Read CHAPTER XLV of Dulcibel A Tale of Old Salem , free online book, by Henry Peterson, on ReadCentral.com.

The Two Plotters Congratulate Each Other.

When Master Joseph arrived home, he told his wife of what a perverse course things had taken, amid his own and her frequent laughter. And then he could do nothing else than walk up and down impatiently, glancing at frequent intervals towards the road, to see if anybody were coming.

In the course of an hour or so, nobody appearing and Sweetbriar being sweetened up again by a good feed, he ordered the horse brought out. Then he was persuaded by his wife to recall the order, and wait patiently till sundown.

“What impatient creatures you men are!” said Mistress Elizabeth with feminine superiority. “Doubtless he will be along. Give him sufficient time. Now, do not worry, husband mine, but take things patiently.”

So Master Joseph was induced to control his restlessness and just as soon as he could have been reasonably expected, Master Raymond was seen riding up the lane at a light canter.

“Hurrah!” cried Master Joseph, running to meet him. “And is it all over?”

“We have smitten Ammon, hip and thigh, from Aroer even till thou come to Minnith!” answered Master Raymond, laughing. “It was you that kept the she-wolf away, I know. How did you do it?”

“Come in and I will tell you all about it. And I want to hear how all went off in Salem.”

After a couple of hours’ conversation, broken frequently by irresponsible bursts of laughter, the young men were mutually enlightened; and complimented each other upon the success with which they had worked out their respective schemes while young Mistress Elizabeth complimented them both, thinking honestly in her innocent heart that two such wonderful young men certainly had never before existed.

“How I should like to have seen you astonishing old Squire Hathorne,” said Master Joseph.

“I am afraid you would have spoiled all by laughing,” said his young wife. “You know you never can control your merriment, Joseph.”

“I cannot? You should have seen me preaching to sister Ann this afternoon. I kept my face all the time as sober as a judge’s. You know she had to take it all quietly she could not even run away from it.”

“I would have given one of your five-pound Massachusetts notes to see it,” said Master Raymond. “And five pounds more to see your brother Thomas stamping up and down the bar-room of the ‘Crown and Anchor,’ waiting for that Ipswich man to meet him.”

“I was very careful all through not to tell a direct falsehood,” said Master Joseph; “it is bad enough to deceive people, without being guilty of downright lying.”

“Oh, of course,” replied Master Raymond. “I do not know that I told a downright lie either, all day; although I must admit that I acted a pretty big one. But you must deal with fools according to their folly you know we have Scripture for that.”

“I do not think I would have done it merely to save myself,” said Master Joseph, evidently a little conscience-smitten. “But to save you, my friend, that seems to be different.”

“And Dulcibel,” added Master Raymond. “If I were imprisoned what would become of her?”

“Yes, I am glad I did it,” responded his friend, regaining his confidence. “I have really hurt neither brother Thomas nor Sister Ann; on the contrary, I have prevented them from doing a great wrong. I am willing to answer for this day’s work at the Last Day and I feel certain that then at least, both of them will thank me for it.”

“I have no doubt of it,” said Mistress Elizabeth who herself brought up in the rigid Puritan school, had felt the same misgivings as her husband, but whose scruples were also removed by this last consideration.

As for Master Raymond, he, being more a man of the world, had felt no scruples at playing such a deceitful part. I am afraid, that to save Dulcibel, he would not have scrupled at open and downright lying. Not that he had not all the sensitiveness of an honorable man as to his word; but because he looked upon the whole affair as a piece of malicious wickedness, in defiance of all just law, and which every true-hearted man was bound to oppose and defeat by all means allowable in open or secret warfare.

“I suppose you go back to Boston to morrow?” said his host, as they were about to separate for the night.

“Yes, immediately after breakfast. This affair is a warning to me, to push my plans to a consummation as soon as possible. I think I know what their next move will be a shrewd man once said, just think what is the wisest thing for your enemies to do, and provide against that.”

“What is it?”

“Remove the Governor.”

“Why, I understood he was a mere puppet in the hands of the two Mathers.”

“He would be perhaps; but there is a Lady Phips.”

“Ah!’ the gray mare is the better horse,’ is she, as it is over at brother Thomas’s?”

“Yes, I think so. Now mark my prediction, friend Joseph; the first blow will be struck at Lady Mary. If Sir William resists, as I feel certain that he will for he is, if not well educated, a thoroughly manly man then he will be ousted from his position. You will note that it has been the game all through to strike at any one, man or woman, who came between these vampires and their prey. I know of only one exception.”

“Ah, who is that?”

“Yourself.”

Master Joseph smiled grimly. “They value their own lives very highly, friend Raymond; and know that to arrest me would be no child’s play. Besides, Sweetbriar is never long unsaddled; and he is the fastest horse in Salem.”

“Yes, and to add to all that, you are a Putnam; and your wife is closely connected with Squire Hathorne.”

“There may be something in that,” said his friend.

“Yes, even Mistress Ann has her limits, which her husband submissive in so many things will not allow her to pass. But we are both a little tired, after such an eventful day. Good night!”