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JOHN DE C
journey on purpose to see her, I feel me? It is not more than a mile from so greatly prepossessed in favour of the town, a very pretty walk, and we her and the whole family, by all that shall meet the breeze.” I willingly is said of them in this life of their fa- agreed to go, if her friend would not ther, that I heartily wish I could be consider it an intrusion. “ Not at coine acquainted with any of them.” all,” said she, “ Mrs Melmoth and I should have made some further ex- her daughter, had circumstances altracts from George's letter, if I had lowed, would have been among the not been called away to attend on first to welcome you here, and I am some visitors, but Fanny has promis- sure if you will waive the ceremony ed to fill up my paper with a letter of a call, they will be very happy to she wrote last night to Richard. So be introduced to you, and, indeed, leaving my pen in such good hands, there will be charity in visiting them, I will myself conclude with being, for my poor Lucy has been confined dear Mr Editor, your obedient ser- to her sopha more than two years,
and-But I can tell you her story as JOHN DE COVERLEY. we walk along.” This, however, she
was prevented doing by Mr Scamony,
who joined us as we left the door, and To Richard de Coverley, Esg.
never ceased congratulating himself Your letter, my dear brother, caus- on the honour and happiness of ed quite a sensation at the breakfast esquiring two such fair ladies, till he table this morning. Mamma reite- bowed off as we arrived at Mrs Mel. rated so frequently, “ Dear me, what moth's. I had heard poor Mrs Mel. a pity! Dear me, how silly!” that at moth and her daughter mentioned length my father raised his eyes from frequently, but having sufficient emthe newspaper to inquire the cause. ployment in learning the history of “ Cause enough,” replied Mamma, those I saw, I had not inquired into “the collars of Dick's new shirts are that of people unknown to me, and in all an inch too low. Was ever any utter ignorance of every thing, except thing so unlucky?” Papa laughed a that I was to be introduced to a sick little at Mamma, but more at you, young lady, I was ushered into a very and I could have joined him heartily, elegant sort of dressing-room, with had not my aunt scolded him for French windows opening into a little laughing, scolded Mamma for not veranda covered with jessamine and having attended to her advice to make roses in full blow, and leading to a the collars higher, and almost scolded lawn so green, that it seemed as if the me for not knowing the fashion better. sun of the last three days had shed Pray when you next want a set of its mildest beams upon it. Near one shirts send an exact pattern, for how of these windows sat, or rather reare we to guess the proper height of a clined, a young lady supported by pilcollar in this ultima Bandyborough ? lows, and evidently much out of
Eleven o'clock.-So far I had writ- health. Oh, my dear brother, I wish ten when the cool and refreshing you could have seen her, for my debreeze which has succeeded the in- scription can give but a faint idea of tense heat of this day, induced me to the interest excited by her appearstroll to Miss Wilmot's, whom I have ance. She is not beautiful, perhaps already described to you as my fa- not pretty ; but there is a grace in all vourite among the young ladies here, she says and does beyond the reach and whom I like every day better and of art, and an expression of mildness better. The result of my visit was and submission in her countenance, my introduction to a new and so very for which I can find no other name interesting an acquaintance, that I than that of heavenly. She seems to cannot resist resuming my pen at this be rather above the middle height; late hour to repeat to you the occur- her figure slight, but not emaciated, rences of the evening, while they are and her hand the whitest and the fresh in my recollection. Miss Wil- prettiest I ever saw. This white and mot was preparing for a walk, and pretty hand she extended to me as immediately asked me to accompany Miss Wilmot introduced me, and her. “I am going,” said she, “to gracefully thanked me for visiting one visit a very dear friend of mine, who so very useless in society as herself. is out of health. Will you go with Then turning to Miss Wilmot, with. an affectionate smile, “ Emily," said perceptible-a very little paler, pershe, “ I see that scrutinizing glance, haps, but that was all, the conversaand I can answer it to your satisfac- tion fell into a new channel, and our tion-the traces of sadness you ob- party was