Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Friends, though divided - A Tale of the Civil War
Author: Henty, G. A. (George Alfred), 1832-1902
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Friends, though divided - A Tale of the Civil War" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



FRIENDS THOUGH DIVIDED


A TALE OF THE CIVIL WAR

BY

G.A. HENTY


AUTHOR OF "IN TIMES OF PERIL," "THE YOUNG FRANCTIREURS,"
"THE YOUNG BUGLERS," ETC, ETC.



PREFACE


My dear lads: Although so long a time has elapsed since the great civil
war in England, men are still almost as much divided as they were then
as to the merits of the quarrel, almost as warm partisans of the one
side or the other. Most of you will probably have formed an opinion as
to the rights of the case, either from your own reading, or from hearing
the views of your elders.

For my part, I have endeavored to hold the scales equally, to relate
historical facts with absolute accuracy, and to show how much of right
and how much of wrong there was upon either side. Upon the one hand, the
king by his instability, bad faith, and duplicity alienated his best
friends, and drove the Commons to far greater lengths than they had at
first dreamed of. Upon the other hand, the struggle, begun only to win
constitutional rights, ended--owing to the ambition, fanaticism, and
determination to override all rights and all opinions save their own, of
a numerically insignificant minority of the Commons, backed by the
strength of the army--in the establishment of the most complete
despotism England has ever seen.

It may no doubt be considered a failing on my part that one of my heroes
has a very undue preponderance of adventure over the other. This I
regret; but after the scale of victory turned, those on the winning side
had little to do or to suffer, and one's interest is certainly with the
hunted fugitive, or the slave in the Bermudas, rather than with the
prosperous and well-to-do citizen.

Yours very sincerely,

G.A. HENTY.



CONTENTS.


CHAPTER I. The Eve of the War

CHAPTER II. For the King

CHAPTER III. A Brawl at Oxford

CHAPTER IV. Breaking Prison

CHAPTER V. A Mission of State

CHAPTER VI. A Narrow Escape

CHAPTER VII. In a Hot Place

CHAPTER VIII. The Defense of an Outpost

CHAPTER IX. A Stubborn Defense

CHAPTER X. The Commissioner of the Convention

CHAPTER XI. Montrose

CHAPTER XII. An Escape from Prison

CHAPTER XIII. Public Events

CHAPTER XIV. An Attempt to Rescue the King

CHAPTER XV. A Riot in the City

CHAPTER XVI. The Execution of King Charles

CHAPTER XVII. The Siege of Drogheda

CHAPTER XVIII. Slaves in the Bermudas

CHAPTER XIX. A Sea Fight

CHAPTER XX. With the Scotch Army

CHAPTER XXI. The Path Across the Morass

CHAPTER XXII. Kidnaped

CHAPTER XXIII. The Battle of Worcester

CHAPTER XXIV. Across the Sea.

CHAPTER XXV. A Plot Overheard

CHAPTER XXVI. Rest at Last



FRIENDS, THOUGH DIVIDED.



CHAPTER I.

THE EVE OF THE WAR.


It was a pleasant afternoon in the month of July, 1642, when three young
people sat together on a shady bank at the edge of a wood some three
miles from Oxford. The country was undulating and picturesque, and a
little more than a mile in front of them rose the lofty spire of St.
Helen's, Abingdon. The party consisted of two lads, who were about
fifteen years of age, and a girl of ten. The lads, although of about the
same height and build, were singularly unlike. Herbert Rippinghall was
dark and grave, his dress somber in hue, but good in material and well
made. Harry Furness was a fair and merry-looking boy; good humor was the
distinguishing characteristic of his face; his somewhat bright and
fashionably cut clothes were carelessly put on, and it was clear that no
thought of his own appearance or good looks entered his mind. He wore
his hair in ringlets, and had on his head a broad hat of felt with a
white feather, while his companion wore a plain cap, and his hair was
cut closely to his head.

"It is a bad business, Harry," the latter said, "but, there is one
satisfaction that, come what may, nothing can disturb our friendship. We
have never had a quarrel since we first met at the old school down
there, six years ago. We have been dear friends always, and my only
regret has been that your laziness has prevented our being rivals, for
neither would have grudged the other victory."

"No, indeed, Herbert. But there was never a chance of that. You have
always been Mr. Gregory's prize boy, and are now head of the school;
while I have always been in his bad books. But, as you say, Herbert, we
have been dear friends, and, come what will, we'll continue so. We
cannot agree on the state of the kingdom, and shall never do so. We have
both taken our views from our parents; and indeed it seems to me that
the question is far too difficult a one for boys like us to form any
opinion of it. When we see some of the best and wisest in the land
ranging themselves on either side, it is clear that even such a wise
noddle as yours--to say nothing of a feather brain like mine--cannot
form any opinion on a subject which perplexes our elders and betters."

"That is true, Harry; but still--"

"No, no, Herbert, we will have no argument. You have the best of it
there, and I fall back upon authority. My father, the colonel, is for
the king; yours for the Parliament. He says that there are faults on
both sides, and indeed, for years he favored the Commons. The king's
acts were unconstitutional and tyrannical, and my father approved of the
bold stand which Sir George Elliot made against him. Now, however, all
this has been changed, he tells me, and the Commons seek to rule without
either king or peers. They have sought to impose conditions which would
render them the lords absolute of England, and reduce the king to a mere
puppet. They have, too, attacked the Church, would abolish bishops, and
interfere in all matters spiritual. Therefore, my father, while
acknowledging the faults which the king has committed, and grieving
over the acts which have driven the Parliament to taking up a hostile
attitude to him, yet holds it his duty to support him against the
violent men who have now assumed power, and who are aiming at the
subversion of the constitution and the loss of the country."

"I fear, also," Herbert said, "that the Commons have gone grievously
beyond their rights, although, did my father hear me say so, I should
fall under his gravest displeasure. But he holds that it is necessary
that there should be an ecclesiastical sweep, that the prelates should
have no more power in the land, that popery should be put down with an
iron hand, and that, since kings cannot be trusted to govern well, all
power should be placed in the hands of the people. My own thoughts do
incline toward his; but, as you say, when one sees men like my Lord
Falkland, who have hitherto stood among the foremost in the ranks of
those who demand that the king shall govern according to law, now siding
with him against them, one cannot but feel how grave are the
difficulties, and how much is to be said on either side. How is one to
choose? The king is overbearing, haughty, and untrue to his word. The
Parliament is stiff-necked and bent upon acquiring power beyond what is
fair and right. There are, indeed, grievous faults on both sides. But it
seems to me that should the king now have his way and conquer the
Commons, he and his descendants will henceforth govern as absolute
monarchs, and the liberty of the people will be endangered; while on the
other hand, should the Parliament gain the upper hand, they will place
on a firm basis the liberties of Englishmen, and any excesses which they
may commit will be controlled and modified by a future parliament, for
the people of England will no more suffer tyranny on the part of the
Commons than of the king; but while they cannot change the one, it is
in their power to elect whom they will, and to send up men who will
govern things moderately and wisely."

"At any rate," Harry said, "my father thinks that there is neither
moderation nor wisdom among the zealots at Westminster; and as I hear
that many nobles and country gentlemen throughout England are of the
same opinion, methinks that though at present the Parliament have the
best of it, and have seized Portsmouth, and the Tower, and all the
depots of arms, yet that in the end the king will prevail against them."

"I trust," Herbert continued earnestly, "that there will be no fighting.
England has known no civil wars since the days of the Roses, and when we
see how France and Germany are torn by internal dissensions, we should
be happy indeed that England has so long escaped such a scourge. It is
indeed sad to think that friends should be arrayed against each other in
a quarrel in which both sides are in the wrong."

"I hope," Harry said, "that if they needs must fight, it will soon be
over, whichever way fortune may turn."

"I think not," Herbert answered. "It is a war of religion as much as a
war for power. The king and the Commons may strive who shall govern the
realm; but the people who will take up arms will do it more for the
triumph of Protestantism than for that of Pym and Hampden."

"How tiresome you both are," Lucy Rippinghall interrupted, pouting. "You
brought me out to gather flowers, and you do nothing but talk of kings
and Parliament, as if I cared for them. I call it very rude. Herbert is
often forgetful, and thinks of his books more than of me; but you,
Master Harry, are always polite and gentle, and I marvel much that you
should be so changed to-day."

"Forgive me," Harry said, smiling. "We have been very remiss, Miss
Lucy; but we will have no more of high politics, and will, even if never
again," he said sadly, "devote all our energies to getting such a basket
of flowers for you as may fill your rooms with beaupots. Now, if your
majesty is ready to begin, we are your most obedient servants."

And so, with a laugh, the little party rose to their feet, and started
in quest of wild flowers.

The condition of affairs was at the outbreak of the civil war such as
might well puzzle older heads than those of Harry Furness or Herbert
Rippinghall, to choose between the two powers who were gathering arms.

The foundations of the difficulty had been laid in the reign of King
James. That monarch, who in figure, manners, and mind was in the
strongest contrast to all the English kings who had preceded him, was
infinitely more mischievous than a more foolish monarch could have been.
Coarse in manner--a buffoon in demeanor--so weak, that in many matters
he suffered himself to be a puppet in the hands of the profligates who
surrounded him, he had yet a certain amount of cleverness, and an
obstinacy which nothing could overcome. He brought with him from
Scotland an overweening opinion of the power and dignity of his position
as a king. The words--absolute monarchy--had hitherto meant only a
monarch free from foreign interference; to James they meant a monarchy
free from interference on the part of Lords or Commons. He believed
implicitly in the divine right of kings to do just as they chose, and in
all things, secular and ecclesiastical, to impose their will upon their
subjects.

At that time, upon the Continent, the struggle of Protestantism and
Catholicism was being fought out everywhere. In France the Huguenots
were gradually losing ground, and were soon to be extirpated. In
Germany the Protestant princes had lost ground. Austria, at one time
halting between two opinions, had now espoused vehemently the side of
the pope, and save in Holland and Switzerland, Catholicism was
triumphing all along the line. While the sympathies of the people of
England were strongly in favor of their co-religionists upon the
Continent, those of James inclined toward Catholicism, and in all
matters ecclesiastical he was at variance with his subjects. What
caused, if possible, an even deeper feeling of anger than his
interference in church matters, was his claim to influence the decisions
of the law courts. The pusillanimity of the great mass of the judges
hindered them from opposing his outrageous claims, and the people saw
with indignation and amazement the royal power becoming infinitely
greater and more extended than anything to which Henry VIII. or even
Elizabeth had laid claim. The negotiations of the king for a marriage
between his son and the Infanta of Spain raised the fears of the people
to the highest point. The remembrance of the Spanish armada was still
fresh in their minds, and they looked upon an alliance with Spain as the
most unholy of contracts, and as threatening alike the religion and
liberties of Englishmen.

Thus when at King James' death King Charles ascended the throne, he
inherited a legacy of trouble. Unhappily, his disposition was even more
obstinate than that of his father. His training had been wholly bad, and
he had inherited the pernicious ideas of his father in reference to the
rights of kings. Even more unfortunately, he had inherited his father's
counselors. The Duke of Buckingham, a haughty, avaricious, and ambitious
noble, raised by King James from obscurity, urged him to follow the path
of his father, and other evil counselors were not wanting. King
Charles, indeed, had an advantage over his father, inasmuch as his
person was stately and commanding, his manner grave and dignified, and
his private life irreproachable. The conflicts which had continued
throughout the reign of his father between king and Parliament speedily
broke out afresh. The Commons refused to grant supplies, unless the king
granted rights and privileges which he deemed alike derogatory and
dangerous. The shifty foreign policy of England was continued, and soon
the breach was as wide as it had been during the previous reign.

After several Parliaments had been called and dissolved, some gaining
advantage from the necessities of the king, others meeting only to
separate after discussions which imbittered the already existing
relations, for ten years the king dispensed with a Parliament. The
murder of the Duke of Buckingham by Felton brought no alleviation to the
situation. In Ireland, Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, ruled with
tyrannical power. He was a man of clear mind and of great talent, and
his whole efforts were devoted to increasing the power of the king, and
so, as he considered, the benefit of the country. In Ireland he had a
submissive Parliament, and by the aid of this he raised moneys, and
ruled in a manner which, tyrannical as it was, was yet for the benefit
of that country. The king had absolute confidence in him, and his advice
was ever on the side of resistance to popular demands. In England the
chief power was given to Archbishop Land, a high church prelate, bent
upon restoring many of the forms of Catholic worship, and bitterly
opposed to the Puritan spirit which pervaded the great mass of the
English people.

So far the errors had been entirely upon the side of the king. The
demands of the Commons had been justified by precedent and
constitutional rule. The doings of the king were in equal opposition to
these. When at last the necessity of the situation compelled Charles to
summon a Parliament, he was met by them in a spirit of absolute
defiance. Before any vote of supply would he taken, the Commons insisted
upon the impeachment of Strafford, and Charles weakly consented to this.
The trial was illegally carried on, and the evidence weak and doubtful.
But the king's favorite was marked out for destruction, and to the joy
of the whole kingdom was condemned and executed. A similar fate befell
Laud, and encouraged by these successes, the demands of the Commons
became higher and higher.

The ultimatum which at last the Puritan party in Parliament delivered to
the king, was that no man should remain in the royal council who was not
agreeable to Parliament; that no deed of the king should have validity
unless it passed the council, and was attested under their hands; that
all the officers of the state and principal judges should be chosen with
consent of Parliament, and enjoy their offices for life; that none of
the royal family should marry without consent of Parliament or the
council; that the penal laws should be executed against Catholics; that
the votes of popish lords should not be received in the Peers, and that
bishops should be excluded from the House; that the reformation of the
liturgy and church government should be carried out according to the
advice of Parliament; that the ordinances which they had made with
regard to the militia should be submitted to; that the justice of
Parliament should pass upon all delinquents, that is, upon all officials
of the state and country who had assisted in carrying out the king's
ordinances for the raising of taxes; that a general pardon should he
granted, with such exceptions as should he advised by Parliament; that
the fort and castles should be disposed of by consent of Parliament;
and that no peers should be made but with the consent of both Houses.
They demanded also that they should have the power of appointing and
dismissing the royal ministers, of naming guardians for the royal
children, and of virtually controlling military, civil, and religious
affairs.

As it was clear that these demands went altogether beyond the rights of
the Commons, and that if the king submitted to them the power of the
country would be solely in their hands, while he himself would become a
cipher, he had no course open to him but to refuse assent, and to appeal
to the loyal nobility and gentry of the country.

It is true that many of these rights have since been obtained by the
Houses of Parliament; but it must be remembered that they were
altogether alien at the time to the position which the kings of England
had hitherto held, and that the body into whose hands they would be
intrusted would be composed solely of one party in the state, and that
this party would be controlled by the fanatical leaders and the
ministers of the sects opposed to the Established Church, which were at
that time bitter, narrow, and violent to an extent of which we have now
no conception.

The attitude thus assumed by Parliament drove from their ranks a great
many of the most intelligent and enlightened of those who had formerly
sided with them in their contest against the king. These gentlemen felt
that intolerable as was the despotic power of a king, still more
intolerable would it be to be governed by the despotic power of a group
of fanatics. The liberty of Englishmen was now as much threatened by the
Commons as it had been threatened by the king, and to loyal gentlemen
the latter alternative was preferable. Thus there were on both sides
earnest and conscientious men who grieved deeply at being forced to
draw swords in such a quarrel, and who felt that their choice of sides
was difficult in the extreme. Falkland was the typical soldier on the
royal side, Hampden on that of the Commons.

It is probable that were England divided to-morrow under the same
conditions, men would be equally troubled upon which side to range
themselves. At this period of the struggle, with the exception of a few
hot-headed followers of the king and a few zealots on the side of the
Commons, there was a general hope that matters would shortly be
arranged, and that one conflict would settle the struggle.

The first warlike demonstration was made before the town of York, before
whose walls the king, arriving with an armed force, was refused
admittance by Sir John Hotham, who held the place for the Parliament.
This was the signal for the outbreak of the war, and each party
henceforth strained every nerve to arm themselves and to place their
forces in the field.

The above is but a brief sketch of the circumstances which led the
Cavaliers and Puritans of England to arm themselves for civil war. Many
details have been omitted, the object being not to teach the history of
the time, but to show the general course of events which had led to so
broad and strange a division between the people of England. Even now,
after an interval of two hundred years, men still discuss the subject
with something like passion, and are as strong in their sympathies
toward one side or the other as in the days when their ancestors took up
arms for king or Commons.

It is with the story of the war which followed the conversation of Harry
Furness and Herbert Rippinghall that we have to do, not with that of the
political occurrences which preceded it. As to these, at least, no
doubts or differences of opinion can arise. The incidents of the war,
its victories and defeats, its changing fortunes, and its final triumph
are matters beyond the domain of politics, or of opinion; and indeed
when once the war began politics ceased to have much further sway. The
original questions were lost sight of, and men fought for king or
Parliament just as soldiers nowadays fight for England or Prance,
without in any concerning themselves with the original grounds of
quarrel.



CHAPTER II.

FOR THE KING.


It was late that evening when Sir Henry Furness returned from Oxford;
but Harry, anxious to hear the all-absorbing news of the day, had waited
up for him.

"What news, father?" he said, as Sir Henry alighted at the door.

"Stirring news, Harry; but as dark as may be. War appears to be now
certain. The king has made every concession, but the more he is ready to
grant, the more those Puritan knaves at Westminster would force from
him. King, peers, bishops, Church, all is to go down before this knot of
preachers; and it is well that the king has his nobles and gentry still
at his back. I have seen Lord Falkland, and he has given me a commission
in the king's name to raise a troop of horse. The royal banner will be
hoisted at Nottingham, and there he will appeal to all his loyal
subjects for aid against those who seek to govern the nation."

"And you think, sir, that it will really be war now?" Harry asked.

"Ay, that will it, unless the Commons go down on their knees and ask his
majesty's pardon, of which there is, methinks, no likelihood. As was to
be expected, the burghers and rabble of the large towns are everywhere
with them, and are sending up petitions to the Commons to stand fast and
abolish everything. However, the country is of another way of thinking,
and though the bad advisers of the king have in times past taken
measures which have sorely tried our loyalty, that is all forgotten
now. His majesty has promised redress to all grievances, and to rule
constitutionally in future, and I hear that the nobles are calling out
their retainers in all parts. England has always been governed by her
kings since she was a country, and we are going to try now whether we
are to be governed in future by our kings or by every tinker, tailor,
preacher, or thief sent up to Westminster. I know which is my choice,
and to-morrow I shall set about raising a troop of lads of the same
mind."

"You mean to take me, sir, I hope," Harry said.

"Take you?" his lather repeated, laughing. "To do what?"

"To fight, certainly," Harry replied. "I am sure that among the tenants
there is not one who could use the small sword as I can, for you have
taught me yourself, and I do not think that I should be more afraid of
the London pikemen than the best of them."

"No, no, Harry," his father said, putting his hand on the boy's
shoulder; "I do not doubt your bravery. You come of a fighting stock
indeed, and good blood cannot lie. But you are too young, my boy."

"But if the war goes on for a couple of years, father."

"Ay, ay, my boy; but I hope that it will be ended in a couple of months.
If it should last--which God forbid!--you shall have your chance, never
fear. Or, Harry, should you hear that aught has happened to me, mount
your horse at once, my boy; ride to the army, and take your place at the
head of my tenants. They will of course put an older hand in command;
but so long as a Furness is alive, whatever be his age, he must ride at
the head of the Furness tenants to strike for the king. I hear, by the
way, Harry, that that Puritan knave, Rippinghall, the wool-stapler, is
talking treason among his hands, and says that he will add a brave
contingent to the bands of the Commons when they march hither. Hast
heard aught about it?"

"Nothing, father, but I hope it is not true. I know, however, that
Master Rippinghall's thoughts and opinions lie in that direction, for I
have heard from Herbert--"

"Ah, the son of the wool-stapler. Hark you, Harry, this is a time when
we must all take sides for or against the king. Hitherto I have
permitted your acquaintance with the wool-stapler's son, though, in
truth, he be by birth no fit companion for you. But times have changed
now. The sword is going to be drawn, and friends of the king can no
longer be grip hands with friends of the Commons. Did my own brother
draw sword for Parliament, we would never speak again. Dost hear?"

"Yes, sir; and will of course obey your order, should you determine that
I must speak no more to Herbert. But, as you say, I am a boy yet, too
young to ride to the wars, and Herbert is no older. It will be time for
us to quarrel when it is time for us to draw the sword."

