

Not much, I am afraid, replied Burroughs, not very 
much ; but enough I hope and believe, to shake your 
trust in the chief accuser. Robert Eveleth — here^ — ^this 
way — shall the boy be sworn. Sir ? 

Sworn — sworn 1 — ^to be sure — why not 1 very odd 
though — very — very — swear the boy — very odd, I con- 
fess — never saw a likelier boy of his age — how old is he 1 

Thirteen Sir— 

7* 



78 RACHEL Dirfitt. 

Very — Tery*— of his height, I should sajr-^what tM 
he know of the matter though ? what can such a boj 
know of— of — however — we shall see — is the boy swomT 
— there, there — 

The boy stepped forth as the kind-hearted old man- 
too kind-hearted for a judge — concluded his perplexing 
soliloquy, one part of which was given out with a very 
decided air, while another was uttered with a look of 
pitiable indecision^^stepped forth and lifted up his right 
hand according to the law of that people, with his large 
grey eyes lighted up and his fine yellow hair blowing 
about his head like a glory, and swore by the Everlasting 
God, the Searcher of Hearts, to speak the truth. 

Every eye was riveted upon him, for he stood high 
upon a sort of stage, in full view of everybody, and faee 
to face to ail who had sworn to the spectre4inife, and 
his beauty was terrible. 

Stand back, stand back .... what does that child do 
there 1 said another of the judges, pointing to a poor 
little creature with a pale anxious face and very black 
hair, who had crept close up to the side of Robert Eve- 
leth, and sat there with her eyes lifted to his, and her 
sweet lips apart, as if she were holding her breath. 

Why, what are you afeard of now, Bridgee Pope ? said 
another voice. Get away from the boy's feet, will you 
.... why don't you move ? .... do you hear me t 

No .... I do not. she replied. 

Yim do not ! what did yon answer me for, if you didn't 
hear ne ? 

"Why .... why .... don't you see the poor litda 
thing's bewitched ? whispered a bystander. 

Very true .... very true .... let her be, therefore, let 
her stay where she is. 

Poor babe ! she don't hear a word you say. 

O, but she dooze, though, said the boy, stooping down 



RACHEL DYER. 79 

and smoothing her thick hair with both hands ; I know 
her of old, I know her better than you do ; she hears 
every word you say .... don't you be afeard, Bridgee 
Pope ; rm not a goin* to be afeard of the Old Boy him- 
self . ... 

Why Robert Eveleth ! was the reply. 

Well, Robert Eveleth, what have you to say ? asked 
the chief-judge. 

The boy stood up in reply, and threw back his head 
with a brave air, and set his foot, and fixed his eye on 
the judge, and related what he knew of the knife. He 
had broken it a few days before, he said^ while he and 
the witness were playing together ; he threw away a part 
of the blade, which he saw her pick up, and when he 
asked her what she wanted of it, she wouldn't say .... 
but he knew her well, and being jest outside o' the door 
when he heard her screech, and saw her pull a piece of 
the broken blade out of her flesh and hold it up to the 
jury, and say how the shape of old mother Good, who 
was oTer tother side o' the house at the time, had stab- 
bed her with it, he guessed how the judge would like to 
see the tother part o' the knife, and hear what he had to 
say for himself, but he couldn't get near enough to speak 
to nobody, and so he thought he'd run off to the schoel- 
house, where he had left the handle o' the knife, an' try 
to get a mouthful o' fresh air ; and so ... . and so • • • • 
arter heM got the handle, sure enough, who should he 
see but that are man there (pointing to Burroughs) 
fltavin' away on a great black horse with a club — that 
very club he had now. — " Whereupon," added the boy, 
*^ here's tother part o' the knife, judge — ^I say . • . • you 
.... Mr. judge .... here's tother part o' the knife .... 
an' so he stopped me an' axed me where the plague I 
was runnin to ; an' so I up an' tells him all I know about 
the knife, an' so, an' so, an' so, that air feller, what 



86 KACHEL DYER. 

dooze he do, but he jounces me up on that air plaguj 
crupper and fetches me back here full split, you see, and 
rides over everything, and makes everybody get out o* 
the way, an' will make me tell the story whether or no 
.... and as for the knife now, if you put them are two 
pieces together, you'll see how they match • . . . O, you 
needn't be makin' mouths at me, Anne Putnam ! nor you 
nyther, Marey Lewis I you are no great shakes, nyther 
dn you, and I ain't afeard o' nyther on you, though the 
grown people be ; you wont make me out a witch in a 
hurry, I guess. 

Boy .... boy «... how came you by that knife ! 

How came I by that knife 1 Ax Bridgy Pope ; she 
knows the knife well enough, too — I guess — don't you, 
Bridgy 1 

I guess I do, Robert Eveleth, whispered the child, the 
tears running down her cheeks, and every breath a sob. 

You've seen it afore, may be 1 

That I have, Robert Eveleth ; but I never expected t* 
see .... to see .... to see it again •• ^ . alive .... nor yon 
neither. 

And why not, pray ? said one of the judges. 

Why not, Mr. Major ! why, ye see 'tis a bit of a keep- 
sake she gin me, jest afore we started off on that are 
vyage arter the goold. 

The voyage when they were all cast away, sir ... . 
after they'd fished up the gold, sir ... . 

Ah, but the goold was safe then, Bridgy — 

But I knew how 'twould be Sir, said the poor girl 
turning to the judge with a convulsive sob, and pushing 
away the hair from her face and trying to get up, I nev- 
er expected to see Robert Eveleth again Sir — I said so 
too— nor the knife either — I said so before they went 
away . 



BACHEL DYER. 81 

So she did Mr. Judge, that's a fact ; she told me so 
down by the beach there, just by that big tree that 
grows over the top oHhe new school-house there — ^You 
know the one I mean — that one what hangs over the 
edge o'the hill just as if 'twas a-goin' to fall into the wa- 
ter — she heard poor mother Good say as much when 
her Billy would go to sea whether or no, at the full o'the 
moon . 

Ah! 

That she did, long afore we got the ship off. 

Possible ! 

Ay, to be sure an' why not t — She had a bit of a 
dream ye see — such a dream too! such a 'beautiful 
dream you never heard — about the lumps of goold, and 
the joes, and the jewels, and the women o'the sea, and 
about a — ^I say, Mr. Judge, what if you ax her to tell it 
over now — I dare say she would ; would'n't you Brid- 
gy 1 You know it all now, don't you Bridgy 1 

No, no Robert— no, no ; it's all gone out o^my head 
now. 

No matter for the dream, boy, said a judge who was 
comparing the parts of the blade together — no matter 
for the dream — these are undoubtedly — look here broth- 
er, look — ^look— most undoubtedly parts of the same 
blade. 

Of a truth 1 

Of a truth, say you 1 

Yea verily, of a truth ; pass the knife there — pass the 
knife. Be of good cheer woman of sorrow — -. 

Brother ! brother ! . 

Well brother, what's to pay now 1 

Perhaps it may be well hrother—perhctps I say, to 
have the judgment of the whole court before we bid the 
prisoner be of good cheer. 

How wonderful are thy ways, O Lord ! whispered 



8£ RACHEL DTER. 

Elder Smith, as thej took the parts of the blade for bin 
to look at. 

Very tme brother — ^rery true — ^but who knows how 
the affair may turn oat after all 7 

Pooh — pooh ! — if you talk in that way the affair is 
all up; for whatever should happen, you would be- 
lieve it a trick of the father of lies — I dare say now — . 

The knife speaks for itself, said a judge. 

Very true brother — very true. But he who had pow- 
er to strive with Aaron the High Priest, and power to 
raise the dead before Saul, and power to work prodi- 
gies of old, may not lack power to do this — and more» 
much more than this — for the help of them that serve 
him in our day, and fur the overthrow of the righteous 

Pooh, pooh Nathan, pooh, pooh — ^there's no escape 
for any body now ; your devil-at-a-pinch were enovgli 
to hang the best of us. 

Thirteen pence for you, said the little man at the 
desk. 

Here a consultation was held by the judges and the 
elders which continued for half the day — ^the incrediMe 
issue may be told in few words. The boy, Robert Eve- 
leth, was treated with favor ; the witness being a larg« 
girl was rebuked for the lie instead of being whipped ; 
the preacher Burroughs from that day forth was re» 
garded with unspeakable terror, and the poor old wo- 
man — she was put to death in due course of law. 



CHAPTER Til. 



Meanwhile other charges grew up, and there was a 
dread everywhere throughout the whole country, a deep 
fear in the hearts and a heavj mysterious fear in the 
blood of men. The judges were in array against the 
people, and the people against each other ; and the num- 
ber of the afflicted increased every day and every hour, 
and they were sent for from all parts of the Colony. 
Fasting and prayer preceded their steps, and whither- 
soever they went, witches and wizards were sura to be 
discovered. A native theologian, a very pious and very 
learned writer of that day, was employed by the author- 
ities of New England to draw up a detailed account of 
what he himself was an eye witness of ; and he says of 
the unhappy creatures who appeared to be bewitched, all 
of whom he knew, and most of whom he saw every day 
of his life, that when the fit was on, they were distorted 
and convulsed in every limb, that they were pinched 
black and blue by invisible fingers, that pins were stuck 
intq, their flesh by invisible hands, that they were scalded 
in their sleep as with boiling water and blistered as with 
fire, that one of the afflicted was beset by a spectre with 
a spindle that nobody else could see, till in her agony 
she snatched it away from the shape, when it became 
instantly visible to everybody in the room with a quick 
flash, that another was haunted by a shape clothed in a 
white sheet which none but the afflicted herself was able 
to see till she tore a piece of it away, whereupon it grew 



I 



U RACHEL DYER. 

Tisible to others about h^r, (it was of this particular sto. 
rj that Sarah Good spoke just before she was turned off) 
that thej were pursued night and day by withered hands 
— ^little outstretched groping hands with no bodies nor 
arms to them, that cups of blue fire and white smoke of 
a grateful smell, were offered them to drink while thej 
were in bed, of which, if they tasted ever so little, as they 
would sometimes in ti^eir fright and hurry, their bodies 
would swell up and their flesh would grow livid, much 
as if they had been bit by a rattle snake, that borning 
rags were forced into their mouths or under their arm* 
pits, leaving sores that no medicine would cure, that 
some were branded as with a hot iron, so that very deep 
marks were left upon their foreheads for life, that the 
spectres generally personated such as were known to 
the afflicted, and that whenever they did so, if the shape 
or sp^re was hurt by the afflicted, tlie person repre- 
sented by the shape was sure to be hurt in the same way, 
that, for exampljB, one of the afflicted having charged a 
woman of Beverly, Dorcas Hoare, with tormenting her, 
and immediately afterwards, pointing to a far part of the 
room, cried out, there !— -there ! there she goes now ! 
a man who stood near, drew his rapier and struck at the 
wall, whereupon the accuser told the court he had givcD 
the shape a scratch over the right eye ; and that Dorcas 
Hoare being apprehended a few days thereafter, it was 
found that she had a mark over the right eye, which 
after a while she confessed bad been given her by the 
rapier ; that if the accused threw a look at the witoessea, 
the latter, though their eyes were turned another way* 
would know it, and fall into a trance, out of which thej 
would recover only at the touch of the accused, that 
oftentimes the flesh of the afflicted was bitten with a pe* 
culiar set of teeth corresponding precisely with the teath 
of the accused, whether few or many, large or small* 



RACHEL DYER. «5 

broken or regular, and that after a while, the afflicted 
urere often able to see the shapes that tormented them, 
and among the rest a swarthy devil of a diminutive 
fiitature, with fierce bright eyes, who carried a book in 
which he kept urging them to write, whereby they would 
have submitted themselves to the power and authority 
of another Black Shape, with which, if they were to be 
believed on their oaths, two or three of their number had 
slept. 

In reply to these reputed facts however, which appear 
in the grave elaborate chronicles pf the church, and are 
fortified by other facts which were testified to about the 
same time, in the mother country, we have the word of 
George Burroughs, a minister of God, who met the ac- 
cusers at the time, and stood up to them face to face, and 
denied the truth of their charges, and braved the whole 
power of them that others were so afraid of. 

Man 1 man ! away with her to the place of death \ 
cried he to the chief judge, on hearing a beautiful wo- 
man with a babe at her breast, a wife and^ mother ac- 
knowledge that she had lain with Beelzebub. Away 
with her ! why do you let her live ! why permit her to 
profiane the House of the Lord, where the righteous are 
now ^gathered together, as ye believe 1 why do ye spare 
the few that confess — ^would ye bribe them to live ? 
Would ye teach them to swear away the lives and char- 
acters of all whom they are afraid of ? and thus to pre- 
serve their own 1 Look there ! — that is her child — her 
only child — the babe that you see there in the lap of that^ 
aged woman — she has no other hope in this world, noth- 
ing to love, nothing to care for but that babe, the man- 
child of her beauty. ¥b are fathers ! — look at her 
streammg eyes, at her locked hands, at her pale quiver- 
ing mouth, at her dishevelled hair— can you wonder now 
at anything she says to saye her boy^-rfor if she dies« he 
8 



«6 ' RACHEL DYEIL 

dies ? A wife and a mother ! a broken-hearted wife and 
a young mother accused of what, if she did not speak as 
you have now made her speak, would separate her and 
her baby foreyer and ever ! 

Would you have us put her to death ? asked one of 
the judges. You appear to argue in a strange way. 
What is your motive 1 — What your hope ? — What would 
jou have us do 1 suffer them to escape who will not con- 
fess, and put all to death who do t 
Even so. 

Why — if you were in league with the Evil One your- 
self brother George, I do not well see how you could hit 
upon a method more advantageous for him. 

Hear me — I would rather die myself, unfitted as I am 
for death, die by the rope, while striving to stay the mis- 
chief-makers in their headlong career, than be the cause 
of death to such a woman as that, pleading before you 
though she be, with perjury ; because of a truth she is 
pleading, not so much against life as for life, not so 
much against the poor old creature whom she accuses of 
leading her astray, as for the babe that you see there ; for 
that boy and for its mother who is quite sure that if she 
die, the boy will die — I say that which is true, fathers ! 
and yet I swear to you by the — 

Thirteen-pence to you, brother B. for that ! 
—By the God of Abraham, that if her life— 
Thirteen-pence more — faith ! 

The same to you — said the outlandishman. Sharp 
work, hey? 

Fool — fool — if it depended upon me I say, her hfe and 
that of her boy, I would order them both to the scaffold ! 
Ye are amazed at what you hear ; ye look at each other 
in dismay ; ye wonder how it is that a mortal man hath 
courage to speak as I speak. And yet-— hear me! 
Fathers of New-England, hear me ! beautiful as the boy 
is, and beautiful as the mother is, I would put the mark 



RACHEL DYER. 87 

of death upon her forehead, even though his death were 
certain to follow, because if I did so, I should be sure 
that a stop would be put forever to such horrible stories. 

I thought so, said major Gidney — I thought so, by my 
troth, leaning over the seat and speaking in a whisper to 
judge Saltanstall, who shook his head with a mysterious 
air, and said — nothing. 

Ye would save by her death, O, ye know not how much 
of human life ! 

Brother Burroughs ! 

Brother Willard ! — what is there to shock you in what 
I say ? These poor people who are driven by you to 
perjury, made to confess by your absurd law, will they 
stop with confession 1 Their lives are at istake^-will they 
not be driven to accuse ? Will they not endeavor to make 
all sure ? — to fortify their stories by charging the inno- 
cent, or those of whom they are afraid 1 Will they stop 
where you would have them stop ? Will they not rather 
come to beUeve that which they hear, and that of which 
they are afraid 1 — ^to believe each other, even while they 
know that what they themselves do swear is untrue ? — ^ 
May they not strive to anticipate each other, to show 
their zeal or the sincerity of their faith ? — And may they 
not, by and by — ^I pray you to consider this — may they 
not hereafter charge the living and the mighty as they 
have hitherto charged the dead, and the poor, and the 
weak ? 

Well- 
Well! 

Yes— well ! — what ftoore have you to say ? 

What more ! why, if need be, much more ! You drive 
people to confession, I say — ^you drive them to it, step 
by step, as with a scourge of iron. Their lives are at 
stake, I fOi7/ say-yet more~I mean to say much more now; 
now that you will proveke me to it. I say now that 



88 RACHEL DYER. 

you — you — ye judges of tbe land ! — you are the cause of 
all that we suffer ! The accused are obliged to accuse. 
They have no other hope. They lie — and you know it, 
or should know it — and you know, as well as I doj that 
they have no other hope, no other chance of escape. All 
that have hitherto confessed are alive now. All that 
have denied your charges, all that have withstood your 
mighty temptation — they are all in the grave — all — all — 

Brother — we have read in the Scriptures of Truth, 
or at least I have, that of old, a woman had power to 
raise the dead. If she was upon h<^r trial now, would 
you not receive her confession ? I wait your reply. 

Receive it, governor Phips ! no — no — ^not without 
proof that she had such power. 

Proof — how ? 

How ! Ye should command her to raise the dead for 
proof — to raise the dead in your presence. You are 
consulting together ; I see that you pity me. Neverthe- 
less, I say again, that if these people are what they say 
they are, they should be made to prove it by such awful 
and irresistible proof — ah ! — what are ye afraid of, 
judges? 

We are not afraid. 

Ye are afraid — ye are — and of that wretched old 
woman there ! 

What if we call for the proof now — will you endure 
it? 

Endure it! Yes— whatever it may be. Speak to 
her. Bid her do her worst — I have no fear — ^you are 
quaking with fear. I defy the Power of Darkness ; 
you would appear to tremble before it. And here I set 
my foot — and here I call for the proof ! Are they indeed 
witches ? — what can be easier than to overthrow such 
an adversary as I am ? Why do ye look at me as if I were 
mad-^you are prepared to see me drop down perhape» 



RACHEL DTEB. ^f 

»r to efy out, or to give up the ghost t Why io ye 
shake yuur heads at me 1 What have I to fear 1 And 
why is it I beseech you, that you are not moved by the 
evil-eye of that poor woman ? Why is it, I pray you, 
fathers and judges, that they alone who bear witness 
against her are troubled by her look 1 

Brother Sewall, said one of the judges who had beea 
brought up to the law ; Master Burroughs, I take it, is 
not of counsel for the prisoner at the bar 1 

Assuredly not, brother. 

Nor is he himself under the charge t 

The remark is proper, said Burroughs. I am aware 
of all yott would say. I have no right perhaps to open 
ray mouth — 

No right, perhaps ? — no right brother B., said Win- 
throp — no right, we believe 1 — but — if the prosecutors 
will suffer it 1 — why, why — we have no objection, I sup- 
pose — I am sure — have we brother G. 1 

None at all. What say you Mr. Attorney-general t 

Say Sir 1 What do I say Sir ! why Sir, I say Sir, 
that such a thing was never heard of before ! and I say 
Sir, that it is against all rule Sir ! If the accused re- 
quire coansel, the court have power to assign her suita- 
ble counsel — such counsel to be of the law. Sir ! — and 
being of the law Sir, he would have no right Sir, you 
understand Sir, — no right Sir — to address the jury, Sir 
— as you did the other day Sir — ^in Rex versus GoodySir, 
— none at all Sir ! 

Indeed — ^what may such counsel do then ? 

Do Sir ! do ! — why Sir, he may cross-examine the 
witnesses. 

Really! 

To be sure he may Sir ! and what is more, he may 
argue points of law to the court if need be. 

Indeed ! 

8* 



90 RACHEL DYEK. 

Yes — ^but only points of law. 

The court have power to grant such leave, hej t 

Yes, that we have, said a judge. You maj speak Ud 
a speech now, if you will ; but I would have you confine 
yourself to the charge. — 

Here the prosecutor stood up, and saying he had 
made out his case, prayed the direction of the court — 

No, no, excuse me, said Burroughs ; no, no, you have 
taught me how to proceed Sir, and I shall undertake for 
the wretched woman, whatever may be thought or said 
by the man of the law. 

Proceed Mr. Burroughs — ^you are at liberty to proceed. 

Wefl Martha, said Burroughs — I am to be your coun- 
sel now. What have you to say for yourself? 

The lawyers interchanged a sneer with each oth^r. 

Me — nothin' at all. Sir. 

Have you nobody here to speak for you 1 . 

For me ! — Lord bless you, no ! Nobody cares for poor 
Martha. 

No witnesses t 

Witnesses ! — no indeed, but if you want witnessed, 
there's a power of witnesses. 

Where ?— 

There — ^there by the box there — 

Poor Martha ! You do not understand me ; the wit- 
nesses you see there belong to the other side. 

Well, what if they do ? 

Have you no witnesses of your own, pray ? 

Of my own ! Lord you — there now— don't be cross 
with me. How should poor Martha know — they nerer 
told me ; — what are they good for ? 

But is there nobody here acquainted with you 1 

And if there was, what would that prove 1 said a i 
of the law. 



RACHEL DYER. 91 

Mj stars, no ! them that know'd me knowM enough 
to keep away, when thej lugged me off to jail. 

And so there's nobody here to say a kind word for 
you, if your life depended on it ? 

No Sir — nobody at all — nobody cares for Martha./ 
Gracious God — what unspeakable simplicity ! 

O, I forgot Sir, I forgot ! cried Martha, leaning over 
the bar and clapping her hands with a cry of childish 
joy. I did see neighbor Joe Trip, t'other day, and I told 
him he ought to stick by me — 

Well where is he — what did he say t 

Why he said he'd rather not, if 'twas all the same to 
me. 

He'd rather not — where does he live ? 

And I spoke to three more, said a bystander, but they 
wouldn't come so fur, some was afeared, and some 
wouldn't take the trouble. 

Ah ! is that you, Jeremiah ? — how d'ye do, how d'ye 
do 1 — all well I hope at your house ? — an' so they 
wouldn't come, would they? — I wish they would though, 
for I'm tired o' stayin' here; I'd do as much for 
them — 

Hear you that judges ! They would not come to testi- 
fy in a matter of life and death. What are their names ? 
-^wher« do they live ? — they 'shall be made to come. 

You'll excuse me, said the prosecutor. You are the 
day after the fair ; it's too late now. 

Too late ! I appeal to the judges — too late J — ^would 
you persuade me Sir, that it is ever too late for mercy, 
while there is yet room for mercy 1 I speak to the 
judges — I pray them to make use of their power, and 
to have these people who keep away at such a time 
brought hither by force. 

The court have no such power, said the Attorney- 
General. 



tt RACHEL DTER. 

How Sir f ha^e they not power to compel a witness 
to attend ? 
To be sure they have-— on the part of the crows. 
On the part of the crown ! 

Yes. 

And not on the part of a prisoner ? 

No. 

No ! can this be the law ? 

£?en so, said a judge. 

Well, well — poor Martha ! 

What's the matter now 7 — what ails you, Mr. Bur- 
roughs ? 

Martha—- 

Sir! 

There's no hope Martha. 

Hope? 

No Martha, no ; there's no hope for* you. They will 
have you die. 

Die ! — me ! — 

Yes, poor Martha — you. 

Me I — what for ? — what have I done ? 

O that your accusers were not rock, Martha ! 

Rock! 

O that your judges could feel ! or any that anybody 
who knows you would appear and speak to your piety 
and your simplicity ! 

Law Sir — ^how yeu talk ! 

Why as for that now, said Jeremiah Smith, who stood 
by her, wiping his eyes and breathing very hard ; here 
am I, Sir, an' ready to say a good word for the poor 
soul, if I die for it ; fact is, you see, Mr. Judge Sewall 
I'veknow'd poor Martha Cory — hai'nt I Martha ^— - 

So you have Jerry Smith. 

—Ever since our Jeptha warnH more'a so higli<^ 



RACHEL DYER. 93 

Stop Sir, if you please, jou are not sworn yet, said 
one of the judges. 

Very true — swear him, added another. 

You'll excuse me, said the Attorney-general. I say, 
you — what's your name ? 

Jerry Smith. 

And you appear on the side of the prisoner at the bar, 
I take it ? 

Well, what if I do? 

Why in that case, you see^ you are not to be sworn, 
that's all. 

Not sworn ! cried Burroughs. And why not Sir ? 

Why we never allow the witnesses that appear against 
the crown, to take the oath. 

Against the crown Sir ! what on earth has the crown 
to do here ? — what have we to do with such absurdity t 

Have a care, brother Burroughs ! 

Do you know Sir — do you know that, if this man be 
not allowed to say what he has to say on oath, less 
credit will be given to what he says ? 

Can't help that Sir. — Such is the law. 

Judges — judges — do ye hear that ? — can this be the 
law ? Will you give the sanction of oaths to whatever 
may be said here against life ? — and refuse their sanc- 
tion to whatever may be said for life 1 Can such be the 
law ? 

The judges consulted together and agreed that such 
was the law, the law of the mother-country and there- 
fore the law of colonies. 

Of a truth, said Burroughs, in reply ; of a truth, I 
can perceive now why it is, if a man appear to testify in 
favor of human life that he is regarded as a witness / 
agamst the crown. — God help such crowns, I say ! 

Brother! — dearbrcther! 

God help such crowns, I say ! What an idea of king- 



84 RACHEL DYER. 

ship it gives ! What a fearful commentary on the guard- 
ianship of monarchs ! How much it says in a word or 
two of their fatherly care ! He who ia for the subject, 
even though a life be at stake, is therefore iggainst the 
king! 

Beware of that Sir. — You are on the very threshold 
•f treason. 

Be it so. — If there is no other way, I will step over 
that threshold — . 

If you do Sir, it will be into your grave. — 

Sir!— 

Dear brother, I beseech you ! 

Enough — enough-4 have nothing more to do*-nothing 
more to say, Sir — not another word. Sir-— forgive me 
Sir — I — I — I — the tears of the aged I cannot bear ; the 
sorrow of such as are about to go before God, I am not 
able, I never was able to bear. I beseech you, howev* 
er, to look with pity upon the poor soul there — poor 
Martha ! — ^let her gray hairs plead with you, as your gray 
hairs plead with me — I — I — proceed, Mr. Attorney- 
General. 

I have nothing more to say 1 

Nothing more to say ! 

With submission to the court — nothing. 

Do you throw up the case then 1 said a judge. 

Throw up the case ! no indeed — no ! — But if Bir. 
Counsellor' Burroughs here, who has contrived in my 
humble opinion, to make the procedure of this court 
appear — that is to say — with all due submission — ap- 
pear to be not much better than a laugh iug-stock to the 
— to the — to my brethren of the bar— if Mr. Biirroughit 
I say, if he has nothing more to say — I he^ leave to aaj 
—that is to 9ay< — that I have nothiog more to say — • 

Say — pay — say — whispered one of his brethren of the 
bar — what say you to that Mr. Burroughs ? 



CHAPTER Tin. 



What should! saj 1 replied Burroughs. What would 
you have me say ? standiag up aod growing very pale. 
What would you have me say, you that are of counsel 
for the prisoner, you ! the judges of the court ? You 
that appear to rejoice when you see the last hope of the 
prisoner about to be made of no value to her, by the 
trick and subterfuge of the law. Why do you not speak 
to her ? — Why do you not advise me ? You know that 
I depend upon the reply — You know that I have no 
other hope, and that she has no other hope, and yet you 
leave us both to be destroyed by the stratagem of an ad- 
versary. How shall I proceed 1 Speak to me, I en- 
treat you ! Speak to me judges ! Do not leave me to 
grope out a path blind-folded over a precipice — a path 
which it would require great skill to tread — O, I be- 
seech you ! do not leave me thus under the awful, the 
tremendous accountability, which, in my ignorance of 
the law, I have been desperate enough to undertake ! — 
Here by my side are two men of the law — ^yet have you 
assigned her, in a matter of life and death, no counsel. 
They are afraid I see — afraid not only to rise up and 
speak for the wretched woman, but they are afraid even 
to whisper to me. And yuu, ye judges ! are you also on 
the side of the prosecutor and the witnesses — are you 
all for the king ? — all ! — all ! — not so much as one to 
fay a word for the poor creature, who being pursued 
for the king, is treated as if she were pursMcd by the 



96 RACHEL DYER. 

king — pursued by him for sacrifice ! What ! no ans- 
wer — not a word ! What am I to believe ?....tbat you 
take pride in the exercise of your terrible power 1 tliat 
you look upon it as a privilege ?....that you regard me 
now with displeasure....that if you could have yoar owb 
way, you would permit no interference with your fright- 
ful prerogative ?....0 that I knew in what way to ap- 
proach the hearts of men ! O that I knew huw to pro- 
ceed in this affair ! Will nobody advise me ! 

Sir — Sir ! — allow me, said a man of the law who sat 
near, allow me Sir ; I can bear it no longer — it is a re- 
proach to the very name of law — but — but (lowering his 
voice) if you will suffer rne to suggest a step or two for 
your consideration — you have the courage and the pow- 
er — I have not — my brethren here have not — ^you have 
— and you may perhaps be able to — hush, hush — ^to 
bring her off. 

Speak out, Sir — speak out, I beseech you. What am 
I to do 1 

Lower if you please — lower — low er— er^-er— 

we must not be overheard — Brother Trap's got a quick 
ear. Now my notion is — allow me — (whispering) the 
jury are on the watch ; they have heard you with great 
anxiety <»and great pleasure — if you can manage to keep 
the hold you have got for half an hour — hush — ^hush— no 
matter how — the poor soul may escape yet— 

I'll address the jury — 

By no manner of means ! That will not be suffered^* 
you cannot address the jury — 

Good God ! what shall I do ! 

Thirteen-pence more— carry five — paid to watchman. 

I'll put you in the way (with a waggish leer.) Though 
you are not allowed to address the jury, you are allowed 
to address the court— hey ? — (chucking him with hia 



RACHEL DV£R. vt 

elbow)--^ court jovl see— hej— sh !— sh !— you un- 
derstand it — hey t 

No — how cool you are ! 

Cool— you'd be cool too, if you understood the law. 
Never — never — in a case of life and death. ^ I 

Life and death ? poh— everything is a case of life and 
death, Sir — to a man o' the law — everything — all eases 
are alike, Sir— hey — provided— a — a — 
Provided what. Sir t 
Where the quid is the same. 
The quid 1 
.The quid pro quo — 

How can you, Sir ? — ^your levity is a — I begin to be 
afraid of your principles — what am I to do 1 

Do — just keep the court in play ; keep the judges 
at work, while I run over to the shop for an authority 
or two I have there which may be of use. — You have the 
jury with you now— lay it on thick — ^you understand the 
play as well as I do now — 

Stop — stop — am I to say to the judges what I would 
say to the jury, if I had leave 1 

Pre — cisely ! but — but— a word in your ear — so as 
to be heard by the jury.— Tut — tut — 

The head-prosecutor jumped up at these words, and 
with a great show of zeal prayed the judges to put a 
stop to the consultation, a part of which was of a char- 
acter — of a character — that is to say, of a character- 
Burroughs would have interrupted him, but he was 
hindered by his crafty law-adviser, who told him to let 
the worthy gentleman cut his own throat in his own 
way, BOW he was in the humor for it* 

Burroughs obeyed, and slier his adversary had run 
liimself oat of breath, arose in reply, and with a gravity 
and a moderation that weighed prodigiously with the 

9 



88 RACHEL DYER. 

court, called upon the chief-judge to put a atop to such 
gladiatorial controversy — 
What would you have us do ? said the judge. 
I would have you do nothing more than your duty — 
Here the coadjutor of Burroughs, after making a sign 
to him to face the jury, slid away on tip-toe. 

—I would have you rebuke this temper. Ye are the 
judges of a great people. I would have you act, and I 
would have you teach others to act, as if you and they 
were playing together, in every such case— not for your 
own lives — that were too much to ask of mortal man ; 
but for another's life. I would have you and your offi- 
cers behave here as if the game that you play were what 
you all know i(. to be, a game of life and death* — a trial, 
not of attorney with attorney, nor of judge with judge, 
in the warfare of skill, or wit, or trick, or stratagem, 
for fee or character — but a trial whereby the life here, 
and the life hereafter it may be, of a fellow-creature is 
in issue. Yea — more — I would have you teach the king's 
Attorney-general, the prosecutor himself, that represeii- 
tative though he be of majesty, it would be more digni- 
fied and more worthy of majesty, if he could contrive to 
keep his temper, when he is defeated or thwarted in his 
auack on human life. Wo may deserve death all of us, 
but we deserve not mockery ; and whether we deserve 
death or not, I hope we deserve, under our gracious 
Lord and Master, to be put to death according to law — 
That'll do I— that'll do '.—whispered the lawyer, who 
had returned with his huge folios — that'll do my boy ! 
looking up over his spectacles and turning a leaf— that'll 
do ! give it to 'em as hot as they can sup it— I shall be 
ready for you in a crack —p«sh on, push on— what m 
capital figure you'd make at the bar— don't stop— don't 
stop. 
Why, what on earth caa I say ! 



RACHEL DYER. 89 

Talk — talk— talk — no matter w.hat yoa say — don't 
give them time to breathe — pop a speech into 'em ! 

A speech ! 

Ay, or a sermon, or a whar- whoop, or a prayer — any 
thing — anything — if you do but keep the ball up— no 
mattef what, if the jury can hear you— they arc all agog 
now — ^they are pricking up their ears at you — ^now'ti 
your time ! 

Very well— —Judges ! 

Proceed.^,^ 

Judges. ' I am a traveller from my youth up. I have 
journied over Europe ; I have journied over America — 
I am acquainted with ewerj people of both hemispheres, 
and yet, whithersoever I go, I am a stranger. I have 
studied much — thought much — and am already a show 
among those who watched over my youth. I am still 
young, though I appear old, much younger than you 
would suppose me to be, did you not know me-4 

Here he turned to the lawyer — I never shall £e able/to 
get through this ; I don't know what I am saying. — 

Nor I — So much the better- — don't give up— 

A youth — a lad in comparison with with you, ye 

judges, you that I now undertake to reprove a spec- 
tacle and a show among men. They follow me every 
where, (I hope you'll soon be ready) they pursue me ^ 
day after day — and week after week — and month after 
month — 

— And year after year — ^by jings, that'll do ! — 

— And year after year ; they and their wives, and 
their little ones — 

And their flocks and their herds, and their man-ser- 
vants and their maid-servants, whispered the lawyer. 

Do be quiet, will you. — They pursue me however, not 
because of their veneration or their love, but only that 
they may study the perpetual changes of my countenance 



100 RACHEL DYER. 

aDd hear the language of one to whom all changes and 
all languages are alike, and all beneath regard. They 
follow me too, not because thej are able to interpret 
the look of my ejes,or to understand the meaning of m j 
voice, but chiefly because they hear that I have been 
abroad in the furthermost countries of all the ^artb, 
because they are told by grave men, who catch their 
breath when they speak of me,though it be in the House 
of the Lord, as you have seen this very day, that I have 
been familiar with mysterious trial and savage adven- 
ture, up from the hour of my birth, when I was dropped 
in the wilderness like the young of the wild-beast, by 
my own mother — 

I say — Brother B. — I say though — whispered the law- 
yer, in much perplexity — I say though — what are you 
at now 1 You are not on trial — are you 1 

Yes — ^yes — let me alone, I beseech you.... 

Fire away....fire away....you've got possession of the 
jury, and that's half the battle....fire away. 

Peace....peace, I pray you....Judges ! whenever I go 
abroad....wherever I go....the first place into which I set 
my foot, is the tribunal of death. Go where I may, I go 
first in search of the courts....the courts of justice^ I 
should say, to distinguish them from all other courts*- 

Good !— 

— And I go thither because I have an idea that na- 
tions are to be compared with nations, not in every 
thing — not altogether, but only in a few things ; and be- 
cause after much thought, I have persuaded myself that 
matters of religion, politics and morals, are inadequate 
for the chief purposes of such comparison — the compar- 
ison of people with people, though not for the compari- 
son of individual with individual perhaps ; and that a 
variety of matters which regard the administration of 
law, in cases affecting either life or liberty, are in their 



RACHEL Df£IL loi 

Tery nature adequate, and may be conclusiTe. We may 
compare court with court and lair with law ; but how 
shall we compare opinion with opinion, where there is 
no unchangeable record of either ? goodness with good- 
ness — where goodness itself may be but a thing 6f opin- 
ion or hearsay, incapable of proof, and therefore inca- 
pable of comparison ? 

