Thomas Heywood and Richard Brome

THE LATE LANCASHIRE WITCHES

1634

a synoptic, alphabetical character list

BOY

Although not named, the character of the Boy is presumably based on the real-life Edmund Robinson, the boy whose fraudulent testimony was integral to the 1634 Lancashire witch trials on which this play is partly based. In the play, the Boy encounters a brace of greyhounds, seemingly broken loose from their master, and determines to return them in hopes of reward. When the Boy later beats the dogs for not giving chase to a hare, however, two of the greyhounds are transformed into the witch Goody Dickison and Boy 2. Although Goody Dickison promises not to harm the Boy, she tells him that he must accompany her to a feast "so thou tell no tales." He refuses, but she spirits him away to the Sabbat celebration anyway. The Boy is polite but refuses to partake of the feast (claiming the food is tasteless) and, seizing an opportunity during the witches' revelry, he makes his escape. The Boy is one of the witnesses called forth by the witch-finder Doughty in the final scene, where he relates seeing the accused witches at the Sabbat, and Robin corroborates his story.

BOY 2

This character is not given a name or lines, but is listed in the dramatis personae and stage directions only as "Boy 2." He appears in only one scene, and seems to be at the mercy of the witches. After a beating, two greyhounds are transformed into Goody Dickison (a witch) and Boy 2. Goody Dickison orders Boy 2 to "take your shape" and he exits, presumably transforming into a horse off-stage. Boy 2 then transports Goody Dickison and the Boy to the feast in this form, but he is not mentioned again in the play.

CONSTABLE

Accompanied by officers, the Constable appears in the last scene. He does not have any lines, but he is responsible for arresting Gill, Maud and Peg, presumably at the witch-hunter Doughty's behest, and escorting them on stage to appear before Doughty.

COUNTRY LASSES

Although not provided lines, the two Country Lasses appear as wedding guests during the marriage celebration of Lawrence and Parnell; they are little more than dance partners for the male characters in this scene.

DEVIL

A "ghost character", the Devil is mentioned by Young Greety as appearing to him in the form of a boy. According to Young Greety, he and the devil wrestle, but the outcome of this fight is never revealed because Miller Greety, Young Greety's father, interrupts the story with the information that he then found his son in a trance.

DOLL

Mentioned by Mrs. Generous, Doll is a witch called upon to help frighten the Soldier in the mill. She has no lines ascribed to her specifically, and it is unclear whether she appears in the play at all, but she is likely meant to be understood as one of the undifferentiated "Witches" that do appear in the play.

DOUGHTY

Old Seely's neighbor, Young Greety's godfather, and a local witch-hunter, Doughty is among the first to attribute the upheaval and reversal of the social order in the Seely household to witchcraft. He is a guest at the wedding celebration of Lawrence and Parnell and witnesses strange events:
  • the transformation of the bride cake to bran
  • the transformation of the wedding feast to inedible slop
  • the bewitching of the Fiddlers
  • and the sudden reversals of the Seely family dynamics.
Doughty also witnesses the Skimmington ritual performed by the rabble and the falling out of the recently wed Lawrence and Parnell; he makes sure that the Skimmington ends peacefully by giving the rabble money for drink. It is at this point that Doughty resolves to go "a-witch-hunting." He soon afterward listens with approval to his godson Young Greety's story of his fight with the devil in the shape of a boy. His witch-hunting exploits are not presented on stage, but Doughty appears in the final scene claiming to have caught "a whole kennel of witches," and proceeds to conduct a pseudo-judicial examination of the few witches brought before him. The witches vow silence, but one of the witches, Peg "Mother" Johnson, breaks under the pressure. Doughty extracts a damning confession from her before turning her over, along with the other witches, to the judicial authorities.

F. ADSON

An invisible spirit, F. Adson appears on stage only once, accompanying a brace of greyhounds. Why he is given this name is unclear, as he does not speak, is not addressed, and undertakes no action in the play. The Boy encounters the greyhounds and takes them under his charge, but F. Adson does not interfere with this decision. If live greyhounds were used on stage, it is possible that "F. Adson" was their keeper and not a character designation, written into the script as a spirit to keep the dogs under control during their theatrical appearance.

