Thursday, January 08, 2009

01Feb1864, Many Die in Chili

HAGLEY, Monday, February 1st, 1864.
—Made a tremendous scrimmage and rout among my clothes against the arrival of my new abigail ; a nice-looking, quiet-mannered body called Morgan, foreign only inasmuch as she is Welsh ; I have had enough of French (Ducelliez), Swiss (Henriette), and German (Gielen) experience ! The papers are full of the most horrible calamity ever heard of : the burning of 2,000 people, chiefly women and children, wedged together in a great church at Chili, where a great festivity was being held in honour of the "Immaculate Conception." The place was crammed with oil lamps and draperies and burnt so fiercely that all was over in a quarter of an hour. The two chief doors were blocked up with bodies, so wedged that hardly any could be dragged out by main force. Whole families have died together. The wretched priests secured the door of the sacristy for the saving of holy sofas, images, etc., and then escaped themselves.

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