Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

carried in vehicles of every form. The parent or husband had perished; and the price of some moveable, or the pittance handed forth by public charity, had been expended to purchase the means of retiring from this theatre of disasters; though uncertain and hopeless of accommodation in the neighbouring districts.

Between these and the fugitives whom curiosity had led to the road, dialogues frequently took place, to which I was suffered to listen. From every mouth the tale of sorrow was repeated with new aggravations. Pictures of their own distress, or of that of their neighbours, were exhibited in all the hues which imagination can annex to pestilence and poverty.

My preconceptions of the evil now appeared to have fallen short of the truth. The dangers into which I was rushing, seemed more numerous and imminent than I had previously imagined. I wavered not in my purpose. A panick crept to my heart, which more vehement exertions were necessary to subdue or control; but I harboured not a momentary doubt that the course which I had taken was prescribed by duty. There was no difficulty or reluctance in proceeding. All for which my efforts were demanded, was to walk in this path without tumult or alarm.

Various circumstances had hindered me from setting out upon this journey as early as was proper. My frequent pauses to listen to the narratives of travellers, contributed likewise to procrastination. The sun had nearly set before I reached the precincts of the city. I pursued the track which I had formerly taken, and entered High-street after night-fall. Instead of equipages and a throng of passengers, the voice of levity and glee, which I had formerly observed, and which the mildness of the season would at other times, have produced, I found nothing but a dreary solitude.

The market-place, and each side of this magnificent avenue were illuminated, as before, by lamps; but between the verge of Schuylkill and the heart of the city, I met not more than a dozen figures; and these were ghost-like, wrapt in cloaks, from behind which they cast upon me glances of wonder and

suspicion; and, as I approached, changed their course, to avoid touching me. Their clothes were sprinkled with vinegar; and their nostrils defended from contagion by some powerful perfume.

I cast a look upon the houses, which I recollected to have formerly been, at this hour, brilliant with lights, resounding with lively voices, and thronged with busy faces. Now they were closed, above and below; dark, and without tokens of being inhabited. From the upper windows of some, a gleam sometimes fell upon the pavement I was traversing, and shewed that their tenants had not fled, but were secluded or disabled.

These tokens were new, and awakened all my panicks. Death seemed to hover over this scene, and I dreaded that the floating pestilence had already lighted on my frame. . . My joints trembled and cold drops stood on my forehead. I was ashamed of my own infirmity; and by vigorous efforts of my reason, regained some degree of composure. The evening had now advanced, and it behoved me to procure accommodation at some of the inns.

These were easily distinguished by their signs, but many were without inhabitants. At length, I lighted upon one, the hall of which was open, and the windows lifted. After knocking for some time, a yoụng girl appeared, with many marks of distress. In answer to my question, she answered that both her parents were sick, and that they could receive

I inquired, in vain, for any other tavern at which strangers might be accommodated. She knew of none such; and left me, on some one's calling to her from above, in the midst of my embarrassment. After a moment's pause, I returned, discomforted and perplexed, to the street.

I proceeded, in a considerable degree, at random. At length, I reached a spacious building, in Fourth-street, which the sign-post shewed me to be an inn. I knocked loudly and often at the door. At length, a female opened the window of the second story, and, in a tone of peevishness, demanded what I wanted ? I told her that I wanted lodging.

Go hunt for it somewhere else, said she; you'll find none

no one.

here. I began to expostulate; but she shut the window with quickness, and left me to my own reflections.

As I approached the door of which I was in-search, a vapour, infectious and deadly, assailed my senses. It resembled nothing of which I had ever before been sensible. Many odours had been met with, even since my arrival in the city, less supportable than this. I seemed not so much to smell as to taste the element that now encompassed me. I felt as if I had inhaled a poisonous and subtle fluid, whose power instantly bereft my stomach of all vigour. Some fatal influence appeared to seize upon my vitals; and the work of corrosion and decomposition to be busily begun.