FIDDLERS

The musicians on hand to provide music for the wedding celebration of Lawrence and Parnell. The fiddlers are bewitched by unseen forces that cause them first to play in utter discord, and then play soundlessly. They eventually smash their bewitched instruments, but whether this action is the result of their being bewitched, frustrated, or superstitiously fearful is unclear. Their presence contributes to the chaotic effects of witchcraft on the Seely household as perceived from the wedding guests' perspective.

GALLANT

A spirit conjured by Mrs. Generous and Mall Spencer to aid Whetstone in his revenge against the gallants for calling him a bastard. After the spirits, in the form of the Pedant, the Tailor, and Robin appear and cast aspersions on the paternity of the gallants (Masters Bantam, Shackston, and Arthur respectively), Whetstone offers to call forth his own "father," who duly appears in the form of the Gallant. Since Whetstone is a bastard and does not know who his father is, this is likely wishful thinking rather than an accurate reflection of Whetstone's actual parentage, but it also achieves his revenge, as Whetstone's "father" is of higher social rank than the others.

GILL

A witch, sometimes addressed as Gillian. Gill is one of the witches responsible for the turmoil in the Seely household. She is also the one responsible for concocting the plot to mislead the hunting gallants with a brace of greyhounds. Although she is not assigned specific lines in the later "witch" scenes, she is presumably among the witches who revel at the Sabbat feast and who subsequently harass the Soldier at the mill. Gill is certainly one of the arrested witches brought on stage in the final scene, and one of the group that refuses to confess. Like most of the other witches in the play, she speaks almost exclusively in rhyme.

GOODY DICKISON

One of the witches. Goody Dickison seems to be a part of Gill's plot to harass the hunting gallants by appearing in the form of a brace of greyhounds to mislead the hunters and their dogs. However, the Boy, who recognizes the dogs as belonging to a neighbor and determines to return them, intercepts her in this form. When the Boy beats the dogs for not giving chase to a hare, one of them transforms into Goody Dickison, who spirits the Boy off to a witches' Sabbat feast. In the meantime, the witch Mall Spencer identifies Goody Dickison as one of the witches responsible for bewitching the Fiddlers at Lawrence and Parnell's wedding celebration. At the Sabbat, Goody Dickison plays hostess to the kidnapped Boy, hoping to secure his silence, but he escapes during their revelry. At the end Goody Dickison and the other witches agree to meet next at the mill. Although not specifically named, she is likely one of the many witches who harass the Soldier at the mill. She is one of the witches arrested and brought on stage by the Constable in the final scene, and is one of the group that refuses to confess.

GREGORY SEELY

The son of Old Seely and Joan Seely, and brother of Winny Seely, Gregory is one of the victims of the witchcraft that upsets the Seely household. In an inversion of normal family dynamics, Gregory rules over his father, treating him like a badly behaved child. In turn, Gregory is deferential to Lawrence, Old Seely's manservant. Their neighbor Doughty is appalled by Gregory's behavior and attempts to chasten him, but as Gregory is bewitched he will not hear reason. During the wedding celebration of Lawrence and Parnell, the witches' mischief causes the family's relationships to undergo abrupt changes; Gregory becomes a contrite and penitent son and Old Seely forgives him, then Old Seely becomes tyrannical and refuses to forgive Gregory's abuses of him, and finally Gregory unreasonably dominates his father again. In the final scene normal, happy family relations are restored, and it is revealed that the family is no longer bewitched because the witches responsible have been arrested.

HARGRAVE

One of the witches mentioned by name in the play. Although there are no lines assigned under this character designation, it is possible that Hargrave is the surname of either Gill or Maud.

INCUBUS

A familiar spirit, he is called upon by Witch 1 (see under Witches) to carry her away from the interrupted witches' Sabbat celebration in act IV scene 1.

JOAN SEELY

The wife of Old Seely, mother of Gregory and Winny Seely, and aunt of Master Arthur. Joan Seely is one of the victims of the witchcraft that upsets the Seely household. In an inversion of normal family dynamics, Joan has become deferential to her daughter Winny, who lords over her. Both she and Winny are, in turn, ruled over by the Seelys' maidservant Parnell. During the wedding celebration of Lawrence and Parnell, Joan is appalled to see the feast she has prepared become transformed into inedible slop. Her attempts to perform traditional marriage rites go horribly wrong. The witches' mischief at the wedding also causes the family's relationships to undergo abrupt changes; Winny becomes penitent and Joan forgives her, then Joan becomes tyrannical and refuses to forgive her, and finally she becomes submissive to her daughter again. In the final scene normal, happy family relations are restored, and it is revealed that the family is no longer bewitched because the witches responsible have been arrested.

