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be found. The less informed suspect something like witchcraft about poor old women, and are afraid of their evil eye among the cattle.

If a cow is suddenly taken ill, it is ascribed to some extraordinary cause. If


when called to see one does not say, 'I wish her luck,' there would be a suspicion he had some bad design.” Ibid. xiv. 526, parish of Auchterhouse, county of Forfar; extracts from the parish register : A fast to be kept July 9, 1646, for various reasons: among them, “4thly, Because of the pregnant scandal of witches and charmers within this part of the land, we are to supplicate the Lord therefore." The third is singularly curious : " Becanse of the desolate state and cure of several congregations, which have been starved by dry-beasted ministers this long time bygone, and now are wandering like sheep but (i. e. without) shepherds, and witnesseth no sense of scant.'

-6 Janaure, 1650: On that day the minister desired the session to make search every ane in their own quarter gave they knew of any witches or charmers in the paroch, and delate them to the next session.” July 18, 1652: Janet Fife made her public repentance before the pulpit, for learning M. Robertson to charm her child; and whereas M. Robertson should have done the like, it pleased the Lord before that time to call upon her by death.” Ibid. xix. 354, parish of Bendothy, county of Perth: “I have known an instance in churning butter, in which the cream, after more than ordinary labour, cast up only one pound of butter, instead of four, which it ought. By standing a while to cool, and having the labour repeated over again, it cast up the other three pounds of butter."

" When Kitty kirned, and there nae butter came,
Ye, Mause, gat a' the wyte.”

Allan Ramsay. In going once to visit the remains of Brinkburne Abbey, in Northumberland, I found a reputed witch in a lonely cottage by the side of a wood, where the parish had placed her, to save expenses and keep her out of the way. On inquiry at a neighbouring farmhouse, I was told, though I was a long while before I could elicit anything from the inhabitants in it concerning her, that everybody was afraid of her cat, and that she herself was thought to have an evil eye, and that it was accounted dangerous to meet her in a morning "black-fasting."


The Morning Herald of Friday, Aug. 16, 1839, affords an evidence of the belief in the fascination of witches still occasionally existing in London, in the instance of two lodgers, one of whom squinted, and the other, to avert the supposed consequences from the lefect of the first, considered she could only protect herself by spitting in her face three times a day.

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PENNANT, in his Zoology, 1776, iii. 15, speaking of the toad, with the Roman fables concerning it, adds: “In aftertimes superstition gave it preternatural powers, and made it a principal ingredient in the incantations of nocturnal hags :

Toad, that under the cold stone
Days and nights hast thirty-one
Swelter'd venom sleeping got,

Boil thou first i'th' charmed pot.'
“We know by the poet that this was intended for a design
of the first consideration, that of raising and bringing before
the eyes of Macbeth a hateful second sight of the prosperity
of Banquo's line. This shows the mighty powers attributed
to this animal by the dealers in the magic art. But the powers
our poet endues it with are far superior to those that Gesner
ascribes to it. Shakspeare's witches used it to disturb the

Gesner's only to still the living' Pennant, in the volume already quoted, p. 154, speaking of the wolf-fish teeth, observes : “ These and the other grinding teeth are often found fossil, and in that state called Bufonites, or Toad-stones : they were formerly much esteemed for their imaginary virtues, and were set in gold, and worn as rings.”

Connected with this is a similar ancient superstition with regard to the ætites or eagle-stone, concerning which, the same author (Zoology, i. 167) tells us : "The ancients believed that the pebble commonly called the ætites or eaglestone, was found in the eagle's nest, and that the eggs could not be hatched without its assistance. Many absurd stories have been raised about this fossil.”

The same writer, in his Journey from Chester to London,


p. 264, speaking of the shrine of St. Alban, which contained the reliques of that martyr, “made of beaten gold and silver and enriched with gems and sculpture,” says : " The gems were taken from the treasury, one excepted, which, being of singular use to parturient women, was left out. This was no other than the famous ætites or eagle-stone, in most superstitious repute from the days of Pliny (lib. xxxvi. c. 21) to that of Abbot Geffry, refounder of the shrine.” “We may add here,” he continues, "another superstition in respect to this animal. It was believed by some old writers to have a stone in its head, fraught with great virtues, medical and magical. It was distinguished by the name of the reptile, and called the Toad-stone, Bufonites, Crapaudine, Krottenstein (Boet. de Boot de Lap. et Gem. 301, 303); but all its fancied powers vanished on the discovery of its being nothing but the fossile tooth of the sea-wolf, or some other flat-toothed fish, not unfrequent in our island, as well as several other countries." To this toad-stone Shakespeare alludes in the following beautiful simile :

“ Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which like the toad, ugly and venomous,