"That is so, Harry, and I do not altogether forbid you speaking with
him. Still the less you are seen together, the better. I like the lad,
and have made him welcome here for your sake. He is a thoughtful lad,
and a clever one; but it is your thoughtful men who plot treason, and
until the storm be overpast, it is best that you see as little of him as
may be. And now I have eaten my supper, and it is long past the time
that you should have been in bed. Send down word by Thomas Hardway to
Master Drake, my steward, to bid him send early in the morning notices
that all my tenants shall assemble here to-morrow at four in the
afternoon, and bid the cook come to me. We shall have a busy day
to-morrow, for the Furness tenantry never gather at the hall and go out
empty. And short though be the notice, they shall not do so this time,
which to some of us may, perchance, be the last."

The next day there was bustle and hurry at Furness Hall. The ponds were
dragged for fish; the poultry yard was scoured for its finest birds; the
keepers were early afield, and when they returned with piles of hares
and rabbits, these were seized by the cook and converted into huge pies
and pasties. Two sheep were slaughtered, and the scullions were hard at
work making confections of currants, gooseberries, plums, and other
fruits from the garden. In the great hall the tables were laid, and when
this was done, and all was in readiness, the serving men were called up
to the armory, and there, throughout the day, the cleaning of swords and
iron caps, the burnishing of breast and back pieces, the cleaning of
firelocks, and other military work went on with all haste.

The Furness estates covered many a square mile of Berkshire, and fifty
sturdy yeomen dismounted before Furness Hall at the hour named by Sir
Henry. A number of grooms and serving men were in attendance, and took
the horses as they rode up, while the major-domo conducted them to the
great picture gallery. Here they were received by Sir Henry with a
stately cordiality, and the maids handed round a great silver goblet
filled with spiced wine.

At four exactly the major-domo entered and announced that the quota was
complete, and that every one of those summoned was present.

"Serve the tables then," Sir Henry said, as he led the Way to the great
dining-hall.

Sir Henry took the head of the broad table, and bade Harry sit on his
right hand, while the oldest of the tenants faced him at the opposite
end. Then a troop of servants entered bearing smoking joints, cold
boars' heads, fish, turkeys, geese, and larded capons. These were
placed upon the table, with an abundance of French wine, and of strong
ale for those who preferred it, to wash down the viands. The first
courses were followed by dishes of meats and confections, and when all
was finished and cleared away Sir Henry Furness rose to his feet.

"Fill your glasses all," he said; "and bumpers. The toast which I give
you to-day is 'The king, God bless him.' Never should Englishmen drink
his health more earnestly and solemnly than to-day, when rebels have
driven him from his capital, and pestilent traitors threatened him with
armed force. Perhaps, my friends, you, like me, may from time to time
have grumbled when the tax-collectors have come round, and you have seen
no one warrant for their demands. But if the king has been forced so to
exceed his powers, it was in no slight degree because those at
Westminster refused to grant him the sums which were needful. He has,
too, been surrounded by bad advisers. I myself loved not greatly either
Stratford or Laud. But I would rather bear their high-handed ways, which
were at least aimed to strengthen the kingdom and for the honor of the
king, than be ground by these petty tyrants at Westminster, who would
shut up our churches, forbid us to smile on a Sunday, or to pray, except
through our noses; who would turn merry England into a canting
conventicle, and would rule us with a rod to which that of the king were
as a willow wand. Therefore it is the duty of all true men and good to
drink the health of his majesty the king, and confusion to his enemies."

Upstanding, and with enthusiastic shouts, the whole of the tenants drank
the toast. Sir Henry was pleased with the spirit which was manifested,
and when the cheering had subsided and quiet was again restored, he went
on:

"My friends, I have summoned you here to tell you what many of you no
doubt know already--that the king, driven from London by the traitors of
Parliament, who would take from him all power, would override the peers,
and abolish the Church, has appealed to his faithful subjects to stand
by him, and to maintain his cause. He will, ere a fortnight be past,
raise his banner at Nottingham. Already Sir John Hotham, the rebel
Governor of York, has closed the gates of that city to him, and it is
time that all loyal men were on foot to aid his cause. Lord Falkland has
been pleased to grant me a commission to raise a troop of horse in his
service, and I naturally come to you first, to ask you to follow me."

He paused a moment, and a shout of assent rang through the hall.

"There are," he said, "some among you whom years may prevent from
yourselves undertaking the hardships of the field, but these can send
substitutes in their sons. You will understand that none are compelled
to go; but I trust that from the long-standing friendship between us,
and from the duty which you each owe to the king, none will hold back.
Do I understand that all here are willing to join, or to furnish
substitutes?"

A general shout of "All" broke from the tenants.

"Thank you, my friends, I expected nothing else. This will give me fifty
good men, and true, and I hope that each will be able to bring with him
one, two, or more men, in proportion to the size of his holding. I shall
myself bear the expense of the arms and outfit of all these; but we must
not strip the land of hands. Farming must still go on, for people must
feed, even if there be war. As to the rents, we must waive our
agreements while the war lasts. Each man will pay me what proportion of
his rent he is able, and no more. The king will need money as well as
men, and as all I receive will be at his service, I know that each of
you will pay as much as he can to aid the common cause. I have here a
list of your names. My son will take it round to each, and will write
down how many men each of you may think to bring with him to the war. No
man must be taken unwillingly. I want only those whose hearts are in the
cause. My son is grieving that he is not old enough to ride with us; but
should aught befall me in the strife, I have bade him ride and take his
place among you."

Another cheer arose, and Harry went round the table taking down the
names and numbers of the men, and when his total was added up, it was
found that those present believed that they could bring a hundred men
with them into the field.

"This is beyond my hopes," Sir Harry said, as amid great cheering he
announced the result. "I myself will raise another fifty from my grooms,
gardeners, and keepers, and from brave lads I can gather in the village,
and I shall be proud indeed when I present to his majesty two hundred
men of Furness, ready to die in his defense."

After this there was great arrangement of details. Each tenant gave a
list of the arms which he possessed and the number of horses fit for
work, and as in those days, by the law of the land each man, of
whatsoever his degree, was bound to keep arms in order to join the
militia, should his services be required for the defense of the kingdom,
the stock of arms was, with the contents of Sir Henry's armory, found to
be sufficient for the number of men who were to be raised. It was eight
o'clock in the evening before all was arranged, and the party broke up
and separated to their homes.

For the next week there was bustle and preparation on the Furness
estates, as, indeed, through all England. As yet, however, the
Parliament were gathering men far more rapidly than the king. The
Royalists of England were slow to perceive how far the Commons intended
to press their demands, and could scarcely believe that civil war was
really to break out. The friends of the Commons, however, were
everywhere in earnest. The preachers in the conventicles throughout the
land denounced the king in terms of the greatest violence, and in almost
every town the citizens were arming and drilling. Lord Essex, who
commanded the Parliamentary forces, was drawing toward Northampton with
ten thousand men, consisting mainly of the train-bands of London; while
the king, with only a few hundred followers, was approaching Nottingham,
where he proposed to unfurl his standard and appeal to his subjects.

In a week from the day of the appeal of Sir Henry two troops, each of a
hundred men strong, drew up in front of Furness Hall. To the eye of a
soldier accustomed to the armies of the Continent, with their bands
trained by long and constant warfare, the aspect of this troop might not
have appeared formidable. Each man was dressed according to his fancy.
Almost all wore jack-boots coming nigh to the hip, iron breast and back
pieces, and steel caps. Sir Henry Furness and four gentlemen, his
friends, who had seen service in the Low Countries, and had now gladly
joined his band, took their places, Sir Henry himself at the head of the
body, and two officers with each troop. They, too, were clad in high
boots, with steel breast and back pieces, thick buff leather gloves, and
the wide felt hats with feathers which were worn in peace time. During
the war some of the Royalist officers wore iron caps as did their foes.
But the majority, in a spirit of defiance and contempt of their enemies,
wore the wide hat of the times, which, picturesque and graceful as it
was, afforded but a poor defense for the head. Almost all wore their
hair long and in ringlets, and across their shoulders were the white
scarfs typical of their loyalty to the king. Harry bestrode a fine horse
which his father had given him, and had received permission to ride for
half the day's march by his side at the head of the troop. The trumpeter
sounded the call, Sir Henry stood up in his stirrups, drew his sword and
waved it over his head, and shouted "For God and King." Two hundred
swords flashed in the air, and the answering shout came out deep and
full. Then the swords were sheathed, the horses' heads turned, and with
a jingle of sabers and accouterments the troop rode gayly out through
the gates of the park.

Upon their way north they were joined by more than one band of Cavaliers
marching in the same direction, and passed, too, several bodies of
footmen, headed by men with closely-cropped heads, and somber figures,
beside whom generally marched others whom their attire proclaimed to be
Puritan preachers, on their way to join the army of Essex. The parties
scowled at each other as they passed; but as yet no sword had been drawn
on either side, and without adventure they arrived at Nottingham.

Having distributed his men among the houses of the town, Sir Henry
Furness rode to the castle, where his majesty had arrived the day
before. He had already the honor of the personal acquaintance of the
king, for he had in one of the early parliaments sat for Oxford.
Disgusted, however, with the spirit that prevailed among the opponents
of the king, and also by the obstinacy and unconstitutional course
pursued by his majesty, he had at the dissolution of Parliament retired
to his estate, and when the next House was summoned, declined to stand
again for his seat.

"Welcome, Sir Henry," his majesty said graciously to him, "you are
among the many who withstood me somewhat in the early days of my reign,
and perchance you were right to do so; but who have now, in my need,
rallied round me, seeing whither the purpose of these traitorous
subjects of mine leads them. You are the more welcome that you have, as
I hear, brought two hundred horsemen with you, a number larger than any
which has yet joined me. These," he said, pointing to two young noblemen
near him, "are my nephews, Rupert and Maurice, who have come to join
me."

Upon making inquiries, Sir Henry found that the prospects of the king
were far from bright. So far, the Royalists had been sadly behindhand
with their preparations. The king had arrived with scarce four hundred
men. He had left his artillery behind at York for want of carriage, and
his need in arms was even greater than in men, as the arsenals of the
kingdom had all been seized by the Parliament. Essex lay at Northampton
with ten thousand men, and had he at this time advanced, even the most
sanguine of the Royalists saw that the struggle would be a hopeless one.

The next day, at the hour appointed, the royal standard was raised on
the Castle of Nottingham, in the midst of a great storm of wind and
rain, which before many hours had passed blew the royal standard to the
ground--an omen which those superstitiously inclined deemed of evil
augury indeed. The young noblemen and gentlemen, however, who had
gathered at Northampton, were not of a kind to be daunted by omens and
auguries, and finding that Essex did not advance and hearing news from
all parts of the country that the loyal gentlemen were gathering their
tenants fast, their hopes rose rapidly. There was, indeed, some
discontent when it was known that, by the advice of his immediate
councilors, King Charles had dispatched the Earl of Southampton with
Sir John Collpeper and Sir William Uvedale to London, with orders to
treat with the Commons. The Parliament, however, refused to enter into
any negotiations whatever until the king lowered his standard and
recalled the proclamation which he had issued. This, which would have
been a token of absolute surrender to the Parliament, the king refused
to do. He attempted a further negotiation; but this also failed.

The troops at Nottingham now amounted to eleven hundred men, of which
three hundred were infantry raised by Sir John Digby, the sheriff of the
county. The other eight hundred were horse. Upon the breaking off of
negotiations, and the advance of Essex, the king, sensible that he was
unable to resist the advance of Essex, who had now fifteen thousand men
collected under him, fell back to Derby, and thence to Shrewsbury, being
joined on his way by many nobles and gentlemen with their armed
followers. At Wellington, a town a day's march from Shrewsbury, the king
had his little army formed up, and made a solemn declaration before them
in which he promised to maintain the Protestant religion, to observe the
laws, and to uphold the just privileges and freedom of Parliament.

The Furness band were not present on that occasion, as they had been
dispatched to Worcester with some other soldiers, the whole under the
command of Prince Rupert, in order to watch the movements of Essex, who
was advancing in that direction. While scouring the ground around the
city, they came upon a body of Parliamentary cavalry, the advance of the
army of Essex. The bands drew up at a little distance from each other,
and then Prince Rupert gave the command to charge. With the cheer of
"For God and the king!" the troop rushed upon the cavalry of the
Parliament with such force and fury that they broke them utterly, and
killing many, drove them in confusion from the field, but small loss to
themselves.

This was the first action of the civil war, the first blood drawn by
Englishmen from Englishmen since the troubles in the commencement of the
reign of Mary.



CHAPTER III.

A BRAWL AT OXFORD.


News in those days traveled but slowly, and England was full of
conflicting rumors as to the doings of the two armies. Every one was
unsettled. Bodies of men moving to join one or other of the parties kept
the country in an uproar, and the Cavaliers, or rather the toughs of the
towns calling themselves Cavaliers, brought much odium upon the royal
cause by the ill-treatment of harmless citizens, and by raids on
inoffensive country people. Later on this conduct was to be reversed and
the Royalists were to suffer tenfold the outrages now put upon the
Puritans. But there can be no doubt that the conduct of irresponsible
ruffians at that time did much to turn the flood of public opinion in
many places, where it would otherwise have remained neutral, against the
crown.

To Harry the time passed but slowly. He spent his days in Abingdon
hearing the latest news, and occasionally rode over to Oxford. This
city was throughout the civil war the heart of the Royalist party, and
its loss was one of the heaviest blows which befell the crown. Here
Harry found none but favorable reports current. Enthusiasm was at its
height. The university was even more loyal than the town, and bands of
lads smashed the windows of those persons who were supposed to favor the
Parliament. More than once Harry saw men pursued through the streets,
pelted with stones and mud, and in some cases escaping barely with
their lives. Upon one occasion, seeing a person in black garments and of
respectable appearance so treated, the boy's indignation was aroused,
for he himself, both from his conversations with his friend Herbert, and
the talk with his father, was, although enthusiastically Royalist, yet
inclined to view with respect those who held opposite opinions.

"Run down that alley!" he exclaimed, pushing his horse between the
fugitive and his pursuers.

The man darted down the lane, and Harry placed himself at the entrance,
and shouted to the rabble to abstain.

A yell of rage and indignation replied, and a volley of stones was
thrown. Harry fearlessly drew his sword, and cut at some of those who
were in the foreground. These retaliated with sticks, and Harry was
forced backward into the lane. This was too narrow to enable him to
turn, his horse, and his position was a critical one. Finding that he
was a mark for stones, he leaped from the saddle, thereby disappearing
from the sight of those in the ranks behind, and sword in hand, barred
the way to the foremost of his assailants. The contest, however, would
have been brief had not a party of young students come up the lane, and
seeing from Harry's attire that he was a gentleman, and likely to be of
Cavalier opinions, they at once, without inquiring the cause of the
fray, threw themselves into it, shouting "Gown! gown!" They speedily
drove the assailants back out of the lane; but these, reinforced by the
great body beyond, were then too strong for them. The shouts of the
young men, however, brought up others to their assistance, and a general
melee took place, townsmen and gownsmen throwing themselves into the
fray without any inquiry as to the circumstances from which it arose.
The young students carried swords, which, although contrary to the
statutes of the university, were for the time generally adopted. The
townspeople were armed with bludgeons, and in some cases with hangers,
and the fray was becoming a serious one, when it was abruptly terminated
by the arrival of a troop of horse, which happened to be coming into the
town to join the royal forces. The officer in command, seeing so
desperate a tumult raging, ordered his men to charge into the crowd, and
their interference speedily put an end to the fight.

Harry returned to their rooms with some of his protectors and their
wounds were bound up, and the circumstances of the fight were talked
over. Harry was much blamed by the college men when he said that he had
been drawn into the fray by protecting a Puritan. But when his new
friends learned that he was as thoroughly Royalist as themselves, and
that his father had gone with a troop to Nottingham, they took a more
favorable view of his action, but still assured him that it was the
height of folly to interfere to protect a rebel from the anger of the
townspeople.

"But, methinks," Harry said, "that it were unwise in the extreme to push
matters so far here. In Oxford the Royalists have it all their own way,
and can, of course, at will assault their Puritan neighbors. But it is
different in most other towns. There the Roundheads have the upper hand
and might retort by doing ill to the Cavaliers there. Surely it were
better to keep these unhappy differences out of private life, and to
trust the arbitration of our cause to the arms of our soldiers in the
field."

There was a general agreement that this would indeed be the wisest
course; but the young fellows were of opinion that hot heads on either
side would have their way, and that if the war went on attacks of this
kind by the one party on the other must be looked for.

Harry remained for some time with his friends in Christ church,
drinking the beer for which the college was famous. Then, mounting his
horse, he rode back to Abingdon.

Two days later, as he was proceeding toward the town, he met a man
dressed as a preacher.

"Young sir," the latter said, "may I ask if you are Master Furness?"

"I am," the lad replied.

"Then it is to you I am indebted for my rescue from those who assaulted
me in the streets of Oxford last week. In the confusion I could not see
your face, but I inquired afterward, and was told that my preserver was
Master Furness, and have come over to thank you for your courtesy and
bravery in thus intervening on behalf of one whom I think you regard as
an enemy, for I understand that Sir Henry, your father, has declared for
the crown."

"I acted," Harry said, "simply on the impulse of humanity, and hold it
mean and cowardly for a number of men to fall upon one."

"We are," the preacher continued, "at the beginning only of our
troubles, and the time may come when I, Zachariah Stubbs, may be able to
return to you the good service which you have done me. Believe me, young
sir, the feeling throughout England is strong for the Commons, and that
it will not be crushed out, as some men suppose, even should the king's
men gain a great victory over Essex--which, methinks, is not likely.
There are tens of thousands throughout the country who are now content
to remain quiet at home, who would assuredly draw the sword and go forth
to battle, should they consider their cause in danger. The good work has
begun, and the sword will not be sheathed until the oppressor is laid
low."

"We should differ who the oppressor is," Harry replied coldly. "I
myself am young to discuss these matters, but my father and those who
think with him consider that the oppression is at present on the side of
the Commons, and of those whose religious views you share. While
pretending to wish to be free, you endeavor to bind others beneath your
tyranny. While wishing to worship in your way unmolested, you molest
those who wish to worship in theirs. However, I thank you for your
offer, that should the time come your good services will be at my
disposal. As you say, the issue of the conflict is dark, and it may be,
though I trust it will not, that some day you may, if you will, return
the light service which I rendered you."

"You will not forget my name?" the preacher said--"Zachariah Stubbs, a
humble instrument of the Lord, and a preacher in the Independent chapel
at Oxford. Thither I cannot return, and am on my way to London, where I
have many friends, and where I doubt not a charge will be found for me.
I myself belong to the east countries, where the people are strong for
the Lord, and I doubt not that some of those I know will come to the
front of affairs, in which case my influence may perhaps be of more
service than you can suppose at present. Farewell, young sir, and
whatever be the issues of this struggle, I trust that you may safely
emerge from them."

The man lifted his broad black hat, and went on his way, and Harry rode
forward, smiling a little to himself at the promise given him.

The time passed slowly, and all kinds of rumors filled the land. At
length beacon fires were seen to blaze upon the hills, and, as it was
known that the Puritans had arranged with Essex that the news of a
victory was so to be conveyed to London, the hearts of the Royalists
sank, for they feared that disaster had befallen their cause. The next
day, however, horsemen of the Parliament galloping through the country
proclaimed that they had been defeated; but it was not till next day
that the true state of affairs became known. Then the news came that the
battle had indeed been a drawn one.

On the 26th of October Charles marched with his army into Oxford. So
complete was the ignorance of the inhabitants as to the movements of the
armies that at Abingdon the news of his coming was unknown, and Harry
was astonished on the morning of the 27th at hearing a great trampling
of horsemen. Looking out, he beheld his father at the head of the troop,
approaching the house. With a shout of joy the lad rushed downstairs and
met his father at the entrance.

"I did not look to be back so soon, Harry," Sir Henry said, as he
alighted from his horse. "We arrived at Oxford last night, and I am sent
on with my troop to see that no Parliament bands are lurking in the
neighborhood."

Before entering the house the colonel dismissed his troop, telling them
that until the afternoon they could return to their homes, but must then
re-assemble and hold themselves in readiness to advance, should he
receive further orders. Then, accompanied by his officers, he entered
the house. Breakfast was speedily prepared, and when this was done
justice to Sir Henry proceeded to relate to Harry, who was burning with
impatience to hear his news, the story of the battle of Edgehill.

