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You must allow me to see you home at imagined they saw down a glade of the once."
moonlit woods the Queen of Fairy holdKatherine bent her head with an expres- ing high revel in some clearing among the sion of meek obedience, which was not all bracken. Though more numerous in the assumed. This wild Paul had got a power Highlands, these descendants of the old over her which no one had ever before deities of Scotland were equally feared and possessed; a power wielded unconsciously, dreaded in the more peaceful and more and which she had never yet fully recog- civilised Lowlands. Even in the Catholic nised until now. They went silently to times, religion in Scotland, hard and logical gether downward through the mazes of the as the people were, always assumed a chaold mansion, he going first, opening doors, racter more stern and gloomy than that of and turning to assist her over broken places England. The omnipresence, the almost in the staircase; she following silently and omnipotence of the Prince of Evil, was a humbly in her pallid beauty, as if terrified vital and prominent article of the creed and stricken at what had befallen her. She of the Scotch preacher, before even Calwas stunned, having suddenly come face vinism acquired its full sway over the to face with her own defeat. She had national heart. thought to be mistress, and found that she Of all the beliefs engendered by semiwas slave. A pain new to her, so sound christianised paganism, that which took the in body, so unfeeling in spirit, had cloven deepest and most fatal hold was the dread her heart at sight of Paul's look of hatred. of witchcraft. No Scot, wise or simple, but She was confounded with a new and fully believed, as much as he believed the strange knowledge of herself, so that her main articles of the Christian faith, that agony was genuine, even if rage made a hundreds of cankered old women, soured part of it.
Every time Paul turned to by poverty and sorrow, sold themselves forher, of necessity he pitied her, and his mally to the devil, who appeared in propriâ heart reproached him a little more, and personâ to see the bond signed with their a little more. By the time they had got blood, a ceremony accompanied by many out into the open air his voice had got ludicrous yet ghastly observances. The gentle when he addressed her. By-and-blood of men, far-seeing as Bruce and lionbye, she pleaded to be allowed to cling to hearted as Wallace, has often run cold his arm, for the fear that she had of these to hear how once a year, at the witches' unnatural woods. And this being con- annual Sabbath, the bags who served ceded, the two passed on their way, and Satan assembled to hear him preach and were lost in the thickness of the trees. deride the religion of Christ with ribald
sermon and demoniacal prayers. Nor did OLD STORIES RE-TOLD.
men of later days, and more versatile
brains, like Sir David Lindsay or Buchanan, SCOTCH WITCHES AND WARLOCKS.
ever question that Galloway witches could SUPERSTITION, dark shadow born of igno- mutter words that at once transformed the rance and fear, ruled the Scotland of the broomsticks they bestrode on the windy Middle Ages with a power which almost heath to flying horses, that bore them swift rivalled that of religion. The ghosts and away over firth and tarn, mountain-peak spectres of the pagan times, dim reflections and glen, steeples and roofs glittering silver cast by the rude deities of the Picts, the in the moonshine, to the King of France's Norsemen, and the early Irish invaders, cellars, where, in a circle round the biggest long lingered in lonely glens and rocky butt of Burgundy, the haggard "cummers' valleys, by the sides of desolate lakes, and would clatter and chuckle as they quaffed by the ruins of old fortresses, refusing to the stolen wine, till the time came to mount be exorcised from their old strongholds by again the bonny steeds that had brought calm saints with bell, book, or candle, them so deftly over the sea. wrestling for their new religion which No sudden sickness fell on a Scotchhad peacefully superseded the grosser wor- man in the time of Barfour, or of Knox, ship. In the course of centuries Scotch but he at once turned pale at the sudden Christianity gradually became adulterated and sure conviction that he was elf-shot, by an admixture of the old belief, and the that some witch he had chidden for stealDouglas and his followers, who knelt before ing wood, or to whom he had refused a the shrine of St. Andrew in the morning, pinch of oatmeal, or a mutchkin of whisky, at evening shuddered as they rode along had cast a spell over him, had repeated the the sands, past the Kelpie's Flow, or Lord's Prayer backwards outside his door
or had melted a little wax effigy of him poisoning her husband, and attempting to over some enchanted fire. These fears, and poison the king. such as these, racked and tormented the The first recorded witch-trial took place minds of many generations of worthy in 1576. On the 8th of November, 1576, Scotchmen, and led to the cruel perse- Bessie Dunlop, the wife of a yeoman, cution and horrible deaths of many thou- named Andro Jake of Lyne, in Ayrshire, sands of rheumatic, half-crazed, hysterical, walking to Monkcastle-yard, weeping for a harmless old women.
