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Old Saint Paul's A Tale of the Plague and the Fire   By: (1805-1882)

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OLD SAINT PAUL'S

A TALE OF THE PLAGUE AND THE FIRE

BY WILLIAM HARRISON AINSWORTH

The portion of the ensuing Tale relating to the Grocer of Wood street, and his manner of victualling his house, and shutting up himself and his family within it during the worst part of the Plague of 1665, is founded on a narrative, which I have followed pretty closely in most of its details, contained in a very rare little volume, entitled, " Preparations against the Plague, both of Soul and Body ," the authorship of which I have no hesitation in assigning to DEFOE. Indeed, I venture to pronounce it his masterpiece. It is strange that this matchless performance should have hitherto escaped attention, and that it should not have been reprinted with some one of the countless impressions of the " History of the Plague of London ," to which it forms an almost necessary accompaniment. The omission, I trust, will be repaired by Mr. HAZLITT the younger, DEFOE'S last and best editor, in his valuable edition of the works of that great novelist and political writer, now in the course of publication. It may be added, that a case precisely similar to that of the Grocer, and attended with the same happy results, occurred during the Plague of Marseilles, in 1720.

For my acquaintance with this narrative, as well as for the suggestion of its application to the present purpose, I am indebted to my friend, Mr. JAMES CROSSLEY, of Manchester.

KENSAL MANOR HOUSE, HARROW ROAD, November 30, 1841.

CONTENTS.

BOOK THE FIRST April, 1665.

1. The Grocer of Wood street and his Family.

2. The Coffin maker.

3. The Gamester and the Bully.

4. The Interview.

5. The Pomander box.

6. The Libertine Punished.

7. The Plague Nurse.

8. The Mosaical Rods.

9. The Miniature.

10. The Duel.

BOOK THE SECOND. May, 1665.

1. The Progress of the Pestilence.

2. In what Manner the Grocer Victualled his House.

3. The Quack Doctors.

4. The Two Watchmen.

5. The Blind Piper and his Daughter.

6. Old London from Old Saint Paul's.

7. Paul's Walk.

8. The Amulet.

9. How Leonard was cured of the Plague.

10. The Pest house in Finsbury Fields.

11. How the Grocer shut up his House.

BOOK THE THIRD. June, 1665.

1. The Imprisoned Family.

2. How Fires were Lighted in the Streets.

3. The Dance of Death.

4. The Plague pit.

5. How Saint Paul's was used as a Pest house.

6. The Departure.

7. The Journey.

8. Ashdown Lodge.

9. Kingston Lisle.

BOOK THE FOURTH. September, 1665.

1. The Plague at its Height.

2. The Second Plague pit.

3. The House in Nicholas lane.

4. The Trials of Amabel.

5. The Marriage and its Consequences.

6. The Certificate.

BOOK THE FIFTH. December, 1665.

1. The Decline of the Plague.

2. The Midnight Meeting.

BOOK THE SIXTH. September, 1666.

1. The Fire ball.

2. The First Night of the Fire.

3. Progress of the Fire.

4. Leonard's Interview with the King.

5. How Leonard saved the King's Life.

6. How the Grocer's House was Burnt.

7. The Burning of Saint Paul's.

8. How Leonard rescued the Lady Isabella.

9. What befel Chowles and Judith in the Vaults of Saint Faith's.

10. Conclusion.

OLD SAINT PAUL'S.

BOOK THE FIRST.

APRIL, 1665.

I.

THE GROCER OF WOOD STREET AND HIS FAMILY.

One night, at the latter end of April, 1665, the family of a citizen of London carrying on an extensive business as a grocer in Wood street, Cheapside, were assembled, according to custom, at prayer. The grocer's name was Stephen Bloundel. His family consisted of his wife, three sons, and two daughters. He had, moreover, an apprentice; an elderly female serving as cook; her son, a young man about five and twenty, filling the place of porter to the shop and general assistant; and a kitchen maid. The whole household attended; for the worthy grocer, being a strict observer of his religious duties, as well as a rigid disciplinarian in other respects, suffered no one to be absent, on any plea whatever, except indisposition, from morning and evening devotions; and these were always performed at stated times... Continue reading book >>




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