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myself a teacher, instead of giving my observations of things; and this restrains me very much from going on here, as I might otherwise do; but if ten lepers were healed, and but one returned to give thanks, I desire to be as that one, and to be thankful for myself.
Nor will I deny but there were abundance of people who, to all appearance were very thankful at that time : for their mouths were stopped, even the mouths of those whose hearts were not extraordinarily long affected with it; but the impression was so strong at that time that it could not be resisted—no, not by the worst of the people.
It was a common thing to meet people in the street that were strangers and that we knew nothing at all of, expressing their surprise. Going one day through Aldgate, and a pretty many people being passing and repassing, there comes a man out of the end of the Minories, and looking a
the street and down, he throws his hands abroad, “Lord, what an alteration is here! Why, last week I came along here, and hardly anybody was to be seen.” Another man, I heard him, adds to his words, “ 'Tis all wonderful ; 'tis all a dream." “ Blessed be God,” says a third man, and let us give thanks to him, for 'tis all his own doing.” Human help and human skill were at an end. These were all strangers to one another, but such salutations as these were frequent in the street every day; and in spite of a loose behaviour, the very common people went along the streets, giving God thanks for their deliverance.
It was now, as I said before, the people had cast off all apprehensions, and that too fast ; indeed, we were no more afraid now to pass by a man with a white cap upon his head, or with a cloth wrapt round his neck, or with his leg limping, occasioned by the sores in his groin, all which were frightful to the last degree but the week before; but now the street was full of them, and these poor recovering creatures, give them their due, appeared very sensible of their unexpected deliverance ; and I should wrong them
very much, if I should not acknowledge, that I believe many of them were really thankful; but I must own, that for the generality of the people it might too justly be said of them, as was said of the children of Israel, after their being delivered from the host of Pharaoh, when they passed the Red sea, and looked back and saw the
Egyptians overwhelmed in the water; viz., “ That they sang his praise, but they soon forgot his works.”
I can go no farther here. I should be counted censorious, and perhaps unjust, if I should enter into the unpleasing work of reflecting, whatever cause there was for it, upon the unthankfulness and return of all manner of wickedness among us, which I was so much an eye-witness of myself. I shall conclude the account of this calamitious year, therefore, with a coarse but a sincere stanza of my own, which I placed at the end of my ordinary memorandums, the same year they were written ;
A dreadful plague in London was,
In the year sixty-five,
Away; yet I alive!
THE END OF THE HISTORY OF THE PLAGUE.
GREAT and TERRIBLE
FIRE of LONDON,
Sept. 2nd 1666 :
This Narrative is not written by Defoe, but is inserted here as a suitable sequel his account of the “ Plague.” It is taken
City Remembrancer," 2 vols., 8vo., a scarce work, published in London, 1769.
from the "