breathed without any difficulty, her warmth was moderate and natural, her inwards free from glowing and pain, her pulse not unequal or irregular; but on the contrary, all things genuine and well, as if she had ailed nothing; and indeed, I was rather inclined to think she counterfeited being sick, than really to be out of order, until examining her breast, I found the certain characters of death imprinted in many places; and in that following night she died, before she herself or any person about her could discern her otherwise out of order.”

Other passages, in immediate accordance with De Foe's narration, might easily be selected from the same work ;

- but the subjoined extracts from Mr. Vincents tract will be seen to be still more decidedly analogous to the general tone and manner of our author.

“It was in the year of our Lord 1665, that the Plague began in our city of London ; after we were warned by the Great Plague in Holland in the year 1664, and the beginning of it in some remote parts of our land in the same year; not to speak anything whether there was any signification and influence in the Blazing-star not long before, that appeared in the view of London, and struck some amazement upon the spirits of many. It was in the month of May that the Plague was first taken notice of: our bill of mortality did let us know but of three, which died of the disease in the whole year before; but in the beginning of May the Bill tells us of nine waich fell by the Plague; one in the heart of the city, the other eight in the suburbs. This was the first arrow of warning that was shot from Heaven amongst us, and fear quickly begins to creep upon people's hearts; great thoughts and discourse there is in the town about the Plague, and they cast in their minds whither they should go if the Plague should increase. Yet when the next week's bill signifieth to them the decrease, from nine to three, their minds are something appeased; discourse of that subject cools; fears are hushed, and hopes take place, that the black cloud did but threaten, and give a few drops; but the wind would drive it away.

But when in the next bill the number of the dead by the Plague is mounted from three to fourteen, and in the next to seventeen, and in the next to forty-three, and the disease begins so much to increase and disperse, sinners begin to be startled.”

The Plague “is so deadly, it kills where it comes without mercy ;

it kills, I had almost said certainly: very few do escape especially upon its first entrance, and before its malignity be spent. Few are touched by it, but they are killed by it; and it kills suddenly. As it gives no warning before it comes, suddenly the arrow is shot which woundeth unto the heart; so it gives little time for preparation before it brings to the grave. Under other diseases, men may linger out many weeks and months ; under some, divers years : but the Plague usually killeth within a few daies; sometimes, within a few hours after its first approach, though the body were never so strong and free from disease before.”

Speaking of the month of June, he says, "Now the citizens of London are put to a stop in the career of their trade; they begin to fear whom they converse withall, and deal withall, lest they should have come out of infected places : now roses and other sweet flowers wither in the gardens, are disregarded in the markets, and people dare not offer them to their noses, lest with their sweet savour, that which is infectious should be attracted. Rue and wormwood are taken into the hand; myrrh and zedoary into the mouth, and without some antidote few

stir abroad in the morning. Now many houses are shut up where the Plague comes, and the inhabitants shut in, lest coming abroad they should spread the infection. It was very dismal to behold the red crosses, and read in great letters, Lord have mercy upon us, on the doors, and watchmen standing before them with halberts; and such a solitude about those places, and people passing by them so gingerly, and with such fearful looks, as if they had been lined with enemies in ambush, that waited to destroy them.”

In July the Plague increaseth, and prevaileth exceedingly; the number of 470, which died in one week by the disease, ariseth to 725 the next week, to 1089 the next, to 1843 the next, and to 2010 the next. Now the Plague compasseth the walls of the city like a flood, and poureth in upon it. Now most parishes are infected, both without and within (the walls]; yea there are not so many houses shut up by the Plague as by the owners forsaking them for fear of it, and though the inhabitants be so exceedingly decreased by the departure of so many thousands, yet the number of dying persons doth increase fearfully. Now the countries keep guards, lest infectious persons should from the city bring the disease unto them. Most of the rich are now gone, and the middle sort will not stay behind; but the poor are forced through poverty to stay and abide the storm. The very sinking fears they have had of the Plague hath brought the Plague and death upon many. Some, by the sight of a coffin in the streets, have fallen into a shivering, and immediately the disease has assaulted them; and Sergeant Death hath arrested them, and clapt to the doors of their houses upon them, from whence they have come forth no more, till they have been brought to their graves."

" It would be endless to speak of what we have seen and heard of some in their frensie rising out of their beds, and leaping about their roonas; others crying and roaring at their windows; some coming forth almost naked, and running into the streets. Strange things have others spoken and done when the disease was upon them; but it was very sad to hear of one, who, being sick and alone, and, it is like frantic, burnt himself in his bed.”

Many other citations might be made from the same writers to show how considerably De Foe was indebted to them for the general facts recorded in his “ Journal.” But in almost every instance where he has thus acquired information, he has given additional interest to the subject by entering into a detail of circumstances which, if not to the letter true, still arrests belief from its strict accordance · with what we feel conscious must have taken place in a season of such grievous suffering as he describes. De Foe” (says his more recent biographer Wilson) a mere child when the calamity happened, he could have no personal knowledge of the matters he has recorded. But the feelings arising from so awful a visitation would not subside suddenly. It would continue to be the talk of those who witnessed it for years afterwards, so that he must have been familiarised with the subject from his childhood; and as curiosity is most alive and the impressions strongest at that period, there can be no doubt that he treasured up many things in his memory, from the report of his parents and others, which he converted into useful materials as they passed through the operation of his own lively fancy.

It was De Foe's peculiar talent to seize upon any popular subject, and convert it by his inimitable genius into a fruitful source of amusement and instruction. From his

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history of the Plague we may derive more information than from all the other publications upon the subject put together. He has collected all the facts attending the rise, progress, and termination of the malady, an accurate report of the number of deaths as published by authority, a faithful account of the regulations adopted to arrest and mitigate its fury, and numerous cases of infection, whether real or imaginary. But that which imparts life to the whole, and forms its distinguishing feature, is its descriptive imagery. The author's object is not so much to detail the deadly consequences of the disorder, as to delineate its effects upon the frighted minds of the inhabitants. These are depicted with all the genuine pathos of nature, without any aim at effect, but with the ease and simplicity of real life. The numerous incidents that follow in rapid succession, fraught as they are with human misery, present, at the same time, an accurate picture of life and manners in the metropolis, at the period referred to. The style and dress, the language and ideas, are exactly those of a citizen of London at the latter end of the 17th century."

When the notes and other papers attached to this edition are considered with reference to the circumstances stated by De Foe, there can be no hesitation in subscribing to the general authenticity of his production ;although, perhaps, in a few instances, as in that of the interview with the waterman at Blackwall, in the story of the joiner and his companions, and in the account of the awfully wicked conduct of the frequenters of the Pye tavern, he has apparently given a more heightened effect to the occurrences related, than the strict truth can war


Vide “Memoirs of the Life and Times of De Foe,” &c., by Walter Wilson, Esq., vol. ii. pp. 514-516.

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