To Danforth:A man will not cast away his good name. You surely know that.DANFORTH, dumfounded:In—in what time? In what place?PROCTOR, his voice about to break, and his shame great:In the proper place—where my beasts are bedded. On the last night of my joy, some eight monthspast. She used to serve me in my house, sir. He has to clamp his jaw to keepfrom weeping.A man may think God sleeps, but God sees everything, I know itnow. I beg you, sir, I beg you—see her what she is. My wife, my dear goodwife, took this girl soon after, sir, and put her out on the highroad. Andbeing what she is, a lump of vanity, sir— He is being overcome.Excellency,forgive me, forgive me. Angrily against himself, he turns away from theGovernor for a moment. Then, as though to cry out is his only means of speechleft:She thinks to dance with me on my wife’s grave! And well she might, forI thought of her softly. God help me, I lusted, and there isa promise in
such sweat. But it is a whore’s vengeance, and you must see it; I set myselfentirely in your hands, I know you must see it now.DANFORTH, blanched, in horror, turning to Abigail:You deny every scrap andtittle of this?ABIGAIL: If I must answer that, I will leave and I will not come back again!Danforth seems unsteady.PROCTOR: l have made a bell of my honor! I have rung the doom of my good name—you will believe me, Mr. Danforth! My wife is innocent, except she knew awhore when she saw one!ABIGAIL, stepping up to Danforth:What look do you give me? Danforth cannotspeak.I’ll not have such looks! She turns and starts for the door.DANFORTH: You will remain where you are! Herrick steps into her path. Shecomes up short, fire in her eyes.Mr. Parris, go into the court and bringGoodwife Proctor out.PARRIS, objecting:Your Honor, this is all a—DANFORTH, sharply to Parris:Bring her out! And tell her not one word ofwhat’s been spoken here. And let you knock before you enter. Parris goes out.Now we shall touch the bottom of this swamp. To Proctor:Your wife, you say,is an honest woman.PROCTOR: In her life, sir, she have never lied. There are them that cannotsing, and them that cannot weep—my wife cannot lie. I have paid much to learnit, sir.DANFORTH: And when she put this girl out of your house, she put her out for aharlot?PROCTOR: Aye, sir.DANFORTH: And knew her for a harlot?PROCTOR: Aye, sir, she knew her for a harlot.DANFORTH: Good then. To Abigail:And if she tell me, child, it were forharlotry, may God spread His mercy on you! There is a knock. He calls to thedoor.Hold! To Abigail:Turn your back. Turn your back. To Proctor:Dolikewise. Both turn their backs—Abigail with indignant slowness.Now letneither of you turn to face Goody Proctor. No one in this room is to speakone word, or raise a gesture aye or nay.He turns toward the door, calls:Enter! The door opens. Elizabeth enters with Parris. Parris leaves her. Shestands alone, her eyes looking for Proctor.Mr. Cheever, report thistestimony in all exactness. Are you ready?