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tuously drove the flames forward. Nothing but the Almighty power of God was able to stop them, for vain was the help of man.
5. It crossed towards Whitehall; 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, (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 had yet 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 many 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, 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 wharfs and magazines of oil, rosin, &c., did infinite mischief, so as the invective which a little before I had dedicated to his majesty and published, giving 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 accommodations 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 mercy of God to me and mine, who in the midst of all this ruin was like Lot, in my little Zoar, safe and sound.
7. I went this morning on foot from Whitehall as far as London Bridge, through the late Fleet Street, Ludgate Hill, by St. Paul's, Cheapside, Exchange, Bishopgate, Aldersgate, and out to Moorfields, thence through Cornhill, &c., with extraordinary difficulty, clambering over heaps of yet smoking rubbish, and frequently mistaking where I
The ground under my feet was so hot, that it even burnt the soles of my shoes. In the mean time his majesty got to the Tower by water, to demolish the houses about the graff, which being built entirely about it, had they taken fire and attacked the White Tower where the magazine of powder lay, would undoubtedly not only have beaten down and destroyed all the bridge, but sunk and torn the vessels in the river, and rendered the demolition beyond all expression for several miles about the country.
At my return I was infinitely concerned to find that goodly church St. Paul's now a sad ruin, and that beautiful portico (for structure comparable to any in Europe, as not long before repaired by the king) now rent in pieces, flakes of vast stone split asunder, and nothing remaining entire but the inscription in the architrave, showing by whom it was built, which had not one letter of it defaced. It was astonishing to see what immense stones the heat had in a manner calcined, so that all the ornaments, columns, friezes, and projectures of massy Portland stone flew off, even to the very roof, where a sheet of lead covering a great space was totally melted; the ruins of the vaulted roof falling broke into St. Faith's, which being filled with the magazines of books belonging to the stationers, and carried thither for safety, they were all consumed, burning for a week following. It is also observable that the lead over the altar at the east end was untouched, and among the divers monuments, the body of one bishop remained entire. Thus lay in ashes that most venerable church, one of the most ancient pieces of early piety in the Christian world, besides near 100 more. The lead, iron work, bells, plate, &c., melted; the exquisitely wrought Mercers' Chapel, the sumptuous Exchange, the august fabric of Christ Church, all the rest of the Companies' Halls, sumptuous buildings, arches, all in dust; the fountains dried up and ruined, whilst the very waters remained boiling; the voragoes of subterranean cellars, wells, and dungeons, formerly warehouses, still burning in stench and dark clouds of smoke, so that in five or six miles traversing about I did not see one load of timber unconsumed, nor many stones but what were calcined white as snow. The people who now walked about the ruins appeared like men in a dismal desert, or rather in some great city laid waste by a cruel enemy: to which was added the stench that came from some poor creatures' bodies, beds, &c. Sir Thomas Gresham's statue, though fallen from its niche in the Royal Exchange, remained entire, when all those of the kings since the Conquest were broken to pieces ; also the standard in Cornhill, and Queen Elizabeth's effigies, with some arms on Ludgate, continued with but little detriment, whilst the vast iron chains of the city streets, hinges, bars, and gates of prisons, were many of them melted and reduced to cinders by the vehement heat. I was not able to pass through any of the narrow streets, but kept the widest, the ground and air, smoke and fiery vapour continued so intense that my hair was almost singed and my feet insufferably surheated. The bye lanes and narrower streets were quite filled up with rubbish, nor could one have known where he was, but by the ruins of some church or hall, that had some remarkable tower or pinnacle remaining. I then went towards Islington and Highgate, where one might have seen 200,000 people of all ranks and degrees dispersed and lying along by their heaps of what they could save from the fire, deploring their loss, and though ready to perish for hunger and destitution, yet not asking one penny for relief, which to me appeared a stranger sight than any I had yet beheld. His majesty and council indeed took all imaginable care for their relief by proclamation for the country to come in and refresh them with provisions. In the midst of all this calamity and confusion, there was, I know not how, an alarm begun that the French and Dutch, with whom we are now in hostility, were not only landed but even entering the city. There was in truth some days before great suspicion of those two nations joining; and now, that they had been the occasion of firing the town. This report did so terrify, that on a sudden there was such an uproar and tumult that they ran from their goods, and taking what weapons they could come at, they could not be stopped from falling on some of those nations whom they casually met, without sense or reason. The clamour and peril grew so excessive that it made the whole court amazed, and they did with infinite pains and great difficulty reduce and appease the people, sending troops of soldiers and guards to cause them to retire into the fields again, where they were watched all this night. I left them pretty quiet, and came home sufficiently weary and broken. Their spirits thus a little calmed, and the affright abated, they now began to repair into the suburbs about the city, where such as had friends or opportunity got shelter for the present, to which his majesty's proclamation also invited them.
