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Full Online Book HomePlaysGiles Corey, Yeoman - Act 2
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Giles Corey, Yeoman - Act 2 Post by :showme48 Category :Plays Author :Mary E Wilkins Freeman Date :May 2012 Read :3130

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Giles Corey, Yeoman - Act 2

Act II

_Best room in the house of Widow Eunice Hutchins, Ann's _mother. John Hathorne _and Minister Parris _enter, shown in by Widow Hutchins.

Hutchins. I pray you, sirs, to take some cheers the while I go for a moment's space to my poor afflicted child. I heard her cry out but now. (_Exit._

(Hathorne _and Parris _seat themselves, but Hathorne _quickly springs up, and begins walking._

Hathorne. I cannot be seated in this crisis. I would as lief be seated in an onset of the savages. I must up and lay about me. We have heretofore been too lax in this dreadful business; the powers of darkness be almost over our palisades. I tell thee there must be more action!

Parris (_pounding with his cane_). Yea, Master Hathorne, I am with thee. Verily, this last be enough to make the elect themselves quake with fear. This Martha Corey is a woman of the covenant.

Hathorne. There must be no holding back. The powers of darkness be let loose amongst us, and they that be against them must be up. We must hang, hang, hang, till we overcome!

Parris. Yea, we must not falter, though all the woods of Massachusetts Bay be cut for gallows-trees, and the country be like Sodom. Verily, Satan hath manifested himself at the head of our enemies; the colonies were never in such peril as now. We must strive as never before, or all will be lost. The wilderness full of malignant savages, who be the veritable servants of Satan, closes us in, and the cloven footmark is in our midst. There must be no dallying as we would save the colonies. Widow Hutchins saith her daughter is grievously pressed. (_A scream._) There, heard you that?

Hathorne. It is dreadful, dreadful, that an innocent maid should be so tormented by acts which her guileless fancy could never compass!

Parris. Verily, malignity hath ever cowardice in conjunction with it. Satan loveth best to afflict those who can make no defence, and fastens his talons first in the lambs.

(_Enter Widow Hutchins _with the embroidered cape._)

Hutchins. Here, your worships, is the cape.

Hathorne. (_examines it_). I have seen women folk wear its like on the Sabbath day. I can see naught unwonted about it.

Parris. It looketh like any cape.

Hutchins. I fear it be not like any cape. Had your worships seen my poor child writhe under it, and I myself, when I would try it on, bent down to my knees as under a ton weight, your worships would not think it like any cape.

Parris. I suspect there be verily evil work in the cape, and a witch's bodkin hath pierced these cunning eyelets. It goeth so fast now that erelong every guileless, senseless thing in our houses, down to the tinder-box and the candle-stick, will find hinges and turn into a gate, whereby witchcraft can enter. You say, Widow Hutchins, that Olive Corey gave this cape to your daughter?

Hutchins. That did she. Yesterday evening Ann went down to Goody Corey's house for a little chat; she and Olive have been gossips ever since they were children, though lately there hath been somewhat of bitterness betwixt them.

Parris. How mean you?

Hutchins. I have laid it upon my mind ere now to tell you, being much wrought up concerning it, and thinking that you might give me somewhat of spiritual consolation and advice. It was in this wise. Paul Bayley, who, they say, goeth every Sabbath night to Goody Corey's house and sitteth up until unseemly hours with Olive, looked once with a favorable eye upon my daughter Ann. Had your worships seen him, as I saw him one day in the meeting-house, look at Ann when she wore her green paduasoy, you had not doubted. Youths look not thus upon maidens unless they be inclined toward them. But this hussy Olive Corey did come between Paul and my Ann, and that not of her own merits. There is nobody in Salem Village who would say that Olive Corey's looks be aught in comparison with my Ann's, but I trow Goody Corey hath arts which make amends for lack of beauty. I trow all ill-favored folk might be fair would they have such arts used upon them.

Hathorne. What mean you by that saying?

Hutchins. I mean Goody Corey hath devilish arts whereby she giveth her daughter a beauty beyond her own looks, wherewith she may entice young men.

Hathorne. You say that this cape caused your daughter torment?

Hutchins. Your worships, it lay on her neck like a fire-brand, and she thought she should die ere she cast it off.

Hathorne. Widow Hutchins, will you now put on the cape?

Hutchins. Oh, your worship, I dare not put it on! I fear it will be the death of me if I do.

Hathorne. Minister Parris, wilt thou put on the cape?

