“Are you a Witch?” he asked.
I laughed. I was ready for the joke. Dear God, please, I begged in the silence of my mind, this has to be a joke. But I knew. No matter no matter. This was no joke. The man had come to take Lizzie away.
“Did you sign a pact with the Devil in your own blood? How long have you been a Witch?” The constable’s eyes blazed with haughty fire.
“I am no Witch, sir,” Lizzie said. I was proud of her. Her voice was strong, her back was straight, and she held the man’s eyes.
“I can assure you,” I said, “my wife is no Witch. What proof have you for such groundless accusations against my wife?”
“We know she’s a Witch because witnesses have spoken against her.” He turned to Lizzie. “Why don’t you confess?”
“I am no Witch, sir,” Lizzie said again. She backed into me, hoping, I’m certain, that I could protect her. Dear God, why could I not get her away sooner? Just one day sooner? I have been wanting to take Lizzie to England for as long as we have been married, but we are here and not there and now my wife is in Hell. I am in a different kind of Hell but tis Hell all the same.
Whatever turmoil I felt, as though my innards quivered and I would heave everything I had ever eaten, I had to hold myself together. When the pock-faced man showed us the arrest warrant where Lizzie was named, she sobbed. I put my arm round her waist. I would be her rock. I would keep her strong.
“I have a warrant for your arrest, Goody Wentworth, and you must come with me.”
“Mistress Wentworth,” I said in my most haughty tone, but what did such distinctions matter then? I tried to stop him from taking Lizzie but the man knew what he was about. He had done this many times before. When Father arrived I ran to him, shaking him, needing his help as I hadn’t since I was a boy. And then I remembered. Father is an affluent member of Society, a Selectman of the Church. Surely, he could do something.
“Father, please,” I begged, “we have to help Lizzie.”
Father watched the constable bind Lizzie in chains. Lizzie looked fluid, as though she melted away. She tried to pat the bump where our babe waits, but the irons were too heavy. I ran to her, and as she reached for me she tripped and I caught her in my arms. The constable jerked her away. My life, he took her away.
Father did what he could. “What business have you with Mistress Wentworth?” he yelled.
“I have a warrant for her,” the pock-faced man said.
Father grabbed the paper and read it. He shook his head. There was nothing he could do. I raged at the pock-faced man. I promised Lizzie I would never leave her ever and twas up to me to put an end to this.
“You dare take an innocent woman away on false charges?” I yelled. “Ask her to recite the Lord’s Prayer! Ask her to recite the Ten Commandments! You think Witches cannot speak them because the Devil won’t allow it. Test her! If you knew the Commandments yourself you would know the ninth—thou shalt not bear false witness!”
The constable grinned. “If you know the Bible so well then you also know 1 Peter 5:8.” He waited for my response, but my mind was blank. Father knew.
“Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the Devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”
“And from Exodus?” asked the constable. Father slumped forward. “Thou shalt not suffer a Witch to live.” “My wife is no Witch,” I said. “She is an innocent woman. Please. Let her go and we shall leave here and never return.”