"We reached Shrewsbury, as I wrote you," he said, "and stayed there
twenty days, and during that time the army swelled and many nobles and
gentlemen joined us. We were, however, it must be owned, but a motley
throng. The foot soldiers, indeed, were mostly armed with muskets; but
many had only sticks and cudgels. On the 12th we moved to Wolverhampton,
and so on through Birmingham and Kenilworth. We saw nothing of the
rebels till we met at Edgecot, a little hamlet near Banbury, where we
took post on a hill, the rebels being opposite to us. It must be owned,"
Sir Henry went on, "that things here did not promise well. There were
dissensions between Prince Rupert, who commanded the cavalry, and Lord
Lindsey, the general in chief, who is able and of great courage, but
hot-headed and fiery. In the morning it was determined to engage, as
Essex's forces had not all come up, and the king's troops were at least
as numerous as those of the enemy. We saw little of the fighting, for at
the commencement of the battle we got word to charge upon the enemy's
left. We made but short work of them, and drove them headlong from the
field, chasing them in great disorder for three miles, and taking much
plunder in Kineton among the Parliament baggage-wagons. Thinking that
the fight was over, we then prepared to ride back. When we came to the
field we found that all was changed. The main body of the Roundheads had
pressed hotly upon ours and had driven them back. Lord Lindsey himself,
who had gone into the battle at the head of the pikemen carrying a pike
himself like a common soldier, had been mortally wounded and taken
prisoner, and grievous slaughter had been inflicted. The king's standard
itself had been taken, but this had been happily recovered, for two
Royalist officers, putting on orange scarfs, rode into the middle of the
Roundheads, and pretending that they were sent by Essex, demanded the
flag from his secretary, to whom it had been intrusted. The scrivener
gave it up, and the officers, seizing it, rode through the enemy and
recovered their ranks. There was much confusion and no little angry
discussion in the camp that night, the footmen accusing the horsemen of
having deserted them, and the horsemen grumbling at the foot, because
they had not done their work as well as themselves. In the morning the
two armies still faced each other, neither being willing to budge a
foot, although neither cared to renew the battle. The rest of the
Parliamentary forces had arrived, and they might have struck us a heavy
blow had they been minded, for there was much discouragement in our
ranks. Lord Essex, however, after waiting a day and burying his dead,
drew off from the field, and we, remaining there, were able to claim the
victory, which, however, my son, was one of a kind which was scarce
worth winning. It was a sad sight to see so many men stretched stark and
dead, and these killed, not in fighting with a foreign foe, but with
other Englishmen. It made us all mightily sad, and if at that moment
Lord Essex had had full power from the Parliament to treat, methinks
that the quarrel could have been settled, all being mightily sick of
such kind of fighting."

"What is going to be done now, father?" Harry asked.

"We are going to move forward toward London. Essex is moving parallel
with us, and will try to get there first. From what we hear from our
friends in the city, there are great numbers of moderate men will be
glad to see the king back, and to agree to make an end of this direful
business. The zealots and preachers will of course oppose them. But when
we arrive, we trust that our countenance will enable our friends to make
a good front, and to overcome the opposition of the Puritans. We expect
that in a few days we shall meet with offers to treat. But whether or
no, I hope that the king will soon be lodged again in his palace at
Whitehall."

"And do you think that there will be any fighting, sir?"

"I think not. I sincerely hope not," the colonel said.

"Then if you think that there will only be a peaceable entry, will you
not let me ride with you? It will be a brave sight to see the king enter
London again; one to tell of all one's life."

The colonel made no reply for a minute or two.

"Well, Harry, I will not say you nay," he said at length. "Scenes of
broils and civil war are not for lads of your age. But, as you say, it
would be a thing to talk of to old age how you rode after the king when
he entered London in state. But mind, if there be fighting, you must
rein back and keep out of it."

Harry was overjoyed with the permission, for in truth time had hung
heavily on his hands since the colonel had ridden away. His
companionship with Herbert had ceased, for although the lads pressed
hands warmly when they met in Abingdon, both felt that while any day
might bring news of the triumph of one party or the other, it was
impossible that they could hold any warm intercourse with each other.
The school was closed, for the boys of course took sides, and so much
ill-will was caused that it was felt best to put a stop to it by closing
the doors. Harry therefore had been left entirely upon his own
resources, and although he had ridden about among the tenants and, so
far as he could, supplied his father's place, the time often hung heavy
on his hands, especially during the long hours of the evening. After
thanking his father for his kindness, he rushed wildly off to order his
horse to be prepared for him to accompany the troop, to re-burnish the
arms which he had already chosen as fitting him from the armory, and to
make what few preparations were necessary for the journey.

It was some days, however, before any move was made. The king was
occupied in raising money, being sorely crippled by want of funds, as
well as of arms and munitions of war. At the beginning of November the
advance was made, Sir Henry with his troop joining Prince Rupert, and
advancing through Reading without opposition as far as Maidenhead, where
he fixed his quarters. Two days later he learned that Essex had arrived
with his army in London. On the 11th King Charles was at Colnbrook. Here
he received a deputation from the Houses of Parliament, who proposed
that the king should pause in his advance until committees of both
Houses should attend him with propositions "for the removal of these
bloody distempers and distractions." The king received the deputation
favorably, and said that he would stop at Windsor, and there receive the
propositions which might be sent him.

Unfortunately, however, the hopes which were now entertained that peace
would be restored, were dashed to the ground by an action which was
ascribed by the Royalists to the hotheadedness of Prince Rupert, but
which the king's enemies affirmed was due to the duplicity of his
majesty himself. On this point there is no evidence. But it is certain
that the advance made after this deputation had been received rendered
all further negotiation impossible, as it inspired the Commons with the
greatest distrust, and enabled the violent portion always to feign a
doubt of the king's word, and great fears as to the keeping of any terms
which might be made, and so to act upon the timid and wavering. The very
day after the deputation had left, bearing the news to London of the
king's readiness to treat, and inspiring all there with hope of peace,
Prince Rupert, taking advantage of a very thick mist, marched his
cavalry to within half a mile of the town of Brentford before his
advance was discovered, designing to surprise the train of artillery at
Hammersmith and to push on and seize the Commons and the city.

The design might have been successful, for the exploits of Rupert's
horse at the battle of Edgehill had struck terror into the minds of the
enemy. In the town of Brentford, however, were lodged a regiment of
foot, under Hollis, and these prepared manfully to resist. Very
valiantly the prince, followed by his horse, charged into the streets of
Brentford, where the houses were barricaded by the foot soldiers, who
shot boldly against them. Many were killed, and for three hours the
contest was resolutely maintained. The streets had been barricaded, and
Prince Rupert's men fought at great disadvantage. At length, as evening
approached, and the main body of the Cavaliers came up, the Parliament
men gave way, and were driven from the town. Many were taken prisoners,
and others driven into the river, the greater portion, however, making
their way in boats safely down the stream. The delay which their sturdy
resistance had made saved the city. Hampden was bringing his men across
from Acton. Essex had marched from Chelsea Fields to Turnham Green, and
the road was now blocked. After it was dark the Train-Bands advanced,
and the Parliament regiments, reinforced by them, pushed on to Brentford
again; the Royalists, finding that the place could not be held, fell
back to the king's quarters at Hounslow.

The chroniclers describe how wild a scene of confusion reigned in London
that evening. Proclamations were issued ordering all men to take up
arms; shops were closed, the apprentice boys mustered in the ranks, and
citizens poured out like one man to defend the town. They encamped upon
the road, and the next day great trains of provisions sent by the wives
of the merchants and traders reached them, and as many came out to see
the forces, the scene along the road resembled a great fair.

In this fight at Brentford Harry Furness was engaged. The Royalists had
anticipated no resistance here, not knowing that Hollis held the place,
and Sir Henry did not think of ordering Harry to remain behind. At the
moment when it was found that Hollis was in force and the trumpets
sounded the charge, the lad was riding in the rear of the troop, talking
to one of the officers, and his father could take no step to prevent his
joining. Therefore, when the trumpets sounded and the troops started off
at full gallop toward the town, Harry, greatly exulting in his good
luck, fell in with them and rode down the streets of Brentford. The
musketry fire was brisk, and many of the troop rolled from their horses.
Presently they were dismounted and ordered to take the houses by storm.
With the hilts of their swords they broke in the doors, and there was
fierce lighting within.

Harry, who was rather bewildered with the din and turmoil of the fight,
did as the rest, and followed two or three of the men into one of the
houses, whose door had been broken open. They were assailed as they
entered by a fire of musketry from the Parliament men within. Those in
front fell, and Harry was knocked down by the butt of a pike.

When he recovered he found himself in a boat drifting down the stream, a
prisoner of the Roundheads.

For a long time Harry could hear the sounds of the guns and cannon at
Brentford, and looking round at the quiet villages which they passed on
the banks, could scarce believe that he had been engaged in a battle and
was now a prisoner. But little was said to him. The men were smarting
under their defeat and indulged in the bitterest language at the
treachery with which, after negotiations had been agreed upon, the
advance of the Royalists had been made. They speedily discovered the
youth of their captive, and, after telling him brutally that he would
probably be hung when he got to London, they paid no further attention
to him. The boat was heavily laden, and rowed by two oars, and the
journey down was a long one, for the tide met them when at the village
of Hammersmith, and they were forced to remain tied up to a tree by the
bank until it turned again. This it did not do until far in the night,
and the morning was just breaking when they reached London.

It was perhaps well for Harry that they arrived in the dark, for in the
excited state of the temper of the citizens, and their anger at the
treachery which had been practiced, it might have fared but badly with
him. He was marched along the Strand to the city, and was consigned to a
lock-up in Finsbury, until it could be settled what should be done to
him. In fact, the next day his career was nearly being terminated, for
John Lilburn, a captain of the Train Bands, who had been an apprentice
and imprisoned for contumacy, had been captured at Brentford, and after
being tried for his life, was sentenced to death as a rebel. Essex,
however, sent in word to the Royalist camp that for every one of the
Parliament officers put to death, he would hang three Royalist
prisoners. This threat had its effect, and Harry remained in ignorance
of the danger which had threatened him.

The greatest inconvenience which befell him was that he was obliged to
listen to all sorts of long harangues upon the part of the Puritan
soldiers who were his jailers. These treated him as a misguided lad, and
did their best to convert him from the evil of his ways. At last Harry
lost his temper, and said that if they wanted to hang him, they might;
but that he would rather put up with that than the long sermons which
they were in the habit of delivering to him. Indignant at this rejection
of their good offices, they left him to himself, and days passed without
his receiving any visit save that of the soldier who brought his meals.



CHAPTER IV.

BREAKING PRISON.


Harry's place of confinement was a cell leading off a guardroom of the
Train Bands. Occasionally the door was left open, as some five or six
men were always there, and Harry could see through the open door the
citizens of London training at arms. Several preachers were in the habit
of coming each day to discourse to those on guard, and so while away the
time, and upon these occasions the door was generally left open, in
order that the prisoner might be edified by the sermons. Upon one
occasion the preacher, a small, sallow-visaged man, looked into the cell
at the termination of his discourse, and seeing Harry asleep on his
truckle bed, awoke him, and lectured him severely on the wickedness of
allowing such precious opportunities to pass. After this he made a point
of coming in each day when he had addressed the guard, and of offering
up a long and very tedious prayer on behalf of the young reprobate.
These preachings and prayings nearly drove Harry out of his mind.
Confinement was bad enough; but confinement tempered by a course of
continual sermons, delivered mostly through the nose, was a terrible
infliction. At last the thought presented itself to him that he might
manage to effect his escape in the garb of the preacher. He thought the
details over and over in his mind, and at last determined at any rate to
attempt to carry them into execution.

One day he noticed, when the door opened for the entry of the preacher,
that a parade of unusual magnitude was being held in the drill yard,
some officer of importance having come down to inspect the Train Band.
There were but four men left in the guardroom and these were occupied in
gazing out of the window. The preacher came direct into the cell, as his
audience in the guardroom for once were not disposed to listen to him,
and shutting the door behind him, he addressed a few words of
exhortation to Harry, and then, closing his eyes, began a long prayer.
When he was fairly under way, Harry sprang upon him, grasping him by the
throat with both hands, and forced him back upon the bed. The little
preacher was too much surprised to offer the smallest resistance, and
Harry, who had drawn out the cords used in supporting the sacking of the
bed, bound him hand and foot, keeping, while he did so, the pillow
across his face, and his weight on the top of the pillow, thereby nearly
putting a stop to the preacher's prayers and exhortations for all time.
Having safely bound him, and finding that he did not struggle in the
least, Harry removed the pillow, and was horrified to see his prisoner
black in the face. He had, however, no time for regret or inquiry how
far the man had gone, and stuffing a handkerchief into his mouth, to
prevent his giving any alarm should he recover breath enough to do so,
Harry placed his high steeple hat upon his head, his Geneva bands round
his throat, and his long black mantle over his shoulders. He then opened
the door and walked quietly forth. The guards were too much occupied
with the proceedings in the parade ground to do more than glance round,
as the apparent preacher departed. Harry strode with a long and very
stiff step, and with his figure bolt upright, to the gate of the parade
ground, and then passing through the crowd who were standing there
gaping at the proceedings within, he issued forth a free man.

For awhile he walked at a brisk pace, and then, feeling secure from
pursuit, slackened his speed; keeping westward through the city, he
passed along the Strand and out into the country beyond. He wore his
beaver well down over his eyes, and walked with his head down as if
meditating deeply, in order to prevent any passers-by from observing the
youthfulness of his face. When he arrived at the village of Chelsea, he
saw, in front of a gentleman's house, a horse hitched up to a hook
placed there for that purpose. Conceiving that for a long journey four
legs are much more useful than two, and that when he got beyond the
confines of London he should attract less suspicion upon a horse than if
striding alone along the road, he took the liberty of mounting it and
riding off. When he had gone a short distance he heard loud shouts; but
thinking these in no way to concern him, he rode on the faster, and was
soon beyond the sound of the voices. He now took a northerly direction,
traveled through Kensington, and then keeping east of Acton, where he
knew that some Parliament troops were quartered, he rode for the village
of Harrow. He was aware that the Royalists had fallen back to Oxford,
and that the Parliament troops were at Reading. He therefore made to the
northwest, intending to circuit round and so reach Oxford. He did not
venture to go to an inn, for although, as a rule, the keepers of these
places were, being jovial men, in no way affected toward the Commons,
yet he feared meeting there persons who might question and detain him.
He obtained some provision at a small village shop, in which he saw a
buxom woman standing behind her counter. She appeared vastly surprised
when he entered and asked for a manchet of bread, for the contrast
between his ruddy countenance and his Puritan hat and bands was so
striking that they could not fail to be noticed. The good woman looked
indeed too astonished to be able to attend to Harry's request, and he
was obliged to say, "Mother, time presses, and I care not to be caught
loitering here."

Divining at once that he was acting a part, and probably endeavoring to
escape the pursuit of the Commons, the good woman at once served him
with bread and some slices of ham, and putting these in the wallets of
the saddle, he rode on.

The next morning, in riding through the village of Wickham, his career
was nearly arrested. Just as he passed a sergeant followed by three or
four Parliament soldiers came out from an inn, and seeing Harry riding
past, addressed him:

"Sir, will it please you to alight, and to offer up a few words of
exhortation and prayer?"

Harry muttered something about pressing business. But in his sudden
surprise he had not time to think of assuming either the nasal drone or
the scriptural words peculiar to these black-coated gentry. Struck by
his tone, the sergeant sprang forward and seized his bridle.

"Whom have we here?" he said; "a lad masquerading in the dress of a
preacher. This must be explained, young sir."

"Sergeant," Harry said, "I doubt not that thou art a good fellow, and
not one to get a lad in a scrape. I am the son of a London citizen; but
he and my mother are at present greatly more occupied with the state of
their souls than with the carrying on of their carnal business. Being
young, the constant offering up of prayers and exhortations has vexed me
almost to desperation, and yesterday, while the good preacher who
attends then was in the midst of the third hour of his discourse I stole
downstairs, and borrowing his hat and cloak, together with his horse,
determined to set out to join my uncle, who is a farmer down in
Gloucestershire, and where in sooth the companionship of his
daughters--girls of my own age--suits my disposition greatly better than
that of the excellent men with whom my father consorts."

The soldiers laughed, and the sergeant, who was not at heart a bad
fellow, said:

"I fear, my young sir, that your disposition is a godless one, and that
it would have been far better for you to have remained under the
ministration of the good man whose hat you are wearing than to have
sought the society of your pretty cousins. However, I do not know but
that in the unregenerate days of my own youth I might not have attempted
an escapade like yours. I trust," he continued, "you are not tainted
with the evil doctrines of the adherents of King Charles."

"In truth," Harry said, "I worry not my head with politics. I hear so
much of them that I am fairly sick of the subject, and have not yet
decided whether the Commons is composed of an assembly of men directly
inspired with power for the regeneration of mankind, or whether King
Charles be a demon in human shape. Methinks that when I grow old enough
to bear arms it will be time enough for me to make up my mind against
whom to use them. At present, a clothyard is the stick to which I am
most accustomed, and as plows and harrows are greatly more in accord
with my disposition, I hope that for a long time I shall not see the
interior of a shop again; and I trust that the quarrels which have
brought such trouble into this realm, and have well-nigh made my father
and mother distraught, will at least favor my sojourn in the country,
for I am sure that my father will not venture to traverse England for
the sake of bringing me back again."

"I am not sure," the sergeant said, "that my duty would not be to
arrest you and to send you back to London. But as, in truth, I have no
instructions to hinder travelers, I must even let you go."

With a merry farewell to the group, and a laugh far more in accordance
with his years than with the costume which he wore, Harry set spurs to
his horse and again rode forward.

He met with no further adventure on the road. When he found by inquiries
that he had passed the outposts of the Parliament forces, he joyfully
threw the hat, the bands, and cloak into a ditch, for experience had
taught him that, however useful as a passport they might be while still
within the lines of the troops of the Commons, they would be likely to
procure him but scant welcome when he entered those of the Royalists.
Round Oxford the royal army were encamped, and Harry speedily discovered
that his father was with his troop at his own place. Turning his head
again eastward, he rode to Abingdon, and quickly afterward was at the
hall.

The shout of welcome which the servitor who opened the door uttered when
he saw him speedily brought his father to the entrance, and Sir Henry
was overjoyed at seeing the son whom he believed to be in confinement in
London. Harry's tale was soon told, and the colonel roared with laughter
at the thought of his boy masquerading as a Puritan preacher.

"King Charles himself," he said, "might smile over your story, Harry;
and in faith it takes a great deal to call up a smile into his majesty's
face, which is, methinks a pity, for he would be more loved, and not
less respected, did he, by his appearance and manner, do something to
raise the spirits of those around him."

When once seated in the hall Harry inquired of his father what progress
had been made since he was taken prisoner, for he had heard nothing from
his guards.

"Things are as they were," his father said. "After our unfortunate
advance we fell back hither, and for six weeks nothing was done. A
fortnight since, on the 2d of January, a petition was brought by
deputies from the Common Council of London, asking the king to return to
the capital when all disturbance should be suppressed. King Charles,
however, knew not that these gentlemen had the power to carry out their
promises seeing that the seditious have the upper hand in the capital,
and answered them to that effect. His answer was, however, methinks, far
less conciliatory and prudent than it might have been, for it boots not
to stir up men's minds unnecessarily, and with a few affectionate words
the king might have strengthened his party in London. The result,
however, was to lead to a fierce debate, in which Pym and Lord
Manchester addressed the multitude, and stirred them up to indignation,
and I fear that prospects of peace are further away than ever. In other
respects there is good and bad news. Yorkshire and Cheshire, Devon and
Cornwall, have all declared for the crown; but upon the other hand, in
the east the prospects are most gloomy. There, the seven counties,
Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridge, Herts, Lincoln, and Huntingdon, have
joined themselves into an association, and the king's followers dare not
lift their heads. At Lichfield, Lord Brook, a fierce opponent of bishops
and cathedrals, while besieging a party of Cavaliers who had taken
possession of the close, was shot in the eye and killed. These are the
only incidents that have taken place."

For some weeks no event of importance occurred. On the 22d of February
the queen, who had been absent on the Continent selling her jewels and
endeavoring to raise a force, landed at Burlington, with four ships,
having succeeded in evading the ships of war which the Commons had
dispatched to cut her off, under the command of Admiral Batten. That
night, however, the Parliament fleet arrived off the place, and opened
fire upon the ships and village. The queen was in a house near the
shore, and the balls struck in all directions round. She was forced to
get up, throw on a few clothes, and retire on foot to some distance from
the village to the shelter of a ditch, where she sat for two hours, the
balls sometimes striking dust over them, and singing round in all
directions. It was a question whether the small force which the queen
brought with her was not rather a hindrance than an assistance to the
royal cause, for the Earl of Newcastle, who had been sent to escort her
to York, was authorized by the king to raise men for the service,
without examining their consciences, that is to say, to receive
Catholics as well as Protestants. The Parliament took advantage of this
to style his army the Catholic Army, and this, and some tamperings with
the Papists in Ireland, increased the popular belief that the king
leaned toward Roman Catholicism, and thus heightened the feelings
against him, and embittered the religious as well as the political
quarrel.

