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stition." See also Mason's Anatomy of Sorcery, 4to. Lond. 1612, p. 90. Melton, in his Astrolagaster, p. 45, No. 27, observes that "If the beere fall next a man it is a signe of good luck.”1


THE casual putting the left shoe on the right foot, or the right on the left, was thought anciently to be the forerunner of some unlucky accident. Scot, in his Discovery of Witchcraft, tells us: "He that receiveth a mischance will consider whether he put not on his shirt the wrong side outwards, or his left shoe on his right foot." Thus Butler, in his Hudibras :

"Augustus, having b' oversight

Put on his left shoe 'fore his right,

Had like to have been slain that day
By soldiers mutin'yng for pay."

The authority of Pliny is cited in a note.2

Similar to this, says Grose, is putting on one stocking with the wrong side outward, without design; though changing it alters the luck.

A great deal of learning might be adduced on the subject of shoe superstitions.3 For the ancient religious use of the shoe, see Stuckius's Convivial Antiquities, p. 228.

"The Lydians, Persians, and Thracians, esteeme not soothsaying by birds, but by powring of wine upon the ground, upon their cloathes, with certain superstitious praiers to their gods that their warres should have good successe." Lloyd's Stratagems of Jerusalem, 4to. 1602, signat. P.P.

2 The following is in St. Foix, Essais sur Paris, tom. v. p. 145:"Auguste, cet empereur qui gouverna avec tant de sagesse, et dont le règne fut si florissant, restoit immobile et consterné lorsqu'il lui arrivoit par mégarde de mettre le soulier droit au pied gauche, et le soulier gauche au pied droit."

3 The following curious passage occurs in Bynæus on the shoe of the Hebrews, lib. ii.: "Solea sive calceo aliquem cædere olim contemptus atque contumeliæ rem fuisse habitam quod varia scriptorum veterum loca ostendunt." "Over Edom will I cast out my shoe," p. 353. As does the subsequent, p. 358: "Apud Arabes calceum sibi detractum in alium jacere, servandæ fidei signum et pignus esse certissimum." So is the following to our purpose, ibid. p. 360:"An mos iste obtinuerit apud Hebræos veteres, ut reges, cum urbem aliquem obsiderent, calceum in eam proji.

In the Statistical Account of Scotland, xiv. 541, parish of Forglen, in the county of Banff, we read: "The superstition of former times is now much worn out. There remains, however, still a little. There are happy and unhappy feet. Thus, they wish bridegrooms and brides a happy foot; and, to prevent any bad effect, they salute those they meet on the road with a kiss. It is hard, however, if any misfortune happens when you are passing, that you should be blamed, when neither you nor your feet ever thought of the matter. The tongue too must be guarded, even when it commends: it had more need, one would think, when it discommends. Thus, to prevent what is called forespeaking, they say of a person, God save them of a beast, Luck sair it."


[Train, in his History of the Isle of Man, ii. 129, says: "On the bridegroom leaving his house, it was customary to throw an old shoe after him, and in like manner an old shoe after the bride on leaving her home to proceed to church, in order to ensure good luck to each respectively; and, if by stratagem either of the bride's shoes could be taken off by any spectator on her way from church, it had to be ransomed by the bridegroom."]

Leo Modena, speaking of the customs of the present Jews, tells us that "some of them observe, in dressing themselves in the morning, to put on the right stocking and right shoe first, without tying it; then afterward to put on the left, and so to return to the right; that so they may begin and end with the right side, which they account to be the most fortunate." Transl. by Chilmead, 8vo. Lond. 1650, p. 17.

Gaule, in his Mag-astromancers posed and puzzel'd, p. 181, does not leave out, among vain observations and superstitious ominations thereupon, the "putting on the hose uneven, or a crosse, and the shooe upon the wrong foot; the band

cerent, in signum pertinacis propositi non solvendæ obsidionis, priusquam urbs sit redacta in potestatem, omnino non liquet. De Chirotheca quoque non memini me quicquam legisse." Ibid. lib. i. p. 179, I read the following: "Balduinus observat veteres, cum calceamenta pedibus inducerent, eaque pressius adstringerent, si quando corrigiam contingeret effringi, malum omen credidisse, adeo ut suscepta negotia desererent, uti disertè testatur Cicero in Divinatione, ubi sic ait: Quæ si suscipiamus, pedis offensio nobis et abruptio, corrigiæ et sternutamenta erunt observanda,' &c., atque illud omen veteres portendere credidisse, rem susceptam haud feliciter progressuram aut sinistro aliquo casu impediendam."

standing awry; the going abroad without the girdle on;" and "the bursting of the shoe-lachet.” In Pet. Molinæi Vates, p. 218, we read: "Si corrigia calcei fracta est, ominosum est."

James Mason, Master of Artes, in the Anatomie of Sorcerie, 4to. Lond. 1612, p. 90, speaking of "vaine and frivolous devices, of which sort we have an infinite number also used amongst us," enumerates " foredeeming of evill lucke, by pulling on the shooe awry."

It is accounted lucky by the vulgar to throw an old shoe after a person when they wish him to succeed in what he is going about. There was an old ceremony in Ireland of electing a person to any office by throwing an old shoe over his head.'

Grose, citing Ben Jonson saying "Would I had Kemp's shoes to throw after you," observes, perhaps Kemp was a man remarkable for his good luck or fortune; throwing an old shoe or shoes after any one going on an important business is by the vulgar deemed lucky. See instances of this in Reed's Old Plays, xii. 434.

