The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 10, No. 284, November 24, 1827 online

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thus the strength of the clover is absorbed by the straw, which, thus
impregnated, both horses and cattle eat greedily, and the clover is dried
and prevented from heating. This practice is particularly calculated for
second crops of clover and rye-grass.

_Pine Apples._

The largest pine ever grown in this kingdom was cut lately from the
hothouse of John Edwards, Esq. of Rheola, Glamorganshire, and was presented
to his Majesty at Windsor. It weighed 14 lbs. 12 oz. avoirdupois, was
12-1/2 inches high, exclusive of the crown, and 26 inches in circumference.

_Sea Couch for preventing Sickness._

An elastic or swinging seat, couch, or bed, for preventing the uneasy
motions of a ship or a carriage, has recently been invented. To effect
this, the frame of the seat or couch is suspended on juribals or joints,
turning at right angles to each other, and an elasticity is produced both
in the seat or cushion, and in the swinging frames, by the use of spiral
metal springs. These springs are made by twisting steel or iron wire into
the form of an hour glass, that is, like two cones united at their apices.
The lower points of their springs are to be sown to the canvass or webbing,
and their upper parts secured in their proper situations and erect
positions by pack-thread or small cords, tied or braced from one to the
other, crossing like a net. On the tops of these springs the usual covering
of canvass is laid, and then a thin layer of horsehair or wool, upon which
the outer covering is bitted. Sir Richard Phillips, in the _Monthly
Magazine_, describes the following successful experiment for preventing
sea-sickness, made on his crossing from Dover to Calais, a few years
since. He caused an armed chair to be placed on the deck of the vessel,
and being seated in it, he began to raise himself up and down, as on
horseback. The passengers laughed at his eccentricity, but before they
reached Calais, many of them were sea-sick, whilst Sir Richard continued
to enjoy his usual health and vigour.

_Bites of Venomous Reptiles._

M. le D'Record, sen. discovered, during a long residence in America, what
he considers a sure mode of preventing mischief from such bites. "It is
sufficient," he says, "to pour a few drops of tincture of cantharides on
the wound, to cause a redness and vesiccation; not only is the poison
rendered harmless, but the stings of the reptiles are removed with the
epidermis that the bladder raises." - _Med. Journal._

_Naval Schools of France._

In France, the system of mutual instruction among the working classes
prospers in the bosoms of the ports, and schools are founded for the
particular instruction of the sons of the inferior officers of the
arsenals, in the elements of calculation, of geometry, and of design, as
far as necessary for the plans of ships; also the principles of statics,
so as to enable them to judge of the action and effect of machinery. Prizes
of gold medals and special promotions are the rewards of the most deserving
students. Brest was formerly the only port furnished with these schools;
since the peace, however, libraries are forming in each of the others; and
in almost all, cabinets of natural history and botanical gardens are
enriched at every voyage undertaken by French ships, either to foreign
coasts, or to those of the French colonies. An observatory has been given
to Toulon and Rochefort. In both these ports naval museums are formed, in
order to preserve types of the most eminent vessels, whose originals either
have been, or soon will be, destroyed by time. Models of ingenious
machines, representations of interesting manoeuvres, a methodical
collection of raw materials, of tools, and of the product of all the arts
exercised in a dock-yard - Such are the rich materials collected in these
interesting repositories. - _From the French of M. Dupin._

_Antiquity of Locks._

Locks were known in Egypt above four thousand years since, as was inferred
by M. Denon, from some sculptures of the great temple of Karnac,
representing locks similar to those now used in that country. A lock
resembling the Egyptian is used in Cornwall, and the same has been seen in
the Faro Islands; to both which places it was probably taken by the
Phoenicians. - _Quarterly Journal._

_To increase the odour of Roses._

Plant a large onion by the side of the rose-tree in such a manner that it
shall touch the root of the latter. The rose which will be produced will
have an odour much stronger and more agreeable than such as have not been
thus treated; and the water distilled from these roses is equally superior
to that prepared by means of ordinary rose leaves. - _From the French._

* * * * *

The Selector;


* * * * *


"I see a hand you cannot see,
That beckons me away,
I hear a voice you cannot hear,
That will not let me stay."

