Friday, October 19, 2012

Writing - Diary of Black Death

Writing - Diary of Black Death

I think I'll stay in this quaint little English village to begin with.  The countryside is beautiful, and I am oft finding myself taken with moments of profound joy looking skyward.  The inhabitants however are rude and jostling.  Won't they be in for a surprise.  They ask too many penetrating questions of strangers and travelers.  Still I think I'll put my feet up here for a time.





Terrible news.  Someone in the town has contracted illness.  Terrible illness really, they say he is with boils and a very high fever.  A labourer or farmhand or somesuch.  In the interests of not contracting it myself I shall be leaving tomorrow.  Tonight my last day in town, I shall carouse in the common area and parttake hopefully not the last time of their excellent ale.



Left the town early this morning, heard that another person had fallen ill, troubling that but I hope I have done well to escape any chance of sickness.  Without destination in mind I strike off for more abundant lands and a thirst for sights.



In a much larger town now, a few hundred people if I am to guess.  The local miller has put me up here and in exchange for a day's work, I can keep a few pennies and have a roof over my head.  Twill beat sleeping in ditches for a few days.  It is apparently the 'busy season'.  I know not what that means, but working at the mill is physically satisfying.



A boy who works for the baker fell ill, a gentleman in the common room told me it was very similar to another sickness from the town I was just at, where more people have taken sick.  I shall endeavor to talk to a doctor if one happens by the town or across my travels. 



The miller has become sick and I am without work.  I find it curious that these people are so ill all the time, a number of farmhands and other people in town are retching as well.  Tis most discomforting.  One woman stumbled outside her house and promptly vomited right on the street before us all, astonishingly she then sat down and passed out on her own doorstoop.  The men would not touch her however, fearing the 'pox'.  So she was left to sleep there.  I have resolved to leave tomorrow, traveling onwards.



I made good time today, although I am sad to say that it is clear to me my companions, a cartier who is giving me a ride is also ill.  I have done my best to put as much bench space between himself and I, his wife is a stupid thing who walks alongside the mule.  Both of them cough regularly, and I have once chanced to see that their breath bloodies kerchiefs.



London is tremendously large, I had not been prepared for the numbers in the street here!  Every which way your turn there are people, bodies, pressing in all directions.  The noise is excruciating as well.  I have been directed to a small boarding house.  The woman there is letting me stay if I will run errands for her, which is fortunate for I have few pennies left.  Tomorrow I shall visit the docks though, I hear they are a sight.



Word has spread that there is an 'ailment' from the countryside.  It causes coughing, boils and very high fever.  I have no symptoms but in light of what all I have witnessed these past two weeks, I shall be very vigilant.  I wash my fingers every morning and night.



Two people in the boarding house have a great wracking cough, which kept me up at all hours the night before.  It was most discourteous.  I have half a mind to report them to the local authorities as plaguey and see what comes of it.



I had no need to report them.  Gossip from the governess is that one has fled and the other, is already dead.  That was but two days ago that I heard the coughing.  Assuredly this ailment moves quickly!  I shall endeavour to wash my fingers thrice a day now.



I saw a doctor today, but he was of no use telling me if I was sick or not.  He listened to my chest intently and stared into my eyes with a device, but that was all.  I believe I am fit, and will continue to feel so.



More people are trundling around the street sick.  The king has called for calm but soldiers are boarding up houses where sick are.  They quarantined my district, but lacking any real worldly possessions I have simply opted not to return to the boarding house.  I shall find another accommodation perhaps closer to the docks, where I am enthralled by watching the dockworkers build vessels.




This city is far too filled with plague for my taste. I hear France is quite nice and am taken with the urge to go sailing next.




The above was a 13 minute writing exercise for Menolly07, "You are The Black Death (plague). You keep a diary. What are your entries like." I thought it was amusing to figure out the time progression. Also naivete is something I rarely write, so this was refreshing.