dead cow and also for her husband and A picturesque yet careful summary of a children, who were down with a fever, met few of these witch-trials will show very the ghost of one Thom Reid, who had been perfectly the exact nature of this absurd killed at the battle of Pinkie, twenty-nine belief, and the varied character that it years before, and was at the time she met assumed as the darkness of superstition him lodging in Fairyland. lightened or deepened over the bleak “Sancta Maria,” said he, “Bessie, why northern land where it had taken such firm make you such dool and greeting for any root.
worldly thing ?” The Scottish witches seem to have Thom, we may mention, was a grey. began their infernal cantrips as early as bearded ghost, wearing a grey coat with the times of St. Patrick, when a gang of old-fashioned Lombard sleeves, grey breeks, them, as that worthy and vermin-hating and white stockings gartered at the knee. saint was crossing to Scotland, hurled a He had a black bonnet with silken lace, and rock at him, which rock is now known as carried a white wand in his hand. Eventthat on which Dumbarton Castle securely nally the well-clad ghost, consoling the stands. In 968, King Duff only saved him- poor crying woman by telling her that self from a mortal sickness, by discovering though her child would die her husband in time, and breaking, a wax image of would recover, disappeared through an imhimself melting away at a witches' fire at possibly small hole in the nearest dyke. Forres, in Murray. For this treasonable After this came other interviews with the act several witches were immolated. After designing ghost. The third time the cloren this acute monarch_came Thomas the foot showed pretty clearly, for he endezRhymer, Thomas of Ercildoune, as he was voured to persuade her to deny her bapusually called, whom the Queen of the tism, but orthodox Bessie declared she Fairies decoged from the Tweed-side mea- would rather be "ridden at horses' tails” dows into Fairyland. Nor must we forget than forswear her Christianity. At the the great wizard of the Lay of the Last fourth meeting Thom came to the woman's Minstrel, Michael Scott, who shook France own house, carried her audaciously off from and Spain with his spells, and even split a small but select tea-party of her husband the Eildon hills into three. And later came and “three creeshie tailors,” and took her the wicked enchanter, William Lord Soulis, to a witches' assembly. There were eight who, when no sword or spear could pierce women in plaids there and four well-dressed him, was dropped into a hot cauldron like a men, who tried to persuade her to go
back ham, and, under considerable protest on his with them to Fairyland, where she should part, boiled to death.
have plenty of beef and good braw clothes, But, leaving the swamp of fiction and but frightened Bessie stoutly refused to go, coming to the terra firma of fact, let us and Thom threatened her for refusing. calmly state that in 1479 no less a per- After this the Queen of the Fairies, “ a son than the Earl of Mar, twelve “ mean stout, comely woman,
came to her as she women,” and several wizards, were burnt was lying in bed during her confinement, at Edinburgh for melting a waxen image and asked for a drink, which Bessie gave of the king; and the year after it was cur- her. The queen told her, as Thom had rently reported that “the young lady of done, that her child would die, and her Mar” had formed a highly improper ac- husband recover. At a later period, Thom quaintance with an Incubus, while in 1537 gave Bessie roots to make into powder Lady Glammis, the young and beautiful and salve for human beings, as well as widow of that pugnacious chieftain, Lord for cattle. Armed with these specifics, Glammis, or as he was more generally and Bessie soon became famous as a doctoress: admiringly called, “ Clear the Causeway, She cured Lady Johnstone's daughter, with and the grand-daughter of that grand old spiced ale, of swoons, and her wife's sister's murderer, Archibald Bell - the - Cat, was cow, but failed with old Lady Kilbowye's burnt for witchcraft, on a false charge of crooked leg, because the marrow of it was
gone, and the blood, according to her great pins thrust under his tongue up to their medical authority, Thom, was "dosint,' heads. After a trance of three hours in or as we should say benumbed. Bessie's Turnbull's chamber, the poor schoolmaster fame as a midwife and nurse soon became had told the foolish and suspicious country only equalled by her fame as a spaewife. people of how he had been transported to She told anxious farmers where such a various mountains half round the world. man's coat was, another's plough-irons, Under torture, following the lead of danand she disclosed the thief who stole gerous and entrapping questions, the schoolLady Blair's body-linen. Envious mid- master confessed that he had done homage wives, angry bone-setters, and jealous for- to Satan as he stood in the pulpit of North tune-tellers soon conspired against poor Berwick Church. To his witch congregaBessie.
