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laugh at me, and say, this is logic, H. (calling me by my Christian name;) to which I replyed, this is reason, father L. (for I used and some others to call him so;) but it seems you are for the new lights, and immediate inspiration, which I confess he was as little for as for the other; but I said so only in way of drollery to him in those times, but truth is, nothing but palpable experience would move him; and being a bold man, and fearing nothing, he told me he had used all the magical ceremonies of conjuration he could, to raise the devil or a spirit, and had a most earnest desire to meet with one, but never could do it. But this he told me, when he did not so much as think of it, while his servant was pulling off his boots in the hall, some invisible hand gave him such a clap upon the back, that it made all ring again; so, thought he now, I am invited to the converse of my spirit, and therefore, so soon as his boots were off) and his shoes on, out he goes into the yard and next field, to find out the spirit that had given him this familiar clap on the back, but found none neither in the yard nor field next to it.
"But though he did not feel this stroke, albeit he thought it afterwards (finding nothing came of it) a mere delusion; yet, not long before his death, it had more force with him than all the philosophical arguments I could use to him, though I could wind him and non-plus him as I pleased; but yet all my arguments, how solid soever, made no impression upon him; wherefore, after several reasonings of this nature, whereby I would prove to him the soul's distinction from the body, and its immortality, when nothing of such subtile considerations did any more execution on his mind than some lightning is said to do, though it melts the sword, on the fuzzy consistency of the scabbard,—Well, said I, father L., though none of these things move you, I have something still behind, and what yourself has acknowledged to me to be true, that may do the business:—Do you remember the clap on your back when your servant was pulling off your boots in the hall J Assure yourself, said I, father L., that goblin will be the first that will bid you welcome into the other world. Upon that his countenance changed most sensibly, and he was more confounded with this rubbing up his memory, than with all the rational or philosophical argumentations that I could produce."
The running stream dissolved the spell.—P. 83. It is a firm article of popular faith, that no enchantment can subsist in a running stream. Nay, if you can interpose a brook betwixt you and witches, spectres, or even fiends, you are in perfect safety. Burns's inimitable Tam o' Shunter turns entirely upon such a circumstance. The belief seems to be of antiquity. Brompton informs us, that certain Irish wizards could, by spells, convert earthen clods, or stones, into fat pigs, which they sold in the market; but which always re-assumed their proper form, when driven by the deceived purchaser across a running stream. But Brompton is severe on the Irish, for a very good reason. "Gens ista spurcissima non solvunt decimas."—Chronicon Johannis Brompton apud decern Scriptores, p. 1076.
His buckler scarce in breadth a span,
No longer fence had he;
Would strike below the knee.—P. 86. Imitated from Drayton's account of Robin Hood and his followers:
A hundred valiant men had this brave Robin Hood,
Still ready at his call, that bowmen were right good;
All clad in Lincoln green, with caps of red and blue,
His fellow's winded horn not one of them but knew.
When setting to their lips their bugles shrill,
The warbling echoes waked from every dale and hill;
Their bauldrics set with studs athwart their shoulders cast,
To which under their arms their sheafs were buckled fast,
A short sword at their belt, a buckler scarce a span,
Who struck below the knee not counted then a man.
All made of Spanish yew, their bows were wondrous strong,
They not an arrow drew but was a clothyard long.
Of archery they had the very perfect craft,
With broad arrow, or but, or prick, or roving shaft.
To wound an antagonist in the thigh, or leg, was reckoned contrary to the law of armes. In a tilt betwixt Gawain Michael, an English squire, and Joachim Cathroe, a Frenchman, "they met at the speare poynts rudely: the French squyer justed right pleasantly; the Englyshman ran too lowe, for. he strak the Frenchman depe into the thygh. Wherwith the Erle of Buckingham was right sore displeased, and so were all the other lordes, and sayde how it was shamefully done." Froissakt, vol. I. ch. 366.—Upon a similar occasion, "the two knyghts came a fote eche against other rudely, with their speares low couched, to stryke eche other within the foure quarters. Johan of Castel Morante strake the Englysh squyer on the brest in such wyse, that Sir Wyllyam Fermetone stombled and bowed, for his fote a lyttel fayled him. He helde his speare lowe with bothe his handes, and coude nat amende it, and strake Sir Johan of the Castell-Morante in the thighe, so that the speare went clene throughe, that the heed was sene a handfull on the other syde. And Syre Johan with the stroke reled, but he fell nat. Than the Englyshe knightes and squyers were ryghte sore displeased, and sayde how it was a foule stroke. Syr Wyllyam Fermetone excused himselfe, and sayde how he was sorie of that adventure, and howe that yf he had knowen that it shulde have bene so, he wolde never have begon it; ^ayenge how he could nat amende it, by cause of glaunsing of his fote by constraynt of the great stroke that Syr Johan of the Castell-Morante had given him." Ibid, ch. 373.
And with a charm she staunched the blood.—P. 90. See several charms for this purpose in Reginald Scott's Discovery of Witchcraft, p. 273.
Tom Potts was but a serving man,
And washed it from the clotted gore, And salved the splinter o'er and o'er.—P. 90. Sir Kenelm Digby, in a discourse upon the cure by sympathy, pronounced at Montpelier, before an assembly of nobles and learned men, translated into English by R. White, gentleman, and published in 1658, gives us the following curious surgical case:
"Mr James Howel (well known in France for his public works, and particularly for his Dendrologie, translated into French by Mons. Baudouin) coming by chance, as two of his best friends were fighting in duel, he did his endeavour to part them; and, putting bimselfe between them, seized, with his left hand, upon the hilt of the sword of one of the combatants, while, with his right hand, he laid hold of the blade of the other. They, being transported with fury one against the other, struggled to rid themselves of the hindrance their friend made, that they should not kill one another; and one of them roughly drawing the blade of his sword, cuts to the very bone the nerves and muscles of Mr Howel's hand; and then the other disengaged his hilts, and gave a crosse blow on his ad