TABITHA (with a cry). Be still, Renounce Wilton! Oh, what was that? (Clutches her.) A shadow? (With more composure.) If you do talk of witches we shall lose half the berries we have gathered, and Goodwife Hubbard will scold us roundly.
[Eats a few berries.
You should not eat the berries, Tabitha.
I know. But they are so sweet. As sweet as the barley sugar Goody
Gurton gives us.
I marvel that our mothers let us hunt for berries at all.
TABITHA (childishly). Aye, ’tis not often they are minded to let us stray to the edge of the forest. I think there is something stirring that we are not to hear, and that is why our fingers are kept busy. My mother and Goodwife Prudence Hubbard were deep in talk together; but when I passed they put their fingers on their lips.
(pretending to be vastly impressed).
Did they so!
(looking about her).
I wish I knew where some wild plums grew.
(as they continue to gather berries).
Philippe Beaucoeur could tell us, did he but wish to.
TABITHA. Renounce Wilton! I am ashamed of thee! Thou dost not mean that thou hast held converse with Philippe Beaucoeur, who is half French and lives in the woods like an Indian.
RENOUNCE (with spirit). I will hold converse with whom I please, Tabitha Brett. French or no French, Philippe Beaucoeur is a brave lad, and there is naught about the wild things that he does not know. ’Twas because he lives in the forest and not in Salem Town as we do.
TABITHA (in an awed voice). Have you ever seen the place where Philippe lives? Barbara Williams says it a fearsome spot. The forests about it are all black and solemn, and the pines seem to whisper together, and there Philippe dwells in a hut he himself hath builded.
RENOUNCE (sagely). They say he hath dwelt alone there ever since his father died. Think of it! In the forest! I should fear the Indians! But then, I am not like Betty Hubbard, who hath no fears at all. And as for Philippe Beaucoeur, there is naught that can make him tremble. He says that ’tis on account of his “ancestree.” And then he laughs and makes a gesture: “Blue blood of France is never chilled by terror, Mistress.”
TABITHA. “Blue blood of France—!” Who ever heard the like? I never saw blue blood, nor didst thou! The color of blood is scarlet, as thou knowest right well. Prick thy finger and see!
DORCAS WORDELL (off stage, left). Tabitha Brett! Tabitha Brett! Where are you?
TABITHA (calling in answer). Here, Dorcas, here! Renounce Wilton and I are gathering berries.
DORCAS (entering excitedly). You’ll gather no more berries when you’ve heard the news. Sure, there be stirring things afoot this day in Salem. What dost think? Barbara Williams hath been bewitched!