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  1. 110 The Crucible
  2.  
  3. Proctor, breathless and in agony: It is a whore! Danforth, dumfounded:
  4.  
  5. You charge - ? Abigail: Mr. Danforth, he is lying!
  6.  
  7. Proctor: Mark her! Now she’ll suck a scream to stab me with, but -
  8.  
  9. Danforth: You will prove this! This will not pass!
  10.  
  11. Proctor, trembling, his life collapsing about him: I have known her, sir. I have
  12. known her.
  13.  
  14. Danforth: You - you are a lecher?
  15.  
  16. Francis, horrified: John, you cannot say such a -
  17.  
  18. Proctor: Oh, Francis, I wish you had some evil in you that you might know me! To
  19. Danforth: A man will not cast away his good name. You surely know that.
  20.  
  21. Danforth, dumfounded: In - in what time? In what place?
  22.  
  23. Proctor, his voice about to break, and his shame great: In the proper place - where my
  24. beasts are bedded. On the last night of my joy, some eight months past. She used to
  25. serve me in my house, sir. He has to clamp his jaw to keep from weeping. A man may
  26. think God sleeps, but God sees everything, I know it now. I beg you, sir, 1 beg you - see
  27. her what she is. My wife, my dear good wife, took this girl soon after, sir, and put her
  28. out on the highroad. And being what she is, a lump of vanity, sir - He is being
  29. overcome. Excellency, forgive me, forgive me. An-grily against himself he turns away
  30. from the Governor for a moment. Then, as though to cry > out is his only means of speech
  31. left: She thinks to dance with me on my wife’s grave! And well she might, for I thought
  32. of her softly. God help me, t lusted, and there is a promise in such sweat. But it is a
  33. whore’s venge-ance, and you must see it; I set myself entirely in your hands, I know you
  34. must see it now.
  35.  
  36.  
  37.  
  38. Act Three
  39.  
  40.  
  41. 111
  42.  
  43.  
  44. Danforth, blanched, in horror, turning to Abigail: You deny every scrap and tittle of
  45. this?
  46.  
  47. Aalu.: If I must answer that, I will leave and I will not come back again!
  48. Danforth seems unsteady.
  49.  
  50. Proctor: 1 have made a bell of my honor! I have rung the doom of my good
  51. name - you will believe me, Mr. Danforth! My wife is innocent, except she
  52. knew a whore when she saw one!
  53.  
  54. Abigail, stepping up to Danforth: What look do you give me? Danforth cannot
  55. speak. I’ll not have such looks! She turns and starts for the door.
  56.  
  57. Danforth: You will remain where you are! Herrick steps into her path. She
  58. comes up short, fire in her eyes. Mr. Parris, go into the court and bring
  59. Goodwife Proctor out.
  60.  
  61. Parris, objecting: Y our Honor, this is all a -
  62.  
  63. Danforth, sharply to Parris: Bring her out! And tell her not one word of what’s
  64. been spoken here. And let you knock before you enter. Parris goes out. Now we
  65. shall touch the bottom of this swamp. To Proctor: Your wife, you say, is an
  66. honest woman.
  67.  
  68. Proctor: In her life, sir, she have never lied. There are them that cannot sing, and
  69. them that cannot weep - my wife cannot lie. I have paid much to learn it, sir.
  70.  
  71. Danforth: And when she put this girl out of your house, she put her out for a
  72. harlot?
  73.  
  74. Proctor: Aye, sir.
  75.  
  76. Danforth: And knew her for a harlot?
  77.  
  78. Proctor: Aye, sir, she knew her for a harlot.
  79.  
  80. Danforth: Good then. To Abigail: And if she tell me, child.
  81.  
  82.  
  83.  
  84. 112 The Crucible
  85.  
  86.  
  87. it were for harlotry, may God spread His mercy on you! There is a knock. He calls to the
  88. door. Hold! To Abigail: Turn your back. Turn your back. To Proctor: Do likewise. Both
  89. turn their backs - Abigail with indignant slowness. Now let neither of you turn to face
  90. Goody Proctor. No one in this room is to speak one word, or raise a gesture aye or nay.
  91. He turns toward the door, calls: Enter! The door opens. Elizabeth enters with Parris.
  92. Parris leaves her. She stands alone, her eyes looking for Proctor. Mr. Cheever, report
  93. this testimony in all exactness. Are you ready?
  94.  
  95. Cheever: Ready, sir.
  96.  
  97. Danforth: Come here, woman. Elizabeth comes to him, glanc-ing at Proctor's back.
  98. Look at me only, not at your husband. In my eyes only.
  99.  
  100. Elizabeth, faintly: Good, sir.
  101.  
