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It was in the grey evening when Winifred
went down-stairs, passing through the
low French windows of the drawing-room,
and on to the lawn, where Louis and Mary
were standing near the cistus-tree. But
not speaking. A word too tender, a look
too true, had just passed between them, and
Louis was still struggling with the impulse
which bid him say all, look all, and leave the
issue to fate. Mary was trembling, tears in
her eyes, and a strange feeling of disappointment
stealing over her; though she could not
have said why, for she did not know what
she had expected. Winifred walked gently
over the grass, and was by their side before
they knew that she had left the house.
Mary gave a heavy sob, and flung herself on
her neck, saying:

"Darling Winny! How glad I am you have

Louis turned away, painfully agitated.

"Why do you turn from me, Louis? " said
Winifred. "Are you afraid of your friend?
Do you fear that you cannot trust her

"What do you mean, Winifred? " said
poor Louis, passionately. " For God's sake,
no enigmas! O, forgive me, dearest friend,
I am harsh and hard to you; but I am mad!

"Poor suffering heart, that suffers because
of its unbelief," said Winifred tenderly: and
taking his hand she placed it in Mary's.
Clasping them both between her own. "See,
dear Louis," she said, the tears falling gently
over her furrowed cheeks. "My hand is no
barrier between you and your love. Rather
a tie the more. Love each other, dear ones,
if therein lies your happiness! For me, mine
rests with you, in your joy and your virtue.
And when, in the future, you think of Winifred,
my Mary will remember the foster-
mother who loved her beyond her own life,
and Louis will say he once knew one who
kept her vow to the last."


A DECREPIT old woman, tempted by a man in
black, has signed with her blood on parchment
a contract to become his, body and soul; has
received from him a piece of money, the black
king's shilling to the new recruit; has put one
hand to the sole of her foot and the other
hand to the crown of her head; and has duly
received a familiar in the shape of a cat or
kitten, a mole, a millerfly, or any other little
animal, which is the corporate form of a
demon, subject to the will of the said woman,
lodged by her, and provided with a daily
meal of her own blood, drawn from taps
established for its use on different parts of
her body. If any old woman has had an
adventure of this kind and keeps such a
familiar, she is undoubtedly, in spite of all
the lights of all the centuries, a witch. But,
whether any decrepit old woman ever did
make such a contract and rejoice in the
fulfilment of its terms, is certainly a question
not worth asking in the year one thousand
eight hundred and fifty-five. However, let
that pass. Grant her the demon, and then
let us inquire, what manner of witch she may
be. All will depend upon the use made of
her ill-gotten power. If by it she choose
to help people to recover stolen goods, heal
sickness, and make herself useful to her
neighbours, she is a white witch. If she be
malicious, a cunning thief, an afflicter of
children and of cattle, she is a black witch;
if she be partly white and partly black in her
behaviour, she is a grey witch; and her
familiar spirit is accordingly pronounced to
be black, white, or grey.

Why are almost all witches women, and,
in sooth, old women? The popular idea of a
witch coincides at this day with the picture
of her, sketched by Master Horsett a quarter
of a thousand years ago:—"An old weather-
beaten crone, having her chin and knees
meeting for age, walking like a bear leaning
on a staff, untoothed, having her lips
trembling with palsy, going mumbling in the
streets; one that hath forgotten her
paternoster and yet a shrewd tongue to call a drab
a drab, and who hath learned an old wife's
rhyme ending pax, max, tax, for a spell." His
sagacious Majesty King James the First
explained this by a theory, "For," he said, "as
the sex is frailer than man, so is it easier to be
entrapped in the gross snares of the Divell as
was over well proved to be true by the
serpent's deceiving of Eve in the beginning," and
of course when the weaker sex is at its period
of greatest weakness, when it has fallen into
bodily decay and dotage, then is the time for
evil powers to make sure of catching it in
traps. So of a decrepit old woman, if she was
poor and lived a lonely life, without the aid and
comfort of a loving husband or a sturdy son, the
presumption was fair that she must have
been caught in the trap, and being a witch
ought in the name of all things holy to be
burnt alive. Moreover, there would be a
disposition on the part of men to be very
tolerant of women who were well-favoured or
young, and at least an equal disposition on
their part to be intolerant of women who
were old and ugly. Let the tenderness of
Colonel Hobson testify.

In the year sixteen 'forty-nine the people
of Newcastle-upon-Tyne were much troubled
with witches, and two of the town-sergeants
were despatched to Scotland in order to enter
into agreement with a Scottish witch-finder.
On the arrival at Newcastle of this public
functionary, the magistrates of the town sent
the bellman through the streets, inviting any
person to bring up suspected witches for
examination. Thirty women were accordingly
produced at the town-hall, and most of
them, after trial by the thrusting of pins into
the flesh, were pronounced guilty. The
witch-finder informed Colonel Hobson that