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Samuel Sewall

by Fishr


1st Janry, 1729

In the Name of God Amen

And after the quill finished writing the inscription and date in perfect form, its master feverously continued scratching on the parchment, with the single glow of a candle not far from the gentleman's left elbow.

The room in which, the ailing magistrate sat, hunched, and thoroughly intent on finalizing his precious entry, the darkness resembled that of the prison; cold, dank and unbearable. Nineteen lives were sent to the Hangman's Noose, in the year of sixteen hundred and ninety-two, and our fellow diarist was appointed to the court of Oyer and Terminer as one of seven other Judges of the accused citizens of Salem, Massachusetts. He would be swept with the hysteria, but unlike his associates, who willingly badgered, and sneered in a victim's face, this gentleman felt guilt, and on the day of Prayer and Fasting, he publicly admitted remorse. He was the only Judge to do so.

But the diarist was not alone…

In the room, a young lad was sitting on the stool, and watching intently as the quill obeyed its master's pace.


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Sat Mar 10, 2007 2:05 am
Fishr says...



I promise I'll finish it soon. At least before next year. :)




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Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:34 pm
Fishr says...



Sweet! Thanks for catching those minor mistakes Myth. I decided for the time being that I'll keep my prologue, just in case if you're wondering.

This, I've noticed, is an unusual "voice" for my writing style and a setup I'm not accustomed too. Thus far, it seems to be working. The setup is in diary format, which may not see the case when the story breaks up on the Net. So yes, the dates are important because the diarist is reflecting/remembering.

This may be a question off-topic, don’t know, but did the trails start in America or Europe? And were they similarly handled, the chair in the pond for drowning or the burning at stake?
The Trials happened in America. I don't recall a similar event or panic happening in Europe. However, the Puritans are of English decent. Some of them had members coming over from the Mayflower, and their families just proliferated from there.

Hehe... So, you're aware of the dunking stool? That's good! The dunking stool was especially used in the very early 17th Century but I think by the later years, I don't recall it ever being used again. I will, though, see if was still in use in the latter part. As for the burning at the stake, I feel this has grossly been exaggerated. People were hung, but to send people into flames would have an act of high treason in the eyes of God for the Puritans. They believed it was their duty to preform God's work on Earth but to send people into flames might have not looked so kindly to them. In other words, it was "OK" to hang someone if they were "guilty" but it would be considered murder by colonial Law to have a person wriggling in flames.

Then again, I will brush up on 16th and the early 17th centuries and see if burning at the gallows was recorded. At the Trials, I haven't found concrete evidence yet.

*

Heh, I'll try and post more today if I'm able.




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Mon Feb 26, 2007 1:25 pm
Myth says...



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*

I recollect that John Hathorne nearly was as wily as the Great Being Below, and if not for his cunning ways, may the [deaths] not haunt but ever forgive my sincere mistake to their [deaths].


Maybe change one of the to ‘end’? I recommend the second repetition—though you do not have to change it.

A sharp but uncertain [eye] was looking Abigail up and down by me.


You see with two eyes, the singular gives the impression the person had one eye moving, the other frozen XD

"And the other two? What of [they]?" Hathorne pressed.


‘they’ = them?

W. and D. Hobbs were arrested on the [21st of April] and examined thoroughly the next day.


Wouldn’t it be simpler to say ‘two days later’ rather than the actual dates, or is this part of the actual writing style?

*

Hawthorn sat next to I, and my other counterparts to examine Abigail Hobbs.


Everywhere else the surname has an ‘e’.

Arg! You left me hanging! You have to post more, I’m still working on BFG and will, some day, post.

Those horrible persons, pretending to be hurt. I’m glad I know a few details about the witch trails, such as a person could name other witches in the area/village. And this caused much rivalry.

This may be a question off-topic, don’t know, but did the trails start in America or Europe? And were they similarly handled, the chair in the pond for drowning or the burning at stake?

Just read a short extract from Wikipedia about S Sewall. Is going to be anyway in which the reader will identify the narrator as Samuel Sewall?

-- Myth




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Sun Feb 25, 2007 6:15 pm
Fishr says...



Hobbs Family of Topsfield

* * *

The arrested folk were brought to us. To be examined and see if the three might not be as the assumed, William and Deliverance Hobbs shall pay their dues, but not without the one who has claimed she had sold herself, "body and soul to the 'Old Boy'. Abigail was to be executed in the year of our Lord, Amen, the 22nd of September but the cunning tool of Him allowed her time to reflect – prepare.

I recollect that John Hathorne nearly was as wily as the Great Being Below, and if not for his cunning ways, may the lives not haunt but ever forgive my sincere mistake to their deaths.

It was the 19th of April when she was officially arrested. Sharp but uncertain eyes were looking Abigail up and down by me. As plain as the poor girl was dressed, her expression was not different. In fact, there was a rather simplistic face, but she stood with firmness; fear had not yet granted a favor into its whim.

