Summary (Masterplots: Revised Category Edition, British Fiction Series)
In 1665, the year of the great plague, Stephen Bloundel, a London grocer, gathered his household together and prayed for salvation. The grocer had a daughter, Amabel, a beauty who attracted attention wherever she went. The grocer’s apprentice, Leonard Holt, was in love with her. Maurice Wyvil, of whom Mr. Bloundel disapproved, was also reputedly in love with her; he and Amabel met secretly. With the help of Lydyard, his companion, Wyvil secretly plotted to dishonor Amabel in order to win a wager. Actually, Wyvil and Lydyard were the infamous philanderers, the Earl of Rochester and Sir George Etherege. Their companions were men of low character, Sir Paul Parravicin and Major Pillichody.
Two people who profited by the pestilence were Chowles, a coffin maker, and Judith Malmayns, a nurse who robbed her patients and hid her plunder in a secret niche in St. Faith Cathedral, where her husband Matthew was a sexton.
Dr. Hodges attended the plague-stricken young Stephen Bloundel and identified Amabel’s pursuer as the Earl of Rochester, who while pressing his suit with Amabel was also wooing an heiress, Mistress Mallet. To soothe the distraught Amabel, Dr. Hodges urged her to accept Leonard Holt. She promised to marry the apprentice a month after Stephen’s disease had passed.
Stephen recovered, and Leonard pressed Amabel to marry him, but the girl could not bring herself to set a date for the wedding. Secretly, she longed for...
(The entire section is 1137 words.)
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