Read CHAPTER XLI of Dulcibel A Tale of Old Salem , free online book, by Henry Peterson, on

Master Raymond is Arrested for Witchcraft.

As Master Raymond walked up the street toward the Red Lion, he felt in better spirits. He had secured the aid, if things should come to the worst of a very influential friend and one who, woman-like, would be apt to go even farther than her word, as noble spirits in such cases are apt to do. Therefore he was comparatively light-hearted.

Suddenly he felt a strong grasp upon his shoulder; and turning, he saw a couple of men beside him. One he knew well as deputy-marshall Herrick, of Salem.

“You are wanted at Salem, Master Raymond,” said Marshall Herrick gravely, producing a paper.

Raymond felt a sinking of heart as he glanced over it it was the warrant for his arrest, issued by Squire Hathorne.

“At whose complaint?” he asked, controlling his emotions, and speaking quite calmly and pleasantly.

“At the complaint of Mistress Ann Putnam and Master Jethro Sands,” replied the officer.

“Of witchcraft? That is very curious. For as Dr. Griggs knows, just before I left Salem Farms, I was suffering from ‘an evil hand’ myself.”

“Indeed!” said the officer.

“When am I to go?”

“Immediately. We have provided a horse for you.”

“I should like to get my valise, and some clothes from the Red Lion.”

The officer hesitated.

Master Raymond smiled pleasantly. “You must be hungry about this time of day, and they have some of the best wine at the Lion I ever tasted. You shall drink a bottle or two with me. You know that a man travels all the better for a good dinner and a bottle of good wine.”

The officers hesitated no longer. “You are a sensible man, Master Raymond, whether you are a witch or not,” said the deputy marshall.

“I think if the wine were better and plentier around Salem, there would be fewer witches,” rejoined Master Raymond; which the other officer considered a very witty remark, judging by the way he laughed at it.

The result of this strategic movement of Master Raymond’s, was that he had a couple of very pleasant and good-humored officials to attend him all the way to Salem jail, where they arrived in the course of the evening. Proving that thus by the aid of a little metaphorical oil and sugar, even official machinery could be made to work a good deal smoother than it otherwise would. While the officers themselves expressed their utter disbelief to the people they met, of the truth of the charges that had been brought against Master Raymond; who in truth was himself “an afflicted person,” and had been suffering some time from an “evil hand,” as the wise Dr. Griggs had declared.

The Salem keeper, Uncle Robie, true to his accustomed plan of action, received Master Raymond very gruffly; but after he had got rid of the other professionals, he had a good long talk, and made his cell quite comfortable for him. He also took him in to visit Antipas, who was delighted to see him, and also to hear that Mistress Dulcibel, was quite comfortably lodged with Keeper Arnold.

Then the young man threw himself upon his bed, and slept soundly till morning. He did not need much study to decide upon his plans, as he had contemplated such a possibility as that, ever since the arrest of Dulcibel, and had fully made up his mind in what manner he would meet it. If, however, he had known the results of the conference of the “afflicted circle” two days previous, he would have felt more encouraged as to the probable success of the defence he meditated. The constable that had aided the deputy-marshall in making the arrest, had agreed however to send word to Joseph Putnam of what had occurred; and comforted by the thought of having at least one staunch friend to stand by him, Master Raymond had slept soundly even on a prison pallet.

The next morning, as early as the rules of the jail would admit, Joseph Putnam came to see him. “I had intended to come and see you in Boston to-day,” said Master Joseph, “but the she-wolf was too quick for me.”

“Why, had you heard anything?”

“Yes, and I hardly understand it. Abigail Williams called to see Goodwife Buckley yesterday, and told her in confidence that it was probable you would be cried out against by Sister Ann and Jethro Sands; and to warn me of it.”

“Abigail Williams!”

“Yes; and she also dropped a hint that none of the other ’afflicted girls’ had anything to do with it for they looked upon you as a very nice young man, and a friend.”

“Well, that is good news indeed,” said Master Raymond brightening up.

“And I called upon Doctor Griggs on my way here, and he says he is confident there was an ‘evil hand’ upon you when you were suffering at my house; and he will be on hand at the examination to give his testimony, if it is needed, to that effect.”

“But that terrible sister-in-law of yours! If she could only be kept away from the examination for half-an-hour; and give me time to impress the magistrates and the people a little.”

“It might be done perhaps,” said Joseph Putnam musing.

“Do not be too conscientious about the means, my dear friend,” continued Master Raymond. “Do not stand so straight that you lean backward. Remember that this is war and a just war against false witnesses, the shedders of innocent blood, and wicked or deceived rulers. If I am imprisoned, what is to become of Dulcibel? Think of her do not think of me.”

Joseph Putnam was greatly agitated. “I will do all I can for both of you. But my soul recoils from anything like deceit, as from wickedness itself. But I will think over it, and see if I cannot devise some way to keep Sister Ann away, for a time or altogether.”

“Give me at least fifteen minutes to work on the Magistrates, and to enlist the sympathies of the people in my behalf. For me, so far as my conscience is concerned, I should not hesitate to shoot that Jezebel. For the murder of the twenty innocent men and women who have now been put to death, she is mainly responsible. And to kill her who surely deserves to die, might save the lives of fifty others.”

Joseph Putnam shook his head. “I cannot see the matter in that light, Friend Raymond.”

“Oh,” replied Raymond, “of course I do not mean you should kill Mistress Ann. I only put it as giving my idea of how far my conscience would allow me to go in the matter. Draw her off in some way though keep her out of the room for awhile give me a little time to work in.”

“I will do all I can; you may be sure of that,” responded Master Putnam emphatically.

Here further confidential conversation was prevented by the entrance of the marshall.