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Back home in dry clothes with hot food in her stomach, Kit feels relief. She also decides she must thank Uncle Matthew for defending her in front of the mob last night, which she does.
Uncle Matthew also says some very nice things to Kit about how helpful she has been during the illnesses and his “own daughter couldn’t have done more” (18.6).
Kit decides she’ll tell Uncle Matthew about her friendship with Hannah some day…but definitely not now.
A little later there is yet another knock at the door. It’s another group of angry people, though more calm this time. It’s a deacon from the church, a constable, and none other than Goodwife Cruff.
Turns out, the angry mob found a silver hornbook in the ashes of Hannah Tupper’s house. It has Kit’s initial on it.
Kit is asked to explain and she admits that she is friends with Hannah and that she helped her out from time to time.
Uncle Matthew is pretty upset since he had specifically forbid this kind of thing. He wonders why the constable is here, though; can they charge Kit with mere disobedience? Nope, turns out they’re charging her with witchcraft!
Witchcraft?! Goodwife Cruff claims that Kit put a spell on all the town’s children.
Much to the protest of the Wood family, Kit is to be taken to a shed and held there until she can be examined and stand trial. We’re told that this kind of thing has happened before, to women like Goody Harrison and “that Johnson woman” (18.60).
Kit is taken away and put in a shed with a dirt floor and no window. The constable comes in later in the afternoon to give her some supper and a not-too-clean quilt. (He’s trying to be kind, at least.)
Kit asks what happened to Goody Harrison and the other woman when they were tried. The constable says that Goody Harrison was banished and Goody Johnson was hanged. He says Kit will probably just be branded or have an ear cut off.
Kit is upset and can barely eat. Who can help her? John Holbrook? Nat Eaton? They’re both gone. William! Surely he can help. The thought gives her strength.
The person who comes to see her, though, is Aunt Rachel, who sneaks out of the Wood house to check on her niece. She tells Kit they’ll think of something to help her.
Kit is sustained by her Aunt’s visit. She thinks, though, about Prudence, and what will happen to the young girl if they find out that she was also friends with Hannah.
Kit deeply regrets pulling Prudence into this whole mess. She beats herself up for trying to teach the child to read.
She does think, though, with longing of that last afternoon in the cabin and how lovely and peaceful it had been.
She eventually slips off to a nightmare-filled sleep.