Breathing Death in Every Place

Just ahead of Part Twenty-Four of our current Tale for Our Time, a reminder that we have a morning (North American Eastern Time) complement to our 1665 contagion capers in our Coronacopia editions of The Mark Steyn Show. Elizabeth Lussow, a New York member of The Mark Steyn Club, enjoyed our Good Friday episode:

Thank you for T.S. Eliot. The show is serious, light and etc etc.

We are listening to Tales also and it is an excellent choice!

Indeed it is, Elizabeth: my serialization of Daniel Defoe’s vivid journalistic report from 1665 is the perfect guide to 2020. In tonight’s episode of A Journal of the Plague Year, our narrator tries to explain something that we still have difficulty grasping three-and-a-half centuries on – that the disease is spread by persons apparently healthy:

It was not the sick people only from whom the plague was immediately received by others that were sound, but the well… By the well I mean such as had received the contagion, and had it really upon them, and in their blood, yet did not show the consequences of it in their countenances: nay, even were not sensible of it themselves, as many were not for several days. These breathed death in every place, and upon everybody who came near them; nay, their very clothes retained the infection, their hands would infect the things they touched, especially if they were warm and sweaty, and they were generally apt to sweat too…

And this is the reason why it is impossible in a visitation to prevent the spreading of the plague by the utmost human vigilance: viz., that it is impossible to know the infected people from the sound, or that the infected people should perfectly know themselves.

Very true – which leads our guide to the London of 1665 to some thoughts on “social distancing”. Members of The Mark Steyn Club can hear Part Twenty-Four of our tale simply by clicking here and logging-in. Earlier episodes can be found here.

If you’ve a friend who might be partial to our classic fiction outings, we’ve introduced a special Mark Steyn Club Gift Membership. You’ll find more details here.

See you back here tomorrow for Part Twenty-Five of A Journal of the Plague Year.

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