At the meeting, one of the justices who knew little of life, and less of the law, behaved very idly; and, though nobody was able to prove anything against her, asked who she could bring to her character. “Who can you bring against my character, sir?” says she. “There are people enough who would appear in my defense, were it necessary: but I never supposed that any one here could be so weak as to believe there was any such thing as a witch. If I am a witch, this is my charm; and” (laying a barometer or weather-glass on the table) “it is with this,” says she, “that I have taught my neighbor to know the state of the weather.” All the company laughed; and Sir William Dove, who was on the bench, asked her accusers how they could be such fools as to think there was any such thing as a witch?
After this, Sir William inveighed against the absurd and foolish notions which the country people had imbibed concerning witches and witchcraft, and having proved that there was no such thing, but that all were the effects of folly and ignorance, he gave the court such an account of Mrs. Margery, and her virtue, good sense, and prudent behavior, that the gentlemen present were enamored with her, and returned her public thanks for the great service she had done the country. One gentleman in particular, I mean Sir Charles Jones, had conceived such a high opinion of her that he offered her a considerable sum to take care of his family, and the education of his daughter, which, however, she refused; but this gentleman sending for her afterwards, when he had a dangerous fit of illness, she went, and behaved so prudently in the family, and so tenderly to him and his daughter, that he would not permit her to leave his house, but soon after made her proposals of marriage. She was truly sensible of the honor he intended her, but, though poor, she would not consent to be made a lady till he had effectually provided for his daughter; for she told him that power was a dangerous thing to be trusted with, and that a good man or woman would never throw themselves into the road of temptation.
All things being settled, and the day fixed, the neighbors came in crowds to see the wedding; for they were all glad that one who had been such a good little girl, and was become such a virtuous and good woman, was going to be made a lady; but just as the clergyman had opened his book, a gentleman richly dressed ran into the church and cried, “Stop! stop!” This greatly alarmed the congregation, particularly the intended bride and bridegroom, whom he first accosted and desired to speak with them apart. After they had been talking some little time, the people were greatly surprised to see Sir Charles stand motionless, and his bride cry and faint away in the stranger’s arms. This seeming grief, however, was only a prelude to a flood of joy which immediately succeeded; for you must know, gentle reader, that this gentleman, so richly dressed, was that identical little boy,