The Boarded River

Here at SteynOnline, even under global lockdown, the lights stay on. We’re very proud that this website now offers more free content – in print, audio and video – than at any time in our seventeen-year history. But we also provide some premium extras especially for our Mark Steyn Club members, such as these nightly adaptations of classic fiction. So here we go with the Monday installment of our current Tale for Our Time, a vividly journalistic account by Daniel Defoe of the Great Plague of London.

If you heard me on the radio today, talking to Bob from Warren, Vermont, about the influx of flatlanders from New York and Massachusetts hightailing it out of their diseased states for the fresh, cleansing air of their holiday homes, you’ll know there’s increasing hostility toward those city-dwellers attempting to outrun the contagion. In tonight’s episode, a party of Londoners attempt to do likewise:

They began to be acquainted with one another. It seems when they left Islington they intended to have gone north, away to Highgate, but were stopped at Holloway, and there they would not let them pass; so they crossed over the fields and hills to the eastward, and came out at the Boarded River, and so avoiding the towns, they left Hornsey on the left hand and Newington on the right hand, and came into the great road about Stamford Hill on that side, as the three travellers had done on the other side. And now they had thoughts of going over the river in the marshes, and make forwards to Epping Forest, where they hoped they should get leave to rest.

The Boarded River is known today as the New River, an artificial waterway opened in 1613 to reroute fresh drinking water from the River Lea in Hertfordshire twenty miles to the heart of London. It was brought to fruition by Sir Hugh Myddelton, Bt, who persuaded King James I to invest in it personally. The “Boarded River” name was attached by locals to those sections where it crossed valleys by means of wooden aqueducts lined by lead.

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

If you enjoy me in audio, you might like to know that for the duration of the Coronapocalypse we’re complementing Tales for Our Time at the other end of the day with a morning edition of The Mark Steyn Show. Ellen Comeau, a First Month Founding Member and not far from me (until the Maple Curtain descended) across the border in Quebec, is enjoying it so far:

Cher Mark,

Bonjour de la Belle Province!

Kung Flu Fighting! Love it!

I must admit to really be enjoying this format of The Mark Steyn Show. Easy listening while working (from home of course) with the benefit of all the extra music clips that I wouldn’t normally listen to. I’m discovering the DJ side of you, and really dig it! Keep up the good work!

I’m digging it, too, Ellen. The latest edition airs tomorrow.

Membership in The Mark Steyn Club is not for everyone, but, if you’ve a pal who enjoys classic fiction, we’d love to welcome him or her to our ranks via the birthday present that lasts all year: A gift membership in the Steyn Club, which comes with access to our entire archive of Tales for Our Time, including The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, The Time Machine, The Thirty-Nine Steps and many more. For more details on our special Gift Membership, see here. Please join me tomorrow evening for Part Eighteen of A Journal of the Plague Year.

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