Hathorne sat next to I, and my other counterparts to examine Abigail Hobbs. In my ill-fated sickness, oh Blessed Be, I remember the talk.
___


"I am a witch," Abigail readily admitted.

"Rest assured honesty will not necessarily suppress conviction," John Hathorne replied casually. "Is there more in which you are not telling us?"

She nodded without hesitation. "Shortly before arrest, I had been advised to flee out of the jurisdiction of the Court by the spectres of Judah White of Casco and Sarah Good of Salem Village, whom I suspect to also be witches."

"And do you plan on leaving?"

"No, I had no intention."

"And the other two? What of them?" Hathorne pressed.

"They had ordered me not to tell authorities."

"And is there anything else you must confess before verdict?"

"Yes, I hurt three afflicted girls – Ann Putnam Jr., Abigail Williams, and Mercy Lewis – by sticking thorns into three dolls made in similar fashion by the devil."

The revelation stirred and aroused us. Hathorne whispered, and asked questions of what to do. The same practice was carried down the table in front of us in hushed whispers. Finally after much debate, we had heard all that was needed, and Hathorne ordered that she be segregated from the other prisoners until A. Hobbs was to be tried by the Court on a later date.

W. and D. Hobbs were arrested on the 21st of April and examined thoroughly the next day. The man known as William; I regret sincerely that he was to be put through such an exhausting trial. No person had such resilience than that of the stubborn nature of William Hobbs except, perhaps, another known as Giles Corey.

I recollect that Hobbs entered the courtroom, and no sooner had a single foot stepped, the afflicted persons began to cry. I remember plainly, Hathorne and I exchanged confusion, and stared at this meek person.

"Have you hurt these persons," Hathorne asked, and pointed to Abigail Williams, Mercy Lewis and Mary Walcott, who all were standing rigidly behind William Hobbs.

Silence.

"What say you, are you guilty or not?"

"I can speak in the presence of God safely, as I may look to account another day, that I am as clear as a new-born babe," answered William.

"Clear of what?" Hathorne persisted.

"Of witchcraft."

"Have you never hurt them?"

"No."

"Have you not consented that they should be hurt?"

Before Hobbs was allowed to answer, Abigail Williams cried allowed that his spectre was approaching Mercy Lewis, and within seconds, Mercy was screaming in what appeared to be a most unpleasant case of agony.

After some time, silence greeted us favorably. It was Hathorne though, who dismissed it. He bellowed, pointed a finger at Hobbs, and asked in a most fearsome tone, "How can you be clear when the children saw something come from you and afflict these persons? Why not follow your wife's example and confess guilt?"

No more did this frail person appear sickly but had God given him strength, W. Hobbs first showed his resilience. He appeared sturdier or much engerised suddenly. Perhaps if my mind was not misguided, I would have accepted God's good graces and not foreseen Hobbs' sudden energy in front of us as a sign of the devil working His black ways but interfered with my colleague presiding the Trials – Hathorne. I did not. I watched.

"What do you call it? You look upon them and they are hurt."

Silence.

"Mark my words, you shall come clean in order to be forgiven," Hathorne warned in a firm tone. Even I sensed tension, and I remember slipping my chair a few inches to the left, away from hot wind.

Receiving not a reply, he asked Hobbs carefully, "When is it, your last attendance to a public religious meeting? Surely, a man of faith must be a regular?"

"I have not been in a long time."

"And why?"

"Sir…-"

"Are you withdrawing information?" Hathorne interrupted. "And why are your cheeks flushed?"

I do remember at this point, I interfered, and suggested that he adhere to the presidings – No personal questions unless they must come forward.

"As you please, Mister Sewall. I will not press but he must answer the questions. Does this satisfy you?" he turned, and asked me directly.

I nodded.

Hathorne turned again and kept his direction forward. "Your answer?"

Hobbs replied in a near whisper, "I have been too ill to leave my house, a fact I kept secret from my closest friends, until now."

"Can you act witchcraft here, and by casting your eyes turn folks into fits?"

"You judge your pleasure. My soul is clear."

"Do you not see that you hurt these by your look?"

"No, I do not know it," Hobbs replied a bit uneasy.

"Don't you overlook them?"

"No, I don't overlook them."

"What do you call that way of looking upon persons, striking them down?"

"You may judge your pleasure."

"Well, what do you call it?"

"It was none of I," Hobbs said.

"Who was it then?"

"I cannot tell who they were."

"Why, they say they see you going to hurt persons, and immediately you hurt persons."

If such a signal was present, Abigail Williams again cried out that Hobbs' spectre was going toward Mercy Lewis, then warned several other persons that the spectre was approaching them, and in each case the person whose name she called immediately began to scream, rolling about on the floor in what looked to be agony.


___


"Saaamueeelll"...., a childish voice called. "Samuel Sewall."

I put the quill upon the desk, and rubbed the aches out of my right hand.

"Samuel, why is your hand shaking?