Toward the end of March commissioners from the Parliament, under the
Earl of Northumberland, came to Oxford with propositions to treat. It is
questionable whether the offers of the Commons were sincere. But
Charles, by his vacillation and hesitation, by yielding one day and
retracting the next, gave them the opportunity of asserting, with some
show of reason, that he was wholly insincere, and could not be trusted;
and so the commission was recalled, and the war went on again.

On the 15th of April Parliament formally declared the negotiations to be
at an end, and on that day Essex marched with his army to the siege of
Reading. The place was fortified, and had a resolute garrison; but by
some gross oversight no provisions or stores had been collected, and
after an unsuccessful attempt to relieve the town, when the Royalist
forces failed to carry the bridge at Caversham, they fell back upon
Wallingford, and Reading surrendered. Meanwhile skirmishes were going on
all over the country. Sir William Waller was successful against the
Royalists in the south and west. In the north Lord Newcastle was opposed
to Fairfax, and the result was doubtful; while in Cornwall the Royalists
had gained a battle over the Parliament men under Lord Stamford.

Meanwhile, the king was endeavoring to create a party in the Parliament,
and Lady Aubigny was intrusted with the negotiations. The plot was,
however, discovered. Several members of Parliament were arrested, and
two executed by orders of the Parliament.

Early in June Colonel Furness and his troop were called into Oxford, as
it was considered probable that some expeditions would be undertaken,
and on the 17th of that month Prince Rupert formed up his horse and
sallied out against the outlying pickets and small troops of the
Parliament. Several of these he surprised and cut up, and on the morning
of the 19th reached Chalgrove Field, near Thame. Hampden was in command
of a detachment of Parliamentary troops in this neighborhood, and
sending word to Essex, who lay near, to come up to his assistance,
attacked Prince Rupert's force. His men, however, could not stand
against the charge of the Royalists. They were completely defeated, and
Hampden, one of the noblest characters of his age, was shot through the
shoulder. He managed to keep his horse, and ride across country to
Thame, where he hoped to obtain medical assistance. After six days of
pain he died there, and thus England lost the only man who could, in
the days that were to come, have moderated, and perhaps defeated, the
ambition of Cromwell.

Essex arrived upon the scene of battle a few minutes after the defeat of
Hampden's force, and Prince Rupert fell back, and crossing the Thames
returned to Oxford, having inflicted much damage upon the enemy.

Shortly after this event, one of the serving men rushed in to Harry with
the news that a strong band of Parliament horse were within three or
four miles of the place, and were approaching. Harry at once sent for
the steward, and a dozen men were summoned in all haste. On their
arrival they set to work to strip the hall of its most valued furniture.
The pictures were taken down from the walls, the silver and plate
tumbled into chests, the arms and armor worn by generations of the
Furnesses removed from the armory, the choicest articles of furniture of
a portable character put into carts, together with some twenty casks of
the choicest wine in the cellars, and in four hours only the heavier
furniture, the chairs and tables, buffets and heavy sideboards remained
in their places.

Just as the carts were filled news came that the enemy had ridden into
Abingdon. Night was now coming on, and the carts at once started with
their contents for distant farms, where the plate and wine were to be
buried in holes dug in copses, and other places little likely to be
searched by the Puritans. The pictures and furniture were stowed away in
lofts and covered deeply with hay.

Having seen the furniture sent off, Harry awaited the arrival of the
Parliament bands, which he doubted not would be dispatched by the
Puritans among the townspeople to the hall. The stables were already
empty except for Rollo, Harry's own horse. This he had at once, the
alarm being given, sent off to a farm a mile distant from the hall, and
with it its saddle, bridle, and his arms, a brace of rare pistols,
breast and back pieces, a steel cap with plumes, and his sword. It cost
him an effort to part with the last, for he now carried it habitually.
But he thought that it might be taken from him, and, moreover, he feared
that he might be driven into drawing it, when the consequences might be
serious, not only for himself, but for the mansion of which his father
had left him in charge.

At nine a servitor came in to say that a party of men were riding up the
drive. Harry seated himself in the colonel's armchair, and repeated to
himself the determination at which he had arrived of being perfectly
calm and collected, and of bearing himself with patience and dignity.
Presently he heard the clatter of horses' hoofs in the courtyard, and
two minutes later, the tramp of feet in the passage. The door opened,
and an officer entered, followed by five or six soldiers.

This man was one of the worst types of Roundhead officers. He was a
London draper, whose violent harangues had brought him into notice, and
secured for him a commission in the raw levies when they were first
raised. Harry rose as he entered.

"You are the son of the man who is master of this house?" the officer
said roughly.

"I am his son and representative," Harry said calmly.

"I hear that he is a malignant fighting in the ranks of King Charles."

"My father is a colonel in the army of his gracious majesty the king,"
Harry said.

"You are an insolent young dog!" the captain exclaimed. "We will teach
you manners," and rising from the seat into which he had thrown himself
on entering the hall, he struck Harry heavily in the face.

The boy staggered back against the wall; then with a bound he snatched
a sword from the hand of one of the troopers, and before the officer had
time to recoil or throw up his hands, he smote him with all his force
across the face. With a terrible cry the officer fell back, and Harry,
throwing down the sword, leaped through the open window into the garden
and dashed into the shrubberies, as half a dozen balls from the pistols
of the astonished troopers whizzed about his head.

For a few minutes he ran at the top of his speed, as he heard shouts and
pistol shots behind him. But he knew that in the darkness strangers
would have no chance whatever of overtaking him, and he slackened his
pace into a trot. As he ran he took himself to task for not having acted
up to his resolution. But the reflection that his father would not
disapprove of his having cut down the man who had struck him consoled
him, and he kept on his way to the farm where he had left his horse. In
other respects, he felt a wild delight at what had happened. There was
nothing for him now but to join the Royal army, and his father could
hardly object to his taking his place with the regiment.

"I wish I had fifty of them here," he thought to himself; "we would
surround the hall, and pay these traitors dearly. As for their captain,
I would hang him over the door with my own hands. The cowardly ruffian,
to strike an unarmed boy! At any rate I have spoiled his beauty for him,
for I pretty nearly cut his face in two, I shall know him by the scar if
I ever meet him in battle, and then we will finish the quarrel.

"I shall not be able to see out of my right eye in the morning," he
grumbled; "and shall be a nice figure when I ride into Oxford."

As he approached the farm he slackened his speed to a walk; and neared
the house very carefully, for he thought it possible that one of the
parties of the enemy might already have taken up his quarters there. The
silence that reigned, broken by the loud barking of dogs as he came
close, proved that no stranger had yet arrived, and he knocked loudly at
the door. Presently an upper window was opened, and a woman's voice
inquired who he was, and what he wanted.

"I am Harry Furness, Dame Arden," he said. "The Roundheads are at the
hall, and I have sliced their captain's face; so I must be away with all
speed. Please get the men up, and lose not a moment; I want my arms and
horse."

The farmer's wife lost no time in arousing the house, and in a very few
minutes all was ready. One man saddled the horse, while another buckled
on Harry's breast and back pieces; and with a hearty good-by, and amid
many prayers for his safety and speedy return with the king's troops,
Harry rode off into the darkness. For awhile he rode cautiously,
listening intently lest he might fall into the hands of some of the
Roundhead bands. But all was quiet, and after placing another mile or
two between himself and Abingdon, he concluded that he was safe, drew
Rollo's reins tighter, pressed him with his knees, and started at full
gallop for Oxford.



CHAPTER V.

A MISSION OF STATE.


When Harry rode into Oxford with the news that the Roundheads had made a
raid as far as Abingdon, no time was lost in sounding to boot and
saddle, and in half an hour the Cavalier horse were trotting briskly in
that direction. They entered Abingdon unopposed, and found to their
disgust that the Roundheads had departed an hour after their arrival. A
party went up to Furness Hall, and found it also deserted. The
Roundheads, in fact, had made but a flying raid, had carried off one or
two of the leading Royalists in the town, and had, on their retirement,
been accompanied by several of the party favorable to the Commons, among
others, Master Rippinghall and the greater portion of his men, who had,
it was suspected, been already enrolled for the service of the
Parliament. Some of the Royalists would fain have sacked the house of
the wool-stapler; but Colonel Furness, who had accompanied the force
with his troop, opposed this vehemently.

"As long as we can," he said, "let private houses be respected. If the
Puritans commence, it will be time for us to retort. There are
gentlemen's mansions all over the country, many of them in the heart of
Roundhead neighborhoods, and if they had once an excuse in our
proceedings not one of these would be safe for a minute"

Leaving a strong force of horse in Abingdon, Prince Rupert returned to
Oxford, and Colonel Furness again settled down in his residence, his
troop dispersing to their farms until required, a small body only
remaining at Furness Hall as a guard, and in readiness to call the
others to arms if necessary. The colonel warmly approved of the steps
that Harry had taken to save the valuables, and determined that until
the war was at an end these should remain hidden, as it was probable
enough that the chances of the strife might again lead the Roundheads
thither.

"I hope, father," Harry Furness said the following day, "that you will
now permit me to join the troop. I am getting on for sixteen, and could
surely bear myself as a man in the fray."

"If the time should come, Harry, when the fortune of war may compel the
king to retire from Oxford--which I trust may never be--I would then
grant your request, for after your encounter with the officer who
commanded the Roundheads here, it would not be safe for you to remain
behind. But although you are too young to take part in the war, I may
find you employment. After a council that was held yesterday at Oxford,
I learned, from one in the king's secrets, that it was designed to send
a messenger to London with papers of importance, and to keep up the
communication with the king's friends in that city. There was some
debate as to who should be chosen. In London, at the present time, all
strangers are closely scrutinized. Every man is suspicious of his
neighbor, and it is difficult to find one of sufficient trust whose
person is unknown. Then I have thought that maybe you could well fulfill
this important mission. A boy would be unsuspected, where a man's every
movement would be watched. There is, of course, some danger attending
the mission, and sharpness and readiness will be needed. You have shown
that you possess these, by the manner in which you made your escape from
London, and methinks that, did you offer, your services would be
accepted. You would have, of course, to go in disguise, and to accept
any situation which might appear conformable to your character and add
to your safety."

Harry at once gladly assented to the proposal. He was at the age when
lads are most eager for adventure, and he thought that it would be great
fun to be living in London, watching the doings of the Commons, and, so
far as was in his power, endeavoring to thwart them. Accordingly in the
afternoon he rode over with Sir Henry to Oxford. They dismounted in the
courtyard of the building which served as the king's court, and
entering, Sir Henry left Harry in an antechamber, and, craving an
audience with his majesty, was at once ushered into the king's cabinet.
A few minutes later he returned, and motioned to Harry to follow him.
The latter did so, and the next moment found himself in the presence of
the king. The latter held out his hand for the boy to kiss, and Harry,
falling on one knee, and greatly abashed at the presence in which he
found himself, pressed his lips to King Charles' hand.

"I hear from your father, my trusty Sir Henry Furness, that you are
willing to adventure your life in our cause, and to go as our messenger
to London, and act there as our intermediary with our friends. You seem
young for so delicate a work; but your father has told me somewhat of
the manner in which you escaped from the hands of the traitors at
Westminster, and also how you bore yourself in the affair with the
rebels at his residence. It seems to me, then, that we must not judge
your wisdom by your years, and that we can safely confide our interests
in your hands. Your looks are frank and boyish, and will, therefore,
excite far less suspicion than that which would attend upon an older and
graver-looking personage. The letters will be prepared for you
to-morrow, and, believe me, should success finally crown our efforts
against these enemies of the crown, your loyalty and devotion will not
be forgotten by your king."

He again held out his hand to Harry, and the boy left the cabinet with
his heart burning with loyalty toward his monarch, and resolved that
life itself should be held cheap if it could be spent in the service of
so gracious and majestic a king.

The next morning a royal messenger brought out a packet of letters to
Furness Hall, and Harry, mounting with his father and the little body of
horse at the hall, rode toward London. His attire was that of a country
peasant boy. The letters were concealed in the hollow of a stout ashen
stick which he carried, and which had been slightly weighted with lead,
so that, should it be taken up by any but its owner, its lightness would
not attract attention. Sir Henry rode with him as far as it was prudent
to do toward the outposts of the Parliament troops. Then, bidding him a
tender farewell, and impressing upon him the necessity for the utmost
caution, both for his own sake and for that of the king, he left him.

It was not upon the highroad that they parted, but near a village some
little distance therefrom. In his pocket Harry had two or three pieces
of silver, and between the soles of his boots were sewn several gold
coins. These he did not anticipate having to use; but the necessity
might arise when such a deposit would prove of use. Harry walked quietly
through the village, where his appearance was unnoticed, and then along
the road toward Reading. He soon met a troop of Parliament horsemen; but
as he was sauntering along quietly, as if merely going from one village
to another, no attention whatever was paid to him, and he reached
Reading without the slightest difficulty. There he took up his abode for
the night at a small hostelry, mentioning to the host that his master
had wanted him to join the king's forces, but that he had no stomach for
fighting, and intended to get work in the town. The following morning he
again started, and proceeded as far as Windsor, where he slept. The next
day, walking through Hounslow and Brentford, he stopped for the night at
the village of Kensington, and the following morning entered the city.
Harry had never before been in the streets of London, for in his flight
from his prison he had at once issued into the country, and the bustle
and confusion which prevailed excited great surprise in his mind. Even
Oxford, busy as it was at the time, and full of the troops of the king
and of the noblemen and gentlemen who had rallied to his cause, was yet
quiet when compared with London. The booths along the main streets were
filled with goods, and at these the apprentices shouted loudly to all
passer-by, "What d'ye lack? What d'ye lack?" Here was a mercer
exhibiting dark cloths to a grave-looking citizen; there an armorer was
showing the temper of his wares to an officer. Citizens' wives were
shopping and gossiping; groups of men, in high steeple hats and dark
cloak, were moving along the streets. Pack horses carried goods from the
ships at the wharves below the bridge to the merchants, and Harry was
jostled hither and thither by the moving crowd. Ascending the hill of
Ludgate to the great cathedral of St. Paul's, he saw a crowd gathered
round a person on an elevated stand in the yard, and approaching to see
what was going on, found that a preacher was pouring forth anathemas
against the king and the Royal party, and inciting the citizens to throw
themselves heart and soul into the cause. Especially severe was he upon
waverers, who, he said, were worse than downright enemies, as, while the
one withstood the Parliament openly in fair fight, the others were
shifted to and fro with each breeze, and none could say whether they
were friends or enemies. Passing through the cathedral, where regular
services were no longer held, but where, in different corners, preachers
were holding forth against the king, and where groups of men strolled up
and down, talking of the troubles of the times, he issued at the eastern
door, and entering Cheapside, saw the sign of the merchant to whom he
had been directed.

This was Nicholas Fleming, a man of Dutch descent, and well spoken of
among his fellows. He dealt in silks and velvets from Genoa. His shop
presented less outward appearance than did those of his neighbors, the
goods being too rich and rare to be exposed to the weather, and he
himself dealing rather with smaller traders than with the general
public. The merchant--a grave-looking man--was sitting at his desk when
Harry entered. A clerk was in the shop, engaged in writing, and an
apprentice was rolling up a piece of silk. Harry removed his hat, and
went up to the merchant's table, and laying a letter upon it, said:

"I have come, sir, from Dame Marjory, my aunt, who was your honor's
nurse, with a letter from her, praying you to take me as an apprentice."

The merchant glanced for a moment at the boy. He was expecting a message
from the Royalist camp, and his keen wit at once led him to suspect that
the bearer stood before him, although his appearance in nowise justified
such a thought, for Harry had assumed with his peasant clothes a look of
stolid stupidity which certainly gave no warrant for the thought that a
keen spirit lay behind it. Without a word the merchant opened the
letter, which, in truth, contained nearly the same words which Harry had
spoken, but whose signature was sufficient to the merchant to indicate
that his suspicions were correct.

"Sit down," he said to the lad. "I am busy now; but will talk with you
anon."

Harry took his seat on a low stool, while the merchant continued his
writing as before, as if the incident were too unimportant to arrest his
attention for a moment. Harry amused himself by looking round the shop,
and was specially attracted by the movements of the apprentice, a
sharp-looking lad, rather younger than himself, and who, having heard
what had passed, seized every opportunity, when he was so placed that
neither the merchant nor his clerk could observe his face to make
grimaces at Harry, indicative of contempt and derision. Harry was sorely
tempted to laugh; but, with an effort, he kept his countenance, assuming
only a grim of wonder which greatly gratified Jacob, who thought that he
had obtained as companion a butt who would afford him infinite
amusement.

After the merchant had continued his writing for an hour, he laid down
his pen, and saying to Harry "Follow me; I will speak to Dame Alice, my
wife, concerning thee," left the shop and entered the inner portion of
the house, followed by Harry. The merchant led him into a sitting-room
on the floor above, where his wife, a comely dame, was occupied with her
needle.

"Dame," he said, "this is a new apprentice whom my nurse, Marjory, has
sent me. A promising-looking youth, is he not?"

His wife looked at him in surprise.

"I have never heard thee speak of thy nurse, Nicholas, and surely the
lad looks not apt to learning the mysteries of a trade like thine."

The merchant smiled gravely.

"He must be more apt than he looks, dame, or he would never have been
chosen for the service upon which he is engaged. Men do not send fools
to risk their lives; and I have been watching him for the last hour, and
have observed how he bore himself under the tricks of that jackanapes,
Jacob, and verily the wonder which I at first felt when he presented
himself to me has passed away, and what appeared to me at first sight a
strange imprudence, seems now to be a piece of wisdom. But enough of
riddles," he said, seeing that his wife's astonishment increased as he
went on. "This lad is a messenger from Oxford, and bears, I doubt not,
important documents. What is thy true name, boy?"

"I am Harry Furness, the son of Sir Henry Furness, one of the king's
officers," Harry said; "and my papers are concealed within this staff."

Thereupon he lifted his stick and showed that at the bottom a piece of
wood had been artfully fitted into a hollow, and then, by being rubbed
upon the ground, so worn as to appear part of a solid whole. Taking his
knife from his pocket, he cut off an inch from the lower end of the
stick, and then shook out on to the table a number of slips of paper
tightly rolled together.

"I will examine these at my leisure," the merchant said; "and now as to
thyself. What instructions have you?"

"I am told, sir, to take up my abode with you, if it so pleases you; to
assume the garb and habits of an apprentice; and, moreover, to do such
messages as you may give me, and which, perhaps, I may perform with less
risk of observation, and with more fidelity than any ordinary
messenger."

"The proposal is a good one," the trader said. "I am often puzzled how
to send notes to those of my neighbors with whom I am in
correspondence, for the lad Jacob is sharp--too sharp, indeed, for my
purpose, and might suspect the purport of his goings and comings. I
believe him to be faithful, though overapt to mischief. But in these
days one cares not to risk one's neck unless on a surety. The first
thing will be, then, to procure for thee a suit of clothes, suitable to
thy new position. Under the plea that at present work is but slack--for
indeed the troubles of the times have well-nigh ruined the trade in such
goods as mine, throwing it all into the hands of the smiths--I shall be
able to grant thee some license, and to allow thee to go about and see
the city and acquaint thyself with its ways. Master Jacob may feel,
perhaps, a little jealous; but this matters not. I somewhat misdoubt the
boy, though perhaps unjustly. But I know not how his opinions may go
toward matters politic. He believes me, I think, as do other men, to be
attached to the present state of things; but even did his thoughts jump
otherwise, he would not have opened his lips before me. It would be
well, therefore, for you to be cautious in the extreme with him, and to
find out of a verity what be his nature and disposition. Doubtless, in
time, he will unbosom to you and you may see whether he has any
suspicions, and how far he is to be trusted. He was recommended to me
by a friend at Poole, and I know not the opinions of his people. I will
come forth with you now and order the clothes without delay, and we will
return in time for dinner, which will be at twelve, of which time it now
lacks half an hour."

Putting on his high hat, the merchant sallied out with Harry into the
Cheap, and going to a clothier's was able to purchase ready-made
garments suitable to his new position as a 'prentice boy. Returning with
these, he bade the lad mount to the room which he was to share Jacob,
to change with all speed, and to come down to dinner, which was now
nearly ready.

The meal was to Harry a curious one. The merchant sat at one end of the
table, his wife at the other. The scrivener occupied a place on one
side, and his fellow-apprentice and himself on the other. The merchant
spoke to his wife on the troubles of the times in a grave, oracular
voice, which appeared to be intended chiefly for the edification of his
three assistants, who ate their dinner in silence, only saying a word or
two in answer to any question addressed to them. Harry, who was
accustomed to dine with his father, was somewhat nice in his ways of
eating. But, observing a sudden look of interest and suspicion upon the
face of the sharp boy beside him at his manner of eating, he, without
making so sudden a change as to be perceptible, gradually fell into the
way of eating of his companion, mentally blaming himself severely for
having for a moment forgotten his assumed part.

