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with a splenetic disgust: while his heart, upbraiding him with the truth of the sentiments he had been reading, whispered to him, that although he had merited reproach for the past, he might best testify his gratitude to his munificent monitor, by avoiding it for the future. At once gratified and humiliated, he made vows of amendment, which, at least, evinced a sincere repentance for the moment, although they might not always exercise a governing influence upon his subsequent conduct.
Since his accidental encounter with the bailiffs in the city, he had rarely ventured from his apartments, except in the performance of his official duties, in which he was protected from arrest by the privilege and precincts of the court; but, as he now intended to appropriate the gift to the purposes indicated by its donor, he sallied cheerfully forth, that he might himself convey the agreeable tidings to the parties interested. On passing Whitehall, he observed a considerable crowd around the doors of the ban
queting-house, and having learned, upon inquiry, that the King was at that moment touching for the evil, a ceremony which he had never seen, he walked into the palace, and was borne along by the throng until he found himself in the royal presence.
great had been the multitude of people with their sick children, besieging the door of the King's surgeon on the morning before, to obtain the certificates that were to entitle them to be touched, that several had been crushed to death; notwithstanding which calamity, a prodigious crowd was again assembled to witness the process, and all were eagerly pressing into the banqueting
In this magnificent hall, beneath a canopy of state, his Majesty was seated in his robes ; the surgeons in attendance caused the sick to be carried up to the throne, where they placed themselves upon their knees, when the King stroked their faces or cheeks with both his hands at once; at which instant, a chaplain in his formalities, said, “He put his hands upon them, and he healed them,” which words were repeated to every patient. When they had been all touched they came up again in the same order, and the other chaplain kneeling, and having gold pieces stamped with the figure of an angel, strung on a white ribbon that hung upon
delivered them one by one to his Majesty, who put them about the necks of the sufferers as they passed, whilst the first chaplain repeated, “ That is the true light who came into the world.”—A Gospel had been previously read; an Epistle now followed, with the Liturgy: prayers were put up for the sick, upon whom a blessing was pronounced ; and lastly, the Lord Chamberlain and Comptroller of the Household brought a basin, ewer, and towel, for his Majesty to wash. The spacious and painted hall in which the ceremony took place ; the splendour that invested the King, as he sate in state; the religious forms that gave solemnity to the proceedings; the cadaverous faces of the patients, lighted up as some of them were by a ghastly hope; the countenances of their parents and relations agitated by various emotions; the eager eyes of the multitude all fixed upon the King with an expression of devout wonder; and the dead silence of the assemblage, constituted a scene that was deeply affecting, even to a disbeliever in its efficacy. That the ignorant multitude should lend themselves to such a delusion, that the diseased wretches should catch at any phantom that flattered them with a cure, was neither strange nor inconsistent; but that one who was notoriously without religion or morals, who was equally exceptionable as a monarch and as a man, should lend himself to this fraud, should assume a miraculous gift from heaven, should presume to rival his Saviour, and, like the magicians of Pharaoh, attempt to compete with those whom God himself had endowed with supernatural power, did appear to Jocelyn a most impious and daring mockery of Heaven.
One circumstance in the proceeding had interested him more than all the mummery with which it was invested. His attention had been particularly directed to the agonized countenance of a poor woman, who was watching the progress of her diseased boy towards the throne. On a previous occasion he had been disappointed of obtaining the royal touch, and her fear lest he should again prove unsuccessful, kept every feature of her face upon the rack of suspense; but no sooner had she seen the King's hand passed across his cheeks, than her maternal feelings drove from her mind every consideration of place and circumstance, and uttering a shriek of joy that made the silent hall echo, she clapped her hands together, crying out,_" He is cured! he is cured! he is cured !" and fell into an hysterical passion of loud laughter. Jocelyn subsequently saw her sitting in one corner of the hall with her boy upon her kness, kissing him, and fondling him, and weeping into