Excerpts from "Young Goodman Brown" related to Salem witchcraft and family
It was now deep dusk in the forest, and deepest in that part of it where these two were journeying. As nearly as could be discerned, the second
traveller was about fifty years old, apparently in the same rank of life as Goodman Brown, and bearing a considerable resemblance to him, though
perhaps more in expression than features. . . . But the only thing about him, that could be fixed upon as remarkable, was his staff, which bore
the likeness of a great black snake, so curiously wrought, that it might almost be seen to twist and wriggle itself like a living serpent.
Too far, too far!" exclaimed the goodman, unconsciously resuming his walk. "My father never went into the woods on such an errand, nor his father
before him. We have been a race of honest men and good Christians, since the days of the martyrs. And shall I be the first of the name of Brown,
that ever took this path and kept--"
"Such company, thou wouldst say," observed the elder person, interrupting his pause. "Well said, Goodman Brown! I have been as well acquainted
with your family as with ever a one among the Puritans; and that's no trifle to say. I helped your grandfather, the constable, when he lashed the
Quaker woman so smartly through the streets of Salem. And it was I that brought your father a pitch-pine knot, kindled at my own hearth, to set
fire to an Indian village, in King Philip's War. They were my good friends, both; and many a pleasant walk have we had along this path, and
returned merrily after midnight. I would fain be friends with you, for their sake."
. . . At one extremity of an open space, hemmed in by the dark wall of the forest, arose a rock, bearing some rude, natural resemblance either to
an altar or a pulpit, and surrounded by four blazing pines, their tops aflame, their stems untouched, like candles at an evening meeting. The
mass of foliage, that had overgrown the summit of the rock, was all on fire, blazing high into the night, and fitfully illuminating the whole
field. Each pendent twig and leafy festoon was in a blaze. As the red light arose and fell, a numerous congregation alternately shone forth, then
disappeared in shadow, and again grew, as it were, out of the darkness, peopling the heart of the solitary woods at once.
"A grave and dark-clad company!" quoth Goodman Brown.
. . . Either the sudden gleams of light, flashing over the obscure field, bedazzled Goodman Brown, or he recognized a score of the church-members
of Salem village, famous for their especial sanctity. Good old Deacon Gookin had arrived, and waited at the skirts of that venerable saint, his
reverend pastor. But, irreverently consorting with these grave, reputable, and pious people, these elders of the church, these chaste dames and
dewy virgins, there were men of dissolute lives and women of spotted fame, wretches given over to all mean and filthy vice, and suspected even of
horrid crimes. It was strange to see, that the good shrank not from the wicked, nor were the sinners abashed by the saints.