For a moment, I doubted whether imagination had not some share in producing my sensation; but I had not been previously panick-struck; and even now I attended to my own sensations without mental discomposure. That I had imbibed this disease was not to be questioned. So far the chances in my favour were annihilated. The lot of sickness was drawn.

REFERENCES

The following works are of value for general reference:Stedman and Hutchinson's Library of American Literature (11 vols.)

(W. E. Benjamin), containing selections from nearly all the

authors named in this book. Hart's American History told by Contemporaries (4 vols.) (Macmil

lan).
Richardson's History of American Literature. (2 vols.) (Putnam).
Whipple’s History of American Literature, Harper's Magazine, 1876.
Stedman's An American Anthology (Houghton, Mifflin and Co.).
Stedman's Poets of America (Houghton, Mifflin and Co.).
Duyckinck's Cyclopædia of American Literature, 1875, T. Ellwood

Zell.
Wendell's History of Literature in America (Scribner).

COLONIAL AND REVOLUTIONARY TIMES Tyler's History of American Literature during the Colonial Times

(Putnam). Trent and Wells's Colonial Prose and Poetry (3 vols.) (Crowell). Tyler's History of the Literature of the American Revolution (2 vols.)

(Putnam). Fiske's Beginnings of New England (Houghton, Mifflin and Co.). Fiske's American Revolution (2 vols.) (Houghton, Mifflin and Co.). Fiske's Critical Period of American History, 1783-1789 (Houghton,

Mifflin and Co.). Fiske's Old Virginia and Her Neighbours (2 vols.) (Houghton,

Mifflin and Co.). Fiske's Dutch and Quaker Colonies (2 vols.) (Houghton, Mifflin

and Co.). McMaster's History of the People of the United States (Appleton) Palfrey's History of New England (Houghton, Mifflin and Co.). Sparks's American Biographies (Harper).

Songs and Ballads of the American Revolution, edited by Frank

Moore (Appleton). Cooke's Virginia (Houghton, Mifflin and Co.). Earle's Home Life in Colonial Days (Macmillan). Earle's The Sabbath in Puritan New England (Scribner). Smith's Works, Arber's English Scholar's Library, No. 16. Bradford's Of Plimoth Plantation, published by the Common

wealth of Massachusetts. Winthrop's History of New England (2 vols.) (Little, Brown and

Co.). R. C. Winthrop's Life and Letters of John Winthrop (Little, Brown

and Co.). Bay Psalm Book (reprint) (Dodd, Mead and Co.). Wigglesworth's Day of Doom, edited by J. W. Dean. Helen Campbell's Anne Bradstreet and her Time (Lothrop). The New England Primer, edited by Paul Leicester Ford (Dodd,

Mead and Co.). Wendell's Life of Cotton Mather (Dodd, Mead and Co.). Kate M. Cone's Cotton Mather's Daughter (The Outlook, vol.

lxxxi, nos. 6, 7). Mather's Magnalia Christi, reprinted 1853 (Silas Andrews and Son). Journal of Samuel Sewall, Collections of the Mass. Hist. Soc., Series

5, vols. v-vïïi. Allen's Life of Jonathan Edwards (Houghton, Mifflin and Co.). Edwards's Works (2 vols.) (Bohn). Roger Williams's Works, Narragansett Bay Club's Publications. John Eliot's Works, Collections of the Mass. Hist. Soc., vol. iii. The Simple Cabler, Publications of the Ipswich Hist. Soc., No. 14. The Writings of Col. William Byrd (Doubleday, Page and Co.). Byrd's Letters, Virginia Magazine of Hist. and Biog., 1901–1902. John Woolman's Journal (Houghton, Mifflin and Co.). McMaster's Life of Benjamin Franklin (Houghton, Mifflin and Co.). Ford's The Many-Sided Franklin (The Century Co.). Franklin's Works, edited by A. H. Smyth (10 vols.) (Macmillan). Franklin's Works, edited by John Bigelow (10 vols.) (Putnam). Franklin's Autobiography, edited by John Bigelow (3 vols.) (Put

nam).

« AnteriorContinuar »