There is a part of the river Wye, between the city of Hereford and the town
of Ross, which was known for more than two centuries by the appellation of
"The Spectre's Voyage;" and across which, as long as it retained that
appellation, neither entreaty nor remuneration would induce any boatman to
convey passengers after a certain hour of the night. The superstitious
notions current among the lower orders were, that at about the hour of
eight on every evening, a female was seen in a small vessel sailing from
Hereford to Northbrigg, a little village then distant about three miles
from the city, of which not even the site is now discernible; that the
vessel sailed with the utmost rapidity in a dead calm and even against the
wind; that to encounter it was fatal; that the voyager landed from it on
the eastern bank of the river, a little beyond the village; that she
remained some time on shore, making the most fearful lamentations; that she
then re-entered the vessel, and sailed back in the same manner, and that
both boat and passenger vanished in a sudden manner as they arrived at a
certain part of the river, where the current is remarkably strong, within
about half a mile of the city of Hereford,

This singular tradition, like most stories of a similar character, was not
without a foundation in truth, as the reader will perceive who takes the
trouble to peruse the following narrative.

In the turbulent reign of Edward the Second, when the whole of England was
one theatre of lawless violence, when might was constantly triumphant over
right, and princes and soldiers only respected the very intelligible, if
not very equitable principle,

"That they should take who have the power,
And they should keep who can,"

the city of Hereford was distinguished by the zeal and patriotism of its
citizens, and by the unshrinking firmness with which they adhered to the
cause of queen Isabella, and the young prince her son, afterwards the
renowned king Edward the Third, in opposition to the weak and ill-fated
monarch who then wore the crown, and his detested favourites the Spensers,
father and son. Sir Hugh Spenser, the younger, was a man of unquestionable
talents, and possessed virtues which, during a period of less violence and
personal animosity, might have proved honourable to himself, and useful to
his country.

The discontents of the queen and the barons were not vented in fruitless
complaints or idle menaces. They flew to arms. The king of France, the
queen's brother, assisted them with men and money; the Count of Hainault,
to whose daughter Philippa, the young prince had been contracted, did the
same. The king was driven from London, and forced, with the elder Spenser,
whom he had created Earl of Winchester, to take refuge in Bristol. Being
hotly pursued to this city by the Earl of Kent and the Count of Hainault,
at the head of a formidable army, he was obliged to flee into Wales,
leaving the elder Spenser governor of the castle of Bristol. This fortress
was immediately besieged, and speedily taken, as the garrison mutinied
against their governor, and delivered him into the hands of his enemies.
This venerable noble, who had nearly reached his ninetieth year, was
instantly, without trial, or witness, or accusation, or answer, condemned
to death by the rebellious barons; he was hanged on a gibbet; his body was
cut to pieces and thrown to the dogs; and his head was sent to Winchester,
the place whence he derived his title, and was there set on a pole, and
exposed to the insults of the populace.

When the news of this catastrophe reached the younger Spenser, he was at
the head of a fine army, which had sat down before the city of Hereford,
for the purpose of reducing it to obedience to king Edward. The formidable
force which he commanded had struck terror into the hearts of the citizens,
so that notwithstanding their attachment to queen Isabella, and their
detestation of Spenser, they had shown symptoms of their willingness to
yield to the latter upon reasonable terms; and he, desirous of obtaining
possession of the city without any unnecessary effusion of blood, had
granted a truce of a week's duration, to give them time to decide upon what
conditions they would open their gates to him. The disastrous intelligence
which he received from Bristol, however, made him doubtful whether he
should hold inviolate the truce which he had granted to the besieged. He
did not doubt but that the Earl of Kent and his troops, flushed with
conquest, would hasten to his destruction, and to the relief of Hereford,
and that unless he could possess himself of the city and castle, and by
shutting himself up in the latter be enabled to bid defiance to his
enemies, the fate of his father must inevitably be his own.