Very fair — Yery fair — but what on earth has it to do 
with our case ? 

Wait and you shall see ; I begin to see my wa^ clear 
BOW — wherefore judges, I bold that the liberty of a peo- 
ple and therefore the greatness of a people may be safe- 
ly estimated by the degree of seriousness with which a 
criminal is arraigned, or tried, or judged, or punished — • 

— y^rj true-r-and very well spun out, brother B. . . . 
but a non sequitur nevertheless. That wherefore, with 
which you began the period was a bit of a 

Pray— pray — don't interrupt me ; you will be over- 
heard — ^you will put me out. — In a word, ye Judges 
of Israel ! I have had a notion that arbitrary power 
would betray itself in every case, and every-where on 
earth, by its mode of dealing with liberty and life — be- 
ing, I persuade myself, more and more summary and 
careless, in proportion as it is more and more absolute 
of a truth, not as it is more and more absolute by char- 
acter. You. had for a time, while the northern savages 
were at your door, a downright military government.-— 
You know therefore that my words are true. Your gov- 
ernment was called free — to have called it arbitrary, 
would have offended you ; yet for a season you dealt 
with human life as the Turk would. You know, for 
jou have seei^ the proof, that in proportion to the growth 
of power in those who bear sway among you, the 
forms and ceremonies which fortify and hed^e in, as it 
9» 



102 RACHEL DY£tt. 

were, the life and liberty of the subject, are cfither dis- 
regarded or trampled on. — 

Oh ho ! — ^I see what you are driving at now ! 

— For my own part, I love to see the foreheads of 
them who are appointed to sit in the high-places and 
give judgment forever upon the property or character, 
life or liberty of their fellow man. — 

Property or character — life or liberty— of a fellow 
man ! Very fair — very fair indeed. 

— Efpressive at least of decent sorrow, if not of pro- 
found awe. I would have them look as if they nvere 
afraid — as if they trembled under the weight of their 
tremendous autl^ority ; as if they were deeply and clear- 
ly and reverentially sensible of what they have under- 
taken to do— -which i8,to deal with the creatures of God, 
as God himself professes to deal with them — according 
to their transgressions^ — to do a part of his duty with bis 
own Image — to shelter the oppressed and to stay the op- 
pressor, not only now and for a time, but hereafter and 
forever — 

Don't stop to breathe now ; I shall be at your back in 
a jiffy— - 

I would that every man who has to do with the ad- 
ministration of law, wherever that law is to touch the 
life or liberty of another ; and whoever he may be, from 
the highest judge in the highest court of all the earth, 
down to the humblest ministerial officer — I would that 
he should feel, or at least appear to feel, that for a time 
he is the delegate of Jehovah — I do not stoptp say how^ 
nor to ask why. That is for others to say. — I would 
have the judges remarkable for their gravity, not for 
their austerity ; for their seriousness and for their seTore 
simplicity, not for a theatrical carriage. I would hare 
the bar, as you call it, above the trick and subterfofo of 
the law — incapable of doing what I see them do every 



AACHEL DTER. |0S 

day of my life ; and I would have the bench as jou call 
it, incapable of suffering what I see them not only suffer, 

but take pleasure in, erery day of my life are you 

ready ? 

Persevere — ^persevere — ^you may say what you please 
now, said the lawyer, shuffling his papers about with 
both hands, chuckling in his sleeve, and whispering with- 
out appearing to whisper. — Hare your own way now.... 
they like to hear the lawyers and the judges,and the law 
cut up; it's anew thing to hear in such a place....fire 
away, fire away ....you see how they enjoy it....yottVe got 
us on the hip now....fire away. 

If a criminal be arraigned on a charge that may affect 
his life or character, limb or property , or if a witness be 
to be sworn, or the oath administered,...! care not how 
....I care not why....if you will have oaths....ye should 
order silence to be proclaimed by the sound of trumpet. 

— Pho ! pho ! 

'I would have a great bell, one so large that it might 
be heard far and wide over the whole town — I would 
have this tolled on the day of condemnation, if that con- 
demnation were to death. And if it must be— if you 
will have it so — if you will that a man be put to death 
by the rope or the axe, on the scaffold or over an open 
grave — as the poor soldier dies — ^I would have him per* 
ish at night — ^in the dead of midnight — and all the tawn 
should wake up at the toHing of that heavy bell, or at 
thetoar of cannon, with a knowledge that a feHow-crea- 
ture had that instant passed away from the earth forever 
— foot gone — that very instant — ^before the Everlasting 
Judge of the quick and the dead — that while they were 
liolding their breath and before they aould breathe again 
— he would receive the sentence from which there would 
be no appeal throughout all t^e countless ages of eternity. 



t 

I 104 RACHEL DYER. 

J Verj fair — very fair — I see the foreman of the jury 

shudder — keep him to it — 
{ I love theory, bat I love practice better — 

/ Zounds ! what a plunge ! . — 

— Bear with me, I beseech jou. I had come to a 
'. conclusion years and years ago, before I went away in* 

to the far parts of the earth, Judges and Elders, that 
• * where human life is thought much of, there liberty is ; 

and that just in proportion to the value of human life 
are the number and variety, the greatness and the 
strength of the safe-guards forms anfl ceremonies, which 
go to make it secure, if not altogether inacce{>sibleJ 

Very fair — stick to the foreman — keep your eye on 
his face — don't take it off, and you'll be sure of the jury. 

I can hardly see his face now — 

So much the better— we'll have candles for them yet ; 
and if we do, my boy, the game is our o wn....fire away ; 
my authorities are almost ready now — fire away. 

-^I journeyed the world over, but I found httle to 
prove that human life was of much value anywhere-^ 
anywhere I should say, except among the barbarians 
and the savagesj My heart was troubled with fear. I 
knew not whither to go, nor where to look. Should I 
pursue my way further into the cities of Europe, or go 
back into the wilderness of America ? — ^At last I heard 
of a nation — bear with me judges — where all men were 
supposed by the law to be innocent, until they were 
proved to be guilty, where the very judges were said to 
be of counsel for the accused, where the verdict of mt 
least twelve, and in some cases of twenty-four men— • 
their unanimous verdict too, was required for the con- 
demnation of such accused ; where if a man where 
charged with a crime, he was not even permitted to ac- 
cuse himself or to acknowledge the truth, till he had 
been put upon his guard by the judges^-who would 



RACHEL DYER. 105 \ 

even allow him, nay press him to withdraw an avowal, 

though it were made by him with serious deliberation ; 

where the laws were so tender of human life to saj all 

in a word, and so remarkable for humanity as to be a 

perpetual theme for declamation. I heard all this....I ' 

had much reason to believe it....for everybody that I 

knew believed it....I grew instantly weary of home.... 

Lights there ! lights.... 

— I could not sleep for the desire I had to see that 
country. 

You'd better stop awhile, Mr. Burroughs, whisper- | 

ed the lawyer. 

— And I lost no time in going to it. 

Pull up where you are....but keep your face toward 
the jury. 



i 



CHAPTBR IX. 



Well, continued Burroughs, I departed for the shores 
of that other world, where human life was guarded with 
such care and jealousy. I luquired for the courts of 
justice and for the halls of legislation....! hurried thither; 
....I elbowed my way up to the sources of their law, and 
I had the mortification to discoYcr that in almost every, 
case, their courts were contrived, not as I had hoped 
from the character of the people, so as to give the pub- 
lic an opportunity of seeing the operation of power at 
work in the high-places of our earth, for the detection 
of guilt and for the security of virtue, but so as to hinder 
that operation, whether evil or good, from being viewed 
by the public. Everywhere the courts of justice were 
paltry....every where inconvenient. Seeing this I grew 
afraid for the people. I found but one large enough to 
accommodate its own officers, and but one which it was 
possible for a stranger to enter, ev6n by the aid of money, 
without much delay, difficulty and hazard. Ye do not 
believe me — ye cannot beliere that such things are, such 
courts or such men, or that ever a price hath been fixed 
in a proud free country, for which a few and but a few 
of a mighty and wise people may see, now and then, 
wherefore it is that soihe one of their number is to be 
swept away from the earth forever. What I say is true. 
To the Halls of Legislation I proceeded — ^to the place 
where that law is made of which I have had occasion to 
speak this day. I went without my dinner ; I paid my 



108 RACHEL DYBR. 

last half-crown to see the makers of the law— and I 
came away, after seeing — not the makers of the law, bat 
the door-keepers of their cage — it is true that while I 
was there, I was happj enough to see a man, who was 
looking at another man, which other man declared that 
the wig of the Speaker was distinctly Visible — 

Are 70U mad ? 

Be quiet Sir — 

You have broken the spell — the jury are beginning 
to laugh — 

Leave the jury to me — what I have to say Sir, may 
provoke a smile, but if I do not much mistake, a smile for 
the advantage of poor Martha. We have been too aeri- 
ous....we may do better by showing that we have no fear 
— if the lawgivers of that country are what I say they 
are — if the judges are what I say they are, and what I 
shall prove them to be — and if the people of that coun- 
try are what I am afraid they are, under such law— why 
should we bow to its authority 1 

Pho — pho — pho....You are all at sea now. 

Well Judges....! enquired when there would be a trial 
to prove the truth of what I had been told, and whither 
I should go in search of a Temple of Justice, where I 
might see for myself how human life was regarded by the 
brave and the free. I found such a temple, and for the 
price of another dinner, was carried up into a gallery 
and put behind a huge pile of masonry, which as it 
stood for a pillar and happened to be neither perforated 
nor transparent, gave me but a dreary prospect for my 
money....Do not smile — do, not, I beseech you — I never 
was more serious in my life.... At last I heard a man cal- 
led up, heard I say, for I could not see him, called up 
and charged with I know not what fearful crime— I 
caught my breath — are you ready Sir t.o. 

AlinQ0t.M.almost«^fire away— writing as fast as be 



RACHEL DYER. 109 

could make the pen fly over the paper.. ..fire away for a 
few minutes more.... 

I caugl^t my breath....! trembled with anxiety....Now 
said I to myself, (To the lawyer; I am afraid I shall drop.) 

No no, don't drop yet....fire away ! 

Now, said I to myself, I shall see one of the most 
awful and affecting sights in the world. Now shall I 
see the great humanity of the law....the law of this 

proud nation illustrated the very judges becoming 

' of counsel for the prisoner....and the whole affair carri- 
ed through with unspeakable solemnity. I addressed 
myself to a man who stood near me with a badge of au- 
thority in his hand.. ..the very key wherewith he adnut- 
ted people at so much a head, to see the performance. 
Pray, Sir, said I, what is that poor fellow charged with ? 
He didn't know, not he, some case of murder though, 
he thought, (offering me a pinch of snuff as he spoke) or 
of highway-robbery, or something of the sort....he would 
enquire with great pleasure and let me know. The case 
opened. A speech was made by a prosecutor for the 
crown, a ready and a powerful speaker. The charge 
a capital one. The accused.... a poor emaciated miser- 
able creature, was on trial for having had in posses- 
sion, property which had been stolen out of a dwelling- 
house in the dead of night. Well, prisoner at the bar, 
what have you to say for yourself ? said the judge with 
a stern look, after the case had been gone through with 
by the prosecutor. Now is your time....speak, said the 
judge. I have nothing to say for myself, said the poor 
prisoner ; nothing more than what I have said four or 
five times already. Have you no witnesses 1 No my 
lord 

Sob sob, Mr. Burroughs ! We understand your par- 
able now, cried one of the judges with a look of dismay* 
We all know what country that is where a judge is a 
10 



no RACHEL DYER. 

]ord....haTe a care Sir ; have a care Be wary.,..you 

may rue this if you are not. 

I shall endure the risk whatever it be....8haU I pro- 
ceed 1 

We have no power to stop you.... 

No my lord, was the reply of the prisoner. I could 
not oblige them to appear ; and they would not appear. 
How came you by the property ? said his lordship. It 
was left with me by a man who stopped at my house ; 
he wanted a little money to carry him to see a sick wife 
....and as I did not know him, he left this property in 
pledge. Who was that man 1 I do not know my lord, 
I never saw him before....but one of my neighbors in the 
same trade with me knew him, and if you had him here, 
he would say so. 

Judges, you have now heard my story. You know 
what I was prepared to see ; you know what I expected. 
Here was a man who, for aught we know, told the truth. 
But he had no witnesses — he had no power to make 
them testify — he had no refuge — no hope — the law was 
a snare to him — the law of our mother-country. 

How so pray ? 

Property being found in his possession — property 
which had been stolen, he was to suffer, because — mark 
what I say, I beseech you — because he could not prove his 
innocence ! 

Tut — tut — ^tut — rigmarole ! said the prosecutor. 

Rigmarole Sir — what I say is the simple truth. Hear 
me through. The moment that poor fellow was found 
with the property in his possession, he was concluded 
by the law and by the judges of the law to be guilty ; 
and they called upon him to prove that he was not guH^ 

Nature of things, my good brother — 

Well— and if it is the nature of things, why deny the 



RACHEL DYER. m 

existence of the fact 1 Why do you, as all men of the 
law have done for ages and still do — why say over and 
over again every day of your lives, that it is the charac- 
teristic of the law» that law of which you are the ex- 
pounders, to regard every man as innocent, until he be 
proved to be guilty 1 Why not say the truth ? Why quib- 
ble with rhetoric ? Why not say that where a man is 
charged with a crime, you are, in the very nature of 
things, under the necessity of taking that for proof 
which is not proof 1 Look you Sir — how came you by 
the coat you wear ? Suppose I were 16 challenge that 
cloth and put you to the proof, how could you prove that 
you purchased it fairly of a fair trader ? 
I would appeal to the trader — 

Appeal to the trader ! If he had not come honestly 
by it Sir, would be ever acknowledge that you had it of 
him ? or that he had ever seen your face before ? 
Well then — I would prove it by somebody else. 
By somebody else, would you I Are you so very cau- 
tious — do you never go abro^id without having a witness 
at your heels ? do you never pick up anything in the 
street Sir, without first assuring yourself that you are 
observed by somebody of good character, who will ap- 
pear of his own accord in your behalf, should you be 
arraigned for having stolen property in your possession 1 
What would you have to say for yourself? — your oath 
would not be received — and if it was, there would only 
be oath against oath — ^your oath against that of the trader 
of whom you purchased, or the individual of whom you 
received the property — and his oath against yours. — How 
would you behave with no witnesses to help you out ? — 
or with witnesses who would not appear and could not 
be made to appear on your side, though your life were 
at stake ? — nay, for that very reason, for if your property 
only were at stake, they might be made to appear — 



US RACHEL DYER. 

Very well ! 

— Or with witnesses, who having appeared on jour 
side, are not allowed to make oath to what thej saj — 
lest they may be believed — to the prejudice of our good 
king? 

Really, cried one of the judges, really, gentlemen, 
you appear to be going very wide of the mark. What 
have we to do with your snip-snap and gossip 1 Are we 
to have nothing but speech after speech — about nobody 
knows what — now smacking of outrage — now of trea- 
son I Are we to stay here all niglit Sirs of the bar, 
while you are whispering together ? 

With submission to the court, said the Attorney- 
general — we have a case put here, which would seem to 
require a word of reply. We are asked what we should 
do if we were without witnesses — and the court will 
perceive that the sympathy of the jury is relied on — ^is 
relied on, I say ! — on the authority of a case — of a case 
which ! — of a case which I never heard of before ! The 
court will please to observe — to observe I say ! — that the 
prisoner at the bar — at the bar — has no witnesses — in 
which case, I would ask, where is the hardship— where 
we cannot prove our innocence — our innocence I say ! — 
of a particular, charge — we have only to prove our char- 
acter. 

Here the Attorney-general sat down with a smile and 
a bow, and a magnificent shake of the head. 

Only to prove our character, hey ? 

To be sure — 

But how — if we have no witnesses — 

Very fair — very fair, brother B. 

What if you were a stranger ? — what if you had no 
character ? — or a bad one ? 

It would go hard with me, I dare say — and — and 



RACHEL DYER* 113 

i[raisiQg his ?oice and appealing to the bar with a trium- 
phant look) and it should go hard with me. 

Why then Sir — it would go hard with every stranger 
in a strange country, for he has no character ; and it 
would go hard with eyery man who mig^t be unable to 
produce proof, though he had a good character ; and 
with every man who might be regarded as a profligate 
or a suspicious charater — as a cheat, or a jew, or a mis- 
believer. 

And what have such men to complain of? 

Judges — Fathers — I appeal to you. I have not 
much more to say, and what I have to say shall be said 
with a view to the case before you. I have always un- 
derstood that if a man be charged with a crime here, he 
is to be tried for that particular crime with 'which he is 
charged, and for no other till that be disposed of. I 
have always understood moreover, not only in your 
courts of law and by your books of law, but by the 
courts and by the books of which you are but a copy, 
that character is not to be put in issue as a crime be- 
fore you ; and that nobody is to be put to death or pun- 
ished merely because he may happen to have no char- 
acter at all — nor because he may have a bad one — 

You have understood no more than is true, said a 
judge. 

If so....allow me to ask why you and other judges are 
in the habit of punishing people of a bad aharacter.... 
nay of putting such people to death ...for doing that 
which, if it were done by people of good character, you 
would overlook or forgive ? 

How Sir....Do you pretend that we ever do such 
things ? 

I do.... Will you say that you do not ?.... * 

Yes....and waive the authority of a judge, and the ir- 
regularity of your procedure that you may reply. 
10» 



114 RACHEL DYEJi. 

Then....if what I hear is true....if it is law t meaii.... 
the judges before me will not regard cliaracter 1 

Why as to regarding character....that's another affair 
Mr. Burroughs.... 

I implore you take one side or- the other ! Say 

whether you do or do not regard character....! care not 
for the degree, nor do i care which side you take. For if 
you say that you do, then I say that you act in the teeth 
of all your professions ; for you declare in every shape^ 
every man of you, every day of your lives, that nobody 
shall be punished by law but for that which he has been 
charged with in due course of law....technically charged 
with and apprised of....and you never charge a man 
with having a bad character.... 

Well, then....suppo8Q we say that we do not regard 
character ? 

When character is not in issue, brother, added the 
chief-judge ; for it may be put in issue by the traverser— 
in which case we are bound to weigh the proof on both 
sides along with the jury. 

If you say that, in your character of judge....andif you 
are all agreed in saying that....Lo, I am prepared for 
you. 

We are agreed — we perceive the truth now. 

Lo, my answer ! — You have heard the whole of our 
case. You have heard all the witnesses for the crowD ; 
you have gathered all the proof. Now....bear with me, 
judges....bear with me.... what I say is a matter of life and 
death....we have no witnesscs....we have not put the char- 
acter of Martha in issue.. ..all that yoa know of her, you 
know from your witnesses, and they have not said a syl- 
lable touching her character. Now fathers ! and 

judges I....1 ask you if that proof, take it altogether, 
would be enough in your estimation, to prove....! beg 
you to hear me....would it be enough to convict any one 



KACUEL DYER. 115 

of your number, if he had no witness to speak for bira ? 

Ye are astounded ! Ye know not how to reply, nor 

bow to escape ; for ye know in your own souls that such 
proof....such proof and no more, would not be enough 
to convict any one of you in the opinion of the other six. 

Well Sir what then ? 

Why then Sir.«..then ye Judges — if that poor old wo- 
iban before you — if she be not on trial for character- 
on trial for that which has not been charged to her.... 
by what you have now said, she is free. Stand up, 
on your feet Martha ! stand up and rejoice ! By what 
ye have now said, ye judges, that poor. old woman hath 
leave to go free ! 

The judges were mute with surprise, and the lawyer 
started upon his feet and clapped Burroughs on the 
back, and stood rubbing his hands at the Attorney-gen- 
eral and making mouths at the jury — Capital !....Capi- 
tal !....never saw the like, faith — never, never....never 
thought of such a view myself....but I say though (in a 
whisper) you did begin to put her character in issue — 
tut — tut — ^yes you did, you rogue you....say nothin' — 
tut— tut- 
Say nothing Sir !-^— excuse me. If I have said that 
which is not true, I shall unsay it — 

Pooh, pooh....your argument's all the same, and be- 
sides, you did not go far enough to make Jerry Smith 
your witne8s....pooh, peoh — what a fool you are — 

But the judges recovered their self-possession, and 
laid their heads together and asked Burroughs if he had 
anything more to say. 

More to say — yes — much more— enough to keep you 
employed for the rest of your lives, ye bard-hearted in- 
accessible men ! What — are ye so bent upon mischief! 
Will ye not suffer that aged woman to escape the snare ! 
Ye carry me back all at once to the spot of which I 



116 RACHEL DYER. 

spoke. Ye drive me to the parable again. I saw the 
judges behave to their prisoner as I now see joii behave 
to yours ; and I would have cried out there as I do here, 
with a loud voice.... Are ye indeed the counsel for the 
prisoner ! — Why do ye not behave as other counsel do 1 
But when I looked up and beheld their faces, and about 
me, and beheld" the faces of the multitude, my courage 
was gone — I had no hope — my heart died away within 
me. They were as mute as you are — and their look was 
your look — ^a look of death. But where, said I, is the 
advocate for the prisoner ? why does he not appear 1 
He has none, was the reply. What, no^advocate, no 
lielp — there is a provision of your law which enables 
the very pauper to sue....I have heard so, and surely he 
is not so very poor, the man I see at the bar ; why do 
not the counsel that I see there unoccupied — why do 
they not offer to help him ? They are not paid Sir. 
Do they require pay before they will put forth a hand to 
save a fellow-creature from death 1 Of course. But 
why do not the court assign counsel to him ? — The re- 
ply there was the reply that you have heard here this 
day. The accused have no counsel in a matter of life 
and death... .it is only by courtesy that counsel are per- 
mitted even to address the court on a point of law, when 
they are employed by a prisoner. 

But why do I urge all this ? Are not we, and were 
not they, living in a land of mercy, a land remarkable 
for the humanity of her laws 1 Do not mistake me, 
fathers ! I would not that the guilty should escape.— I 
have no such desire. But I would have the innoeent 
safe, and I would have the guilty, yea the guiltiest in 
every case and everywhere, punished according to law. 
To know that a man has committed murder is not 
enough to justify you in taking his hfe— to see him do 
the deed with your own eyes, would net be enough to 



RACHEL DYER. 117 

justify you in putting him to death — wherefore it is that 
however certain the guilt of the accused, and however 
great his crime, he should have counsel.... 

Absurd ! — 

Yea— counsel, judge — counsel ! 

You would allow the guilty every possible chance of 
escape. 

Even so, judge f every possible chance of escape. ^^ 
For the guilty have some rights to guard — rights the . 
more precious for being so few, and for being in per- 
petual risk of outrage ; the more to be guarded Sir, be- 
cause they are the rights and the privileges of the wick* 
ed, who4iave nothing to hope from the public sympathy, 
no hope of pity, no hope of charity. Even so, Judge ! 
for the innocent are liable to appear otherwise. Even 
so — for till the trial lie over, how do we know who is 
guilty and who not ? How do we know — how is it pos- 
sible for us to know, till the accused have undergo ne 
their trial, whether they are, or are not unjustly charg* 
ed ? For the innocent as well as for tl|e guilty therefore, 
would I have counsel for the accused — ^yea, counsel, 
whatever were the charge, and however probable it 
might appear — nay the more, in proportion both to the 
probability and to the magnitude of the charge. 

A fine theory that Sir. You have been abroad to 
much ^rpose,'it would appear. 

Even so judge — even so. Such is my theory, and I 
have been abroad, I believe, to much purpose ; for if 
men are to die by the law, I would have them appear to 
die by the law. By the law, judge — not by popular ca- 
price, popular indignation or arbitrary yower. I would 
leave no ground for sorrow, none for self-reproach, none 
for misgiving, either to the public or to that portion of 
the public who have participated more immediately in 
the awful business of death. I would have no such case 



]1« RACHEL DYER. 

on record as that of Mary Dyer.... I would have no 
Elizabeth Hutchinson offered up — no such trials, no 
such graves, no such names for the people to be afraid 
of and sorry for, ages and ages after the death of a mis- 
erable infatuated woman — a prophetess or a witch, for- 
sooth — 

George Burroughs ! 

— ^A prophetess or a witch I say ! — after she has been 
put to death no man is able to say wherefore. 

George Burroughs ! 

Who speaks ? 

George Burroughs, beware ! cried a female who stood 
in a dark part of the house, with her head mufiled up— 
a deep shadow was about her and a stillness like death. 

I knew that voice — be of good cheer — I have nearly 
done, though not being used to unprepared public-speak- 
ing, I have said little that I meant to say, and mach 
that I did not mean to say ; hardly a word however 
even of that which I have said or meant to say, as I 
would say it, or as I could say it, if I had a little more 
experience—- or as I could say it now on paper. And if 
I feel this — I — who have grown up to a habit if not of 
speaking, at least of reading before a multitude ; I, who 
have been used from my youth up to arrange mj 
thoughts for the public eye, to argue and to persuade ; 
what must another, taken by surprise, wholly without 
such practice and power, what must he — or she— or 
that poor woman at the bar feel, were you to put her into 
my place, and urge her to defend herself to a jury ? 
Pity her.... I implore you....consider what I say and 
have mercy upon her ! — 

Before you sit down, brother B....what if you give us 
a word or two of the parallel you begun ? — I see the driA 
of it now — a word or two, you understand me — take • 
mouthful oVater — and if you could manage to slip in a 



RACHEL DYER. ll§ 

remark or two about the nature of the proof required in 
witchcraft, I'll be afler you in a crack, and we'll tire em 
out, if we can't do anything better. 

I will— be prepared though — for I shftll say but a word 
or two-r-I am weary ; sick and weary of this — my throat • 
is parched, and my very soul in a maze of perplexity. 

So much the better — they can't follow you on t'other 
side. 

Well, fathers ! I pursued the inquiry. I found that 
even there, no prisoner could have a compulsory proces^ 
to bring a witness /or him into court, although such pro- 
cess could be had, backed by the whole power of the 
country, to bring a witness against him. And I discov- 
ered also, that if a witness for the accused were so 
obliging as to appear, they would not suffer him to speak 
on oath. I turned to the officer — I take it, Sir, said I^ 
that in such a case, you have no punishment for untruth, 
and of course, that the witnesses for the wretched man 
at the bar are not so likely to be believed as the witness- 
es against hini....the latter being on oath ?....PreciseIy. 
But is he a lawyer 1 said L...Who ! the prisoner at the 
bar....Yes....A lawyer — no. Is he accustomed to pub- 
lic speaking? He....no, indeed!.... Nor' to close argu- 
ment, perhaps ? nor to a habit of arranging his ideas on 
paper 7....I dare say not, was the reply. It would be no 
easy matter for a man to preserve his selfpossession...* 
so at least I should suppose, however much he might be 
accustomed to public speaking ...if he were on trial 
himself, and obliged to defend himself ? 

There's an authority for you in the books, brother B. 
— ^The man who appeareth for himself, (in a loud voice) 
for himself, saith my lord..... Coke, hath a fool for his 
client.... 

Saith Lord Coke, hey ? 

Poeh, pooh, (in a whisper) pooh, pooh ; never mind 



120 RACHEL DFER. 

who says it ; give it for his, aad let them s!iow the con* 
trary, if they are able. 

But if it be a case of life and death — where great cool- 
ness and great precision were needed at every step, he 
would be yet more embarrassed ? No doubt. And is 
not the prosecutor a very able man ? Very, Sir — very. 
Chosen for that office, out of a multitude of superior men 
altogether on account of his ability ? Very true, Sir- 
very true — on account of his ability and experience at 
the bar. And yet, Sir, said I — if 1 understand you, that 
poor fellow there, who is now in such grevious trepida- 
tion, so weak that he can hardly stand— his color coming 
and going with every breath, his throat and mouth and 
lips dry with excessive anxiety, his head inclined as if 
with a continual ringing in his ears — if I understand you, 
said I, he is now called up to defend himself, to make 
speecli tor speech before a jury, against one of your 
most able and eloquent speakers ; a man whose reputa. 
tion is at stake on the issue — a man who— if he be 
thawurted in his way, by a witness, or a fact, or a speech, 
or a point of law, will appear to regard the escape of 
the prisoner, whatever he may be charged with, and 
whether he be innocent or guilty, as nothing better than 
a reproach to the law, and high treason to the state — a 
man, to say all in a word, who dares to behave in a court 
of justice — in a matter of life and death too-^as if the 
escape of a prisoner were Jisliyalty to the king— -our 
fathnr ! and a disgrace ti> tiio king's Attorney-general — 

Will yon have done, Sir ? 

No....n»>... no !....y!r;// have no power to stop me. The 
jury could not agree. Two of their number were un- 
willing to find the accused guilty. They were sent back 
— it was in the dead of winter, and they were allowed 
neither food, nor fire — and so, after a while thej were 
starved and frozen into unanimity — 



RACHEL DTER. m 

Grant me patience ! what would you have, Sir ? — ^you 
appear to be satisfied with nothing — I believe in my soul, 
George Burroughs, that you are no better than a Re- 
former — 

A shudder ran through the whole court. 

Here was a pretty illustration of what I had been told 
by you, and by such as you, and of what I believed be- 
fore 1 went abroad, about the humanity of the law — the 
humanity of British law ! of that very law that ye are « 
now seeking to administer here, in this remote corner 
of the earth. Ye are amazed — ^ye do not believe me— 
and yet every word I have spoken is true ; and that 
which is law there, ye would make law here. The 
judges, we are told, are of counsel for the prisoner — 
God preserve me from such counsel, I say ! 

Five and one are six — siz-and-sizpence, muttered a 
voice. 

They never interfered while I was there, in favor of 
the prisoner ; but they did interfere two or three times, 
and with great acuteness too, for it was a trial of wit 
among three, to his disadvantage, even as ye have this 
day. The accused are held to be innocent there, even 
as they are here, till they are proved to be guilty — so 
say the lawyers there, and so say the judges, and so say 
all the writers on the law, and so they believe, I dare say. 
And yet«...there as here, the man who happens to be 
suspected of a crime is held to be....not innocent of the 
charge, but guilty, and is called upon to prove his inno» 
cence; which if he fail to do, judgment follows, and after 
two or three days, it may be, deatB. He had no coun- 
sel permitted to him where his life was at stake, though 
he might have had the best in the whole empire in a 
civil case affecting property to the value of a few pounds. 
He had no power to bring witnesses. ...the law would not 
allow him witnesses therefore..«.and if they appeared im 
11 



ata, RACHEL DY£R. 

spite of the law, that law put a disqualification upon 
whatever they said in favor of the prisoner. And after all 
tfai8....0 the humanity of the law !....the jury, a part of 
whom believed him to be innocent were starved ii^o 
finding him guilty. What was I to think of all this 1 
what of British law — ^that very law by authority whereof, 
ye are now trying that woman for her life — what of the — 

Here Burroughs dropped into a chair completely out 
of breath. 

Have you done Sir ? said the chief judge. 

He signified by a motion of the head that he must 
give up. 

Very well Sir — ^You cannot say that we have not 
heard you patiently ; nor that we have hurried the case 
of the prisoners at the bar, whatever else you may think 
proper to say. You have had such liberty as we never 
granted before, as we shall never grant again ; you have 
had full swing Sir — full swing, and would have been 
stopped a good hour ago but for the deplorable situation of 
the accused. To tell you the plain truth however — ^I did 
hope — I did hope I say, that we should hear something-— 
something to the purpose, before you gave the matter up— 

Something to the purpose, judge ! — Have a care — you 
know me— 

Silence ! 

Judge— judsre — I have said more than you six will 
erer be able to answer, though you keep your heads to- 
gether to all eternity — How can you answer what I saj ? 

How — in five words.... 

In five words ! 

I ask no more to satisfy all that hear me — raj breth- 
ren of the bench, the bar, and the people-— but five 
words, I tell you. 

And what are they, I do beseech you ?.... 

TAf— •irtM£(mi---^-«M(iw.aii(Bei<0r5. 



CHAPTER X. 



Here the lawyer started up, and after prevailing upon 
Burroughs to forbear and be still, argued (with his fact 
to the jury) five or six points of law, as he called them, 
every one of which had been argued over and over again 
at every trial of a serious charge that be had ever been 
occupied with in the whole course of a long life at the 
bar....four being about the propriety of capital panish- 
ments in general, and two about the propriety of capital 
punishments in the particular case of the prisoner at the 
bar — whom he protested before God (for which he had 
to pay thirteen-pence more) he believed to be innocent 
of the charge — and what was that charge ? — nothing 
more nor less than the charge of sorcery and witchcraft ! 
— a crime, the very possibility of which, he proceeded to 
deny, in the rery language he had used about a twelve- 
month before, while arguing about the impossibility of 
marriage in a particular case. 

Brother — brother — we do not sit here to try the j^os- 
sibility of such a thing as witchcraft — please to consider 
where you are, and what we are. 

Speech after speech followed ; and it was near mid- 
night, when the chief judge, after consulting with his 
brethren, proceeded to address the jury. 

Ye have heard much that in our opinion does not need 
a reply, said he, after taking a general view of the case, 
with much that a brief reply may be sufficient for, and a 
very little, which, as it may serve to perplex you, if we 



124 RACHEL DYER. 

pass it over without notice, we shall say a few words 
i^n, though it has little or nothing to do with the case 
before you. 

The law you have nothing to do with....right or wrong, 
wise or foolish, you have nothing to do with the law. 
So too..«.whatever may be the practice abroad or in this 
country, and whatever may be the hardship of that prac- 
tice, you have nothing to do with it. One is the basi- 
aess of the legi8latttre....of the law -makers ; the other 
the business of the courts, and the judges....the law-ex- 
pounders. You are to try a particular case by m partic- 
ular law ; to that, your whole attention is to be directed. 
If the law be a bad law, that is neither your business nor 
our business. We and you are to do our duty, and leave 
theirs to the sovereign legislature. 

I propose now to recapitulate the evidence, which I 
have taken notes of — should I be wrong, you will eor^ 
rect me. After I have gone through with the evidence, 
I shall offer a few brief remarks in reply to the argu- 
ments which have been crowded into the case — ^I will 
not say for show — and which, idle as they are, would 
seem to have had weight with you. 

The afflicted, you observe, do generally testify that the 
shape of the prisoner doth oftentimes pinch them, choke 
them, and Qtherwise afflict them, urging them always to 
write in a book she bears about with her. And yoo ob- 
serve too, that the accusers were struck down with a fit 
before you, and could not rise up till she was ordered to 
touch them, and that several of their number have had 
fits whenever she looked upon them. 

But we are to be more particular, and I shall now 
read my notes, and I pray you to follow me. 

1. Deliverance Hobbs, who confessed herself a witch, 
testified that the prisoner tempted her to sign the book 
again, and to deny what she had confessed ; and thai 



UACHEL DYER. lUS 

the shape of the prisoner whipped her wilh iron rods to 
force her to do so, and that the prisoner was at a gener- 
al meeting of witches at a field near Salem Tillage, and 
there partook of the sacrament with them. 

2. John Cook testified that about five or six years ago, 
he was assaulted with the shape of the prisoner in his 
chamber, and so terrified that an apple he had in his 
hand flew strangely from him into his mother's lap, six 
or eight feet distance. 

3. Samuel Gray testified that about fourteen years ago, 
he waked one night and saw his room full of light and a 
woman between the cradle and bednBide ; he got up but 
found the doors fast, and the apparition ranished — how* 
ever the ishild was so frighted, that it pined away and in 
some time died. He confessed that he had never seen 
the prisoner before, but was now satisfied that it was her 
apparition. 

4. John Bly and his wife testified that he bought a 
sow of the prisoner's husband, but being to pay the 
money to another, she was so angry that she quarrelled 
with Bly, and soon after the sow was taken with strange 
fits, jumping, leaping and knocking her head against 
the fence which made the witnesses conclude the priso- 
ner had bewitched it. 

