its franchise should be taken into the hands of the King. Scarcely was this judgment forth, and all men hotly talking of it, when a far worse thing befell. News of some great conspiracy was spread at every corner, and that a man in the malting business had tried to take up the brewer’s work, and lop the King and the Duke of York. Everybody was shocked at this, for the King himself was not disliked so much as his advisers; but everybody was more than shocked, grieved indeed to the heart with pain, at hearing that Lord William Russell and Mr. Algernon Sidney had been seized and sent to the Tower of London, upon a charge of high treason.

Having no knowledge of these great men, nor of the matter how far it was true, I had not very much to say about either of them or it; but this silence was not shared (although the ignorance may have been) by the hundreds of people around me. Such a commotion was astir, such universal sense of wrong, and stern resolve to right it, that each man grasped his fellow’s hand, and led him into the vintner’s. Even I, although at that time given to excess in temperance, and afraid of the name of cordials, was hard set (I do assure you) not to be drunk at intervals without coarse discourtesy.

However, that (as Betty Muxworthy used to say, when argued down, and ready to take the mop for it) is neither here nor there. I have naught to do with great history and am sorry for those who have to write it; because they are sure to have both friends and enemies in it, and cannot act as they would towards them, without damage to their own consciences.

But as great events draw little ones, and the rattle of the churn decides the uncertainty of the flies, so this movement of the town, and eloquence, and passion had more than I guessed at the time, to do with my own little fortunes. For in the first place it was fixed (perhaps from down right contumely, because the citizens loved him so) that Lord Russell should be tried neither at Westminster nor at Lincoln’s Inn, but at the Court of Old Bailey, within the precincts of the city. This kept me hanging on much longer; because although the good nobleman was to be tried by the Court of Common Pleas, yet the officers of King’s Bench, to whom I daily applied myself, were in counsel with their fellows, and put me off from day to day.

Now I had heard of the law’s delays, which the greatest of all great poets (knowing much of the law himself, as indeed of everything) has specially mentioned, when not expected, among the many ills of life. But I never thought at my years to have such bitter experience of the evil; and it seemed to me that if the lawyers failed to do their duty, they ought to pay people for waiting upon them, instead of making them pay for it. But here I was, now in the second month living at my own charges in the house of a worthy fellmonger at the sign of the Seal and Squirrel, abutting upon the Strand road which leads from Temple Bar to Charing. Here I did very well indeed, having a mattress of good skin-dressings, and plenty to eat every day of my life, but the butter was something to cry ‘but’ thrice at (according to a conceit of our school days), and the milk must have come from cows driven to water. However, these evils were light compared with the heavy bill sent up to me every Saturday afternoon; and knowing how my mother had pinched to send me nobly to London, and had told me to spare for nothing, but live bravely with the best of them, the tears very nearly came into my eyes, as I thought, while I ate, of so robbing her.

At length, being quite at the end of my money, and seeing no other help for it, I determined to listen to clerks no more, but force my way up to the Justices, and insist upon being heard by them, or discharged from my recognisance. For so they had termed the bond or deed which I had been forced to execute, in the presence of a chief clerk or notary, the very day after I came to London. And the purport of it was, that on pain of a heavy fine or escheatment, I would hold myself ready and present, to give evidence when called upon. Having delivered me up to sign this, Jeremy Stickles was quit of me, and went upon other business, not but what he was kind and good to me, when his time and pursuits allowed of it.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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