immediately after increased serve are not caused by my own cares, I by the entrance of Mrs Melmoth, a have been sighing over the sorrows of woman of pleasing manners and appoor Miriam, and had scarcely closed pearance, but so much like many the book when you entered. I hope other people, that she would pass únyou have both read the Fall of Jeru- noticed, were it not for traces of mensalem, and I hope you both admire tal suffering, which give dignity to it, that we may talk over its beauties the commonest characters, and must together." We had both read, both always inspire respect. The converadmired it, and were very ready to sation of both mother and daughter place our chairs in the veranda, as she was easy, and rather cheerful ; they requested us, and to talk over its scarcely alluded to the melancholy beauties together. I will spare you situation of Miss Melmoth, and not the whole of our criticisms, but if at all to any past misfortunes. What you have read the poem, (which I their past misfortunes had been I hope you have, you will not be sur- could only guess from the effect of my prised at our dwelling with chiefest unfortunate observation, till after two admiration on the interviews between very agreeable hours, and a pronjise Miriam and Javan, and that the ten- on my part of a future visit, I was derness of the lover, the filial affec- again tête-a-tête with Miss Wilmot. tion of Miriam, the piety of Javan, Your curiosity must be still further and the charm of the poetry, were exercised, and I must defer till my long our theme. Miss Melmoth, as next letter the account she gave me, I have since recollected, joined but for this extreme verge of my paper little in this part of our conversation, will only allow me to say, Good night, but I shall never forget the animation my dearest brother, which brightened her fine counte
I FANNY DE COVERLEY. hul nance as she pointed out the beauties of her favourite chorus, King of kings, and Lord of lords, nor the fervour of HISTORICAL NOTICES OF THE POPUher manner and the sweetness of her LAR SUPERSTITIONS, TRADITIONS, voice, as she read to us the prayer and
AND CUSTOMS OF TIVIOTDALE. hymn of Miriam. Even the author, had he been present, must have felt
No. III. that his verse could not have had more justice done to it, and when she A distant age asks where the fabric stood." ceased, it was difficult to find voice
COWPER.' to thank her. We had chatted in that way for some time, when a sud
MR EDITOR, den stop was put to our conversation · In my last communication I endeaby my unfortunately remarking, that youred to illustrate, as far as my narthere were many passages too affect- row limits would permit, the opinions ing to read aloud with comfort, and which prevailed in ruder ages conthat amongst them was the scene of cerning witches, and the faith that Salone's death.' “I cannot,” said I, was placed in their supposed super« admire Salone, but the situation of natural powers. The witch of mopoor Miriam is so utterly destitute, dern times is now to occupy my atwhen she weeps over the remains of tention. her own and only sister, that it is From those strolling tribes of tinkscarcely possible to resist weeping ers and gypsies who traverse the with her!” The words were scarce country, pretending to gain their lively uttered, when I perceived by the lihood by mending broken kettles, rising colour in Miss Wilmot's face, pots, and pans, making horn spoons, and by her hasty glance towards her besoms, &c. &c. the honest peasantry friend, that I had touched on a ten- have, from time immemorial, been der string; it seemed, however, that plentifully supplied with fortune-telconstant pressure had made it cease lers, necromancers, sorcerers, spae to vibrate, for the change in Miss wives, and all the race of black-art Melmoth's countenance · was scarcely professors. It is rather remarkable,
however, that few of this sort of people tice done to it within the limits to were anciently stigmatized with the which I am confined. Her prolonged character of niischievous witches, but life, for she was upwards of ninety that they all along occupied a kind of years of age when it forsook her, was middle etation between witches and one continued scene of adventure. We other people, approaching to that of a never, therefore, hear a story confortune-teller. If the modern witches cerning her which is not filled with of Tiviotdale be not solely confined to ghosts and bogles, witches and warthis class of people, there are, as far locks, predictions and prophecies ; in as I have been able to learn, exceed- short, with all those fine things by ingly few exceptions. few exceptions.
