A Stranger Among Us

Welcome to Part Nineteen of our current Tale for Our Time, my serialization of Daniel Defoe’s category-smashing mélange of journalistic detail and literary imagination set against the Great Plague of London in 1665. If you’ve a chum who’s a fan of classic fiction in audio form, don’t forget our Mark Steyn Club gift membership.

On Monday’s Rush, you might have heard me talking to Bob from Warren, Vermont about the boxes being delivered to some suddenly arrived out-of-stater. If so, you’ll hear an echo of that in tonight’s episode of A Journal of the Plague Year:

There was one unhappy citizen within my knowledge who had been visited in a dreadful manner, so that his wife and all his children were dead, and himself and two servants only left, with an elderly woman, a near relation, who had nursed those that were dead as well as she could. This disconsolate man goes to a village near the town …and finding an empty house there, inquires out the owner, and took the house.

After a few days he got a cart and loaded it with goods, and carries them down to the house; the people of the village opposed his driving the cart along; but with some arguings and some force, the men that drove the cart along got through the street up to the door of the house. There the constable resisted them again, and would not let them be brought in. The man caused the goods to be unloaden and laid at the door, and sent the cart away; upon which they carried the man before a justice of peace…

The justice ordered him to cause the cart to fetch away the goods again, which he refused to do; upon which the justice ordered the constable to pursue the carters and fetch them back, and make them reload the goods and carry them away, or to set them in the stocks till they came for further orders; and if they could not find them, nor the man would not consent to take them away, they should cause them to be drawn with hooks from the house-door and burned in the street.

The poor distressed man upon this fetched the goods again, but with grievous cries and lamentations at the hardship of his case. But there was no remedy; self-preservation obliged the people to those severities which they would not otherwise have been concerned in.

Members of The Mark Steyn Club can hear me read Part Nineteen of A Journal of the Plague Year simply by clicking here and logging-in. Earlier episodes can be found here.

Don’t forget our other SteynOnline audio entertainment: for the duration of the Coronapocalypse, the new hunkered down version of The Mark Steyn Show. A North Carolina member of The Mark Steyn Club, the unapostrophized Terrence Omalley, writes:

My wife and I throughly enjoy your audio shows, and look forward to them as we cower in place per the diktats of our superiors.

Thank you, Terrence. There’s no better way to lighten the burdens of cowering before your superiors than by cringing before my content.

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