I turned to the boy speaking of me and said simply, "I am of age."

"But your memory, it's good. How come?"

"Blessed be a child's curiosity never be forgotten but why ask this of me? I have not pressed you."

"No, you pressed someone else, to death!" the boy hissed.

Waving my right hand, not the least amused, I dismissed the comment.

"Well? How come your memory is so good if you are so old?"

"I never said I was old. I said I am of age. There is a difference. If I was as old as you presume me to be, I would not have the God's honest strength of writing for any length of time."

Satisfied when the boy had not questioned after, I read what was written to myself, and being satisfied, I continued through the course of events.

___




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Wed Feb 21, 2007 9:39 pm
Fishr says...



I guess it's a cheap way on outlining the real character of Sewall but rest assured that anything you or any reader expects, it's not the case. ;)

That is my style. I tend to pave a path and it seems when I get feedback from readers saything, "Oh, this is going to happen, I know it," or something along those lines, at the end, their conclusions are smacked down flat, lol! My uncle who is reading Bound for Glory for instance, has assumed many things that will happen to Samuel but I feel he's in for a few surprises... He thinks he has the plot figured but he's not even close, LOL!

At any case, I'm half attempted to delete the prologue, and not use one. And forgive me for my long post. It helps me think, and man do I have my work cut out for me! I've just learned that a few days ago if I'm to bring this story up off its feet and be realistic and interesting at the same time. Heh, it's a good thing I like to research. :D

Good luck going to Uni, Myth! And are you calling me an "encyclopedia?" :D ;)




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Tue Feb 20, 2007 10:17 am
Myth says...



Good luck if you decide to rewrite it. At the moment it is a bit like a summary of what is to come. Like you had to give an idea of what the reader should expect.

You only do American history in Uni, I might try it so I'll know who to get info out of. :wink:




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Mon Feb 19, 2007 1:11 pm
Fishr says...



Hehe...

Well with some time to reflect, I've concluded that the prologue is crap, lol. I may discard it or rewrite it; haven't decided. It's weird because the POV was SUPPOSED to be in the Third Person but instead it came out to be more narrative and preachy for that matter. I don't like to dump facts in my work because it's just not my style and look what I did! LOL! :roll: Man, I suck!

And look at all the stupid mistakes!! LMAO! Oh, and the repetition! Whoops! XD

Well, you really have got me curious. I’ve never learnt about the Salem Witch Trials—in fact I don’t remember doing any American history—so this is an era I’m not too familiar with.
Honestly, I'm not sure if too many are actually taught about this event so much anymore. It seems the new generation of the 21 Century are completely unaware, and this is in the US where it started. Americans have heard of it of course but schools are NOT teaching anything in depth, which really is a shame. So, you are not alone...

I don’t know why, but I was about to suggest if the boy was Samuel XD
LOL!

Well, I may have created "something" that will haunt me wherever I go, especially if "lad" or "boy" are mentioned in my stories. Hehe...

Thanks for the crit, Myth. BFG (if you're looking for that) is on page 2 in HF. It seems everyone is on this Salem Witch hype or something... I feel like I've dropped into the Twilight Zone!

Forgot... :P Yup, in colonial America, you'll often see them using abberiations. Perhaps it's because they were lazy or more realistically these people couldn't spell if their life depended on it! So, I've seen January shorted frequently to Janry except, the "r" and "y" would be above and in smaller text. I'm glad we've evolved even though colonial dialect is so fun to read. It rolls off your tongue. XD




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Thu Feb 15, 2007 10:28 am
Myth wrote a review...



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*

And after the quill finished writing the inscription and date in perfect form, its master feverously continued scratching on the parchment, with the single glow of a candle not far from the gentleman's left elbow.


Oh, the ‘and’ at the beginning put me off. It isn’t necessary and gives the impression there was something happening before the writing scene.

The room in which, the ailing magistrate sat, hunched, and thoroughly intent on finalizing his precious entry, the darkness resembled that of the prison; cold, dank and unbearable.


‘the’ = a?

He would be swept with the hysteria, but unlike his associates, who willingly badgered, tortured and sneered in a victim's face, this gentleman felt guilt, and on the day of Prayer and Fasting, he publicly admitted remorse – He was the only Judge to do so.


Don’t need ‘the’ ;)

In the room, a young lad was sitting on the stool, and watching intently as the quill obediently obeyed its masters pace.


No, Jess, not repetition! Try: ... as the quill obediently complied with its master’s pace.

Something better than my suggestion would be great.

*

Well, you really have got me curious. I’ve never learnt about the Salem Witch Trials—in fact I don’t remember doing any American history—so this is an era I’m not too familiar with.

Is the narrative from the Judge’s point of view or someone else? I wasn’t too sure for such a short piece.

I don’t know why, but I was about to suggest if the boy was Samuel XD

-- Myth

EDIT: Was January spelt that way intentionally, like short hand?





Nobody wants to see the village of the happy people.
— Lew Hunter