5. Richard Coman testified that eight years ago, he 
was terrified with the spectre of the prisoner and oth- 
ers, who so oppressed him in his bed that he could not 
stir hand nor foot, but calling up somebody to come to 
his assistance, as soon as the people of the house spoke, 
the spectre vanished and all was quiet. 

6. Samuel Shattock testified that in 1680 (twelve 
years before the trial) the prisoner oflen came to hif 
house on frivolous errands, soon after which his child 
was taken with strange fits, and at last lost his under- 
standing; the fits were manifestly epileptic, but the 

1 1 



1S6 RACHEL Dir£R, 

witness verily believed it was bewitched by the prisoner. 

7. John Londor testified that upon some little contro- 
versy with the prisoner about her fowls, going well to 
bed, he awoke in the night and saw the likeness of this 
woman greviously oppressing him. Another time he 
was troubled with a black pig, but going to kick it, it 
vanished. Another time as he was sitting in hii room, 
a black hobgobling jumped in the room, which spoke 
to him these words — I understand you are troubled in 
mind : Be ruled by me and you shall want nothing in 
this world. But when he endeavored to strike it, there 
was nothing. After this he ran out of his house mod 
saw the prisoner in her orchard, but had no power to 
speak to her, but concluded his trouble was all owing 
to her. 

8. William Stacy testified that the spectre of the 
prisoner had played him several pranks of the same 
nature as the former; for example — having received 
some money of the prisoner for work, he had not gone 
above three rods from her when it was gone from him ; 
some time af^er, discoursing with the prisoner about 
grinding her grist, he had not gone above six rods from 
her with a small load in his cart, before the off-wheel 
sunk into a hole in plain ground, so that the deponent 
was forced to get help for the recovery of it* but step- 
ping back to look for the hole, there was none to be 
found. Another time, as he was going home on a dark 
night, he was lifted up from the ground and thrown 
against the stone wall, and after that, he was boiated op, 
and thrown down a bank at the end of his house. 

9. John and William Bly testified that being employ- 
ed by the prisoner to take down her cellar-wall, thej 
found several poppets made of rags and hog's bristlest 
with headless pins in them, the points being outwards. 

In addition to all this, continued the chief-judge, you 



RACHEL DYER. i£7 

have the testimony of Mr. Park, the magistrate, who 
says that when her Paris's daughter and two other chil- 
dren accused the prisoner at the bar of afflicting them, 
by biting, pricking, strangling, &,c. saying that they 
saw her likeness in their fits, coming toward them and 
bringing them a book to sign, he asked her why she af- 
flicted those poor children — to which she repHed that 
she did not ; and that when he asked her who did then ? 
she answered she did not know — 

Burroughs groaned aloud. 

— You will observe her answer, gentlemen of the ju- 
ry....she did not know, but thought they were poor dis- 
tracted creatures, whereupon the afflicted said that the 
Black man was whispering in her ear and that a yel- 
low-bird which used to suck between her fingers was 
now there ; and orders being given to see if there was 
any sign, a girl said, it is now too late for she has re- 
moved a pin and put it on her head ; and upon search 
there was found a pin sticking upright there. He testi- 
fies too that when Mrs. Gory had any motion of her 
body the afflicted would cry out, when she bit her lip 
they would cry out of beipg bitten, and if she grasped 
one hand with the other they would cry out of being 
pinched. 

You will observe too that a jury of women who were 
empanelled to search her body, testify one and all 
that they found a preternatural teat upon her body ; 
but upon a second search three or four hours after, there 
was none to be found. 

Thus much for the eridence, gentlemen of the jury ; 
I proceed now to remark on what has been urged for 
the — officer — officer....look to your prisoner ! 

O, I am so tired and so sleepy ! said Martha a getting 
up, and trying to pass the sheriff, who stood by her with 
a drawn sword. Let me go, will you ! — get out o' the 



U8 RACHEL DYER. 

way and let me go — what's the use o' keeping me here; 
I've told 70U all 't I know o' the job. Do let poor Mar- 
tha go ! 

Gracious God ! — Father of Love ! cried Burroughs, 
what an appeal to the executioners of the law ! Did 
you not hear it, ye judges ? Do you not see her now, 
tottering away....the poor bewildered creature. 

Have done Sir. 

Dear brother — if we are wise we shall be not be strict 
with him here — let us give the world nothing to complain 
of, our duty require it, policy requires it — ah ! 

Prisoner at the bar — go back to your seat : Officer 
— officer — 

She don't hear a word you say, Mr. Judge. 

Martha Cory — Martha ! 

Well, here I be. Mister Capun Sewall ; what d'ye 
want o' me 1 
. Go back to your seat, Martha. 

Back there ? — I shall not — 

Officer ! 

The officer took her by the arm to lead her back. 

Gently there — gently — gently. 

There now ! cried Martha, in a peevish, queralooa 
tone— There now ; dropping into the seat with her arms 
a-kimbo, and poking out her chin at the officer. There 
now ; I hope that'll satisfy you — 

Gentlemen of the jury, pursued the judge ; You have 
now the evidence before you. You have gone through 
the whole proof with me, step by step — ^it is for you to 
say what is the value of that proof- 
Proof, cried Burroughs — proof! taking away hit 
hands from his pale face — and speaking through hit 
shut teeth. Call you that proof which proves nothing 1 
that which relates to things that occured, if they ever 
occurred at all, years and years ago ? that which it only 



RACHEL DfER. 1S9 

m sort of guess-work ? that which relates to transactions 
which the poor soul does not appear to have had either 
voice or part in t 

Bravely said, Greorge Burroughs — hrmely put, cried 
afemale, who stood in the dark part of the house. 

Such trivial matters too^-so trivial that we should 
mock at them, but for the hfe we lead here, surrounded 
by savages, and by death in every shape, and by woods 
and waters that were never yet explored by man ; beset 
on every side by a foe that never /sleeps ; afar and away 
from succor and liable to be surprised every hour of the 
day and every hour of the night, and butchered among 
our babes and our household-gods^ Proof, say you 1 — 
can that be proof, I appeal to you judges — ^that which, 
however false it may be, or however mistaken by 
the witnesses, cannot, in the very nature of things, be 
explained away nor contradicted ; that which calls upon 
a poor creature worn out with age and misery — an idiot 
— for of a truth she is little better — ^I pray you judges— • 
I pray you — on me let your displeasure fall ; not on 
her — I will abide your wrath — I see it in your eyes — 
but I pray you — I beseech you — can that be proof, that 
which calls upon a prisoner in such a case to go through 
the whole history of her life— hour by hour — step by 
step. Nay, speak to me ! — By your oaths, answer me ! 
By your oath here, and by your hope hereafter, may 
you call upon her, in a matter of life and death, to do 
this ? And not only to do this, but to account for the epi- 
lepsy of a babe 1 for the dreams, the diseases, the very 
night-mares of them that now accuse her ? 

If you do not stop Sir, we shall have to commit you. 

Commit me if you dare ! You have made me coun- 
sel for the prisoner, and whatever may be the courtesy 
of the bar, whatever you may expect — and whatever 
may become of me— or of you— I shall not throw a 



I 



130 RACHEL DTER. 

chance away. He proceeded to review the whole of the 
evidence with a vigor and propriety which after a while 
rose up in judgment against him, as if it were saperaat- 
ural ; he then argued upon the nature of the crime — 
saying it was a charge easily made but hard to disprove, 
and that it would require one to be a witch to prove that 
she was not guilty of witchcraft- 
Beware of that man, said the chief judge, withamys* 
terious look. Beware, I tell you ; for whoever he may 
be, and whatever he may be, he will be sure to lead yoa 
astray, if you are not upon your guard. 

Lo,the counsel for the prisoner! Le the homanity of 
the law ! cried Burroughs. Who could do more? — I ap- 
peal to you, ye men of Massachusetts-Bay— ^uld the 
prosecutor himself— could anybody on earth— in aid 
of the prisoner at the bar 1 — Put upon your guard in that 
way, against the power and art of another — if yon art 
not men of a marvellous courage indeed— of heroie 
probity — it would be impossible for hira to convince yea, 
however true were his argument, however conclusive bii 
facts. 

Very true, whispered the foreman of the jury, load 
enough to be overheard by a judge, who rebuked hun 
with great asperity. 

Whatever I might say, therefore — however true it 
might be, and however wise, after that speech,you would 
not venture to heed me— you could not — such a thing 
were too much to hope for — unless you were indeed, ev- 
ery man of you, far, far superior to the race of men 

that are about and above you 

Talk of art, said the chief judge, in dipm.iv. Talk 
of address after that i vvho ever heard of '^^ i* m art — ^who 
ever hoard of such a<1«Kef>s before 1 

Wh*it a com|)hnit'!:i for your undersiiMi.. ua ! — ^But I 
do not give up in Jcbpair— I shall say the little that I now 



RACHEL DYER. 181 ^ i 

have to say, and leave you to decide between us — ^if I pre- \ 

vail, you may have courage enough perhaps to acquit the 

prisoner, though you are sneered at by the judges. ^ 

He proceeded with fresh vigor, and concluded the 
^ work of the day with a speech that appears to have been 
regarded by the court and the peopie as above the abih- { 

Xy of man. He spoke to the multitude, to the judges, to [ 

the bar, to the jury — man by man — saying to each with 
a voice and a power that are spoken of still by the pos- | ' 

terity of them that were there You have heard the u 

whole evidence. — You — you alone, Sir, that I speak too ;■ 

now, are to decide upon the life or death of the prisoner. \ 

You alone, Sir I and mark me if.....though you are but ! * 

one of the twelv^ who are to decide....if you decide for : 

death....observe whatIsay....ifyou so decide Sir, as one ^ 

of the twelve....when, if you knew that her Hfe depended 

upon you alon6, you would have decided otherwise, 

mark me....her blood shall be upon your head....her 

death at your door !....at yours — and yours — and yours 

— though each o^ you be but one of the twelve. 

Hear me. I address myself to you, John Peabody. 
Are you prepared to say — would you «ay — guiUy, if her 
life depended upon you, and upon you alone ? — if you 
were her only judge ? — Think of your death-bed — of the 
Judge whom you are to meet hereafter, you that have so 
much need of mercy hereafter — ask yourselves what 
harm would follow her acquital, even though she were 
guilty. Then ask yourself what would be your feelings 
if you should ever come to know that you have put her 
to death wrongfully....So say I to you, Andrew ElHot.... 
Her life depends upon you — upon you alone ! You are 
in fact her only judge— for you— or you— or you '—or ^ 

either of you may save her, and if you do not, her blood 
will be required hereafter at your hands — at the hands 
of each of you— —I have done. 



ii 



(' 



' i" 



CHAPTER XI. 



The chief judge would not reply — could not perhaps, 
till after he and his brothers had prayed together ; and 
when he did speak, he spoke with a subdued voice, 
like one troubled with fear. 

Gentlemen of the jury, said he ; I have but a few 
words to urge in reply. 

1. You have been told that one should be a witch to 
prove that she is not guilty of witchcraft. I admire the 
ingenuity of the speaker ; but my answer is, that by the 
same rule, a man should be a wizard to prove that he is 
not a manslayer — he being j^roved a manslayer. And 
yet, being proved a manslayer, we put him to death. So 
here — being proved a witch, if you are satisfied by the 
proof, we put the prisoner to death, even though it would 
require the exertion of diabolical power to overthrow the 
proof. 

2. You are told by one speaker that we are prone to 
believe in the marvellous ; and that, therefore, when a 
marvellous thing is related, we ought to be on our guard 
against that proneness to belief, and require more 
proof. Now it appears to me that if we are prone to 
a belief in the marvellous, instead of requiring more 
proof to witchcraft, we should require less. For why 
require much, if less will do ? 

3. But by another, it has been said that we are rwt 
prone to belief in the marvellous ; that on the contrary, 
so prone are we to disbelieve in what may appear mar- 

12 



1S4 RACHEL DYER. 

vellous, that proof, which we would be satisfied with in 
the ordinary affairs of life, we should pay no regard to, 
if it were adduced in favor of what we consider preter- 
natural ; and that therefore in the case you are now to 
try, you should require more proof than you would in 
support of a charge not marvellous. To which we re- 
ply — that where you have the same number of witnes- 
ses, of the same character, in support of a marvellous 
charge, you actualli/ have more proof, than you would 
have in the like testimony of the same witnesses, to a 
charge not marvellous. And why ? — Because by the 
supposition of the speaker, as they are prone to a du" 
heUef in the marvellous, they would have required much 
proof, and would not have been persuaded to believe 
what they testify to, but upon irresistable proof— mere 
proof than would have satisfied them in the ordinarj 
affairs of life. 

4. It has been said morever — that the greater the 
crime charged, the more incredible it is ; that great 
crimes are perpetrated less frequently than small ones ; 
and that, therefore, more proof should be required of 
parricide than of theft. Our reply to which is, thai if a 
witness declare to a parricide on oath, you ktwe m&rt 
proof than you would have to a thefl sworn to by the 
very same witness ; that, if the greater the crime, the 
less credible it is, you are bound to attach more value to 
his testimony where he testifies to parricide than where 
he testifies to theft. And why ? — Because, the greater 
the crime charged, the greater the crime of the witness 
if he charge falsely ; and therefore the less likely is it, 
by the supposition, that he does charge falsely. 

But here I would have you observe that proof is proof, 
and that after all, the proof which at law or otherwise 
would be enoui^h to establish one charge, would be 
enough to establish any other. la eferj case you are to 



RACHEL DYER. 135 

be satisfied — jon are to believe : and in the ease now 
before you, perhaps it may be well for you to look upon 
the two improbabilities which I have now spoken of, as 
neutralizing each other. If witchcraft is incredible 
— it is incredible also that one should falsely charge 
another with witeheraft* 

5. It has been said too that the witnesses contradict 
each other. Be it so. I confess that I see no such con- 
tradiction — ^but if I did, I might be called upon to say 
that perjured witnesses are remarkable for the plausi- 
bility and straight-forwardness of their stories ; and that 
such plausibility and straight-forwardness are now re- 
garded, like unanimity, as a sign of bad-faith by judges 
of experience. You are to be told moreover, that where 
slight contradictions appear in what may be said by 
several witnesses to the same fact, such contradictions 
area sign of good-faith ~ showing that no preconcerted 
story has been told. I might refer, and I may venture 
to do so perhaps, in a matter of such awful moment, to 
the gospels in proof. It is a mighty argument for their 
truth my friends, that no two of them perfectly agree — 
_iio two of the whole as they could have agreed, if, as 
there have been people wicked enough to say (though 
not to believe) they had been prepared for deception 
by a body of conspirators ♦ 

Brother — ^brother — put off thy shoes....the ground is 
holy — said Governor Phips. 

I have....I have — 

The people groaned aloud. 

If you were called upon, each of you,five years from 

to-day, to give a particular account of what you now 
see and hear, and if each of you depended upon himself, 
your stories would be unlike ; but if you consulted to- 
gether, your stories would be sure to approximate. So 
much for this head. 



13& RACHEL DYER. 

6. 1 have gone so far as to saj that proof is proofs what- 
e?er may be the case ; but I do not say that you are^to 
require at any time, in any case, more proof than the 
nature of the case will admit of. In other words, you 
are not to insist upon the same sort and degree of proof 
in every case. You are to be satisfied with such proof 
as you can get — if you suppose that none better is left 
behind. So says the law — 

Nonsense — for if that rule is good, you might prove 
any-thing — hy any thing, said Burroughs. 

Be quiet Sir....few people see spectres ; and witches 
will do their mischief, not in the light of day, and be- 
fore a multitude, but afar and apart from all but their 
associates. You are to be satisfied with less proof there- 
fore in such a case, than it would be proper and rea- 
sonable for you to require in a case of property— 

And if so — why not in murder ?....murders being per- 
petrated afar and apart from the world — 

Peace I bid you...Having — 

How dare ypu ! 

— Having disposed of what has been urged respeet- 
ing the proof, gentlemen of the jury, I should now leave 
the case with you, but for a remark which fell from a 
neighbour a few minutes ago. Doctor Mather will now 
touch upon what I would gladly pass over — ^the growth 
aad origin of the evil wherewith we are afflicted. 

Here a man of majestic presence of about %Stf jrears 
of age arose, and laying aside his hat, and smoothing 
away a large quantity of thick glossy hair, which part- 
ing on l^s forehead, fell in a rich heavy mass upon his 
broad shoulders, prayed the jury and his brethren of 
the church to bear with him for a few moments ; he 
should try to be very brief. Brother Gebrge — he did 
not question his motive he said, hut brother George 
Burroughs would have you believe tha^^ witches and wiv 



RACHEL DYER. IfiZ 

ards are no longer permitted upon our earth ; and that 
sorcery, witchcraft, and spells are done with. 

Whereto I repl7....Fir8t — that there has been hitherto 
throughout all ages and among every people, and is 
now a general,if not a universal, belief in witchcraft and 
so forth. Now if such universality of belief respecting 
the appearance of departed souls after death, has been, 
as it certainly has, a great argument for the immortality 
of the soul with such as never heard of the Scriptures 
of Truth, I would ask why a like universality of belief 
respecting witchcraft and sorcery should be thought of 
no value, as an argument ? Every where the multitude 
believe in witchcraft or in that which is of a piece with 
it. Spirits and fairies, goblins and wizards, prophets 
and witches, astrologers and soothsayers are found 
mixed up with the traditionary love and the religious 
faith of every people on earth, savage and civilized — (so 
far as we know, I should say) ;— with that of people who 
inhabit the isles of the sea, afar and apart from each 
other and from all the rest of the world. I speak advis- 
edly. They believe in spirits, and they believe in a 
future state — ^in sorcery and immortality. The wild 
Irish have what they call their banshees, and the Scotch 
their second-sight, and the French their loup-garoux, or 
men turned into wolves — and so also have the Irish ; 
and a pait of our jocular superstition is the posterity of 
tliat which existed among the the terrible Goths. Ma- 
ria — a word that we hear from the lips of the idle and 
profane, before they have got reconciled to the whole- 
some severity of our law, was in old Runic a goblin 
that seized upon the sleeper and took away all power 
of motion. Old Nicka too — he that we are in the 
liabit of alluding to, in a grave way, as Old Nick, was a 
sprigbt who used to strangle such as fell into the water. 
JSo— was a fierce Gothic captain, the warlike son of 
12» 



188 RACHEL DYEfc 

Odin, whose name was made use of iii battte to SGtife $i 
surprised enemy. Every where indeed, and with erery 
people, earth sea and air have beeti crowded with spec- 
ters, and the overpeopled sky with mij^hty shadows — ^I 
do not know a 

Here the great black horse which Burroughs had left 
underneath a tree, trotted up to the very door, and 
stood still, with the reigns, afloat upon his neck, and 
thurst his head in over the heads of the people, who 
gave way on every side, as he struck his iron hoofs onr 
the step, and for a second or two there was a dead qniet 
over the whole house. The speaker stopped and ap- 
peared astonished, for the eyes of the animal in the 
strong light of the torches, were like two halls of fire, 
and his loose main was blowing forward in the draught 
of the door, so as actually to sound aloud. 

Why do you stop — what are you afraid of, IX>ctor 
Mather 1 Not afraid of old Pompey are you 1 

Had n't you better tie him up ? a^ked a judge. 

No— I have something else to do, but I desire that 
somebody at the door will. But nobody would go near 
the creature. 

— History abounds with proof, I say, respecting witeb- 
craft and sorcery, witches and wizards, inagic, spells 
and wicked power. If we put all trust in the records 
of history for one purpose, why not for another 1 If a 
witness is worthy of belief in one thing — why is he not 
another ? If we find no treachery nor falsehood in a 
writer ; if we meet with nothing but confirmation of 
what he says, when we refer toother writers of the same 
people and age, why disbelieve him when he speaks of 
that which, being new to our experience, we cannot be 
able to judge of? Able and pious men should be tmst- 
ed, whatever they may say, so long as they are not eon- 
tradicted by other able and pious men — 



RACHEL DTER. 19» 

We are to beliefs not 00I7. in witchei then, but in 
fairies and loups-garoux— 

Be qniet Sir — 

Soflljr judge.... And we are to believe that he who in 
the coarse of a tale about the ordinary affairs of ordi- 
nary life — 

Hare done Sir. 

— Testifies to a miracle, should be credited as much 
for what he says of the miracle as for the rest of the — 

Be quiet Sir. 

— 'As for the rest of the tale....You cannot escape me 
brother — 

Will you be quiet Sir ? 

No. 

— The Bibie is crowded with proof, continued the 
Doctor. Sootb-sayers and sorcerers, interpreters of 
dreams, false-^prophets, and a witch with power to make 
the grave and the sea give up their dead ; men whose 
little rods became live serpents while they strove with 
Aaron the High-priest, multitudes who were clothed 
with a mischievous power... .all these are spoken of in 
the Bible. 

It has been said here that credulity is a sign of igno- 
rance. It may be so, my dear friends — but you must 
know as well as I do, that incredulity is everywhere 
found among the ignorant. Able men believe much, 
because they are able men. The weak disbelieve much 
because they are weak. Who are they that laugh when 
they hear that our earth is a globe, and that once in ev- 
ery twenty-four hours, it turns completely round under- 
neath our feet — 

Much whispering here, and a look of surprise on every 
Bide of the speaker, encouraged him to a more emphatic 
delivery. 
Who are they that refuse to believe much that the 



IM RA€HEL BTEK. 

leaned mmd tke wise, fiirtiftihj u their wiadoai W tli« 
beutj of k^bmtam^ and the ^nritj of age, are itcad- 
fiudj aamed of ! The trath is that 9MtTWH^aarj 
minds hate a coora^ that ordtnarr minds hare not— 
for tbej dare to believe what maj expose them to rtdi- 
cule. The lon^r we kre and the more we know. tM 
more aanired we are that impossible things are posn- 
ble— 

To be sure Doctor, said a jadge. 

— ^Tlia: nothing is impossible therefore....Xow, mj 
friends of the jnrr — it appears to me that if witchcrai 
kad been a common thing with ererj people, and in al 
ages, we coold not possiblr ha^e had more evidence if 
it, than we hare now. We hire the records of Hista- 
rjssacred as well as profane. We ha?e a great body if 
laws, made year at\er jear, among the most enlighten* 
ed people that ever inhabited the earth, about coDJwa- 
tions, spells and wicehraft« and this, in all parts of thi 
globe and especial (j in the land of onr Fathers; judg- 
ment of death, day after daj, and year after jear» ■■- 
der that law ; coafe;»ions without number by people 
charged with sorcerr and witchcraft, not onlj in vmii- 
ous parts of England, but bj our very fire-sides and at 
our Terj doors. Added to all this, we have the nniYeisal 
faith of which 1 spoke, and altogether, a bodj of prool^ 
which if it be tjabo woald be more wonderful thai 
witchcraft t i 

Truc^unw tbardtllT and wonderfully true, brother. 

— But if meh thuig^ art elsewhere whj ma/ they not 
be here ? If they have been heretofore^ why may they 
not be now, ant' fbrerer ? We do not know, worms that 
we are, how the Lord God of UeaTen aod earth ope- 
rates in His pavillion of thick darkness — we do not 
kuow whether he will or will not work in a gi?en way. 
We only know that he may do whatever he wilK...tbtt 



RACHEL DYER. 141 

for Him there is no such law as the law of nature. A 

And if so, why may not witchev be employed as the I 

wicked are, as great warriors are, for scourging the na> 
tions of our earth, and for the glory of our Father abore. 
— Let us pray. 

Prayer followed, and afler the prayer, the multitude 
sung a psalm together, and the jury withdrew. 

They were not gone long, and when they came back 
there was but just light enough to see their faces. Not 
a breath could be heard....not a whisper — and the fore« 
man stood up and was about to speak in the name of 
the twelve, when Burroughs, who could bear it no lon« 
ger, leaped upon his feet, and turned to the jury with 
tenfold power, and gasping for breath, called upon each 
man by name, as he hoped for mercy hereafter, to speak 
for himself. i 

Brother Burroughs! 

Brother Moody — 

Be quiet Master Burroughs. 

I will not be quiet. Master Judge — 

Officer ! 

I will not be quiet I say ! And hereafter you will re- 
member my words, and if they prevail with you, men 
of Massachusetts-Bay, ye will be ready to cry out for 
joy that I was not brow-beaten by your looks; nor scar- 
ed by your threats — 

Have done Sir. — ^Do your duty Master High-Sheriff. * 

— Begone Sir. Touch me if you dare. — You see 
this staff. — You know something of me end of my ways. \ 

— Touch me if you dare. What I have to say shall be 
said, though I die for it. By our Soverign Lord and 
Master and Mary his Queen, I charge you to hear me ! 
You are sheddins^ the blood of the innocent ! You are 
driving away the good and the brave by scores from the 
land ! You are saying to people of no courage, as to 



142 RACHEL DYER. 

that poor woman there — as I lire she is fast asleep— ^ 
asleep !...while that grej-headed man who stoops over 
her is about to pronounce the judgment of death apqn 
her — 

Wake the prisoner....what, ho, there ! cried the chief 
judge. 

The officer went up to poor Martha and shook her ; 
but she did not appear to know where she was, and fell 
asleep again with her little withered hands crossed in 
her lap. 

You are saying to her and such as her....Confe8S and 
jou are safe. Deny, and you perish — 

To the point Mr. Burroughs.. ..We are tired of this; 
we have put up with enough to-day — 

I will. I demand of you judges that you call upon 
every man there in that box to say, each man for him- 
self, whether it be his opinion that Martha Cory should 
suffer death. I toiU have it so....I toiU have it on recor4 
— I will not permit a man of the twelve in such a case 
to hide himself under the cloak of the majority- 
It cannot be m aster Burroughs — ^it cannot be--moeh a 
thing was never heard of....gentlemen of the jury, look 
upon the prisoner. 

Hear me but a word more ! I see death in the very 
eyes of the jury — I see that we have no hope. Hear 
me nevertheless.. ..hear me for a minute or two, and I 
will go away from you forever — 
Let us hear him, said another judge. 
I proved to you the other day that an accuser hai 
perjured herself in this court, before your faces, ye 
mighty and grave men. What was my reward ? Ton 
gave judgment of death on the accused — ^You let the 
accuser go free — I see that accuser now. What will 
he said of your justice at home, if you permit her ta 



RACHEL BYER. 148 

escape 1 Will the judges of England forget you 1 or 
the majesty of England forgive you 1 — 

The horse at the door began to grow impatient-^ 
snorting and striking with his feet. 
—Ye know that the knife was a forgery; and the 
sheet which has made so much taljk here, why even that 
was a 

He stopped short, and looking at a female who sat 
near him, appeared to lose himself entirely, and forget 
what he was going to say. 

Well Sir 

Excuse me....I....I....excuse me....although I have no 
doubt of the fact, although as I hope to see the face of 
my Redeemer, I do believe the story of the sheet and 
the story of the &pindle, to be of a piece with the story 
of the knife ; a trick and a forgery, yet — ^yet — 

Here he made a sign to the female, as if to encourage 
her. 

— ^Yet I dare not say nowy I dare not say herCf on 
what my belief is founded. But hear me....they talk of 
teeth and of whole sets of teeth being discoverable by 
the prints which appear in their flesh. How does it 
happen I pray you that all these marks turn out to be 
on parts of the body which might be bitten by the af- 
flicted themselves ? And how does it happen, I pray 
you, that instead of corresponding teeth, or sets of teeth 
being found in the accused, ye have repeatedly found 
her as now, without a tooth in her head ? Nay....how 
does it happen that Abigail Paris and Bridget Pope, 
who are indeed sufferers by a strange malady, babes 
that are innocent as the dove, I am sure....6od forbid 
that I should lay the mischief at their door — 

Seven and seven pence — muttered the man, who kept 
an account of the oaths. 

How dees it happen I say,that of all the accusers 



144 RACHEL DTER. 

they and they alone have escaped the mark of the teeth ? 
How {....because they alone speak the truth ; becauae 
they are the deceived....we know not how, judges, bat 
in a fearful way. They are deceiYed....poor childreD, 
but they do not seek to deceive others. Nor do they 
lie in wait for a-^ 

He was interrupted by a loud furious neigh, so load 
'^and so furious from the great black stallion at the door, 
that Martha awoke and started up with a scream that 
thrilled the very blood of the judges, and made the peo- 
ple hurry away from the bar. 

Burroughs now saw that he had no hope, and that in a 
moment the poor soul before him would bear the sen- 
tence of death. He caught up his iron-shod staff, and 
breaking through the crowd which recoiled from his 
path as if he were something whose touch would be fa- 
tal to life, sprang upon the back of the horse, and gal- 
lopped away toward the sea-shore. 

No language on earth, no power on earth can describe 
the scene that followed his departure, the confusion, the 
outcry, the terror of the people who saw the fire fly 
from his rocky path, and heard leap after leap of the 
charger bounding toward the precipice ; nor the fright 
of the judges ; nor the pitiable distress and perplexity 
of the poor childish woman, when she was made fully 
to understand, after the tumult was over and the dread 
clamor and fire-flashing had passed away, and every- 
thing was quiet as the grave— nothing to be heard but 
a heavy trample afnr off and the dull roar of the sea— - 
that she must be prepared for death. 

She could not believe it....she would not believe it— > 
she did not....8uch was her perfect simplicity, till the 
chief judge came to her and assured her with tears ui 
his eyes, over and over again, that it must be so. 



RACHEL DYER. Uii 

Ah me ! said poor Martha, looking out toward the 
quarter of the sky where the horseman had so hastily 
disappeared, and where she had seen the last of the 
fire-light struck from his path ; Ah me, bending her head 
to listen, and holding up her finger as if she could hear 
him on his way back. Ah me ! — ah me...«and that was 
all she said in reply to her judges, and all she said when 
they drove her np to the place of her death, decked out 
in all her tattered finery, as if it were not so much for 
the grave, as for a bridal that she was prepared. 

Ah me ! said poor Martha when they put the rope 
about her neck....Ah me ! — and she died while she was 
playing with her little withered fingers, and blowing the 
loose grey hair from about her mouth as it strayed away 
from her tawdry cap....saying over the words of a child 
in the voice of a child. Ah me — ah me — with her last 
breath — 

God forgive her judges I 



13 



CHAPrtBti XII. 



^he work ot that day was the death of George Bur'> 
toughs. The unhappy allusion that he made to the 
knife, just before he stopped so suddenly and fixed his 
eyes upon a young female who sat near him with her 
back to the light, and her face muffled up so that no- 
body knew her till after she had gon^ away, was now in 
every body's mouth. She was the sister of Rachel Dy- 
er, and her name was Mary Elizabeth ; after Mary Dyer 
and Elizabeth Hutchinson. It was now concluded 
that what he knew of the perjury of the witnesses, of 
the sheet and of the knife, he dad been told by Mary 
Elizabeth or by Rachel Dyer, who had been watching 
him all the livelong day, from a part of the house, 
where the shadow of a mighty tree fell so as to darken 
all the faces about her. 

It was Rachel Dyer who spoke out with a voice of 
authority and reproved him for a part of his wild speech. 
And it was Rachel Dyer who came up to his very side, 
when he was in array against the judges and the elders 
and the people, and stood there and spoke to him with- 
out fear ; while Mary Elizabeth sat by her side with her 
hands locked in her lap, and her blue eyes fixed in des- 
pair upon the earth. . 

Nor were the people mistaken ; for what he knew of 
the forgery, he did know from Rachel Dyer, and from 
Mary Elizabeth Dyer, the two quaker women whose 
holy regard for truth, young as they were, made thiJir 



14? RACHEL DYER. 

simple asseveration of more value than the oath of most 
people. To them was he indebted for the knowledge, 
though he was not suffered to speak of it — for the times 
were not ripe enough, that even as the knife-blade was, 
the spindle and the sheet were, a wicked forgery ; and 
the sign that he made to Eliz£d)eth Djer, when he stop- 
ped in the middle of his speech, and the look of sor- 
row and love which accompanied his endeavor to ap- 
pease her frightful agitation, as she sat there gasping 
for breath and clinging to RachePs garb, were enough 
to betray the truth to everybody that saw them. 

It was fatal to him, that look of sorrow and love, and 
ere long it was fatal to another, to one who loved him 
with a love so pure and so high as to be without reproach, 
even while it was without hope ; and it would have been 
fatal to another in spite of her loveliness, but for the 
wonderful courage of her.. ..the heroine of our story, 
whose behavior throughout a course of sore and bitter 
trial which continued day after day, and month after 
month, and year after year, deserves to be perpetuated 
in marble. No hero ever endured so much — no man 
ever yet suffered as that woman suffered, nor as a mul- 
titude of women do, that we pass by every hour» with- 
out so much as a look of pity or a word of kindness to 
cheer them onward in their path of sorrow and suffer- 
ing. If God ever made a heroine, Rachel Dyer was a 
heroine — a heroine without youth or beauty, with no 
shape to please, with no color to charm the eye, with 
no voice to delight the ear. 

But enough — let us go to our story. Before the sun 
rose again after the trial of poor Martha, the conspira- 
tors of death were on the track of new prey, and fear 
and mischief were abroad with a new shape. And be- 
fore the sun rose again, the snare was laid for a preach- 
er of the gospel, and before a month was over, thejr 



RAOHfiL BITER. m 

tirag^ed hitxi away to the scaffold of death, scoffing at 
his piety and ridiculing his lofty composure, and offer- 
ed hina tip a sacrifice to the terrible infatuation of the 
multitude. But before we take up the story of his death, 
a word or two of his life. It was full of wayward and 
strange adventure. 

He appears to have been remarkable from his earliest 
youth for great moral courage, great bodily power, en- 
thusiastic views, and a something which broke forth af- 
terwards in what the writers of the day allude to, as an 
extraordinary gift of speech. He was evidently a man 
of superior genius, though of a distempered genius, fit- 
ful, haughty and rash. '^ He appeared oh earth," says 
an old writer of America, '* about a hundred years too 
soon. What he was put to death for in 1692, he may 
be renowned for (if it please the Lord) in 171>2, should 
this globe (of which there is now small hope, on account 
of the wars and rumors of wars, and star-shooting that 
we see) hold together so long.'' 

He was not a large man, but his activity and strength 
were said to be unequalled. He went about every 
where among the nations of the earth; he grew up in 
the midst of peril and savage warfare ; and at one peri- 
od of his life, his daily adventures were so strange, se 
altogether beyond what other men are likely to meet 
with, even while they are abroad in search of adventure, 
that if they were told in the simple language of truth» 
and precisely as they occurred, they would appear un- 
worthy of belief. The early part of his life, he spent 
among a people who made war night and day for their 
lives, and each man for himself — the men of Massa- 
chusetts-Bay, who did so, for about a hundred and ^fty 
years after they went ashore on the rocks of New-Plym- 
outh — putting swords upon the thighs of their preach- 
arsj and Bibles into the hands of their soldiers, whither-^ 
13* 



J 50 RACHEL DYEK. 

soever they went, by day or by night, for sleep, for bat* 
tie or for prayer. 

On account of his birth, he was brought up to the 
church, with a view to the conversion of a tribe to 
which his father belonged : Constituted as he was, he 
should have been a warrior. He made poetry ; and he 
was a strong and beautiful writer : He should have made 
war — he might have been a leader of armies— a legislar 
tor — ^a statesman — a deUverer. Had he appeared in the 
great struggle for North-American liberty, fourscore 
years later, he probably would have been all this. 

