Page images

help could be applied, the easterly wind still more impetuously driving the flames forward. Nothing but the Almighty power of God was able to stop them, for vain was the help of man.

Sept. 5.-It crossed towards Whitehall; but oh, the confusion there was then at that Court ! It pleased His Majesty to command me among the rest to look after the quenching of Fetter Lane end, to preserve if possible that part of Holborn, whilst the rest of the gentlemen took their several posts, some at one part, some at another, (for now they began to bestir themselves, and not till now, who hitherto had stood as men intoxicated, with their hands across) and began to consider that nothing was likely to put a stop but the blowing up of so many houses as might make a wider gap than any yet had been made by the ordinary method of pulling them down with engines ; this some stout seamen proposed early enough to have saved nearly the whole City, but this some tenacious and avaricious men, aldermen, &c., would not permit, because their houses must have been of the first.

It was therefore now commanded to be practised, and my concern being particularly for the Hospital of St. Bartholomew near Smithfield, where I had my wounded and sick men, made me the more diligent to promote it; nor was my care for the Savoy less. It now pleased God by abating the wind, and by the industry of the people, when almost all was lost, infusing a new spirit into them, that the fury of it began sensibly to abate about noon, so as it came no farther than the Temple westward,


nor than the entrance of Smithfield north: but continued all this day and night so impetuous towards Cripplegate and the Tower as made us all despair; it also broke out again in the Temple, but the courage of the multitude persisting, and many houses being blown up, such gaps and desolations were soon made, as with the former three days consumption, the back fire did not so vehemently urge upon the rest as formerly. There was yet no standing near the burning and glowing ruins by near a furlong's space.

The coal and wood wharves and magazines of oil, resin, &c., did infinite mischief, so as the invective 3 which a little before I had dedicated to His Majesty and published, giving a warning what might probably be the issue of suffering those shops to be in the City, was looked on as a prophecy.

The poor inhabitants were dispersed about St. George's Fields, and Moorfields, as far as Highgate, and several miles in circle, some under tents, some under miserable huts and hovels, many without a rag or any necessary utensils, bed or board, who from delicateness, riches, and easy accomodations in stately and well-furnished houses, were now reduced to extremest misery and poverty.

In this calamitous condition I returned with a sad heart to my house, blessing and adoring the distinguishing mercy of God to me and mine.

John Evelyn (Diary).



The proudest now is but my peer,

The highest not more high;
To-day, of all the weary year,

A king of men am I.
To-day, alike are great and small,

The nameless and the known;
My palace is the people's hall,

The ballot-box my throne !

Who 'serves to-day upon the list,

Beside the served shall stand;
Alike the brown and wrinkled fist,

The gloved and dainty hand !
The rich is level with the poor,

The weak is strong to-day;
And sleekest broad-cloth counts no more

Than homespun frock of gray.

To-day let pomp and vain pretence

My stubborn right abide ;
I set a plain man's common sense

Against the pedant's pride.
To-day shall simple manhood try

The strength of gold and land;
The wide world has not wealth to buy

The power in my right hand !

[ocr errors]

While there's a grief to seek redress,

Or balance to adjust,
Where weighs our living manhood less

Than Mammon's vilest dust,-
While there's a right to need my vote,

A wrong to keep away,
Up! clouted knee and ragged coat!
A man's a man to-day !

J. G. Whittier.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

SHORTLY before the events recorded in the preceding chapter, there had been no small excitement among Palissy's poor neighbours and acquaintance, with reference to his proceedings. Day after day little knots of gossips might be seen, lounging about the neighbourhood of his garden and workshop, expressing, in various ways, their surprise and indignation at his conduct, and exclaiming, in no measured terms, against his obstinate and mad folly. This indignation reached its height, when, one day, the report spread, far and wide, that the poor man was actually insane, and had torn up the palings of his garden, and the planks of his dwelling-house, and that his unhappy

* By kind permission of the Religious Tract Society.

wife, half crazed with his conduct, had herself rushed out of the house, accompanied by her children, and taken refuge with a neighbour.

In order to account for all this, it is necessary to retrace our steps, and relate in what manner our artist had been spending the two years that have intervened since his marsh-surveying.

Undaunted by the failure of his early efforts, and relieved, for a time, from anxiety on the score of domestic wants, Palissy, giving the money he had received for the execution of his task into the hands of his wife, resumed his “affection for pursuing in the track of the enamels."

Two years of unremitting and zealous labour followed, productive of no practical results, although there had once been a partial melting of some of his compounds, which gave him sufficient encouragement to persist. During those two long years, he tells us, he did nothing but come and go between his dwelling and the adjacent glass-houses, where the furnaces being much hotter than those of the potteries, were more likely to be successful in melting his materials.

Was it any marvel if poverty and sorrow invaded his household ; if his wife grew moody and sad, and if the neighbours, pitying the hapless woman and innocent children, pronounced hard judgment upon a man who consumed his time in buying pots and breaking them, in grinding drugs and burning them, and in going to and fro upon his bootless errand ? Death, too, had once and again entered his doors, bearing away the two sickly infants we

« PreviousContinue »