There may. which the tales of witchery are cha.. indeed, be some old women, who, by racterized. Among the commonality, the eccentricity of their habits, draw the truth of her unearthly connection upon themselves the reputation of be- and intercourse was never questioned; ing witches ; but this character, I hence she was believed to be a witch, should suppose, is ascribed to them “as sure as there ever was a witch ; only by such people as are unacquaint- and, that she possessed powers deriyed with their manner of life. It of- ed from this source superior to other ten happens, indeed, that those who people, was equally undisputed. are publicly reputed uncannie are the Eppy's personal accomplishments best and most decent old women of were sufficiently suited to her prothe community, who, from the in- fession, for every female charm was firmities incidental to old age, are un- exquisitely caricatured in her perable to stir much abroad, and indus- son. The accomplishments of her triously employ their time within mind were also most harmoniousdoors in the usual occupations of do- ly in unison with those of her permestic life, and, while thus engaged, son; in place of delicacy, rudeness, their character is all the while suffer- to its consummation, was manifesting, by their being supposed secretly ed in her deportment; in place of to practise the black urt. This, if the charming timorousness so characseldom the case in our own days, was, teristic of her sex, she possessed a I make no hesitation to say, the case masculine boldness. But, without atevery day an hundred years ago. The tempting minutely to describe her gypsey fortune-tellers, on the other beauty, it may, in general, be menhand, retaining their usual and uni- tioned, that the structure which she versally suspicious character, pass to inherited from Nature was abundantand fro, without remaining so long in ly well calculated for the purposes one place as to submit it to the exa- of her profession; for even her mination of any one ; so that, with “whiskin' beard,” hanging in gracethem, the reputation of having a ful tresses from a long pointed chin, “ biack connection" may accumulate, which, as if intended to protect three but never decrease ; and hence they tremendous tusks that projected out are now almost the only source from of her mouth, crooked up in a semiwhich the country is supplied with circular curve, till it almost embraced persons upon whom the voice of the a nose of nearly equal dimensions, public confers a character any way as- and equally as symmetrical in its consimilating to that of a witch of fore formation; or the harmonious tones of mer times.
her ventriloquial voice were enough In order to render what I proposed to strike those who looked on her to give you, in illustration of this, a- visage, or who listened to her promusing to your readers, and at the phecies, with a conviction of her prosame time subservient to my purpose, ficiency and profundity in her art. I have selected as my heroine the far. This was, in fact, the case. She was famed Euphemia Stevenson, alias looked upon by the common people as Black Eppy, alias Eppy the Witch, a sort of oracle, and, for this reason, alias Eppy Sooty. The latter is the was regarded with awe. She was name by which this vulpinary ve- conscious of the value of her personal teran of the black art was universally attractions in the way of her trade, known throughout the upper districts and, accordingly, did not fail to avail of Tiviotdale. In the history of this herself of the advantages which they old virago there is something very re- afforded her of aggrandizing her remarkable, and which cannot have jus. nown. But, that she might add more
lustre to her comely fabric, she went but it is needless to swell the present about covered with a gorgeous man- article by giving any of them. tle, black as soot, (whence, probably, By being well acquainted with she derived her title,) and of a most those places which she frequented in aromatic perfume ; for, be it known, it the way of her trade, and by consulthad adorned her tender shoulders for ing her cronies and underlings, she upwards of half a century, and she had had it in her power to make herself her head ornamented with a hood of mistress of all that was made the subvast dimensions, so that her whole ject of common kitchen talk about the appearance bore a nearer resemblance “affaires de cæur” amongst her best to a huge black Russian bear than to customers, the common people, so that of a human being. This attire, that, when a couple of young gawkies coupled with the singularity of her came to get their fortunes told, she natural figure, obtained her universal could avail herself of her previous incelebrity in the way of her profession. formation, by disposing of the forShe was also eminent for an insatiable tunes of each of them in such a man. greediness to obtain money and arti- ner as she knew would suit their parcles of food, for which she never of- ticular circumstances. Her extensive fered the least return, såve, perhaps, knowledge of all that passed between a promise, such as that the cows of the lads and lasses also enabled her those who had given her any thing sometimes to surprise her customers should not fail to produce them a suf. very agreeably, by telling them who ficiency of milk, or their hens plenty were their sweethearts; and this cirof eggs; but if, on the contrary, her cumstance alone has, without doubt, requests were denied, she immediate- been the cause of confirming hesitat, ly hinted at her supernatural powers, ing believers in the faith of her being declaring that she would make them able to see into the labyrinths of fupay for their niggardliness in a way turity. not at all to their liking. By the ho With regard to her exploits.in nest country people it was reckoned witchcraft, I am not acquainted with lucky to give her lodgings in a stable any of a particular description, such or byre during the night, or to give as I have heard being blended less her a breakfast of brose in the morn- with the miraculous than those aing, thinking that by such means they chieved by her predecessors in the art ; would obtain her favour, which was and it seeins that the country people deemed a most desirable object. Be- were content with the belief of her ing generally known, and as generally having possessed a certain knowledge dreaded, she usually travelled alone, in the black art, without imputing to ¢ in the strength of her own great- her any great deeds of witchcraft, ness,” though she had many under- though by common consent she had lings, who assembled at certain times the power of performing them, for it and at certain places, to present her was deemed the height of imprudence with the fruits of their perambula- to attempt to make the milk curdle, tions.
