Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/340

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churchyards were all haunted; every large common circles of fairies belonging to it; and there was scarce a shepherd to be met with who had not seen a spirit."

Two other quotations are added from more recent writers that will help to fix in mind the generality of superstition in England in former times.

"In former times these notions were so prevalent that it was deemed little less than atheism to doubt them; and in many instances the terrors caused by them embittered the lives of a great number of persons of all ages; by degrees almost shutting them out of their own houses, and deterring them from going from one village to another after sunset. The room in which the head of a family had died was for a long time untenanted; particularly if they died without a will, or were supposed to have entertained any particular religious opinions. But if any disconsolate old maiden, or love-crossed bachelor, happened to dispatch themselves in their garters, the room where the deed was perpetrated was rendered forever afterward uninhabitable, and not infrequently was nailed up. If a drunken farmer, returning from market, fell from old Dobbin and broke his neck,—or a carter, under the same predicament, tumbled from his cart or wagon, and