September 1666

The Great Fire of London!

I could feel my heart beat getting faster and faster. We have been trapped in this room for too long. I was beginning to panic about the size of the room and the rising of the temperature. It felt like the walls were closing in and the room was getting smaller and smaller. Smoke was sneaking into the room and I was finding it hard to breath. A spark flew under the door and rested on one of the beams in the ceiling, we stood there watching it, not daring to breathe and then all of a sudden it burst into flames. 
Being the only daughter of a middle class baker is hard. Mother and Father would prefer me to be a boy but they never mention it. I have to do all the rounds and make some of the bread and cakes. I have a dream world where I am a Lady and do nothing all day apart from the odd painting and sewing but that is only in my dreams. Whenever I do the rounds, I make sure that nobody knows that I am girl. You see, I am rather ashamed of who I am. For me being a girl who does all the heavy lifting and so on is embarrassing, so I dress up as a boy. I do not tell Mother and Father that I do that because they will only blame themselves. I have been dong the rounds since I was twelve so I guess I am somewhat used to it. 
The summer of 1699 had been really hot and dry and I am not surprised that the fire spread so easily. It is my duty to turn the oven off every night after the last loaf of bread is made. On the night of the 2nd September, Father and I had an awful fight. At the age of sixteen, I thought it was a good time to bring up the question about me being betrothed. As the last time that we had the conversation, he just ignored what I said and started talking to Mother who was in the other room doing the washing. Unlike the other time, this time I started to get angry and shout at him that whether he likes it or not I am a girl and that is not going to change. In return, he shouted that although he did wish that I were a boy, he loved me for who I am but being betrothed was out of the question. This made me really angry because he was treating me like a boy when he had said that he loved for being a girl. Father and Mother then went up to bed as if to say ‘Discussion is over’ when it clearly was not. I was so angry that I stormed up to bed and fell asleep in my clothes, forgetting about the oven. 
I had not slept for very long when I felt hot, as if I had a fever. I got out of bed and went to the landing, where the heat was increasing greatly. I found Mother and Father making their way down the stairs in wonder too. Charlotte, our maidservant came out of her room when she heard our voices. I volunteered to go downstairs to see what was going on but did not get very far because as I got to the bottom of the stairs flames flew out at me and pushed me back up the stairs. I could see the terrified looks on Mother, Father and Charlotte’s faces as I ran back up to them. I did not realise that I was screaming until Father told us all the ‘Calm down’ and then I realised that I was scared. For the first time in my life, I was scared. The stairs were blocked with flames and there was no way out. We ran into my room, which was the furthest away from the fire and waited.
I could feel my heart beat getting faster and faster. We have been trapped in this room for too long. I was beginning to panic about the size of the room and the rising of the temperature. It felt like the walls were closing in and the room was getting smaller and smaller. Smoke was sneaking into the room and I was finding it hard to breath. A spark flew under the door and rested on one of the beams in the ceiling, we stood there watching it, not daring to breathe and then all of a sudden it burst into flames.
There was panic everywhere. The only way out was through my window and into the next-door house. I was the first one to go. I was shaking so much that I thought that I was going to fall off the windowsill. I had to walk around the house on the edge on the widows because they go all the way around the house. I managed to get across to the house and on the street. Mother and Father followed. Just as Charlotte was getting onto the windowsill, she slipped and the house flew up in flames and Charlotte was stuck. Her last scream was the worst thing about the fire. I just could not stop crying. The Parish Constables wanted to demolish the adjoining houses but the Lord Mayor, Sir Thomas Bloodworth, would not allow it saying that he did not know where the real owners to the house were. I just stood there watching our house burn down without even realising that the fire was spreading around me. I was trapped. I started to panic and call out but the sound of the roaring fire was swallowing my sound and the smoke was making my throat dry up. I found a gap and ran as fast as my legs could carry me and managed to get to an ally way. I heard whimpering at the back of the alley and saw a small boy with what looked his brother with him. I went up to them to see if they were ok and the older boy explained that Mother and Father had been caught in the fire and they had just escaped. I told him that I had been separated from my parents in the fire too. I found out that the older boy was called Jack and his brother was called Tommy. We sat in the alley for hours that turned into days and finally the fire stopped. 
The fire had spread throughout all of the north side of the river past the Roman wall. I found Mother and Father when I went back to look at the house. I had never been happier to see them. Although we had lost everything, we were still a family. I was happy that I still had that. Mother and Father explained that they had thought that they had lost me and gone with the rest of the survivors thinking that they had lost me. They came back to the house to see what it looked like. I explained that I was trapped in the fire, found an opening and had just run. I also told them about Jack and Tommy and that I was with them in the ally until the fire stopped. I went back a found Tommy and Jack still sitting in the alley. I invited them in for some food because they were just skin and bone. Mother took an instant liking to Tommy, saying, “He’s the son I never had” and so on. Father took a liking to Jack because he wanted someone to help run the baker with him, once it was up and running again in a new place. Father suggested that they live with us under the circumstances that they must help in the baker. A week after the fire, a French watchmaker owned up to starting the fire. He went on about how the Pope sent him to punish us all. Two or three days later he was hung and it was after he died did the government realise that he had entered England a day after the fire had finished. 
About a month later, we had settled into a sweet little cottage in a village called Great Bedwin. Our Baker was the provider of bread and cakes. We had all settle in and with some of the money from the government, we managed to buy some cheap but comfortable and almost new like chairs from a furniture shop on our way out of London. When we had all settled in Jack asked me to come on a walk with him. We wondered around the nearby fields and went in to the wood where we found a fallen down tree trunk to sit on. We sat there and talked for about an hour. We talked about nothing really, well nothing important. We were just about to get up and go when Jack suddenly fell to one to one knee. I was not sure what Jack was going to say and came out of his mouth surprised me the most. He said that he had spoken to Father about asking me and Father had said that he should wait to the right moment and I guess that right moment was now. Therefore, my wish did come true after all and with the right person. This had to have been the best day of my life. 
We rushed home and went straight to tell Mother, Father and Tommy. We were still going to live with them but Jack would take over the Bakery when Father could not work anymore. Father came to apologize about what he said the night of the fire and said that he is happy for me and that Jack and I are meant to be. Tommy was more than happy because he loves Jack so much that he hates to see him unhappy. We had decided to wait a bit before the actual wedding because we want to save up some more money so that it can be extra special. Even if I had everything planned, that would another story to tell.

The End

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