He never knew his father ; and he was dropped by 
his mother, as he said, in the heart of the wilderness, 
like the young of the wild-beast; but he escaped the 
bear and the wolf, and the snake, and was bred a sav- 
age, among savages, who while he was yet a child, put 
him upon the track of his unnatural mother, and bid him 
pursue her. He did pursue her with the instinct of a 
blood-pup, and found her, and fell upon her neck and 
forgave her and kissed her, and wept with her, and 
stood by her in the day of her trouble. On her death* 
bed she told him her story. She had been carried away 
captive by the Indians while she was yet a child. She 
grew up to their customs and married a warrior who 
was descended from a white man. Of that marriage 
the boy about her neck was born. She had no other 
child, but she was very happy until she saw the Rev. 
Mr. Elliot of Plymouth, a man who seeing others of 
the church occupied in warfare and cruel strife, toraed 
his back upon the white men that he loved, and struck 
into the woods of the north, and went about every where 
preaching the gospel to the savages and translating pre- 
cious books for them, such as ''Primers, catechismiy 
the practice of pioty, Baxter's Call to the Unconverted, 
several of Mr. Sbepard's composures, and at length iIm 



RACHEL DYER. 151 

Bible itself, which was printed the first time in their 
language in 1664, and a second time, not long after, 
with the corrections of Mr. Cotton, minister of Plym- 
outh.'' After meeting with Mr. Elliot, who soon added 
her to his Indian church, and filled her heart with fear 
about original sin, faith, free grace and a future life, she 
grew melancholj ; and being assured that her brave 
wild husband, a chief who hated the white man with a 
hatred passing that of the red men, would never permit 
her to preach or pray if he knew it, she forsook him and 
fled for refuge to New-Plymouth — her boy, whom she 
could not bear to leave with his pagan father, strapped 
to her back, and her soul supported by the prayers of 
the true church. Fo/a time she doated on the boy, for 
a time she was all that a mother could be ; but before a 
twelvemonth was over, perceiving that she was regard- 
ed by the whites, and by the women especially (htr sis- 
terhood of the church) as unworthy to associate with 
them because of the babe, and because of the father, 
whose lineage they said was that of Anti>Christ and the 
scarlet-woman, she took to prayer anew, and bethought 
herself anew of the wrath of God — her Father — and re- 
solving to purify herself as with fire, because of what 
she had been to the savages — a wife and a mother, she 
strapped the boy on her back once more, and set off 
a-foot and alone to seek the hut of his wild father; — and 
having found it she kissed her boy, and laid him at his 
father's door in the dead of night, and came away with 
a joyous heart and a free step, as if now — now, that the 
little heathen was in a fair way of being devoured by the 
wolf or the wild hog, under the very tree which over- 
hung the very spot of green earth where she had begun 
to love, his father, as he lay asleep in the shadow, after 
a day of severe toil— she had nothing more to do to be 
saved. 



152 RACHEL DYER. 

The father died in battle before the boy had strength 
enough to draw a child's arrow to the bead. The boj 
went in pursuit of his mother at the age of twelre, and 
bj her he was taught the lessons of a new faith. She 
persuaded him to leave the tribe of his father, to forsake 
the wild men who were not of the true church, and to 
come out from the shadow of the wilderness. The 
whites aware of the value of such a youth and of the 
use he might be in their bold scheme for the overthrow 
of Indian power throughout all North America — the 
spread of the Gospel of truth and peace and charity, as 
they called it — added their solicitation to hers. But 
no — no — the brave boy withstood them all, he would 
neither be bribed nor flattered, nor trapped, nor scared ; 
nor was he, till he saw his poor mother just ready to die. 
But then he gave up— he threw aside the bow and the 
arrow, he tore off the rich beaver dress that he wore, 
buried the tomahawk, offered up the bright weapons ef 
death along with the bright wages of death, on the al- 
tar of a new faith — prayed his mother to look up and 
live and be happy, and betook himself with such fervor 
and security to the Bible, that he came to be regarded, 
while yet a youth, as a new hope for the church that 
had sprung up from the blood of the martyrs. 

He married while he was yet a boy. At the age- of 
twenty, he was a widower. At the age of twentj-fonr 
he was a widower again, with a new love at his heart 
which he dared not avow — for how ^ould he hope that 
another would be found to overlook his impure lineage ; 
now that two had died, he believed in his own sool, a 
sacrifice to the bitter though mute persecution they had 
to endure for marrying with one who was not altogeth- 
er a white man ? a love which accelerated his deatbt 
for till the name of Elizabeth Dyer came to be associ- 
ated with his, after the trial of Martha Cory, the wretch- 



RACHEL DYER. 155 

ed women, who had acquired such power by their pre- 
tended sufferings, were able to forgive his reproof, his 
enquiry, and his ridicule of what they swore to, when- 
ever they opened their lips to charge anybody with 
witchcraft. From the day of the trial it was not so. 
They forgave him for nothing, after they saw how much 
he loved Mary Elizabeth Dyer. And yet, he was no 
longer what he had been — he was neither handsome nor 
youthful now ; and they who reproached others for lov- 
ing him when he was both, why should they pursue him 
as they did, when the day of his marvellous beauty and 
strength was over ? when his hair was already touched 
with snow, and his high forehead and haughty lip with 
care ? Merely because he appeared to love another. 

He had been a preacher at Salem till af^er the death 
of his first wife, where he had a few praying Indians 
and a few score of white people under his charge. They 
were fond of him, and very proud of him (for he was 
the talk of the whole country) till, after her death, being 
seized with a desire to go away— to escape for a time, 
he cared not how nor whither, from the place where he 
bad been so very happy and for so short a period, he 
left his flock; and went eastward, and married anew-^ 
and was a widower again — burying a second wife ; the 
second he had so loved, and so parted from, without a 
wieh to outliro her — and then he crossed the sea, and 
traversed the whole of Europe, and afler much trial and 
a series of strange vicissitude, came back — though not 
to the church he had left, but to the guardianship of an- 
other a great way off. 

He could bear to live — and that was all ; he could not 
bear to stay, year after year, by the grave where the wo- 
men that he so loved were both asleep in their youth 
and beauty — and he forbidden to go qear them. But 
he prospered no more— 90 say the flock he deserted, 



154 RACHEL DTER. 

when he went awaj forever from the church he had 
built up, and took refhge again among the people of 
Casco Bay, at Falmouth — a sweet place, if one may 
judge by what it is now, with its great green hill and 
smooth blue water, and a scattered group of huge pine 
trees on the north side. It was a time of war when he ar- 
rived at Falmouth, and the Indians were out, backed by 
a large body of the French and commanded by a French 
officer, the Sieur Hertel, a man of tried valor and great 
experience in the warfare of the woods. At the village 
of Casco Bay, there was a little fort, or block hooae, 
into which about a hundred men with their wives and 
little ones were gathered together, waiting the attack 
of their formidable and crafty foe, when the preacher 
appeared. 

There was no time to throw away — ^they were but a 
handful to the foe, afar from succor and beyond the 
reach of sympathy. He saw this, and he told them there 
was no hope, save that which pious men feel, however 
they may be situated, and that nothing on earth coold 
save them but their own courage and a prayerful assidu- 
ity. They were amazed at his look, for he shewed ne 
sign of fear when he said this, and they gathered about 
him and hailed him as their hope and refuge ; the ser- 
vant of the Lord, their Joshua, and the captain of 
their salvation, while he proceeded to speak as If lie had 
been familiar with war from his boyhood. 

For weeks before the affair came to issue, he and they 
slept upon their arms. They never had their clothes 
off by night nor by day, nor did they move beyond the 
reach of their loaded guns. If they prayed now, it wa3 
not as it had been before his arrival in a large meeting- 
house and all together, with their arms piled or stacked 
at the door, and the bullet-pouch and powder-horn, 
wherever it might please the Lord, — but they prayed 



RACHEL BTER. 155 

together, a few at a time, with sentrieif on the watch 
BOW, with every gud loaded and everj knife sharpened t 
with every bullet-pouch and every powder-horn slung 
where it should be ; and they prayed now as they had 
never prayed before — as if they knew that when they 
rose up, it would be to grapple man to man with the 
savages. 

At last on a very still night in the month of May, one 
•f the two most beautiful months of the year in that 
country of rude weather, a horseman who was out on 
the watch, perceived a solitary canoe floating by in the 
deep shadow of the rocks, which overhung the sea be- 
neath his feet. Before he had time to speak, or to re- 
collect himself, he heard a slight whizzing in the air, and 
something which he took for a bird flew past him — ^it 
was immediately followed by another, at which his horse 
reared — and the next moment a large arrow struck in a 
tree just over his head. Perceiving the truth now, the 
horseman set off at full speed for the fort, firing into 
the canoe as he darted away, and wondering at his nar- 
row escape after the flight of two such birds, and the 
twang of a bowstring at his very ear. 



CHAPTBR XIII. 

He had a narrow escape — for the shore was lined with 
canoes that had come in one by one with the tide, steal- 
ing along in the shadow that lay upon the edge of the 
water, and the woods were alive with wild men prepar- 
ing to lay an ambuscade. They were not quite ready 
for the attack however, and so they lay still on both 
sides of the narrow path he took, and suffered him to 
ride away in safety when he was within the reach, not 
only of their balls and arrows but of their knives. They 
knew with whom they had to deal, and the issue proved 
their sagacity, for when the poor fellow arrived at the 
fort and related what he had seen, there was nobody to be- 
lieve the story but Burroughs, and he would not put much 
faith in it, although he had reason to think well of the 
man ; for how were the savages to get across the Bay 
in such a clear still night — with a sea like the sky, and 
a sky like the air that men breathe in their boyhood or 
when they are happy — without being discovered by the 
boats 1 And how were they to approach from the woods, 
without coming over a wide smooth level of water, sel- 
dom deep enough to float a large canoe, nor ever shoal 
enough to be forded without much risk on account of 
the mud ? 

No attack followed for three nights and for three days, 
and already the garrison were beginning to be weary of 
the watch, and to murmur at the restraint he had im- 
posed. It grieved him to the soul to see their fright 
14 



158 RACHEL DYER. 

passing off and their vigilance with it. I beseech you 
said he, on the afternoon of the fourth day, toward 
night-fall, as he saw them lying about under the trees, 
and a full fourth of their number asleep in the rich warm 
grass, with hardly a knife or a gun where it should be, 
a pike or a powder-horn — I do beseech you to hear me. 
You are in jeopardy, in great jeopardy — I know it ; I 
am sure of it — 

So you said a week ago, answered one of the men, 
stretching himself out, with a rude laugh, and ren^ng 
his chin on both hands, with his elbows fixed in the 
turf. 

Ah, you may laugh, Mark Smith, but I am satisfied of 
what I say — the woods are much too still for the time o* 
the year — 

Fiddlestick, parson Burroughs ! what a queer fish 
you be, to be sure, added another. You are skeered 
when there's nothin' at all to be skeered at — 

So he is Billy Pray, and yet he aint afeard o' the old 
One himself, when other folkd air. 

Skeered one day at a noise, and another day at no 
noise at all — haw, haw, haw ! 
Do you see how the birds fiy ? 
Whnt birds ? 

The birds that come Jip Yrom the shore — they fly as 
if they were frightened- 
Well, what if they do ? 

An' so I say, Mark Smith — what if they do ? rolling 
o?er in the grass and preparing for another uap— Who 
cares how they fly 1 if they're frightened, haw, haw, 
haw, that's their look out, Ispose — haw, haw, haw. 

I beseech you to be serious, men — we have heard no 
«hot fired for several days in that quarter, and yet yon 
see the birds fly as if they were hunted. Now, it is my 
opinion that they are struck with arrows, and arrows 



RACHEL DYER. 15» 

you know are made use of by people wiio are afraid to 
make a Doise when they kill their food — 

Ha, ha, ha ; — haw, haw, haw ! gV me you yit, parsom 
— haw, haw, haw ! — what if they're under the shore — 
can't they kill fish without makin' a noise ? haw, haw^ 
haw ! 

Fish — fish — but no, I will not be angry with you Ta- 
ber ; I dare not, much as you deserve it, for ewery thing 
we have in the world is now at stake — everything. I 
entreat you therefore, my friends — I implore you, instead 
of laying by your arms, to double your guard this very 
night ; instead of sleeping, to watch more than ever — 
I feel afraid of this deep tranquility — 

Nonsense— double the watch now, when ewerj thing 
is quiet in the woods, and down by the beach, and not 
a breath o' noise to be heard anywhere ? 

Yea — ^yea — for that very reason. Look you, David 
Fisher — I know well what the Indians are, better than 
you do now, and better than you ever wilJ, I hope. I 
have now done roy duty. Do you yours — I have nothing 
more to say ; but I shall be prepared as I would have 
you prepare, for the night which is now at hand. Our 
foes ore not on the water. Smith, nor nigh the water 
now, or they might fish for their food without alarming 
us. But whether you beUeve me or no, I say again that 
they are not far from us, and that we shall find it so, to 
our sorrow, if you do not keep a better look out for the 

there — there— do you see how that partridge 

fiies ! — I tell you again and again, there's something 
alive in that very wood now. 

I dare say there is— -haw, haw, haw ! 

And so I say, Mark Smith, hee, hee, hee — 

It may be one o' the dogs^ha, ha, ha ! — And they all 
sprang up together with a jovial outcry, and be^an to 
caper about in the grass,and call to a group that were at 



^v. 



160 RACHEL DTER. 



work a little way off, to go with them and help icoar 
the wood, where the new Joshua thought there was 
something alive. 

You forget Mark Smith — dogs do not go into the 
woods — stay, stay, I beseech you — don't be so fool- 
hardy — ^try to make one of the dogs go to the top of 
that hill before you — nay, nay, Carver ; nay, nay, and 
you too, Clark — are you mad Sir ? — you a lieutenant 
of war, and the first of our men to play the fool. 

Here you men, said Clark. Here you men, I say !— 
Whose afeard among the whole boodle of you ? 

No answer. 

Nobody's afeard— so I thought. Hourrathen — hoarra 
for the king ! 

Hourra ! — hourra ! — hourra for the king ! 

Pooty well, that — pooty fair too — now le'me see yon 
hourra for the queen. 

Hourra then — hourra ! — ^hourra for the queen ! 

That's you, faith ! 

Hourra — hourra— •hou—— 

No, no that's enough ; a belly full o' hurmh is as 
good's a feast now — hold up your heads. — How many ii 
there of you, all told ? — Soh — soh — steady theroy steady 
— turn out your heels — 

Turn out your toes you mean — haw, haw, hee ! 

No I don't — hee, hee, haw — give that up long ago«— 
Now then ! hold still there, hoi' still I say, while I count 
you off — one — two— three— <larn your hide Matthew 
Joy, aint there no hold still to you 1 Stan' still, I say ; 
— four, five — Out o' that snarl, there— one, two, three, 
four ! — y^ty well, very well indeed, never see the wrig- 
glars do't half so well — clean as a whistle — soh, soh— 
five an' five is ten, and five is fifteen — there now ; you'te 
put me out — hold your gab, Sargeant Berry ;•— how am 
J goin' to count off the men if you keep a jabberin' se t 



RACHEL DYER. lei 

— jtwenty-five— eight — nine— thirty, and two is thirty- 
four — now look me right in the eye every one o' you. 
Heads up — heels out — heels out I say—- that's you Jake 
Berry, you never stoop none, I see — heels out there, 
every man of you, what are you afeard on ? — You there 
with the striped jacket on, what's your under jaw out 
there for 1 you want to tumble over it, hey ? — heads up 
there, heads up — have your ears buttoned back, head 
soaped and a bladder drawn over it hey ? — Sob, sob ! — 
attention — very well — very well indeed — pooty fair — 
now I'm goin' to give the word for you— 

Wall....an' what's the word you're goin' to givc^bey? 
You be quiet our Jake, and you'll sec- 
How shall we know what to do, when you give the 
word, if you don't tell us aforehand — I should like to 
know that.... 

Shet your clam, Obadiah P. Joy — aint you ashamed 
o' yourself; nice feller you for a sojer — aint he boys ? 
Well, fire away then. 

Now you see, I'm goin' to say now or never, three 
times... .behave there ! behave I say !...and when I've ' 
said now or never the third time, off I go, you see ! 
right bang, slap dash into that are wood there, a top or 
that air hill, and them that's good enough to carry guts 
to a bear, they'll go with me. Soh....all ready now ! 
Ay, ay....ay, ay, Sir....ruther guess we be.... 
Now....or....never ! said Clark, leaning forward with a 
preparatory step, setting the breach of his heavy musket 
in the turf, and driving home the ramrod, to prove the 
weight of the charge. Now-or-never ! cocking it, and 
shaking the powder into the pan, with his eye on the 
troop, all of whom stood with their left leg forward, 
ready for the race....now-or-never ! and off he started 
before the words were fairly out of his mouth on the 
heels of two or three who had started before. 
14* 



ie& RACHEL DYER. 

Keep together, keep together ! shouted Burroughf* 
Whatever else you do, keep together ! 

But no, no....they would have their own way. 

If the indians are there, added he..,.If they are !....ai 
he saw the whole thirty stretching away all out of breath 
for a wood which crowned the top of the hill — If they 
are ! it is all up with us....and I am sorely afraid of that 
narrow green lane there, with a brush-fence on the up* 

per side of it.... Ha ! God forgive them for their folly 

....Did you see that ? 

See what....I saw nothing.... 

Look....look....there's a glitter and a confused mo- 
tion there....can't you see it ?....just where the sun strikes 
on the verge of the hill among the high grass, where • 
my God. ...I thought so ! 

I can't see nothin'....the sun hurts my eyes ; but as 
for you, you can look right into ^the 8un....Hullow.... 
where now 1 

To arms ! to arms ! cried the preacher, in a ? oice 
that might have been heard a miie....away with yea to 
your post. 

Away with you all, cried Burroughs. 

What for 1 

To arms ! to arms, I say, continued the preacher. 

What for ? 

To legs more like....what for 1 

Away to the fort I beseech you (lowering his veiee) 
away with you, every man of you — ^you and your wives 
and your little ones — you haven't a breath to lose now 
....away with you. 

Nation sieze the feller ; what for ? 

Rattlesnakes an' toddy....what for ! 

What for — God of our fathers ! O, ye men of little 
Ikith ! 



RACHEL DYER. 168 

Hoiirra for you ! youVe cracked I vow ; pooty rep- 
resentative o' Joshua. 

Hear me... .hear nie....Have I not more experience 
than you ? Do I not know what I say 1....can you not 
believe me ? what do you risk by doing as I desire ; 
....O, if you but knew as well as I do, what is nigh to ub! 

Wall what is nigh to us ? 

Death. i 

Death ! 

Ay....death....death....death.... 

Boo ! 

My friends.... my dear friends....do, do be ruled by 
me....there....there — did you see that 1 

See what ?....you air cracked, I'll be darned if you 
aint. 

My God ! my God ! cried the preacher, looking a« 
bout in despair, and speaking as if he saw the savages 
already at the work of death, hatchets and arrows on 
every side of his path, and every clump of willow-trees 
near breaking oat with fire and smoke. Will you not be 
persuaded....will you not give up ?....see....see....Clark is 
getting the foolish men together, and if we betake our- 
selves to the refuge, there may be some hope of a — 

What are they stoppin' for now, I wonder — . 

Wait half a minute more young man, said the 
preacher, and you will be satisfied — now — now ! 

As he spoke, the men halted and came together a few 
yards from the top of the hill. 

Out o* breath I guess 1 

Out of courage I fear — . 

Hourra ! — hourra ! — shouted the men afar off, and the 
shout came through the still air, and passed off to the 
bigh sea, like a shout of triumph. 

Hourra ! — hourra ! — answered all that were nigk 
Burroughs, aad all that were in the fort. 



164 RACHEL DTER. 

Hourra !— hourra ! — hourra ! — echoed the people, and 
the shores and ttie rocks rung with their delirious out- 
cry, as the brave thirty dashed forward. 

There they go— there they go — yelled a man from the 
top of a tree just over the head of the preacher. There 
they go— they are up to the fence now. 

Are they indeed — are you sure — God be praued if 
♦ they are. 

Sure ! — that I be— there they go — there they go— 
ha, ha, ha ! —they're tumblin' over each other — ha, ha, 
ha — there they go — I knowed there wasn't any thing 
there — ha, ha — halloo ! — hey — what — 

Well Job, what's to pay now 1 — they're t'other dde 
o'the fence now, arn't they ? 

T'other side o'the fence! — no, indeed, not within a — 
Lord God ! — Mr. Burroughs ! — Mr. Burroughs ! 

Well — what's the matter now ? 

Lord have mercy upon us ! Lord have mercy upon 
us! 

You'll break your neck Job Hardy, if you're not 
careful. 

O Lord, O lord ! what will become of my poor wife t 

Ah, ha — now do you believe me 1 

Out broke the tremendous war-whoop of the Pe- 
quods, with peal after peal of musketry, and before the 
preacher could make himself heard in the uproar, two 
or three white men appeared afar off, running for their 
lives, and pursued by a score of savagps. By and by, 
another appeared — another and another — and after a 
while five more — and these were all that had sunriTed 
the first discharge of the enemy. 

You perceive now why the men tumbled about as th^ 
did, when they got near the fence ; they were stmek 
with a flight of level arrows that we couldn't see— ah! 
you appear to have a— 



RACHEL DYER. 16(i 

O Mr. Burroughs, Mr. Burroughs — what sha^l we 
dp? 

He made no answer — 

O Sir — Sir— take pity upon us ! 

He stood as if the fear that he felt a moment before 
was gone away forever, and with it ail concern, all 
hope, all care, all pity for the wretched people about him. 

O God of Jacob — what shaU we do ! 

Promise to obey me — 

We will — we will — we do. 

So you did, when I first came here — now you have 
begun to scojQT at your Joshua, as you call me. 

O Sir — Sir— do not mock us, we entreat you ! — 
Mere they come Sir, here they come ! O speak to us 
— do speak to us — what are we to do — 

Choose me to lead you — 

We will — we will — we do ! 

And with power — mark me— do you see this gua — 
with leave to put a ball through the head of the first 
man that refuses to obey me 1 

Yes — ^yes — any thing — any thing — 

Very well — that's enough. And I swear to you be- 
fore God I'll do it. Now — ^hear what I have to say — 
Silence ! — not a word. Here Bradish — here — take 
you twelve men out of these, and away with you to the 
edge of the creek there, so as to cover the retreat of 
your friends. Away with you. 

Hourra — hourra ! 

Silence — off with you as if you were going, every 
man to his own funeral — don't hurry— don't lose your 
breath ; you'll have occasion for it, I promise you, be- 
fore the work of this day is over— -away with you, now ; 
and every man to a tree ; when you hear the bell, make 
▼our way to the fort, and if it p)ease God, we'll whip 
the enemy yet. 



166 RACHEL DYER. 

Off sprang the twelve without another word. 

Here Fitch, here — I know you — you are a married 
man — a father and a good father — take these eight who 
are all fathers ; and you Hobby, you take these — they 
are all unmarried, and away with you to the willow- 
hedge yonder ; you to the right, Fitch ; and you to the 
left, Hobby — and let us see who are the braver men, 
the married or the unmarried. — Stop — stop— don't hur- 
ry ; if you are to make a fair job of it, you must go 
coolly to work — 

Off they started— 

Stand by each other ! — stick to your trees ! — and load 
and fire as fast as you can — ^that'll do — off with yon — 

You'll see to the women-fulks, I hope — 

Off with you. Sir. 

Off we go — but I say ! — (looking back over his 
shoulder and bawling as he ran) — what are we to do 
when we hear the bell ? 

Dodge your way in — tree by tree — man by man— 

Hourra for you — hourra for Josh — hourra for Josh" 
ua! — 

Before five minutes were over, the savages were in 
check, the people reassured, the remnant of poor 
Clark's party safe, and the whole force of the settle* 
ment so judiciously distributed, that they were able to 
maintain the fight, until their powder and hall were ex- 
hausted, with more than treble their number ; and af- 
ter it grew dark, to retire into the fort with all their wo- 
men, their children, their aged and their sick. It was 
Bo such plice of security however as they thought ; for 
the Indians after they h^d fired the village and burnt 
every house m it, finding the powder exhausted, laid 
sietre to the fort by undermining the walls and 8h<w)ting 
lighted arrows into the wf»f,d-wt)rk. From that moment 
there was nothing to hope for ; and the preacher who 



KACHEL DYER. 167 

knew that if the place were carried by assault, everj liv- 
ing creature within the four walls would be put to 
death, and that there would be no escape for the women 
or the babes, the aged or the sick, if thej did not imme- 
diately surrender, drew the principal man of the fort 
aside (major Davis) and assuring him of what he fore- 
saw would be the issue, advised a capitulation. 

A capitulation Sir, aAer the work of this day ? said 
the Major. What wdl become of you ? you have killed 
a chief and two or three warriors, and how can you hope 
to be forgiven, if they once get you in their power. 

Leave that to me — I know their language — I will try 
to pass for one of the tribe — 

But how — how — ^impossible, Sir. 

Let me have my own way, I beseech you — leave me 
to take care of myself.... 

No, Sir....we know our duty better. 

Then, Sir, as I hope to see my God, I will go forth 
alone to meet the savages, and offer myself up for the 
chief that 1 have slain. Perhaps they may receive me 
into their tribe....give me a blanket, will you....and per- 
haps not....for the Pequod warrior is a terrible foe. 

Here he shook his black hair loose, and parted it on 
his forehead and twisted it into a club, and bound it up 
hastily after the fashion of the tribe. 

— And the faith which a Huron owes to the dead is 
never violated....! pray you therefore— 

— Stooping down and searching for a bit of brick, and 
grinding it to dust with his heel — 

I pray you therefore to let me go forth — 

— Bedaubing his whole visage with it, before he lifted 
his head — 

You cannot save me, nor help me — 

Shouldering up his blanket and grasping a short rifle. 

What say you ! — 



188 RACHEL DYER. 

Leaping to the turf parapet as he spoke, and prepar- 
ing to throw himself over. 

God of our Fathers — cried the Major, Is it possible I 
who are you 1 

A Mohawk ! a Mohawk ! shouted all that saw him 
•n the parapet ; even those who beheld the transfigurar 
tion were aghast with awe ; they could hardly beUera 
their own eyes. 

What say you !— one word is enough.... will you gife 
up ? 

For the love of God, Mr. Burroughs ! cried the Major, 
putiing forth his hand to catch at the blanket as it was 
blown out bv a strong breeze....! do pray you 

He was too late ; for Burroughs bounded over with 
a shout which appeared tu be understood by the sava- 
ges, who received him with a tremendous war-whoop. 
A shriek followed....a cry from the peple within tbe fort 
of— treachery ! — treachery ! — and after a moment or 
two every-thing was quiet as the grave outside. 

The garrison were still with fear — still as death.... 
Were they deserted or betrayed 1 Whither should ibey 
fly 1 — What should they do ? Their dehverer....whefe 
was he ? Their Jo8hua..*..what had become of him t 

The attack was renewed after a few minutes with 
tenfold fury, and the brave Major was driven to capitu- 
late, which he did to the Sieiir Hertel, under a promise 
that the survivors of the garrison should be safely con- 
ducted to Saco, the next Bnirlish fort and that they and 
their children, their agf a and their sick should be treat- 
ed with humanity. 

Alas for the faith of the red men ! alas for the faith 
of their white leaders ! Before tliey smw the light of 
another day, the treaty wus trampled under foot by tbe 
savages, and hardly a creature found within th«^ four 
walls of the fort was left alive. The work of butch erj 



RACHEL DYER. im 

-—but no — no — I dare not undertake to describe the 
horrible scene. 

And Burroughs.... What of Burroughs ? — Did he es- 
cape or die ?....Neither. He was carried away captive 
to the great lakes, and after much vicissitude, trial and 
sufiering which lasted for upwards of a year, came to 
be an adopted Iroquois, and a voluntary hostage for the 
faith of the white men of Massachusetts-Bay. From 
this period we lose sight of him for a long while. It 
would appear however that he grew fond of a savage 
life, that his early affection for it sprang up anew, as he 
approached the deep of the solitude, where all that he 
saw and all that he heard, above or about him, or un- 
derneath his feet, reminded him of his youth, of his pa- 
rentage and his bravery ; that he began after a time to 
cherish a hope — a magnificent hope, for a future coali- 
tion of the red men of America ; that he grew to be a 
favorite with Big Bear, the great northern chief, who 
went so far as to offer him a daughter in marriage ; that 
he had already begun to reflect seriously on the offer, 
when the whites for whom he stood in pledge, were 
guilty of something which he regi^rded as a breach of 
trust — whereupon he bethought himself anew of a tim- 
id girl — a mere child when he left hef, and beautiful as 
the day, who when the shadow of death was upon all 
that he cared for, when he was a broken-hearted miser- 
able man without a hope on earth, pursued him with her 
look of pity and sorrow, till, turn which way he would, 
her eyes were forever before him, by night and by day. 
It was not with a look of love that she pursued him— it 
was rather a look of strange fear. And so, having 
thought of Mary Elizabeth Dyer, till he was ready to 
weep at the recollection oi the days that were gone* 
the days he had passed in prayer, and the love he had 

met with among the white girla of the Bay, he arose, 
15 



.170 RACHEL DTEK. 

»nd walked up to the Great northern chief, who but 
for the treachery of the whites would have been hb fa- 
ther, and stood in the circle of death, and offered him- 
self up a sacrifice for the white countrymen of the child 
that he knew — ^the lovely and the pure. But no— -the 
Big Bear would not have the bloodt of a brother. 

You know the Big Bear, said he to the young 
men of the Iroquois that were gathered about bim. 
Who is there alive to harm a cub of the Big Bear 1 I 
am your chief — who is there alive to harm the child of 
your chief 1 Behold my daughter ! — who is there alive 
to strike her sagamore ? Warriors — ^look at him— He 
is no longer a pale man — he is one of our tribe. Ha is 
no longer the scourge of the Iroquois. The beloved of 
our daughter — who is there alive to touch him in 
wrath 1 

Here all the warriors of the tribe and all the chief men 
of the tribe stood up ; and but one of the whole drew 
his arrow to the head — the signal of warfare* 

White man — brother, said the Big Bear. Behold 
these arrows ! they are many and sharp, the arrows of 
him that would slay thee, but few — but few brother-* 
and lo ! — they are no more. Saying this, he struck 
down the arrow of death, and lifted the hatchet and 
shook it over the head of the stubborn warrior, who re- 
treated l;ackward step by step, till he was beyond the 
reach of the Big Bear. 

Brother — would ye that we should have the boy 
stripped and scourged 1 said the Big Bear, with all the 
grave majesty for which he was remarkable. White 
man — behold these arrows — they are dripping with 
blood— they are sharp enough to cleave the beach tree. 
White man — whither would you go ? Feel the edge 
of this knife. That blood is the blood of our bravei who 
would not obey the law— this knife is the weapon of 



RACHEL DYER. 171 

death. Fear not — for the arrows and the knife are not 
for the pale man — fear not — beloved of her ia whom we 
have put our hope. The arrows and the knife are not 
for him — but for the dogs that pursue him. Speak ! 

I will, said Burroughs, going up to the resolute young 
savage, who stood afar off, and setting his foot upon the 
bare earth before him with all his might — I will. Big 
Bear — father — I must go away. I found you in peace 
— Let me leave you in peace. Your people and my peo- 
ple are now at war. I cannot strike a brother in bat- 
tle. The white men are my brothers. 

Big Bear made no reply. 

Farewell....! must go away. I cannot be on either 
side when Big Bear and Long-knife are at war. 

Good. 

I cannot have Pawteeda now. I have done. 

Speak. 

Wherefore t 

Speak. Why not have Pawteeda now ? 

Pawteeda should be wife to some warrior, who, when 
be goes forth to war, will strike every foe of his tribe, 
without asking, as I should, who is he — and what is he ? 
As a white man, I will not war with white men. As 
the adopted of the red men....with the blood of a red 
man boiling in my heart, as the captive and nursling of 
the brave Iroquois, I will not be the foe of a red man. 

Good- 
Let Pawteeda be wife to Silver-heels. He hath deserved 
Pawteeda, and but for me, they would have been happy. 

Good. 

Here the youthful savage, whose arrow had been 
struck aside by the Big Bear, lifted his head in surprise, 
but he did not speak. 

I beseech you father ! let my beloved be his wife* 

Good, 



17£ RACHEL DYER. 

The ydathful savage dropped his bow, threw off bis 
quiver, and plucking the ornamented hatchet from hit» 
war-belt, after a tremendous though brief struggle, of- 
fered the weapon of death to Burroughs, thereby ac-' 
knowledging that in some way or other he had injured 
the pale man. Big Bear breathed fiercely and felt for 
his knife, but Burroughs went up to the bold youth and 
gave him his hand after the fashion of the whites, and 
called him brother. 

It shall be so, said the Big Bear. And from that day 
the youth was indeed a brother to Burroughs, who being 
satisfied that Pawteeda, if she married one of her own 
people, would be happier than with a white man, left 
her and the savages and the Big Bear and the woods 
forever, and got back among the white people again, at 
a period of universal dismay, just in time to see a poor 
melancholy creature, whom his dear wife had loved years 
and years before, on trial for witchcraft. He could 
hardly believe his own ears. Nor could he persuade him- 
self that the preachers and elders, and grave authorities 
of the land were serious, till he saw the wretched old 
woman put to death before their faces. 



CHAPTER XIT. 



From that hour he was another man. His heart was 
alive with a new hope. The dark desolate chambers 
thereof were lighted up with a new joy. And what if 
there was no love, nor beautj, nor music sounding in 
them all the daj through, such as there had been a few 
brief years before, in the spring-tide of his youthful 
courage ; they were no longer what they had been at an- 
other period, neither very dark, nor altogether uninhab- 
ited, nor perplexed with apparitions that were enough to 
drive him distracted — the apparition of a child — the 
apparition of a dead hope — for with him, after the death 
of a second wife, hope itself was no more. He was now 
a messenger of the Most High, with every faculty and 
every power of his mind at work to baffle and expose 
the treachery of those, who pretending to be afflicted by 
witchcraft, ware wasting the heritage of the white man 
as with fire and sword J He strove to entrap them ; he 
set spies about their path. He prayed in the public 
highway, and preached in the market place, for they 
would not suffer him to appear in the House of the Lord. 
He besought his Maker, the Searcher of Hearts, day 
after day, when the people were about him, to st&y the 
destroyer, to make plain the way of the judges, to speak 
in the dead of the night with a voice of thunder to the 
doers of iniquity ; to comfort and support the souls of the 
accused however guilty they might appear, and (if con- 
sistant with bis Almighty pleasure) to repeat as with the 
15» 



174 RACHEL DYER. 

noise of a multitude of trumpets in the sky, the terrible 
words, Thou shalt not bear false witness. 

But the death of Martha Cory discouraged him. His 
heart was heavy with a dreadful fear when he saw her 
die, and before anybody knew that he was among the 
multitude, he started up in the midst of them, and broke 
forth into loud p'rayer — a prayer which had well nigh 
exposed him to the law for blasphemy; and having made 
himself heard in spite of the rebuke of the preachers and 
magistrates, who stood in his way at the foot of the gal- 
lows, he uttered a prophecy and shook off the dust from 
his feet in testimony against the rulers of the land, the 
churches and the people, and departed for the habitation 
of Mr. Paris, where the frighful malady first broke out 
resolved in his own soul whatever should come of it — 
life or death — to Bridget Pope, or to Abigail Paris— or 
to the. preacher himself, his old associate in grief, 
straightway to look into ei4ry part of the fearful niystery, 
to search into it as with fire, and to bring every accu- 
ser with whom there should be found guile, whether high 
or low, or young or old, a flower of hope, or a blossom 
of pride, before the ministers of the law, — every accuser 
in whom he should be able to see a sign of bad faith or a 
look of trepidation at his inquiry — though it were the 
aged servant of the Lord himself ; and every visited and 
afflicted one, whether male or female, in whose language 
or behaviour he might see anything to justify his fear. 

It was pitch dark when he arrived at the log-hut of 
Matthew Paris, and his heart died within him, as he 
walked up to the door and set his foot upon the broad 
step, which rocked beneath his agitated and powerful 
tread ; for the windows were all shut and secured with 
new and heavy wooden bars — and what appeared rery 
surprising at such an early hour, there was neither light 
nor life, neither sound nor motion, so far as he could 



RACHEL DYER. 175 

percievein the whole house. He knocked however, and 
as he did so, the shadow of something — or the shape of 
something just visible in the deep darkness through 
which he was beginning to see his way, moved 
athwart his path and over the step, as if it had pursu- 
ed him up to the very dcor. He was a brave man — but 
he caught his breath and stepped back, and felt happy 
when a light flashed over the wet smooth turf, and a 
voice like that of Mr. Paris bid him walk in, for he was 
expected and waited for, and had nothing to fear. 

