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shared by the courtiers. None could see how or where the explosion would take place; in the event of a struggle it was impossible to say which side might predominate; the most shrewd and crafty felt the difficulty of steering between Scylla and Charybdis; spies swarmed in every corner; and hence gloom and suspicion, misgiving and mistrust, saddened almost every heart, although the countenance might wear a very different expression.
“ I tell you what, Mynheer Wouter,” whispered Seagrave to his companion, “ tuschen u en mij, as Hans Mundungus says-between you and me, this is but a sorry-looking crowd, compared to what I have seen in former days. Priests and soldiers, black gowns and red coats, completely hide the ladies' hoops ; so that if it were not for a feathered head here and there, and the sparkling of a diamond cross in the hair, (crosses are all the fashion) we should hardly know there was a Countess or a Duchess in the melée. See how the bishops and parsons scowl at the monks and friars as they pass !
Even the shaven and cowled gentry are divided among themselves. Fathers Ellis and Marsh, and Mansuete, the Dominicans, - yonder you may see them all three whispering together being jealous of Father Petre, and the Jesuits, and striving to get the King and Queen to themselves. Nothing but sour looks on all sides. Then there is but little play, and less dancing; no
no basset or hazard; no lavoltas, courantos, or French galliards; and the master of the revels is little more than a Parbleu, mon camarade, the court wore a very different aspect in old Rowley's time. I was here in this glorious gallery the very Sunday before he died, and methinks I can now see him in his black wig, lolling in a tapestry arm-chair, with a favourite spaniel on each thigh, talking and joking with his donzellas, the Portsmouth, the Cleveland, the Mazarine, and others, or listening to Cifaccio the eunuch and the famous French boy singing love songs, while Buckingham, Berkeley, Ashley, Brounker, and a score more of the merry wags and Courtiers were
surrounding a large basset table covered with gold.
Hemel ende Aarde ! before the next Sunday came round, the King was a corpse, and all the court in grief and consternation.”
“ Most truly then may you exclaim with the Psalmist I myself have seen the ungodly in great power, and flourishing like a green bay tree. I went by, and lo! he was gone; I sought him, but his place could nowhere be found.""
“ Peste, mon cher! do you quote Scripture at Court? Well, it may do in these days, especially if your quotation have a Roman sound, but it would scarcely have passed muster in the late reign ; nor will his successor excuse you
for alluding to honest old Rowley as one of the ungodly, since he died a good Catholic. Ah ! I have seen merry doings and laughing faces in this very apartment that is now so grave and formal, but of the beaux and belles, the wits and wags who once graced Whitehall by their splendour and beauty, or kept it in a roar by their lively sallies, some are silent and underground with poor Charley, others have grown
old, ugly, and solemn, several are abroad; all are altered. The Duchesses of Mazarine and Portsmouth are gone to France; the Duchess of Cleveland has turned devout and dropsical ; la belle Stuart, married to his Grace of Richmond, is with her husband at Versailles. Sacre! I believe none of the late King's mistresses are to be seen now-a-days. Moll Davis, Mistress Nelly, and one or two more of that stamp are dead, while Jennings and others are married, and metamorphosed into fat, respectable, dowdy matrons. And it has fared little better with the sparks and wags. Monmouth, whose beautiful head used to be the admiration of the ladies, had it chopped off upon Tower Hill; his friend Argyle shared the same fate; Buckingham, the gay and gallant, died t’other day like a dog in a miserable ale-house by Kirby Moorside ; Rochester, the witty and the dissipated, expired of old age at thirty-three ; Killigrew and Ashley, the drolls and the merryandrews of their day, will play no more pranks, for both are lying under the cold pavement of
Westminster Abbey ; Sir George Etherege, the sparkish, the fashionable, and the débonnaire, saddened into a grave diplomatist, is gone as envoy to Ratisbon ; his friend Sir Charles Sedley, the jaunty and the polite, and once the very pink of the mode, has grown corpulent and discontented, retired from Court, and given himself up to politics and spleen ; your commander, Lord Dover, whose successes as graceful Harry Jermyn occasioned him to be called l'homme à bonnes fortunes, is now, as you have seen, a reserved Catholic and a profound politician. Handsome Harry Sidney is in Frogland, caballing with hook-nosed William ; my old acquaintance Don Carlos, the late King's son by Kitty Pegge, was knocked on the head at Tangiers, as were other pretty fellows of the Court; notwithstanding which, my Lord Mountjoy, St. Alban's, and several of our bravest gallants, have flocked to the Duke of Lorraine's standard, that they may have another cut at the Infidels, by serving at the siege of Buda. Sink me, Signor Gualtero! it is a thousand