JUG

Jug is mentioned on two occasions by Mrs. Generous and is one of the witches who harass the Soldier at the mill; Jug is not given lines and is driven off by the soldier.

LAWRENCE

The manservant of Old Seely, Lawrence is also in love with his fellow servant Parnell. The witchcraft plaguing the Seely household affects Lawrence. He and Parnell rule over the rest of the family; in particular, he holds full sway over the men of the household. Lawrence proposes marriage to Parnell, and although she first interprets it as a joke in her bewitched state, she presumably agrees. The next time we see the couple it is at their wedding celebration. By means of witchcraft this celebration becomes a scene of chaos:
  • the bride cake is turned to bran,
  • the wedding feast is transformed, and
  • the fiddlers are bewitched.
We also discover that Lawrence had previously been involved with Mall Spencer, who resents being jilted. Although she professes no longer to have feelings for Lawrence, she gives him a wedding gift of a lace point for his britches that is bewitched, rendering him impotent. During the celebration Lawrence and Parnell's behavior becomes erratic, one minute consumed by lust and the next angry with each other. When Parnell discovers that the once sexually overactive Lawrence is impotent, she becomes so shrewish a wife that the neighbors perform a Skimmington ritual outside the Seely household in protest (see Rabble). Not to be outdone by Parnell's wading into the crowd to pluck down and beat the Skimmington effigy, Lawrence likewise beats the effigy of the Skimmington's wife. This discord between Lawrence and Parnell seems to be what inspires Doughty to go "a-witch-hunting," and when the witches are taken into custody, Parnell and Lawrence are no longer bewitched. Moreover, they relate how they became suspicious of Mall's gift and threw the lace point on the fire, where it wriggled and hissed like a live thing before its destruction lifted Lawrence's impotence. Lawrence and Parnell happily resume their servant status at the end of the play. With Lawrence no longer impotent, they are in love again.

MALL SPENCER

A maidservant and witch, Mall Spencer is the ex-girlfriend of Lawrence, current girlfriend of Robin, and sometime companion of Mrs. Generous. She first appears in the play when Robin visits her on his way to Lancashire to fetch wine for Master Generous. When Robin confesses that his master's favorite wine is only available in London, Mall offers to spirit him to London to fetch the wine, first demonstrating her magical powers by levitating her milk pail into a nearby field. She is also a guest at Lawrence and Parnell's wedding celebration; in addition to garnering the amorous attentions of many of the male guests, Mall also gives her ex-lover Lawrence a bewitched lace point that renders him impotent and conjures up a piper to play music when the bewitched fiddlers cannot. Mall is one of the witches who attend the Sabbat celebration and who harass the Soldier at the mill. In the meantime, Mall also aids Mrs. Generous in exacting revenge on the gallants on behalf of her nephew Whetstone. The two women conjure spirits in the form of the Pedant, the Tailor, and Robin in order to cast aspersions on the paternity of Master Bantam, Master Shackston, and Master Arthur respectively. Mall attends Mrs. Generous after the Soldier has wounded her, and when Master Generous arrives she realizes the danger she is in but the Soldier takes her into custody before she can escape. She is among the witches brought on stage in the final scene, and one of those who refuse to confess.

MAMILLION

The familiar of the witch Peg (or Meg) Johnson, Mamillion is the familiar most often referred to in the play. Mamillion, along with the other familiars mentioned, is not solely under the "command" of Meg, however, as he is one of the spirits borrowed by Mall Spencer and Mrs. Generous to wreak mischief on the gallants (Masters Arthur, Bantam and Shackston). When the witches are brought into custody at the end of the play, Meg plaintively wails for Mamillion to aid her, but he does not appear, having abandoned her to the authorities.

