Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/343

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273
POPULAR SUPERSTITION

lamented the hardness of their condition, by being obliged to walk in cold and uncomfortable places, and therefore desire the person who was so hardy as to speak to them, to gift them with a warmer walk, by some well grown hedge, or some shady vale, where they might be sheltered from the wind and rain.

"The last topic of this conversation I shall take notice of, shall be the tales of haunted houses. And indeed it is not to be wondered at that this is never omitted. For formerly almost every place had a house of this kind. If a house was seated on some melancholy place, or built in some old romantic manner; or if any particular accident had happened in it, such as murder, sudden death, or the like, to be sure that house had a mark set on it, and was afterwards esteemed the habitation of a ghost. In talking upon this point they generally show the occasion of the house's being haunted, the merry pranks of the spirit, and how it was laid. Stories of this kind are infinite, and there are few villages which have not either had such an house in it, or near it." (Bourne's Antiquities of the Common People.)

With the fact of such widespread and deeprooted notions of the truth of the folk-lore traditions in mind, one will not be surprised to find how hemmed about every-day life was by an in-