"I shall not need you this afternoon, Roger," the merchant said; "and
you can go out and view the sights of the city. Avoid getting into any
quarrels or broils, and especially observe the names writ up on the
corner of the houses, in order that you may learn the streets and so be
able to find your way about should I send you with messages or goods."

Harry spent the afternoon as directed, and was mightily amused and
entertained by the sights which he witnessed. Especially was he
interested in London Bridge, which, covered closely with houses,
stretched across the river, and at the great fleet of vessels which lay
moored to the wharves below. Here Harry spent the greater portion of the
afternoon, watching the numerous boats as they shot the bridge, and the
barges receiving merchandise from the vessels.

At five o'clock the shop was shut, and at six supper was served in the
same order as dinner had been. At eight they retired to bed.

"Well, Master Roger," said Jacob, when they were done, "and what is thy
father?"

"He farms a piece of land of his own," Harry said. "Sometimes I live
with him; but more often with my uncle, who is a trader in Bristol--a
man of some wealth, and much respected by the citizens."

"Ah! it is there that thou hast learnt thy tricks of eating," Jacob
said. "I wondered to see thee handle thy knife and fork so daintily, and
in a manner which assuredly smacked of the city rather than of the
farm."

"My uncle," Harry said, "is a particular man as to his habits, and as
many leading citizens of the town often take their meals at his house,
he was ever worrying me to behave, as he said, more like a Christian
than a hog. What a town is this London! What heaps of people, and what
wonderful sights!"

"Yes," the apprentice said carelessly. "But you have as yet seen
nothing. You should see the giant with eight heads, at the Guildhall."

"A giant with eight heads?" Henry exclaimed wonderingly. "Why, he have
five more than the giant whom my mother told me of when I was little,
that was killed by Jack, the Giant Killer. I must go and sea him of a
surety.'"

"You must mind," the apprentice said; "for a boy is served up for him
every morning for breakfast."

"Now you are trying to fool me," Harry said. "My mother warned me that
the boys of London were wickedly disposed, and given to mock at
strangers. But I tell thee, Master Jacob, that I have a heavy fist, and
was considered a fighter in the village. Therefore, mind how thou triest
to fool me. Mother always said I was not such a fool as I looked."

"You may well be that," Jacob said, "and yet a very big fool. But at
present I do not know whether your folly is more than skin deep, and
methinks that the respectable trader, your uncle, has taught you more
than how to eat like a Christian."

Harry felt at once that in this sharp boy he had a critic far more
dangerous than any he was likely to meet elsewhere. Others would pass
him unnoticed; but his fellow-apprentice would criticise every act and
word, and he felt somewhat disquieted to find that he had fallen under
such supervision. It was now, he felt, all-important for him to discover
what were the real sentiments of the boy, and whether he was trustworthy
to his master, and to be relied upon to keep the secret which had fallen
into his possession.

"I have been," he said, "in the big church at the end of this street.
What a pother the preachers do surely keep up there. I should be sorely
worried to hear them long, and would rather thrash out a load of corn
than listen long to the clacking of their tongues."

"Thou wilt be sicker still of them before thou hast done with them. It
is one of the duties of us apprentices to listen to the teachers, and if
I had my way, we would have an apprentices' riot, and demand to be kept
to the terms of our indentures, which say nothing about preachers. What
is the way of thinking of this uncle of yours?"

"He is a prudent man," Roger said, "and says but little. For myself, I
care nothing either way, and cannot understand what they are making this
pother about. So far as I can see, folks only want to be quiet, and do
their work. But even in our village at home there is no quiet now. Some
are one way, some t'other. There are the Church folk, and the
meeting-house folk, and it is as much as they can do to keep themselves
from going at each other's throats. I hear so much about it that my
brain gets stupid with it all, and I hate Parliament and king worse than
the schoolmaster who used to whack me for never knowing the difference
between one letter and another."

"But you can read and write, I suppose?" Jacob said; "or you would be of
little use as an apprentice."

"Yes, I can read and write," Roger said; "but I cannot say that I love
these things. I doubt me that I am not fitter for the plow than for a
trade. But my Aunt Marjory was forever going on about my coming to
London, and entering the shop of Master Nicholas Fleming, and as it
seemed an easy thing to sell yards of silks and velvets, I did not stand
against her wishes, especially as she promised that if in a year's time
I did not like the life, she would ask Master Nicholas to cancel my
indentures, and let me go back again to the farm."

"Ah, well," Jacob said, "it is useful to have an aunt who has been nurse
to a city merchant. The life is not a bad one, though our master is
strict with all. But Dame Alice is a good housewife, and has a light
hand at confections, and when there are good things on the table she
does not, as do most of the wives of the traders, keep them for herself
and her husband, but lets us have a share also."

"I am fond of confections,", Harry said; "and my Aunt Marjory is famous
at them; and now, as I am very sleepy, I will go off. But methinks,
Jacob, that you take up hugely more than your share of the bed."

After a little grumbling on both sides the boys disposed themselves to
sleep, each wondering somewhat over the character of the other, and
determining to make a better acquaintance shortly.



CHAPTER VI.

A NARROW ESCAPE.


During the next few days Harry was kept hard at work delivering the
various minute documents which he had brought in the hollow of his
stick. Sometimes of an evening he attended his master to the houses
where he had taken such messages, and once or twice was called in to be
present at discussions, and asked to explain various matters connected
with the position of the king. During this time he saw but little of the
apprentice Jacob, except at his meals, and as the boy did not touch upon
his frequent absence, or make any allusion to political matters, when in
their bedroom alone at night, Harry hoped that his suspicions had been
allayed.

One morning, however, on waking up, he saw the boy sitting upright in
bed, staring fixedly at him.

"What is the matter; Jacob, and what are you doing?"

"I am wondering who and what you are!" the boy said.

"I am Roger, your fellow apprentice," Harry replied, laughing.

"I am not sure that you are Roger; I am not sure that you are an
apprentice," the boy said. "But if you were, that would not tell me who
you are. If you were merely Roger the apprentice, Dame Alice would not
pick out all the tit-bits at dinner, and put them on your plate, while I
and Master Hardwood have to put up with any scraps which may come. Nor
do I think that, even for the purpose of carrying his cloak, our master
would take you with him constantly of an evening. He seems mighty
anxious too, for you to learn your way about London. I do not remember
that he showed any such care as to my geographical knowledge. But, of
course, there is a mystery, and I want to get to the bottom of it, and
mean to do so if I can."

"Even supposing that there was a mystery," Harry said, "what good would
it do to you to learn it, and what use would you make of your
knowledge?"

"I do not know," the boy said carelessly. "But knowledge is power."

"You see," Harry said, "that supposing there were, as you say, a
mystery, the secret would not be mine to tell, and even were it so
before I told it, I should want to know whether you desired to know it
for the sake of aiding your master, if possible, or of doing him an
injury.

"I would do him no injury, assuredly," Jacob said. "Master Fleming is as
good a master as there is in London. I want to find out, because it is
my nature to find out. The mere fact that there is a mystery excites my
curiosity, and compels me to do all in my power to get to the bottom of
it. Methinks that if you have aught that you do not want known, it would
be better to take Jacob Plummer into your confidence. Many a man's head
has been lost before now because he did not know whom to trust."

"There is no question of losing heads in the matter," Harry said,
smiling.

"Well, you know best," Jacob replied, shrugging his shoulders; "but
heads do not seem very firmly on at present."

When he went out with Master Fleming that evening Harry related to him
the conversation which he had had with Jacob.

"What think you, Master Furness? Is this malapert boy to be trusted, or
not?"

"It were difficult to say, sir," Harry answered. "His suspicions are
surely roused, and as it seemed to me that his professions of affection
and duty toward yourself were earnest, methinks that you might enlist
him in your cause, and would find him serviceable hereafter, did you
allow me frankly to speak to him. He has friends among the apprentice
boys, and might, should he be mischievously inclined, set one to follow
us of a night, and learn whither you go; he might even now do much
mischief. I think that it is his nature to love plotting for its own
sake. He would rather plot on your side than against it; but if you will
not have him, he may go against you."

"I have a good mind to send him home to his friends," the merchant said.
"He can know nothing as yet."

"He might denounce me as a Royalist," Harry said; "and you for harboring
me. I will sound him again to-night, and see further into his
intentions. But methinks it would be best to trust him."

That night the conversation was again renewed.

"You see, Jacob," Harry said, "that it would be a serious matter,
supposing what you think to be true, to intrust you with the secret. I
know not whether you are disposed toward king or Parliament, and to put
the lives of many honorable gentlemen into the hands of one of whose
real disposition I know little would be but a fool's trick."

"You speak fairly, Roger," the boy said. "Indeed, What I said to you was
true. I trouble my head in no Way as to the politics and squabbles of
the present day; but I mean to rise some day, and there is no better way
to rise than to be mixed up in a plot. It is true that the rise may be
to the gallows; but if one plays for high stakes, one must risk one's
purse. I love excitement, and believe that I am no fool. I can at least
be true to the side that I engage upon, and of the two, would rather
take that of the king than of the Parliament, because it seems to me
that there are more fools on his side than on the other, and therefore
more chance for a wise head to prosper."

Harry laughed.

"You have no small opinion of yourself, Master Jacob."

"No," the boy said; "I always found myself able to hold my own. My
father, who is a scrivener, predicted me that I should either come to
wealth or be hanged, and I am of the same opinion myself."

After further conversation next day with the merchant, Harry frankly
confided to Jacob that evening that he was the bearer of letters from
the king. Of their contents he said that he knew nothing; but had reason
to believe that another movement was on foot for bringing about the
overthrow of the party of Puritans who were in possession of the
government of London.

"I deemed that such was your errand," the boy said. "You played your
part well; but not well enough. You might have deceived grown-up people;
but you would hardly take in a boy of your own age. Now that you have
told me frankly, I will, if I can, do anything to aid. I care nothing
for the opinions of one side or the other; but as I have to go to the
cathedral three times on Sunday, and to sit each time for two hours
listening to the harangues of Master Ezekiel Proudfoot, I would gladly
join in anything which would be likely to end by silencing that fellow
and his gang. It is monstrous that, upon the only day in the week we
have to ourselves, we should be compelled to undergo the punishment of
listening to these long-winded divines."

When Harry was not engaged in taking notes, backward and forward,
between the merchant and those with whom he was negotiating, he was
occupied in the shop. There the merchant kept up appearances before the
scrivener and any customers who might come in, by instructing him in the
mysteries of his trade; by showing him the value of the different
velvets and silks; and by teaching him his private marks, by which, in
case of the absence of the merchant or his apprentice, he could state
the price of any article to a trader who might come in. Harry judged, by
the conversations which he had with his host, that the latter was not
sanguine as to the success of the negotiations which he was carrying on.

"If," he said, "the king could obtain one single victory, his friends
would raise their heads, and would assuredly be supported by the great
majority of the population, who wish only for peace; but so long as the
armies stood facing each other, and the Puritans are all powerful in the
Parliament and Council of the city, men are afraid to be the first to
move, not being sure how popular support would be given."

One evening after work was over Harry and Jacob walked together up the
Cheap, and took their place among a crowd listening to a preacher at
Paul's Cross. He was evidently a popular character, and a large number
of grave men, of the straitest Puritan appearance, were gathered round
him.

"I wish we could play some trick with these somber-looking knaves,"
Jacob whispered.

"Yes," Harry said; "I would give much to be able to do so; but at the
present moment I scarcely wish to draw attention upon myself."

"Let us get out of this, then," Jacob said, "if there is no fun to be
had. I am sick of these long-winded orations."

They turned to go, and as they made their way through the crowd, Harry
trod upon the toe of a small man in a high steeple hat and black coat.

"I beg your pardon," Harry said, as there burst from the lips of the
little man an exclamation which was somewhat less decorous than would
have been expected from a personage so gravely clad. The little man
stared Harry in the face, and uttered another exclamation, this time of
surprise. Harry, to his dismay, saw that the man with whom he had come
in contact was the preacher whom he had left gagged on the guardroom bed
at Westminster.

"A traitor! A spy!" shouted the preacher, at the top of his voice,
seizing Harry by the doublet. The latter shook himself free just as
Jacob, jumping in the air, brought his hand down with all his force on
the top of the steeple hat, wedging it over the eyes of the little man.
Before any further effort could be made to seize them, the two lads
dived through the crowd, and dashed down a lane leading toward the
river.

This sudden interruption to the service caused considerable excitement,
and the little preacher, on being extricated from his hat, furiously
proclaimed that the lad he had seized, dressed as an apprentice, was a
malignant, who had bean taken prisoner at Brentford, and who had foully
ill-treated him in a cell in the guardroom at Finsbury. Instantly a
number of men set off in pursuit.

"What had we best do, Jacob?" Harry said, as he heard the clattering of
feet behind them.

"We had best jump into a boat," Jacob said, "and row for it. It is dark
now, and we shall soon be out of their sight."

At the bottom of the lane were some stairs, and at these a number of
boats. As it was late in the evening, and the night a foul one, the
watermen, not anticipating fares, had left, and the boys, leaping into a
boat, put out the sculls, and rowed into the stream, just as their
pursuers were heard coming down the lane.

"Which way shall we go?" Harry said.

"We had better shoot the bridge," Jacob replied. "Canst row well?"

"Yes," Harry said; "I have practiced at Abingdon with an oar."

"Then take the sculls," Jacob said, "and I will steer. It is a risky
matter going through the bridge, I tell you, at half tide. Sit steady,
whatever you do. Here they come in pursuit, Roger. Bend to the sculls,"
and in a couple of minutes they reached the bridge.

"Steady, steady," shouted Jacob, as the boat shot a fall, some eight
feet in depth, with the rapidity of an arrow. For a moment it was tossed
and whirled about in the seething waves below, and then, thanks to
Jacob's presence of mind and Harry's obedience to his orders, it emerged
safely into the smooth water below the bridge. Harry now gave up one of
the sculls to Jacob, and the two boys rowed hard down the stream.

"Will they follow, think you?" Harry said.

"I don't think," Jacob laughed, "that any of those black-coated gentry
will care for shooting the bridge. They will run down below, and take
boat there; and as there are sure to be hands waiting to carry fares out
to the ships in the pool, they will gain fast upon us when ones they are
under way."

The wind was blowing briskly with them, and the tide running strong, and
at a great pace they passed the ships lying at anchor.

"There is the Tower," Jacob said; "with whose inside we may chance to
make acquaintance, if we are caught, Look," he said, "there is a boat
behind us, rowed by four oars! I fear that it is our pursuers."

"Had we not better land, and take our chance?" Harry said.

"We might have done so at first," Jacob said; "it is too late now. We
must row for it. Look," he continued, "there is a bark coming along
after the boat. She has got her sails up already, and the wind is
bringing her along grandly. She sails faster than they row, and if she
comes up to us before they overtake us, it may be that the captain will
take us in tow. These sea-dogs are always kindly."

The boat that the boys had seized was, fortunately, a very light and
fast one, while that in pursuit was large and heavy, and the four
watermen had to carry six sitters. Consequently, they gained but very
slowly upon the fugitives. Presently a shot from a pistol whizzed over
the boys' heads.

"I did not bargain for this, friend Roger," Jacob said. "My head is made
rather for plots and conspiracies than for withstanding the contact of
lead."

"Row away!" Harry said. "Here is the ship just alongside now."

As the vessel, which was a coaster, came along, the crew looked over the
side, their attention, being called by the sound of the pistol and the
shouts of those in chase.

"Throw us a rope, sir," Jacob shouted. "We are not malefactors, but have
been up to a boyish freak, and shall be heavily punished if we are
caught."

Again the pistol rang out behind, and one of the Sailors threw a rope to
the boys. It was caught, and in a minute the boat was gliding rapidly
along in the wake of the ship. She was then pulled up alongside, the
boys clambered on board, and the boat was sent adrift, The pursuers
continued the chase for a few minutes longer, but seeing the ship
gradually drawing away from them, they desisted, and turned in toward
shore.

"And who are you?" the captain of the brig said.

"We are apprentices, as you see," Jacob said. "We were listening to some
preaching at Paul's Cross. In trying to get out from the throng--being
at length weary of the long-winded talk of the preacher--we trod upon
the feet of a worthy divine. He, refusing to receive our apologies, took
the matter roughly, and seeing that the crowd of Puritans around were
going to treat us as malignant roisterers, we took the liberty of
driving the hat of our assailant over his eyes, and bolting. Assuredly,
had we been caught, we should have been put in the stocks and whipped,
even if worse pains and penalties had not befallen us, for ill-treatment
of one of those who are now the masters of London."

"It was a foolish freak," the captain said, "and in these days such
freaks are treated as crimes. It is well that I came along. What do you
purpose to do now?"

"We would fain be put ashore, sir, somewhere in Kent, so that we may
make our way back again. Our figures could not have been observed beyond
that we were apprentices, and we can enter the city quietly, without
fear of detection."

The wind dropped in the evening, and, the tide turning, the captain
brought to anchor. In the morning he sailed forward again. When he
neared Gravesend he saw a vessel lying in the stream.

"That is a Parliament ship," he said.

At that moment another vessel of about the same size as that in which
they were was passing her. She fired a gun, and the ship at once dropped
her sails and brought up.

"What can she be doing now, arresting the passage of ships on their way
down? If your crime had been a serious one, I should have thought that a
message must have been brought down in the night for her to search
vessels coming down stream for the persons of fugitives. What say you,
lads? Have you told me the truth?"

"We have told you the truth, sir," Harry said; "but not the whole truth.
The circumstances are exactly as my friend related them. But he omitted
to say that the preacher recognized in me one of a Cavalier family, and
that they may suspect that I was in London on business of the king's."

"Is that so?" the captain said. "In that case, your position is a
perilous one. It is clear that they do not know the name of the ship in
which you are embarked, or they would not have stopped the one which we
see far ahead. If they search the ship, they are sure to find you."

"Can you swim, Jacob?" Harry asked the other.

He nodded.

"There is a point," Harry said, "between this and the vessel of war, and
if you sail close to that you will for a minute or two be hidden from
the view of those on her deck. If you will take your ship close to that
corner we will jump overboard and swim on shore. If then your vessel is
stopped you can well say that you have no fugitives on board, and let
them search."

The captain thought the plan a good one, and at once the vessel's head
was steered over toward the side to which Harry had pointed. As they
neared the corner they for a minute lost sight of the hull of the
man-of-war, and the boys, with a word of thanks and farewell to the
captain, plunged over and swam to the bank, which was but some thirty
yards away. Climbing it, they lay down among the grass, and watched the
progress of the vessel. She, like the one before, was brought up by a
gun from the man-of-war, and a boat from the latter put out and remained
by her side for half an hour. Then they saw the boat return, the vessel
hoist her sails again, and go on her way.

"This is a nice position into which you have brought me, Master Roger,"
Jacob said. "My first step in taking part in plots and conspiracies does
not appear to me to lead to the end which I looked for. However, I am
sick of the shop, and shall be glad of a turn of freedom. How let us
make our way across the marshes to the high land. It is but twenty miles
to walk to London, if that be really your intent."

"I shall not return to London myself," Harry said; "but shall make my
way back to Oxford. It would be dangerous now for me to appear, and I
doubt not that a sharp hue and cry will be kept up. In your case it is
different, for as you have been long an apprentice, and as your face
will be entirely unknown to any of them, there will be little chance of
your being detected."

"I would much rather go with you to Oxford," the lad said. "I am weary
of velvets and silks, and though I do not know that wars and battles
will be more to my taste, I would fain try them also. You are a
gentleman, and high in the trust of the king and those around him. If
you will take me with you as your servant I will be a faithful knave to
you, and doubt not that as you profit by your advantages, some of the
good will fall to my share also."

"In faith," Harry said, "I should hardly like you to be my servant,
Jacob, although I have no other office to bestow at present. But if you
come with me you shall be rather in the light of a major-domo, though I
have no establishment of which you can be the head. In these days,
however, the distinctions of master and servant are less broad than
before, and in the field we shall be companions rather than master and
follower. So, if you like to cast in your fortunes with mine, here is my
hand on it. You have already proved your friendship to me as well as
your quickness and courage, and believe me, you will not find me or my
father ungrateful. But for you, I should now be in the cells, and your
old master in no slight danger of finding himself in prison, to say
nothing of the upset of the negotiations for which I came to London.
Therefore, you have deserved well, not only of me, but of the king, and
the adventure may not turn out so badly as it has begun. We had best
strike south, and go round by Tunbridge, and thence keeping west, into
Berkshire, and so to Oxford. In this way we shall miss the Parliament
men lying round London, and those facing the Royalists between Reading
and Oxford."

This order was carried out. The lads met with but few questioners, and
replying always that they were London apprentices upon their way home to
visit their friends for a short time, passed unsuspected. At first the
want of funds had troubled them, for Harry had forgotten the money sewn
up in his shoe. But presently, remembering this, and taking two gold
pieces out of their hiding-place, they went merrily along the road and
in five days from starting arrived at Oxford.