The favourite recreation of the inhabitants of Hereford was then, as it is
now, to make excursions either alone, or in parties, upon their beautiful
river. This amusement had become so much a custom with them, that the most
timid females were not afraid to venture alone and at night in a small
skiff, with which almost every family of respectability was provided; and
on a bright moonlight night, the bosom of the river was beautifully
diversified by the white sails glittering in the moonbeams, while sweet
female voices would be heard warbling some popular melodies, the, subjects
of which were usually the praises of prince Edward, or execrations of
Spenser and those who had corrupted the king. It was on such a night, that
the incident with which our narrative commences occurred. The moon was
riding in an unclouded sky - unclouded except by those light fleecy vapours
which hovered round the form of the queen of night, increasing rather than
diminishing her beauty. The river seemed one sheet of silver, and numerous
little vessels passing and repassing, gave it a delightfully animated
appearance. In one, which seemed to be venturing nearer to the camp of the
enemy than the others, might be seen a light and delicate female form, and
on the shore which she was approaching, a little above the village of
Northbrigg, stood a soldier, whose accoutrements bespoke him to belong to
the army of Sir Hugh Spenser.

The lady landed, and the soldier hastened to meet her. "Dearest Isabel,"
he said, "blessings upon thy generous trusting heart, for this sweet
meeting! I have much to tell thee, but that my tongue dares not utter all
with which my mind is stored; and if it dared, it is not on such a night
as this, so bright, so beautiful, that tidings dark as mine should be
communicated." Isabel, who had laid her head upon his breast when they
met, started from him, and gazed with the utmost terror and surprise at
the unwonted gloom which darkened his countenance.

"Walter, what means this? Come you to break the trusting heart which beats
for you alone? Come you to cancel your vows - to say that we must part for
ever? Oh! better had you left me to the mercy of the wave, when its work
of death was half achieved, if you reserved me only for the misery which
waits upon a broken heart, and blighted and betrayed affections?"

"Sweet, dry these tears!" replied the soldier; "while I have life I am
thine. I come to warn thee of sure but unseen danger. The walls of
Hereford are strong, and the arms and hearts of her citizens firm and
trusty; but her hour is come, and the path of the destroyer, although
secret, is like the stream which hides itself for a time beneath the earth
only to spring forth more strongly and irresistibly than ever."

"Thy words are dark and dreadful; but I do not know of any cause for fear,
or of any means of avoiding it, if it exists."

"Fly with me, fly! - with thy heart and hand reward my love, and think no
more of those grim walls, and sullen citizens, with souls as iron as their
beavers, and hearts as cold as the waters of their river."

"Oh! no, no, no! my father's head is grey, and but for me alone all his
affections, all his hopes are buried in my mother's grave. He hates thee
and thy cause. When I told him a stranger had rescued his daughter from
the wave, he raised his hands to heaven and blessed him. I told him that
that stranger was a follower of the Spensers'; he checked his unfinished
benediction, and cursed him. But if he knew thee, Walter, thy noble heart,
thy constant love, methinks that time and entreaty would make him listen
to his daughter's prayer."

"Alas! my Isabel, entreaty would be vain, and time is already flapping his
wings, loaded with inevitable ruin, over yon devoted city and its
inhabitants. Thy father shall be safe - trust that to me; and trust me, too,
that what I promise I can perform. But thou, my loved one, thou must not
look upon the horrid face of war: and though my power extends to save thy
father from injury, it would be easier to save the wall-flowers on the
ramparts of the city from the foot of the invader, than one so fair, so
feeble, from his violence and lust."

"Whoe'er thou art," she said, "there is a spell upon my heart which love
and gratitude have twined, and which makes it thine for ever: but sooner
would I lock my hand with that of the savage Spenser himself, when reeking
with the best blood of Hereford's citizens, than leave my father's side
when his gray hairs are in danger, and my native city, when treachery is
in her streets and outrage is approaching her walls."

These words were uttered with an animation and vehemence so unusual to
her, that Walter stood for a moment transfixed with wonder; and before he
recovered his self-possession, Isabel, with the velocity of lightning, had
regained her skiff, and was sailing before the wind to Hereford. "Curse on
my amorous folly!" he exclaimed, "that, for a pair of pale cheeks and
sparkling eyes, has perhaps ruined a better concerted stratagem than ever
entered the brain of the Grecian Sinon. I must away, or the false girl
will wake the slumbering citizens to their defence before the deed is
done; and yet, must I devote her to the foul grasp of ruffian violence?
No, no! my power is equal to save or to destroy." As he uttered these
words he rapidly ascended the rocks which skirted that part of the banks
of the river on which he stood, and was soon lost among the wild woods
that crowned their summit.

