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Certain persons in Scotland are believed to have the power of "second sight" —that is, of seeing what is to happen in the future. Lochiel, a Highland chieftain, and one of the leaders of Prince Charles's party, goes to a wizard, who possesses the power of second sight, and is warned by him not to engage with the English forces, who had been sent, under the command of the Duke of Cumberland, to put down the "rising" of 1745.—Albin is the Celtic name for Scotland.
LOCHIEL and WIZARD.
Wiz. Lochiel! Lochiel! beware of the day
Loch. Go, preach to the coward, thou death-telling seer!
Wiz. Ha! laugh'st thou, Lochiel, my vision to scorn?
Say, rushed the bold eagle exultingly forth,
Whose banners arise on the battlements' height,
Loch. False wizard, avaunt! I have marshalled my clan;
"Tis finished. Their thunders are hushed on the moors: Culloden is lost, and my country deplores.
But where is the iron-bound prisoner? Where?
Say, mounts he the ocean-wave, banished, forlorn,
The war-drum is muffled, and black is the bier;
FROM THE HISTORY OF THE PLAGUE.
Yon sight, that it freezes my spirit to tell!
Loch. Down, toothless insulter! I trust not the tale :
So black with dishonour, so foul with retreat.
While the kindling of life in his bosom remains,
FROM THE HISTORY OF THE PLAGUE.*
MUCH about the same time I walked out into the fields towards Bow,1 for I had a great mind to see how things were managed in the river and among the ships; and as I had some concern in shipping, I had a notion that it had been one of the best ways of securing one's self from the infection to have retired into a ship; and musing how to satisfy my curiosity in that point, I turned away over the fields, from Bow to Bromley, and down to Blackwall, to the stairs that are there for landing or taking water.
Here I saw a poor man walking on the bank, or sea-wall, as they call it, by himself. I walked awhile also about, seeing the houses all shut up; at last I fell into some talk at a distance with this poor man. First I asked him how people did thereabouts.
"Alas! sir," says he, "almost desolate; all dead or sick. Here are very few families in this part, or in that village "-pointing at Poplar "where half of them are not dead already, and the rest sick." Then he pointed to one house: "There they are all dead," said he, "and the house stands open; nobody dares go into it. A poor thief," says he, "ventured in to steal something, but he paid dear for his theft, for he was carried to the churchyard too, last night." Then he pointed to several other houses. "There," says he, “they are all dead-the man and his wife and five children. There," says he,
This may be read as a dialogue, the teacher reading the introduction, and two pupils the other parts.
"they are shut up; you see a watchman at the door; and so of other houses."
"Why," says I, "what do you here all alone?"
Why," says he, "I am a poor desolate man: it hath pleased God I am not yet visited, though my family is, and one of my children dead."
"How do you mean then," said I, "that you are not visited ?"
"Why," says he," that is my house "-pointing to a very little lowboarded house-" and there my poor wife and two children live," said he, "if they may be said to live; for my wife and one of the children are visited, but I do not come at them.5 And with that word I saw the tears run very plentifully down his face; and so they did down mine too, I assure you.
"But," said I, "why do you not come at them? How can you abandon your own flesh and blood?"
"O sir," said he, "the Lord forbid. I do not abandon them; I work for them as much as I am able; and blessed be the Lord, I keep them from want." And with that I observed he lifted up his eyes to heaven with a countenance that presently told me I had happened on a man that was no hypocrite, but a serious, religious, good man; and his ejaculation was an expression of thankfulness, that, in such a condition as he was in, he should be able to say his family did not want.
'Well," says I," honest man, that is a great mercy, as things go now with the poor. But how do you live then, and how are you kept from the dreadful calamity that is now upon us all?"
Why, sir," says he, "I am a waterman, and there is my boat," says he; "and the boat serves me for a house: I work in it in the day, and I sleep in it in the night; and what I get I lay it down upon that stone," says he, showing me a broad stone on the other side of the street, a good way from his house; "and then," says he," I halloo and call to them till I make them hear, and they come and fetch it."
'Well, friend," says I, "but how can you get money as a waterman? Does anybody go by water these times ?
"Yes, sir," says he, "in the way I am employed, there does. Do you see there," says he, "five ships lie at anchor ? "-pointing down the river a good way below the town-" and do you see," says he," "eight or ten ships lie at the chain there, and at anchor yonder?"pointing above the town. "All those ships have families on board, of their merchants and owners, and such like, who have locked themselves up, and live on board, close shut in, for fear of the infection; and I tend on them to fetch things for them, carry letters, and do what is absolutely necessary, that they may not be obliged to come on shore; and every night I fasten my boat on board one of the ship's boats, and there I sleep by myself; and blessed be God, I am preserved hitherto.”
"Well," said I, "friend, but will they let you come on board after you have been on shore here, when this has been such a terrible place, and so infected as it is ?"
FROM THE HISTORY OF THE PLAGUE.
"Why, as to that," said he, "I very seldom go up the ship-side, but deliver what I bring to their boat, or lie by the side, and they hoist it on board. If I did, I think they are in no danger from me, for I never go into any house on shore, or touch anybody, no, not of my own family; but I fetch provisions for them."
"Nay," says I, "but that may be worse, for you must have those provisions of somebody or other; and since all this part of the town is so infected, it is dangerous so much as to speak with anybody; for the village," said I, "is, as it were, the beginning of London, though it be at some distance from it."
"That is true," added he, "but you do not understand me right. I do not buy provisions for them here; I row up to Greenwich and buy fresh meat there, and sometimes I row down the river to Woolwich, and buy there: then I go to single farmhouses on the Kentish side, where I am known, and buy fowls and eggs and butter, and bring to the ships, as they direct me, sometimes one, sometimes the other. I seldom come on shore here; and I came only now to call my wife, and hear how my little family do, and give them a little money which I received last night."
"Poor man!" said I, "and how much hast thou gotten for them?" "I have gotten four shillings," said he, " which is a great sum, as things go now with poor men; but they have given me a bag of bread too, and a salt fish, and some flesh; so all helps out."
"Well," said I, "and have you given it them yet?
"No," said he, "but I have called, and my wife has answered that she cannot come out yet; but in half an hour she hopes to come, and I am waiting for her. Poor woman!" says he, "she is brought sadly down; she has had a swelling, and it is broke, and I hope she will recover, but I fear the child will die; but it is the Lord!" Here he stopped, and wept very much.
"Well, honest friend," said I, "thou hast a sure comforter, if thou hast brought thyself to be resigned to the will of God: He is dealing with us all in judgment."
"O sir," says he, "it is infinite mercy if any of us are spared; and who am I to repine?"
Sayest thou so,” said I; "and how much less is my faith than
At length, after some further talk, the poor woman opened the door, and called "Robert, Robert; "he answered, and bid her stay a few moments and he would come; so he ran down the common stairs to his boat, and fetched up a sack in which was the provisions he had brought from the ships; and when he returned, he hallooed again; then he went to the great stone which he showed me, and emptied the sack, and laid all out, everything by themselves, and then