tended to produce good or fortunate consequences. Hence it was employed as a charm at school by one boy who wished well for another, in order to deprecate some punishment which both might tremble to have incurred the infliction of. At a card-table I have also caught some superstitious players sitting crosslegged with a view of bringing good luck."

In the Athenian Oracle, ii. 424, a charm is defined to be “ form of words or letters, repeated or written, whereby strange things are pretended to be done, beyond the ordinary power of Nature."

Andrews, in his continuation of Dr. Henry's History of Great Britain, p. 383, quoting Scot's Discovery of Witchcraft, says :

“ The stories which our facetious author relates of ridiculous charms, which by help of credulity operated wonders, are extremely laughable. In one of them a poor woman is commemorated who cured all diseases by muttering a certain form of words over the party afflicted; for which service she always received one penny and a loaf of bread. At length,

, terrified by menaces of flames both in this world and the next, she owned that her whole conjuration consisted in these potent lines, which she always repeated in a low voice near the head of her patient :

“ Thy loaf in my hand,

And thy penny in my purse,
Thou art never the better-

And I-am never the worse.” In the Works of John Heiwood, newlie imprinted, 1598, I find the following charm :

“I claw'd her by the backe in way of a charme,

To do me not the more good, but the lesse harme." [The following is extracted from Henslowe's Diary, in the library of Dulwich College, temp. Elizabeth :

To know wher a thinge is that is stolen :- Take vergine waxe and write upon yt 'Jasper + Melchisor + Balthasar +;' and put yt under his head to whome the good partayneth, and he shall knowe in his sleape wher the thinge is become.” See a curious collection of rural charms in Halliwell's Popular Rhymes, pp. 206-14.



SPITTLE, among the ancients, was esteemed a charm against all kinds of fascination : so Theocritus

Τοιάδε μυθιζοίσα, τρίς εις τον έπτυσε κόλπον-
“ Thrice on my breast I spit to guard me safe

From fascinating charms."!
“ See how old beldams expiations make:

To atone the gods the bantling up they take;
His lips are wet with lustral spittle; thus

They think to make the gods propitious.” “ This custom of nurses lustrating the children by spittle," says Seward, in his Conformity between Popery and Paganism, p. 54, was one of the ceremonies used on the Dies Nominalis, the day the child was named; so that there can be no doubt of the Papists deriving this custom from the heathen nurses and grandmothers. They have indeed christened it, as it were, by flinging in some scriptural expressions ; but then they have carried it to a more filthy extravagance, by daubing it on the nostrils of adults as well as of children.”

Plutarch and Macrobius make the days of lustration of

I So Potter, in his Greek Antiquities, i. 346, tells us that ainong the Greeks “it was customary to spit three times into their bosoms at the sight of a madman, or one troubled with an epilepsy." He refers to this passage of Theocritus, Idyll. xx. v. 11, for illustration. This, he adds, they did in defiance, as it were, of the omen; for spitting was a sign of the greatest contempt and aversion : whence, TTTVELV, i. e. to spit, is put for καταφρονείν, εν ουδενί λογίζειν, i. e. to contemn, as the scholiast of Sophocles observes upon these words, in Antigone, v. 666.

'Αλλά πτυσας ώσει δυσμενή.

Spit on him as an enemy. See also Potter, i. 358. Delrio, in his Disquisit. Magic. p. 391, mentions that some think the following passage in Albius Tibullus, lib. i. Eleg. 2, is to be referred to this :

“ Hunc puer, hunc juvenis, tuba circumstetit arcta,

Despuit in molles, et sibi quisque sinus." And thus Persius upon the custom of nurses spitting upon children :

“ Ecce avia, aut metuens divûm matertera, cunis,

Exemit puerum, frontemque atque uda labella
Infami digito, et lustralibus ante salivis
Expiat, urentes oculos inhibere perita.” Sat. ii. 1. 31.


infants thus: “The eighth day for girls, and the ninth for boys. Gregory Nazianzen calls this festival Ovopaornpia, because upon one of those days the child was named. The old grandmother or aunt moved round in a circle, and rubbed the child's forehead with spittle, and that with her middle finger, to preserve it from witchcraft. It is to this foolish custom St. Athanasius alludes, when he calls the heresy of Montanus and Priscilla γραών πτυσματα.” Sheridan's Persius, 2d

p. 34, note. It is related by the Arabians that when Hassan, the grandson of Mahomet, was born, he spit in his mouth. See Ockley's History of the Saracens, ii. 84. Park, in his Travels into the Interior of Africa, speaking of the Mandingoes, says: “A child is named when it is seven or eight days old. The ceremony commences by shaving the infant's head. The priest, after a prayer, in which he solicits the blessing of God upon the child and all the company, whispers a few sentences in the child's ear, and spits three times in his face, after which, pronouncing his name aloud, he returns the child to his mother."

