Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/421

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325
GHOSTS—FAIRIES—WITCHES

that point where the petty and harmless witcheries of a novice developed in magnitude and malignity sufficient to give her a claim for entrance into the true sisterhood of her order. Such harmless, or white, witches lived among their neighbours often upon terms of familiarity and good will. They told fortunes, exercised the arts and practices of palmistry and elementary astrology, dealt out simples for a substantial consideration, cast waters and furnished love potions to distressed and disappointed youths and maidens. We learn from The Wise Woman of Hogsden a list of the notable white witches then in fashion. Mothers Nottingham and Bombie were especially famous for casting of waters; Mother Hatfield in Pepper Alley was useful in finding lost things, a task in the performance of which she was especially famous. Those who suffered from weakness of back went to Mother Phillips in the Bankside. The good acts of several of these people cuts them off from the class of bad witches whose influence was always malignant. The Wise Woman of Hogsden thus enumerates her own accomplishments: "Let me see how many trades I have to live by: First, I am a wise woman, and a fortune teller, and under that I deal in physic and forespeaking, in palmistry, and in recovering of things lost; next, I undertake to cure mad-