|Don't stand so close to me - Darnley and Mary
|What a 17th century apparition of a Spanish lady
in a Cornish pub might possibly have maybe looked like
“A description of a vision seen at Liskeard [Cornwall], 13 July 1672, by me, Philip Mayou, and Mr. William Rolle.
Having travelled above 30 miles after one, we came late to Liskeard. We called at the Three Cranes for a room and a pint of sack, of which each of us drank only a glass. We had resolved not to tarry above an hour or two, but Mr. Rolle, being weary and sleepy, lay on the bed with his clothes on. I continued discoursing with the drawer, but about twelve, finding Mr. Rolle asleep, I lay down by him with my clothes on, and in about a quarter of an hour fell asleep. I knew it was no more, by the candle that was burnt.
Then he violently caught at me and screeched.
I asked him what was the matter, and whether he rose in his sleep, thinking he had dreamed; but he continued in a wonderful and strange fright, unable to speak.
I then looked about to see whether there was any cause of his fear, and saw a gentlewoman with a black veil over her head, hanging down each side of her face and down her shoulders, standing by the bedside, bending her body towards him and looking and beckoning to him, and stretching out her arm to him.
I then cheered him up and told him it was a handsome woman, and that we would be merry with her, laughing at this being afraid of a woman, being not in the least afraid, supposing her to be some friend of ours that had come to see us; but he still screeched, struggled, and held me fast.
I then looked again on the lady, but she then had altered her habit, and was in a white shroud, and her face was as white and pale as one dead. She had a great roll of linen about her head, sitting out with corners on each temple, standing upright by the bedside, so near that her head was within the vallance, looking upon him.
Then I began to fear and rose up towards her, and went out over him, and rising my face as high as hers, being within a foot of her, looked on her, and saw she was a spirit, there being a shadiness and motion within the superficies of the skin.
Then I was much afraid, and after I had recollected myself, both of us looking on her, I said with a very loud voice, “In the name of God, what wilt thou have?”
Then she shook her head at me, and looked more discontented, which made us fear more. I thought she would ne’er have left us. Then, desiring God’s help, my fist being bent, I said again to her, “In the name of Jesus Christ, tell me what thou wilt have,” and I had a resolution to strike it, which I offered and had done in her face, but that Mr. Rolle caught my arm as the blow came near her face.
She then shook her head again at me, and after a little while she went steady backward, without the motion or noise of one that steps back, for her head kept a direct line. She then, being about a yard from the bed, stood still, upon whom we both looked, I stretching myself out over the bed towards her. She then vanished in the middle, and in a wonderful strange manner all the body went, and, as it were, melted in a black, shady cloud, of the same bigness and height that the body was. We saw the head after the body was vanished, standing on the shade or cloud, which also vanished. Then the shade went steady out of the room.
All this we both saw, it being, during the whole time, as light as at noonday. But Mr. Rolle, as he then acquainted me, felt something light, as cold as ice, upon his face, then she rose up from him and beckoned to him, but he, knowing the face to be Donna Maria, his landlord’s eldest daughter in Spain, first wondered how it was possible she could come there, and began to be somewhat afraid. He took very great notice of her, and observed her Spanish laces. She still offered, as it were, to speak to him. Then he, looking more on her, saw a Spanish dagger in her right hand, with which she offered to stab him. Then he, being wonderfully afraid, caught at me, after which we both saw all the passages formerly related, but I did not see the dagger, for she had it only when in the garb of a Spanish lady alive, and not when she was in her shroud, and I took little notice but of her face, and never looked what was in her hand, it being satisfaction enough to me that it was a woman that had frightened him, and nothing else, till I saw the altering of shapes, &c. All the time the candle burnt, but there was a greater light than that of the candle.
We were both much frightened, and lay a little while in great fear. Then he leapt out of bed and went to the candle, and held it between his arms. I also got out, and we both drank of the sack, being ready to swoon. I said I would knock, but he would not have me do it, being afraid she would come again; but I did so, and the drawer came up, and we went into the landlord’s chamber, and continued in great fear all night, and for three or four days, and though several people watched by us, as soon it began to be night we were still frightened with the apprehensions of what we had seen.
I am since advertised by Mr. Rolle that his landlord’s daughter, Donna Maria, was at that time killed by a person that had formerly attempted the same.”