Old Saint Paul's eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 723 pages of information about Old Saint Paul's.
from the situation of the houses, but every instant some blazing fragment fell with a tremendous splash into the water, where it hissed for a moment, and then was for ever quenched, floating a black mass upon the surface.  From the foot of the bridge to Coal Harbour Stairs, extended what Dryden finely calls “a quay of fire.”  All the wharves and warehouses were in flames, and burning with astonishing rapidity, while this part of Thames-street, “the lodge of all combustibles,” had likewise become a prey to the devouring element.  The fire, too, had spread in an easterly direction, and consuming three churches, namely, Saint Andrew’s, in Botolph-lane, Saint Mary’s, in Love-lane, and Saint Dunstan’s in the East, had invaded Tower-street, and seemed fast approaching the ancient fortress.  So fascinated was Leonard with the sight, that he could have been well content to remain all day gazing at it, but he now recollected that he had other duties to perform, and directing the waterman to land him at Queenhithe, ascended Bread-street-hill, and betook himself to Wood-street.



Some rumours of the conflagration, as will be supposed, had ere this reached Mr. Bloundel, but he had no idea of the extent of the direful calamity, and when informed of it by Leonard, lifted up his hands despairingly, exclaiming, in accents of the deepest affliction—­“Another judgment, then, has fallen upon this sinful city,—­another judgment yet more terrible than the first.  Man may have kindled this great fire, but the hand of God is apparent in it.  ’Alas! alas! for thee, thou great city, Babylon!  Alas for thee, thou mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.  The kings of the earth shall bewail thee, and lament for thee, when they see the smoke of thy burning.’”

“Your dwelling was spared in the last visitation, sir,” observed Leonard, after a pause, “and you were able to shut yourself up, as in a strong castle, against the all-exterminating foe.  But I fear you will not be able to ward off the assaults of the present enemy, and recommend you to remove your family and goods without delay to some place of security far from this doomed city.”

“This is the Lord’s Day, Leonard, and must be kept holy,” replied the grocer.  “To-morrow, if I am spared so long, I will endeavour to find some place of shelter.”

“If the conflagration continues to spread as rapidly as it is now doing, to-morrow will be too late,” rejoined Leonard.

“It may be so,” returned the grocer, “but I will not violate the Sabbath.  If the safety of my family is threatened, that is another matter, but I will not attempt to preserve my goods.  Do not, however, let me influence you.  Take such portion of our stock as belongs to you, and you know that a third of the whole is yours, and convey it where you please.”

“On no account, sir,” interrupted Leonard.  “I should never think of acting in opposition to your wishes.  This will be a sad Sunday for London.”

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Old Saint Paul's from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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