Nothing to fear, brother Paris.. ..He stopped short 
and stood awhile in the door-way as if debating with 
himself whether to go forward or back. 

Why — how pale and tired you are— said Mr. Paris, lift- 
ing up the candle and holding it so that he could see the 
face of Burroughs, while his own was in deep shadow. 
You appear to have a — the Lord have pity on us and help 
us, dear brother ! what can be the matter with you ? — 
why do you hold back in that way 1 — why do you stand 
as if you have n't the power to move ? why do you look 
at me as if you no longer know me ? — 

True — true, said Burroughs — very true — talking to 
himself in a low voice and without appearing to observe 
that another was near. No, no....it is too late now.... 
there's no going back now, if I would....but of a truth, 

it is very wonderful, very very that I should mot 

have recollected my rash vow....a vow like that of Jq)- 
tba....very.... very ....till I had passed over that rocky 
threshold which five years ago this very night, I took an 
oath never to pass again. What if the day that I spoke 
of be near ?....What if I should be taken at my word ! 
Our Father who art in 

Sir — Mr. Burroughs — my dear friend — 

Well. 

What is the matter with you P 



176 RACHEL DYER. 

With me t....nothing Oh....ah....I pray you, broth- 
er, do not regard iny speech ; I am weary of this work, 
and the sooner we give it up now, the better. I have 
done very little good, I fear....two deaths to my charge, 
where I had hoped a....ah, forgive me, brother ; pray 

forgive me But how is this ?....What's the matter with 

you 7 

With me ! 

Yes — with you. What have I done, that you should 
block up the door-way of your own house, when you 
see me approuch ? And what have I done that you should 
try to hide y<iur face from me, while you are searchiag 
mine with fire, and luoking at me with half-averted 
eyes 1 
" With half-averted eyes — 

Mitthew, Matthew — we are losing time — ^we should 
know CMch other better. You are much less cordial to 
me than you were a few days ago, and you know it. 
Speak out like a man....hke a preacher of truth — what 
have I done 1 

What have you done, brother George — how do I 
know 1 

Matthew Paris....are we never to meet again as we 
have met 1 never whilt we two breathe the breath of life 1 

I hope....I do hope... I am not less glad to see you 
than I should be ; I do not mean to give you up, what- 
ever others may do, but — but these are ticklish times 
brother, and just now (in a whisper) situated as we are, 
we cannot be too cautious. To tell you the truth....I 
was not altogether prepared to see you, after the — 

Not prepared to see me ! Why you told me before you 
lifted the latch that I was expected, and waited for— 

So I did brother....so I did, I confess — 

And yet, I told nobody of my intention ; how did you 
know I was to be with you ?«^ 



RACHEL DYER. 177 

One of the children said so above a week ago, in her 



In — deed. 

Ah, you may smile now, brother George ; but you 
looked serious enough a moment ago, when I opened 
the door, and if what they say is true- 
How did I look, pray ? 

Why — to tell you the truth, you looked as if you saw 
something. 

Well....what if I did see something? 

The Lord help us brother — what did you see 

I do not say — I am not sure....but I thought I saw 
something. 

The Lord have mercy on you, brother — what was it 1 

A shadow — a short black shadow that sped swiftly 
by me, but whether of man or beast, I do not know. 
All that I do know, is — 

Lower....lower....speak lower, I beseech you, broth- 
er B. 

No brother P. I shall not speak lower. 

Do....do — 

I dliall not. For I would have the shadow hear me, 
and the body to know, whether it be man Or devil, that 
if either cross my path again, I will pursue the shadow 
till I discover the body, or the body till I have made a 
shadow of that — 

Walk in brother....walk in, I beseech you. 

I'll not be startled again for nothing. Ah — ^what 
are you afraid of? 

Afraid— I— 

Brother Paris — 

There now ! 

Look you brother Paris. You have something to say 
to me, and you have not the courage to say it. You are 
sorry to see me here....you would have me go away....I 



178 RACHEL DYER. 

do not know wherefore....! do not ask ; but I know by 
the tone of your voice, by your look, and by everything 
I hear and see, that so it is. In a word therefore....let 
us understand each other. I shall not go away....here I 
am Sir, and here I shall abide Sir, until the mystery 
which brought me hither is cleared up. 

Indeed, indeed Mr. Burroughs, you are mistaken. 

I do not believe you. 

Sir! 

I do not believe you, I say ; and I shall put yon to the 
proof. 

George Burroughs — I will not be spoken to, thus. 

Poh — poh — 

I will not, Sir. Who am I, Sir — and who are you, 
that I should suffer this of you ? — I, a preacher of the 
gospel — ^you, an outcast and a fugitive- 
Burroughs drew up with a smile. He knew the tem- 
per of the aged man, he foresaw that he should soon 
have the whole truth out of him, and he was prepared 
for whatever ipight be the issue. 

— ^Yea, an outcast and a fugitive, pursued by the law 
it may be, while I speak ; I, a man old enough tobjB 
your father — By what authority am I waylaid here, un- 
derneath my own roof — a roof that would have been a 
refuge for you, if you were not a — 

A what Sir ? 

I have done — 

So I perceive Matthew. I am satisfied now*— I tee 
the cause now of what I charged you with. 1 do not 
blame you — grievous though it be to the hope I had 
when I thought of you — my — my — brother. I feel for 
you — I pity you — I am sorry now for what I said — I 
pray you to forgive me — farewell — 

Hey — what — 

Farewell. You saw me, as you thought, pursued by 



ItACHEL DYER. 179 

the law — flying to the shadow of jour roof as to a ref- 
uge, and so, jou stood at the door and rebuked me, 
Matthew. 

You wrong nie — I love you — I respect you — there is 
no treachery here, and what I have said, I said rashly, 
and I know not why. Forgive me brother George.... 
forgive the old man, whose fear hath made him over- 
look what is due to them, whoever they are, that fly to 
his habitation for ifhelter. 

I do forgive you....my brother. Let me also be for- 
given. 

Be it 8o....there....there....be it so. 

But before I take another step, assure me that if I en- 
ter the door, neither you nor yours will be put in jeop- 
ardy. 

In jeopardy ! 

Am I pursued by the law ?....am I, of a truth ? 

Not pursued by the law, George : I did not say you 
were ; I do not know that you will be....but indeed, in- 
deed, my poor unhappy friend, here is my roof, and 
here am I, ready to share the peril with you, whatever 
it may be, and whatever the judges and elders and the 
people may say. 

You are. 

Yes. 

I am satisfied. You have done your duty....I shall 
now do mine. You are a true brother ; let me prove 
that I know how to value such truth. 1 am not pursu- 
ed by the law, so far as I know or have reason to believe, 
and if I was....l should not come hither you may be as- 
sured for safety. ...nay, nay, I do not mean a reproach.... 
I have absolute faith m your word now ; 1 do believe 
that you would sufier with me and for me..-.but yov 
shall not. If I were hunted for my life, why should I 
fly to you L.mYou could be of no use to mc^you could 



.u*.\.'.^ 



180 RACHEL DYER. 

neither conceal me nor save me....and I might bring 
trouble upon you and yours forever. What would be- 
come of you, were I to be tracked by the blood-honndB 
up to your very door 1 

I pray you, said the aged man, I do pray you....look- 
iog about on every side, shadowing the light with his 
meagre hand, the whole inward structure whereof was 
thereby revealed, and speaking in a low subdued whis- 
per — as if he knew that they were overheard by invisi- 
ble creatures....! pray you brother....dear brother ....let tts 
have done with such talk — 

Why so... .what are you afraid of ? 

Softly....softly....if they should overhear us— 

They....who....what on earth are you shaking at 1 

No matter..... hush hush you may have no such 

fear brother B....you are a bold man brother B....a rerj 
bold man....but as for me....hark !.... 

What's the matter with you?.... What ails yout 

Hush !....hush....do you not hear people whispering 
outside the door ? 

No. 

A noise like that of somebody breathing hard ?— 

Yes— 

You do....the Lord help us. 

I do man, 1 do — but it i& yourself — you it is, that are 
breathing hard— what folly Matthew — what impiety 
at your age ! 

At my age....ah my dear brother, if you had teen 
what I have seen, or heard what I have heard, or luffer- 
ed as L have, young as you are, and stout and powerful 
as you are, you would not speak as you do now, nor look 
as you do now... 

Seen....heard....sufrered. Have I not seen....haYe I 
not suffered !....How little you know of me.... 

Here Matthew Paris, after securing the door with a 



BA0HEL liYER. Igi 

multitude of bars and boltf of oak» led the wi^ with a 
cautious and fearful step toward a little room, through 
the gaping crevices of which, a dim unsteady light, like 
the light of a neglected fire could be seen. 

Death Sir....death in every possible shape, I might 
sa7....but who cares for death ?....peril which| whatevef 
yon may suppose Matthew, at your age— old as you are 
....why — what am I to understand by your behaviour !.... 
you don't hear a word I am saying to you. 

There, there — not so loud I entreat you....not 4S0 loud 
— there's no knowing what may be near us. 

Near us — are you mad 1 — what can be near us ? 

There again— there, there ! 

Stop — I go no further. 

My dear friend — 

Not another step-**-if yoK are crazy, I am not — I will 
be satisfied before I go any further. Were I to judge by 
what I now see and hear — did I not believe what you 
said a few moments ago ; and wtre I not persuaded 
of your integrity, Matthew, I should believe my foes 
were on the look out for me, and that you had been em- 
ployed to entrap me, as the strong man of old was en- 
trapped for the Philistines, with a show of great love — 

Brother ! 

— Nay^ nay, it is not so ; I know that very well. But 
were I to judge by your behavior now, I say, and by 
that alone, I should prepare my fingers for the fight, and 
this weapon for war. 

And I-^if I were to judge by your looks and behavi- 
our at the door, I should believe that you were flying 
for your life, and that betaking yourself to my roof, 
without regard for me or mine, jrou were willing to be- 
tray us to the law. 

Man— «ian — ^bow could you believe such a thing 
of me? 

16 



in RACHEL DYER. 

You were pale as death, George — 

Speak louder — 

Pale as death, and jou did not answer me, nor even 
appear to see me, till after 1 had spoken to you two or 
three times. 

Of a truth? — 

You appeared unwilling to trust yourself beneath my 
roof, when you saw me — 

Did I— 

— So that I was driven to recall the transaction which 
drove us apart from each other — 

Did I, Matthew ? — I am sorry for it — 

Yes— and your behavior altogether was very strange 
— is very strange now ; it is in fact, allow me to say so, 
just what I should look for in a man who knew that his 
life was in jeopardy. Take a chair — you are evidently 
much disturbed, you appear to have met with som e 
surely— >surely — my brother, something has happened to 
you. 

—Did I— 

You do not hear me — 

True enough, Matthew*-I am very tired — please to 
give me a drop of water and allow me to rest myself 
here a few minutes ^I must be gone quickly— I have no 
time to lose now, I percieve. 

You take a bed with me to night, of course. 

No. 

You must — indeed you must, my good brother'— I have 
much to ask — much to advise with you about. We are 
in a dreadful way now, and if we — 

Impossible Matthew — I cannot — I dare not. I have 
more to do than you have to say. Are the children a-bed 
yet? 

Ah brother, brother— you have not forgotten the dear 
child, I see. 



-- • ■r^-i 



RACHEL DYER. US 

Which dear child ? 

Which dear child! — why— oh— ah — I thought you 
meant little Abby — the very image of my departed wife. 

Is Bridget Pope with you now t 

— She often speaks of you, the dear little babe....she 
wears the keep-sake you gave her, and won't let any 
body sit in your place, and if we desire to punish her,^ 
we have only to say that uncle George won't love her.... 

The dear child ! I saw her with Bridget on the day 
of the trial, but I had no time to speak to either. I hope 
they are both well — Bridget has grown prodigiously, I 
hear — 

And so has Abby— 

Indeed ! 

Indeed — why — ^is it so very wonderful that Abby 
should grow ? 

To be sure — certainly not— she was very fair when I 
saw her last — when I left this part of the world, I mean. 

Very — 

So upright, and so graceful and free in her carriage.... 

Free in hef carriage 1 

For a child, I mean — so modest, and so remarkable 
in every way — so attentive, so quiet — 

Ah my dear friend — how happy you make me. You 
never said half so much about her, all the time you lived 
here ; and I, who know your sincerity and worth and 
soberness — to tell you the truth George — I have been a 
little sore.... 

....So attentive, so quiet and so assiduous.... 

Very true....very true....and to hear you ssLy so, Lb 
enough to make her father's heart leap for joy. 

What — in the grave ?.... 

In the grave ?.... 

And after all, I do not perceieve that her eyes are too 
large.... 



184 RACHEL DTER. 

Too large 9 ^ 

Nor that her eoiD]dezion is too pale.... 

Nor I.... 

Nor that her very black hair is either too.... 

Blaek hair.....b)ack.....pra]r brother B. do you know 
what jou are saying just now ? black hair.....wh7 the 
child's hair is no more black than— large eyea too— 
why it is Bridget Pope that has the large eyes— « 

Bridget Pope— to be sure it ia— and who dee ahoald 
it be 1 



CHAPTER XT. 

So then — It was Bridget Pope you were speaking of 
all the time, hey, continued the father. 

To be sure it was — what's the matter now 1 

Why a a ^the fact is, brother — 

You are displeased, I see. 

Not at all — not in the least — no business of mine, 
brother George — none at all, if you like Bridget Pope 
as much as ever — child though she is — no business of 
mine brother Burroughs — I am sure of that. 

So am I — 

You may laugh brother B., you may laugh. 

So I shall brother P.-^so I shall. O, the sick and 
sore jealousy of a father ! Why — do you not know 
Matthew Paris — have I not given you the proof — that 
your Abigail is to me even as if she were my own child 
— the child of my own dear Sarah ? And is not my 
feeling toward poor Bridget Pope that of one who fore- 
sees that her life is to be a life, perhaps of uninterrupted 
trial and sorrow, because of her extraordinary charac- 
ter. I do acknowledge to you that my heart grows 
heavy when I think of what she will have to endure, witli 
her sensibility — poor child — she is not of the race about 
her — 

There now George — there it is again i That poor 

child has never been out of your head, I do believe, since 

you saw her jump into the sea after little Robert Eve- 

leth ; and if she were but six or eight years older* I am 

16* 



186 RACMEL DYER. 

persuaded from what I aow see, and from what I hare 
seen before 

Matthew Paris ! 

Forgive me George — forgive me — ^I have gone too far. 

You have gone too far. 

Will 70U not forgive me ? 

I do— I do— I feel what you have said though ^ I feel 
it sharply — it was like an arrow, or a knife — 

Allow me t© say — 

No, no— excuse me — I know what you would say. 

Her great resemblance to your wife, which everybody 
speaks of, and her.beauty — 

No, no, Matthew, no, no....I cannot bear sneh talk. 

Ah George ! 

Both my wives were very dear to me ; but she of 
whom you speak, she whom you saw upon the bed of 
death in all her beauty — she who died before you, in all 
her beauty, her glorious beauty ! but the other day as 
it were 

The other day, George ? 

— ^Died with her hand in yours but the other day, 
while I was afar off— she whom neither piety nor truth 
could save, nor faith nor prajrer — she of whom f&u are 
already able to speak with a steady voice, and with a 
look of terrible composure — to me it is terrible Mfttthew 
she is too dear to me still, and her death too near, what- 
ever you may suppose ; you, her adopted father I-*yoa, 
the witness of her marriage vow — yeu, the witneiv of her 
death — for me to endure it — O my God, my God— that 
such a woman should be no more in so short a time f 

Dear George 

— No more on the earth.... no more in the hearts of 
them that knew her. 

Have I not lost a wife too ?....a wife as beautiful as the 
day, George, and as good as beautiful ? 



RACHEL DTER. 137 

— No more in the very heart of him, her adopted 
father, who sat by her and supported her when she drew 
her last breath- 
Dear George....would you break the old man's heart t 
•why should I not speak of them that are dead, as freely 
as of — 

The children....the ehildren, Matthew-^how are theyt 

The children? 

I have work to do before I sleep. It grows late....how 
are they f 

No longer what they were, when yon saw them about 
my table fire years ago..^.. 

I dare say not — ^five years are an age to them. 

But they are better now than they were at the time of 
the trial ; we begin to have some hope now— 

Have you, indeed 1 

Yes, for they have begun to.....she has begun, I should 
say ....Bridget Pope.... 

I understand you— -the father will out.... 

— She has begun to look cheerful and to go about the 
house in that quiet smooth way — 

I know, I know....it was enough to bring the water 
into my eyes to look at her-^ 

Robert Eveleth is to be with us to-night, and if we 
can persuade him to stay here a week or two, I have 
great hope in the issue.... 

What hope — how t— 

That both will be cured of their melancholy ways- 
Bridget Pope and my poor Abby— 

Their melancholy ways— why, what have they to do 
with Robert Eveleth ? 

Why — don't you see they are always together when 
he is here— 

Who — ^Abigail and he t 
No— Bridget Pope— 



1B» RACHEL BYER. 

Well, what if they are— wh^t does that prove 1 

Prove ! 

Yes — prove — prove — jou know the meaning of the 
word, I hope 1 

Don't be angry, George* 

Angry — who's angry?— poh, poh, MattheWi poh, 
poh, poh ; talk about love in a girl of that age for a boy 
of that age — 

Love— who said anything about love ? 

Poh, poh; poh — affection, or love— or — whatever you 
please, Matthew — it isn't the word I quarrel wi*.h— it is 
the idea — I wonder that you should put such things into 
their head — 

I! 

A man of your age, Matthew Paris — 

Ah, brother, brother. 

Sir. 

There you go again ! — But I see how it is, and I shall 
sav no more about Bridgy Pope or the boy, Robert Ev- 
eieth, till you are a 

For shame — 

Why so, George 1 All I wanted to say was, that whea 
Robert is here, the children are happy together and 
cheerful. They go romping about in the woods tofsth- 
er, up all the mows in the neighbourhood, or along by 
the sea-shorci (between schools) and spend half their 
play-time in the blackberry-swamp-^you look very seri- 
ous...^ 

I feel so....good by'e. 

Good by'e-^I thought you had come to see the ehil- 
dren? 

To see the children ?— so I did — as I live, Matthew ! 
Lead me to them — 

Follow me in here — they are just going to bed| I see* 

So I did — I came for no other purpose^ 



. J 



RACHEL BWM. lit 

Beallyl 

Really— 

A tiptoe, bretbert if yoa pkase^— tbetiglit of yo^maj 
' do tbem good^-^ 

I hope 8o, said BaiTOUglM-'-begiiiiikig to feel what he 
had noTer till that hour had the d^igbteet idea o((— jeal* 
eaej — downright jealeMj, and of a.natare too abevrd 
for belief, except with sueb as bai^e been afraid in a like 
way, of lesipg the chief regard of na matter what^-HMij- 
thing for which the jr eared ever so litde, or et er so nndi 
— a bird or a kitten, a dogor a horse, a child or a womaau 

I hope so, he repeated, as be Mlowed the preacher 
on tip-toe and peeped into the little room to murej their 
laces before he entered, that he might engof their sur* 
prise. But he started back at the first view^ and eanght by 
the arm of his aged brother — for there sat the poor chil- 
dren with their little naked feet baried half leg deep in 
the wood-ashes, their uncombed hair fl}dng k>Qse in the 
draught of the cfaimnej, each with her wild ejee fixed up- 
on the hearth, and each as far from the other aasheeonld 
well get in the huge fire-plaoe ; and so pale. were they, 
and so meagre^ and their innocent feces weNt so fidl of 
care and so nnlike what they should have been at th»ix 
age — the age of untroobledbope and pare joy— 4faal he 
was quite oyercome. 

They heard fain approach, eitfher hie step or hie breath- 
ing, and starledaway firom thmr aettles with a cry that 
pierced his heart. 

I pray yon! said he.^— Bui Abigail ran off and hid 
herself in a far corner of the room, where a ba|d was tam- 
ed up in a niche, and waited there, gasping for breath, 
as if she expected to be eaten ahve ; and Bridget Pope, 
although she stood still and surreyed him with a steady 
look, made no reply to what he said, bat grew very pale, 
and caught by a chair when he spoke,to her. 



190 RACHEL DTER. 

Why how now, said Mr. Paris, how now, children ? 
what's the matter with you, now ? 

Father — father ! cried Abigail, peeping oat with eyes 
full of terror, aad speaking with a Toice which made her 
father look toward the door as if he expected Banrongfai 
to assume another shape, or somebody else to appear 
from the darkness behind. O father — father — O ai^ / 
— there, there ! — there he goes ! 

Where — ^where— what is it, my poor child t 

Why — Burroughs — Burroughs — there, there! there 
now, there he goes again 1 — that's he — ^there, there— 
don't you see him now, father 1 

See whom, dear ? — see what ? 

Why, Burroughs, to be sure— Burroughs, the bad man 
— there — there — there — 

God help us ! 

I never saw him afore in that shape, father, never in 
all my days, but I know him though, I know him wel 
enough by the scar on his forehead — there, there — there 
he goes !— can't you see him now, father ? 

See him — to be sure I do. 

Gracious God — Almighty Father — ^what can be the 
matter with the poor child ? I begin to perceive the truth 
now, said Burroughs, I do not wonder now at year faith, 
nor at your dreadful terror. 

There — there — didn't you hear that, father? — it 
spoke then — I heard it speak as plain as day— didn't yon 
hear it, father 1 

Why — Abigail Paris-— don't you know me deart 
don't you know your uncle George ? 

There agam — that's jest the way he speak*— help, 
father, help ! 

What is the matter with you, child ? 

Nothin' father ; nothin' at all now — ^it stops now— it 



RACHEL DYER. 191 

was acomin' this way when you spoke — my stars ! any- 
body might know it, father. 

Know what, Abby ? 

Make me believe that aint George Burroughs, if you 
can, father. 

Why, to be sure it is, cried Burroughs, going a step 
nearer to the place where the little creature lay, cuddled 
up in a heap, with a quantity uf split-wood and pitch-knots 
gathered about her. Why do you tremble so, dear ? — 
what's the matter with you ? — what are you afraid of 1 

Father — father — shrieked the poor child, stop it, 
father ! 

Why ! — don't you know me Abigail 1 — nor you neith- 
er Bridget Pope — don't you know me ^ear ? 

O Sir — Sir — is it you ?— is it you yourself, Mr. Bur- 
roughs ? cried the latter, huddling up into the shadow, 
and catching her breath, and standing on tip-toe, as if 
to get as far out of his reach as possible. O Sir — is it 
you ? -" 



To be sure it is — look at me — speak to me — touch 
me — 

O Sir, Sir no, no, Mr. Burroughs — no, no. 

Why what on earth can possess you Bridget Pope ? 
— what on earth is the matter with you ? — what are you 
afraid of ? 

O Lord Sir — I hepe it t5 you ! 

Who else can it be ? — don't you see me % — don't you 
hear me speak ? — O I'm ashamed of you, such a great 
girl, to be afraid of a 

Who else ? — how should I know Sir ? and if I knew, 
I should be afraid to say ; but I don't know Sir, I don't 
indeed Sir — and how should I, pray, when I never saw 
you before to night — s^ 

Never saw me before to night i 

No Sir, never — never— 



Its RACHEL DTER. 

▲re jott oot of joiir head Bridget Pope ?— ne?er law 
me beforf* 1 

No Sir — never, never — I wish I may die if I OTer did* 
tiiough others have — ^your shape I mean Sir— Imt I 
would never allow they told the trath about yoa whan 
they — O, Abigail, Abigail ! 

Did you speak to me, Bridgy Pope 1 

my, O my ! — it is your uncle George !-^t.is in- 
deed —I see the ring he used to wear^that's the Tery 
ring ! 

You don't say so Bridgy ! — ^mother's pretty ring f 
Speak to it now Abby — ^you aint afeard now-Hipeak 

to it, will you 1 

No, no, Bridgy, no, no— -you speak to it youndP— 

what are you cryin' about father 1 

1 did speak to it Abby — ^it's your turn now— 
But you're the nearest — 

But you're the furthest off — 

Ah — but you're the oldest ! — 

But you are the youngest.... 

Father — father — its lookin' at me now ! 

Well, what are you afeard on Abby — I don't beKeve 
he's one o' the crew — is he, uncle Matthew t 

The preacher was afraid to open his mouth — ^his baart 
was too full. It was the first time they had called each 
other Abby and Bridgy, for months. 

And so — and so — they may say what they like ; and 
I — ^I — as for me Abby, I'm not alieard now, one hit- 
How you talk Bridgy. 

No— and I'll never be afeard again — so there f 

Why- Bridgy ! 

And so you'd better come out o' your cubby-lioiiMf 
and go up to it and speak to it ; I'm not afeard 
you see. 

Nor I. 



— . 1^:3 



RACHEL DY£R. I 19S 

Yes you be, or you wouldn't stay there. 

What if you speak to it agin Bridgy ? 

So I will. How d^e do Sir, how d'ye do ? 

My ! — if 'taint a laughin' at you f 

I hope you're satisfied now — 

Aint you railly afeard one bit though, cousin Bridgy ? 

No indeed, not I. See if I be now — look at me and 
see what I'm a goin' to do. There Sir ! — there Mr. 
Burroughs, or whatever you be, there's my hand Sir — 
there 

Laying it on the table before him and turning away 
her head just as if she were going to have some hateful 
operation performed.... 

— You may touch it if you like — 

God bless you dear. 

I'm not afeard of you now — am I Sir 1 

No, no — my brave girl. 

And you are not ashamed of me now I hope—are you 
Sir? 

No — no —but I am proud of you — 
He touched her hand as he spoke, but released 
it immediately, for he saw that he had a very cautious 
game to play. 

By jingo Abby ! 

By jingo — what for 1 

Why the hand is warm after all ; it is Mr. Burroughs 
himself— it is, it is ! — I know him now as well as I 
know you hourra ! 

Omy I 

As sure as you are alive Abby. 

Why, Bridget Pope, said her uncle. What on earth 
are you made of 1 
Me — uncle Matthew t 

Why....it appears that you did not know him just 
now, when you spoke to him* 
17 



114 RACHEL DTER. 

No Sir — I wasn't very sure — not so sure as I am now. 

There's courage for 700 — true courage, Matthew 
Paris ; a spirit worthy of all admiration. 

Very true — very true — but she is two years older than 
Abby. 

Not so much, Matthew, not so much — well dear ? 

May I go now — please.... 

You are not afraid of me now, dear ? 

No Sir— if you please — not much-» 

And you never will be so again, I hope ? 

So do I Sir-7S0 do 1....I hope so too....fbr its an aw- 
ful thing to be afeard of anybody. 

Poor child. 

To be afeard in the dark Sir — in the dead o' the ni^t 
Sir — when you're all livin' alone Sir — O, it is dread- 
ful. 

So it is, our Bridgy. 

But I never mean to be afeard again Sir. 

There's a good girl. 

Never, never (catching her breath) — if I can help it. 

Nor I nyther, Bridgy — 

Never.... (lowering her voice and peeping under the 
bed) never without I see the wicked Shape as they do 
-r*right afore me in the path, when I go after the cows, 
or when I go to look for the pretty shells on the sea- 
shore — 

What wicked Shape ? 

Your own Sir — please. 

Ah. 

And 80 Sir — and so— and se uncle Matthew— «nd so 
you'd better come out o' your hole, Abby dear. 

After a deal of persuasion, Abb^ dear began to creep 
out of her hiding-place, and by little and little to work her 
way along, miw by the split-wood, now by the wall, and 
now with her back toward the place where the Shape sat 



RACHEL DYER. 195 

holding his breath and afraid to move, lest he should 
scare away the new-born courage of the little thing. 

After a while she got near enough to speak; and hold- 
ing by her father's coat all the time, she sidled up to 
Burroughs, who would not appear to see what she was 
about, aud lifting up her innocent face, articulated just 
loud enough to reach him — There now. 

Well dear— 

Off she started, the moment he spoke. 

But finding she was not pursued, she stopped a 
yard or two from his chair, and peeping over the flap of 
her father's coat — and seeing that the shape was looking 
another way — she came a little nearer — stopped — a lit- 
tle nearer still — inch by inch — stopped once more, and 
looking up at him, as if she knew not whether to run off 
or stay, said — You be Mr. Burroughs — 1 know 1 
He was afraid to speak yet, and afraid to move. 

Uncle George — ee. 

God bless the babe ! 

There now — I told you so — ^you be uncle George, 
baint you ? 

Yes dear — but who are you — ^you little wayward imp, 
with such a smutty face and such ragged hair....poh, poh 
....poh....what are you afraid of ? 

father, father ! he's got me ! he's got me ! 

Well — there, there — if you don't like to stay with me, 
go to your father .••• 

Why... .what a funny Shape it is father — if it ts a 
shape. 

1 don't believe your hair has been combed for a twelve* 
month. 

O but it has though.... 

It is no fault of ours, my friend, said her father, de- 
lighted to see her at the knee of Burroughs. We do all 
we can, but the more we scrub, the more we may ; the 



196 RACBEL DYER. 

more we wash, the dirtier and blacker she growi, and 
the more we comb, the rougher looks her beaatifbl hair 
....it was beautiful indeed a year ago — 

It was like spun gold when I left you. 

—But she is no longer the same Abigail Paris that jovl 
knew — 

Why....father !.... 

Be careful Sir ; metaphors and poetry are not for 
babes and sucklings.... 

You be a good man after all....baint you Sir 1 coBtiD- 
ued she, getting more confidence at every breath, now 
that she found the Shape willing to let her go whenerer 
she chose to go. You be a good man after all Sir.... 
baint you Sir ? 

I hope so dear. 

You never torments the people, do you ? Leaning 
with her whole weight upon his knee, letting go her &- 
ther's coat, and shaking her abundant hair loose. 

I !....no indeed I hope not....I should be verj sorry te 
torment the people. 

Would you though 1 

Yes dear.... 

Uncle Georgee ! said the child in a whisper that 
sounded like a whisper of joy. ...dear uncle George....and 
he drew her into his lap, and she put her mouth close to 
his ear and repeated the words again, so that they went 
into his heart — O, I do love you, uncle Georgee ! 

Having passed a whole hour in examing the two little 
sufferers (whom he left asleep in each other's arms) he 
went away utterly confounded by their behaviour, and 
with little hope of reaching the truth; for if Abigail Paris 
and Bridget Pope were what they seemed to be.... what 
they undoubtedly were indeed, — ^innocent as the dove — 
how could he say after all, that they were not bewitch- 
ed 1 Still however there was one hope. That which 



RACHEL DYER. i»i 

he saw migkt proceed from disease or ^m fear, the 
natural growth in that age and among that people, of a 
solitary situation. But if so, what was he to think of 
others, who had a like faith, and yet lived in a populous 
neighborhood and were cheerful and happy ? Anxious 
to arrive at the truth, he set off immediately to see Ra. 
chel and Elizabeth Dyer, knowing that under their quiet 
roof, he should be at peace, though he failed to procure 
what he needed.... further information about her who had 
abused the people and the judges with a tremendous 
forgery. 



i?** 



I! 

!l. 






l) 



CHAFTfiR XVI. 



He was not altogether disappointed. Rachel Dyer 
knew much of the woman who had fabricated the «torj 
of the spindle and sheet, and was only waiting for proof 
to impeach her for it, face to face, before the people and 
the judges. Her name was Hubbard ; she was in the 
prime of life, with a good share of beauty ; bold, crafty 
and sly, and very much feared by those who believed 
her story ; and Rachel Dyer, though a woman of tried 
worth and remarkable courage, was unwilling to appear 
against her, till she could do so with a certainty of suc- 
cess, for it would be a fearful stake to play for, and she 
knew it — nothing less than life to life — her life against 
that of Judith Hubbard. 

But though she knew this, having been very familiar 
with the aspect of peril from her youth, and being aware 
that she was looked up to with awe by the multitude — 
not so much with fear, as with a sort of religious awe — 
great love mingled with a ^secret, mysterious veneration, 
as the chief hope of her grandmother, Mary Dyer, the 
prophetess and the martyr — she determined to play for 
that stake. 

She knew well what a wager of death was, and she 
knew well the worth of her own life. But she knew 
what was expected of her, and of what she was capable, 
in a period of general and sore perplexity and sorrow ; 
for twice already in her short life she had approved her 
high relationship to the martyr, and the sincerity of 



SOO RACHEL DYER. 

her faith as one of that people, who, when ihej were 
smitten of one cheek, turned the other, and who, when 
they were reviled, resiled not again,— bj going forth into 
the great woods of North- America, while they were be- 
set with ezaflperated savages and with untamed crea- 
tures of blood, forever on the track of their prey, to in- 
tercede for those who had been carried off into captivity 
bv the red heathen....pursuing her fearful path by night 
and by day.«..in winter and in summer....and always 
alone....to prove her faith ; and prevailing in each case 
where there seemed to be no sort of hope, and thereby 
preserving to the colony eight of her precious yonth; and 
among others, one who had despitefully nsed her a little 
time before, and whose grandfather was reputed to have 
been the real cause of her beloved grandmother's death. 

When Burroughs arrived at the door, and laid his 
hand upon the rude latch, ho started, for the door flew 
open of itself ; there was no lock on it, no fastening, 
neither bolt nor bar. He found the two sistera with a 
large book open before them, and Rachel reading to 
Elizabeth in a low voice, with her arm aboat her neek. 
How now 1 said he. 

They gave him a hearty cheerful shake of the hand ; 
but he observed, or thought he observed a slight change 
of colour in the face of Rachel, as he turned hia eye to 
the book and saw a paragraph with her name in it. 

You were reading, said he, as he drew up a chair te 
the table. Go on, if you please. 

Thank thee, George ; we had nearly finished.... 

What are you reading, pray ? 

We were just reading the beautiful story of....why, 
Rachel Dyer....if thee ain't a goin' to shet up the book 
afore we are half done with the chapter! said Elizabeth, 
jumping up with a look of surpri8e....weli, I do think f 

Rachel turned away her head with a somewhat haatj 



RACHEL OYER. ^01 

motion, pushed the book toward Elizabeth, and sat back 
as far as she could possibly get into her grandmother's 
huge arm-chair ; but she made no reply, and Elizabeth 
saw that something was the matter. 

Thee's not well, I'm afeard, sister... .dear sister, said 
she, going up to her and throwing her arms about her 
neck, and kissing her as a child would kiss a mother. 

Rachel burst into tears. 

Why ! exclaimed Blizabeth....why !....whatisthe mat- 
ter with thee, Rachel thee turns away thy head.... 

thee will not look at me....what have I done, I beseech 
thee, dear si8ter....what have I done to grieve thee 1 
Speak to her, George....do speak to her....I never saw her 
in this way before. 

Poor soul, said he, going up to her and speaking with 
visible emotion ; but as he drew near and would have 
put his hand upon hers, like a brother, she pulled it 
away ; and then as if suddenly recollecting herself, she 
rose up, and after a short struggled, turned to him with a 
smile that affected him even more than her tears, and 
spoke to him very kindly, and put her handinto his, and 
prepared to finish the chapter. It was the story of the 
patriarch, who, after cheating his father in his old age, 
and betraying his brother Esau, went away into the land 
of the people of the East, where in due course of time he 
was overreached and betrayed by his mother's brother ; 
and the voice of the reader was firm and clear, and her 
look steady, till she came to these words — 

" And Laban had two daughters : the name of the el- 
der was Lear, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 

" Lear was tender-eyed, but Rachel.... 

Her voice quavered now, and she proceeded with 
visible effort and hurry. 

"But Rachel was heavtiful and well favored. And 

Jacob loved Rachel. 



£0S RACHEL DYER. 

A moment more — and she recovered her Toice en» 
tirely, and finished the chapter without a signofeoio- 
tion, as if she knew in her own soul that Burroughs 
and Elizabeth were watching her as they had never 
watched her before. 