CHAPTER VII.

IN A HOT PLACE.


Making inquiries, Harry found that his father was living at a house in
the college of Brazenose, and thither he made his way. Not a little
surprised was the trooper, who was on guard before the door, to
recognize his master's son in one of the two lads who, in the clothes of
apprentices shrunk with water and stained with mud and travel, presented
themselves before him. Harry ascended at once to Sir Henry's room, and
the latter was delighted to see him again, for he had often feared that
be had acted rashly in sending him to London. Harry briefly told his
adventures, and introduced his friend Jacob to his father.

Sir Henry immediately sent for a clothier, and Harry was again made
presentable; while a suit of serviceable clothes adapted to the position
of a young gentleman of moderate means was obtained for Jacob. Then,
accompanied by his son, Sir Henry went to the king's chambers, and
informed his majesty of all that had happened. As, from the reports
which had reached the king of the temper of the people of London, he had
but small hope that anything would come of the attempt that was being
made, he felt but little disappointed at hearing of the sudden return of
his emissary. Harry was again asked in, and his majesty in a few words
expressed to him his satisfaction at the zeal and prudence which he had
shown, and at his safe return to court.

On leaving the king Harry awaited anxiously what his father would
determine concerning his future, and was delighted when Sir Henry said,
"It is now a year once these troubles began, Harry, and you have so far
embarked upon them, that I fear you would find it difficult to return to
your studies. You have proved yourself possessed of qualities which will
enable you to make your way in the world, and I therefore think the time
has come when you can take your place in the ranks. I shall ask of the
king a commission for you as captain in my regiment, and as one of my
officers has been killed you will take his place, and will have the
command of a troop."

Harry was delighted at this intimation; and the following day received
the king's commission.

A few days afterward he had again to ride over to Furness Hall, which
was now shut up, to collect some rents, and as he returned through
Abingdon he saw Lucy Rippinghall walking in the streets. Rather proud of
his attire as a young cavalier in full arms, Harry dismounted and
courteously saluted her.

"I should hardly have known you, Master Furness," she said. "You look so
fierce in your iron harness, and so gay with your plumes and ribands. My
brother would be glad to see you. My father as you know, is away. Will
you not come in for a few minutes?"

Harry, after a few moments' hesitation, assented. Ha longed to see his
old friend, and as the latter was still residing at Abingdon, while he
himself had already made his mark in the royal cause, he did not fear
that any misconstruction could be placed upon his visit to the Puritan's
abode. Herbert received him with a glad smile of welcome.

"Ah, Harry," he said, "so you have fairly taken to man's estate. Of
course, I think you have done wrong; but we need not argue on that now.
I am glad indeed to see you. Lucy," he said, "let supper be served at
once."

It was a pleasant meal, and the old friends chatted of their schooldays
and boyish pastimes, no allusion being made to the events of the day,
save that Herbert said, "I suppose that you know that my father is now a
captain in the force of the Commons, and that I am doing my best to keep
his business going during his absence."

"I had heard as much," Harry answered. "It is a heavy weight to be
placed on your shoulders, Herbert."

"Yes," he said, "I am growing learned in wools, and happily the business
is not falling off in my hands."

It was characteristic of the civil war in England that during the whole
time of its existence the affairs of the country went on as usual.
Business was conducted, life and property were safe, and the laws were
enforced just as before. The judges went their circuits undisturbed by
the turmoil of the times, acting under the authority alike of the Great
Seals of the King and Parliament. Thus evildoers were repressed, crime
put down, and the laws of the land administered just as usual, and as if
no hostile armies were marching and fighting on the fair fields of
England. In most countries during such troubled times, all laws have
been at an end, bands of robbers and disbanded soldiers have pillaged
and ruined the country, person and property alike have been unsafe,
private broils and enmities have broken forth, and each man has carried
his life in his hand. Thus, even in Abingdon, standing as it did halfway
between the stronghold of the crown at Oxford, and the Parliament army
at Reading, things remained quiet and tranquil. Its fairs and markets
were held as usual, and the course of business went on unchecked.

On his return to Oxford Harry learned that the king, with a portion of
the army, was to set out at once for Gloucester, to compel that city,
which had declared for the Commons, to open its gates. With a force of
thirteen thousand men the king moved upon Gloucester. When he arrived
outside its walls, on the 10th of August, he sent a summons to the town
to surrender, offering pardon to the inhabitants, and demanding an
answer within two hours. Clarendon has described how the answer was
returned. "Within less than the time described, together with a
trumpeter, returned two citizens from the town with lean, pale, sharp,
and bad visages, indeed, faces so strange and unusual, and in such a
garb and posture, that at once made the most severe countenances merry,
and the most cheerful heart sad, for it was impossible such ambassadors
could bring less than a defiance. The men, without any circumstance of
duty or good manners, in a pert, shrill, undismayed accent, said that
they brought an answer from the godly city of Gloucester to the king,
and were so ready to give insolent and seditious answers to any
questions, as if their business were chiefly to provoke the king to
violate his own safe-conduct." The answers which these strange
messengers brought was that the inhabitants and soldiers kept the city
for the use of his majesty, but conceived themselves "only bound to obey
the commands of his majesty signified by both houses of Parliament."
Setting fire to the houses outside their walls, the men of Gloucester
prepared for a resolute resistance. The walls were strong and well
defended, and the king did not possess artillery sufficient to make
breaches therein, and dreading the great loss which an assault upon the
walls would inflict upon his army, he determined to starve the city into
submission. The inhabitants, although reduced to sore straits, yet
relying upon assistance coming to them, held out, and their hopes were
not disappointed, as Essex, at the head of a great army, was sent from
London to relieve the place. Upon his approach, the king and his
councilors, deciding that a battle could not be fought with advantage,
drew off from the town, and gave up the siege.

Both armies now moved in the direction of London; but Prince Rupert,
hearing that a small body of Parliament horse were besieging the house
of Sir James Strangford, an adherent of the crown, took with him fifty
horse, and rode away to raise the siege, being ever fond of dashing
exploits in the fashion of the knights of old. The body which he chose
to accompany him was the troop commanded by Harry Furness, whose gayety
of manner and lightness of heart had rendered him a favorite with the
prince. The besieged house was situated near Hereford; and at the end of
a long day's march Prince Rupert, coming in sight of the Roundheads,
charged them with such fury that they were overthrown with scarce any
resistance, and fled in all directions. Having effected his object, the
prince now rode to Worcester, where he slept, and thence by a long day's
march to a village where he again halted for the night.

An hour after his arrival, a messenger came in from Lady Sidmouth, the
wife of Sir Henry Sidmouth, asking him to ride over and take up his
abode for the night at her house. Bidding Harry accompany him, the
prince rode off, leaving the troop under the charge of Harry's
lieutenant, Jacob, who had proved himself an active soldier, and had
been appointed to that rank at Gloucester. The house was a massive
structure of the reign of Henry VIII.; but being built at a time when
the castellated abodes were going out of fashion, was not capable of
standing a siege, and had not indeed been put in any posture of defense.
Sir Henry was with the king, and only a few retainers remained in the
house. Prince Rupert was received at the entrance by Lady Sidmouth, who
had at her side her daughter, a girl of fourteen, whom Harry thought the
most beautiful creature he had ever seen. The prince alighted, and
doffing his broad plumed hat, kissed the lady's hand, and conducted her
into the house again, Harry doing the same to her daughter.

"You must pardon a rough reception," the lady said to the prince. "Had I
had notice of your coming, I would have endeavored to receive you in a
manner more befitting; but hearing from one of my retainers, who
happened to be in the village when you arrived, of your coming, I
thought that the accommodation--poor as it is--would be better than that
which you could obtain there."

Prince Rupert replied gayly, and in a few minutes they were seated at
supper. The conversation was lightly kept up, when suddenly a tremendous
crash was heard, shouts of alarm were raised, and a retainer rushed into
the hall, saying that the place was attacked by a force of Roundheads.

"Defense is hopeless," the lady said, as Prince Rupert and Harry drew
their swords. "There are but five or six old men here, and the door
appears to be already yielding. There is a secret chamber here where you
can defy their search."

Prince Rupert, dreading above all things to be taken prisoner, and
seeing that resistance would be, as their hostess said, vain, followed
her into an adjoining room hung with arras. Lifting this, she showed a
large stone. Beneath it, on the floor was a tile, in no way differing
from the others. She pressed it, and the stone, which was but slight,
turned on a hinge, and disclosed an iron door. This she opened with a
spring, showing a small room within, with a ladder leading to another
above.

"Mount that," she said. "You will find in the chamber above a large
stone. Pull the ladder up with you and lower the stone, which exactly
fits into the opening. Even should they discover this chamber, they will
not suspect that another lies above it."

Prince Rupert, taking a light from her hands, hastily mounted, followed
by Harry, and pulled the steps after him, just as they heard the iron
door close. It needed the united strength of the prince and Harry to
lift the stone, which was a large one, with an iron ring in the center,
and to place it in the cavity. Having done this, they looked round. The
room was about eight feet long by six wide, and lighted by a long narrow
loophole extending from the ground to the roof. They deemed from its
appearance that it was built in one of the turrets of the building.

"That was a narrow escape, Master Harry," the prince said. "It would
have been right bad news for my royal uncle if I had been caught here
like a rat in a trap. I wonder we heard nothing of a Roundhead force in
this neighborhood. I suppose that they must have been stationed at some
place further north, and that the news of our passing reached them. I
trust that they have no suspicion that we are in the house; but I fear,
from this sudden attack upon an undefended building, that some spy from
the village must have taken word to them."

Lady Sidmouth had just time to return to the hall when the doors gave
way, and a body of Roundheads burst into the room. They had drawn swords
in their hands, and evidently expected an attack. They looked round with
surprise at seeing only Lady Sidmouth and her daughter.

"Where is the malignant Rupert?" the leader exclaimed. "We have sure
news that he rode, attended by an officer only, hither, and that he was
seen to enter your house."

"If you want Prince Rupert, you must find him," the lady said calmly.
"I say not that he has not been here; but I tell you that he is now
beyond your reach."

"He has not escaped," the officer said, "for the house is surrounded.
Now, madam, I insist upon your telling me where you have hidden him."

"I have already told you, sir, that he is beyond your reach, and nothing
that you can do will wring any further explanation from me."

The officer hesitated. For a moment he advanced a step toward her, with
a menacing gesture. But, heated as the passions of men were, no violence
was done to women, and with a fierce exclamation he ordered his troopers
to search the house. For a quarter of an hour they ransacked it high and
low, overturned every article of furniture, pulling down the arras, and
tapping the walls with the hilts of their swords.

"Take these two ladies away," he said to his lieutenant, "and ride with
them at once to Storton. They will have to answer for having harbored
the prince."

The ladies were immediately taken off, placed on pillions behind two
troopers, and carried away to Storton. In the meantime the search went
on, and presently the hollow sound given by the slab in the wall was
noticed. The spring could not be discovered, but crowbars and hammers
being brought, the slab of stone was presently shivered. The discovery
of the iron door behind it further heightened their suspicion that the
place of concealment was found. The door, after a prolonged resistance,
was battered in. But the Roundheads were filled with fury, on entering,
to discover only a small, bare cell, with no signs of occupation
whatever. The search was now prolonged in other directions; but,
becoming convinced that it was useless, and that the place of
concealment was too cunningly devised to admit of discovery, the
captain ordered the furniture to be piled together, and setting light to
it and the arras in several places, withdrew his men from the house,
saying that if a rat would not come out of his hole, he must be smoked
in it.

The prince and Harry from their place of concealment had heard the sound
of blows against the doors below.

"They have found the way we have gone," the prince said, "but I think
not that their scent is keen enough to trace us up here. If they do so,
we will sell our lives dearly, for I will not be taken prisoner, and
sooner or later our troop will hear of the Roundheads' attack, and will
come to our rescue."

They heard the fall of the iron door, and the exclamations and cries
with which the Roundheads broke into the room below. Then faintly they
heard the sound of voices, and muffled knocks, as they tried the walls.
Then all was silent again.

"The hounds are thrown off the scent," the prince said. "It will need a
clever huntsman to put them on it. What will they do next, I wonder?"

Some time passed, and then Harry exclaimed:

"I perceive a smell of something burning, your royal highness."

"Peste! methinks I do also," the prince said. "I had not thought of
that. If these rascals have set fire to the place we shall be roasted
alive here."

A slight wreath of smoke was seen curling up through the crevice of the
tightly-fitting stone.

"We will leap out, and die sword in hand," the prince said; and seizing
the ring, he and Harry pulled at it. Ere they raised the stone an inch,
a volume of dense smoke poured up, and they at once dropped it into its
place again, feeling that their retreat was cut off. The prince put his
sword in its scabbard.

"We must die, my lad," he said. "A strange death, too, to be roasted in
a trap. But after all, whether by that or the thrust of a Roundhead
sword makes little difference in the end. I would fain have fallen in
the field, though."

"Perhaps," Harry suggested, "the fire may not reach us here. The walls
are very thick, and the chamber below is empty."

The prince shook his head.

"The heat of the fire in a house like this will crack stone walls," he
said.

He then took off his cloak and threw it over the stone, dressing it down
tightly to prevent the smoke from curling in. Through the loophole they
could now hear a roar, and crackling sounds, and a sudden glow lit up
the country.

"The flames are bursting through the windows," Harry said. "They will
bring our troop down ere long."

"The troop will do us no good," Prince Rupert replied. "All the king's
army could not rescue us. But at least it would be a satisfaction before
we die to see these crop-eared knaves defeated."

Minute after minute passed, and a broad glare of light illumined the
whole country round. Through the slit they could see the Roundheads
keeping guard round the house in readiness to cut off any one who might
seek to make his escape, while at a short distance off they had drawn up
the main body of the force. Presently, coming along the road at a rapid
trot, they saw a body of horse.

"There are our men," the prince exclaimed.

The Roundheads had seen them too. A trumpet was sounded, and the men on
guard round the house leaped to their horses, and joined the main body,
just as the Cavaliers charged upon them. The Roundheads fought stoutly;
but the charge of the Cavaliers was irresistible. Furious at the sight
of the house in flames, and ignorant of the fate which had befallen
their prince and their master's son, they burst upon the Roundheads with
a force which the latter were unable to withstand. For four or five
minutes the fight continued, and then such of the Roundheads as were
able clapped spurs to their horses and galloped off, hotly pursued by
the Cavaliers. The pursuit was a short one. Several of the Cavaliers
were gathered at the spot where the conflict had taken place, and were,
apparently, questioning a wounded man. Then the trumpeter who was with
them sounded the recall, and in a few minutes the Royalist troops came
riding back. They could see Jacob pointing to the burning building and
gesticulating with his arms. Then a party dashed up to the house, and
were lost to sight.

The prince and Harry both shouted at the top of their voices, but the
roar of the flames and the crash of falling beams deadened the sound.
The heat had by this time become intense. They had gradually divested
themselves of their clothing, and were bathed in perspiration.

"This heat is terrific," Prince Rupert said. "I did not think the human
frame could stand so great a heat. Methinks that water would boil were
it placed here."

This was indeed the case--the human frame, as is now well known, being
capable of sustaining a heat considerably above that of boiling water.
The walls were now so hot that the hand could not be borne upon them for
an instant.

"My feet are burning!" the prince exclaimed, "Reach down that ladder
from the wall."

They laid the ladder on the ground and stood upon it, thus avoiding any
contact with the hot stone.

"If this goes on," Prince Rupert said, with a laugh; "there will be
nothing but our swords left. We are melting away fast, like candles
before a fire. Truly I do not think that there was so much water in a
man as has floated down from me during the last half-hour."

Harry was so placed that he could command a sight through the loophole,
and he exclaimed, "They are riding away!"

This was indeed the case. The whole building was now one vast furnace,
and having from the first no hope that their friends, if there, could
have survived, they had, hearing that Lady Sidmouth and her daughter had
been taken to Storton, determined to ride thither to take them from the
hands of the Roundheads, and to learn from them the fate of their
leaders.

Another two hours passed. The heat was still tremendous, but they could
not feel that it was increasing. Once or twice they heard terrific
crashes, as portions of the wall fell. They would long since have been
roasted, were it not for the cool air which flowed in through the long
loophole, and keeping up a circulation in the chamber, lowered the
temperature of the air within it. At the end of the two hours Harry gave
a shout.

"They are coming back."

The light had now sunk to a quiet red glow, so that beyond the fact that
a party was approaching, nothing could be seen. They rode, however,
directly toward the turret, and then, when they halted, Harry saw the
figures of two ladies who were pointing toward the loophole. Harry now
stepped from the ladder on to the door and shouted at the top of his
voice through the loophole. The reply came back in a joyous shout.

"We are being roasted alive," Harry cried. "Get ladders as quickly as
possible, with crowbars, and break down the wall."

Men were seen to ride off in several directions instantly, and for the
first time a ray of hope illumined, the minds of the prince and Harry
that they might be saved. Half an hour later long ladders tied together
were placed against the wall, and Jacob speedily made his appearance at
the loophole.

"All access is impossible from the other side," he said, "for the place
where the house stood is a red-hot furnace, Most of the walls have
fallen. We had no hope of finding you alive."

"We are roasting slowly," Harry cried. "In Heaven's name bring us some
water."

Soon a bottle of water was passed in through the loophole, and then
three or four ladders being placed in position, the men outside began
with crowbars and pickaxes to enlarge the loophole sufficiently for the
prisoners to escape. It took three hours' hard work, at the end of which
time the aperture was sufficiently wide to allow them to emerge, and
utterly exhausted and feeling, as the prince said, "baked to a turn,"
they made their way down the ladder, being helped on either side by the
men, for they themselves were too exhausted to maintain their feet.



CHAPTER VIII.

THE DEFENSE OF AN OUTPOST.


The effect of the fresh air and of cordials poured down their throats
soon restored the vigor to Prince Rupert and Harry Furness. They were
still weak, for the great effort which nature had made to resist the
force of the heat during those long hours had taxed their constitutions
to the utmost.

Lady Sidmouth was rejoiced indeed to find them alive, for she had made
sure that they were lost. It was not until she had been placed in a room
strongly barred, and under a guard at Storton, that she perceived the
light arising from her residence, and guessed that the men of the
Commons, unable to find the hiding-place of Prince Rupert, had set it on
fire. Then she had knocked loudly at the door; but the sentry had given
no answer either to that or to her entreaties for a hearing. She soon,
indeed, desisted from her efforts, for the fire which blazed up speedily
convinced her that all hope was gone. When Jacob and the Royalists
arrived, driving out the small remnant of the Roundheads who remained in
the village, he had found Lady Sidmouth and her daughter bathed in
tears, under the belief that their guests had perished in the old house
that they loved so well. It was with no hope that they had mounted on
the instant, and ridden at full gallop to the castle, and it was not
until they saw that that wall was still standing that even the slightest
hope entered their minds. Even then it appeared incredible that any one
could be alive, and the shout from the loophole had surprised almost as
much as it had delighted them.

In the course of three or four hours, refreshed and strengthened by a
hearty breakfast and draughts of burgundy, the prince and Harry mounted
their horses. Lady Sidmouth determined to remain for a few days at one
of her tenant's houses, and then to go quietly on to Oxford--for by this
time the main army of Essex was rapidly moving east, and the country
would soon be secure for her passage. The prince and Harry rode at full
speed to rejoin the army. That night, by riding late, they reached it.
They found that Essex had, in his retreat, surprised Cirencester and had
passed Farringdon.

The prince, with five thousand horse, started, and marching with great
rapidity, got between Reading and the enemy, and, near Newbury, fell
upon the Parliament horse. For several hours sharp skirmishing went on,
and Essex was forced to halt his army at Hungerford. This gave time for
the king, who was marching at the head of his infantry, to come up. The
royal army occupied Newbury, and by the position they had taken up, were
now between the Roundheads and London.

On the morning of the 20th of September the outpost of each force became
engaged, and the battle soon raged along the whole line. It was to some
extent a repetition of the battle of Edgehill. Prince Rupert, with his
Cavaliers, swept away the horse of the enemy; but the pikemen of London,
who now first were tried in combat, forced back the infantry of the
king. Prince Rupert, returning from the pursuit, charged them with all
his cavalry; but so sharply did they shoot, and so steadily did the line
of pikes hold together, that the horse could make no impression upon
them.

The night fell upon an undecided battle, and the next morning the
Roundheads, as at Edgehill, drew off from the field, leaving to the
Royalists the honor of a nominal success, a success, however, which was
in both cases tantamount to a repulse.

