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heart; but why he was so oppressed by
them, is not stated. We can only conjecture
that they revealed to him some secret of
the plague, which long and intimate acquaintance
with its workings had led him correctly to
interpret. The fears the words aroused, were
painfully realised in a few hours. She had
indeed taken the plague; the worst symptoms
were speedily shown, and before night no hope
remained. She struggled till the 24th, and
then died in the twenty-seventh year of her

We are told that those who were left at
Eyam nearly forgot their own griefs and fears
in sorrow for the death of Mrs. Mompesson,
and in pity for her husband. Doubtless it was
more as a legacy to his children, than as a
document fitting their tender years, that
Mompesson penned an affectionate letter to them
concerning the loss of their mother; and at the
same time he wrote to the patron of the living,
Sir George Saville, clearly stating his expectation
of his own immediate death.

About a mile east of Eyam, Riley-hill
commands a lovely prospect; it is swept by the
freshest breezes, and, being so far distant from
Eyam, it might be thought would have escaped
unscathed. How the plague was brought
there, to the house of a family of Talbots,
early in July, is not recorded. But a house
still stands on the spot occupied by that in
which these Talbots lived, and in the orchard
belonging to it may be seen an old monument
inscribed to the memories of Richard Talbot,
Catherine his wife, two sons, and three
daughters, buried July, 1666. There was but
one other house then on the hill; it was occupied
by a family named Hancock. If, as we
suppose, the last burial at the Talbots was
performed by the Hancocks, it is likely that
the father and his son John gave their hands
to the task, for we find the son John, and his
sister Elizabeth, dying three days after the last
grave of the Talbots was closed, and learn
that they were buried by their unhappy mother.
This seems to point at the serious illness of the
father, whose death is, in fact, registered as
occurring, four days later, on the 7th of August,
with those of the two other sons living at home.
Two more short days, and Alice died; one
day more, and the wretched mother dug the
grave of Ann, the last daughter. Between the
3rd and the 10th of August this poor woman
lost her husband and five children, and buried
them all with her own hand, side by side, a
very little way from her own door. Fearing
to touch the corpses, she tied to the feet
of each, a towel, and so dragged the bodies
in succession to their graves. The poor
woman fled from her home to a surviving
son at Sheffield, with whom she passed the
sad remainder of her days. The graves are
still there, with their memorial stones, placed
by the surviving son.

Now there remained but a hundred and
forty-nine persons in Eyam. September was
unusually hot, and still the plague raged. A year
had gone by since its first appearance in the
village. The season for the wakes had come
again, and passed uncelebrated. Twenty-four
died this month, of the one hundred and
forty-nine. One of these was a little maid named
Mary Darby, who died September 4th. She
had lost her father by the plague on July 4th,
and he was buried in the field in which their
dwelling stood. Here she was gathering daisies
from the grave when the pest seized her; on
the following day she was laid under the daisies,
by her father's side. Two stones with their
respective names mark the spot. Margaret Blackwell,
aged seventeen, had lost all her family by
the plague except one brother, when she herself
was attacked by it. Her brother was obliged
to leave her in extremity in order to fetch coals,
and before quitting the house cooked himself
some bacon. He then went out, feeling assured
that he would find her dead on his return.
Margaret, suffering from excessive thirst, contrived
to leave her bed to get something to drink,
and, seeing in a basin the warm fat of the bacon
which had so recently been fried, she hastily
seized it, in the belief that it was water, and
drank it off. Returning then to bed, she felt
rather better, and, when her brother came back
he found her, to his great surprise, revived.
Eventually she recovered, and lived to a good
old age to tell the story of the plague at Eyam.

There were no fresh cases after the 11th of
October. The plague at last left Eyam, after a
sojourn there of rather more than thirteen
months. One of the fugitives, named Merrill,
of Hollins House, Eyam, lived in a hut near
the top of a hill called "Sir William," whither
he had carried a cock to be his sole companion.
He would often go to a certain point on the
hill, from which he could overlook the fated
village, and mark the number of graves
increasing in the fields around. One day, at the
time the plague ceased, his companion, the cock,
after strutting about the heath for some time,
rose from the ground, and, flapping his wings,
flew straight away to his old quarters at
Hollins House. Merrill waited a day or two,
and then, interpreting the cock's desertion, by
the story of Noah's bird, concluded that the
plague, like the waters of the Deluge, had
"abated." So he also descended to his old
home, where he and the cock lived some years
longer together.



So long as Lucy lived, so long did her
children in the nursery live glad and happy
lives. Every evening before the six o'clock
dinner, she ran up to the nursery, sat down
on the little low blue chairmamma's
chairand gathered the children around
her. The three-year-old baby on her lap,
the eldest little girl beside her, lost in
admiration of the shining jewels on mamma's
pretty hands. When the children grew
up and had lost her, they could just
remember the scene. The warm bright
nursery, the gay childish pictures pinned