Enter Mary Warren, breathless. She is seventeen, a subservient, naive, lonely girl.
MARY WARREN: What'll we do? The village is out! I just come from the farm; the whole country's talkin' witchcraft! They'll be callin' us witches, Abby! Abby, we've got to tell.
MERCY, pointing and looking at Mary Warren: She means to tell, I know it.
MARY WARREN: Abby, we’ve got to tell. Witchery's a hangin' error, a hangin' like they done in Boston two year ago! We must tell the truth, Abby! You'll only be whipped for dancin', and the other things! (I.144-147)
MARY WARREN, like one awakened to a marvelous secret insight: So many time, Mr. Proctor, she come to this very door, beggin' bread and a cup of cider-and mark this: whenever I turned her away empty, she mumbled.
ELIZABETH: Mumbled! She may mumble if she's hungry.
MARY WARREN: But what does she mumble? You must remember, Goody Proctor. Last month-a Monday, I think-she walked away, and I thought my guts would burst for two days after. Do you remember it?
ELIZABETH: Why-I do, I think, but-
MARY WARREN: And so I told that to Governor Danforth, and he asks her so. "Goody Osburn, " says he, "what curse do you mumble that this girl must fall sick after turning you away?" And then she replies- mimicking an old crone -"Why, your excellence, no curse at all. I only say my commandments; I hope I may say my commandments," says she!
ELIZABETH: And that's an upright answer.
MARY WARREN: Aye, but then Governor Danforth say, "Recite for us your commandments!"- leaning avidly toward them –and of all the ten she could not say a single one. She never knew no commandments, and they had her in a flat lie!
PROCTOR: And so condemned her?
MARY WARREN, now a little strained, seeing his stubborn doubt: Why, they must when she condemned herself.
PROCTOR: But the proof, the proof!
MARY WARREN, with greater impatience with him: I told you the proof. It's hard proof, hard as rock, the judges said. (II.118-128)