Parris. Good Master Hathorne, it would ill behoove a minister of the gospel to put himself in jeopardy when so many be depending upon him to lead them in this dreadful conflict with the powers of darkness. But do thou put on the mantle the while I go to prayer to avert any ill that may come of it.

Hathorne. Nay, I will make no such jest of my office of magistrate as to put this woman's gear on my shoulders. I doubt if there be aught in it. Prithee, Widow Hutchins, when did this torment first come upon the young woman?

Hutchins. Your worship, she went, as I have said, to Goody Corey's yester-evening to have a little chat with her gossip, Olive, and Paul Bayley came in also, and some of them did talk strangely about this witchcraft, Olive and Goody Corey nodding and winking, and making light of it. And then when Ann said she must be home, Paul rose quickly and made as though he would go with her, but Goody Corey would not let him, and herself went with Ann. And she did practise her devilish arts upon my poor child all the way home, and when my poor child got on the door-stone she burst open the door, and came in as though all the witches were after her, and she hath not been herself since. She hath ever since been grievously tormented, being set upon now by Goody Corey, and now by Olive, being choked and twisted about until I thought she would die, and so I fear she will, unless they be speedily put in chains. It seemeth flesh and blood cannot endure it. Mercy Lewis is just come in, and she saw Goody Corey and Olive upon her when she opened the door.

Hathorne. This evil work must be stopped at all hazards, and this monstrous brood of witches gotten out of the land.

Parris. Yea, verily, although we have to reach under the covenant for them. (_Screams._

Hutchins. Oh, your worships, my poor child will have no peace until they be chained in prison.

Hathorne. They shall be chained in prison before the sun sets. I will at once go forth and issue warrants for the arrest of Martha Corey and her daughter. (_More violent screams and loud voices overhead._

Parris. Would it not be well, good Master Hathorne, for us to see the afflicted maid before we depart?

Hutchins. Oh, I pray you, sirs, come up stairs to my poor child's chamber and see yourselves in what grievous torment she lies. She hath often called for Minister Parris, saying they dared not so afflict her were he there.

Hathorne. It would perchance be as well. Lead the way, if you will, Widow Hutchins. (_Exeunt. Screams continue._

_Enter Nancy Fox _and Phoebe Morse _stealthily from other door. Phoebe _carries her rag doll._

Nancy. Massy sakes, hear them screeches!

Phoebe (_clinging to Nancy). Oh, Nancy, won't they catch us too! I'm afraid!

Nancy. They can't touch us; we're witches too.

Phoebe. Massy sakes! I forgot we were witches.

Nancy. Hear that, will ye? Ain't she a-ketchin' it?

Phoebe. Nancy, do you suppose it's the pin I stuck in my doll makes Ann screech that way?

Nancy. Most likely 'tis. Stick in another, and see if she screeches louder.

Phoebe. No, I won't. I'll pull the pin out; 'twas this one in my doll's arm. (_Pulls out pin and flings it on the floor._) I won't have Ann hurt so bad as that if Olive did give her the cape. Why don't she stop screeching now, Nancy? Oh, Nancy, somebody's coming! I hear somebody at the door. Crawl under the bed--quick! quick!

(Phoebe _gets down and begins to crawl under the bed. Nancy _tries to imitate her, but cannot bend herself._

Nancy. Oh, massy! I've got a crick in my back, and I can't double up. What shall I do? (_Tries to bend._) I can't; no, I can't! 'Tis like a hot poker. Massy! what 'll I do?

Phoebe. You've got to, Nancy. Quick! the latch is lifting. Quick! quick! I'll push you. No; I'll pull you. Here!

(_Pulls Nancy _down upon the floor, and rolls her under the bed; gets under herself just as the door is pushed open._

_Enter Giles Corey _in great excitement._

Giles (_running across the room, and listening at the door leading to the chamber stairs_). Devil take them! why don't they put an end to it? Why do they let the poor lass be set upon this way? Screeching so you can hear her all over Salem Village! There! hear that, will ye? Out upon them! Widow Hutchins! Widow Hutchins! Can't you give her some physic? Sha'n't I come up there with my musket? Why don't they find out who is so tormenting her and chain her up in prison? 'Tis some witch or other. Oh, I'd hang her; I'd tie the rope myself. Poor lass! poor lass! (_The door is pushed open, and Giles _starts back._

_Enter John Hathorne, Minister Parris, _and Widow Hutchins.

Giles. Good-day, Widow Hutchins. Shall I go up there with my musket?

Parris. I trow there be too many of thy household up there now.

Giles. I'd lay about me till I hit some of 'em. I'll warrant I would. Oh, the poor lass! hear that!

Parris. She is a grievous case.

