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inhuman dealing of my own son, which has
both ruined my family, and, in a word, has
broken my heart." It does not appear that
this heavy charge against his son was other
than the hallucination of a diseased mind,
for Defoe had amply provided for his wife
and two daughters, and his son had not
the power, even if he had the will, which
nowhere appears, to ruin either them or
his father. "I depended upon him," adds
Defoe; "I trusted him; I gave up two
dear unprovided children into his hands;
but he has no compassion, but suffers them
and their poor dying mother to beg their
bread at his door, and to crave, as it were,
an alms, which he is bound under hand
and seal, besides the most sacred promises,
to supply them with, himself at the same
time being in a profusion of plenty. It
is too much for me. My heart is too full."
This would be very tragical if true. It
is equally tragic if it be the mere phantasm
of a strong mind weakened by old
age, hard work, and disappointment. Mr.
Lee conjectures, and probably with reason,
that "the mean, contemptible, and perjured
enemy" who sent Defoe's poor brain wrong
was no other than Mist, whom he had
deceived and betrayed; and that in alarm, well
or ill-founded, at something terrible which
Mist might do to him, he had made over all
his property to his son. However this be,
Defoe never returned home to the wife
and children whom he loved, but fled from
corner to corner, hiding himself from the
world during several months.

He at last returned to London early in
1731, and, on the 26th of April in that
year, died, in his seventy-first year, "of a
lethargy," at a lodging in Ropemaker's-
alley, Moorfields. It does not appear that
his eyes were closed by filial hands, or that
his family were able to discover him. The
brain had given way, the strong intellect
had worn itself out, and he died the victim
of his own delusions, knowing not of the
kind hearts that were yearning to receive
him, and pay the last attention to a beloved
husband and father.

Peace to his memory! He was not the
faultless monster whom the world never
saw, nor was he the first man who did evil
that good might come of it, and who paid
the penalty always exacted, sooner or later,
from the evil-doer. Let him who is without
sin cast the first stone at his memory,
and let those who are not without sin, and
know how to make allowances for human
frailty, speak with respect of the great
Daniel Defoe: who sinned a little, but
suffered much, and left behind him a name as
a statesman, a patriot, a philosopher, and
a novelist, that shall last as long as the
English language.


IN August, sixteen 'sixty-five, the wakes
were, according to old custom, celebrated at
Eyam, in Derbyshire, 'on the Sunday after St.
Helen's Day. It is said that on this occasion an
unusual number of visitors attended the wakes.

The plague was raging in London when, on
the second or third of September following the
wakes, a box, containing patterns of cloth and
some clothes, was received by the tailor of
Eyam from a relation in town, who had got
them very cheap, and sent the bargain on;
though men well understood the danger from
contact with clothes, bedding, or furniture from
infected houses. The journeyman of the tailor
was one George Vicars, not a native of Eyam.
It was he who opened the box, and, it would
seem, in taking out the patterns and clothes,
he at once observed a peculiar smell; for,
exclaiming "How very damp they are!" he hung
them before the fire to dry. Even while
attending to them a violent sickness seized him,
and, other serious symptoms following, the
family and neighbours were greatly alarmed.
Next day he was much worse, and became
delirious. Large swellings rose on his neck and
groin; on the third day the fatal plague spot
appeared on his breast, and on the following
night, September 6th, he died in horrible agony.

Thus began the plague at Eyam: a place
now of seventeen hundred, then of three
hundred and fifty, inhabitants. With some the
first symptoms would be so slight that the
earlier stages were endured without suspicion,
and they would go about as usual, until a
sudden faintness seized them, and the dark
token on the breast appeared.

The second victim at Eyam was Edward,
son of Edward Cooper, who died fourteen
days after George Vicars, and by the end
of September six others were dead of plague;
two of these were named Thorpe, and, as
four more of the same name were carried off
in October, it is likely that this was the name of
the tailor to whom the cloth was sent: it being
stated that his whole family were among the
first destroyed. Twenty-three persons died in
October. The approach of winter checked the
pestilence, and the register shows but seven
deaths in November. In December, there were
nine; in January, five; in March, six; in April,
nine; in May, four. But, then, with the
increase of heat came rapid increase of mortality.
In June, nineteen died; in July, fifty-six; in
August, seventy-eight; in September, twenty-
four; in October, twenty, in which month the
plague was stayed. Adding these numbers
together, we find a total of two hundred and
seventy-three deaths registered in rather more
than a year from a population of three hundred