We shall not enter into any detailed account of the events of that night.
The royalists, by means of an unexpected attack during the truce, and
aided by internal treachery, hoped to make themselves masters of the city
of Hereford. The citizens, however, had by some unknown means obtained
intelligence of the designs of the enemy, and were prepared to repel their
attacks. Every street was lined with soldiers, and a band of the bravest
and most determined, under the command of Eustace Chandos, (Isabel's
father,) manned the city walls. The struggle was short but sanguinary - the
invaders were beaten back at every point, their best troops were left dead
in the trenches, and above two hundred prisoners (among whom was Sir Hugh
Spenser himself) fell into the hands of the citizens. The successful party
set no bounds either to their exultation or their revenge. The rejoicings
were continued for three successive days; the neighbouring country was
ravaged without cessation and without remorse; and all the prisoners were
ordered, by a message to that effect received from queen Isabella, to be
treated as felons, and hanged in the most public places in the city. This
decree was rigorously and unrelentingly executed. The royalist soldiers,
without any distinction as to rank or character, suffered the ignominious
punishment to which they were condemned, and the streets of Hereford were
blocked up by gibbets, which the most timid and merciful of its
inhabitants gazed upon with satisfaction and triumph.

Sir Hugh Spenser, both on account of his rank and of the peculiar degree
of hatred with which each bosom beat against him, was reserved to be the
last victim. On the day of his execution the streets were lined with
spectators, and the principal families in the city occupied stations round
the scaffold. So great was the universal joy at having their enemy in their
power, that even the wives and daughters of the most distinguished citizens
were anxious to view the punishment inflicted upon him whom they considered
the grand cause of all the national evils. Isabel was not of this number;
but her father sternly compelled her to be a witness of the dismal scene.
The hour of noon was fast approaching, and the bell of the cathedral
heavily and solemnly tolled the knell of the unfortunate Spenser. The fatal
cavalcade approached the place of execution. A stern and solemn triumph
gleamed in the eyes of the soldiers as they trod by the side of the victim;
but most of the spectators, especially the females, were melted into tears
when they beheld the fine manly form of the prisoner, which seemed better
fitted to adorn the royal levee, or a lady's bower, than for the melancholy
fate to which he was about to be consigned. His head was bare, and his
light flaxen hair fell in a rich profusion of locks down his shoulders, but
left unshaded his finely-proportioned and sunburnt features. He wore the
uniform of the royal army, and a star on his breast indicated his rank,
while he held in his hand a small ivory cross, which he frequently and
fervently kissed. His deportment was firm and contemptuous, and, as he
looked on the formal and frequently grotesque figures of his guards, his
features even assumed an expression of risibility. The sight of the gibbet,
however, which was raised fifty feet high, seemed to appal him, for he had
not been apprized of the ignominious nature of his punishment. "And is
this," he said, as he scornfully dashed away a tear which had gathered in
his eye, "ye rebellious dogs, is this the death to which you doom the heir
of Winchester?" A stern and bitter smile played on the lips of his guards,
but they remained silent. "Oh, God!" he continued, "in the field, or on the
wave, or on the block, which has reeked so often with the bravest and
noblest blood, I could have died smiling; but this - " His emotion seemed
increasing, but with a violent effort he suppressed every outward sign of
it; for the visible satisfaction which gleamed on the dark faces around
him, at the state of weakness to which they had reduced the proud heart of
their foe, was more galling to his soul than the shameful death to which he
was devoted.

By the time he reached the place of execution his face had assumed its
calm and scornful air, and he sprang upon the scaffold with apparently
unconcerned alacrity. At the same moment a dreadful shriek issued from that
part of the surrounding booths in which the family of Chandos sat; and in
another instant a female, deadly pale, and with her hair and dress
disordered, had darted on to the scaffold, and clasped the prisoner in her

"Walter!" she cried, "Walter! can it be thou? oh! they dare not take thy
life; thou bravest, best of men! Avaunt, ye bloodthirsty brood! ye cannot
tear me from him. Not till my arms grow cold in death I'll clasp him thus,
and defy the world to sever us!"