Giles. I heard the screeches out in the wood, and I ran in thinking I might do somewhat. I would Martha were here. I'll be bound she'd laugh and scoff at it no longer!

Hathorne. Laugh and scoff, say you?

Giles. That she doth. Martha acts as if the devil were in her about it. She doth nothing but laugh at and make light of the afflicted children, and saith there be no witches. She would not even believe 'twas aught out of the common when our ox and cat were took strangely. If she were herself a witch she could be no more stiff-necked.

Parris. Doth she go out after nightfall?

Giles. That she doth, in spite of all I can say. She hath no fear that an honest gospel woman should have in these times. She went out last night, and I was so angered that I charged her with galloping a broomstick home.

Hathorne. Did she deny it?

Giles. She laughed as she is wont to do. She even made a jest on't, when I could not when I would go to prayer, and the words stayed beyond my wits. I would she could be here now, and hear this!

Parris. Perchance she doth.

Giles. I'll warrant she'd lose somewhat of her stiff-neckedness. Hear that! Can't ye chain up the witch that's tormenting the poor lass! Is't Goody Osborn?

Hathorne. The witch will be chained and in prison before nightfall. Come, Minister Parris, we can do no good by abiding longer here. Methinks we have sufficient testimony.

Parris. Verily the devil hath played into our hands. (_They turn to leave._

Hutchins. Oh, your worships, ye will use good speed for the sake of my poor child.

Giles. Ay, be speedy about it. Put the baggage in prison as soon as may be, and load her down well with irons.

Hathorne. I will strive to obey your commands well, Goodman Corey. Good-day, Widow Hutchins; your daughter shall soon find relief.

Parris. Good-day, Widow Hutchins, and be of good cheer.

(_Exeunt Hathorne _and Parris, _while Widow Hutchins _courtesies._

Giles. Well, I must even be going too. I have my cattle to water. I but bolted in when I heard the poor lass screech, thinking I might do somewhat. But good Master Hathorne will see to it. Hear that! Do ye go up to her, widow, and mix her up a bowl of yarb tea, till they put the trollop in prison. I'm off to water my cattle, then devil take me if I don't give the sheriffs a hand if they need it. Goody Osborn's house is nigh mine. Good-day, widow. (_Exit Giles.

Hutchins (_laughing_). Give the sheriffs a hand, will he? Perchance he will, but I doubt me if 'tis not a fisted one. He sets his life by Goody Corey, however he rate her. (_A scream from above of "Mother! Mother!") Yes, Ann, I'm coming, I'm coming! (_Exit._

Phoebe (_crawls out from under the bed_). Now, Nancy, we've got a chance to run. Come out, quick! Oh, if Uncle Corey had caught us here!

Nancy. I can't get out. Oh! oh! The rheumatiz stiffened me so I couldn't double up, and now it has stiffened me so I can't undouble. No, 'tis not rheumatiz, 'tis Goody Bishop has bewitched me. I can't get out.

Phoebe. You must, Nancy, or some body 'll come and catch us. Here, I'll pull you out.

(_Tugs at Nancy's _arms, and drags her out, groaning._

Nancy. Here I am out, but I can't undouble. I'll have to go home on all-fours like a cat. Oh! oh!

Phoebe. Give me your hands and I'll pull you up. Think you 'tis witchcraft, Nancy?

Nancy. I know 'tis. 'Tis Goody Bishop in her fine silk hood afflicts me. Oh, massy!

Phoebe. There, you are up, Nancy.

Nancy. I ain't half undoubled.

Phoebe. You can walk so, can't you, Nancy? Oh, come, quick! I think I hear somebody on the stairs. (_Catches up her doll and seizes Nancy's _hand._) Quick! quick!

Nancy. I tell ye I can't go quick; I ain't undoubled enough. Devil take Goody Bishop!

(Exit, hobbling and bent almost double, Phoebe _urging her along. Curtain falls.)

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Act IScene I_Salem Village. Living-room in Giles Corey's _house. Olive Corey _is spinning. Nancy Fox, _the old servant, sits in the fireplace paring apples. Little Phoebe Morse, _on a stool beside her, is knitting a stocking._Phoebe (_starting_). What is that? Oh, Olive, what is that?Nancy. Yes, what is that? Massy, what a clatter!Olive (_spinning_). I heard naught. Be not so foolish, child. And you, Nancy, be of a surety old enough to know better.Nancy. I trow there was a clatter in the chimbly. There 'tis again! Massy, what a screech!Phoebe (_running to Olive _and clinging to her_). Oh, Olive, what is
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