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THE AUTHOR OF
“EMILIA WYNDHAM,” “ TWO OLD MEN'S TALES,"
" For we, most blest, even when to heaven we turn
Of sorrows that are here-
W. C. BENNBTT.
EVELYN MARSTO N.
“ I stood, And homeless, ʼmid ten thousand homes, And ʼmid ten thousand tables pined, and wanted food.”
It was a fearful night!
The depth of a most severe winter in the depths of a vast city. The neglected wildernesses of a great metropolis ; forgotten in the busy hurry of an impatient, progressing world -regions from whence the tide is gradually ebbing, to visit more favoured shores—leaving, alas ! how many stranded upon the forsaken beach!
I stood in one of the narrowest streets of Spital Fields--that, once industrious, crowded, VOL. I.
and prospering bee-hive.—It was in this quarter that a little more than a century before the time of which I write, the victims of the most preposterous fanaticism, the basest breach of faith, and most extravagant impolicy that ever disgraced the annals of man-had taken refugeDriven there by injustice and persecution received from the hands of, perhaps, the most accomplished, the most refined, and possibly, one of the most really loving-hearted and Godfearing monarchs that ever sat upon the throne of France.
They came, an energetic, strong-minded, sturdy, obstinate race of martyrs--martyrs to opinion, perhaps, as well as to piety; a race of vigorous, persevering labourers, whether in God's vineyard or their own
to recover, by their indefatigable exertions, a portion of that prosperity which such qualities had obtained for them in the country of their birth -- The envy excited by these had been a prime moving cause of the animosity of an idle, ill-disciplined, unprincipled Catholic population.
As ants, when their hillock city has been destroyed, may be seen, without hesitation or despondency, instantly setting about to repair the ruins-so it was with these brave Hugonots. Wherever they settled-in Prussia, Germany, Holland, England, it was all the same. They have everywhere left their indelible traces, by ineffaceable advantages bequeathed to the hospitable societies, which, in spite of all the threatenings of a most formidable power, held out the arms of refuge to these homeless multitudes.
Here, gardens and fruit trees are introduced there, some other invention or industry-in England, among many other valuable sources of wealth, that of the silk-weaving in Spital Fields.
The storm had been thickening in the horizon many years before it finally broke over their heads; and it would appear that numerous members of the rich and provident body of the French Protestants had been beforehand with disaster, and had already lodged considerable funds in foreign countries. Of course this was not, and could not be done to any