A Journal of the Plague Year
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"A Journal of the Plague Year" Quotes

By Daniel Defoe

classics | 328 pages | Published in 1884

ISBN_13:9781497684188
ISBN_10:1497684188

Quotes

These unhappy creatures, when they are taken, are first stripped naked, and then washed in a great tub, in the presence of the committee, and others appointed for that work; they are then wrapped up in a sheet sealed with pitch, and so placed in a boat manned by watermen, who are forbidden to speak to them, or to go near them; they have a flag, placed on a staff at the end of the boat, to be their guide, till they come to the place of burial, where the cart is ready to receive them.

Daniel Defoe

These couples went and stood at the remotest parts of the ghostly crowd, and called aloud, one for his wife, and some for their children, in a most passionate and lamentable manner.

Daniel Defoe

Now, indeed, the city was in its last agonies, its vitals, that is to say, the people, were all perfectly corrupted, for the distemper spread itself, like a fretting leprosy, all over their bodies; and if they were touched with it, if they had not certainly the plague upon them, yet they had it in their blood, and consequently in their spirits.

Daniel Defoe

In my observations of things, I began to allow myself to join with those who, having taken leave of all hopes of life, were entertaining no more thoughts of escape; I now began to say, as they did, ‘What is this world the better for me? And what matter is it whether I go to a place capable of receiving me, or make one capable of taking me in?’

Daniel Defoe

Thus I have given a view of the misery and distress, the terror and confusion, that was everywhere to be seen, but which no tongue can describe; no, not by the imagination comprehend.

Daniel Defoe

It makes me shrink in the reading it, and yet I must go on to observe, that nothing was more frequently happening in the streets at that time than to see abundance of people meet and pass by one another, in the street, without giving the least account of themselves, or one another, as to whence they came, or whither they went, what they intended, or had been doing; and, as on those occasions nobody could have the least satisfying information by inquiry and examination, as to their circumstances or health, which way soever they were going.

Daniel Defoe

Here likewise they showed us the stocks and whips they had provided for such women as, at other times, they would have punished in the streets; but they had now other work upon their hands.

Daniel Defoe

The distemper was in the house, and how should I escape? I immediately went, and looked into the bed which the poor desolate creature had died in, and resolved in my thoughts I would not lie in it.

Daniel Defoe

Oh! says one poor man, leaning upon his stick, I am glad we are come to the water-side, though I think we have no hope left; is there no boat to carry us away to Greenwich, or Deptford, or any where? the tears ran down his face, and he looked about him, and nobody made him any answer; every one’s face that he could see, looked dejected, and as they had the dead palsie.

Daniel Defoe

I mentioned the oppression of the poor by hackney-coachmen, their being taken in when they were almost dead with the plague, and sometimes thrown into the streets out of the coaches, even in the middle of the streets, and left to perish or be taken up by the officers, as it was their chance to be found alive or dead.

Daniel Defoe