or the churn to produce butter, in - From the many stories which tell her presence, as it was supposed, that of Eppy's adventures and exploits, if, even by accident, she set her foot she seems to have been most conspi- within the door where these operacuous in the art of fortune-telling, tions were going on, the milk would particularly when it related to the instantly be bewitched, and, instead love affairs of those whose fortunes of good butter and butter-inilk, the she was spaeing ;-and I believe that honest gudewife would take from the the encouragement which was afford- churn, stuff no better than dish-water. ed to the lover, by being told of his To prevent inconvenience from thus ultimate success with the object of being obliged to postpone these nehis wishes, has been, in more instances cessary operations, it was customary than one, the means of bringing the to meet her at the door, and present love affair to a speedy conclusion in her with a quantity of oatmeal or a the bonds of Hymen. I know many few halfpence, with which she was instances of the influence which fa- generally satisfied. The following vourable predictions have had over anecdote will illustrate her female those who were credulous enough to fortitude :-Having been seized with believe in their subsequent fulfilment; a mortification in her foot, it became so troublesome, that she expressed a which they are usually described. desire to have it amputated. She ac- Two or three credible and intelligent cordingly desired her sister to sharpen old men might easily, by their receiva table-knife which she pointed to, ed credibility, impose upon a whole and with it to take off the foot. In “ country side,” by propagating the cotnpliance with her request, the sis principles of such sagacious systems of ter, who probably was ás tarred with physiognomy, among those who, by the same stick," having drawn the common consent, had been taught to knife once or twice across a coarse reverence whatever was delivered as freestone, commenced the operation, their venerable opinion. It is obviand soon severed the troublesome foot ous, that, through such a channel as from her leg. She survived this de- this, these notions, and the relative licate operation only a few days. superstitions, have been handed down • There are still many old bunters from remote antiquity to our own day; going about the country pretending and even though they have descended to be skilled in fortune-telling and into an age teeming with philosophic divination, but there is none, of whom speculation and literature, the peaI have heard, of so widely extended santry who inhabit the more rural sifame as this justly celebrated Eppy tuations of Tiviotdale, venerating the Sooty:
opinions of their sires, more than the - It is curious to think how people newfangled speculations of their dewho, in other respects, were of sound scendants, are still unwilling to relinjudgment, should have become so quish them. much the dupes of superstition and An acquaintance of mine told me a prejudice, as to regard deformity and story somewhat illustrative of this, knavery as the certain indications of which I shall here relate as briefly as supernatural gifts, and to imagine, possible. Like Eppy Sooty, Samuel that decrepitude and a load of years,
prided in hearing it said that with those weaknesses of intellect in- he was too familiar with unearthly cidental to those states, were the in- beings. As may be inferred from fallible manifestations of knowledge this, he was by profession a diviner, in the occult sciences.
though he never practised the art of Those who considered themselves fortune-telling. His chief employacute in distinguishing witches from ment, and that on which he princi. those not possessed of their powers, pally depended for his livelihood, was, pretended that there were certain ma- for a pecuniary gratification, informnifestations in the form of their cra. ing people who had lost any of their nium,* by which they could be detect- property, where they would find it ed ; and that the colour of their eyes again, or in whose possession it was. was of a peculiar hue, which they as- That Samuel might give his oracular sumed immediately after the person answer with more certainty, he alwas initiated into the order of witch- ways required a certain time before he craftu ? These phrenologists allege that returned it to those who applied for their watchings, and the fatigues his assistance, and when it was not which they underwent in their nightly in his power to divine such cases as perambulations, gave their eyes a cer- were brought before him, he shifted off tain wan and ghastly appearance, easi- his applicants with evasive and indely to be distinguished from that pal. terininate answers, for which he had lid hue which the eyes acquire under a peculiar knack. At one time Mr sickness, or when the body has been an, under whom Samuel was a exerted in lawful employments; and cottar, and who was credulous enough that the frequent contortions of their to believe in every indication and mabodies, when throwing themselves in- nifestation that were pointed out to to different attitudes, and transmogri- him in evidence of Samuel's being fying themselves into different shapes, possessed of more than ordinary powimposed upon their natural appearance ers, discovered that he had lost some that ugly and auld-wife-like mien in of his fowls, and that every night his
poultry became less numerous. Sa. * *. * This is a fact well deserving the in
muel was applied to, and got his revestigation of the disciples of Gall and ward beforehand, which his master's Spurzheim. An organ of witchcraft would wrath, on account of the depredations, be worth all the rest put together.' made pretty considerable. Samuel