Summary (Masterplots, Definitive Revised Edition)
Mr. Jared Bilby, captain of an English brig, landed his ship in Britanny on a day when the French burned more than two hundred witches and warlocks. Attracted by the holocaust, he saw a tiny girl trying to pass the guards in order to reach her burning mother. Bilby sheltered the child and took her home. He thought she would forget her past, for she lay in a swoon for days; but she remembered only the evil of the years before she met Bilby.
Bilby called the little one his dolly and soon the child was known as Bilby’s Doll. They adored each other, but Bilby’s wife Hannah hated the child as soon as she saw her. Hannah had been barren for years but had recently become pregnant. One searing look from Doll withered Hannah to the marrow, and she believed thereafter that Doll had blasted her unborn child.
Bilby took his family to America. On the ship, they met Mr. Zelley, a minister who became friendly and settled close to them at Cowan Corners, near Salem.
Goody Greene, a kindly woman looked on with disfavor by the townspeople because she associated with Indians in her search for herbs, was called to account by the churchmen because she had let fall in church a poppet she had made for Doll. No one would visit her, but suspicion fell away from her and centered on Doll when Hannah became strangely ill. Hannah told everyone that Doll was a witch who had cast a spell on Bilby so that it pleased him to pamper and fondle her. Mr. Zelley...
(The entire section is 1204 words.)
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