Spitting, according to Pliny, was superstitiously observed in averting witchcraft and in giving a shrewder blow to an enemy. Hence seems to be derived the custom our bruisers have of spitting in their hands before they begin their barbarous diversion, unless it was originally done for luck's sake. Several other vestiges of this superstition, relative to fasting spittle,' mentioned also by Pliny, may yet be placed among our vulgar customs.

Levinus Lemnius tells us : “Divers experiments show what power and quality there is in man's fasting spittle, when he hath neither eat nor drunk before the use of it: for it cures all tetters, itch, scabs, pushes, and creeping sores; and if venemous little beasts have fastened on any part of the body, as hornets, beetles, toads, spiders, and such like, that by their venome cause tumours and great pains and inflammations, do but rub the places with fasting spittle, and all those effects will be

gone and discussed. Since the qualities and effects of spittle come from the humours, (for out of them is it drawn by the faculty of nature, as fire draws distilled water from

1 " Fascinationes saliva jejuna repelli, veteri superstitione creditum est.” Alex. ab Alexandro.

hearbs), the reason may be easily understood why spittle should do such strange things, and destroy some creatures.' Secret Miracles of Nature, English Transl. fol. Lond. 1658,

p. 164.

Sir Thomas Browne, in his Vulgar Errors, p. 152, leaves it undecided whether the fasting spittle of man be poison unto snakes and vipers, as experience hath made us doubt. In Browne's Map of the Microcosme, 1642, speaking of lust, the author says :

“Fewell also must bee withdrawne from this fire, fasting spittle must kill this serpent."

The boys in the north of England have a custom amongst themselves of spitting their faith (or, as they call it in the northern dialect, “their saul,” i. e. soul), when required to make asseverations in matters which they think of consequence.

In combinations of the colliers, &c., about Newcastle-uponTyne, for the purpose of raising their wages, they are said to spit upon a stone together, by way of cementing their confederacy. Hence the popular saying, when persons are of the same party, or agree in sentiments, that "they spit upon the same stone.” The following is in Plaine Percevall the Peace Maker of England, 4to. : “Nay, no further, Martin, thou maist spit in that hole, for I'll come no more there."

Park, in his Travels in the Interior of Africa, has the following passage : “They had not travelled far before the attendants insisted upon stopping; to prepare a saphie or charm, to ensure a good journey: this was done by muttering a few sentences, and spitting upon a stone which was laid upon the ground.

The same ceremony was repeated three times, after which the negroes proceeded with the greatest confidence.”

In the Life of a Satirical Puppy called Nim, 1657, p. 35, I find the following passage : "One of his guardians (being fortified with an old charm) marches cross-legged, spitting three times, east, south, west ; and afterwards prefers his vallor to a catechising office. In the name of God, quoth he, what art thou? whence dost thou come? &c., seeing something that he supposed to be a ghost."

Fishwomen generally spit upon their handsel, i.e. the first money they take, for good luck. Grose mentions this as a common practice among the lower class of hucksters, pedlars,

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and dealers in fruit or fish, on receiving the price of the first goods they sell.

It is still customary in the west of England, when the conditions of a bargain are agreed upon, for the parties to ratify it by joini their hands, and at the same time for the purchaser to give an earnest.

Of the handsel, Misson, in his Travels in England, p. 192, observes as follows: “Une espèce de pourvoyeuse me disoit l'autre jour, que les bouchères de Londres, les femmes qui apportent de la volaille au marché, du beurre, des eufs, &c., et toutes sortes des gens, font un cas particulier de l'argent qu'ils reçoivent de la première vente qu'ils font. Ils le baisent en le recevant, crachent dessus, et le mettent dans une poche apart.” Thus translated by Ozell, p. 130 : “A woman that goes much to market told me t'other day that the butcherwomen of London, those that sell fowls, butter, eggs, &c., and in general most tradespeople, have a particular esteem for what they call a handsel ; that is to say, the first money they receive in a morning; they kiss it, spit upon it, and put it in a pocket by itself.”'

Lemon explains handsel, in his Dictionary, “The first money received at market, wbich many superstitious people will spit on, either to render it tenacious that it may remain with them, and not vanish away like a fairy gift, or else to render it propitious and lucky, that it may draw more money to it.” This word is explained in all its senses in Halliwell's Dictionary, p. 433, where may be seen a very curious extract from MS. Harl. 1701, on the subject.

In Browne’s Britannia's Pastorals, b. i. p. 129, there is an account of the difficulty a blacksmith has to shoe “a stubborne nagge of Galloway:

“ Or unback'd jennet, or a Flaunders mare,

That at the forge stand snuffing of the ayre;
The swarty smith spits in his buckhorne fist

And bids his man bring out the five-fold twist,” &c. The following is in Scot's Discovery of Witchcraft, p. 137: " To heal the king or queen's evil, or any other soreness in the throat, first touch the place with the hand of one that died an untimely death : otherwise let a virgin fasting lay her hand on the sore, and say— Apollo denyeth that the heat of the plague can increase where a naked virgin quencheth it;

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