MASTER ARTHUR

A gallant, and nephew to Old Seely, Master Arthur is often in the company of his friends Masters Bantam and Shackston. He is less skeptical about witchcraft than his friends, and is quick to attribute their hunting failures to witchery. Arthur is also in some financial trouble, needing funds to pay rent on his estate, and because of the chaos in the Seely household he is forced to secure a loan from Master Generous. He is invited, along with the other gallants, to dine with Master Generous, on the condition that they tolerate Generous' foolish nephew Whetstone. They agree, but Bantam breaks the promise when he loses patience and insults Whetstone; although it is Bantam's indiscretion, and Arthur chides Bantam, he is still considered guilty by association in Whetstone's eyes and becomes a target of Whetstone's later revenge. Arthur is one of the guests at Lawrence and Parnell's wedding celebration, and despite the witches' mischief he witnesses there he remains stalwart. He is also one of the onlookers during the Skimmington ritual performed outside the Seely house. Arthur, along with Bantam and Shackston, goes to Whetstone's for supper, in the hopes of reconciling with Whetstone and thus repairing his relationship with Master Generous. After dinner Whetstone retaliates for the earlier insult by offering to conjure the gallants' fathers, and Arthur is confronted by a spirit in the form of Robin, who in a dumb show claims him as his son. Shaken by this, he later confronts the real Robin about his paternity, but Robin vehemently denies fathering him, and Master Generous proves that Robin could not have appeared before Arthur the previous night because both he and Robin have been away on business. This mollifies Arthur, but he begins to suspect Mrs. Generous of witchcraft; when she is later revealed to her husband as a witch, Arthur also informs Master Generous of Whetstone's activities. Arthur is among those who confront the arrested witches in the final scene, and Master Generous, disgusted with his nephew's consorting with witches, confers his inheritance on Arthur instead.

MASTER BANTAM

A gallant, Master Bantam is the friend and companion of Master Arthur and Master Shackston. Bantam initially professes skepticism regarding witchcraft, but the events of the play change his mind. He is invited, along with the other gallants, to dine with Master Generous, on the condition that they tolerate Generous' foolish nephew Whetstone. They agree, but the pretentious Whetstone proves too irritating for quick-tempered Bantam, who loses patience and insults Whetstone by making reference to his unknown paternity. Bantam is also amongst the guests who witness the witchery at Lawrence and Parnell's wedding celebration, and later is an onlooker during the Skimmington ritual performed outside the Seely household. Whetstone, meanwhile, has vowed revenge on the gallants for Bantam's insult, and invites them for supper. Afterward, Whetstone offers to conjure the gallants' fathers, and the Pedant, who in a dumb show claims him as his son, confronts Bantam. Angered by the unfounded suggestion that he was begotten illegitimately, Bantam attempts to draw his sword but is prevented by unseen forces. Bantam is in turn revenged in the final scene, however, when the witches are arrested and Whetstone is denounced for consorting with them.

MASTER GENEROUS

Husband to Mrs. Generous and uncle by marriage to Whetstone, Master Generous is a wealthy landowner who lives up to his name. His first business on stage is to invite the gallants (Masters Arthur, Bantam and Shackston) to dine with him, on the condition that they tolerate his wearisome nephew Whetstone, and to loan Master Arthur money to pay the mortgage on one of his estates. Master Generous discovers from his manservant Robert (see Robin) that his wife has oft been out riding alone, and instructs Robin to prevent her from doing so in the future. He also asks Robin to ride into Lancashire to replenish his wine stock. He is approached by the Soldier, who asks for work in return for food and shelter, at the same time that he is informed by his tenant Miller Greety that he will no longer work at the mill as a result of the repeated supernatural attacks to which he has been subjected; Master Generous accepts the miller's resignation and gives the mill over to the Soldier. When Robin returns with Master Generous' favorite wine, available only in London, and tries to explain that he has made the trip to London and back in one night with the aid of witchcraft, Generous does not believe him. Robin produces evidence, but Generous finds the evidence puzzling. When Master Generous discovers his wife is still venturing out alone, he refuses to become jealous; he upbraids Robin, but Robin professes his innocence. Robin convinces Master Generous to remove the bridle from the strange horse in the stable, and Generous discovers that his wife has been engaging in witchcraft when the horse transforms into Mrs. Generous. He forgives his wife after her tearful confession and instructs her to mend her ways. Generous has determined to guard his wife's secret, but he finds evidence of her continued witchcraft when he discovers her severed hand. He confronts and denounces her. He turns Mrs. Generous and her companion Mall Spencer over to the authorities and, disgusted by his nephew's involvement with his wife's witchcraft, confers his inheritance on Master Arthur instead.

MASTER ROBINSON

A "ghost character", Master Robinson appears to be the owner of the greyhounds encountered by the Boy. Believing that the dogs have escaped their master, the Boy determines to return them in the hopes of reward, describing Master Robinson as a liberal gentleman.