Strange morality — said he, as they laid the Book 
aside. This patriarch, and others who happen to have 
been greatly favored in that age by the God of the pa- 
triarchs were guilty of more than we, with oot ahort- 
sighted notions of propriety, should be very willing eith* 
er to overlook or forgive — 

George Burroughs — 

My dear friend — what I say is very true, and to 
pass over David,the man after God's own heart, I would 
ask you whether he who cheated his father and hii 
brother, by the help of his mother, while he was yet a 
youth, and as he grew up laid before the stronger cattle 
the rods which he had peeled-— as we have it in tbs 
Book — and suffered the cattle that were weak— aa we 
read there — to conceive in their own way, so that ^ the 
feebler were Laban's cattle and the stronger Jacob's^.. 
whether he, I say.... 

I see no advantage in this....we have a faith of our 
own, said Rachel, interrupting him with a mild seriooi- 
ness which he dared not contend with. I pray thee to 
spare us, — and thyself George.— 

Are we not to bear witness to the truth* Rachdt 

It may be the truth George, but... .glancing at Eliza- 
beth who sat as if she expected the roof to (all iii| or the 
earth to give way under their feet and sw^low theoi up 
for their dreadful impiety. ...some truths we know are 
for the strong, and some for the weak. 

Ah....what was that I cried Elizabeth ^atfhi»g at 
lier sister's arm. 



RACHEL DYER. 203 

Poor child....there George tfaere....thee sees the ef- 
fect of thy truth....why, Lizzy ! 

I did hear something....! did, I did ! continued 
Elizabeth, clinging to her sister and fixing her eyes up- 
on the roof. O I'm sure there's something up there. 

Well, and what if there is, pray ? What's thee afraid 
of ?..^..Isthe arm of our Father shortened or his power 
shrunk, that we are not safe ? 

Nay nay Rachel....no wonder she^s afraid. You are 
lying asleep as it were, in the very path-way of the 
prowling savage and the beast of blood, with no lock 
on your outer-door, not so much as a wooden bolt, with 
no sort of security for you, by day or by night ; and all 
this in a time of war, and you living on the outskirts of 
the wood....why it's no better than tempting Provi- 
dence, Rachef Dyer 

Just what I say....said Elizabeth.... 

And I am sorry to hear thee say so.... 

Nay nay Rachel....wby so grave ? I confess to you 
that I should not like to live as you do.... 

1 dare say, George.... 

It would be impossible for me to sleep.... 

No no....not impossible. 

And I should expect a savage or a bear to drop in, 
every hour of the day.... 

Thee wouldn't always be disappointed George. 

And every hour of the night, Rachel, without cere- 
mony. 

We disregard ceremony, George. 

Why, what are you made of Rachel Dyer.... 

Of earth, George. 

Not of common earth.... 

George Burroughs ! 

But of a truth now, are you not afraid of a call some 



£04 RACHEL DYER. 

one of these dark nights from a stray savage, a Pequod» 
or a Mohawk— or an Iroquois 1 

She smiled. 

Are you not ? We are at open war now with half 
the tribes of the North. 

No....and why should I be 1 I know them all and thej 
know that Elizabeth and I are what they call poo-ka- 
kee.... 

Poor quakers, hey ?.... 

Yes, and thee may be very sure that we ha?e not 
much to be in fear of when I tell thee....prepare thyself 
George....that hardly a day goes over without my seeing 
some one or two of thy tribe, or of the Iroquois. 

What ! cried the preacher, leaping out of the chair 
and looking up at the rouf....there may be somebody 
there now. 

Not up there George.... 

Where then 1 

It would be no easy matter for me to say : for who- 
ever it is, be will not appear till thee is gonc.why, what's 
thee afraid of ?....and then he will open the door as thee 
did, and walk in. Thee may put up thy knife George, 
and lay down thy staff... they '11 never cross thy path, 
nor harm a hctir of thy head.... 

How can 1 be sure of that ? 

By heli<^vinjr what I say to thee. 

I know the Kuvaj^es better tliau you do, my dear friend. 

I have my doubts, George. They never harmed a 
visiter of mine yet, neither j^oingDr commg ; and I have 
had not a frw of their mortal foes under my roof while 
they were lyjn<r witliin bow-shot of the door. Be assured 
of what I 8ay....thee has nothing to fear.... 

Would we I^* thee come, George, if it wasn't very 
safe ? afiked Edzuheth. 

Forgive me, said he, forgive me ; and his eyei flask- 



BACHEL STER. SOO 

ed fire, and Elizabeth hid her face, and Rachel turned 
away her head. 

Why, how now ? said he, looking at both in astonish- 
nent, you appear to have a 

He stopped short. ...he had an idea that he knew the 
character of both sisters well ; he had been acquainted 
with Mary Elizabeth from her childhood up, and with 
her grave sister from her youth up, and he had always 
perceived that there was a something in the nature of 
both, but especially in that of Rachel Dyer, unlike the 
nature of anybody else that he ever knew ; but he had 
never been so puzzled by either as he was now 

I hope I have not offended you ? said he, at last. 

Do thee feel safe George ? 

Yes....but you are not 8afe....ah, you may smile and 
shake your head, but you are not safe. How do you 
think the authorities of the land will endure to be told 
that you are on such familiar terms with the foe ? Have 
a care....you will get yourself into trouble, if you don't. 

Make thyself easy George. We are quite safe; we 
belong to neither side in the war, and both sides know 
it. By abiding here, I am able to do much good.... 

As how, pray? 

By showing that I am not afraid to trust to the good- 
faith of savages ; by showing them that they are safe in' 
trusting to my good-faith, and above all, that weapons 
of war. whatever thee may say, George, are not neces- 
sary to them who put their trust in the Lord.... 

What if we were to entrap some of your visiters with- 
out your knowledge ? 

It would be no easy matter. They guard every path 
I do believe, that leads to my door.... 

Every path.... 

Yes... .and let me tell thee now, that if it should ever 

happen to thee to go astray in these woods, thee will 
18 



906 UAGHEL DTER. 

haTe nothing to fear so long as thee parsues a path 
which leads to my door....if thee should miss thy way, 
inquire aloud, and thee will be safe.... 

How so ? 

Thee will be overheard.... 

You astonish me. 

And guarded, if it be necessary.... 

Guarded !.... 

Up to my very door..«.thee can hardly }wt £uth in 
what I say. Do thee know George, that to be a poo-^a- 
kee^is to bear a charmed life, as thee would say* not only 
here, but in the great wilderness ? Do thee know too, 
that among the tribes of the north, it is a common thing 
to charge a captive with cruelty to the quakers. 

I do....and I have heard every cry of a pale man at 
the stake answered by.... Ah ha ! what for you farver 'im 
choke-a poo-ka-kee-ooman 1 

Poor soul.... 

They alluded I suppose to your grandmother. How 
you like em dat ? said a Mohawk chief, putting his belt 
round the neck of another, and pulling it just hard 
enough to choke him a little. Ah ha !....what for you do 
so ?....You choke-a poo-ka-kee ooman, hey ?....you kill 
urn 'gin 7 ah ha.... 

No, no George....no, no....I can't bear to hear tbee....it 
reminds me of the poor youth I saved. Tliey frightened 
him almost to death before they would ^ve him up, only 
because they had a tradition io their tribe that his grand- 
father was in some way, the cause of my grandmother's 
death ; mid I am quite sure that he would not have been 
given up to anybody but me well.... 

Hark....hark ! said Elizabeth, interrupting her sister. 

Well, what now ? 

I heard a voice.... 

A voice,...where....when....what was it like ? 



«07 RACHEL DYER. 

Like the yoice of a woman, a great way off—- 

A female panther I dare 8a7....it'8 high time to look 
to the door. 

There....there....oh, it's close to the door now ! 

A low sweet voice could be distinctly heard now, but 
whether on the roof or up the chimney, or at the win- 
dow or the door, it was quite impossible to say. 



1 ■ .■ 



CHAPTER XVII. 



The preacher drew forth a knife, and went up to the 
door- 

Sir....sir....70u are wanted Sir....right away Sir, said 
V a low voice at his elbow.... 

Who are you ?.... where are you 1 cried he....but the 
blood curdled &bout his heart, and he recoiled from the 
sound as he spoke. 

Here I be....here....here. 

Elizabeth dropped on her knees and hid her face in 
the lap of her sister ; and Rachel, who was not of a 
temper to be easily frightened, gathered her up and 
folded her arms about her,as if struck to the heart with 
a mortal fear. But Burroughs, afler fetching a breath 
or two, went back to the door and stood waiting for the 
voice to be heard again. 

What are you ? — speak — where are you 1 

Here I be, said the invisible creature. 

And who are you --what are you 1 cried Burroughs 
running up to the door, and then to the window, and 
then to the fire-place, and then baek to the window, and 
preparing to push the slide away — 

Here I be sir — here — here — 

Well— if ever ! — cried Rachel. Why don't thee go 
to the door George — starting up and leaving poor Eliz- 
abeth on her knees. Why ! thee may be sure there's 
something the matter — going to the door a-tip-toe. 

No no Rachel — no no ; it may be a stratagem— 
18* 



SIO RACHEL DY£R. 

A stratagem for what praj ?— what ha?e we to fear ? 

The door flew open as she spoke, and a hoy entered 
all out of breath, his neck open, his hat gone, his jacket 
off, and his hair flying loose — 

Why, Robert Eveleth— 

O Sir— sir ! said he, as soon as he could speak — O 
sir I've come to tell you — didn't you never see a Belze- 
bub?— 

A what ? — 

If yon never did, now's your time ; just look oat o'the 
door there, and you'll see a plenty on 'em. 

Why, Robert— Robert— what ails the boy ? 

No matter now, aunt Rachel — you're wanted Sir— 
they're all on the look-out for you now — ^you're a goin' f 
be tried to-morrow for your life — I come here half an 
hour ago to tell you so — but I saw one o' the Shapes 
here right by the winder... 

A what ? — 

— A Shape — an' so d'ye see, I cleared out...and to, 
and so— the sooner you're off, thejbetter ; they're a goin' 
to swear your life away, now — 

His life, murmured Elizabeth. 

My life — mine — how do you know this, boy 1 

How do I know it Sir ? — well enough....they'?e been 
over and waked Bridgy Pope, and want her to saj so 
too— and she and Abby — they sent me off here to tell 
you to get away as fast as ever you can, all three of 
you, if you don't want to swing for it, afore you know 
where you he- 
Robert Eveleth ! — 

O, it's all very true Sir, an' you may look as black as 
a thunder-cloud, if you please, but if you don't get away, 
and you — and you — every chip of you, afore day-light* 
you'll never eat another huckleberry-puddin' in this 



lUeHEL DYER. &n 

world, and you may swear to that, all hands of you, as 
>we say aboard ship.... 

Robert Eveleth, from what I saw of you the other 
day-— 

Can't help that Sir....you*ve no time to lose now, eith- 
er of you ; you do as I say now^ an' I'll hear you preach 
whenever you like, arter you're all safe — no, no, you 
needn't trouble yourself to take a chair — if yuu stop to 
set down, it's fifty to five an' a chaw o' tobacco, 't you 
never git up agin....why !..;.there's Mary Wa'cote and 
that air Judith Hubbard you 8ee....(lowering his voice) 
an' I don't know how many more o' the Shapes out there 
in the wood waitin' for you.... 

Poh. 

Lord, what a power o' faces I did see ! when the 
moon came out, as I was crackin' away over the path by 
the edge o' the wood....I've brought you father's grey 
stallion, he that carried off old Ci Carter when the Mo- 
hawks were out....are you all ready ? 

All ready 1 

Yes, all — all — ^you're in for't loo, lazzy Dyer, and so 
are you, aunt Rachel — an' so— and so-~shall I bring up 
the horse 1 

No— 

No — ^yes, but I will though, by faith ! 

Robert! 

Why Robert, thee makes my blood run cold — 

Never you mind for that, Lizzy Dyer. 

Robert Eveleth, I am afraid thy going to sea a trip or 
two, hath made thee a naughty boy, as I told thy mother 
it would. 

No no, aunt Rachel, no no, don't say so ; we never 
swear a mouthful when we're out to sea, we never ketch 
no fish if we do— but here am I ; all out o' breath now. 



Uft RACHEL DTER. 

and you wont stir a peg,for all I can say or do and I 
gulp to you ! 

Here Burroughs interrupted the boy, and after in- 
forming the sisters of what had occurred while he was 
with Mr. Paris and the poor children, he made the boy 
go oTer the whole story anew, and haying done so, he 
became satisfied in his own soul, that if the conspirators 
were at work to destroy the poor girl before him, there 
would be no escape after she was once in their power. 

Be of good cheer, Elizabeth, said he, and as he spoke, 
he stooped down to set his lips to her forehead. 

George — George — we have no time to lose-*what 
are we to do ? said Rachel, putting forth her hand ea- 
gerly so as to stay him before he had reached the brow 
of Ehzabeth ; and then ns quickly withdrawing it, and 
faltering out a word or two of self-reproach. 

If you thin1& as I do, dear Rachel, the sooner she is 
away the better. 

I do think as thee does — ^I do, George....(in this mat- 
ter.) Go for the black mare, as fast as thee can mo?ei 
Robert Eveleth. 

Where shall I find her....it'8 plaguy dark now, where 
there's no light. 

On thy left hand as the door slips away ; theeMl find 
a cloth and a side-saddle over the crib, with a-— stop» 
stop — will the grey horse bear a pillion ? 

Yes — forty. 

If he will not, however, the mare will....so be qoiek. 
Robert, be quick.... 

Away bounded the boy. 

She has carried both of us before to-day,and safely too« 
when each had a heavier load upon her back than W6 
both have now. Get thee ready sister — for my own 
part— I — well George, I have been looking for sorrow 
and am pretty well prepared for it, thee sees. I knew 



RACHEL DTEll. £13 

four months ago that I had wagered my life against Ju- 
dith Hubbard's life — I am sorry for Judith — I should be 
sorry to bring her to such great shame, to say nothing 
of death, and were it not for others, and especially for 
that poor child, (pointing to Elizabeth) I would rather 
lay down my own life — much rather, if thee'U believe 
me George, than do her the great mischief that I now 
fear must be done to her, if our Elizabeth is to escape 
the snare. 

I rfo believe you— are you ready 1 — 

Quite ready ; but why do thee stand there, as if thee 
was not going too 1 — or as if thee had not made up thy 
mindl 

Ah — I thought I saw a face — 

I dare say thee did ; but thee's not afraid of a face, I 
hope ? 

I hear the sound of horses' feet — 

How now ? — it is not for such as thee to be slow of 
resolve. 

He drew a long breath — 

George — thee is going with us 1 

Ne, Rachel — I'd better stay here. 

Here ! shrieked Elizabeth. 

Here !— what do thee mean, George 1 asked her sis- 
ter. 

I mean what I say— just what I say — ^it is for me to 
abide here. 

For thee to abide here ? If it is the duty of one, it is 
the duty of another, said Elizabeth in a low, but very 
decided voice. 

No, Elizabeth Dyer, no— I am able to bear that which 
ought never to be expected of you. 

Do thee mean death, George ? — we are not very much 
afraid of death, said Rachel — are we Elizabeth 1 
No— not yerj much — 



£14 RACHEL DYER. 

You know not what jou say. I am a preacher of the 
gospel-^what may be yery proper for me to do, may be 
very improper for a young beautiful 

George Burroughs — 

Forgive me Rachel — 

I do....prepare thyself, my dear Elizabeth, gird up thy 
loins ; for the day of travail and bitter sorrow is nigh to 
thee. 

Here am 1 sister ! And ready to obey thee at the risk 
of my life. What am I to do 1 

I advise thee to fly, for if they seek thy death, it ii for 
my sake — I shall go too. 

Dear sister- 
Well 1— 

Stoop thy head, I pray thee, continued Elizabeth— 
I — I — (in a whisper) — ^I hope he'll ge^'with theie. 

With me?— 

With us, I mean — 

Why not say so ? 

How could I ? 

Mary Elizabeth Dyer ! 

Nay nay — we should be safer with him— 

Our safety is not in George Burroughs, maiden. 

But we should find our way in the dark better. 

Rachel made no reply, but she stood looking at her 
sister, with her lips apart and her head up, %a if ahe 
were were going to speak, till her eyes ran over, and 
then she fell upon her neck and wept aloud for a single 
moment, and then arose and, with a violent effort, broke 
away from Elizabeth, and hurried into their little bed- 
room, where she staid so long that Elizabeth followed 
her — and the preacher soon heard their voices and their 
sobs die away, and saw the linked shadows of both in 
prayer, projected along the white roof. 

A moment more and they came out togethert Rechcl 



RACHEL DYER. il5 

with a stead J look and a firm step, and her sister with a 
show of courage that awed him. 

Thee will go with us now, I hope, said Rachel. 

He shook his head. 

I pray thee George — do not thou ahide here — bj going 
with us thee may have it in thy power to help a ■ i n 
short,we have need of thee George, and thee had better 
go, even if thee should resolve to come back and out- 
face whatever may be said of thee — 

What if I see an angel in my path ? 

Do that which to thee seemetb good — I have no more 
to say — the greater will be thy courage, the stronger the 
presumption of thy innocence, however, should thee 
come back, after they see thee in safety — what do thee 
say Elizabeth ? — 

I didn't speak, Rachel — ^but — but — O I do wish he 
would go. 

I shall come back if I live, said Burroughs. 

Nay nay George — thee may not see thy way clear to 
do so— 

Hourra there, hourra! cried Robert Eveleth, pop- 
ping his head in at the door. Here we be all three of 
us — what are you at now 1 — why aint you ready ? — 
what are you waitin' for ? 

George — it has just occurred to me that iff stay here, 
I may do Elizabeth more good than if I go with you-— 
having it in my power to escape, it may be of weight in 
her favor — 

Fiddle-de-dee for your proof cried Robert Eveleth — 
that, for all your proof! snapping his fingers — that for 
all the good you can do Ehzabeth — I say, Mr. Bur- 
roughs — a word with you — 

Burroughs followed him to a far part of the room. 
If you know when you are well off, said the boy — 
make her go — ^you may both stay, you and Ehzabeth too, 



S16 RACHEL BYKR. 

without half the risk ; but as for aunt Rachel, why u 
siire as you're a breathin' the breath o' life now, if you 
donH get her away, they'll have her up with a short torn; 
and if you know 'd all, you'd say so — I said 'twas you 
when I fuss come, for I didn't like to frighten her — but 
the fact is you are only one out o' the three, and I'd 
rather have your chance now, than either o' their'n*- 
Why? Robert- 
Hush — hush — you stoop down your head here, an' 
I'll satisfy you o' the truth o' what I say.... Barbara 
Snow, and Judy Hubbard have been to make oath, 
and they wanted Brid^y Pope to make oath too — they'd 
do as much for her they said — how 't you come to 
their bed-side about a week ago, along with a witch that 
maybe you've heerd of — a freckled witch with red hair 
and a big hump on her back — 

No no — cried the preacher, clapping his hand over 
the boy's mouth and hastily interchanging a look with 
Elizabeth, whose eyes 611ed with a gush of sorrow, 
when she thought of her have good sister, and of what 
she would feel at the remark of the boy....a remark, the 
bitter truth of which was made fifty times more bitter 
by his age, and by the very anxiety he showed to keep 
it away from her quick sensitive ear. 

But Rachel was not like Elizabeth; for though she 
heard the remark, she did not even change color, but 
went up to the boy, and put both arms about his neck 
with a smile, and gave him a hearty kiss....and bid him 
be a good boy, and a prop for his widowed mother. 

A moment more and they were all on their way. It 
was very dark for a time, and the great wildernftss 
through which their path lay, appeared to overshadow 
the whole earth, and here and there to shoot up a mul- 
titude of branches— up«»up— into the wery sky — ^where 



RACHEL DYER. S17 

the stars and the moon appeared to be adrift, and wal- 
lowing on their way through a sea of shadow. 

Me go too 1 said a voice, apparently a few feet off, as 
they were feeling for a path in the thickest part of the 
wood. 

The preacher drew up as if an arrow had missed him. 
Who are you 1 said he — 

No no, George.^.]et me speak — 

Do you know the voice ? 

No — but I'm sure 'tis one that I have heard before. 

Me go too — ^high ! 

No. 

Where you go ?— high ! 

Rachel pointed with her hand. 

Are you afraid to tell ? asked the preacher, looking 
about in vain for somebody to appear. 

I have told him — I pointed with my hand — 

But how could he see thy hand such a dark night 1 
said Elizabeth. 

As ^ou would see it in the light of day, said the 
preacher. 

High — high — me better go too— ppo-ka-kee. 

No, no — I'd rather not, whoever thee is — we are quite 
safe — 

No— no, said the voice, and here the conversation 
dropped, and they pursued tlieir way for above an hour, 
at a brisk trot, and were already in sight of a path which 
led to the Providence Plantations, their city of refuge — 

High — high— me hear um people, cried the same 
voice. You no safe much. 

And so do I, cried Burroughs. I hear the tread of 
people afar off-tno, no, 'tis a troop of horse— > who arc 
you — come out and speak to us — ^what are we to do ? — 
the moon is out now. 

High, poo-kakee, high ! 
19 






218 RACHEL DYER. 

Yes — come here if thee will, and say what we are to do. 
Before the words were well out of her mouth, a young 
saTage appeared in the path, a few feet from the head 
of her horse, and after explaining to her that she was 
pursued by a troop,and that he and six more of the tribe 
were waiting to know whether she wanted their help, he 
threw aside his blanket and showed her, that although 
he was in the garb of a swift -runner, he did not lack for 
weapons of war. 

No, no, not for the world poor youth ! cried the wo- 
man of peace, when her eye caught the glitter of the 
knife, the tomahawk and the short gun — I pray thee to 
leave us....do leave us — do, do ! — speak to him Greorge 
....he does not appear to understand what I say— en- 
treat him to leave us. 

High — high ! said the young warrior, and off he 
bounded for the sea-shore, leaving them to pursue their 
opposite path in quietness. Rachel and Elizabeth were 
upon a creature that knew, or appeared to know every 
step of the way ; but the young high-spirited horse 
the preacher rode, had become quite unmanageabley now 
that the moon was up, the sky clear, and the shadows 
darting hither and thither about her path. At lait they 
had come to the high road— their peril was over — and 
they were just beginning \o speak above their breath, 
when Burroughs heard a sh^i fired afar off- 
Hush— hush— don't move ; don't speak for your lives. 
cried he, as the animal reared and started away from 

the path sob, sob — I shall subdue him in a moment 

— hark — that is the tread of a horse— another— and 
another, by my life — woa ! — woa !— 
My heart misgives me, George — ^that youth— 
Ah — another shot — we are pursued by a troopi and 
that boy is picking them off — 
O Father of mercies ! I hope not. 



RACHEL DYER. «!• 

Stay you here — I'll be back in a moment — woa — 
woa ! — 

George George— 

Don't be alarmed — stay where you are — keep in the 
shadow, and if I do not come back immediately, or it 
you see me pursued, or if — woa, woa — or if you see 
the mare prick up her ears, don't wait for me, but make 
the best of your way over that hill yonder — woa! — 
keep out o' the high road and you are safe. 

Saying this, he rode off without waiting for a reply, 
intending to follow in the rear of the troop, and to lead 
them astray at the risk of his life, should they appear to 
be in pursuit of the fugitives. He had not gone far, 
when his horse, hearing the tread of other horses — si 
heavy tramp, like that of a troop of cavalry on the 
charge, sounding through the still midnight air, gave a 
loud long neigh. It was immediately answered by four 
or five horses afar off, and by that en which the poor 
girls were mounted. 

The preacher saw that there was but one hope now, 
and he set off at full speed therefore, intending to cross 
the head of the troop and provoke them to a chase ; the 
manoeuvre succeeded until they saw that he was alone, 
after which they divided their number, and while one 
party pursued him, another took its way to the very spot 
where the poor girls were abiding the issue. He and 
they both were captured — they were all three taken 
alive — though man after man of the troop fell from his 
horse, by shot after shot from a foe that no one of the 
troop could see, as they galloped after the fugitives. 
They were all three carried back to Salem, Burroughs 
prepared for the worst, Rachel afraid only for Elizabeth, 
and Elizabeth more dead than alive. 

But why seek to delay the catastrophe ? Why pause 
upon that, the result of which every body can foresee 1 



220 RACHEL DYER. 

They put him upon trial on the memorable fifth day of 
August (16d2) in the midst of the great thunder-storm. 
Haying no proper court of justice in the Plymouth- 
colony at this period, they made use of a Meeting- 
House for the procedure, which lasted all one day and 
a part of the following night — a night never to be for* 
gotten by the posterity of them that were alive at the 
time. He was pale and sick and weary, but his bearing 
was that of a good man — that of a brave man too, and 
yet he shook as with an ague, when he saw arrayed 
against him, no less than eight confessing witches, Are 
or six distempered creatures who believed him to be the 
cause of their malady^ Judith Hubbard, a woman whose 
character had been at his mercy for a long while (He 
knew that of her, which if he had revealed it before she 
accused him, would have been fatal to her) John Ruck 
his own brother-in-law, two or three of his early and 
very dear friends of the church, in whom he thought he 
could put all trust, and a score of neighbors on whom 
he would have called at any other time to speak in his 
favor. What was he to believe now 1 — what eomid he 
believe ? These witnesses were not like Judith Hob- 
bard ; they had not wronged him, as she had — they 
were neither hostile to him, nor afraid of him in the way 
she was afraid of him. They were about to take away 
his life under a deep sense of duty to their Father above. 
His heart swelled with agony, and shook — and stop- 
ped, when he saw this — and a shadow fell, or appeared 
%o fall on the very earth about him. It was the shadow 
ef another world. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 



A brief and faithful account of the issue....a few words 
more, and the tale of sorrow is done. " The confessing 
witches testified," to give the language of a writer who 
was an eye-witness of the " trial that the prisoner had 
been at witch-meetings with them, and had seduced and 
compelled them to the snares of witchcraft ; that he 
promised them fine clothes for obeying him ; that he 
brought poppets to them and thorns to stick into the pop- 
pets for afflicting other people, and that he exhorted 
them to bewitch all Salem-Yillage, but to do it gradually." 

Among the bewitched, all of whom swore that Bur- 
roughs had pursued them for a long while under one 
shape or another, were three who swore that of him 
which they swore of no other individual against whom 
they appeared. Their story was that he had the power 
of becoming invisible, that he had appeared to them un- 
der a variety of shapes in a single day, that he would ap- 
pear and disappear while they were talking together — 
actually vanish away while their eyes were upon him, so 
that sometimes they could hear his voice in the air, in 
the earth, or in the sea, long and long after he himself 
had gone out of their sight. They were evidently afraid 
of him, for they turned pale when he stood up, and cov- 
ered their faces when he looked at them, and stopped 
their ears when he spoke to them. And when the judges 
and the elders of the land saw this, they were satisfied of 

his evil power, and grew mute with terror. 
19* 



222 KACHEL DYEfi. 

One of the three chief aceysers, a girl, testified tliat in 
her agony ^ a little black man appeared to her, saying 
that his name was George Burroughs, and bid her set 
her name to a book which he had with him, bragging at 
the time that he was a conjuror high above the ordinary 
rank of witches. Another swore that in her agony, he 
persuaded her to go to a sacrament, where they saw him 
blowing a trumpet and summoning other witches there- 
with from the four corners of the earth. And a third 
swore, on recovering from a sort of trance before the 
people, that he had just carried her away into the top of 
a hi^ mountain, where he showed her mighty and glo- 
rious kingdoms which he offered to give her, if she would 
write in the book. But she refused. 

Nor did they stop here. They charged him with 
practices too terrible for language to describe. And 
what were the rulers to say ? Here was much to strength- 
en a part of the charge. His abrupt appearance at the 
trial of Sarah Good, his behaviour, his look of premature 
age — that look whereof the people never spoke bat with 
a whisper, as if they were afraid of being overheard — 
that extraordinary voice — that swarthy complexion— 
that bold haughty carriage — that wonderful power of 
words — what were they to believe ? Where had he gath- 
ered so much wisdom ? Where had he been to acquire 
that — wliatever it was, with which he was able to over- 
awe and outbrave and sub(lue everything and everybody? 
All hearts were in fear — all tongues mute before him. 
Death — even death he was not afraid of. He mocked 
at death — he threw himself as it were, in the very chariot- 
way of the king of Terrors ; and what cared he for the 
law 1 

His behavior to the boy, his critical reproduction of 
the knife-blade, whereby their faith in a tried accuser 
was actually shaken, his bright fierce look when the peo- 



RACHEL DYER. 825 

pie gave way at. his approach....hi8 undaunted sraile 
when the great black horse appeared looking in over the 
heads of the people, who crowded together and hurried 
away with a more than mortal fear....and his remarkable 
words when the judge demanded to know by what au- 
thority he was abroad....all these were facts and circum- 
stances within the knowledge of the court. By the au- 
thority of the Strong Man, said he ; who was that 
Strong Man ? By authority of one who hath endowed 
me with great power ; who was that one ? 

Yet more. It was proved by a great number of re- 
spectable and worthy witnesses, who appeared to pity 
the prisoner, that he, though a small man, had lifted a 
gun of seven feet barrel with one hand behind the lock 
and held it forth, at arm's length ; nay, that with only 
his fore-finger in the barrel he did so, and that in the 
same party appeared a savage whom nobody knew, that 
did the same. 

This being proved, the court consulted together, and 
for so much gave judgment before they proceeded any 
further in the trial, that ** George Burroughs had been 
aided and assisted then and there by the Black Man, 
who was near in a bodily shape." 

And it being proved that he "made nothing" of other 
facts, requiring a bodily strength such as they had never 
seen nor heard of, it was adjudged further by the same 
court, after a serious consultation, that " George Bur- 
roughs had a devil." 

And ailer this, it being proved that one day when he 
lived at Casco, he and his wife and his brother-in-law, 
John Ruck, went after strawberries together to a place 
about three miles off, on the way to Sacarappa — " Bur- 
roughs on foot and they on horseback, Burroughs left 
them and stepped aside into the bushes; whereupon 
they halted and hallowed for him, but he not making 



fi£4 RACHEL DYER. 

them any reply, they went homeward with a quick pace, 
not expecting to see him for a considerable time ; but 
when they had got near, whom should they see but 
Burroughs himself with a basket of strawberries newly 
gathered, waiting for his wife, whom he chid for what 
she had been saying to her brother on the road ; which 
when they marvelled at, he told them he knew their very 
thoughts ; and Ruck saying that was more than the 
devil himself could know, he answered with heat, say- 
ing Brother and wife, my God makes known your 
thoughts to me : all this being proved to the court, they 
consulted together as before and gave judgment that 
" Burroughs had stepped aside only that by the assist* 
ance of the Black Man he might put on his invisibility 
and in that fascinating mist, gratify his own jealous hu. 
mor to hear what they said of him." 

Well prisoner at the bar, said the chief judge,after the 
witnesses for the crown had finished their testimony— 
what have you to say for yourself t 

Nothing. 

Have you no witnesses ? 

Not one. 

And why not 1 

Of what use could they be ? 

You needn't be so stiff though ; a lowlier carriage ia 
your awful situation might be more becoming. Yon 
are at hberty to cross-examine the witness, if you are 
so disposed — 

I am not so disposed. 

And you may address the jury now, it beiog your 
own case. 

I have nothing to say....it being my own case. 

Ah ! sighed the judge, looking about him with a por^ 
tentous gravity — You see the end of your tether now.... 
you see now that He whom you serve is not to be trust- 



RACHEL DYER. 225 

ed. It is but the other day 70a were clad with power 
as with a garment. You were able to make a speech 
whereby, but for the mercy of God 

I was not on trial for my life when I made that 
speech. I have something else to think of now....Let 
me die in peace. 

Ah, sighed the chief judge, and all his brethren 
shook their heads with a look of pity and sorrow. 

But as if this were not enough — as if they were afraid 
he might escape after all (for it had begun to grow very 
dark over-head) though the meshes of death were about 
him on every side like a net of iron ; as if the very 
judges were screwed up to the expectation of a terrible 
issue, and prepared to deal with a creature of tremen- 
dous power, whom it would be lawful to destroy any 
how, no matter how, they introduced another troop of 
witnesses, who swore that they had frequently heard the 
two wives of the prisoner say that their house which 
stood in a vqry cheerful path of the town was haunted 
by evil spirits ; and after they had finished their testi- 
money Judith Hubbard swore that the two wives of the 
prisoner had appeared to her, since their death, and 
charged him with murder.... 

Repeat the story that you told brother Winthrop and 
me, said Judge Sewall. 

Whereupon she stood forth and repeated the story she 
had sworn to before the committal of Burroughs-- >re- 
peated it in the very presence of God, and of his angels 
— repeated it while it thundered and lightened in her 
face, and the big sweat rolled off the forehead of a man, 
for .whose love, but a ievr years before, she would have 
laid down her life 

That man was George Burroughs. He appeared as 
if his heart were broken by her speech, though about his 
mouth was a patient proud smile — for near him were 



226 RACHEL DYER. 

Mary Elizabeth Djer and Rachel Dyer, with their ejCB 
fixed upon him and waiting to be called up in their turn 
to abide the trial of death ; but so waiting before their 
judges and their accusers that, women though thej were, 
he felt supported by their presence, trebly fortified by 
their brave bearing — Elizabeth pale — very pale, and 
watching his look as if she had no hope on earth but in 
him, no fear but for him — ^Rachel standing up as it were 
with a new stature — up, with her forehead flashing to 
the sky and her coarse red hair shining and shivering 
about her huge head with a frightful fixed gleam, — her 
cap off,her cloak thrown aside and her distorted 8hape,for 
the first time, in full view of the awe-struck multitude. 
Every eye was upon her — every thought — her youthfiil 
and exceedingly fair sister, the pride of the neighbor* 
hood was overlooked now, and so was the prisoner at 
the bar, and so were the judges and the jury, and the 
witnesses and the paraphernalia of death. It wae Ra- 
chel Dyer — the red-haired witch — the freckled witch — 
the hump-backed witch they saw now — but they saw not 
her ugliness, they saw not that she was either unshapely 
or unfair. They saw only that she was brave. They 
saw that although she was a woman upon the very 
threshold of eternity, she was not afraid of the aspect of 
death. 

And the story that Judith Hubbard repeated under 
such circumstances and at such a time waa — ^that the 
two wives of the prisoner at the bar, who were buried 
years and years before, with a show of unutterable sor- 
row, had appeared to her, face to face, and charged him 
with huvin:; hceti the true cause of their death ; partly 
promisiriir if he denied ?•' charge, to reappear in full 
court. Nor sh<)uid I w< \-Aer if they did, whispered the 
chief judge throwing a hurried look toward the graves 



RACHEL DFEIU £27 

vhich lay in full view of the judgment seat, as if he ii" 
most expected to see the earth open. 

The multitude who saw the look of the judge, and 
who were so eager but a few minutes before to get nigh 
the prisoner, though it were only to hear him breathe, 
now recoiled from the bar, and left a free path-way from 
the graveyard up to the witness-box, and a visible quick 
shudder ran throughout the assembly as they saw the 
judges consult together, and prepare to address the im- 
moveable man, who stood up— whatever were the true 
cause, whether he felt assured of that protection which 
the good pray for night and day, or of that which the 
evil and the mighty among the evil have prepared for, 
when they enter into a league of death — up — as if he 
knew well that they had no power to harm either him or 
his. 

What say you to that ? said major Saltonstall. You 
have heard the story of Judith Hubbard. What say 
you to a charge like that. Sir ? 

Ay, ay — no evasion will serve you now, added the 
Lieutenant Governor. 

Evasion ! 

You are afraid, I see — 

Afraid of what ? Man — man — it is you and your fel- 
lows that are afraid. Ye are men of a terrible faith — I 
am not. 

You have only to say yes or no, said Judge Sewall. 

What mockery ! Ye that have buried them that were 
precious to you — very precious — 

You are not obliged to answer that question, whisper- 
ed the lawyer, who had been at his elbow during the 
trial of Martha Cory — nor any other — unless you like — 

Ah — and are j/ou of them that believe the story ? Are 
you afraid of their keeping their promise 1 — ^you that 
have a — 



UB KACHEL DYER. 

What say you to the charge ? I ask again ! 

