Goody Cole





Goodwife Eunice Cole, of Hampton, Massachusetts, was so vehemently

suspected to be a witch that in 1680 she was thrown into jail with a

chain on her leg. She had a mumbling habit, which was bad, and a wild

look, which was worse. The death of two calves had been charged to her

sorceries, and she was believed to have raised the cyclone that sent a

party of merrymakers to the sea-bottom off the Isles of Shoals, for

insulting her that morning. Some said that she took the shapes of eagles,

dogs, and cats, and that she had the aspect of an ape when she went

through the mummeries that caused Goody Marston's child to die, yet while

she was in Ipswich jail a likeness of her was stumping about the

graveyard on the day when they buried the child. For such offences as

that of making bread ferment and give forth evil odors, that housekeepers

could only dispel by prayer, she was several times whipped and ducked by

the constable.



At last she lay under sentence of death, for Anna Dalton declared that

her child had been changed in its cradle and that she hated and feared

the thing that had been left there. Her husband, Ezra, had pleaded with

her in vain. 'Tis no child of mine, she cried. 'Tis an imp. Don't you

see how old and shrewd it is? How wrinkled and ugly? It does not take my

milk: it is sucking my blood and wearing me to skin and bone. Once, as

she sat brooding by the fire, she turned to her husband and said, Rake

the coals out and put the child in them. Goody Cole will fly fast enough

when she hears it screaming, and will come down chimney in the shape of

an owl or a bat, and take the thing away. Then we shall have our little

one back.



Goodman Dalton sighed as he looked into the worn, scowling face of his

wife; then, laying his hands on her head, he prayed to God that she might

be led out of the shadow and made to love her child again. As he prayed a

gleam of sunset shone in at the window and made a halo around the face of

the smiling babe. Mistress Dalton looked at the little thing in doubt;

then a glow of recognition came into her eyes, and with a sob of joy she

caught the child to her breast, while Dalton embraced them both, deeply

happy, for his wife had recovered her reason. In the midst of tears and

kisses the woman started with a faint cry: she remembered that a poor old

creature was about to expiate on the gallows a crime that had never been

committed. She urged her husband to ride with all speed to justice Sewall

and demand that Goody Cole be freed. This the goodman did, arriving at

Newbury at ten o'clock at night, when the town had long been abed and

asleep. By dint of alarms at the justice's door he brought forth that

worthy in gown and night-cap, and, after the case had been explained to

him, he wrote an order for Mistress Cole's release.



With this paper in his hand Dalton rode at once to Ipswich, and when the

cock crew in the dawning the victim of that horrible charge walked forth,

without her manacles. Yet dark suspicion hung about the beldam to the

last, and she died, as she had lived, alone in the little cabin that

stood near the site of the academy. Even after her demise the villagers

could with difficulty summon courage to enter her cot and give her

burial. Her body was tumbled into a pit, hastily dug near her door, and a

stake was driven through the heart to exorcise the powers of evil that

possessed her in life.





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