Shenstone, the pastoral poet, somewhere in his works asks the following question: "May not the custom of scraping when we bow be derived from the ancient custom of throwing the shoes backwards off the feet?" and in all probability it may be answered in the affirmative.

In Gayton's Festivous Notes upon Don Quixote, p. 104, is the following passage, which will be thought much to our purpose: "An incantation upon the horse, for want of nailing his old shoes at the door of his house when he came forth; or because, nor the old woman, nor the barber, nor his niece, nor the curate, designed him the security of an old shooe after

See the Idol of the Clownes, p. 19. In Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. x. 8vo. Edinb. 1794, p. 543, parish of Campbelton, in Argyleshire, the following curious anecdote occurs : “ We read of a king of the Isle of Man sending his shoes to his Majesty of Dublin, requiring him to carry them before his people on a high festival, or expect his vengeance." This good Dublinian king discovers a spirit of humanity and wisdom rarely found in better times. His subjects urged him not to submit to the indignity of bearing the Manksman's shoes. "I had rather," said he, "not only bear but eat them, than that one province of Ireland should bear the desolation of war."

him." So in the Workes of John Heywoode, newlie imprinted, 1598:

"And home agayne hitherward quicke as a bee,

Now, for good lucke, cast an olde shooe after mee."

I find the following in the Raven's Almanacke: "But at his shutting in of shop could have beene content to have had all his neighbours have throwne his olde shooes after him when hee went home, in signe of good lucke." In Ben Jonson's masque of the Gypsies, 1640, p. 64, we find this superstition mentioned:

3 Gypsie.

"Hurle after an old shoe,

I'le be merry what here I doe."

See Beaumont and Fletcher's Honest Man's Fortune, p. 3979, and the Wild Goose Chace, p. 1648.


To break a looking-glass is accounted a very unlucky accident. Should it be a valuable one this is literally true, which is not always the case in similar superstitions. Mirrors were formerly used by magicians in their superstitious and diabololical operations,' and there was an ancient kind of divina

"Some magicians (being curious to find out by the help of a lookingglasse, or a glasse viall full of water, a thiefe that lies hidden) make choyce of young maides, or boyes uupolluted, to discerne therein those images or sights which a person defiled cannot see. Bodin, in the third book of his Dæmonomachia, chap. 3, reporteth that in his time there was at Thoulouse a certain Portugais, who shewed within a boy's naile things that were hidden. And he addeth that God had expressely forbidden that none should worship the stone of imagination. His opinion is that this stone of imagination or adoration (for so expoundeth he the first verse of the 26th chapter of Leviticus, where he speaketh of the idoll, the graven image, and the painted stone) was smooth and cleare as a looking-glasse, wherein they saw certaine images or sights, of which they enquired after the things hidden. In our time conjurers use chrystall, calling the divination chrystallomantia, or onycomantia, in the which, after they have rubbed one of the nayles of their fingers, or a piece of chrystall, they utter I know not what words, and they call a boy that is pure and no way corrupted, to see therein that which they require, as the same Bodin doth also make mention." Molle's Living Librarie, 1612, p. 2.

tion by the looking-glass; hence, it should seem, has been derived the present popular notion. When a looking-glass is broken, it is an omen that the party to whom it belongs will lose his best friend. See the Greek Scholia on the Nubes of Aristophanes, p. 169. Grose tells us that "breaking a looking-glass betokens a mortality in the family, commonly the master."

In the Mémoires de Constant, premier valet de chambre de l'Empereur, sur la vie privée de Napoléon, 1830, Bonaparte's superstition respecting the looking-glass is particularly mentioned: "During one of his campaigns in Italy, he broke the glass over Joséphine's portrait. He never rested till the return of the courier he forthwith despatched to assure himself of her safety, so strong was the impression of her death upon his mind."

In a list of superstitious practices preserved in the Life and Character of Harvey the famous Conjurer of Dublin, 1728, p. 58, with "fortune-telling, dreams, visions, palmestry, physiognomy, omens, casting nativities, casting urine, drawing images," there occur also "mirrors.'

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Willsford, in his Nature's Secrets, p. 138, tells us: "Mettals in general, against much wet or rainy weather, will seem to have a dew hang upon them, and be much apter to sully or foul anything that is rubbed with the mettal; as you may see in pewter dishes against rain, as if they did sweat, leaving a smutch upon the table cloaths; with this Pliny concludes as a sign of tempests approaching.


Stones against rain will have a dew hang upon them;

The following occurs in Delrio, Disquisit. Magic. lib. iv. chap. 2, quæst 7, sect. 3, p. 594: "Genus divinationis captoptromanticum: quo augures in splendenti cuspide, velut in crystallo vel ungue, futura inspiciebant." So, also, ibid. p. 576: “Kатоптроμavτɛia, quæ rerum quæsitarum figuras in speculis exhibet politis: in usu fuit D. Juliano Imper. (Spartianus in Juliano)." Consult also Pausanias, Cœlius Rhodoginus, and Potter's Greek Antiquities, vol. i. p. 350. Potter says: "When divination by water was performed with a looking-glass it was called catoptromancy: sometimes they dipped a looking-glass into the water, when they desired to know what would become of a sick person: for as he looked well or ill in the glass, accordingly they presumed of his future condition. Sometimes, also, glasses were used, and the images of what should happen, without water." Mr. Douce's manuscript notes add that "washing hands in the same water is said to forebode a quarrel."

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