Wears yet a precious jewel in its head.” Steevens, in his note upon this passage, says that Thomas Lupton, in his first Book of Notable Things, bears repeated testimony to the virtues of the tode-stone called crapaudina. In his seventh book he instructs how to procure it, and afterwards tells us : “ You shall knowe whether the tode-stone be the ryght and perfect stone or not. Holde the stone before a tode, so that he may see it; and, if it be a right and true stone, the tode will leape towarde it, and make as though he would snatch it. He envieth so much that man should have that stone." In Lluellin's Poems, 8vo. Lond. 1679, p. 85, are the following lines on this subject :

· Now, as the worst things have some things of stead,

And some toads treasure jewels in their head." The author of the Gentle Shepherd (a beautiful pastoral in the Scottish dialect, that equals perhaps the Idyllia of Theocritus) has made great use of this superstition. He introduces a clown telling the powers of a witch in the following words:

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“She can o'ercast the night, and cloud the moon,
And mak the deils obedient to her crune.
At midnight hours o'er the kirkyards she raves,
And howks unchristen'd weans out of their graves !
Boils up their livers in a warlock's pow,
Rins withershins about the hemlock's low;
And seven times does her pray’rs backwards pray,
Till Plotcok comes with lumps of Lapland clay,
Mixt with the venom of black taids and snakes ;
Of this unsonsy pictures aft she makes
Of ony ane she hates; and gars expire
With slaw and racking pains afore a fire :
Stuck fou of prines, the divelish pictures melt;

The pain by fowk they represent is felt.” Afterwards she describes the ridiculous opinions of the country people, who never fail to surmise that the commonest natural effects are produced from supernatural causes :

“ When last the wind made glaud a roofless barn ;
When last the burn bore down my mither's yarn ;
When brawny elf-shot never mair came hame;
When Tibby kirnd, and there nae butter came;
When Bessy Freetock's chuffy-cheeked wean
To a fairy turn'd, and could nae stand its lane;
When Wattie wander'd ae night thro' the shaw,
And tint himsel amaist amang the snaw;
When Mungo's mare stood still and swat with fright,
When he brought east the howdy under night;
When Bawsy shot to dead upon the green,
And Sarah tint a snood was nae mair seen;
You, Lucky, gat the wyte of aw fell out,

And ilka ane here dreads you round about," &c. The old woman, in the subsequent soliloquy, gives us a philosophical account of the people's folly :

“ Hard luck, alake! when poverty and eild

Weeds out of fashion; and a lanely bield,
With a sma cast of wiles, should in a twitch,
Gie ane the hatefu' name, a wrinkled witch.
This fool imagines, as do mony sic
That I'm a wretch in compact with auld Nick,
Because by education I was taught

To speak and act aboon their common thought." This pastoral, unfortunately for its fame, is written in a dialect by no means generally understood. Had Mr. Addison known, or could he have read this, how fine a subject

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would it have afforded him on which to have displayed his inimitable talent for criticism !

The subsequent, much to our purpose, is from the Life of Lord Keeper Guildford, p. 129: “It is seldom that a poor old wretch is brought to trial (for witchcraft) but there is at the heels of her a popular rage that does little less than demand her to be put to death ; and if a judge is so clear and open as to declare against that impious vulgar opinion, that the devil himself has power to torment and kill innocent children, or that he is pleased to divert himself with the good people's cheese, butter, pigs, and geese, and the like errors of the ignorant and foolish rabble, the countrymen (the triers) cry,

this judge hath no religion, for he doth not believe witches, and so, to show they have some, hang the poor wretches.'

A writer in the Gent. Mag. for March, 1736, vi. 137, says: “The old woman must, by age, be grown very ugly, her face shrivelled, her body doubled, and her voice scarce intelligible : hence her form made her a terror to children, who, if they were affrighted at the poor creature, were immediately said to be bewitched. The mother sends for the parish priest, and the priest for a constable. The imperfect pronunciation of the old woman, and the paralytic nodding of her head, were concluded to be muttering diabolical charms, and using certain magical gestures : these were proved upon her at the next assizes, and she was burnt or hanged as an enemy to mankind.”

From a physical manuscript in quarto, of the date of 1475, formerly in the collection of Mr. Herbert, of Cheshunt, now in my library, I transcribe the following charm against witchcraft :-"Here ys a Charme for wyked Wych. In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti, Amen. Per Virtutem Domini sint medicina mei pia Crux et passio Christi . Vulnera quinque Domini sint medicina mei J. Virgo Maria mihi succurre, et defende ab omni maligno demonio, et ab omni maligno spiritu : Amen. aga Te

* tragrammaton. Alpha. oo. primogenitus, vita,

* vita. sapiencia, Virtus, Jesus Nazarenus rex judeorum, fili Domini, miserere mei, Amen. Marcus Ma

See also Pandæmonium, or the Devil's Cloyster; proving the Existence of Witches, &c. 8vo. 1684; and Peck's Desiderata Curiosa, üi. 476.

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