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spiritualised broomstick at the Honourable Mrs.
Idleness-the-Mother-of-Tomfoolery's, that clever
and fascinating but too credulous friend were
served up to us next week at breakfast among
the roast women in the daily newspapers' Smithfield
report. There is a certain stock of credulity,
one would think, always abroad in the world,
and the greater the quackery or the absurdity
the more emphatic the alleged experience, and
the less tangible the evidence of its truth or
trustworthiness.

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries
there was, as Mrs. Linton tells us, an epidemic
witch panic of superstition formularised by
James the Sixth of Scotland into a distinct
section of the articles of human faith. The
first Scotch witches on record are those whom
St. Patrick offended, when they and their master,
the deviloutraged by his rigour against them
tore off a piece of rock as the saint crossed the
sea and hurled it after him: which rock became
the fortress of Dumbarton. Then in the year
nine hundred and sixty-eight, there was King
Duff pining by reason of a waxen image which
a young woman under torture accused her
mother and certain other old women of having
made, and those women were burnt. Then
there was in the thirteenth century Thomas of
Ercildoune, the rhymer and prophet, to whom
is ascribed an extant romance of Sir Tristrem.
He was "ane man of gret admiration to the
peple and schaw sundry thingis as they fell."
When Thomas sat one day under the Eildoun-
tree, there came towards him a most beautiful
damsel riding upon a grey palfrey. He begged
her love: which she refused, because it would
undo her beauty and make him repent. He
would not be denied; so when he had the lady
in his arms, her bright eyes became dead, her
fair locks dropped from the naked scalp, her
rich attire was changed to rags, and with that
odious hag for companion the poor Thomas was
forced to bid adieu "to sun and moon, to grass
and every green tree," and mounting behind
the palfrey of the enchantress, rush through
darkness and the roaring of waters, also through
a fair garden in which was the fatal tree of
knowledge, to the point whence the three roads
diverged, to heaven, hell, and fairy-land. To a
gay castle in fairy-land, Thomas was taken by
his guide, who had resumed all her beauty as
the Fairy Queen. There, he dwelt three years,
when, the day before the arrival of a fiend who
would take tithe of the inhabitants of fairy-
land and would be sure to seize him as a stately
and fair person, he was carried back to the
Eildoun-tree with many fairy secrets trusted
to his telling; the fate of the wars between
England and Scotland being among the number.
To this and other legendary stories Mrs. Linton
only alludes, and then, coming into the light of
written history, begins the series of indubitable
Scotch witch stories with the fate of Lady Glammis.
The wife of John Lyon, Lord Glammis, it
was as "one of the Douglases" that her
husband's near relative, William Lyon, whose suit
of love when she became a young widow she
slighted, brought Lady Glammis to the stake.
As a Douglas she was beyond the pale of
judicial sympathy.

We have Bessie Dunlop's own word (given
under torture on a November day, in the year
fifteen 'seventy-six) for the fact that when she
was weak after a confinement and weeping
bitterly for the death of a cow, Tom Reidkilled
years before at the battle of Pinkye, but then
dwelling in fairy-landcame and comforted her,
and, having made her acquaintance, at last took
her clean away from the presence of her
husband and three tailorsthey seeing nothing
to where eight gentlemen and four pretty women
dressed in plaids were waiting for her, and
persuaded her in vain to go to fairy land. The
queen of the fairies also, a stout comely woman,
had sat on her bed and reasoned with her;
but she stuck to her home and her honesty, only
holding odd fairy gossip with Tom, who told her
useful secrets of roots, and herbs, and drinks:
so that she cured John Jake's bairn, and her
gudeman's sister's cow, and tried her best, and
Tom's best, without any success on old Lady
Kilbowye's leg. For all this, the poor old woman
who had done what good she could with herbs
and simples was "convict and brynt."

A sorcerer of fame was John Fian, alias
Cuningham, master of the school at Saltpans,
Lothian, who was arraigned on the day after
Christmas-day, in the year fifteen 'ninety, and
strangled and burnt on the Castle Hill at
Edinburgh, a month afterwards. Satan, said the
indictment on which he was tried and convicted,
appeared to him in white as he lay on his bed,
musing and thinking how he should be revenged
on Thomas Trumbill, for not having whitewashed
his room according to agreement. After
promising homage he received his master's mark,
where it was on trial found under his tongue,
by means of two pins therein thrust up to their
heads. This wonderful man, amongst other of
his achievements, was once seen to chase a cat,
and in the chase to be carried so high over a
hedge that he could not touch her head. So it
was proved against him that he flew through
the air. When asked why he hunted the cat, he
said that Satan had need of her, and that he
wanted all the cats he could lay hands on, to
cast into the sea, and cause storms and
shipwrecks. He was further accused of endeavouring
to bewitch a young maiden; but, thanks to a
wile of her mother's, practised his enchantment
on the hair of a heifer. The result was, that a
luckless young cow went lowing after him,
even into his schoolroom, rubbing herself
against him, and observing him everywhere with
languishing eyes like a love-sick young lady.
To make good the twenty counts of indictment
against John Fian, persuasion to confess was
applied by torture, until he became speechless;
and his tormentors, supposing it to be the devil's
mark which kept him silent, searched for that
mark, that by its discovery the spell might be
broken. So they found it, as stated before,
under his tongue, with two charmed pins stuck
up to their heads therein; the sign of success

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