Poor, weakly, crafty woman no tion, Satan had said, during a short but doubt, to gain a higher reputation among appropriate sermon: her poor ignorant country patients, she “Many come to the fair, but all sell not had trumped up all this story about the wares; fear not, though I am grim, for I ghost of old Thom, and had even shown a have many servants who shall never ail or green silk lace which she wound round want so long as their hair is on, and never the left arms of women at their time of shall a tear fall from their eyes so long as delivery as a talisman brought for her by they serve me. Spare not to do evil, eat, that very old soldier from the Queen of drink, and be blithe, take rest and ease, Fairyland herself.
for I will raise you up on the latter day Oh what a tangled web we weave
gloriously." When first we practise to deceive.
Fian had also entered into a league with Too late, with her limbs crushed in the Satan and a gang of witches and wizards terrible boots, her ribs snapping on the to wreck King James on his return from rack, her poor fingers bleeding in the Denmark, where he had visited Ann, his "pilniewinks,” Bessie Jake lamented that future wife. It was also deposed that at she had ever boasted of meeting a soldier's | the witches' Sabbath in North Berwick ghost, or a fairy queen. In her delirium, Church, Fian and the crew had passed her brain gone, she rambled on with fresh round the church "widdershins,” that is, lies about having frequently seen Thom contrary to the sun's course.
Fian opened handling goods, like any decent living body, the strong church door by blowing into the at the Edinburgh market. The last time lock, and then puffed in the lights, which she met him, said the groaning woman, very properly burned blue, and appeared as he had told her she would soon be arrested, big black candles held by old men's hands but assured her that she would be well all round the pulpit. Satan appeared as a treated, and eventually cleared. Lies, lies huge black man with a black beard like that all, even if the biggest ghost ever rapped of a goat, a high ribbed nose like a hawk's up had spoken those words. To the fire beak, and a long tail. He wore a black she was hurried, and the lies were burnt gown, “evil-favoured” black skull. out of her miserable body in the sight of a cap on his head, and preached with a pitiless multitude that blackened the Castle black book in his hand, telling them if Hill of Edinburgh.
they would be good servants to him, he Following down the black rings that would be a good master to them, and that mark the burning place of these victims of they should never want. He made the cruel and stupid superstition, we come, in witches all very angry on one occasion, by 1590, to John Fian, alias Cunningham, a forgetting the proprieties so much as to poor parish schoolmaster at Saltpans, Lo- call one Rob by his christian name. thian, who was discovered to occupy the The congregation all ran “hirdie-girdie" onerous office of secretary and registrar- at this, in surprise and consternation, general to the devil. The witnesses, who but, nevertheless, no public apology seems feared or disliked this unhappy scholar, to have been made. Fian had also, as deposed that Satan had appeared to him he confessed under torture, dug up dead all in white one night as he lay in bed, bodies and dismembered them to make thinking how he could be revenged on charms. At the house of one David Seaton Thomas Turnbull
, his landlord, for not it was sworn that he had opened a lock white-washing his room as per agreement. by merely breathing into the hand of an It was sworn that to obtain this revenge old wife sitting by the fire. Another time Fian had sworn allegiance to Satan, and four lighted candles sprang out of his received bis recruiting mark, to wit, two horse's head, and a fifth arose on the staff
which his servant carried. These candles To read upon yon sweet Book,
Which the Mighty God of Heaven stoop, gave a light equal to the sun at noon, and
Open, open, Heavens yaits, the terrified man seeing them, fell dead on Steik, steik, Hello yaits, his own doorstep. Fian sent an evil spirit to
All saints be the better,
That hear the White Prayer, Pater Noster.
