with fine wheat and the fat of a new-born
babe," said the shape of old Goodman
"Ah, your worship knows the recipe," cried
the old lady, cackling aloud. "So,
as I was saying, being all ready for the
meeting, and no horse to ride on, I made
up my mind to foot it; for they tell me
there is a nice young man to be taken into
communion to-night. But now your good worship
will lend me your arm, and we shall be
there in a twinkling."
"That can hardly be," answered
her friend. "I may not spare you my
arm, Goody Cloyse; but here is my staff,
if you will."
So saying, he threw it down at her feet,
where, perhaps, it assumed life, being
one of the rods which its owner had formerly
lent to the Egyptian magi. Of this fact,
however, Goodman Brown could not take cognizance.
He had cast up his eyes in astonishment,
and, looking down again, beheld neither
Goody Cloyse nor the serpentine staff,
but this fellow-traveller alone, who waited
for him as calmly as if nothing had happened.
"That old woman taught me my catechism," said
the young man; and there was a world of
meaning in this simple comment.