Mosses from an Old Manse and other stories
Young Goodman Brown
Young Goodman Brown came forth at sunset into the street at Salem village; but put his
head back, after crossing the threshold, to exchange a parting kiss with his young wife.
And Faith, as the wife was aptly named, thrust her own pretty head into the street, letting
the wind play with the pink ribbons of her cap while she called to Goodman Brown.
"Dearest heart," whispered she, softly and rather sadly, when her lips were close to his
ear, "prithee put off your journey until sunrise and sleep in your own bed to-night. A lone
woman is troubled with such dreams and such thoughts that she's afeard of herself
sometimes. Pray tarry with me this night, dear husband, of all nights in the year."
"My love and my Faith," replied young Goodman Brown, "of all nights in the year, this
one night must I tarry away from thee. My journey, as thou callest it, forth and back
again, must needs be done 'twixt now and sunrise. What, my sweet, pretty wife, dost thou
doubt me already, and we but three months married?"
"Then God bless youe!" said Faith, with the pink ribbons; "and may you find all well whn
you come back."
"Amen!" cried Goodman Brown. "Say thy prayers, dear Faith, and go to bed at dusk, and
no harm will come to thee."
So they parted; and the young man pursued his way until, being about to turn the corner
by the meeting-house, he looked back and saw the head of Faith still peeping after him
with a melancholy air, in spite of her pink ribbons.
"Poor little Faith!" thought he, for his heart smote him. "What a wretch am I to leave her
on such an errand! She talks of dreams, too. Methought as she spoke there was trouble in
her face, as if a dream had warned her what work is to be done tonight. But no, no; 't
would kill her to think it. Well, she's a blessed angel on earth; and after this one night I'll
cling to her skirts and follow her to heaven."
With this excellent resolve for the future, Goodman Brown felt himself justified in
making more haste on his present evil purpose. He had taken a dreary road, darkened by
all the gloomiest trees of the forest, which barely stood aside to let the narrow path creep
through, and closed immediately behind. It was all as lonely as could be; and there is this
peculiarity in such a solitude, that the traveller knows not who may be concealed by the
innumerable trunks and the thick boughs overhead; so that with lonely footsteps he may
yet be passing through an unseen multitude.
"There may be a devilish Indian behind every tree," said Goodman Brown to himself; and
he glanced fearfully behind him as he added, "What if the devil himself should be at my