Three leading men upon the king's side fell--Lords Falkland, Carnarvon,
and Sunderland. The former, one of the finest characters of the times,
may be said to have thrown away his life. He was utterly weary of the
terrible dissensions and war in which England was plunged. He saw the
bitterness increasing on both sides daily--the hopes of peace growing
less and less; and as he had left the Parliamentary party, because he
saw that their ambition was boundless, and that they purposed to set up
a despotic tyranny, so he must have bitterly grieved at seeing upon the
side of the king a duplicity beyond all bounds, and want of faith which
seemed to forbid all hope of a satisfactory issue. Thus, then, when the
day of Newbury came, Falkland, whose duties in nowise led him into the
fight, charged recklessly and found the death which there can be little
doubt he sought.

Although the Cavaliers claimed Newbury as a great victory, instead of
advancing upon London they fell back as usual to Oxford.

During the skirmishes Harry had an opportunity of doing a service to an
old friend. The Parliament horse, although valiant and better trained
than that of the Royalists, were yet unable to withstand the impetuosity
with which the latter always attacked, the men seeming, indeed, to be
seized with a veritable panic at the sight of the gay plumes of Rupert's
gentlemen. In a fierce skirmish between Harry's troop and a party of
Parliament horse of about equal strength, the latter were defeated, and
Harry, returning with the main body, found a Puritan officer dismounted,
with his back against a tree, defending himself from the attacks of
three of his men. Harry rode hastily up and demanded his surrender. The
officer looked up, and to his surprise Harry saw his friend Herbert.

"I am your prisoner, Harry," Herbert said, as he lowered the point of
his sword.

"Not at all!" Harry exclaimed. "It would indeed be a strange thing,
Herbert, were I to make you a prisoner. I thought you settled at
Abingdon?"

Ordering one of his troopers to catch a riderless horse which was
galloping near, he spoke for a moment or two with his friend, and then,
as the horse was brought up, he told him to mount and ride.

"But you may get into trouble for releasing me," Herbert said.

"I care not if I do," Harry replied. "But you need not be uneasy about
me, for Prince Rupert will stand my friend, and hold me clear of any
complaint that may be made. I will ride forward with you a little, till
you can join your friends."

As Harry rode on by the side of Herbert a Royalist officer, one Sir
Ralph Willoughby, dashed up.

"What means this?" he exclaimed. "Do I see an officer of his majesty
riding with one of the Roundheads? This is treason and treachery!"

"I will answer to the king, if need be," Harry said, "for my conduct. I
am not under your orders, Sir Ralph, and shall use my discretion in this
matter. This gentleman is as a brother to me."

"And I would cut down my brother," Sir Ralph said furiously, "if I found
him in the ranks of the enemy!"

"Then, sir, we differ," Harry replied, "for that would not I. There are
your friends," he said to Herbert, pointing to a body of Roundheads at a
short distance, "Give me your word, however, that you will not draw
sword again to-day."

Herbert readily gave the required promise, and riding off, was soon
with his friends. Sir Ralph and Harry came to high words after he had
left; and the matter might then and there have been decided by the
sword, had not a party of Roundheads, seeing two cavalry officers so
near to them, charged down, and compelled them to ride for their lives.

The following day Sir Ralph reported the circumstance to the general,
and he to Prince Rupert. The prince laughed at the charge.

"Harry Furness," he said, "is as loyal a gentleman as draws sword in our
ranks, and as he and I have been well-nigh roasted together, it were
vain indeed that any complaint were made to me touching his honor. I
will speak to him, however, and doubt not that his explanation will be
satisfactory."

The prince accordingly spoke to Harry, who explained the circumstances
of his relations with the young Roundhead.

"Had he been a great captain, sir," Harry said, "I might have deemed it
my duty to hold him in durance, however near his relationship to myself.
But as a few weeks since he was but a schoolboy, methought that the
addition of his sword to the Roundhead cause would make no great
difference in our chances of victory that afternoon. Moreover, I had
received his pledge that he would not draw sword again in the battle."

As even yet, although the bitterness was quickly increasing, it was far
from having reached that point which it subsequently attained, and
prisoners on both sides were treated with respect, no more was said
regarding Harry's conduct in allowing his friend to escape. But from
that moment, between himself and Sir Ralph Willoughby there grew up a
strong feeling of animosity, which only needed some fitting pretext to
break out.

It was, indeed, an unfortunate point in the royal cause, that there was
very far from being unity among those who fought side by side. There
were intrigues and jealousies. There were the king's men, who would have
supported his majesty in all lengths to which he might have gone, and
who were ever advising him to resist all attempts at pacification, and
to be content with nothing less than a complete defeat of his enemies.
Upon the other hand, there were the grave, serious men, who had drawn
the sword with intense reluctance, and who desired nothing so much as
peace--a peace which would secure alike the rights of the crown and the
rights of the people.

They were shocked, too, by the riotous and profligate ways of some of
the wilder spirits, and deemed that their cause was sullied by the
reckless conduct and wild ways of many of their party. Sir Henry Furness
belonged to this section of the king's adherents, and Harry, who had
naturally imbibed his father's opinions, held himself a good deal aloof
from the wild young spirits of the king's party.

Skirmishes took place daily between the cavalry outposts of the two
armies. Sir Henry was asked by the prince to send some of his troops
across the river to watch the enemy, and he chose that commanded by
Harry, rather for the sake of getting the lad away from the temptations
and dissipation of Oxford than to give him an opportunity of
distinguishing himself. The troop commanded by Sir Ralph Willoughby was
also on outpost duty, and lay at no great distance from the village in
which Harry quartered his men after crossing the river. The Roundhead
cavalry were known to be but three or four miles away, and the utmost
vigilance was necessary.

Harry gave orders that the troops should be distributed through the
village--five men to a house. Straw was to be brought in at night, and
laid on the floor of the kitchens, and the men were there to sleep, with
their arms by their sides, ready for instant service. One of each party
was to stand sentry over the five horses which were to be picketed to
the palings in front of the house. At the first alarm he was at once to
awake his comrades, who were to mount instantly, and form in column in
the street. Two pickets were placed three hundred yards from the
village, and two others a quarter of a mile further in advance. Harry
and Jacob took up their residence in the village inn, and arranged
alternately to visit the pickets and sentries every two hours.

"They shall not catch us napping, Jacob. This is my first command on
detached duty. You and I have often remarked upon the reckless ways of
our leaders. We have an opportunity now of carrying our own ideas into
effect."

At three o'clock Jacob visited the outposts. All was still, and nothing
had occurred to give rise to any suspicion of the vicinity of an enemy.
Half an hour later one of the advanced pickets galloped in. They heard,
he said, a noise as of a large body of horse, away to the right, and it
seemed as if it was proceeding toward Chalcombe, the village where Sir
Ralph Willoughby's troop was quartered. Two minutes later, thanks to
Harry's arrangements, the troop were mounted and in readiness for
action.

The first faint dawn of day had begun. Suddenly the stillness was broken
by the sound of pistol shots and shouts from the direction of Chalcombe,
which lay a mile away.

"It is likely," Harry said, "that Sir Ralph has been caught napping. He
is brave, but he is reckless, and the discipline of his troop is of the
slackest. Let us ride to his rescue."

The troop filed out from the village, and turned down the side road
leading to Chalcombe. Harry set spurs to his horse and led the column at
a gallop. The sound of shots continued without intermission, and
presently a bright light shot up.

"Methinks," Harry said to Jacob, "the Roundheads have caught our men
asleep, and it is an attack upon the houses rather than a cavalry
fight."

It was scarcely five minutes from the time they started when they
approached the village. By the light of a house which had been set on
fire, Harry saw that his conjecture was well founded. The Roundheads
were dismounted, and were attacking the houses.

Halting just outside the village, Harry formed his men with a front
across the whole road, and directed the lines to advance, twenty yards
apart. Then, placing himself at their head, he gave the word, and
charged down the street upon the Roundheads. The latter, occupied by
their attack upon the houses, were unconscious of the presence of their
foe until he was close upon them, and were taken utterly by surprise.
The force of the charge was irresistible, and the Roundheads, dispersed
and on foot, were cut down in all directions. Groups of twos and threes
stood together and attempted resistance, but the main body thought only
of regaining their horses. In three minutes after the Royalists entered
the village the surviving Roundheads were in full flight, hotly pursued
by the victorious Cavaliers. These, being for the most part better
mounted, overtook and slew many of the Roundheads, and not more than
half the force which had set out returned to their quarters at Didcot.
The pursuit continued to within half a mile of that place, and then
Harry, knowing that there was a force of Roundhead infantry there, drew
off from the pursuit, and returned to Chalcombe. He found that more
than half of Sir Ralph Willoughy's men had been killed, many having been
cut down before they could betake themselves to their arms, those
quartered in the inn, and at two or three of the larger houses, having
alone maintained a successful resistance until the arrival of succor.

Sir Ralph Willoughby was furious. The disaster was due to his own
carelessness in having contented himself with placing two pickets in
advance of the village, and permitting the whole remainder of his force
to retire to bed. Consequently the picket, on riding in upon the
approach of the enemy, were unable to awake and call them to arms before
the Roundheads were upon them. In his anger he turned upon Harry, and
fiercely demanded why he had not sent him news of the approach of the
enemy.

"You must have known it," he said. "Your men were all mounted and in
readiness, or they could not have arrived here so soon. You must have
been close at hand, and only holding off in order that you might boast
of having come to my relief."

Harry, indignant at these words, turned on heel without deigning to give
an answer to the angry man, and at once rode back to his own quarters.
Two hours later Prince Rupert rode up. The firing had been reported, and
Prince Rupert had ridden with a body of horse to Chalcombe. Here he had
heard Sir Ralph Willoughby's version of the story, and had requested
that officer to ride with him to Harry's quarters. The prince, with
several of his principal officers, alighted at the inn, outside which
Harry received him. Prince Rupert led the way into the house.

"Master Furness," he said, "Sir Ralph Willoughby accuses you of having
played him false, and left his party to be destroyed on account of the
quarrel existing between you, touching that affair at Newbury. What
have you to say to this? He alleges that you must have been close at
hand, and moved not a finger to save him until half his troop was
destroyed."

"It is wholly false, sir," Harry said. "Seeing that the enemy were so
close, I had placed my pickets well in advance, and ordered my men to
lie down in their clothes, with their arms beside them, on straw in the
kitchens, ready to mount at a moment's warning. I quartered five in each
house, having their horses fastened in front, and one of each party
stationed at the door, where he could observe the horses and wake the
men on the instant. Thus, when my pickets came in with the news that
troops were heard moving toward Chalcombe, my troop was in less than two
minutes in the saddle. As we rode out of the village we heard the first
shot, and five minutes later charged the Roundheads in the streets of
the village. Had we not hastened, methinks that neither Sir Ralph
Willoughby nor any of his troops would have been alive now to tell the
tale. You can question, sir, my lieutenant, or any of my troopers, and
you will hear that matters went precisely as I have told you."

"You have done well indeed, Master Furness," Prince Rupert said warmly,
"and I would that many of my other officers showed the same
circumspection and care as you have done. Now, Sir Ralph, let me hear
what arrangements you made against surprise."

"I set pickets in front of the village," Sir Ralph said sulkily.

"And what besides?" the prince asked. "Having done that, did you and
your officers and men go quietly to sleep, as if the enemy were a
hundred miles away?"

Sir Ralph was silent.

"Fie, for shame, sir!" the prince said sternly. "Your own carelessness
has brought disaster upon you, and instead of frankly owning your fault,
and thanking Master Furness for having redeemed your error, saved the
remnant of your troop, and defeated the Roundheads heavily, your
jealousy and envy of the lad have wrought you to bring false accusations
against him. Enough, sir," he said peremptorily, seeing the glance of
hatred which Sir Ralph cast toward Harry. "Sufficient harm has been done
already by your carelessness--see that no more arises from your bad
temper. I forbid this quarrel to go further; until the king's enemies
are wholly defeated there must be no quarrels between his friends. And
should I hear of any further dispute on your part with Master Furness, I
shall bring it before the king, and obtain his warrant for your
dismissal from this army."

The following day Harry and his troop moved further down the river, the
enemy having fallen back from Didcot. He was placed at a village where
there was a ford across the river. The post was of importance, as its
position prevented the enemy from making raids into the country, where
stores of provisions and cattle had been collected for the use of the
army at Oxford. Harry's force was a small one for the defense of such a
post; but there appeared little danger of an attack, as Prince Rupert,
with a large force of cavalry, lay but a mile or two distant. A few days
after their arrival, however, Prince Rupert started with his horse to
drive back a party of the enemy whom he heard were lying some miles
north of Reading.

"Prince Rupert never seems to have room for two ideas in his head at the
same time," Jacob said. "The moment he hears of an enemy off he rides at
full gallop, forgetting that he has left us alone here. It is well if
the Roundheads at Reading do not sally out and attack us, seeing how
useful this ford would be to them."

"I agree with you, Jacob, and we will forthwith set to work to render
the place as defensible as we may."

"We had best defend the other side of the ford, if they advance," Jacob
said. "We could make a far better stand there."

"That is true, Jacob; but though we could there bar them from entering
our country, they, if they obtained the village, would shut the door to
our entering theirs. No, it is clear that it our duty to defend the
village as long as we can, if we should be attacked."

Harry now set his men to work to make loopholes in the cottages and
inclosure walls, and to connect the latter by banks of earth, having
thorn branches set on the top. Just at the ford itself stood a large
water-mill, worked by a stream which here ran into the river. Harry
placed sacks before all the windows, leaving only loopholes through
which to fire. Some of the troop carried pistols only; others had
carbines; and some, short, wide-mouthed guns, which carried large
charges of buckshot. Pickets were sent forward a mile toward Reading.

Early in the afternoon these galloped in with the news that a heavy
column of infantry and cavalry, with two pieces of artillery, were
approaching along the road. Harry at once dispatched a messenger, with
orders to ride until he found Prince Rupert, to tell him of the state he
was in, and ask him to hurry to his assistance, giving assurance that he
would hold the village as long as possible. All now labored vigorously
at the works of defense. Half an hour after the alarm had been given the
enemy were seen approaching.

"There must be over five hundred men, horse and foot," Jacob said, as
from the upper story of the mill he watched with Harry the approach of
the enemy. "With fifty men we shall never be able to defend the circuit
of the village."

"Not if they attack all round at once," Harry agreed. "But probably
they will fall upon us in column, and behind stone walls we can do much.
We must keep them out as long as we can; then fall back here, and
surround ourselves with a ring of fire."

As soon as it was known that the enemy were approaching Harry had given
orders that all the inhabitants should evacuate their houses and cross
the river, taking with them such valuables as they could carry. There
were several horses and carts in the village, and these were at once put
in requisition, and the people crossing and recrossing the river rapidly
carried most of their linen and other valuables over in safety, the men
continuing to labor for the preservation of their goods, even after the
fight commenced.

The Roundheads halted about four hundred yards from the village. Just as
they did so there was a trampling of horses, and Sir Ralph Willoughby,
with his troop, now reduced to thirty strong, rode into the village. He
drew up his horse before Harry.

"Master Furness," he said, "Prince Rupert has forbidden me to test your
courage in the way gentlemen usually do so. But there is now a means
open. Let us see which will ride furthest--you or I--into the ranks of
yonder horsemen."

Harry hesitated a moment; then he said gravely:

"My life is not my own to throw away, Sir Ralph. My orders are to hold
this place. That I can best do on foot, for even if our troops united
were to rout the enemy's cavalry, their footmen would still remain, and
would carry the village. No, sir, my duty is to fight here."

"I always thought you a coward!" Sir Ralph exclaimed; "now I know it,"
and, with a taunting laugh, he ordered his men to follow him, issued
from the village, and prepared, with his little band, to charge the
Roundhead horse, about a hundred and fifty strong.

Just as they formed line, however, the enemy's' guns opened, and a shot
struck Sir Ralph full in the chest, hurling him, a shattered corpse, to
the ground.

His men, dismayed at the fall of their leader, drew rein.

"Fall back, men," Harry shouted from behind, "fall back, and make a
stand here. You must be cut to pieces if you advance."

The troop, who had no other officer with them, at once obeyed Harry's
orders. They had heard the conversation between him and their leader,
and although prepared to follow Sir Ralph, who was the landlord of most
of them, they saw that Harry was right, and that to attack so numerous a
body of horse and foot was but to invite destruction.



CHAPTER IX.

A STUBBORN DEFENSE.


A half-dozen or so of Sir Ralph Willoughby's troopers declared that now
their lord was dead they would fight no further, and straightway rode
off through the village and across the ford. The rest, however, seeing
that a brave fight against odds was about to commence, declared their
willingness to put themselves under Harry's orders. They were at once
dismounted and scattered along the line of defenses. After the Roundhead
cannon had fired a few shots their cavalry charged, thinking to ride
into the village. But the moment Sir Ralph's troopers had re-entered it
Harry had heaped up across the road a quantity of young trees and bushes
which he had cut in readiness. Not a shot was fired until the horsemen
reached this obstacle, and then so heavy a fire was poured upon them, as
they dismounted and tried to pull it asunder, that, with a loss of many
men, they were forced to retreat.

The infantry now advanced, and a severe fight began. Harry's eighty men,
sheltered behind their walls, inflicted heavy damage upon the enemy,
who, however, pressed on stoutly, one column reaching the obstruction
across the road, and laboring to destroy it. All the horses, with the
exception of twenty, had been sent across the ford, and when Harry saw
that in spite of the efforts of his men the enemy were destroying the
abattis, he mounted twenty men upon these horses, placing Jacob at
their head. Then he drew off as many defenders from other points as he
could, and bade these charge their pistols and blunderbusses to the
mouth with balls. As the enemy effected a breach in the abattis and
streamed in, Jacob with his horse galloped down upon them at full speed.
The reserve poured the fire of their heavily loaded pieces upon the mass
still outside, and then aided Jacob's horse by falling suddenly on those
within. So great was the effect that the enemy were driven back, and the
column retired, the breach in the abattis being hastily filled up,
before the cavalry, who were waiting the opportunity, could charge down
upon it.

In the meantime, however, the enemy were forcing their way in at other
points, and Harry gave word for the outside line of houses to be fired.
The thatched roofs speedily were in flames, and as the wind was blowing
from the river dense clouds of smoke rolled down upon the assailants. It
was now only the intervals between the houses which had to be defended,
and for an hour the stubborn resistance continued, the Royalist troops
defending each house with its inclosure to the last, and firing them as
they retreated, their own loss being trifling in comparison with that
which they inflicted upon their assailants.

At last the whole of the defenders were gathered in and round the mill.
This was defended from attack by the mill stream, which separated it
from the village, and which was crossed only by the road leading down to
the ford. The bridge was a wooden one, and this had been already partly
sawn away. As soon as the last of the defenders crossed the remainder of
the bridge was chopped down. Along the line of the stream Harry had
erected a defense, breast high, of sacks of wheat from the mill. The
enemy, as they straggled out through the burning village, paused, on
seeing the strong posilion which yet remained to be carried. The mill
stream was rapid and deep, and the approaches swept by the fire from the
mill. There was a pause, and then the cannon were brought up and fire
opened upon the mill, the musketry keeping up an incessant rattle from
every wall and clump of bushes.

The mill was built of wood, and the cannon shot went through and through
it. But Harry directed his men to place rows of sacks along each floor
facing the enemy, and lying down behind these to fire through holes
pierced in the planks. For half an hour the cannonade continued, and
then the enemy were seen advancing, carrying beams and the trunks of
small trees, to make a bridge across the stream. Had Harry's men been
armed with muskets it would have been next to impossible for the enemy
to succeed in doing this in the face of their fire. But the fire of
their short weapons was wild and uncertain, except at short distances.
Very many of the Roundheads fell, but others pressed forward bravely,
and succeeded in throwing their beams across the stream. By this time
Harry had led out all his force from the mill, and a desperate fight
took place at the bridge. The enemy lined the opposite bank in such
force that none of the defenders could show their heads above the
barricade of sacks, and Harry came to the conclusion that further
resistance was vain. He ordered Jacob to take all the men with the
exception of ten and to retire at once across the ford. He himself with
the remainder would defend the bridge till they were fairly across, and
would then rush over and join them as he might.

With a heavy heart Jacob was preparing to obey this order, when he heard
a loud cheer, and saw Prince Rupert, heading a large body of horse, dash
into the river on the other side. The enemy saw him too. There was an
instant cessation of their fire, and before Prince Rupert had gained
the bank the Roundheads were already in full retreat for Reading. The
bridge was hastily repaired, and the prince pursued for some distance,
chasing their cavalry well-nigh into Reading. Their infantry, however,
held together, and regained that town in safety.

Upon his return Prince Rupert expressed his warm admiration at the
prolonged and gallant defense which Harry had made, and said that the
oldest soldier in the army could not have done better. At Harry's
request he promised the villagers that the next day money should be sent
out from the king's treasury to make good the losses which they had
sustained. Then he left a strong body of horse to hold the village, and
directed Harry to ride with him with his troop to Oxford.