Four newks in this house, for holy angels,
God be into this house and all that belangs us. shipwrecks. He bewitched a young maiden, and even made a pet cow miraculously When she sought for an answer from follow him even into his schoolroom. He the devil on any occasion, he appeared to cast horoscopes, and wore moleskins. To her in the shape of a dog; the way of make him confess to all this fantastic non- dismissing and conjuring him to go was sense, much torturing was requisite. They this, "I charge thee to depart on the law first bound his head with a rope, and thou lives on, as she did when she distwisted it tight and tighter for an hour. missed him after her consulting him about But this did not educe anything but groans. old Lady Edmiston's sickness. But the Then they put on the dreaded “boots,” and manner how she raised the devil was with crushed his legs to a pulp. On the third these words, “ Eloa, come and speak to stroke of the cruel wedges he fainted. Then me, who came in the likeness of a dog." they searched him for the “devil's mark.” | Her sailing with her cummers and fellowWhen he recovered, to stop further tor. witches in a boat to a ship was very retures he made the above confession, adding markable: the devil caused her and them that the devil had appeared to him just to drink good wine and beer without money, then, all in black, but carrying a white she neither seeing the mariners nor the wand.
mariners her. And after all the devil On Doctor Fian's renouncing the devil raised a wind, whereby the ship perished. and all his works (it was about time), the She baptised a cat to hinder Queen Ann evil spirit, he said, angrily broke the from coming into Scotland.
, white wand he carried, and disappeared. In her own confession to King James The next day the poor wretch recanted, she said that “ the devil, in man's likeness, and then the monsters invented fresh met her going out to the fields from her tortures, but he was resolute now, and own house at Keith, betwixt five and six would invent no more lies. On a January at even, being alone, and commanded her Saturday, 1591, he escaped from their to be at North Berwick Kirk the next cruelty in a fire on the Castle Hill. Other night, to which place she came on horsemembers of Fian's gang were also dragged back, conveyed by her good son, called to the stake, after endless examinations, John Couper, and lighted near the kirkthat lasted a whole winter, before that yeard about eleven hours at even. They miserable pedant, James the First. Agnes danced along the kirk-yeard, Geilie DunSympson, generally known as the “wise can playing on a trump, and John Fian, wife of Keith,” after dreadful tortures, con- muffled, led the king. The said Agnes and fessed that she and two hundred other her daughter followed next. Besides, there witches had gone to sea in sieves on All were Kate Gray, George Moilis, bis wife, Halloween, laughing and drinking as Robert Grierson, Katherine Duncan, Bessie they sailed.
Wright, Isabel Gilmore, John Graymail, The witnesses against her complained Duncan Buchanan, Thomas Barnhil and of her using nonsenical rhymes, for the his wife, Gilbert Mackgill, John Mackgill, instructing of ignorant people and teach- Katherine Mackgill, with the rest of their ing them to pray; among others, these two cummers, above one hundred persons, prayers, the Black and White Pater Noster, whereof there were six men, and all the to be used morning and evening:
rest women. The women made first their White Pater Noster,
courtesy to their maister, and then the
The men turned nine times widder.
shines about, and the women six times.
