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and cautiously as if they knew their work. Everywhere, as they advanced, little children were held up to them out of the throng to be saved, and many of their chargers were loaded with the little creatures, perched before and behind the kind soldier. With wonderful patience and forbearance, they managed to insert themselves and their horses, first in single file, then two by two, then more abreist, like a wedge, into the press, until' at last they formed a wall, cutting off the crowd behind from the mass in the gatew iy, and thus preventing the encumbrance from increasing. The people came to their senses, and went off to other gates, and the crowd diminishing, it became possible to lift up the many unhappy creatures who lay stifling or crushed in the heap. They were carried into the barracks, the cuirassiers hurried to bring their mattresses to lay them on in the hall, brought them water, linen, all they could want, and were as tender to them as sisters of .charity, till they were taken to the hospitals or to their homes. Martinel, who was the moving spirit in this gallant rescue, received in the following year one of M. Monthyon's prizes for the greatest acts of virtue that could be brought to light.
Nor among the gallant actions of which powder has been the cause, should be omitted that of Lieutenant Willoughby, who, in the first dismay of the mutiny in India, in 1858, blew up the great magazine at Delhi, with all the ammunition that would have armed the sepoys even yet more terribly against ourselves. That 6 Golden Deed” was one of those capable of no earthly meed, for it carried the brave young officer where alone there is true reward; and all the queen and country could do in his honor was to pension his widowed mother, and lay up his name among those that stir the heart with admiration and gratitude.
HEROES OF THE PLAGUE,
1576 - 1665 — 1721.
HEN our Litany entreats that we may be ine,” the first of these words bears a special meaning, which came home with strong and painful force to European minds at the time the PrayerBook was translated, and for the whole following century.
It refers to the deadly sickness emphatically called “the plague,” a typhoid fever exceedingly violent and rapid, and accompanied with a frightful swelling either under the arm or on the corresponding part of the thigh. The East is the usual haunt of this fatal complaint, which some suppose to be bred by the marshy, unwholesome state of Egypt after the subsidence of the waters of the Nile, and which generally prevails in Egypt and Syria until its course is checked either by the cold of winter or the heat in summer. At times this disease has become unusually malignant and infectious, and then has come beyond its usual boundaries, and made its way over all the West. These dreadful visitations were rendered more frequent by total disregard of all precautions, and ignorance of laws for preserving health. People crowded together in towns without means of obtaining sufficient air or cleanliness, and thus were sure to be unhealthy ;
and whenever war or famine had occasioned more than usual poverty, some frightful epidemic was sure to follow in its train, and sweep away the poor creatures whose frames were already weakened by previous privation. And often this “sore judg
was that emphatically called the plague; especially during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, a time when war had become far more cruel and mischievous in the hands of hired regiments than ever it had been with a feudal army, and when at the same time increasing trade was filling the cities with more closely packed inhabitants, within fortifications that would not allow the city to expand in proportion to its needs. It has been only the establishment of the system of quarantine which has succeeded in cutting off the course of infection by which the plague was wont to set out on its frightful travels from land to land, from city to city.
The desolation of a plague-stricken city was a sort of horrible dream. Every infected house was marked with a red cross, and carefully closed against all persons, except those who were charged to drive carts through the streets to collect the corpses, ringing a bell as they went. These men were generally wretched beings, the lowest and most reckless of the people, who undertook their frightful task for the sake of the plunder of the desolate houses, and wound themselves up by intoxicating drinks to endure the horrors. The bodies were thrown into large trenches, without prayer or funeral rites, and these were hastily
Whole families died together, untended save by one another, with no aid from without, and the last chances of life would be lost for want of a friendly hand to give drink or food ; and, in the Roman Catholic cities, the perishing without a priest to administer the last rites of the Church was viewed as more dreadful than death itself.
Such visitations as these did indeed prove whether the pastors of the afflicted flock were shepherds or hirelings. So felt, in 1576, Cardinal Carlo Borromeo, Archbishop of Milan, the worthiest of all the successors of St. Ambrose, when he learnt at Lodi that the plague had made its appearance in his city, where, remarkably enough, there had lately been such licentious revelry that he had solemnly warned the people that, unless they repented, they would certainly bring on themselves the wrath of Heaven. His council of clergy advised him to remain in some healthy part of his diocese till the sickness should have spent itself, but he replied that a Bishop, whose duty it is to give his life for his sheep, could not rightly abandon them in time of peril. They owned that to stand by them was the higher course. “Well," he said, “is it not a Bishop's duty to choose the higher course ?"
So back into the town of deadly sickness he went, leading the people to repent, and watching over them in their sufferings, visiting the hospitals, and, by his own example, encouraging his clergy in carrying spiritual consolation to the dying. All the time the plague lasted, which was four months, his exertions were fearless and unwearied, and what was remarkable was, that of his whole household only two died, and they were persons who had not been called to go about among the sick. Indeed, some of the rich who had repaired to a villa, where they spent their time in feasting and amusement in the luxurious Italian fashion, were there followed by the pestilence, and all perished; their dainty fare and the excess in which they indulged having no doubt been as bad a preparation as the poverty of the starving people in the city.
The strict and regular life of the Cardinal and his clergy, and their home in the spacious palace, were, no doubt, under Providence, a preservative; but, in the opinions of the time, there was little short of a miracle in the safety of one who daily preached in the cathedral, — bent over the beds of the sick, giving them food and medicine, hearing their confessions, and administering the last rites of the Church, — and then braving the contagion after death, rather than let the corpses go forth unblest to their common grave. Nay, so far was he from seeking to save his own life, that, kneeling before the altar in the cathedral, he solemnly offered himself, like Moses, as a sacrifice for his people. But, like Moses, the sacrifice was passed by, .“ it cost more to redeem their souls," -and Borromeo remained untouched, as did the twenty-eight priestswho voluntarily offered themselves to join in his labors.
No wonder that the chief memories that haunt the glorious white marble cathedral of Milan are those of St. Ambrose, who taught mercy to an emperor, and of St. Carlo Borromeo, who practised mercy on a people.
It was a hundred years later that the greatest and last visitation of the plague took place in London. Doubtless, the scourge called forth, as in Christian lands such judgments always do,
many an act of true and blessed self-devotion ; but these are not recorded, save where they have their reward : and the tale now to be told is of one of the small villages to which the infection spread, — namely, Eyam, in Derbyshire.
This is a lovely place between Buxton and Chatsworth, perched high on a hillside, and shut in by another higher mountain, - extremely beautiful, but exactly one of those that, for want of free air, always become the especial prey of infection. At that time dead works were in operation in the mountains, and the village was thickly inhabited. Great