MASTER SHACKSTON

A gallant, Master Shackston is the friend and companion of Master Arthur and Master Bantam. Like Bantam, Shackston is skeptical about witchcraft, but he is more moderate in his views. The events of the play change his mind. He is invited, along with the other gallants, to dine with Master Generous, on the condition that they tolerate Generous' foolish nephew Whetstone. They agree, but the promise is broken by Bantam, who loses patience and insults Whetstone; although it is Bantam's indiscretion, Shackston is guilty by association in Whetstone's eyes and he too becomes a target of Whetstone's later revenge. Shackston is amongst the guests who witness the witchery at Lawrence and Parnell's wedding celebration, and is an onlooker during the Skimmington ritual performed outside the Seely household. Shackston then accompanies the other gallants to Whetstone's for supper. Afterward, Whetstone retaliates for the earlier insult by offering to conjure the gallants' fathers, and the Tailor, who in a dumb show claims him as his son, confronts Shackston. Angered by the unfounded suggestion that he was begotten illegitimately, Shackston attempts to draw his sword but is prevented by unseen forces. Shackston is in turn revenged in the final scene, however, when the witches are arrested and Whetstone is denounced for consorting with them.

MAUD

A witch, and apparent mistress to the familiar Puckling, Maud is one of the witches responsible for the turmoil in the Seely household. She sings the song to call the witches' familiar spirits in the first "witch scene". Maud is among the witches who revel at the Sabbat feast and it is she who decides that their next meeting will be at the mill, where they harass the Soldier. Maud is also one of the arrested witches brought on stage in the final scene, and one of the group that refuses to confess. Like most of the other witches in the play, she speaks almost exclusively in rhyme.

MAWSY

One of the witches' familiars, Mawsy is mentioned, along with Puckling, Suckling and Mamillion, in the witches' song in act II scene 1. Mawsy presumably appears on stage but does not speak.

MEG

One of the witches, she is addressed interchangeably as Meg or Peg.

MILLER GREETY

Father to Young Greety and tenant of Master Generous, Miller Greety first appears on stage scratched and bloody, having been attacked by cats at the mill. He informs his landlord Master Generous that this has been going on for some time, and that he refuses to set foot in the mill again. He hands over his keys to the Soldier, who takes over the mill, having at one time been a miller himself by trade. Miller Greety does not appear again until much later in the play, when he brings his son Young Greety before his son's godfather Doughty, and corroborates his son's tale of wrestling with the devil with stories of other odd, witchcraft-related mishaps that have befallen his family. He is also among those who confront the arrested witches with their crimes in the final scene.

MILLER GREETY'S WIFE

A "ghost character." We are told that Miller Greety's wife is another victim of the witches' mischief. According to Miller Greety, his wife was unable to churn butter successfully all last summer (the inability to churn butter being considered a common indicator of witchcraft). It is also to her that her son Young Greety first reveals his being "bewitched."

MRS. GENEROUS

Wife of Master Generous and aunt of Whetstone, Mrs. Generous seems a model wife but is secretly a witch. She is prone to riding out alone at night (presumably to attend witch Sabbats), which disturbs her husband, and he instructs his manservant Robin to prevent her from doing so in the future. She first appears on stage intent upon riding, but when Robin prevents her, she slips her magic bridle on him and transforms him into a horse, riding him to the witches' Sabbat feast. She is addressed by the other witches as the Lady of the Feast, indicating her prominence in the witch community. She and the other witches subsequently feast on the food prepared for Lawrence and Parnell's wedding celebration. When the Sabbat is interrupted, the witches scatter, but Robin outwits Mrs. Generous and slips the bridle on her and rides her home. He keeps her in the form of a horse until Master Generous can slip off the bridle and discover her. Transformed back to her natural form, she confesses and tearfully begs Master Generous' forgiveness. He grants it and exhorts her to mend her ways, but she quickly resumes her witchery. Together with Mall Spencer, Mrs. Generous aids her nephew Whetstone's revenge on the gallants by conjuring up spirits in the shape of the Pedant, the Tailor, and Robin who cast aspersions on the paternity of the gallants. She summons the other witches to harass the Soldier at the mill; however, the Soldier drives them off, wounding one in the process. The wounded witch turns out to be Mrs. Generous, who has lost her hand in the skirmish. When Master Generous discovers the severed hand and recognizes it as hers, he confronts Mrs. Generous. She and Mall Spencer are turned over to the authorities, and Mrs. Generous is the ringleader of the witches who refuse to speak when confronted with their crimes in the final scene.