The devil started up himself in the pul-
pit like a mickle black man, and calling the
roll, every one answered, “Here,'
“ The first thing Satan demanded was if
they kept all promise, and had been good
servants, and what they had done since the same in execution. As to their consultalast time they had conveened. At his tions therefrom, they use them oftest in the command they opened up three graves- churches, where they convene for adoring, two within and one without the kirk, at what time their master inquiring of and cutting off from the dead corps the them what they would be at, every one of joints of their fingers, toes, and nose, parted them proposes unto him what wicked torthem amongst them, and she (Agnes ture they would have done, either for obSympson) got for her part a winding-sheet taining of riches, or for revenging them and two joints. The devil commanded them upon any whom they have malice at; who to keep the joints upon them while they were graunting their demaund, as no doubt willdry, and then to make a powder of them to ingly he will, since it is to doe evill, he do evil withall. Then he bade them to keep teacheth them the meanes whereby they his commandments, which were to do all the may doe the same; as for little trifling evil and mischief they could. Before they turnes that woman have adoe with, he departed and were dismist they behoved to causeth them to joynt dead corpses, and kiss this diabolical preacher.'
to make powders thereof, mixing such other In the churchyard at North Berwick, things there amongst as he gives unto Geillis Duncan, a half-crazed servant- them. That fourth kinde of spirits, which girl, had led the dance, playing a tune by the Gentiles was called divine, and her called Gyllatripes on the jew's - harp. wondering court and amongst was called The devil had confessed to her (well-de- the Phairie, or our 'good neighbours,' was vised flattery, but fruitless), that James one of the sorts of illusions that was rifest was a man of God and his greatest enemy. in the time of Papistrie; for although it She and some other witches had sunk a was holden odious to prophesie by the vessel on one occasion, and on another divel, yet whom these kind of spirits caried baptised a cat. Doctor Fian, she owned, away, and formed, they were thought to be acted as secretary and registrar at their sonsiest, and of best life. To speak of the meetings. She, too, went to the ever-ready many vain trottles founded upon that illubonfire. Barbara Napier, wife of an Edin- sion-how there was King and Queen of burgh burgess, and sister-in-law to the Phairie of such a jolly court and traine as Laird of Carschoggill, was acquitted, much they had, how they rode and went, eat, and to the rage and regret of the Scottish Solo- drink, and did all other actions like na
A lady of good family, Euphemia turall men and women, I think it were Maclean, daughter of Lord Cliftonhall, was liker Virgil's Campi Elysii, nor anything burnt about the same time, probably all the that ought to be beleeved by Christians, sooner for being a Catholic and a friend of except in generall, that as I spake sundrie the hated Bothwell. The year after, a man times before, the divell illuded the senses named Richard Graham was burnt at the of sundrie simple creatures, in making them Cross in Edinburgh for boasting of having beleeve that they saw and heard such things a familiar spirit at his beck, and also for as were nothing so indeed. raising a devil in the court-yard of the "PuiLOMATHES. But how can it be then house of Sir Lewis Ballantyne, in the that sundrie witches have gone to death Canongate, an apparition which, by-the- with that confession, that they have been bye, frightened poor Sir Lewis to death. transported with the Phairie to such a hill,
The foolish book on Demonology, written which opening, they went in and saw a by King James before he ascended the Eng- faire queen, who being now lighter, gave lish throne, gave a great impetus to the them a stone that had sundrie virtues, persecution of witches. Droves of old which at sundrie times hath been produced women were hurried to the flames. What in judgement ? special opinions the sapient king held, our “Epi. I say that even as I said before of readers may gather from the following ex- that imaginar ravishing of the spirit foorth tracts, which are the very gist of the whole of the bodie; for may not the divel object farrago of learned nonsense, which at least to their fantasie, their senses being dulled, did this good to the world, that it probably and as it were asleepe, such hilles and gave some hints to Shakespeare for his houses within them, such glistering courtes wonderful witches in Macbeth.
and traines, and whatsoever such-likewhere" EPISTEMON. In their actions used to with he pleaseth to delude them, and in the wards others, three things ought to be con- mean time their bodies being senselesse, to sidered; first, the maner of their consulting convey in their hande any stone or such therefrom; next, their part as instruments; like thing, which he makes them to imagine and last, their master's part, who puts the I to have received in such a place."