In 1798 the French General Napoleon Bonaparte set sail with a large fleet and 40,000 men with the goal of conquering Egypt, thus cutting off British trade routes to India. While Napoleon was successful in conquering Egypt, adding the Battle of the Pyramids to his list of glorious victories, little did he know that an equally intelligent strategic genius was about to swoop in and sour his success. Upon Napoleon’s departure, then Rear Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson shadowed the large force with a fleet of his own.
Short on supplies and unprepared for battle, the French fleet consisting of 13 ships of the line and 4 frigates anchored in a defensive line formation close to the shoreline in Aboukir Bay near the outlet of the Nile River. Along the shore was a series of unmapped sandbars and shoals, which could easily ground a large ship. The French believed that by parking close to the shore, they would prevent the British from being able to attack from the landward side. However, that was Nelson’s plan all along, and ignoring the risks, he ordered his fleet to divide into two forces. The first would sail parallel of the French fleet on the seaside, the other force would enter the bay, risking the shoals to attack from the landward side. Thus the British would have the French fleet surrounded from both sides.
On August 1st, 1798 Nelson’s forces of 13 ships of the line, 1 fourth rate, and one sloop engaged the French with the winds at their backs. Nelson’s gamble paid off greatly, as none of his ships were grounded on the shoals, and the British fleet caught the French in a deadly double envelopment.
The result was a hopeless situation for the French as the British fleet pounded the French fleet with broadsides from both sides. Foolishly the French had also spaced some of their ships too far apart, allowing British warships to “cross the T” in between, thus directing full broadsides against the lightly defended sterns and bows of the French ships. Eventually the British had the French fleet completely surrounded. The highlight of the battle when the French flagship L’Orient, a massive 120 gun warship was destroyed in a large explosion, taking 1,000 of her crew down with her into the salty brine.
After being pounded by the British fleet for two days, the French had no choice but to surrender or be completely annihilated. It was a grand victory for Nelson and the Royal Navy, which lost no ships during the battle. The French, however, suffered terrible losses. Only one ship of the line and two frigates escaped the battle. Two ships of the line were destroyed as well as two frigates. 9 ships of the line were captured. Around 3,000 - 5,000 French sailors were killed during the fighting, with another 4,000 captured and taken prisoner. The British however, suffered some losses as well, with 218 killed and 677 wounded. Nelson himself was lightly wounded by a piece of grapeshot which struck him in the head and left him temporarily blinded.
The Battle of the Nile was Nelson’s first great major naval victory, making him a national hero and household name all over Britain. More importantly it changed the fortunes of the British in the Mediterranean. For Napoleon, the loss of his fleet was a disaster which turned his dreams of Egyptian conquest into a terrible nightmare. Cut off from supplies and reinforcements from France, Napoleon would be forced to abandon his army in Egypt a year later, the first great defeat of his military career.
“Biddy Early; the Wise Woman of Clare” by Meda Ryan
When talking about Fairy Doctors, Biddy Early is one of the most well known and famous. There are several of books dedicated to her as a main topic, and others that mention her in their studies.
Born in 1798 in Faha, Kilanena, Biddy O’Connor was the daughter of a poor farming family. She worked as a servant girl for a local doctor. Unfortunately, she would soon lose her mother and later her father (source).
Like many tales of fairy doctors, Biddy was often alone as a child and would be “away with the fairies” both in the literal sense and in the other meaning as well (out of touch with reality). Before the death of her mother, Biddy was taught many herbal cures and treatments, many of which were considered family secrets (source).
Through out her many marriages, Biddy’s ability to treat ailments of both supernatural and natural origin became most famous. She could heal, give advice, but also peer into the future. Biddy was known for her powerful sight.
One of the most famous stories is of her blue bottle, “…her “Blue Bottle” with which it was said she could see the future. Her son Tom died as a young man, but being worried about how his poor widowed mother would survive now that he was dead, Tom returned from the dead, to give her this magical “Blue Bottle”. He told her: “Take this mother and it will make a living for you”, and this bottle did indeed make her a living. People from all over the country were to seek Biddy’s predictions for the future which were said to be amazingly accurate down to the last detail. It was also said that if a weary traveler was coming many miles to meet Biddy, she would see him coming in the bottle and meet him half way,” (source).
Many sought her far and wide for her many abilities, so much so that many believed local priests and doctors grew jealous. It was in the 1860s that she was accused of witchcraft and brought before a court. The accusations were dropped when many of the local population refused to testify against her, and in fact many supported her. With all this, she still encouraged people to listen to priests.
There are many tales of her power, some from word of mouth and others documented. One of these tales include her last husband. A many by the name of O’Brian, who was near death when he came to her. Biddy told him the cure was to marry her, and so the couple did and he soon recovered from the sickness.
Quite honestly, there is so much more to her compared to what I have written. I highly suggest reading up on her if you plan on learning more about fairy doctoring and folk magic.
Hamlet and His Mother (1849). Eugène Delacroix (French, 1798-1863). Oil on canvas. MET.
This painting depicts the moment in Shakespeare’s epic tragedy Hamlet in which the protagonist, who has been speaking privately with his mother, Queen Gertrude of Denmark, notices a figure behind the curtains of her closet. Immediately afterward, Hamlet will impale the hidden Polonius with his sword, and utter the memorable phrase “How now! A rat? Dead for a ducat, dead!”
One of my favorites, noordinarymagic, came up with this awesome idea for a Gabriel x reader fic. The reader and Gabriel are in love, but neither has told the other. The reader runs after he is presumed dead, and only discovers he’s alive when he saves her on a hunt. Smut follows.
Word Count: 1798
Warning: Smut, wing!kink
A/N: Thank you, thank you, thank you for this idea. I hope you love it as much as I love you, darling! XOXOXO