NAB

Nab is mentioned on two occasions by Mrs. Generous and is one of the witches who harass the Soldier at the mill; Nab is not given lines and is driven off by the soldier.

OLD SEELY

The husband of Joan Seely, father of Gregory and Winny Seely, and uncle of Master Arthur, Old Seely is one of the victims of the witchcraft that upsets the Seely household. In an inversion of normal family dynamics, Old Seely has become deferential to his son Gregory, who rules over him ruthlessly. Both he and Gregory are, in turn, ruled over by Old Seely's manservant Lawrence. This misrule has left Old Seely unfit to govern his own estates, and his nephew Master Arthur is forced to secure a loan from Master Generous because he is unable to turn to his uncle for financial help. Old Seely's neighbor Doughty is appalled by the chaos of the Seely household and attributes the strange behavior to witchcraft. During the wedding celebration of Lawrence and Parnell, the witches' mischief causes the family's relationships to undergo abrupt changes; Gregory becomes penitent and Old Seely forgives him, then Old Seely becomes tyrannical and refuses to forgive him, and finally he becomes submissive to his son again. In the final scene normal, happy family relations are restored, and it is revealed that the family is no longer bewitched because the witches responsible have been arrested.

PARNELL

The maidservant of Old Seely and his wife Joan Seely, Parnell is also in love with her fellow servant Lawrence. The witchcraft plaguing the Seely household affects Parnell. She and Lawrence rule over the rest of the family; in particular, she holds full sway over the women of the household. Despite her singularly odd shrieking response to Lawrence's proposal of marriage, she apparently accepts him and next appears at her wedding celebration. By means of witchcraft this celebration becomes a scene of chaos:
  • the bride cake is turned to bran,
  • the wedding feast is transformed, and
  • the fiddlers are bewitched.
Parnell and Lawrence's behavior becomes erratic, one minute consumed by lust and the next angry with each other. Parnell's eagerness to be gone to the bridal chamber at the end of the wedding feast is soon dispelled, however, when she discovers Lawrence to be impotent. She becomes so shrewish a wife that the neighbors perform a Skimmington ritual outside the Seely household in protest (see Rabble). Parnell wades in amongst the rabble and, pulling the Skimmington idol (an effigy of the hen-pecked husband) from its horse, she proceeds to beat it soundly. This discord between Lawrence and Parnell seems to be what inspires Doughty to go "a-witch-hunting," and when the witches are taken into custody Parnell and Lawrence are no longer bewitched. They happily resume their servant status and, with Lawrence no longer impotent, they are in love again. In the final scene the feisty Parnell wishes to scratch the witch Mall Spencer (Scratching being an old-fashioned rustic "witch-test") but the witches' mischief is uncovered by more legally damning means.

PEDANT

A spirit conjured by Mrs. Generous and Mall Spencer to aid Whetstone in his revenge against the gallants for calling him a bastard. In order to cast aspersions on Master Bantam's paternity, the Pedant appears in the form of Bantam's childhood tutor, dances, and points to Bantam as if to claim him as his son; the suggestion is that Bantam too is a bastard. The play later implies, however, that this suggestion is groundless.

PEG (JOHNSON)

A witch, Peg is interchangeably addressed also as Meg or Mother Johnson; like most of the witches in the play, she speaks almost exclusively in rhyme. Her familiar is identified as Mamillion, although Mamillion appears to be commanded by other witches as well. She is one of the witches who conspire to wreak havoc with the gallants' hunting plans, and Mall Spencer identifies her as one of the witches responsible for bewitching the musicians at Lawrence and Parnell's wedding celebration. Peg is also one of the witches present at the Sabbat feast, and among those who harass the Soldier at the mill. In the final scene of the play Peg is one of the arrested witches brought on stage; she is distinguished from the other witches when, unlike the witches who stubbornly refuse to speak, she pathetically calls out to her familiar to aid her. The other witches turn on her, and Doughty separates her from them for her safety. He then examines her, and Peg confesses to being a witch before being turned over to the authorities with the others.

PIPER

A musician conjured by Mall Spencer to play at Lawrence and Parnell's wedding celebration when the bewitched Fiddlers cannot. The piper has no lines but plays a dance for the wedding guests, at the end of which he and Mall mysteriously vanish.