How dare you ! — ye that are hushands — you that are 
a widower \i\xt. me, how dare you put such a question as 
that to a beieuvud m^, before the Everlasting Godi 

What say you to the charge ? We ask you for the 
third time. 

Father of love ! cried Burroughs, and he tottered 
away and snatched at the bare wall, and shook aa if he 
were in the agony of death, and all that saw him were 
aghast with fear. Men — men— what would ye have me 
say 1— what would ye have me do 1 

Whatever the Lord prompteth, said a low voice near 
him. 

Hark — hark — who was that ? said a judge. I theught 
I heard 8umebody speak. 

It wu^ I — I, Rachel Dyer! answered the coura*' 
geou» woman. It was 1. • Ye are all in array there 
against a fclloiv -creature's life. Ye have beset him on 
'^'-ary side by the snares of the law....Ye are pressing 
J.jM »■ '.'oath— 

>'!.':ice ! — 

JNo judj^e, no ! T marvel that ye dare to rebuke main 
such u cause, wl-.'ii yc know that ere long I shall be 
heard by tiie S(Mi of Man. coming in clouds with great 
glory to judge tljc quick and iIk; dend — 

Peace.... peace, woman of mischief— look to your- 
self. 

Beware Peter! and thou too Elii^s! Ye know not 
how nigh we mny i^ll be to tli*; giea: Bar — looking up 
to the sky, which was now s^ prncrnaturally dark with 
the heavy clouds of an apprc.acliing tlmuder-Ktonnv that 
torches were ordered. Lo ! the pavillion of the Judge 
of Judges ! How know y- Miat these things are aot 
the sign ef his hot and sop- displeasure? 

Mark that, brother ; mark that, said a judge. Tbej 



RACHEL DYER. 228 

must know that help is nigh, or thej could never braye 
it thus. 

Whatever they may know brother, and whatever their 
help may be, our duty is plain. 

Yerj true brother....ah....how now ! 

He was interrupted by the entrance of a haggard old 
man of a majestic stature, who made his way up to the 
witness-box, and fteod there, as if waiting for the judge 
to s}>eak. 

Ah, Matthew Paris thou art come, hey 1 said Ra- 
chel. Where is Bridget Pope ? 

At the point of death. 

And thy daughter, Abigail Paris ? 

Dead. 

George....George....we have indeed little to hope 
now Where is Robert Eveleth ? '" 

Here....here I be, cried the boy, starting up at the 
sound of her voice, and hurrying forward with a feeble 
step. 

Go up there to that box, Robert Eveleth, and say to 
the judges, my poor sick boy, what thee suid to me of 
Judith Hubbard and of Mary Walcott, and uf their 
wicked conspiracy to prevail with Bridg^et Pope and 
Abby Paris, to make oath 

How now. ...how now....8top there! cried the chiefs 
judge. What is the meaning of this ? 

Tell what thee heard them say, Robert — 

Heard who say ? asked the judge.....who....who? 

Bridget Pope and Abigail Paris. 

Bridget Pope and Abigail Parris — why what have we 
to do with Bridget Pope and Abigail Paris 1 

I pray thee judge....the maiden Bridget Pope is no 
more ; the child of that aged man there is at the point 
of death, f f the boy Robert Eveleth speak true, they 
told him before the charge was made ■ 
20 



j " ^w y '\i)-^.vfytfm^r; 



£30 RACHEL DYER. 

They— who? 

Bridget Pope and Abigail Paris told him — 
No matter what they told him....that is bat hearsay — 
Well, and if it be hear say ? — 
We cannot receive it ; we take no notice of what may 
occur in this way — 

How ! — If we can prove that the witnesses have con- 
spired together to make this charge; is it contrary to 
law for you to receive our proof ? asked Burroughs. 
Pho, pho — you mistake the matter — 
No judge no.... will thee hear the father himself?—* 
said Rachel. 

Not in the way that you desire....there would be no 
end to this, if we did — 

What are we to do then judge ? We have it in our 
power to prove that Judith Hubbard and Mary Walcott 
proposed to the two children, Bridget Pope and Abigail 
Paris, to swear away the life — 

Pho, pho, pho^pho, pho, pho — a very stale trick 
that. One of the witnesses dead, the other you are told 
at the point of death — 

It is no trick judge ; but if....if....suppo8ing it to be 
(rue, that Judith Hubbard and her colleague did this, 
how should we prove it ? 

How should you prove it ? Why, by producing the 
persons to whom, or before whom, the proposal yoa 
speak of was made. 
But if they are at the point of death, judge ? 
In that case there would be no help for you — 
Such is the humanity of the law. 
No help for us ! Not if we could prove that they 
who are dead, or at the point of death, acknowleJged 
what we say to a dear father ?— can this be (he law t 
Stop — stop^-thou noble-heartedi brave woman ! eri- 



SVMIHM 



RACHEL DYER. zsi 

ed Burroughs. They do not speak true. They are 
afraid of thee Rachel Dyer. Matthew Paris — 

Here am I, Lord ! — 

Why, Matthew — look at me... Do you not — know 
me ? 

No — no— who are you ? 



f 

/ 



CHAPTER XIX. 



Enough— enough— cried Burroughs, on finding Mat- 
thew Paris so disturbed in his intellect—enough — there 
is no hope now, Rachel. The father himself would 
be no witness now, though he had been told by our wit- 
nesses upon their death-bed, while they expected to die, 
just what, if it could be shown here, would be a matter 
of life and death to us. But still, before I give up, I 
should like to know the meaning of that rule of evi- 
dence you spoke of the other day, which would appear 
to make it necessary for me to produce only the best 
evidence which the nature of the case admits of. W6 
have done that here....a rule which being interpreted by 
the men of the law is said to be this....that we are to 
give such evidence only, as that none better may appear 
to be left behind — we have done that now — 

We are weary of this — what have you to say to the 
charge made against you by the apparition of your 
wife 1 Before you reply however, it is our duty to ap- 
prise you, that whatever you may happen to say in your 
own favor will go for nothing — 

Nevertheless I am ready to reply. 

—We do not seek to entrap you — 

So I perceive. Repeat the charge. 

You are charged with having — what ho, there ! — 
lights — lights — more lights — 

Lights — more Ughts! cried the people, whatj ho 
there 1 How dark it grows — 
20* 



234 RACHEL DtER. 

And how chill the air is — 

Aj and quiet as the grave. 

— ^You are charged I say, with having caused the 
death of your two wives.... who have partly promised, if 
yon deny the charge, to confront you here. 

The people began to press backward from each oth- 
er, and to gasp for breath. 
You have only to say yes or no, and abide the proof. 
Indeed — is that all f 
Yes— all— 

Then...behold me. As he spoke, he threw up hif 
arms, and walked forth into a broad clear space before 
the bench, where every body could hear and see him, 
and was about to address the jury, when he was inter- 
rupted by a crash of thunder that shook the whole hoa9e« 
and appeared to shake the whole earth. A dreadfiil 
outcry ensued, with flash after flash of lightning and peal 
after peal of thunder, and the people dropped upon their 
knees half blinded with light and half crazy with terror; 
and covered their faces and shrieked with consteroatioD. 
Why, what are ye afraid of judges ? And you, ye peo- 
ple — cried the prisoner, that ye cover your faces, and 
fall down with fear....so that if I would, I might escape. 
Look to the prisoner there....look to the prisoner* 
— Ye do all this, ye that have power to judge ne, 
while I....I the accused man....I neither skulk nor cower. 
I stand up....I alone of all this great multitude who are 
gathered together to see me perish for my sins....tfa6 Jo- 
nah of this their day of trouble and heavy sorrow. 
Not alone, said Rachel Dyer, moving up to the bar. 
If not altogether alone, alone but for thee, thou most 
heroic woman. ...O, that they knew thy worth !....And 
yet these people who are quaking with terror on every 
side of us, bowed down with mortal fear at the voiee of 
the Lord in the Skyi it is they that presume to deal ' 



RACHEL DYER. isb 

us, who are not afraid of our Father, nor scared by the 
flashing of his countenance, for life and for death — 

Yea George — 

Be it so— 

Prisoner at the bar — ^you are trifling with the court... 
You have not answered the charge. 

Have I not ! — well then — ^I pi'epare to answer it now* 
I swear that I loved them that I have buried there — 
there ! — cloved them with a love passing all that I ever 
heard of, or read of. I swear too that I nourished and 
comforted and ministered to the dear creatures, who, ye 
are told, have come out of the earth to destroy me — 
even me — me, their husband, their lover, and the 
father of their children ! I swear too— but why continue 
the terrible outrage t Let my accusers appear ! Let them 
walk up, if they will, out of their graves ! — their graves 
are before me. I am not afraid— I shall not be afraid — 
so long as they wear the blessed shape, or the blessed 
features of them that have disappeared from their bridal 
chamber, with a 

He was interrupted by great noises and shrieks that 
were enough to raise the dead — noises from every part 
of the grave-yard — shrieks from people afar off in the 
wood, shrieks from the multitude on the outside of the 
house— and shrieks from the sea-shore; and immedi- 
ately certain of the accusers fell down as if they saw 
something approach ; and several that were on the out- 
side of the meeting-house came rushing in with a fear- 
ful outcry, saying that a shed which had been built up 
over a part of the burial-ground was crowded with 
strange faces, and with awful shapes, and that among 
them were the two dead wives of the prisoner. 

There they go— there they go ! screamed other voi- 
ces outside the door ; and immediately the cry was re- 
peated by the accusers who were within the house — aE 



^66 RACHEL BTER. 

shrieking together. ** Here they come !— here tb«y 
come !— here they come !" — ^And Judith Hubbard look- 
ing up and uncovering her face, about which her cloak 
had been gathered in the first hurry of her distraction, 
declared that the last wife of Burroughs, on whom her 
eyes were fixed at the time, was then actually standing 
before him and looking him in the face, ** O, with such 
a look— -so calm, so piteous and so terrible !" 

After the uproar had abated in some degree, the 
judges who were huddled together, as far aa they 
could possibly get from the crowd below, ordered up 
three more of the witnesses, and were about to speak to 
them, when Burroughs happening to turn that way al« 
so, they cried out as if they were stabbed with a knife, 
and fell upon the floor at their whole length and were 
speechless. 

Whereupon the chief judge, turning toward him, ask- 
ed him what hindered these poor people from giving 
their testimony. 

I do not know said Burroughs, who began to give 
way himself now, with a convulsion of the heart, before 
the tremendous array ofnestimony and weight of delu- 
sion ; to fear that of a truth preternatural shapes were 
about him, and that the witnesses were over-persuaded 
by irresistible power, though he knew himself to be ne 
party in the exercise of such power. I do not know, 
said he : I am utterly confounded by their behaviour. 
It may be the devil. 

Ah — and why is the devil so loath to have testimooy 
borne against you 1 

** Which query," says a writer who was there at the 
time, and saw the look of triumph which appeared in the 
faces of the whole bench, *' did cast Burroughs into 
very great contusion." 

And well it might, for he was weighed to the eartbi 



HACUEL DYER. S37 

and he knew that whatever he said, and whatever he 
did ; and whether he spoke with promptitude or with 
hesitation; whether he showed or did not show a sign of 
dismaj, everything would he, and was regarded by the 
judges, and the jury, and the people, as further corrob- 
oration of his turpitude. 

Here the trial ended. Here the minds of the jury 
were made up ; and although he grew collected at last, 
and arose and spoke in a way that made everybody a^ 
bout him weep and very bitterly too, for what they call- 
ed the overthrow of a mind of great wisdom and beauty 
and power; and although he gave up to the judges a writ- 
ten argument of amazing ingenuity and vigor which is 
yet preserved in the records of that people, wherein he 
mocked at their faith in witchcraft, and foretold the 
grief and the shame, the trouble and the reproach that 
were to follow to them that were so busy in the work of 
death ; yet — yet — so impressed were the twelve, by the 
scetie that had occurred before their fetces, that they 
found him guilty ; and as if the judges were afraid ef a 
rescue from the powers of the air, they gave judgment 
of death upon him before they left the bench, and con- 
trary to their established practice, ordered him to be 
executed on the morrow. 

On the morrow ? said he, with a firm steady eye and 
a clear tone, though his lip quivered as he spoke. Will 
ye afford me no time to prepare 1 

We would not that the body and soul both perish ; and 
we therefore urge you to be diligent in the work broth- 
er, very diligent for the little time that is now left to 
make your calling and election sure. Be ready for the 
afternoon of the morrow. 

Hitherto the prisoner at the bar had shown little or 
no emotion ; hitherto he had argued and looked as if he 
did not believe the jury nor the judges capable of doing 



238 RACHEL DYER. 

what thej had now done, nor the multitude that knew 
him, capable of enduring it. Hitherto he had been as it 
were a spectator of the terrible farce, with no concern 
for the issue ; but now....now....ali ejes were rivetted 
upon him with fear, all thoughts with alarm ; for though 
he stood up as before, and made no sort of replj to the 
judges, and bore the wracking of the heavy iroiui with 
which thej were preparing to load him, as if he neither 
felt nor saw them ; jet was there a something in his 
look which made the officers of the court unsheathe their 
swords, and hfl up their axes, and the people who were 
occupied about him, keep as far out of his reach as they 
possibly could. 

Yet he neither moved nor spoke, till he saw the wom- 
en crowding up to a part of the house where he had seen 
Elizabeth Dyer, and stoop as if she that had been kneel- 
ing there a few moments before, lay very low, and lift 
her up as if she had no life in her, and carry her awayi 
guarded by men with pikes, and with s words and with 
huge firelooks. Then he was moved — and his chains 
were felt for the first time, and he would have called out 
for a breath of air — prayed for a drop of water to save a 
life more precious by far than his — but before he could 
open his mouth so as to make himself heard, he saw 
Rachel Dyer pressing up to the bar of death, and heard 
the judges call out to the high-sheriff and his man to 
guard the door, and look to the prisoner. 

He will get away if you turn your head, Mr. sheriflf, 
said oue of the judges. 

That he will, added a witness, that he will ! if you 
don't look sharp, as sure as my name is Peter P. 

Watch and pray— watch and pray — added another. 

Burroughs looked up to the bench with surprise, then 
at the people, who were watching every motion uf hxn 
body ns if they expected him to tear away the ponderous 



RACHEL DYER. £39 

fetters and walk forth as free as the wind of the desert, 
and then at the blacksmith who stood near with his ham- 
mer uplifted in the air ; and then his chest heared and his 
chains shook, and the people hurried awaj from his path, 
and tumbled over each other in their eagerness to escape, 
and the chief-judge cried out again to the officer to look 
to the door and be prepared for a rescue. 

Let me be tried now ! I entreat thee, said Rachel Dj- 
er, throwing up her locked-hands before Judge Win- 
throp, and speaking as if she was about to plead not for 
death but for life. Let me be tried now, I beseech thee. 

Now. — 

Yea — now ! — before the maiden is brought back to life. 
O let her be at peace, ye men of power, till I have a — 
have a — 

She gathered herself up now with a strong effort, and 
spoke with deliberate firmness.... 

Till I have gone through the work which is ap- 
pointed for me by the twelve that I see there — 

Be it so. — I say, Mr. high-sheriff! 

Well, Mr. judge Winthrop ?" 

This way, this way ; you'll be so good as to remove 
a — a — a — (Looking at Burroughs who stood leaning 
against the wall) — you are to be a — a — (in a whisper of 
authority) — you are to be careful of what you do — a very 
hard case, very — very — 

Yes judge — 

Well, well — well, well — why don't ye do as I bid 
you ? 

What am I to do ? 

What are you to do....remove the prisoner— poor soul. 

Which prisoner ? 

Why that are....poh poh, poh — (pointing to Bur- 
roughs.) 

Where to 1 



, --V..,.^- 



240 RACHEL DYER. 

Where to Sir? — Take him away; awaj with him 
— pretty chap yoa are to be sure, not to know where 
to take a man to, after its all over with hm — poh, pob, 
poh. 

I saj, Mr. Judge, none o' that now — 

Take the man away Sir. Do as you are bid. 

Who— me — cried Burroughs, waking up from his 
fit of apathy and looking about on every side. 

Away with him. 

Judges —judges— hear me. Let me remain, I pray 
you, cried he, setting his back to the wall and lifting his 
loaded arms high up in the air — suffer me to stay here 
till the jury hnve said whether or no this heroic woman 
is worthy of death — I do beseech you ! 

Take him away, I teii you — what are ye afraid of? 

Judges — men -1 would that ye would have mercy, 
not on me, but on the people about me. I would that 
ye would suffer me to tarr> here — in fetters — ^till the ju- 
ry have given their verdict ou Rachel Dyer. Suffor 
me to do so, I beseech you, and 1 will go away then, I 
swear to you, whithersoever it may please you, like a 
lamb to the slaughter. I swear this to you before God! 
— but, so help me God, I will not be carried away ahve 
before. I will not stir, nor be stirred while I have 
power to lift my arms, or to do what you now see me 
do 

As he spoke, he lifted up his arms in the air-*up— up, 
as high as he could reach, standiug on tip-toe the while; 
and brought them down with such force, loaded as they 
were, that he doubled the iron guard which kept hiro in 
the box, and shattered the heavy door from the top to 
the bottom. 

— Behold — shorn though I be of my youth, betrayed 
though 1 have been, while I forgot where I was, 1 do 
not lack power. Now bid your people tear me away 



RACHEL OYER. £41 

if you have courage ! For lo, my feet are upon the 
foundations of your strength....and by Jehovah — the 
God of the strong man of other days ! — I'll not be 
dragged off till I know the fate of the giantess before/ 
you. 

We shall see— cut him down officer— cut him down ! 

Very well. Come thou near enough to cut me down, 
officer, and I'll undertake for thee. 

Judges — how little y^ know of that man's power — 
why not suffer him to stay 1 cried Rachel Dyer. Why 
will ye provoke it ? On your heads be the issue, if ye 
drive your ministers to the toil ! on yours their blood, if 
they approach him ! 

The sheriff hung back — and the judges, after consult- 
ing together, told Burroughs he might stay, and ordered 
the trial of the women to proceed. 



21 



/f 



nl 



■ < 

I 



CHAPTER XX. 



Already were they about to give judgment of death 
upon Rachel Djer, when two or three of her accusers, 
who began to fear that she might escape, had another fit. 

Why are these poor women troubled 7 asked a judge. 
-^ I do not know, was her unstudied reply. 

But according to your belief 1 

I do not desire to say what my belief is. It can do no 
good, and it may do harm; for who shall assure me that 
I do not err 1 

Don't you think they aje bewitched 1 

No. 

Give us your thoughts on their behavior. 

No, Ichabod, no ; my thoughts can be of no worth to 
thee or such as thee. If I had more proof, proof that ye 
would receive in law, I might be willing to speak at large 
both of them and of their master-^ 

Their master ! cried a little man, with a sharp in- 
<;[uisitive eye, who had not opened his mouth before. 
"Who is their master 1 

If they deal in witchcraft or in the black art, Joseph 
Piper, thee may know as well as I do. 

Woman.... are you not afraid of death 1 

No not much, though I should like to be spared 

for a few days longer. 

Not afraid of death ! — 

No — not much, I say. And why should I be afraid 
of death ? why should I desire to live 1 — what is there 



244 RACHEL DYER. 

to attach a thing of my shape to life, a wretched, miser- 
able, wearj....... 

Ah, ha — now we shall have it — she is going to confess 
now — she is beginning to weep, said a judge. But he , 
was overheard by the woman herself, who turning to the 
jury with a look that awed them in spite of their preju- 
dice, told them to proceed. 

They'll proceed fast enough, by and by, said another 
judge. What have you done to disturb the faculties of 
that w6fnan there ? 

Whart woman ? 

Judith Hubbard. 

Much. For I know her, and she knows that I know 
ker ; and we have both known for a great while that we 
cannot both live. This world is not large enough. What 
have I done to disturb her faculties 1 Much. For that 
woman hath wronged me ; and 8he cannot forgive me. 
She hath pursued me and mine to death ; all that art 
very near and dear to me, my poor sister and my — and 
the beloved friend of my sister — to death ; and how 
would it be possible for Judith Hubbard to forgive us 1 

But your apparition pursues her. 

If so, I cannot help it. 

But why is it your apparition 1 

How do I know ? He that appeared in the shape of 
Samuel, why should he not appear in the shape of 
another ? 

But enough — Rachel Dyer was ordered for exeeotion 
also. And a part of the charge proved against her was, 
that she had been spirited away by the powers of the air, 
who communicated with her and guarded her at the cost 
of much human life, on the night when she fled into the 
deep of the wilderness in company with George Bur- 
roughs and Mary Elizabeth Dyer ; each of whom had a 



RACHEL DYER. £45 

like body-guatd of invisible creatures, who shot with ar- 
rows of certain death on the night of their escape. 

And Mary Elizabeth Dyer was now brought up for 
trial; but being half dead with fear, and very ill, so that 
she wasjreported by a jury empannelled for the purpose, 
to be mute by the visitation of God, they adjourned the 
court for the morrow, and gave her permission to abide 
with her sister till the day after the morrow. 

And so Mary Elizabeth Dyer and Rachel Dyer met 
again — met in the depth of a dungeon like the grave ; 
and Elizabeth being near the brave Rachel once more, 
grew ashamed of her past weakness. 

I pray thee dear sister, said Mary Elizabeth, after 
they had been together for a long while without speak- 
ing a word, Rachel with her arm about Elizabeth's 
neck, and Elizabeth leaning her face upon the shoulder 
of Rachel, I pray thee to forgive me. 

Forgive thee....for what pray 1 

Do, do forgive roe, Rachel. 

Why, what on earth is the matter with thee, child ? 
Here we sit for a whole hour in the deep darkness of 
the night-season, without so much as a sob or a tear, 
looking death in the face with a steady smile, and com- 
forting our hearts, weary and sick as they are, with a 
pleasant hope — the hope of seeing our beloved brother 
Jacob, our dear good mother, and our pious grandmoth- 
er ; and now, all of a sudden thee breaks out in this 
way, as if thee would not be comforted, and as if thee 
had never thought of death before — 

O, I'm not afraid of death sister, now — I'm prepared 
for death now — I'm very willingly to die now — ^it is'nt 
that I mean. 

Why now ? — why do thee say so much of now 1 in 
it only now that thee is prepare^for death 1 
21* 



246 RACHEL DYER- 

No, no, dear sister, but some how or other 1 do not 
CTcn desire to live notv, and yet 

And yet what ? — why does thee turn away thy head 1 
why does thee behave so to n]e....why break out into 
such bitter—^bitter lamentation 1— what is the matter I 
say ? — what ails thee ? — 

Oh dear ! 

Why — Elizabeth ! — what am I to belteTe 1— what 
has thee been doin* ? Why do thee cling to me so 1— 
why do thee hide thy face ? — 

O Rachel, Rachel — do not g0 away,— do not aban* 
don me — do not cast me off ! 

Child— why— 

IJJo, no ! — 

Look me in the face, I beseech thee. 

No no — I dare not — I cannot. 

Dare not — cannot — 

No no.— 

Dare not look thy sister in the face ? 

Ohno— 

Lift up thy head thy head this minute, Mary Eliza- 
beth Dyer ! — let go of my neck — let go of my neck, I 
aay — leave clinging to me so, and let me see thy lace. 

No no dear Rachel, no no, I dare not — I arn afraid of 
thee now, for now thee calls me Mary Elizabeths- 
Afraid of me — of me — O Elizabeth, what hat thee 
done? 

Oh dear ! 

And what have 1 done to deserve this^ 

Thee — thee ! — O nothing denr sister, nothiig at all ; 
it is I— I that have been so very foolish aud wicked af- 
ter- 
Wicked, say thee 1 

O very — very — very wicked— 

But how — ^in what way— thee*U frighten me to death. 



RACHEL DY£R. £47 

Shall I— O I am rerj sorry — ^but— bat— thee knows I 
cannot help it — 

Cannot help it, Mary Elizabeth Dyer — cannot help 
what 1 Speak....speak....whatever it is, I forgire thee.... 
we have no time to lose now ; we may never meet again. 
Speak out, I beseech thee. Speak out, for the day if 
near, the day of sorrow 

I will, I will— cried Elizabeth, sobbing as if her heart 
would break, and falling upon her knees and burying 
her head in the lap of her sister — I will — I will, but- 
pushing aside a heap of hair from her face, and smother- 
ing the low sweet whisper of a pure heart, as if she 
knew that every throb had a voice— I will, I will, I say, 
but I am so afraid of thee — putting both arms aboat her 
sister's neck and pulling her face down that she might 
whisper what she had to say — I will — I will — I'm a goin* 
to tell thee now — as soon as ever I can get my breath- 
nay, nay, don't look at me so — I cannot bear it-*— -- 

Look at thee — my poor bewildered sister — how can 
thee tell whether I am looking al thee or not, while thy 
head is there ? — Get up — get up, I say — I do not like 
that posture ; it betokens too much fear — the fear not 
of death, but of shame — too much humility, too much 
lowliness, a lowliness the cause whereof I tremble to ask 
thee. Get up, Elizabeth, get up, if thee do not mean to 
raise a grief and a trouble in my^heart which I wouldn't 
have there new for the whole world ; get up, I beseech 
thee, Mary Elizabeth Dyer* 

Elizabeth got up, and after standing for a moment 
or two, without being able to utter a word, though her 
lips moved, fell once more upon her sister's neck ; and 
laying her mouth close to her ear, while her innocent 
face glowed with shame and her whole body shook with 
fear, whispered— I pray thee Rachel, dear Rachel.M.do... 



fi4« RACHEL DTER. 

do let me see him for a minute or two before they put 
him to death. 

Rachel Djer made no reply. She could not speak — 
she had no voice for speech, but gathering up the sweet 
girl into her bosom with a convulsive sob, she wept for a 
long while upon her neck. 

They were interrupted by the jailor, who came to say 
that George Burroughs, the wizard, having desired much 
to see Rachel Dyer and Mary Elizabeth Dyer, the con- 
federate witches, before his and their death, he had 
been permitted by the honorable and merciful judges to 
do so— K)n condition that he should be doubly-ironed at 
the wrist ; wherefore'he, the jailor had now come to fetch 
her the said Rachel to him the said George. 

I am to go too, said Elizabeth, pressing up to the side 
of her sister, and clinging to her with a look of dismay. 

No, no —said he, no, no, you are to stay here. 

Nay, nay, sister — dear sister — do let me go with thee ! 

It is not for me to speak, dear, dear Elizabeth, or thee 
thould go now instead of me. However 

Come, come — I pity you both, but there's no help for 
you now — never cry for spilt milk — you 're not so bad as 
they say, I'm sure — so make yourself easy and stay where 
you be, if you know when you're well off. 

Do let me go ! 

Nonsense — ^you're but a child however, and so I for- 
give you, and the more's the pity ; must obey orders if 
we break owners — poh, poh, — poh, poh, poh. 

A separation like that of death followed* No hope 
had the two sisters of meeting again ahve. They were 
afraid each for the other — and Elizabeth sat unable to 
speak, with her large clear eyes turned up to the eyes of 
Rachel as if to implore, with a last look, a devout con- 
sideration of a dying prayer. 

I fit may be, said Rachel turning her head at the 



RACHEL DYER. 24t 

door if it may be dear maiden, it shall be. Have cour- 
age— 
I have, I have ! 

Be prepared though; be prepared Elizabeth, mj 
heautifal sister. We shall not see each other again.... 
that is....O I praj thee, I do pray thee, my dear sister 
to be comforted. 

Elizabeth got up, and staggered away to the door 
and fell upon her sister's neck and prayed her not to 
leave her. 

I must leave thee...I must, I must....would thee have 
me forsake George Burroughs at the point of death I 
O no— no— no ! 

We never shall meet again I do fear-— I do hope, I 
might say, for of what avail is it in the extremity of our 
sorrow ; but others may — he and thee may Elizabeth— 
and who knows but after the first shock of this thy ap- 
proaching bereavement is over, thee may come to regard 
this very trial with joy, though we are torn by it, as by 
the agony of death now — let us pray. 

The sisters now prayed together for a little time, each 
with her arm about the other's neck, interchanged a fare- 

wejl^iss and parted parted forever. 

And Rachel was then le^ to the dungeons below, 
where she saw him that her sister loved, and that a score 
ef other women had loved as it were in spite of their very 
natures-^for they were bred up in fear of the dark Sav- 
age. He sat with his hands locked in his lap, and chain* 
ed and rivetted with iron, his brow gathered, his teeth 
set, and his keen eyes fixed upon the door^ 

There is yet one hope my dear friend, whispered he 
after they had been together a good while without speak- 
ing a word or daring to look at each other — one hope- 
laying his pinioned arm lightly upon her shoulder, and 



Z50 • RACHEL DTER. 

pressing up to her side with all the affectionate serious- 
ness of a brother— one hope, dear Rachel — 

She shut her eyes and large drops ran down her cheeks. 

— One hope — and but one — 

HaTc a care George Burroughs. I would not haie 
thee betray thyself anew — there is no hope. 

It is not for myself I speak. There is no hope for me. 
I know that — ^I feel that — I am sure of it ; nor, to tell 
you the truth, am I sorry — 

Not sorry George — 

No— for even as you are, so am I— weary of this world 
— sick and weary of life. 

Her head sunk upon his shoulder, and her breathing 
was that of one who struggles with deep emotion. 

No— no — ^it is not for myself that I speak. It is for 
you — 

For mc— 

iFor you and for Elizabeth — 

For me and for Elizabeth ? — well — 

And if I cuuld bring yuu to do ivhat I am persuaded 
you both may do without reproach, there would be hope 
still for — for Elizabeth — and for you — 

For Elizabeth — and for me ? — O George, George ! 
what hope is there now for me ? What have I to do on 

earth, now that we are a she stopped with a shudder 

— I too am tired of life. She withdrew the hand which 
till now he had been holding to his heart with a strong 
terrible pressure. 

Hear me, thou liiorh-hearted, glorious woman. I 
have little or no hope for thee — i confess that I 
know thee too well to suppose that I could prevail with 
thee ; but.. .biit....whatever may become of us, why not 
save Ehzaheih, if we may — 

If »• e imiy (Jeurge — but how ? 

Wiiy ...draw nearer to me I pray thee ; we have not 



RACHEL DYER. ^^i 

much time to be together now, and I would have thee 
look upon me, as one having a right to comfort thee and 
to be comforted by thee — 

A right....how George 1 

As thy brother — 

As my brother....O, certainly 

Nay, nay....do not forbear to lean thy head upon thy 
brother....do not, I beseech thee. What have we to do 
here....what have we to do now with that reserve which 
keeps the living apart....our ashes, are they to be hin- 
dered of communion hereafter by the unworthy law of 
— ah....sobbing.... Rachel Dyer !....can it be that I hear 
you — you ! the unperturbale, the steadfast and the brave 
....can it be that I hear you sobbing at my side, as if 
your very heart would break.... 

No BO.... 

There is to be a great change here, after we are out 
of the way.... 

Where— how 1 

Among the people* The accusers are going too far ; 
they are beginning to overstep the mark — ^they are fly- 
ing too high.. 

Speak plainly, if thee would have me understand thy 
speech — why do thee cleave to me so ? — why so eager — 
why do thee speak in parables 1 My heart misgives me 
when I hear a man like thee, at an hour like this, 
weighing every word that is about to escape from his 
mouth. 

I deserve the rebuke. What I would say is, that the 
prisons of our land are over-crowded with people of high 
repute. Already they have begun to whisper the charge 
against our chief men. This very day they have hinted 
at two or three individuals, who, a week before they over- 
threw me, would have been thought altogether beyond* 
the reach of their audacity. • 



t52 KACHEL DYER. 

Who are they 7 

Thej speak of Matthew Paris. 

The poor bewildered man...Jiow dare they 1 

And of the Governor, and of two or three more ia au- 
thority; aad of all that participated in the voyage 
whereby he and they were made wealthy and wise and 
powerful— 

I thought 80....I feared as much. Poor man.>>*hi« 
riches are now indeed a snare to him, bis liberal heartt 
a mark for the arrows of death.... 

Now hear me....the accusers being about to go iip to 
the high places and to the seats of power* a chMge^ there 
must and there will be, and s o - " 

And so....why do thee stop ? 

Why do I 8top....did I stop ? 

Yea...*and thy visage too....why does it altar 1 

My visage ! 

Yea....thy look, thy tone of voice, the very color of dqr 
lips. 

Ofatruth,Rachen 

Of a truth, George. 

Why then it must be....it is, I am sure...«on accovntof 
the....that is to say....I'm afraid I do not Make aiyaelf 
understood — 

Speak out. 

Well- then....may I not persuade yout my deary dbor 
sister. ...to...*to....in a word, Rachel.... 

To what pray... .persuade me to what ?.«..Speak tone 
as I speak to thee ; what would thee persuado me to, 
George I 

To....to....to confess....there ! 

To confess what, pray ? 

That*s all.... 

George.... 

Nay, iiay....the fact is my dear firieadi at 1 



RACHEL DYER. 253 

I....I....if there be a change here, it will be a speedy one. 

Well— 

And if— and if — a few weeks more, a few dajs more, 
it may be, and our accusers, they who are now dealing 
death to us, may be brought up in their turn to hear the 
words of death — in short Rachel, if you could be per- 
suaded just to— not to acknowledge — but just to suffer 

them to believe you to be a....to be a. I forget what I 

was going to say 



22 



CHAPTER XXI. 



A loug silence followed — a silence like that of death 
—at last Rachel Dyer spoke : 

George Burroughs — I understand thee now, said she, 
I understand it all. Thee would have me confess that I 
deserve death— only that I may live. Thee would have 
me acknowledge (for nothing else would do) that I am 
a liar and a witch, and that I deserve to die — and all 
this for what 1 — only that I may escape death for a few 
• days. O George ! 

No, no— you mistake the matter. I would not have 
you confess that you deserve death — I would onlj have 
you speak to them — God of the faithful ! — I cannot— I 
cannot urge this woman to betray her faith. 

I understand thee, George. But if I were to do lOy 
what should I gain by it ? 

Gain by it, Rachel Dyer ? 

Why do thee drop my hand 1 why recoil at my touch 
now? 

Gain by it ! siezing both her hands with all his migfat» 
and speaking as if he began to fear — not to hope— no, 
but to fear that she might be over-persuaded— 

Yea — what have I to gain by it ? 

Life. You escape death — a cruel ignominious death 
—a death, which it is not for a woman to look ati bat 
with horror. 

Well George— 

By death, you lose the opportunity of doing much good^ 
of bringing the wicked to justice, of aiding them thit 



RACHEL DYER. 2»5 

«re uow ready to die with terror, of shielding the op- 



Well— 

Well — and what more would you have ? Is not this 
enough ? 

No, George. 

Hear me out Rachel. Do not reprove me, do not 
turn away, till you have heard me through. My duty is 
before me, a duty which must and shall be done, though 
it break my heart. I am commanded to argue with 
you, and to persuade you to live. 

Commanded ?— 

What if you were to confess that you deserve death 1 
What if you were to own yourself a witch ? I take your 
own view of the case. — I put the query to you in a shape 
the least favorable to my purpose. What if you were to 
do this ; you would be guilty at the most but of a — of a — 

Of untruth George. 

And you would save your own life by such untruth, 
and the lives, it may be, of a multitude more, and the 
life you know, of one that is very dear to you. 

Well 

No no — do not leave me in this way ! Do not go till I 
— I beseech you to hear me through — 

I will — it grieves me, but I will. 

Which is the greater sin — to die when you have it in 
your power to escape death, if you will, by a word ? or 
to speak a word of untruth to save your life-^ 

George Burroughs — I pray thee — suffer me to bid 
thee farewell. 

