Year of Wonders Chapter 5
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Sign of a Witch
- Jamie gets sick. Anna tries a host of natural remedies, some of which are suggested by Anys and actually work pretty well—but they're not enough.
- Jamie buys the farm after five days of sickness.
- Anna is lost in grief. She now spends most of her time in the local graveyard.
- One night, Anna spots 10 or so villagers shouting and standing in a circle. As she gets closer, she realizes that they've surrounded Mem.
- The villagers, drunk, are accusing Mem of being a witch and are blaming her for the plague. Anna tries to stop them, but they're too much for her.
- The mob decides to "swim her" (2.5.27), which is a test meant to determine whether someone is a witch. They'll throw Mem into water, and if she floats, she's a witch. If she sinks, she isn't.
- Wait. How does this end well, either way?
- Mem sinks. Uh-oh. Anna goes to dive in, but Anys suddenly appears and leaps into the water. She emerges with Mem's unmoving body.
- Anys and Anna give Mem some textbook CPR. Who knew Puritans knew first aid?
- Mem sputters and begins to breathe. Phew. Unfortunately, the mob takes this as a sign that Anys is a witch, especially after Lib accuses her of sleeping with the devil, a.k.a. George Viccars.
- Someone hits Anys, and the whole group pounces on her. They put a noose around her neck.
- Anys shouts that she has slept with the devil (along with the other village women, she claims) and curses them all. They kill her.
- Mr. Mompellion arrives soon after and is horrified at the madness that has taken hold of the village.