Stuart London

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IT IS NIGHT TIME, but the sounds of cheering are in the air, and the river reflects a thousand lights from the City.

The light reflected in the water is from innumerable bonfires, and, like the distant shouting, proclaims that the rule of the Puritans is over, and that General Monk is about to restore the Monarchy.

Evelyn says under the date February 11th, 1659-1660: "A signal day... Monk marches to Whitehall, dissipates that nest of robbers... bonfires at night, with ringing of bells and universal Jubilee," and on the 29th of May following:

"This day his Majestic Charles the Second came to London after a sad and long exile and calamitous suffering both of the King and Church, being seventeen years.

This was also his birthday, and with a triumph of above 20,000 horse and foote brandishing their swords and shouting with inexpressible joy, the ways strew'd with flowers, the bells ringing, the streetes hung with tapissery, fountaines running with wine:

"the Maior, Aldermen, and all the Companies in their liveries, Lords and nobles clad in cloth of silver, gold, and velvet, the windowes and balconies all set with ladies: trumpets, music, and myriads of people flocking even so far as Rochester, so that they were seven hours in passing the city even from 2 in the afternoon till 9 at night... nor so joyful a day and so bright ever seene in this nation..."

And so he passed to Whitehall.

Next page: Whitehall and its glory