Author's Note: I'm not sure how accurate this is. I wanted to capture the thoughts of a young woman who was a victim of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. Events are actual events that happened. The two main character are not historical figures.
Betray My Heart
~A Story about the Salem Witch Trials~
"James," I whispered as I saw him come around the road. He had been my suitor for these past long winter months. The last few weeks, he had not been able to stop because my father had been out seeking work because his ship had made port for the winter. It was highly improper for us to be alone. Plus, the recent witchcraft scare did not help matters either. Anything out of the norm was viewed as the work of the devil. I ran up to greet him.
James swung himself down easily from his mount smiling. "Arabella," he said as he gave me a peck on the cheek. "Thy looks good."
I smiled and held him close. I know it was wrong, but I could not help myself. "Thee does too."
James pulled away first and looked down at me smiling. He towered over me by several inches.
"Father is waiting for you," I said. This was a rare time that which my father and James were here at the same time. Father worked on a merchant's ship that travelled between the Massachusetts Bay Colony and England. James worked on a whaling ship that travelled up and down the coast; he was also the son of a local minister. James told me that he had no interest in becoming a minister.
James nodded and followed me into our small Salem Village house.
My father was sitting in the corner of the room reading the Bible. He looked up as we entered and carefully closed the Good Book. We both must had a look on our faces that brought concern to him. My father never sat aside the Bible unless something was of derail concern. It was probably for the best that he did so. What James was about to ask him would require his full attention.
"Goodman Smith, I have something that I need to discuss with you alone," James asked. His voice was strong, but I could hear a nervous edge in it. I did not know what the problem was. My father adored James.
My father nodded. " Arabella, would be please excuse us."
I nodded and gave James a look for good luck. I hoped that he would stand his ground and not bail out again. He had been trying to ask my father this question for months. Each time, nerves had gotten the best of him. He said that he wanted to do it right and not stumble as he asked my father. Please, Lord, did not let him fail this time.
I sat outside the house on the steps. I was not sure how long this was going to take. The house next to us looked so lonely. Its' owner had lost her life in this witchcraft madness a few days ago. Rest in peace, Rebecca Nurse. My family did not buy into the witchcraft nonsense; however, we could not let that get out or we may be persecuted as witches. James was in a rather difficult situation in the matter, because his father was involved in the examinations. I had not told James that I did not believe in witches and I probably never would.
The door opened and I looked up just as James stepped out. His face broke out into a wide smile. "He said yes!"
I jumped to my feet and threw my arms around his neck. We were getting married!
James kissed me on the mouth. I heard my father grunt in the background, but did not care. I knew that the love that James and I shared was a rare gift given to use by the Lord. There was nothing that could break it.
I pulled away from James and looked into his shinning green eyes. Over his shoulder, I could make out my father's shadow. I could see that he was blinking hard. I was all he had. My mother and siblings had all died of smallpox. My father had also suffered from the disease, but had survived. I had been spared because I had been visiting an aunt in Boston. It had been heartbreaking to come home and find that my father was all I had. Shortly after that, I met James. He helped me get through those dark months.
I went behind James to my father. "I will never leave thee, Father." I hugged him.
He nodded against the top of my head and hugged me close. "He will be good to thee and good for thee," he whispered.
My father released me and spoke in a clear voice, "I will go alert Reverend Parris of the news." He pulled on his jacket and left. I noticed that his walk was getting slower each day. I had a feeling that the Lord would come to take a member of family to his kingdom soon.
I shook those thoughts and turned my attention back to James, who had taken his pocket watch out and was examining it. I waited for him to put it away before taking both of his hands into mine. I swung them back and forth. "So, what do you want to do now?"
James cleared his throat. "I have to met my father to review some of the cases." He stared down at me. We both knew what cases he was referring to: the witchcraft ones. Oh, how I wished that his family was not involved in those awful things!
I nodded and bit my tongue. "Thee should not keep thy father waiting then," I said, not hiding my disappointment.
"And thee father is not present either," James added. "It would probably be best that I left, given the circumstances."
He did have a point. Anything out of the norm now, witchcraft was blamed. "True." I smiled. "Tomorrow?"
James smiled and nodded. He stepped back. "Tomorrow it is." He nodded his farewell.
I watched as he turned toward the Meeting House. His father preached in a neighbouring village, but was in Salem Village to add his support to the witch hunts. There was many times that I wished he was not the son of a minister and this was one of those times.
I awoke early the next morning. I needed to complete my chores before James came over. My father was not as strict as most Puritan fathers, but completing chores before fun was one of his strictest rules. My father had not been a Puritan his entire life, something that Salem Village did not know and would never know. He had only converted from Catholicism because of the my mother's nagging. The conversion took place while he was in England, so no one knew. Before that he had played the front of a Puritan.
I went out to the barn to milk our jersey cow. I could not stop thanking that Lord for providing us a cow who gave us fresh milk every day. There was a lot of people who did not have this luxury. After the bucket was filled, I lugged it back to the empty house. My father had left before I had risen to cut wood in the East. James and I would have the place to ourselves. It was highly improper, but that thought of doing something wicked made me feel wonderful.
I sat the pail down on the table. Outside I could hear people coming into the Village for today's witchcraft trials. There had been rumours going around that the trials would be moved to Salem Town or even Boston. I hoped that those rumours would become truth. I looked outside and watched as buggy's and men on horseback made their way to the Meeting House.
It was just amazing how wise men could fall for the antics of young, foolish girls. I just did not see who such wise men could fall for it. A lot of people had fled the town as a result of the trials. Good people were on edge and some were finding themselves under arrest. I just wondered how many more would lose their lives before these men came to their senses. It was depressing.
I was not sure when James would arrive. It would probably be awhile, because he probably had to help his father with the trials.
I snuck out the back and ran behind the barn. There was a small swimming hole over the hill there that was completely hidden from the eye. I loved to swim. My father had taught me to swim when I was five years old. He thought that not knowing how to swim was a sin. However the Puritans seemed to believe otherwise. It just had be our little secret.
I took my shoes and stockings off and stepped into the water. The water was cool, but felt utterly amazing. I ducked my head under and shook my dark hair free of its' bounds. I felt free. Nothing could touch me here.
I moved onto my back and floated the length of the small pond.
I heard a snort from behind me and quickly pulled out of the float and onto my feet. I saw a group of men glaring down at me. They were all wearing official church clothes.
I moved back. I wanted to hide, but new that there was no chance. Floating in water was a sure sign of a witch, in their view. Two of them climbed off their horses and moved toward me. They pulled me out of the water and toward the other men. They were all still glaring at me.
Another one climbed down from his horse and glared down at me. His gaze was much colder than the others. He looked a lot younger. I assumed he was probably a minister in training and putting up a front so he could have a better chance at getting a church.
I looked up at him and felt my heart fall. It was James.
I may add more to this, but it might be awhile. It takes awhile to gather information.
Dear America: I Walk in Dread: The Diary of Deliverance Trembley, Witness to the Salem Witch Trials, Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1691 by Lisa Rowe Fraustino