chapter  5
67 Pages

Shakespeare and the English Witch-Hunts: Enclosing the Maternal Body

Birche, however, was reluctant to accommodate Mrs. Dewse. He was "lame," he said, and therefore unable to make the images. According to the second document, he even piously lectured her: "She were beste to take good heede how she dealte and whom she trusted in such matters .... The best meanes was to pray to God that hee would turne her enemies hartes." But the angry wife was determined to make the images herself, if only Birche would stand by and correct her mistakes. After several visits from Birche, Mrs. Dewse completed three pictures under his guidance. She made "one for Mr Younge & put a pynne into his harte, another for Sir Rowland Heyward & putt a pynne to his harte & another under his ribbes, & the third picture for Sye & put two pynnes into his eyes." Mrs. Dewse was apparently satisfied by the results: "She thanked God that some of her pictures did work welL"

As it happened, Mrs. Dewse had indeed placed her trust in the wrong man. Birche himself, after his very first visit, reported on their dealings to her enemy, Mr. Young-Justice Young, ihat is, as he is termed in the second documcnt. Hirchc's subsequcnt visits could bc considered something of a "sting" operation, as, under Young's direction, he cleverly but deviously gathered more information about Mrs. Dewse's intentions while leading her to commit the acts of sorcery on her own. The document closes with an account of the sheriff's search of her hOllie, dm'ing which he fOllnd two pictures hidden in "a sccrct place" in her cupboard, "with pynnes stickcd in them" just as thc informant had said.