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able change of circumstance might have occurred to warrant an explicit declaration of his attachment. Her being in England wore an auspicious appearance; she had most solemnly declared at Haelbeck that she would never quit her father; he was doubtless, therefore, with her; there was an end of the banishment; his troubles and misfortunes, whatever was their nature, had passed away; the cloud of ignominy that hung over him was dispersed; he was restored to society; and an alliance with his family would entail neither censure nor dishonour upon
party seeking it. Such was the flattering vision conjured up in a moment by his sanguine hopes; such was the bright prospect which he trusted to be able to realize, as soon as he should have learned Julia's retreat; and this discovery he had no doubt of speedily effecting through the instrumentality of Constantia, whose residence he could always ascertain, by means of Alderman Staunton.
Knowing, however, Constantia’s strict principles, standing in some little awe of her as a monitress, and feeling by the compunctious twinges of his conscience that he had too much neglected the solemn advice she gave him upon his recovery from the plague, he determined not to appear in her presence until he had cleared himself from his debts, and was free to commence the amended life which he projected, without being humiliated by the assaults of duns. Impetuous in every thing, his hand was seldom slow to execute what his head had planned. He hired a coach, took the money with him, went round to all his creditors, and returned to his apartments with the proud and pleasant sensa
tion of not owing a guinea in the world. Since the encounter with the bailiffs he had been cautious of visiting any of the public places, but in the triumph of his new-born independence he determined to parade the Mall and the Parks, at if to prove to all the world his freedom from embarrassment; resolving on the following morning to commence measures for the discovery of Mr Strickland's present retreat, and, if possible, of his past history. In pursuance
of this arrangement, he dressed himself and sallied forth to the Mall, which the keeper was at that moment sprinkling with a cement of powdered cockle-shells, to give the better rebound to the balls, as a match was to be played next day by the King and the Duke of York, against some of the courtiers. Here he met Lady Castlemaine, superbly dressed in a flowered silk spagnolet, a coif of right point lace, a yellow bird's eye hood, an embroidered boddice, and a long fringed train to her petticoat, which was held up by a little black page,
while another servant followed in a rich chocolate livery lined with amber mohair and silver buttons, leading a liver-coloured tumbler-dog by a crimson ribbon. Her ladyship was leaning on the arm of a female companion, and chatting to a gay band of the court fops and flatterers who were dangling and flaunting around her. To one she had entrusted her silver flask of sal-ammoniac, a second carried her perfumed fan, a third had the custody of her loo mask, and a fourth of her vizor, for she was provided with both, to be used according to the state of the wind and sun. Giving a graceful swing to the pomander-ball
which was attached to her side by a gold chain, she occasionally launched it in mock anger against such of the gallants as were too forward in their dalliance, none of whom, however, seemed to stand in much awe of this perfumed punishment. As she passed Jocelyn, she eyed him with a scornful toss of the head, which convinced him that she had not forgotten the trick, by which her consent to his return had been extorted; and, that although he had obtained her pardon, he was by no means absolved from her hatred.
Unsolicitous of her friendship, and determined to afford her no excuse for the exercise of her malice, he pursued his course until he found himself by the entrance of Spring Gardens, along whose palings he remembered to have skulked at the time of his escape from the Gate-house. On passing into the enclosure, he was surprised to find himself in a sylvan retreat, agreeable for the solemness of the grove, the warbling of the birds, and the occasional views it afforded of the spacious walks of St James's. It contained thickets, arbours, and alcoves, well adapted to the purposes of gallantry; while the Paradise Tavern, in the centre of the gardens, endeavoured to justify its name by beatifying the guests with various salacious condiments and beakers of Rhenish wine. From this
he wandered into St James's Park, and seating himself beneath the statue of the gladiator, gazed listlessly at the elks, antelopes, roebucks, stags, and deer, that were grazing before him; marked the numerous flocks of wild-fowl that were hovering about the aviary and the decoy; or listened to the singing of the birds suspended in cages
from the trees, in that quarter of the park which still retains the name of the Bird Cage Walk.
From the hurried pace and eager conversation of two or three parties that passed him, and were pointing to the sky, he now first gathered that a devastating fire had broken out in the city, which was consuming all before it; and upon looking at the heavens, he marked the red and baleful glare, that indicates an extensive conflagration. So completely had love regained possession of his mind, that his first thought was the possibility of danger to Julia. She might be an inmate of Alderman Staunton's house; the fire might have broken out in that quarter; she might at that moment be exposed to peril. This was a combination that would hardly have appeared probable except to the sensitive apprehensions of a lover; but to Jocelyn it seemed so feasible, that he resolved to hurry instantly into the city, and fly to the rescue of his mistress, for such he spiritually termed her from the moment that he imagined her life to be in jeopardy. Returning to Whitehall, for the purpose of making some previous alterations in his dress, he had the mortification of being told that the Queen desired his immediate attendance, as she had occasion for his official services. Such an order was now of rare occurrence, and, to add to his annoyance, he was detained, on the present occasion, until the night had set in.
No sooner was he liberated than he hastened to the water-side, and, stepping into a wherry, desired to be rowed to the city. Being enabled to gaze down the river, the fire, which was now not only exposed to ob
servation without the intervention of houses, but rer dered infinitely more appalling and conspicuous by the reflection of the water, burst upon his view in all its terrific grandeur. A light, or rather a hideous glare, that belonged neither to night nor day, illuminated the whole country for ten miles round; the conflagration, as an eye-witness has recorded, throwing itself
into the air, « in a most horrid, malicious, bloody flame, not like the fine flame of an ordinary fire.» As he approached London Bridge, the houses, with which it was at that time covered, were all in a blaze, describing one entire arch of fire across the whole of the river; Fish-street Hill, and the street beyond, presented another blazing bow of more than a mile in extent; above all, hung the angry and ensanguined hemisphere of the sky, which being reflected in the river below, gave to the whole scene the appearance of an immense globe of fire, of which the city formed the centre. Above ten thousand houses were all burning at once. The horrid hissing of the flames, the crackling and shaking of the earth, and the hot sulphureous panting of the air, as it showered down fire-drops all around, suggested the idea that the elements were breaking up and contending together, preparatory to the final demolition of the world. From the universal horror and distraction of the people, as they ran to and fro, uttering the most appalling shrieks, cries, and lamentations; from the dismal noises and concussions, as the houses, churches, and towers burst, and fell thundering to the earth; from the explosion of the buildings that were blown up with gunpowder; as well as from the wrathful look of the