i68o-8i JOHN EVELYN 157
BLANK to murder the King: God only, who searches hearts,
can discover the truth. Lord Stafford was not a man
beloved especially of his own family.
12th December, 1680. This evening, looking out of my
chamber window toward the west, I saw a meteor of an
obscure bright color, very much in shape like the blade
of a sword, the rest of the sky very serene and clear.
What this may portend, God only knows; but such another
phenomenon I remember to have seen in 1640, about
the trial of the great Earl of Strafford, preceding our
bloody Rebellion. I pray God avert his judgments! We
have had of late several comets, which though I believe
appear from natural causes, and of themselves operate
not, yet I cannot despise them They may be warnings
from God, a$ they commonly are forerunners of his
animadversions. After many days and nights of snow,
cloudy and dark weather, the comet was very much wasted.
iyth December, 1680. My daughter-in-law was brought
to bed of a son, christened Richard,
22d December9 1680. A solemn public Fast that God
would prevent all Popish plots, avert his judgments, and
give a blessing to the proceedings of Parliament now as-
sembled, and which struck at the succession of the Duke
I 2pth December, 1680. The Viscount Stafford was be-
headed on Towerhill.
icth February, 1680-81. I was at the wedding of my
nephew, John Evelyn of Wotton, married by the Bishop
of Rochester at Westminster, in Henry VII.'s chapel, to
the daughter and heir of Mr* Eversfield, of Sussex, her
portion ^"8,000. The solemnity was kept with a few
friends only at Lady Beckford's, the lady's mother,
8th March, i68r. Visited and dined at the Earl of
Essex's, with whom "I spent most of the afternoon alone.
Thence to my (yet living) godmother and kinswoman,
Mrs. Keightley, sister to Sir Thomas Evelyn and niece to
my father, being now eighty-six years of age, sprightly,
and in perfect health, her eyes serving her as well as
ever, and of a comely countenance, that one would not
suppose her above fifty.
27th March, 1681. The Parliament now convened at
Oxford. Great expectation of his Royal Highness's case
as to the succession, against which the House was set.e should en-