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But I thankhe narrow alle great trouble,
yard stairs, where, to my great trouble, I met a dead corpse of the plague, in the narrow alley just bringing down a little pair of stairs. But I thank God I was not much disturbed at it. However, I shall beware of being late abroad again.
16. To the Exchange, where I have not been a great while. But, Lord ! how sad a sight it is to see the streets empty of people, and very few upon the 'Change. Jealous of every door that one sees shut up, lest it should be the plague; and about us two shops in three, if not more, generally shut up.
20th. To Brainford ; and there at the inn that goes down to the water-side, I light and paid off my post-horses, and so slipped on my shoes, and laid my things by, the tide not serving, and to church, where a dull sermon, and many Londoners.
After church to my room, and eat and drank, and so about seven o'clock by water, and got between nine and ten to Queenhive, very dark. And I could not get my waterman to go elsewhere for fear of the plague. Thence with a lanthorn, in great fear of meeting of dead corpses, carrying to be buried; but (blessed be God!) met none, but did see now and then a link (which is the mark of them) at a distance.
22nd. I went away and walked to Greenwich, in my way seeing a coffin with a dead body therein, dead of the plague, lying in an open close belonging to Coome Farm, which was carried out last night, and the parish have not appointed any body to bury it, but only set a watch there all day and night, that nobody should go thither or come thence; this disease making us more cruel to one another than we are to dogs.
30th. Abroad, and met with Hadley, 'our clerk, who, upon my. asking how the plague goes, told me it increases much, and much in our parish.
31st. Up, and after putting several things in order to my removal to Woolwich, the plague having a great increase this week, beyond all expectation, of almost 2,000, making the general bill 7,000, odd 100; and the plague above 6,000. Thus this month ends with great sadness upon the public, through the greatness of the plague every where through the kingdom almost. Every day sadder and sadder news of its increase. In the city died this week 7,496, and of them 6,102 of the plague. But it is feared that the true number of the dead this week is near 10,000; partly from the poor that cannot be taken
notice of through the greatness of the number, and partly from the Quakers and others, that will not have any bell ring for them.
September 3rd (Lord's Day). Up, and put on my coloured silk suit, very fine, and my new periwig, bought a good while since, but durst not wear, because the plague was in Westminster when I bought it; and it is a wonder what will be the fashion after the plague is done, as to periwigs, for nobody will dare to buy any hair, for fear of the infection, that it had been cut off the heads of people dead of the plague. My Lord Brouncker, Sir J. Minnes, and I, up to the vestry, at the desire of the justices of the peace, in order to the doing something for the keeping of the plague from growing; but, Lord! to consider the madness of people of the town, who will (because they are forbid) come in crowds along with the dead corpses to see them buried; but we agreed on some orders for the prevention thereof. Among other stories, one was very passionate, methought, of a complaint brought against a man in the town for taking a child from London from an infected house. Alderman Hooker told us it was the child of a very able citizen in Gracious Street, a saddler, who had buried all the rest of his children of the plague, and himself and wife now being shut up, and in despair of escaping, did desire only to save the life of this little child; and so prevailed to have it received stark naked into the arms of a friend, who brought it (having put it into new clothes) to Greenwich; where, upon hearing the story, we did agree it should be permitted to be received and kept in the town.
20th. To Lambeth. But, Lord! what a sad time it is to see no boats upon the river, and grass grows all up and down White Hall court, and nobody but poor wretches in the streets! and, which is worst of all, the Duke showed us the number of the plague this week, brought in the last night from the Lord Mayor ; that it is increased about 600 more than the last, which is quite contrary to our hopes' and expectations, from the coldness of the late season. For the whole general number is 8,297, and of them the plague 7,165 ; which is more in the whole by above 50 than the biggest bill yet: which is very grievous on us all.
October 16th. I walked to the Tower; but, Lord! how empty the streets are and melancholy, so many poor sick people in the streets full of sores; and so many sad stories overheard as I walk, every body talking of this dead, and that man sick, and so many in this place, and so
many in that. And they tell me that, in Westminster, there is never a physician, and but one apothecary left, all being dead; but that there are great hopes of a great decrease this week: God send it !
29th. In the streets did overtake and almost run upon two women crying and carrying a man's coffin between them; I suppose the husband of one of them, which, methinks, is a sad thing.
November 27th. I into London, it being dark night, by a hackneycoach ; the first I have durst to go in many a day, and with great pain now for fear. But it being unsafe to go by water in the dark and frosty cold, and unable, being weary with my morning walk, to go on foot, this was my only way. Few people yet in the streets, nor shops open, here and there twenty in a place almost; though not above five or six o'clock at night.
