Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/341

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271
POPULAR SUPERSTITION

was killed by it,—that spot was ever after haunted and impassable: in short there was scarcely a bye-lane or cross-way but had its ghost, who appeared in the shape of a headless cow or horse; or clothed all in white, glared with its saucer eyes over a gate or stile. Ghosts of a superior rank, when they appeared abroad, rode in coaches drawn by six headless horses, and driven by a headless coachman and postillions. Almost every ancient manor house was haunted by some one at least of its former masters or mistresses, where, besides divers other noises, that of telling money was distinctly heard; and as for the churchyards, the number of ghosts that walked there, according to the village computation, almost equaled the living parishioners: to pass them at night was an achievement not to be attempted by any one in the parish, the sextons excepted; who perhaps, being particularly privileged, to make use of the common expression, never saw anything worse than themselves." (Grose's Provincial Glossary, p. 242.)

"Nothing is commoner in country places than for a whole family in a winter's evening to sit round the fire and tell stories of apparitions and ghosts. Some of them have seen spirits in the shape of cows, and dogs, and horses; and some have seen even the devil himself, with a cloven foot.