  102. Danforth: We are given to understand that at one time you dismissed your servant,
  103. Abigail Williams.
  104.  
  105. Elizabeth: That is true, sir.
  106.  
  107. Danforth: For what cause did you dismiss her? Slight pause. Then Elizabeth tries to
  108. glance at Proctor. Y ou will look in my eyes only and not at your husband. The answer
  109. is in your memory and you need no help to give it to me. Why did you dismiss Abigail
  110. William s ?
  111.  
  112. Elizabeth, not knowing what to say, sensing a situation, wetting her lips to stall for time:
  113. She - dissatisfied me. Pause. And my husband.
  114.  
  115. Danforth: In what way dissatisfied you?
  116.  
  117. Elizabeth: She were - She glances at Proctor for a cue.
  118.  
  119. Danforth: Woman, look at me! Elizabeth does. Were she slovenly? Lazy? What
  120. disturbance did she cause?
  121.  
  122.  
  123.  
  124. Act Three 113
  125.  
  126. Elizabeth: Y our Honor, I - in that time I were sick. And I - My husband is a good and
  127. righteous man. He is never drunk as some are, nor wastin’ his time at the shovelboard,
  128. but always at his work. But in my sickness - you see, sir, I were a long time sick after
  129. my last baby, and I thought I saw my husband somewhat turning from me. And this girl
  130. - She turns to Abigail.
  131.  
  132. Danforth: Look at me.
  133.  
  134. Elizabeth: Aye, sir. Abigail William s - She breaks op.
  135.  
  136. Danforth: What of Abigail Williams?
  137.  
  138. Elizabeth: 1 came to think he fancied her. And so one night I lost my wits, I think, and
  139. put her out on the highroad.
  140.  
  141. Danforth: Y our husband - did he indeed turn from you?
  142.  
  143. Elizabeth, in agony: My husband - is a goodly man, sir.
  144.  
  145. Danforth: Then he did not turn from you.
  146.  
  147. Elizabeth, starting to glance at Proctor: He -
  148.  
  149. Danforth, reaches out and holds her face, then: Look at me! To your own knowledge,
  150. has John Proctor ever committed the crime of lechery? In a crisis of indecision she
  151. cannot speak, Answer my question! Is your husband a lecher!
  152.  
  153. Elizabeth, faintly: No, sir.
  154.  
  155. Danforth: Remove her, Marshal.
  156.  
  157. Proctor: Elizabeth, tell the truth!
  158.  
  159. Danforth: She has spoken. Remove her!
  160.  
  161. Proctor, ciying out: Elizabeth, I have confessed it!
  162.  
  163. Elizabeth: Oh, God! The door closes behind her.
  164.  
  165. Proctor: She only thought to save my name!
  166.  
  167.  
  168.  
  169. 114 The Crucible
  170.  
  171.  
  172. Hale: Excellency, it is a natural lie to tell; I beg you, stop now before another is
  173. condemned! 1 may shut my conscience to it no more - private vengeance is working
  174. through this testimony! From the beginning this man has struck me true. By my oath to
  175. Heaven, I believe him now, and 1 pray you call back his wife before we -
  176.  
  177. Danforth: She spoke nothing of lechery, and this man has lied'
  178.  
  179. Hale: 1 believe him! Pointing at Abigail: This girl has always struck me false! She has -
  180. Abigail, with a weird, wild, chilling cry:, screams up to the ceiling.
  181.  
  182. Abigail: You will not! Begone! Begone, I say!
  183.  
  184. Danforth: What is it, child? But Abigail, pointing with fear, is now raising up her
  185. frightened eyes, her awed face, toward the ceiling - the girls are doing the same - and
  186. now Hathorne, Hale, Putnam, Cheever, Herrick, and Danforth do the same. What’s
  187. there? He lowers his eyes from the ceiling, and now he is fright-ened; there is real
  188. tension in his voice. Child! She is transfixed - with all the girls, she is whimpering
  189. open-mouthed, agape at the ceiling. Girls! Why do you - ?
  190.  
  191. Mercy Lewis, pointing: It’s on the beam! Behind the rafters
  192.  
  193. Danforth, looking up: Where!
  194.  
  195. Abigail: Why - ? She gulps. Why do you come, yellow bird?
  196.  
  197. Proctor: Where’s a bird? I see no bird!
  198.  
  199. Abigail, to the ceiling: My face? My face?
  200.  
  201. Proctor: Mr. Hale -
  202. Danforth: Be quiet!
  203.  
  204. Proctor, to Hale: Do you see a bird?
  205.  
  206.  
  207.  
  208. Danforth: Be quiet! !
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