Wednesday, January 23, 2019


The Devil in the Machine

John Aubrey (1626-1697), "Thomas Allen," Brief Lives:
He was generally acquainted, and every long vacation, he rode into the countrey to visitt his old acquaintance and patrones, to whom his great learning, mixt with much sweetnes of humour, rendred him very welcome. One time being at Hom Lacy in Herefordshire, at Mr. John Scudamore's (grandfather to the lord Scudamor), he happened to leave his watch in the chamber windowe—(watches were then rarities)—The maydes came in to make the bed, and hearing a thing in a case cry Tick, Tick, Tick, presently concluded that that was his Devill, and tooke it by the string with the tongues, and threw it out of the windowe into the mote (to drowne the Devill.) It so happened that the string hung on a sprig of an elder that grew out of the mote, and this confirmed them that 'twas the Devill. So the good old gentleman gott his watch again.
Hom = Holme; tongues = tongs.

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