PUCKLING

One of the witches' familiars, Puckling is mentioned, along with Mawsy, Suckling and Mamillion, in the witches' song in act II scene 1. Puckling seems to belong to the witch named Maud, and although he presumably appears on stage and feeds from Maud, he does not speak.

PUGGY

A familiar spirit. Mall Spencer refers to her familiar as "Puggy," but whether or not this is his name or merely her pet name for him is unclear. "Puggy" or "Pug" is a generic name for a familiar spirit; indeed, many of the familiars' names in the play appear interchangeable.

RABBLE

A mob of local rustics designated as "Rabble," this group performs a Skimmington ritual outside of the Seely household as a show of public protest against the disorder of the Seely family's social relations, and particularly the discord between the recently married servants Lawrence and Parnell.

ROBERT

The manservant of Master Generous, Robert is more often addressed as Robin.

ROBIN

The loyal manservant of Master Generous, Robin is sometimes addressed by his full name, Robert. Early in the play Master Generous puts Robin in charge of two tasks:
  • to fetch wine from Lancashire and
  • to prevent his wife, Mrs. Generous from going out riding alone.
Robin is happy about his trip to Lancashire. It allows him some stolen moments with his sweetheart, Mall Spencer, who resides along the way. Mall is a witch, however, and after demonstrating to Robin her powers by making her milk pail fly through the air, she promises to spirit him away to London to fetch Master Generous' favorite wine. When Robin returns, he tells Master Generous of his miraculous trip, but Master Generous does not believe him, even when he produces as evidence a receipt that Master Generous had forgotten during his last trip to London. When Robin attempts to fulfill his second task of preventing Mrs. Generous from going riding alone, she slips a magic bridle on him and transforms him into a horse and rides him to the witches' Sabbat feast. There he witnesses their revelry. When the Sabbat is interrupted Robin outwits Mrs. Generous and slips the bridle on her and rides her back at home. There, Robin leaves Mrs. Generous in the form of a horse until Master Generous is persuaded to remove the bridle, whereon she is transformed into her natural form. Mrs. Generous tearfully confesses to her husband, and Master Generous exacts a promise of silence from Robin to keep his wife's guilty secret. Robin subsequently accompanies Master Generous on business out of town, and immediately upon his return he is confronted by Master Arthur, who accuses him of being his father. Robin adamantly denies this charge, and his trip out of town confirms that Master Arthur has been misled by witchcraft in his suspicions (see also entry on Robin (spirit)). Robin is among those called forward by Doughty to testify against the witches in the final scene, and he confirms the Boy's story of the witches' Sabbat.

ROBIN (SPIRIT)

A spirit conjured by Mrs. Generous and Mall Spencer to aid Whetstone in his revenge against the gallants for calling him a bastard. In order to cast aspersions on Master Arthur's paternity, the spirit appears in the form of Robin (obviously the same actor playing the spirit). Robing at one time had been Arthur's father's groom, and he points to Arthur as if to claim him as his son; the suggestion is that Arthur too is a bastard. This suggestion is revealed as groundless, however, when later in the play Arthur confronts Robin about his paternity and discovers from both Robin and Master Generous that they have been out of town, and hence the spirit that appeared earlier to Arthur could not have been Robin himself; Robin adamantly denies having fathered Arthur.

SOLDIER

A Yorkshire native recently returned from the Russo-Polish war, the Soldier is passing through Lancashire on his way home when he encounters Master Generous. Poor and hungry, he asks Master Generous if he may work to earn food and shelter. It is a propitious moment because Miller Greety comes to inform Master Generous, his landlord, that he is giving up the mill. Previously a miller by trade, the Soldier asks if he may take over the mill, undeterred by the miller's tale of being repeatedly attacked by supernaturally large cats. The Soldier does not appear again until much later in the play, when the witches and their familiars attack him. Stouthearted, he defends himself and wounds one of the invisible spirits. When he reports the attack to Master Generous and Master Arthur, they note his bloody sword and find a human hand. Generous recognizes the hand as belonging to his wife, the "cat" that the Soldier wounded being the transformed Mrs. Generous. The Soldier accompanies Generous when he confronts his wife, and is pressed by Generous to take Mall Spencer, his wife's companion and fellow witch, into custody. He is also among those who confront the arrested witches in the final scene.

SUCKLING

One of the witches' familiars, Suckling is mentioned, along with Mawsy, Puckling and Mamillion, in the witches' song in act II scene 1. Suckling presumably appears on stage but does not speak.