30th. Great joy we have this week in the weekly bill, it being come to 544 in all, and but 333 of the plague, so that we are encouraged to get to London as soon as we can.
January 5. I with my Lord Brouncker and Mrs. Williams, by coach with four horses to London, to my Lord's house in Covent Garden. But, Lord! what staring to see a nobleman's coach come to town; and porters every where bow to us; and such begging of beggars ! And delightful it is to see the town full of people again; and shops begin to open, though in many places seven or eight together, and more, all shut; but yet the town is full, compared with what it used to be; I mean the city end; for Covent Garden and Westminster are yet very empty of people, no court nor gentry being there.
13th. Home with his Lordship to Mrs. Williams's, in Covent Garden, to dinner, (the first time I ever was there,) and there met Captain Cocke; and pretty merry, though not perfectly so, because of the fear that there is of a great increase again of the plague this week.
22nd. The first meeting of Gresham College since the plague. Dr. Goddard did fill us with talk, in defence of his and his fellowphysicians going out of town in the plague time; saying, that their particular patients were most gone out of town, and they left at liberty; and a great deal more, &c.
30th. This is the first time that I have been in the church since I left London for the plague, and it frighted me indeed to go through the church more than I thought it could have done, to see so many graves lie so high upon the churchyards, where people have been buried of the plague. I was much troubled at it, and do not think to go through it again a good while.
February 4th (Lord's Day). And my wife and I the first time together at church since the plague, and now only because of Mr. Mills his coming home to preach his first sermon, expecting a great excuse for his leaving the parish before any body went, and now staying till all are come home; but he made but a very poor and short excuse, and a bad sermon. It was a frost, and had snowed last night, which covered the graves in the churchyard, so as I was the less afraid for going through.
67.—THE INSECT OF A DAY. TRANSLATED FROM AN ANONYMOUS FRENCH WRITER. ARISTOTLE says that upon the river Hypanis there exist little animals who live only one day. Those who die at eight o'clock in the morning, die in their youth; those who die at five o'clock in the evening, die in a state of decrepitude.
Suppose one of the most robust of these Hypanians as old, according to these nations, as time itself; he would have begun to exist at the break of day, and through the strength of his constitution, would have been enabled to support an active life during the infinite number of seconds contained in ten or twelve hours. During so long a succession of instants, by his own experience and by his reflections on all he had seen, he must have acquired great wisdom ; he looks upon his fellows who have died at noon as creatures happily delivered from the great number of infirmities to which old age is subject. He may have to relate to his grandsons an astonishing tradition of facts anterior to all the memories of the nation. The young swarm, composed of beings who have lived but an hour, approach the venerable patriarch with respect, and listen with admiration to his instructive discourse. Every thing he relates to them, appears a prodigy to this generation whose life has been so short. A day appears to them the entire duration of time, and the dawn of day would be called, in their chronology, the great era of their creation.
Suppose now that the venerable insect, this Nestor of the Hypanis, a short time before his death, about the hour of sunset, assembles all
his descendants, his friends and acquaintances, to give them, with his dying breath, his last advice. They gather from all parts under the vast shelter of a mushroom, and the dying sage addresses them in the following manner :
Friends and compatriots, I feel that the longest life must have an end. The term of mine has arrived, and I do not regret my fate, since my great age has become a burden to me, and there is nothing new under the sun for me. The revolutions and calamities that have desolated my country, the great number of particular accidents to which we are all subject, the infirmities that afflict our species, and the misfortunes which have happened in my own family, all that I have seen in the course of a long life, has only too well taught me this great truth, that happiness, placed in things which do not depend upon ourselves, can never be certain and lasting. An entire generation has perished by a violent wind; a multitude of our imprudent youth has been swept into the water by a brisk and unexpected breeze. What terrible floods a sudden rain has caused! Our firmest shelters even are not proof against a hail storm. A dark cloud causes the most courageous hearts to tremble.
I lived in the early ages, and conversed with insects of larger growth, of stronger constitutions, and I may say of greater wisdom than any of the present generation. I conjure you to give credit to my last words, when I assure you that the sun which now appears beyond the water, and which seems not far from the earth, I have seen in times past fixed in the middle of the heavens, its rays darting directly upon us. The earth was much lighter in past ages, the air was much warmer, and our ancestors were more sober and more virtuous.
Although my senses are enfeebled, my memory is not; I can assure you that this glorious luminary moves. I have seen it rising over the summit of that mountain, and I began my life about the time that it commenced its immense career. It has, during several centuries, advanced in the heavens with an astonishing heat and brilliancy, of which you can have no idea, and which assuredly you could not have supported; but now, by its decline, and the sensible diminution of its vigour, I foresee that all nature must shortly terminate, and that this world will be buried in darkness in less than a hundred minutes.