Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

been of late so much plotting and caballing in public affairs; so many treasonable designs, real or pretended; and the measures of Government had become so capricious and arbitrary; that hardly any individual was safe, if prejudice and suspicion had once attached to him, although upon no better grounds than the evidence of spies and suborners. So far, however, from communicating these sinister misgivings to Julia, they affected to entertain a full persuasion of his immediate discharge, and succeeded at length in pacifying the first vehemence of her agitation.

Jocelyn, in the mean time, whose impetuous temperament was ill-adapted to brook disappointment of any sort, and particularly a separation from Julia at a moment so interesting to his heart, pursued journey in a most indignant and splenetic mood, tormented with the belief that his rival, of whose death he was ignorant, would renew his odious and insolent solicitations in his absence; and worrying himself with vain conjectures as to the cause of his apprehension, and the consequences it was likely to produce. His conductors professed an entire ignorance of the former, though they seemed to infer, from the nature of the orders they had received, that the charge against him was considered to be well substantiated ;-and as to the latter, they really could not undertake to pro

an opinion, though they kindly reminded him that an accusation of high treason was no very light or trifling affair. In this state of suspense, of all others the most irritating aud insupportable to our hero, he was doomed to remain until their arrival at


[ocr errors]

the Tower, when he was conveyed across the drawbridge, and passed beneath the low, dark, and frowning arch that leads into the penetralia of that gloomy fortress ; not without painfully reverting to the fate of many, who, in traversing its ponderous portal, had bidden adieu to the world, and had only repassed it to be conducted to the scaffold. It appeared as if perpetual disappointment was to be his fate through life; as if the cup of promised joy was raised to his lips only to be rudely dashed to the earth; and, to add to his vexations, he already began to anticipate the probability of losing his appointment under the Queen, to which he had looked forward as the principal means of support for himself and Julia.

He welcomed the intelligence as a relief from uncertainty, when Sir John Robinson, the Lieutenant of the Tower, on accompanying him to his apartment, informed him that he was charged, on the oath of Mark Walton, as an accomplice with Colonel Rathborn and others, in a plot for procuring the King's death, and the overthrow of the Government. That he should be implicated with that conspirator, after having dined with him and his associates at Battersea, did not much surprise him; nor did he apprehend there would be much difficulty in exculpating himself from any participation in their nefarious project; but that Mark Walton should be the informant against him was a circumstance for which he was utterly at a loss to account. That despicable personage, ever prowling about the purlieus of Whitehall to pry into whatever might be turned to account, had observed Colonel Rathborn's

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

daily visits to Jocelyn, when the latter was confined from the effects of the fire, and, knowing him to be a discontented and suspicious character, determined to watch their proceedings with the utmost narrowness. With this view he had followed and traced them to the house at Battersea, and, lurking about it in order to watch his departure, had been encountered by Joce lyn and Winky Boss, muffled up in a great coat, but had escaped recognition by striking suddenly into the fields. What he had observed upon this occasion Walton kept to himself; and it was not until some time after, when he wanted to get rid of his rival, that he thought of implicating him with Colonel Rathborn, whose design having by this time transpired, himself and all his accomplices had been seized and committed to the Tower'.


Their indictment was for conspiring the King's death, and the overthrow of the Government; having in the King's absence from the city, laid their plot and contrivance for the surprisal of the Tower, the killing General Monk, Sir John Robinson, the Lieutenant of the Tower, and Sir Richard Brown, Major-General of the City; and then to have declared for an equal division of lands. The better to effect this design, the city was to have been fired, and the portcullises to hav been let down to keep out all assistance ; the Horse-Guards to have been surprised in the several innes where they were quartered, several ostlers having been gained for that purpose. The Tower had been viewed, and its surprisal ordered by boats over the moat, and so to scale the wall. There was in the conspiracy one Alexander, who made his escape, who had distributed several sums of money to these conspirators ; and for the carrying on the design more effectually, they were told of great ones that sate constantly in London, who, issued out all orders; which council received their directions from a council in Holland, who sate with the States. The 3rd of September was pitched upon for the attempt, as being found, by a scheme erected for that

No sooner had Jocelyn learnt the real nature of the charge against him, than he wrote to the Duke of Monmouth and Lord Rochester, explaining the circumstances of his connexion with Colonel Rathborn, and soliciting their good offices in exculpating his character, and effecting his discharge. At the same time he communicated all particulars to his friends at Pippingford Lodge, considering the whole affair as so unimportant, and speaking so confidently of his early liberation, that Julia felt considerably re-assured as to his fate; though it was an additional pang to her to reflect that, his efforts for her preservation had entailed upon him his acquaintance with this dangerous colonel, and all the vexations of which it might be the eventual cause. The powerful noblemen, for whose favourable influence Jocelyn had solicited, were neither indifferent to the injustice he was suffering, nor remiss in their efforts for his extrication; but he had one enemy at court, much

more powerful than all his friends. This was the vindictive Lady Castlemaine, who eagerly seized this opportunity of crushing a man whom she had never forgiven, by poisoning the King's ear with the darkest insinuations against him. The tragical and inexplicable death of Mark Walton at Brambletye House, the seat of the Comptons, just as he was pre

paring to substantiate his charges against Jocelyn, quite - satisfied her mind, she said, not only as to the cause of

his destruction, but as to its author. Walton had been

purpose, a luckie day, a planet then ruling which portended the downfall of the monarchy. They were found guilty of High Treason, and executed at Tyburn.»-Heath's Chronicle.

an approved friend of the King's; Compton had already been once in disgrace for his insolence and disaffection. The intimacy of such a man with Colonel Rathborn, and his dining with the assembled conspirators against his Majesty's life, facts which he himself had not the hardihood to deny, admitted but of one interpretation: —and she had even the baseness to insinuate that he would have wronged his Majesty in the tenderest point, by insulting her with licentious propositions, merely because she had once condescended to dance with him, a circumstance to which she attributed the dislike she had ever since felt against him. By such arts the King's prejudices were so strongly excited, that he was persuaded, without further inquiry, to give orders for his dismissal from the post he held as the Queen's Private Secretary

This announcement excited the greatest consternation among his friends at Pippingford Lodge. Day after day, had they been feeding their hopes by anticipating his emancipation; but this unexpected proof of royal displeasure was a startling evidence that the proceedings against him were of a darker and more alarming character than they had contemplated; and they began to give way to the most sinister forebodings as to his ultimate fate. Buoyant and vivacious as it usually was, the mind of Julia began to sink under the sickness of hope deferred; but the fortitude of Constantia seemed to gather strength with the necessity for its exertion, and the mixture of



enthusiasm, that constituted her character, impelled her to undertake an enterprize for Jocelyn's liberation, which the

« ZurückWeiter »