An Alphabet of Lessons for Girls, and: JOHN WINTHROP, "Reasons to be Considered for . . . the Intended Plantation in New England," 1629, and: Witness Tree, and: Witch Research: The Essex County Museum, and: Testimony: The Parris House, and: Testimony: Escape, July 30, 1692:
- The Missouri Review
- University of Missouri
- Volume 22, Number 2, 1999
- pp. 26-37
- Additional Information
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AN ALPHABET OF LESSONS FOR GIRLS/ Nicole Cooley As long as there is a contrary seed, a seed of the Woman, and a seed of the Serpent, there will be opposition, more or less, open or secret. —Reverend Samuel Parris, Sermon in Salem Village, January 3, 1692 A young girl should always be prepared to die. Beware of a black man who would make you a handmaiden of the Devil. Come to God willingly and quietly as if he were your husband. Disagree with no man for men know the best and truest path. Egg-in-a-glass will show your future husband's calling, but this trick is witchcraft. Fast to find the road of correction on the Sabbath. Graveyards are a place to remember that the Lord takes all girls' souls. Houses where no women be are like deserts or unfilled land. Indians are evil men who will harm you, just as New England was once the Devil's land. Judge not a man's deeds or thoughts, only let him judge you. Keep silence when in the meetinghouse with men. Look to your father, brother or master for guidance. Milk will curdle and butter will turn to wool if you are a witch. New Jerusalem is our paradise and no place for daughters of the Devil. Obedience is a good wife's finest virtue. Pins mark the hems of dresses and must never be used to prick the skin of men. Question the Lord's good work and be cast out of Salem Village. Reckless speech will lead you into temptation. Satan is the prince of Lies and witches are his servants. Tying a woman neck and heels will cure her of the sin of witchcraft. Unknown to witches is the power and light of God. Vengeance against witchcraft is justice. Witches' daughters must be witches themselves. eXhort the Lord to save you by your confession of witchcraft. Your name is blotted out of God's Book because you are a witch. Zion will not be our true paradise till we have purged the witches from our land. 26 · The Missouri Review JOHN WINTHROP, "Reasons to be Considered for . the Intended Plantation in New England/' 1629/ Nicole Cooley Increase and multiply, replenish the earth and subdue it —Genesis 1:28 Who is the Author of Disaster? For an answer, read The Book of Nature or a woman's face. the whole earth is the Lord's garden Who will guide us out of Egypt, over the Red Sea the color of shame into the New Jerusalem? this land grows weary ofher inhabitants England was the lover you must leave behind, the New World is your wife, her body the City on the Hill. the church hath no place left tofly but into the wilderness Split the trees at the root, slash the salt grass to clear a long road to the future. Lock your wife in the house. Keep yourself safe. Remember that the Invisible World is full of women. The Missouri Review · 27 WITNESS TREEINicole Cooley I never did hurt them in my life I never did see these persons before I am as innocent as the child unborn. —Bridget Bishop, April 19, 1692 Salem's first false Spring: the tree spikes the sky, a split tongue, an emblem of Grief. Who has lost a child? The village women whisper, I saw her stand between the cradle and the bed. I saw her red dressflash, a candle flicker when I spoke her name. Bridget. You, Bridget Bishop, killed my child. I wait beside the tree; I will her to come back yet I see nothing beyond the tree, trunk honed to a point like an old tooth. Who has never lost a child? Who has never seen a graveyard bordered with the smallest stones? Who has never chronicled the body's breaking open to reveal its secret? Here, ice creaks, a whisper, Lies, Lies, and the ailanthus blooms too soon, red petals insuring its death. I stood between the cradle and the bed: the child was missing. The child was never there. I covered my breasts with a square of red, in mourning, pictured the trench...