Skip to main content

Full text of "The Diary Of John Evelyn Vol-2"

See other formats

1666                                JOHN  EVELYN

of prisons, were many of them melted and reduced to
cinders by the vehement heat. Nor was I yet able to pass
through any of the narrow streets, but kept the widest ;
the ground and air, smoke and fiery vapor, continued so
intense, that my hair was almost singed, and my feet in-
sufferably surbated. The by-lanes and narrow streets
were quite filled up with rubbish; nor could one have
possibly known where he was, but by the ruins of some
Church, or Hall, that had some remarkable tower, or pin-
nacle 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 Coun-
cil indeed took all imaginable care for their relief, by pro-
clamation 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 were 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 clamor 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,th some arms