TAILOR

A spirit conjured by Mrs. Generous and Mall Spencer to aid Whetstone in his revenge against the gallants for calling him a bastard. In order to cast aspersions on Master Shackston's paternity, the Tailor appears in the form of Shackston's mother's tailor, dances, and points to Shackston as if to claim him as his son; the suggestion is that Shackston too is a bastard. The play later implies, however, that this suggestion is groundless.

TIB

Mentioned by Mrs. Generous, Tib is a witch called upon to help frighten the Soldier at the mill. She has no lines ascribed to her specifically, and it is unclear whether she appears in the play at all, but she is perhaps meant to be understood as one of the undifferentiated "Witches" that appear in the play.

TIGER

A familiar spirit, he is called upon by Witch 3 (see under Witches) to carry her away from the interrupted witches' Sabbat celebration in act IV scene 1.

WHETSTONE

The maternal nephew of Master and Mrs. Generous and a bastard, Whetstone Byblow is a fool with pretensions to wit. He insists on insinuating himself into the company of the gallants (Masters Arthur, Bantam and Shackston) even though he becomes the butt of their humor. Master Generous asks that the gallants tolerate Whetstone for his sake, but his insufferable company proves too much for Bantam, who insults Whetstone by calling him a bastard. Whetstone vows vengeance and leaves. He is one of the guests at the wedding celebration of Lawrence and Parnell, where he witnesses the mischief of the witches and issues an invitation to the gallants to dine at the Generous home. The gallants arrive for dinner but are afterward treated to Whetstone's revenge. With the aid of Mrs. Generous' and Mall Spencer's witchcraft, Whetstone offers to conjure up the gallants' fathers, and subsequently calls forward three spirits, the Pedant, the Tailor, and Robin: the implication being that the gallants too are bastards got by lowborn men. Whetstone then offers to call forth his own (unknown) father, who appears as the Gallant, suggesting that his father is of a higher social rank. Whetstone, who has been supportive of his aunt's dabbling in witchcraft throughout the play, offers to stand by her when the Soldier wounds her. He hopes to be remembered in her will. But this proves his undoing. He is finally disowned by Master Generous for consorting with witches, and his inheritance is conferred on Master Arthur instead.

WINNY SEELY

The daughter of Old Seely and Joan Seely, and sister of Gregory Seely, Winny is one of the victims of the witchcraft that upsets the Seely household. In an inversion of normal family dynamics, Winny rules over and abuses her mother Joan. In turn, Winny is deferential to Parnell, the Seelys' maidservant. Their neighbor Doughty is appalled by Gregory and Winny's mistreatment of their parents, and attributes their bad behavior to witchcraft. During the wedding celebration of Lawrence and Parnell, the witches' mischief causes the family's relationships to undergo abrupt changes; Winny becomes a contrite and penitent daughter and Joan forgives her, then her mother becomes tyrannical and refuses to forgive Winny's abuses, and finally Winny unreasonably dominates her mother again. In the final scene normal, happy family relations are restored, and it is revealed that the family is no longer bewitched because the witches responsible have been arrested.

WITCHES

The number of "undifferentiated" witches in this play is unclear, but there are at least three in addition to those addressed by name. They appear at the Sabbat feast, and three of them (Witch 1, Witch 2, and Witch 3) are given a line each where they call for their familiars (Incubus, Mamillian and Tiger respectively) to spirit them away. Mamillian is supposedly the familiar of the witch Peg (or Meg) Johnson, but it is unlikely that Peg is Witch 2 because she is assigned specific lines in the same scene and, according to the play's logic, familiars are interchangeable. These witches are also presumably among those who later harass the Soldier at the mill. The additional witches have no impact upon the plot. Rather, their main function seems to be to bolster the number of witches on stage and thus make witchcraft appear to be a much more ubiquitous problem in the Lancashire of the play.

YOUNG GREETY

The son of Miller Greety and godson of Doughty, Young Greety appears in only one scene. He relates his encounter and wrestling match with the devil in the form of a boy. He supposedly suffers from a mysterious illness until he inadvertently reveals being threatened by the witches, upon which his malady suddenly disappears. His father expresses doubts about his son and identifies him as a troublesome boy, but these doubts are quickly quelled by Doughty's approving zeal. Although the details are not staged, Young Greety is apparently a key informant whose testimony leads to the arrest of the witches in the final scene.