39.-SIR ROGER DE COVERLEY.-II. The 113th number of the Spectator' describes Sir Roger de Coverley falling in love with a beautiful widow. The paper is by Steele; and to a reader of the present day it may appear somewhat trite and mawkish. The good old knight looks back upon his unrequited youthful affection with a half-ludicrous solemnity. His mistress was à learned lady, who only gave him the encouragement of declaring that “Sir Roger de Coverley was the tamest and most humane of all the brutes in the country.” It is scarcely necessary to follow the disconsolate bachelor's relation of his disappointment. The following description, however, of the sheriff riding in state to the assizes will serve, with a little variation of costume, for a picture of the same scene in our own day: for who amongst our country readers has not heard the barbarous dissonance of the sheriff's trumpets, and smiled at the awkward pomp of his mighty javelin-men ?
«•I came to my estate in my twenty-second year, and resolved to follow the steps of the most worthy of my ancestors who have inhabited this spot of earth before me, in all the methods of hospitality and good neighbourhood, for the sake of my fame; and in country sports and recreations, for the sake of my health. In my twenty-third year I was obliged to serve as sheriff of the county; and in my servants, officers, and whole equipage indulged the pleasure of a young man (who did not think ill of his own person) in taking that public occasion of showing my figure and behaviour to advantage. You may easily imagine to yourself what appearance I made, who am pretty tall, rid well, and was very well dressed, at the head of a whole county, with music before me, a feather in my hat, and my horse well bitted. I can assure you I was not a little pleased with the kind looks and glances I had from all the balconies and windows as I rode to the hall where the assizes were held. But, when I came there, a beautiful creature in a widow's habit sat in the court to hear the event of a cause concerning her dower. This commanding creature (who was born for the destruction of all who beheld her) put on such a resigna tion in her countenance, and bore the whispers of all around the court with such a pretty uneasiness, I warrant you, and then recovered herself from one eye to another, until she was perfectly confused by meet ing something so wistful in all she encountered, that at last, with a murrain to her, she cast her bewitching eye upon me.
I no sooner met it but I bowed like a great surprised booby; and knowing her cause to be the first which came on, I cried, like captivated calf as I was, “Make way for the defendant's witnesses.
This sudden partiality made all the county immediately see the sheriff also was become a slave to the fine widow. During the time her cause was upon trial, she behaved herself, I warrant you, with such a deep attention to her business, took opportunities to have little billets handed to her counsel, then would be in such a pretty confusion, occasioned, know, by acting before so much company, that not only I, but the whole court, was prejudiced in her favour; and all that the next heir to her husband had to urge was thought so groundless and frivolous, that when it came to her counsel to reply, there was not half so much said as every one besides in the court thought he could have urged to her advantage.
In the 115th and 116th numbers of the Spectator, Sir Roger figures as the lover of country sports—obsolete indeed, to a certain extent, and not such as a fast man of our own day would relish :
“ After what has been said, I need not inform my readers that Sir Roger, with whose character I hope they are at present pretty well acquainted, has in his youth gone through the whole course of those rural diversions which the country abounds in; and which seem to be extremely well suited to that laborious industry a man may observe here in a far greater degree than in towns and cities. I have before hinted at some of my friend's exploits : he has in his youthful days taken forty coveys of partridges in a season; and tired many a salmon with a line consisting but of a single hair. The constant thanks and good wishes of the neighbourhood always attended him on account of