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veying the Dutchman to Greenwich, to put him on board the Danish ship before night-fall. It is unnecessary to state, that he had no real intention of this sort, having merely availed himself of the pretext to extricate him from the predicament in which he had found him. Instead of exporting that trusty though bibulous personage to Holland, he took him into his own service; and though honest Boss, partly from drowsiness, and partly from the effect of liquor, had no very distinct recollection of the conversation he had overheard when concealed behind the screen, he retained enough of its general purport to determine Jocelyn never to exchange another word with the fanatical and dangerous Colonel Rathborn. Just as he quitted the house at Battersea, intending to walk to Lambeth and take boat, he passed a stranger, who, as soon as he approached, muffled himself up in his cloak and struck into the fields, -a circumstance which he by no means regretted, as he was most anxious to avoid being recognised as a frequenter of that suspicious residence, or an associate with its plotting inmates.
« Son of sixteen,
ENABLED now, by the complete restoration of his health, to bestir himself with activity, Jocelyn lost no time in instituting inquiries respecting Julia, but all his diligence proved unavailing in effecting any discovery of her retreat. Colonel Rathborn's conversation had directed his suspicions to the purlieus of the palace, in the first instance; and his search in that direction was proportionably keen. Baffled, however, in obtaining the smallest evidence that might justify his apprehensions, he determined to revisit the spot where he had rescued her, to inquire whether any of the neighbours had heard the orders given to the coachman, or marked in what direction he had driven; but the whole of Fleet-street was an undistinguishable mass of ruins; the great fire having spread as far as the Temple; and none but a few houseless wretches, or vagrants, prowling for plun
der, were to be seen among the still-smoking rubbish. A space, above two miles in length, and one in breadth, presented a vast unbroken scene of hideous desolation, where locality could only be rudely traced by the disfigured fragments of some public monument or tower; while in the midst of the destroyed city, the calcined and blackened skeleton of St Paul's church reared itself up, attesting, by its gigantic bones and fragments, the stupendous dimensions that it had once exhibited.
Foiled in this project, he betook himself to Alderman Staunton's country-house, where he obtained an interview with that personage, who, with infinite perturbation of manner, disclaimed all knowledge of Julia, or of her family, and once more implored Jocelyn never to renew such inquiries at his house. Respecting Constantia, he could give him no information of a more satisfactory nature, contenting himself with stating that she had retired, for the present, into the country, and had not hitherto furnished him with her address. From the Alderman's he betook himself to South Lambeth, but Mr Ashmole was either as ignorant or as uncommunicative as his friend; and Jocelyn returned to Whitehall, more and more convinced, from the result of his inquiries, as well as from the concurrent circumstances of her disappearance, that the King had either caused her to be secreted, or must be privy to the place which, whatever might be her motives for that measure, she had voluntarily selected for her concealment.
To Jocelyn a state of suspense had always proved intolerable. Irritated at once by love, jealousy, and dis
appointment, he determined, after many debates with his own mind, to disregard all risks of offence, to avow to the monarch his passion for Julia, and to implore him to give any information in his power as to the place to which she had been conducted. To select an opportunity for this hazardous inquiry was no easy task, for Lady Castlemaine had caused him to be excluded from the private parties of the King, although his official situation under her Majesty authorised his presence at all the public entertainments of the court. Against individual audiences, formally requested, Charles had long set his face, for fear of an assault, as he termed every remonstrance touching his present conduct, or any appeal to his former promises : and Jocelyn had therefore no alternative but to address him at some of the court festivals. The first gala that had been given since the Fire was already announced, and as his Majesty had really exerted himself with an unusual energy upon that occasion, by going in his barge to the Tower, to order the blowing up of the houses about the Graff, and subsequently on horseback towards the City, as we have already shown; his courtiers and the ministers of his pleasures determined to show their sense of his merits by enlivening the announced entertainment with an extraordinary festivity. True, it was a strange season to choose when the city had just suffered so heavy a judgment; when, in addition to the numbers of the middling classes who had been suddenly reduced to beggary, it was calculated that above two hundred thousand of the poorer sort were scattered about the suburbs, sleeping under tents, or beneath the open sky,
on the point of perishing from hunger and unter destitution; but the court of Charles the Second was never squeamish when an outrage could be offered to every feeling of commiseration or decency, and the preparations accordingly continued, as if there was a signal triumph to celebrate, instead of so dreadful a calamity to deplore.
To do all honour to the occasion, his Majesty resolved appear
for the first time in the new dress which he meant to introduce at court, and accordingly, having discarded the doublet and stiff collår, bands and cloak, he invested himself solemnly with his Persian attire, being a long richly-embroidered cassock of black cloth, pinked with white silk under it, brought close to the body, with a girdle set with precious stones, and a handsome tunic over the whole. The legs were ruffled with black ribbon, and jewelled buckles at the knee and foot were substituted for garters and shoe-strings, the tout eħsemble forming a very rich, manly, and becom- ! ing garment, which several of the great courtiers had already adopted in compliance with his Majesty's wishes.
The place of entertainment was the Court theatre, where, after some exquisite Italian singing by two eunuchs and a woman, there was a grand masque and ball, in which the King and Queen, with all their distinguished visitants, performed various graceful dances in slow movement; the splendour of their dresses, the sweetness of the music, which consisted entirely of wind instruments, and the brilliant decorations of the saloon, constituting altogether a scene of rare elegance, combined with unrivalled magnificence. The King having