Arrival of William of Orange

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The same scene was presented again, a lane of people from the King's Bench to the water-side on their knees, as they passed and repassed, to beg their blessing.

Bonfires were lit all over London, and all the bells rung; the universal rejoicing reached even the army which the King had collected at Hounslow to menace London, and the soldiers shouted for joy.

Great was the consternation among the King's advisers when the news arrived that William of Orange had actually landed at Torbay. It was no Monmouth rising this time, and James found no comfort and no support.

The Princess Anne, under the guidance of Henry Compton, Bishop of London, had secretly left Whitehall; every hour brought news of fresh desertions, and as Evelyn says, Whitehall was in so panic a fear that he could not have believed it possible. The Court favourites, priests and Jesuits, began to disperse.

It was about this time, on a cold night in December, that the river witnessed a strange sight the flight of a Queen of England with an infant Prince of Wales.

It was a dark night, and the palace was sombre, with scarcely one lit window to cast a reflection in the stream, when a boat containing a few closely-muffled figures pushed off from the Privy garden stairsand swept across the river - Mary of Modena, James Prince of Wales, a lady in attendance, the Prince's wet-nurse, and the Count de Lauzun.

The tide was running strong, and the stream difficult to cross. At last they arrived at Lambeth, where there was to have been a coach, but no coach was there, and the Queen and the infant Prince and her attendants had to crouch beneath the trees and ivy overhanging the wall of the Archbishop's garden until the Count de Lauzun had found the driver of the coach.

He was asleep under shelter, and they were able to resume their journey to the coast, and finally to reach France and the Court of the King's cousin, Louis XIV.

Next page: Flight and return of James II