"Oh! Isabel!" he said, "it is too much; my soul can bear no more. I hoped
thy eyes had been spared this sight - but the cold tyrants have decreed it
thus. On! leave me, leave me! - it is in vain - unmannered ruffians, spare
her!" While he spoke, the soldiers forcibly tore her from him, and were
dragging her through the crowd. - "My father! save him! he saved thy
child! - Walter! supplicate him - he is kind." She turned her eyes to the
scaffold as she uttered these words, and beheld the form of Spenser
writhing in the air, and convulsed with the last mortal agony. A fearful
shriek burst from her heart, and she sank senseless in the arms of those
who bore her.

Isabel survived this event more than a twelvemonth; but her reason had
fled and her health was so shattered that final recovery was hopeless.
She took scarcely any food, refused all intercourse with her former
friends, and even with her father, and would sit silent and motionless
for days together. One thing only soothed her mind, or afforded her any
gratification; and this, as she was an experienced navigator of the
river, her friends indulged her in - to sail from the city of Hereford to
that spot on which she used to meet her lover. This she did constantly
every evening; but when she landed, and had waited a short time, her
shrieks and cries were pitiable. This practice one evening proved fatal.
Instead of steering to the usual landing-place, a little above the city,
she entered a part of the river where the current is unusually strong.
The rapidity of its waves mastered and overturned the frail bark in which
she sailed, and the unfortunate Isabel sunk to rise no more!

The tragic nature of these events made an impression on the popular mind
which two centuries did not efface. The spirit of Isabel was still said
to sail every night from Hereford to Northbrigg, to meet her lover; and
the beach across the river which this unearthly traveller pursued, was
long distinguished by the name of "The Spectre's Voyage."

_Neele's Romance of History._

* * * * *


Conspicuous amongst the most conspicuous of the stars; of the ascendant,
was a lady, who took the field with an _éclat_, a brilliancy, and bustle,
which for a time fixed the attention of all upon herself. Although a fine
woman, in the strictest sense of the term, and still handsome, though not
still very young, she was even more distinguished by her air of high
supremacy, than by her beauty. She sat loftily in a lofty phaeton, which
was emblazoned with arms, and covered with coronets; and she played with
her long whip, as ladies of old managed their fans, with grace and
coquetry. She was dressed in a rich habit, whose facings and epaulettes
spoke her the lady of the noble colonel of some provincial corps of
volunteers. A high military cap, surmounted with a plume of black feathers,
well became her bright, bold, black eyes, and her brow that looked as if
accustomed "to threaten and command." The air had deepened her colour
through her rouge, as it had blown from her dark, dishevelled tresses the
mareschal powder, then still worn in Ireland - (the last lingering barbarism
of the British toilette, which France had already abandoned, with other
barbarous modes, and exchanged for the _coiffure d'Arippine_ and the _tête
à la Brutus_.) Her _pose_, her glance, her nod, her smile, all conscious
and careless as they were, proclaimed a privileged autocrat of the Irish
_bon ton_, a "_dasher_," as it was termed, of the first order; for that
species of effrontery called _dashing_ was then in full vogue, as consonant
to a state of society, where all in a certain class went by assumption.

This lady had arrived rather early in the field, for one whose habits were
necessarily on the wrong side of time and of punctuality. She came bowling
along, keeping up her fiery steeds to a sort of curvetting gallop, like one
deep in the science of the _manège_ - now deranging the order of march of
the troops, by breaking through the ranks, in spite of the impertinent
remonstrances of the out-posts and videttes, at which she laughed, at once
to show her teeth and her power; - and now scattering the humble crowd,
"like chaff before the wind," as giving her horses the rein, she permitted
them to plunge head-long on, while skilfully flourishing her long whip, she
made on every side a preliminary clearance. Many among the multitude
announced her as the famous Kitty Cut-dash, and nodded knowingly as she
passed them; but the greater number detected in the beautiful charioteer,


Online LibraryVariousThe Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 10, No. 284, November 24, 1827 → online text (page 2 of 3)