No no, not yet. Hear me through — hear all I have 
to say. By this word of untruth, you save your own 
life, and perhaps many other lives. You punish the 
guilty. You have leisure to repent in this world of that 
very untruth — if such untruth be sinful. Yon have an 



£56 RACHEL DYER. 

opportunity of showing to the world and to them that 
you love, that you were innocent of that wherewith you 
were charged. You may root up the error that prevails 
now, and overthrow the destroyer, and hereafter obtain 
praise for that very untruth, whereby you hinder the 
shedding of more innocent blood ; praise from every 
quarter of the earth, praise from eyery body ; from the 
people, the preachers, the jury, the elders — ^yea from 
the very judges for having stayed them in their headlong 
career of guilt — 
O George — 

But if you die, and your death be sinful — and would 
it not be so, if you were to die, where you might efMiape 
death ? — you would have no time to repent here, no op- 
portunity, no leisure — you die in the very perpetration 
of your guilt — 
If it is guilt, I do— 

And however innocent you may be of the crimes that 
are charged to you, you have no opportunity of showing 
on this earth to them that love you, that you are so. Yet 
more — the guilt of your death, if it be not charged here- 
after to you, will be charged, you may be sure, to the 
wretched women that pursue you ; and all who might be 
i<aved by you, will have reason to lay their death at your 
door — I 

Well- 
About life or death, you may not much care ; but af- 
ter death to be regarded with scorn, or hatred or terror, 
by all that go by your grave, my sister — how could you 
bear the idea of that ? What say you— you shudder— and 
yet if you die now, you must leave behind you a charac- 
ter which cannot be cleared up, or which is not likely to 
be cleared up on earth, however innocent you may be (as 
1 have said l)ef(»re) — the character of one, who being 
charged with witchcraft was convicted of witchcraft and 



RACHEL DYER. £57 

executed for a witchcraft. In a word — if you live, 70 a 
may live to wipe away the aspersion. If you die, it m ay 
adhere to you and to yours — forever and ever. If you live, 
you may do much good on earth, much to yourself and ' 
much to others, much even to the few that are no w 
thirsting for your life — ^you may make lighter the load 
of crime which otherwise will weigh them down — you 
may do this and all this, if you speak : But if you 
do not speak, you are guilty of your own death, and of 
the deaths it may be of a multitude, here and hereafter. 

Now hear me. I do not know whether all this is don e 
to try my truth or my courage, but this I know — I will 
not leave thee in doubt concerning either. Look at me 

There 

Thee would have me confess 1 

I would. 

Thee would have Elizabeth confess 1 

I would. 

Do thee mean to confer. 

I— [ !— 

Ah George— 

I cannot Rachel — I dare not — I am a preacher of the 
word of truth. But you may — what is there to hinder 
you ? 

Thee will not ? 

No. ^ 

Nor will L 

Just what I expected — give me your hand — what I 
have said to you, I have been constrained to say, for it is 
a part of my faith Rachel, that as we believe, so are we 
to be judged : and that therefore, had you believed it to 
be right for you to confess and live, it would have been 
right, before the Lord. — ^But whether you do or do not, 
Elizabeth may. 

True— if she can be persuaded to think at thee would 
22* 



258 RACHEL DYER. 

have her think, she may. I shall not seek to dmunde 
her — hut as for me, f have put my life into the bands of 
our Father. I shall obey biin, and trust to the inward 
prompting of that which upholds me and cheers me now 
— even now, George, when, but for His Holy Spirit, I 
should feel as I never felt before, since I came into the 
world — altogether alone. 

Will you ad?ise with her, and seek to persuade her 1 

No. 

Cruel woman ! 

Cruel — no no George, no no. Would that be doing 
as I would be done by ? Is it for me to urge a beloved 
sister to do what J would not do — even to save my life ? 

I feel the rebuke — 

George, I must leave thee — J hear footsteps. Fare* 
well — 

So soon — so very soon ! Say to her, I beseech you — 
say to her as you have said to me, that she may confess 
if she will ; that we have been together, and that we 
hav<; both agreed in the opinion that she had better con- 
fess and throw herself on the mercy of her judges, till the 
fury of the storm huth passed over. — It will soon have 
passed over, I am sure now — 

No George, no ; but I will say this. I will say to 
her — 

Go on — go on, 1 beseech you — 

— I will say to her — Elizubeth, my dear Sister ; go 
down upon thy knees and pray to the Lord to be nigh to 
thee, and give thee strength, and to lead thee in the path 
which is best for his glory ; and after that, if thee should 
feel free to prc>:eve thy life by such means — being on 
the guard against the love of life, and the feur of death — 
the Tempter of souls, and the weapons of the flesh — it 
will be thy duty so to preserve it. 

burroughs groaned aloud-^but he could prerail no 



RACHEL DYER. £59 

further. Enough, said he, at last : write as much on this 
paper, and let me carry it with me. 

Carry it with thee — what do thee mean ? 

I hardly know what I mean ; I wouldf see her and 
urge her to live, but when I consider what must follow, 
though I have permission to see her, my lieart fails me. 

Thee is to meet her with me, 1 suppose ? 

No, I believe not — 

How — alone ? — 

No no — not alone, said the jailor, whom they suppo- 
sed to be outside of the door, till he spoke. 

More of the tender mercies of the law ! They would 
entrap thee George — 

And you too Rachel, if it lay in their power — 

Give me that book — it is the Bible that I gave thee, is 
it not ? 

It is — 

It belonged to my mother. I will write what I have 
to say in the blank l^af. 

She did so ; and giving it into the hands of the Jailor 
she said to him — I would have her abide on enrth — mj 
dear, dear sister I — 1 would pray to her to live and be 
happy, if she can ; for she — O she will have much to 
make life dear to her, even though she be left alone by 
the way-side for a little time — what disturbs thee 
George ? 

I am afraid of this man. He will betray us— 
No — no— we have nothins: to fear — 
Nothing to fear, when he must have been at our el- 
bow and overheard everything we have whispered to 
each other. 

Look at him George, and thee will be satisfied. 
Burroughs looked up, and saw by the vacant gravity 
of his hard visage, that the man had not understood a 
syllable to their prejudice. 



260 RACHEL ftYER. 

But Elizabeth — I would have her continue on earth, I 
say — I would — ifsoi: may please our Father ihove *. but 
I am in fi^reat fear, and I would have thee tell her so, 
aftrr she has read what J have written there in that book. 
^he will have sympathy, whatever may occur to us — 
true sympathy, unmixed with fear; but as for me, 1 have 
no rich hope — and why should 1 wrestle with my duty 
— 1 - who have no desire to see the li(|cht of another day ! 

N-ne Rachel ? 

N<;F)e — but for the sake of Mary Ehzal>etii Dyer*-and 
so — and so Georgfe, we are to part now-^and there— 
therefore — tlie sooner we part, the better. Her voice 
died away in a low deeply-drawn heavy breathing. 

Even so dear — f v<.n so, my beloved sister — 

George — 

Nay, nay — why leave me at all 1 — why not abide here ! 
Why may we not die to gather f 

George, I say — 

Well — what-say ? 

Suffer me to kiss thee — my brother — before we part.... 

He made no reply, but he gabped for breath and shook 
all over, and stretched out his arms with a giddy convul- 
sive motion toward her. 

— Before we part forever George — dear George, put- 
ting her hand affectionately upon his shoulder and look- 
ing him steadily in the face. We are now very near to 
the threshold of death, and I do believe — I do — though 
I would not have said as much an hour ago, for the 
wealth of all this world....nay, not even to save my life 
•...no....nor my sister's Ufe.... nor thy life....thatlshalldie 
the happier and the better for having kissed thee.— my 
brother. 

Still he spoke not.... he had no tongue for speech. The 
dreadful trath broke upon him all at once now, a truth 
which penetrated his heart like an arrow...and he strove to 



RACHEL DYER. 261 

throw his arms about her ; to draw her up to his bosom^ — 
but the ch^ns that he wore prevented him, and so he 
leaned his head upon her 8houlder....and kissed her 
cheek, and then lifted himself up, and held her with one 
arm to his heart, and kissed her forehead acid her eyes 
and her mouth, in a holy transport of affection. 

Dear George....! am happy now....very, very happy 
now, said the poor girl, shutting her eyes and letting two 
or three large tears fall upon his locked hands, which 
were held hy her as if...*as if... .while her mouth was 
pressed to them with a dreadful earnestness, her power 
to let them drop was no mnre. And then she appeared 
to recollect herself, and her strength appeared to come 
back to her, and she rose up and set her lips to his fore- 
head with a smile, that was remembered by the rough 
jailor to his dying day, so piteous and so death-like was 
it, and said to Burroughii, in her mild quiet way — her 
mouth trembling and her large tears dropping at every 
word — very, very hap^ now, and all ready for death. 
I would say more....much more if I might, for I have not 
said the half I had to say. Thee will see her....I shall 
not see her again.... 

How — 

Not if thee should prevail with her to stay, George. 
It would be of no use — it would only grieve her, and 
it might unsettle us both — 

What can I say to you ? 

Nothing — Thee will see her ; and thee will take her 
to thy heart as thee did me, and she will be happy — very 
happy — even as I am now. 

Father — Father I O, why was I not prepared for this ! 
Do thou stay me— do thou support me — it is more 
than I can bear ! cried Burroughs, turning away from 
the admirable creature who stood before him trying to 



26£ RACHEL DTER. 

bear up without his aid, though she shook from head to 
foot with uncontrollable emotion. 

Thee's very near and very dear to Mary Elizabeth 
Dyer ; and she — she will be happy — she cannot be 
otherwise, alive or dead — for all that know her, pity her 
and love her 

And so do all that know you— > 

No, no, George, love and pity are not for such as I — 
such pity I mean, or such love as we need here— need I 
say, whatever we may pretend, whatever the multitude 
may suppose, and however ill we may be fitted for in- 
spiring it — I — I — 

Her voice faltered, she grew very pale, and caught by 
the frame of the door — 

— There may be love, George, there may be pityy there 
may be some hope on earth for a beautiful witch....with 
golden hair....with large blue eyes.... and a sweet mouth 
....but for a....for a....for a freckled witch....with red hair 
and a hump on her back — what hope is there, what hope 
on this side of the grave ?J 

She tried to smile when she said this....but she could 
not, and the preacher saw and the jailor saw that her 
heart was broken. 

Before the former could reply, and before the latter 
could stay her, she was gone. 

The rest of the story is soon told. The preacher saw 
Elizabeth and tried to prevail with her, but he could 
not. She had all the courage of her sister, and would 
not live by untruth. And yet she escaped, for she waa 
very ill, and before she recovered, the fearful infatuation 
was over, the people had waked up, the judges and 
the preachers of the Lord ; and the chief-judge, Sewall 
had publicly read a recantation for the part he had play- 
ed in the terrible drama. But she saw her brave sister 
no more ; she saw Burrows no more— he was put te 



BACHEL DTER. 263 

death on* the afternoon of the morrow, behaving with 
high and steady courage to the last — prajing for all and 
forgiving all, and predicting in a voice like that of one 
crying in the wilderness, a speedy overthrow to the be- 
lief in witchcraft — a prophecy that came to be fulfilled 
before the season had gone by, and his last words were 
— "Father forgive them, for they know not what they 
do!" 

Being dead, a messenger of the court was ordered 
away to apprise Rachel Dyer that on the morrow at the 
same hour, and at the same place, her life would be re- 
quired of her. 

She was reading the Bible when he appeared, and 
when he delivered the message, the book fell out of her 
lap and she sat as if stupified for a minute or more ; but 
she did not speak, and so he withdrew, saying to her as 
he went away, that he should be with her early in the 
morning. 

So on the morrow, when the people had gathered to- 
gether before the jail, and prepared for the coming forth 
of Rachel Dyer, the High-Sheriff was called upon to 
wake her, that she might be ready for death ; she being 
asleep the man said. So the High-Sheriff went up and 
spoke to her as she lay upon the bed ; with a smile 
about her mouth and her arm over a large book....but 
she made no reply. The bed was drawn forth to the 
light — the book removed (it was the Bible) and she was 
lifted up and carried out into the cool morning air. She 
was dead. 



. 4 



^-jA 



HISTORICAIi FACTS. 



That the reader may not be led to suppose the book 
he has just gune thmugh with, a sheer fabrication, 
the author has thought it adviseable to give a few of the 
many facts upon which the tale is founded, in the yery 
language of history. 

The true name of Mr. Paris was Samuel, instead of 
Matthew, and he spelt it with two r's ; that of his child 
was Elizabeth and that of her cousin, Abigail WiUiams. 
With these corrections to prepare the reader for what is 
to follow, we may now go to the historical records al- 
luded to. 

And first — Of the manner in which the accused were 
treated on their examinadan, atid of the methods employed 
to make them confess, 

John Proctor, who was executed for witchcraft, gives 
the following account of the procedure had with his 
family, in a letter to Mr. Cotton Mather, Mr. Moody, 
Mr. Willard, and others. 

<* Reverend Gentlemeni — The innocency of our case, with the 
enmity of our accusers and our judges aiid jury, whom noth- 
ing but our innocent blood will serve, having condemned U8 
already before our trials, being so much incensed and enraged 
against us by the devil, makes us bold to beg and implore youi 
favourable assistance of this our humble petition to his excel- 
lency, that if it be possible our innocent blood maj^ be spared^ 
which undoubtedly otherwise will be shed, if the Lord doth not 
23 



£6e HISTORICAL FACTS. 

mercifully step in ; the magistrates, ministers, juries, and all 
the people in general, being so much enraged and incensed 
against us by the delusion of the devil, which we can term no 
other, by reason we know in our own consciences we are all 
innocent persons. Here are Ave persons who have lately con- 
fessed themselves to be witches, and do accuse some of us of 
being along with them at a sacrament, since we were committed 
into close prison, which we know to be lies. Two of the five 
are (Carrier's sons) young men, who would not confess any 
thing till they tied them neck and heels, till the blood was ready 
to come out of their noses ; and it is credibly believed and re- 
ported this was the occasion of making them confess what tbey 
never did, by reason they said une had been a witch a month, 
and another five weeks, and that their mother had made them 
so, who has been confined here this nine weeks. My ton 
William Proctor , when he toas examined, because he would not 
confess that he was guilty, when he was innocent^ they tiedhim 
neck and heels till the blood gushed out at his nose, and would 
have kept him so twenty-four hours, if one, more merciful tham 
the rest, had not taken pity on him, and caused him to he im- 
bound. These actions are very like the popish cruelties. Tbej 
have already undone us in our estates, and that will not serve 
their turns without our innocent blood. If it cannot be grant- 
ed that we have our trials at Boston, we humbly beg that you 
would endeavor to have these magistrates changed, and others 
in their rooms ; begging also and beseeching you would be 
pleased to be here, if not all, oome of you, at our trials, hoping 
thereby you may be the means of saving the shedding of iddo- 
cent blood. Desiring your prayers to the Lord in our behalf, 
we rest your poor afflicted servants, John Proctob, Slg. 

J4>nathan Cary, whose wife was under the charge* but 
escaped, has left a very affecting narrative of her trials 
and of the behavior of the judges. 

*• Being brought before the justices, her chief accusers were 

two girls. My wife declared to the justices, that she never had 

any knowledge of them before that day. She was forced to 

stand with her arms stretched out. I requested that I mighl 

old one of her hands, but it was denied me ; then she desired 



HISTORICAL FACTS. 267 

me to wipe the tears from her eyes, and the sweat from her 
face, which I did ; then she desired that she might lean her- 
self on me, saying she should faint. 

Justice Hathorn replied, she had strength enough to torment 
those persons, and she should have strength enough to stand. 
I speaking something against their cruel proceedings, they 
commanded me to be silent, or else I should be turned out of 
the room. The Indian before mentioned was also brought in, 
to be one of her accusers : being come in, he now (when be- 
fore the justices) fell down and tumbled about like a hog, but 
said nothing. The justices ask^d the girls who afflicted the 
Indian ; they answered she, (meaning my wife) and that she 
DOW lay upon him ; the justices ordered her to touch him, in 
order to his cure, but her head must be turned another way, 
lest, instead of curing, she should make him worse, by her 
looking on him, her hand being guided to take hold of his ; 
but the Indian took hold of her hand, and pulled her down on 
the floor, in a barbarous manner ; then his hand was taken off, 
and her hand put on his, and the cure was quickly wrought. I, 
being extremely troubled at their inhuman dealings, uttered a 
hasty speech. That God would taJce vengeance on them, and 
^tsired that God would deliver tts out of the hands ofunmercU 
ful men. Then her mittimus was writ. I did with difficulty 
and chagrin obtain the liberty of a room, but no beds in it ; if 
there had been, could have taken but little rest that night. She 
was committed to Boston prison ; but I obtained a habeas cor- 
pus to remove her to Cambridge prison, which is in our coun- 
ty of Middlesex. Having been there one night, next mornmg 
the jailer put irons on her legs (having received such a com- 
mand ;) the weight of them was about eight pounds ; tliese 
irons and her other afflictions soon brought her into convuU 
sion fits, so \hat I thought she would have died that night. J 
sent to entreat that the irons might be taken off; but all en*, 
treaties were in vain, if it would have saved her life, so that in 
this condition she must continue. The trials at Salem coming 
on, I went thither, to see how things were managed ; and find- 
ing that the spectre evidence was there received, together with 
idle, if not malicious stories, against peupleV lives, I did easily 
percfiive which way the rest would go ; for the same evidence 



268 HISTORICAL FACTS. 

that served for one, would serve for all the rest. I acquaiate'd 
her with her danger ; and that if she were carried to Salem to 
be tried, I feared she would never return. I did my utmost 
that she might have her trial in our own county, I with several 
others petitioning the judge for it, and were put in hopes for 
it ; but I soon saw so much, that I understood thereby it was 
not intended, which put me upon consulting the means of her 
escape ; which through the goodness of God was effected, and 
she got to Rhode-Island, but soon found herself not safe when 
there, by reason of the pursuit after her ; from thence she 
went to New-York, along with some others that had escaped 
their cruel handis. 

Of the trial of << good-wife Proctor," the following in- 
terpretation was had. 

<* About this time, besides the experiment of the afflicted (all- 
ing at the sight, kc. they put the accused upon saying the 
Lord's prayer, which one among them performed, except in 
that petition, deliver tufrom evil, she expressed it thus, dtUv^ 
er uafrom all evil : this was looked upon as if she prajred 
against what she was now justly under, and being put upon h 
again, and repeating those words, hallowed he thy name, she 
expressed it, hollowed be thy name : this was counted a de- 
praving the words, as signifying to make void, and so a curse 
rather than a prayer : upon the whole it was concluded that 
she also could not say it, &cc. Proceeding in this work of ex« 
amination and commitment, many were sent to prison. 

" In August, 1697, the superior court sat at Hartford, in the 
colony of Connecticut, where one mistress Benom was tried 
for witchcraft. She had been accused by some children that 
pretended to the spectral sight : they searched her several 
times for teats; they trisd the experiment of casting her into 
the water, and after this she was excommunicated by the minis- 
ter of Wallinsford. Upon her trial nothing material appeared 
against her, save spectre evidence. She was acquitted, as also 
her daughter, a girl of twelve or thirteen years old, who had 
been likewise accused ; but upon renewed complaints against 
them, they both flew into New-York government. 



WstORlCAL FACTS. «6» 

Second — Of the Confessions. — The foUomng is a let- 
ter written by six of the confessing witches, by which it 
may be understood in some degree how they came to 
accuse themselves. 

'* We, whose names are under written, inhabitants of Ando- 
ver, when as that horrible and tremendous judgment beginning 
at Salem Village, in the year 1692, (by some called wilchcraft) 
first breaking forth at Mr. Parris's house, several young per- 
sons being seemingly afflicted, did accuse several persons for 
afflicting them, and many there believing it so to be ; we being 
informed that if a person were sick, the afflicted person could 
tell what or who was the cause of that sickness : Joseph Bal- 
lard of Andover (his wife being sick at the same time) he either 
from himself, or by the advice of others, fetched two of the 
persons, called the afflicted persons, from Salem Village to 
Andover : which was the beginning of that dreadful calamity 
that befel us in Andover. And the authority in Andover, be- 
lieving the said accusations to be true, sent for the said persons 
to come together to the meeting-house in Andover (the afflic- 
ted persons being there.) After Mr. Barnard bad been at 
prayer, we were blindfolded, and our hands were laid upon the 
afflicted persons, they being in their fits, and falling into their 
fits at our coming into their presence [as they said] and some 
led us and laid our hands upon them, and then they said they 
were well, and that we were guilty of afflicting of them 
whereupon we were all seized as prisoners, by a warrant from 
a justice of the peace^ and forthwith carried to Salem. And 
by reason of that sudden surprisal^ we knowing ourselves alto- 
gether innocent of that crime, we were all exceedingly aston- 
ished and amazed, and affrighted even out of our reason ; and 
our nearest and dearest relations, seeing us in that dreadful 
condition, and knowing our great danger, apprehending that 
there was no other way to save our lives, as the case was then 
circumstanced, but by our confessing ourselves to be such and 
such persons, as the afflicted represented us to be, they out of 
tender love and pity persuaded us to confess what we did con- 
fess. And indeed that confession^ that it is said we made, w^ 

23» 



870 HISTORICAL FACfSf. 

no other than what was suggested to us hj som0 gc^nfleoKfi • 
they telling us, that we were witches, and they knew it, and we 
knew it, and they knew that we knew it, which made us think 
that it was so ; and our understanding, our reason and our 
faculties almost gone, we were not capable of judging our con- 
dition ; as also the hard measures they used with us rendered 
us uncapable of making our defence ; but said anything which 
they desired : and most of what we said was but in effect a con- 
senting to what they said. Sometime after, when we were 
better composed, they telling of us what we had confessed, we 
did profess that we were innocent, and ignorant of such tilings. 
And we hearing that Samuel Wardwell had renounced his con- 
fession, and quickly after was condemned and executed, some 
of us were told that we were going after Wardwell. 

Mart Osgood, Abigail Bakkee, 
Mart Tiler, Sarah WiLSOst, 
Deliv. Dane, Hannah Tuxr," 

" It may here be further added, concerning those that did 
confess, that besides that powerful argument, of life (and free- 
dom from hnrdsiiips, not only promised, but also performed to 
all that owned their guilt) there are numerous instances, too 
many to be here inserted, of the tedious examinations before 
private persons, many hours together ; they all that time ur- 
ging them to confess (and taking turns to persuade them) till 
the accused were wearied out by being forced to stand so long 
or for want of sleep, &lc. and so brought to give an assent to 
what they said ; they then asking them. Were yoo at such a 
witch meeting ? or. Have vou signed the devil's book ? Slc. 
Upon their replying, Yes,||ttie whole was drawn into form, as 
their confession. 

*' But that which did mightily further such confessions was, 
their nearest relations urging them to it. These, seeiqg no 
other way of escape for them, thought it the best advice that 
could be given ; hence it was that the husbands of some, by 
counsel often urging, and ut'nost earnestness, and children 
upon their knees intrcating, have at length prevailed #ith them 
to say they were guilty. 



HISTORICAL FACTS. £71 

Third — Of the character of Burroughs ; — about which 
there has been from that day to this, a great difference 
of opinion. His readiness to forgive. 

'* Margaret Jacobs being one that had confessed her own 
guUt, and testified against her grandfather Jacobs, Mr. Bur- 
roughs and John Willard, she the day before execution came 
to Mr. Burroughs, acknowledging that she had belied them, and 
begged Mr. Burroughs's forgiveness ; who not only forgave 
her, but also prayed with and for her. 

Apparitions at the trial. — 

"Accordingly several of the bewitched had given in their tes- 
timony^ that they had been troubled with the apparitions of two 
women, who said they were 6. B's two wives ; and that he had 
been the death of them ; and that the magistrates must be told 
of it, before whom, if B. upon his trial denied it, they did not 
know but that they should appear again in the court. Now 6. 
B. had been infamous, for the barbarous usage of his two suc- 
cessive wives, all the country over. Moreover, it was testified 
the spectre of G. B. threatening the sufferers, told them he had 
killed [besides others] Mrs. Lawson and her daughter Ann. 
And it was noted, that these were the virtuous wife and daugh- 
ter of one, at whom this G. B. might have a prejudice, for 
being serviceable at Salem Village, from wlience himself had 
in ill terms removed some years before ; and that when they 
died, which was long since, there were some odd circumstan- 
ces about them, which made some of the attendants there sus- 
pect something of witchcraft, though none imagined from what 
quarter it should come. 

" Well, G. B. being now upon his trial, one of the bewitched 
persons was cast into horror at the ghosts of B's two deceased 
wives, then appearing before him, and crying for vengeance 
against him. Hereupon several of the bewitched persons were 
successively called in, who all, not knowing what the former 
had seen and said, concurred in their horror of the apparition, 
which they affirmed that he had before. But he, though much 
appalled, utterly denied thr>T he discerned any thing of it, nor 
was it any part of his conviction. 



".&L ■ _ 



274 HISTORICAL FACtS. 

His bodilj strength. — 

" A famous divine recites this among the convictions of ft 
witch ; the testimony of the party bewitched, whether pining 
or dying ; together with the joint oaths of sufficient persons, 
that have seen certain prodigious pranks, or feats, wrought by 
the party accused. Now God had been pleased so to leave G, 
B. that he had ensnared himself, by several instances, which 
he had formerly given, of a preternatural strength ; and which 
were now produced against him. He was a very puny man 
yet he had often done things beyond the strength of a giant 
A gun of about seven feet barrel, and so heavy that strong men 
could not steadily hold it out, with both hands ; there were 
several testimonies given in by persons of credit and honour, 
that he made nothing of taking up such a gun behind the lock 
with but one hand, and holding it out, like a pistol, at arm's 
end. G. B. in his vindication Was so ioolish as to say, that dn 
Indian was there, and held it out, at the same time ; whereaSi 
none of the spectators ever saw any such Indian ; but ihey 
supposed the black man (as the witches call the devil, and tbey 
generally say he resembles an Indian) might give hitio that sS* 
sistance. There was evidence likewise brought in, that he 
made nothing of taking up whole barrels filled with molasses 
or cider, in very disadvantageous postures, and carrying them 
off, through the most difficult places, out of a canoe to the 
shore. 
<*Yca, there were two testimonies, that G. B. with only putting 
the fore-finger of his right hand into the muzzle of a heavy 
gun, a fowling piece of about six or seven feet barrel, lifted up 
the gun, and held it out at arm's end ; a gun which the depo- 
ents, though strong men, could not with both hands lift up, and 
hold out at the butt-end, as is usual. Indeed one of these wit* 
nesses was over-persuaded by some persons to be out of the 
way upon G. B.'s trial ; but he came afterwai'ds, with sorrow 
for his withdrawing, and gave in his testimony. 

His death.-^ 

"Mr. Burroughs was carried in a cart with the others, through 
tlie streets of Salem to execution. When he was upon the 



HISTORICAL FACTS. S75 

ladder, he made a speech for the clearing of bis innocency, 
with such solemn and serious expressions, as were to the ad- 
miration of all present : his prayer [which he concluded by 
repeating the Lord's prayer] was so well worded, and uttered 
with such composedness, and such [at least seeming] fervency 
of spirit, as was very affecting, and drew tears from many, so 
that it seemed to some that the spectators would hinder the 
execution. The accusers said the Black Man stood and dicta- 
ted to him. As soon as he was turned off, Mr. Cotton Mather, 
being mounted upon a horse, addressed himself to the people, 
partly to declare that he [Burroughs] was no ordained minis- 
ter, and partly to possess the people of his guilt, saying that 
the devil has often been transformed into an angel of light ; 
and this somewhat appeased the people, and the executions 
went on. 

Fourth — A trial at length. Indictment of Elizabeth 
How. 

JBSSEX SB. Jnno Regtti Regis ^ RegiiM WiUiehni 4* MarUt^ nunc 

Jnglue^ fye. qneerto ■ 

The jurors for onr govereign lord and lady the king and queen present, that 
Elizabedi How, wife of James How, of Ipswich, in the ooonty of Essex, the 
thirty-first day of May, in the fourth year of the reigna of our soyereign lord and 
lady William and Mary, by the grace of God^ of England, Scofland, France and 
Ireland, king and queen, defenders of the faith, &c. and divers other days and 
times, as well before as after, certain destestable arts, called witchcrafts and 
sorceries, wickedly and feloniously hath used, practised and exercised, at and 
within the township of Salem, in, upon and against one Mary Wolcott, of Salem 
Village, in the county aforesaid, single woman ; by which said wicked arts the 
said Mary Wolcott, the said thirty-first day of Ma^, in the fourth year above- 
9aid, and divers other days and times, as well befiire as after, was and is tor- 
tured, aflUcted, pined, consumed, wasted and tormented •, and also for sundry 
other acts of witchcrafts, by said Elizabeth How committed and done before and 
since that time, agahist tiie peace of our sovereign lord and lady, the king and 
queen, and against the form of the statute in that case made and provided. 

fFttnessea— Mary Wolcott, Ann Putmam, Abigail Williams, Samuel Pearly, 
and bis wife Ruth, Joseph Andrews, and wife Sarah, Joha Sberrin, Joseph Saf- 
ford, Francis Lane, Lydia Foster, Isaac Cummins, jr* 

Fifth — 'Recantation of the chief judge and the jurors.''^ 
A general fast was appointed by the following procla- 
mation, after the accusers had become so bold as to 
accuse even the wife of Gov. Phips. — 
By the honourable the lieutenant governor^ council and asstm^ 

hly of his majesty^ g province of the Masachuattta-Bay, in 

general court assembled. 

Whereas the anger of God is not yet turned away, but his 
hand is still stretched out against his people io manifold judg- 



274 HISTORICAL PACTS. 

ments, particularly in drawing out to such a length the troubles 
of Europe, by a perplexing war ; and more especially respect- 
ing ourselves in this province, in that God is pleased still to 
go on in diminishing our substance, cutting short our harrest, 
blasting our most promising undertakings more ways tfaaa 
one, unsetding us, and by his more immediate hand snatcbing 
away many out of our embraces by sudden and violent deaths 
even at this time when the sword is devouring so many both 
at home and abroad, and that after many days of public and 
solemn addressing him : and although, considering the many 
sins prevailing in the midst of us, we cannot but wonder at 
tbe patience and mercy moderating these rebukes, yet we can- 
not but also fear that there is something still wanting to ac- 
company our supplications ; and doubtless there are some 
particular sins, which God is angry with out Israel for, that 
have not been duly seen and repented by us, about which GNid 
ex pects to be sought, if ever he turn again our captivity : 

Wherefore it is commanded and appointed, that Thursday , 
he fourteenth of January next, be observed as a day of prayer, 
with fasting, throughout this province ; strictly forbidding all 
servile labour thereon ; that so all God's people may uffer up 
fervent supplications unto him, for the preservation and pros- 
perity of his majesty's royal person and government, and suc- 
cess to attend his affairs both at home and abroad ; that aU in- 
iquity may be put away, which hath stirred God's holy jealousy 
against this land ; that he would shew us what we know not, 
and help us wherein we have done amiss to do so no more; 
and especially that whatever mistakes on either hand have been 
fallen into, either by the body of this people, or any orders of 
men, refering to the late tragedy, raised among us by Satan 
and his instruments, through the awful judgment of God, he 
would humble us therefor, and pardon all the errors of his ser- 
vants and people, that desire to love his name ; that be would 
remove the rod of the wicked from off the lot of the righteous; 
that he would bring in the American heathen, and cause them 
to hear and obey his voice. 

Given at Boston, December 12, 1696, in the eighth year 
of his Majesty's reign. 

Isaac Adpinotoiv, Stcrttary, 



274 HISTORICAL PACTS. 

ments, particularly in drawing out to such a length the trouble* 
of Europe, by a perplexing war; and more especially respect- 
ing ourselves in this province, in that God is pleased still to 
go on in diminishing our substance, cutting short our harvest, 
blasting our most promising undertakings more ways tbaa 
one, unsettling us, and by his more immediate hand SDatching 
away many out of our embraces by sudden and violent deaths 
even at this time when the sword is devouring so many both 
at home and abroad, and that after many days of public and 
solemn addressing him : and although, considering the many 
sins prevailing in the midst of us, we cannot but wonder at 
the patience and mercy moderating these rebukes, yet we can- 
not but also fear that there is something still wanting to ac- 
company our supplications ; and doubtless there are soma 
particular sins, which God is angry with our Israel for, that 
have not been duly seen and repented by us, about which God 
ex pects to be sought, if ever he turn again our captivity : 

Wherefore it is commanded and appointed, that Thiutday , 
he fourteenth of January next, be observed as a day of prayer, 
with fasting, throughout this province ; strictly forbidding all 
servile labour thereon ; that so all God's people may uflbr up 
fervent supplications unto him, for the preservation and pros- 
perity of his majesty's royal person and government, and suc- 
cess to attend his affairs botli at home and abroad ; that all in- 
iquity may be put away, which hath stirred God's holy jealousy 
against this land ; that he would shew us what we know not, 
and help us wherein we have done amiss to do so no more ; 
and especially that whatever mistakes on either hand have been 
fallen into, either by the body of this people, or any orders of 
men, refering to the late tragedy, raised among us by Satan 
and his instruments, through the awful judgment of God, he 
would humble us tiierefor, and pardon all the errors of his ser- 
vants and people, that desire to love his name ; that be would 
remove the rod of the wicked from off the lot of the righteous; 
that he would bring in the American heathen, and cause then 
to hear and obey his voice. 

Given at Boston, December 12, 1696, in the eighth year 
of his Majesty's reign. 

Isaac Adpinotoiv, Slecrelory, 



HISTORICAL FACTS. 275 

'"\Jp3n the day of the fast, in the full assembly at the south 
meeting-house in Boston, one of the honorable judges, [the 
chief justice Sewall] who had sat m judicature in Salem, de- 
livered in a paper, and while it was in reading stood up ; but 
the copy being not to be obtained at present, it can only be 
reported by memory to this effect, viz. It was to desire the 
prayers of God's people for him and his ; and that God having 
visited his family, &lc, he was apprehensive that he might have 
fallen into some errors in the matters at Salem, and pray that 
the guilt of such miscarriages may not be imputed either to the 
country in general, or to him or his family in particular. 

*•' Some, that had been of several! juries, have given forth a 
paper, signed with their own hands, in these words : 

" We, whose names are under written, being in the year 
1692 called to serve as jurors in court at Salem on trial of 
many, who were by some suspected guilty of doing acts of 
witchcraft upon the bodies of sundry persons : 

" We confess that we ourselves were not capable to under- 
stand, nor able to withstand, the mysterious delusions of the 
powers of darkness, and prince of the air; but were, for want, 
of knowledge in ourselves, and better information from oth- 
ers, prevailed with to take up with such evidence against the 
accused, as, on further consideration and belter infonnation, 
we justly fear was insufficient for the touching the lives of any, 
(Deut. xvii. 8j whereby we fear we have been instrumental 
with others, though ignorantiy and unwittingly, to bring upon 
ourselves and this people of the Lord the guilt of innocent 
blood ; which sin the Lord saith, in scripture, he would not 
pardon, (^ Kings, xxiv. 4j that is, we suppose, in regard of his 
temporal judgments. We do therefore hereby signify to all 
in general (and to the surviving sufferers in special) our deep 
sense of, and sorrow for, our errors, in acting on such evi- 
dence to the condemning of any person ; and do hereby de- 
clare, that we justly fear that we were sadly deluded and mis- 
taken ; for which we are much disquieted and distressed in 
our minds; and do therefore humbly beg forgiveness, first of 
God for Christ's sake, for this our error ; and pray that tSod 
would not impute the guilt of it to ourselveSf nor others ; 



376 



HISTORICAL PACTS. 



and we also pray that we may be considered candidly and a- 
right, by the living sufferers, as beirtg then under the power of 
a strong and general delusion, utterly unacquainted with, and 
not experienced in matters of that nature. 

'< We do heartily ask forgiveness of you all, whom we have 
justly offended; and do declare, according to our present 
minds, we would none of us do such things again oo such 
grounds for the whole world ; praying you to 'accept of this 
in way of satisfaction for our offence, and that you would bles 
the inheritance of the Lord, that he may be entreated for the 
land. 



Foreman, 



Thomas Fisk, 
William Fisk, 
John Bacheier, 
Thomas Fisk, jr. 
John Dane. 
Joseph Evelith, 



Th. Pearly, sen. 
John Peafaody, 
Thomas Perkins, 
Samuel Sayer, 
Andrew Eliot, 
U. Uerrick, sen." 



3 



G