John Inglefield and that old crone whose hand
Was lent to fashioning Scarecrows built of straw—
All these through the Enchanter’s eyes you saw,
Strange folk who trod the bleak New England shores,
Tithingmen, Sachems, Witches, Sagamores,
Puritans, Soldiers, Scholars, Quaker maids,
Royalists splendid in their rich brocades!
To-day the past has opened wide her door,
Scenes long since gone return to us once more,
Touched with the alchemy of history’s gold.
First, ancient Salem, as it was, behold
In the grim days when “Witchcraft!” was the cry,
When folk declared that they saw witches fly
On devil’s broomsticks straight across the moon,
While the wind piped by night a witch’s tune;
When, e’en by day, intrepid witch-wives spoke,
Then vanished upward through the chimney smoke!
The Witches’ Wood—this our first scene will show,
And all that once transpired there long ago.
Our second scene will picture Merrymount
Where lived gay royalists who took no count
Of Puritanic manners, and who sang
And laughed till all the woods about them rang
With outlaw merriment. These you will see
Engaged in maypole dance and minstrelsy,
While Puritans with grave and somber mien
Condemn such light-foot revels on the green!
These have you known on Hawthorne’s living page.
Now shall you see them pictured on our stage.
Grant us your patience: lend your ears as well.
The rest our pageant now will strive to tell.
IN WITCHCRAFT DAYS
GOODWIFE PRUDENCE HUBBARD
BARBARA WILLIAMS, her playmate
FAWNFOOT, an Indian maiden
GOODWIFE ABIGAIL WILLIAMS
The scene is an open glade near Salem, 1692.
Trees right, left, and background. Flowers, Ferns. Berry-vines. Herbs. Tabitha Brett, a Puritan child, enters from left. She carries a quaint pewter bowl, and looking about her spies berries, whereupon she calls back over her shoulder to Renounce Wilton.
TABITHA (calling). Renounce! There are berries here! Yet not so many as Goodwife Prudence Hubbard bade us bring. Perhaps ’tis too near the edge of the town, and others have been before us.
RENOUNCE (entering from left). Others before us—Do you mean witches, Tabitha?
Hush! Speak not that word! There are no witches flying in the daytime!
RENOUNCE (wide-eyed). But at night, Tabitha, who can tell how many witches may be abroad? Dost thou not know that this is ofttimes called the “Witches’ Wood” and Holdfast Bradford says that on the stroke of midnight ’tis here that they foregather. Canst thou not picture them whirling over the tree-tops?