"I have a mission for you, Master Furness," he said, as they rode along.
"I have already told his majesty how coolly and courageously you
conducted yourself in that sore strait in which we were placed together.
The king has need of a messenger to Scotland. The mission is a difficult
one, and full of danger. It demands coolness and judgment as well as
courage. I have told his majesty that, in spite of your youth, you
possess these qualities, but the king was inclined to doubt whether you
were old enough to be intrusted with such a commission. After to-day's
doings he need have no further hesitation. I spoke to your father but
yesterday, and he has given consent that you shall go, the more readily,
methinks, because the good Cavalier thinks that the morals and ways of
many of our young officers to be in no wise edifying for you, and I
cannot but say that he is right. What sayest thou?"

Harry expressed his willingness to undertake any mission with which he
might be charged. He thought it probable that no great movements would
be undertaken in the south for some time, and with a lad's natural love
of adventure, was pleased at the thought of change and variety.

The Scots were at this time arranging for a close alliance with the
Parliament, which had sent emissaries to Edinburgh to negotiate a Solemn
League and Covenant. Sir Henry Vane, who was an Independent, had been
forced to accede to the demand of the Scotch Parliament, that the
Presbyterian religious system of Scotland should be adopted as that of
England, and after much chaffering for terms on both sides, the document
was signed, and was to bind those who subscribed it to endeavor, without
respect of persons, to extirpate popery and prelacy.

On the 25th of September, nearly a week after the tattle of Newbury, all
the members of Parliament still remaining in London assembled in St.
Margaret's Church, and signed the Solemn League and Covenant; but even
at this moment of enthusiasm the parties were not true to each other.
The Scotch expected that Presbyterianism would be introduced into
England, and that Episcopacy would be entirely abolished. The English
members, however, signed the declaration with the full intent of
preserving their own religion, that of a form of Episcopacy, altered
much indeed from that of the Church of England, but still differing
widely from the Scotch system.

The king had many adherents in Scotland, chief of whom was the Earl of
Montrose, a most gallant and loyal nobleman.

Upon the day after the fight in the village the king, on Prince Rupert's
recommendation, appointed Harry Furness to bear dispatches to the earl,
and as he was going north, Prince Rupert placed Lady Sidmouth and her
daughter under his charge to convey to the army of the Earl of
Newcastle, under whom her husband was at this time engaged.

Upon asking what force he should take with him the prince said that he
had better proceed with his own troop, as an escort to the ladies, as
far as the camp of Newcastle, filling up the places of those who had
fallen in the skirmishes and fight of Newbury with other men, so as to
preserve his full tale of fifty troopers. When he had fulfilled the
first part of his mission he was to place his troop at the earl's
service until his return, and to proceed in such manner and disguise as
might seem best to him.

Harry started for the north in high spirits, feeling very proud of the
charge confided to him. Lady Sidmouth and her daughter were placed in a
light litter between two horses. Harry took his place beside it. Half
the troop, under the command of the lieutenant, rode in front; the other
half followed. So they started for the north. It was a long journey, as
they were forced to avoid many towns occupied by Roundheads. Upon the
fourth day of their journey they suddenly heard the explosion of
pistols, and the shouts of men in conflict. Harry ordered his lieutenant
to ride forward with half the troop to some rising ground just in front,
and there they saw a combat going on between a party of Cavaliers and a
force of Roundheads, much superior to them in numbers. Harry joined the
lieutenant, and sending back a man with orders to the remaining half of
the troop to form a guard round the litter, he headed the advance party,
and the twenty-five men rode headlong down into the scene of conflict.
It was a sharp fight for a few minutes, and then the accession of
strength which the Cavaliers had gained gave them the superiority, and
the Roundheads fell back, but in good order.

"You arrived just in time, sir," the leader of the party engaged said.
"I am Master John Chillingworth, and am marching to Hardley House, which
the Puritans are about to besiege. There is no time to delay, for see
you not on yonder hill the gleam of pikes? That is the enemy's footmen.
It is only an advanced party of their horse with which we have had this
affair. You cannot go forward in this direction. There is a strong body
of Roundheads lying a few miles to the north."

Harry rode back to Lady Sidmouth, and after a consultation with her and
with Master Chillingworth, they decided to throw themselves into Hardley
House, where the addition of strength which they brought might enable
them to beat off the Roundheads, and then to proceed on their way. They
learned indeed from a peasant that several bodies of Roundheads were
advancing from various directions, and that Hardley House was strong and
well defended. Of the choice of evils, therefore, they thought this to
be the lightest, and, after an hour's hard riding, they arrived before
its walls. It was an old castellated building, with bastions and walls
capable of standing a siege. The party were gladly received by the
master, Sir Francis Burdett, who had placed his castle in a posture of
defense, but was short of men. Upon the news of the approach of the
enemy he had hastily driven a number of cattle into the yard, and had
stores of provisions sufficient to stand a siege for some time.

In a short time the Parliament force, consisting of five hundred footmen
and two hundred horse, appeared before the castle, and summoned it to
surrender. Sir Francis refused to do so, and fired a gun in token of
defiance. Soon a train was seen approaching in the distance, and four
guns were dragged by the enemy to a point of high ground near the
castle. Here the Roundheads began to throw up a battery, but were
mightily inconvenienced while doing so by the guns of the castle, which
shot briskly against them. Working at night, however, in two days they
completed the battery, which, on the third morning, opened fire upon the
castle. The guns were much heavier than those upon the walls, and the
shot, directed at a curtain between two towers, battered the stone
sorely. The Parliament footmen were drawn back a space from the walls so
as to avoid the fire of muskets from the defenders. There were in all in
the castle about two hundred men, one hundred having been collected
before the arrival of the troops of horse. These determined upon making
a desperate resistance when the wall should give way, which would, they
doubted not, be upon the following day. Everything that could be done
was tried to hinder the destruction made by the enemy's shot. Numbers of
sacks were filled with earth, and lowered from the walls above so as to
hang in regular order before it, and so break the force of the shot.
This had some effect, but gradually the wall crumbled beneath the blows
of the missiles from the Roundhead guns.

"We are useless here, save as footmen," Harry said that night to his
host. "There is a postern gate, is there not, behind the castle?
Methinks that if we could get out in the dark unobserved, and form close
to the walls, so that their pickets lying around might not suspect us of
purposing to issue forth, we might, when daylight dawned, make an attack
upon their guns, and if we could spike these the assault would probably
cease."

The attempt was determined upon. The Roundhead infantry were disposed
behind as well as in front of the castle, so as to prevent the escape of
the besieged; but the camp was at a distance of some four hundred yards.
The chains of the drawbridge across the moat were oiled, as were the
bolts of the doors, and at three in the morning the gate was opened, and
the drawbridge lowered across the moat. A thick layer of sacks was then
placed upon the drawbridge. The horses' hoofs were also muffled with
sacking, and then, one by one, the horses were led out, the drawbridge
was drawn up again, and all was quiet. No sound or motion in the Puritan
camp betrayed that their exit was observed, and they could hear the
challenges of the circuit of sentries passed from man to man.

When the first streak of dawn was seen in the east the troop mounted
their horses, and remained quiet until the light should be sufficient to
enable them to see the nature of the ground over which they would have
to pass. This they would be able to do before they themselves were
observed, standing as they were close under the shadow of the walls of
the castle. As soon as it was sufficiently light the trumpets sounded,
and with a burst they dashed across the country. Heeding not the bugle
calls in the camp of the Puritan infantry, they rode straight at the
guns. These were six hundred yards distant, and before the artillerymen
could awake to their danger, the Royalists were upon them. Those that
stood were cut down, and in a minute the guns were spiked. Then the
cavalry swept round, and as the Puritan horse hastily formed up, they
charged them. Although but half their numbers, they had the superiority
in the surprise at which they took their foes, and in the fact of the
latter being but half armed, not having had time to put on their
breastplates. The combat was a short one, and in a few minutes the
Puritans were flying in all directions. The pikemen were now approaching
on either side in compact bodies, and against these Harry knew that his
horsemen could do nothing. He therefore drew them off from the castle,
and during the day circled round and round the place, seizing several
carts of provisions destined for the wants of the infantry, and holding
them in a sort of leaguer.

That night, finding that their guns were disabled, their horse defeated,
and themselves cut off, the rebel infantry drew off, and gave up the
siege of the place. The next morning the cavalry re-entered the castle
in triumph, and having received the hearty thanks of Sir Francis
Burdett, and leaving with him the troop of Master Chillingworth, who
intended to remain there, Harry proceeded on his way north, and reached
York without further adventure.

During the ten days that they had journeyed together Lady Sidmouth had
been greatly pleased with the attention and character of Harry Furness.
He was always cheerful and courteous, without any of that light tone of
flippancy which distinguished the young Cavaliers of the period, and her
little daughter was charmed with her companion. Harry received the
hearty thanks of Sir Henry Sidmouth for the care with which he had
conducted his wife through the dangers of the journey, and then, having
so far discharged his duty, he left his troop at York, and started for
Scotland.

On the way he had discussed with Jacob the measures which he intended to
take for his journey north. Jacob had begged earnestly to accompany him,
and as Harry deemed that his shrewdness might be of great use, he
determined to take him with him, as well as another of his troop. The
latter was a merry fellow, named William Long. He was of grave and sober
demeanor, and never smiled, even while causing his hearers to be
convulsed with laughter. He had a keen sense of humor, was a
ready-witted and courageous fellow, and had frequently distinguished
himself in the various skirmishes. He was the son of a small tenant of
Sir Henry Furness.

His farm was near the hall, and, although three or four years older
than Harry, he had as a boy frequently accompanied him when out hawking,
and in other amusements. Harry felt that, with two attached and faithful
comrades like these, he should he able to make his way through many
dangers. At York he had procured for himself and his followers suits of
clothes of a grave and sober cut, such as would be worn by yeomen; and
here they laid aside their Cavalier garments, and proceeded northward.
They traveled quietly forward as far as Durham, and then went west, as
Berwick was held for the Parliament. They carried weapons, for at that
time none traveled unarmed, and the country through which they had to
pass was greatly disturbed, the moss troopers having taken advantage of
the disorders of the times to renew the habits of their forefathers, and
to make raids upon their southern neighbors, and carry off cattle and
horses. They carried with them but little money, a small quantity in
their valises, and a few gold pieces concealed about their persons, each
choosing a different receptacle, so that in case of pillage some at
least might retain sufficient to carry them on their way. Avoiding the
large towns, where alone they would be likely to be questioned, they
crossed the border, and rode into Scotland.

Upon the day after their crossing the frontier they saw a body of
horsemen approaching them. These drew up when they reached them, Harry
having previously warned his comrades to offer no resistance, as the
party were too strong for them, and his mission was too important to
allow the king's cause to be hazarded by any foolish acts of pugnacity.

"Are you for the king or the kirk?" the leader asked.

"Neither for one nor the other," Harry said. "We are peaceable yeomen
traveling north to buy cattle, and We meddle not in the disputes of the
time." "Have you any news from the south?"

"Nothing," Harry replied. "We come from Durham, and since the news of
the battle of Newbury, no tidings have come of importance."

The man looked inquisitively at the horses and valises; but Harry had
chosen three stout ponies sufficiently good to carry them, but offering
no temptations to pillagers, and the size of the valises promised but
little from their contents.

"Since you are riding north to buy cattle," the leader said, "you must
have money with you, and money is short with us in these bad times."

"We have not," Harry said; "judging it possible that we might meet with
gentlemen who felt the pressure of the times, we have provided ourselves
with sufficient only to take us up to Kelso, where dwells our
correspondent, who will, we trust, have purchased and collected
sufficient cattle for us to take south when we shall learn that a convoy
of troops is traveling in this direction, for we would not place
temptation in the way of those whom we might meet."

"You are a fellow of some humor," the leader said grimly. "But it is
evil jesting on this side of the border."

"I jest not," Harry said. "There is a proverb in Latin, with which
doubtless your worship is acquainted, to the effect that an empty
traveler may sing before robbers, and, although far from including you
and your worshipful following in that category, yet we may be pardoned
for feeling somewhat light-hearted, because we are not overburdened with
money."

The leader looked savagely at the young man; but seeing that his
demeanor and that of his followers was resolute, that they carried
pistols at their holsters and heavy swords, and deeming that nothing but
hard knocks would come of an attack upon them, he surlily bade his
company follow him, and rode on his way again.



CHAPTER X.

THE COMMISSIONER OF THE CONVENTION.


At Kelso Harry procured changes of garments, attiring himself as a
Lowland farmer, and his companions as two drovers. They were, as before,
mounted; but the costume of English farmers could no longer have been
supported by any plausible story. They learned that upon the direct road
north they should find many bodies of Scotch troops, and therefore made
for the coast. Two days' riding brought them to the little port of
Ayton.

After taking their supper in the common room of the hostelry, there was
a stir outside, and three men, attired as Puritan preachers, entered the
room. Mine host received them with courtesy, but with none of the eager
welcome usually displayed to guests; for these gentry, although
feared--for their power was very great at the time--were by no means
loved, and their orders at a hostelry were not likely to swell the purse
of the host. Stalking to an unoccupied table next to that at which Harry
and his party were sitting, they took their seats and called for supper.

Harry made a sign to his companions to continue talking together, while
he listened attentively to the conversation of the men behind him. He
gathered from their talk that they were commissioners proceeding from
the Presbyterian Convention in London to discuss with that at Edinburgh
upon the points upon which they could come to an agreement for a common
basis of terms. Their talk turned principally upon doctrinal questions,
upon which Harry's ignorance was entire and absolute; but he saw at once
that it would do good service to the king if he could in some way
prevent these men continuing upon their journey, and so for a time
arrest the progress of the negotiations between the king's enemies in
England and Scotland, for at this time the preachers were the paramount
authorities in England. It was they who insisted upon terms, they who
swayed the councils of the nation, and it was not until Cromwell, after
overthrowing the king, overthrew the Parliament, which was for the main
part composed of their creatures, that the power of the preachers came
to an end. It would, of course, have been easy for Harry and his friends
to attack these men during their next day's journey, but this would have
involved the necessity of killing them--from which he shrank--for an
assault upon three godly men traveling on the high business of the
Convention to the Scottish capital would have caused such an outcry that
Harry could not hope to continue on his way without the certainty of
discovery and arrest.

Signing to his comrades to remain in their seats, he strolled off toward
the port, and there entered a public house, which, by its aspect, was
frequented by seafaring men. It was a small room that he entered, and
contained three or four fishermen, and one whom a certain superiority in
dress betokened to be the captain of a vessel. They were talking of the
war, and of the probability of the Scottish army taking part in it. The
fishermen were all of the popular party; but the captain, who seemed a
jovial fellow, shrugged his shoulders over the religious squabbles, and
said that, for his part, he wanted nothing but peace.

"Not," he said, "that the present times do not suit are rarely in
purse. Men are too busy now to look after the doings of every lugger
that passes along the coast, and never were French goods so plentiful or
so cheap. Moreover," he said, "I find that not unfrequently passengers
want to be carried to Prance or Holland. I ask no questions; I care not
whether they go on missions from the Royalists or from the Convention; I
take their money; I land them at their destination; no questions are
asked. So the times suit me bravely; but for all that I do not like to
think of Englishmen and Scotchmen arrayed against their fellows. I
cannot see that it matters one jot whether we are predestinate or not
predestinate, or whether it is a bishop who governs a certain church or
a presbyter. I say let each worship in his own way, and not concern
himself about his fellows. If men would but mind their own affairs in
religion as they do in business it would be better for us all."

Harry, as he drank the glass of beer he had ordered, had joined
occasionally in the conversation, not taking any part, but agreeing
chiefly with the sea-captain in his desire for peace.

"I too," he said, "have nothing to grumble at. My beasts fetch good
prices for the army, and save that there is a want of hands, I was never
doing better. Still I would gladly see peace established."

Presently the fishermen, having finished their liquor, retired, and the
captain, looking keenly at Harry, said, "Methinks, young sir, that you
are not precisely what you seem!"

"That is so," Harry replied; "I am on business here, It matters not on
which side, and it may be that we may strike a bargain together."

"Do you want to cross the channel?" the captain asked, laughing. "You
seem young to have put your head in a noose already."

"No," Harry said, "I do not want to cross myself; but I want to send
some others across. I suppose that if a passenger or two were placed on
board your ship, to be landed in Holland, you would not deem it
necessary to question them closely, or to ascertain whether they also
were anxious to arrive at that destination?"

"By no means," the captain replied. "Goods consigned to me will be
delivered at the port to which they are addressed, and I should consider
that with passengers as with goods, I must carry them to the port for
which their passage is taken."

"Good," Harry said; "if that is the case, methinks that when you
sail--and," he asked, breaking off, "when do you sail?"

"To-morrow morning, if the wind is fair," the captain answered. "But if
it would pay me better to stop for a few hours, I might do so."

"To-morrow night, if you will wait till then," Harry said, "I will place
three passengers on board, and will pay you your own sum to land them at
Flushing, or any other place across the water to which you may be bound.
I will take care that they will make no complaints whatever, or address
any remonstrance to you, until after you have fairly put to sea. And
then, naturally, you will feel yourself unable to alter the course of
your ship."

"But," the captain observed, "I must be assured that these passengers
who are so anxious to cross the water are not men whose absence might
cause any great bother. I am a simple man, earning my living as honestly
as the times will allow me to do, and I wish not to embroil myself with
the great parties of the State."

"There may be an inquiry," Harry replied; "but methinks it will soon
drop. They are three preachers of London, who are on their way to
dispute concerning points of religion with the divines in Scotland. The
result of their disputation may perchance be that an accord may be
arrived at between the divines of London and Edinburgh; and in that
case, I doubt not that the army now lying at Dundee would move south,
and that the civil war would therefore become more extended and cruel
than ever."

The captain laughed.

"I am not fond of blackbirds on board my ship," he said. "They are ever
of ill omen on the sea. But I will risk it for so good a cause. It is
their pestilent religious disputes which have stirred up the nations to
war, and I doubt not that even should some time elapse before these
gentlemen can again hold forth in England, there are plenty of others to
supply their place."

An agreement was speedily arrived at as to the terms of passage, for
Harry was well provided with money, having drawn at Kelso from an agent
devoted to the Royal cause, upon whom he had letters of credit.

The next morning early Harry went to a carter in the town, and hired a
cart for the day, leaving a deposit for its safe return at night. Then,
mounting their horses, the three Royalists rode off just as the
preachers were going forth from the inn. The latter continued their
course at the grave pace suitable to their calling and occupation,
conversing vigorously upon the points of doctrine which they intended to
urge upon their fellows at Edinburgh. Suddenly, just where the road
emerged from a wood on to a common, three men dashed out, and fell upon
them. The preachers roared lustily for mercy, and invoked the vengeance
of the Parliament upon those who ventured to interfere with them.

"We are charged," one said, "with a mission to the Convention at
Edinburgh, and it is as much as your heads are worth to interfere with
us."

"Natheless," Harry said, "we must even risk our heads. You must follow
us into the wood, or we shall be under the necessity of 'blowing out
your brains.'"

Much crestfallen, the preachers followed their captors into the wood.
There they were despoiled of their hats and doublets, tied securely by
cords, gagged, and placed, in spite of their remonstrances and
struggles, in three huge sacks.

At midnight the Annette was lying alongside the wharf at Ayton, when a
cart drove up. Three men alighted from it, and one hailed the captain,
who was standing on deck.

"I have brought the three parcels thou wottest of," he said. "They will
need each two strong men to carry them on board."

The captain, with two sailors, ascended to the quay.

"What have we here?" said one of the sailors; "there is some live
creature in this sack."

"It is a young calf," Harry said; "when you are well out to sea you can
give it air."

The men laughed, for having frequently had passengers to cross to the
Continent, they shrewdly guessed at the truth; and the captain had
already told them that the delay of a day would put some money into each
of their pockets. Having seen the three sacks deposited on the deck of
the ship, when the sails were immediately hoisted, and the Annette
glided away on her course seaward, the cart was driven round to the
house where it had been hired. The stipulated price was paid, the
deposit returned, and the hirer then departed.

Riding toward Edinburgh, Harry agreed with his comrades that as he, as
the apparent leader of the party, would be the more likely to be
suspected and arrested, it would be better for the documents of which
they were the carriers, as well as the papers found upon the persons of
the Puritans, to be intrusted to the charge of Jacob and William Long.
Harry charged them, in the event of anything happening to him, to pay no
heed to him whatever, but to separate from him and mix with the crowd,
and then to make their way, as best they might, to the Earl of Montrose.

"It matters nothing," he said, "my being arrested, They can prove
nothing against me, as I shall have no papers on my body, while it is
all-important that you should get off. The most that they can do to me
is to send me to London, and a term of imprisonment as a malignant is
the worst that will befall me."

The next day they entered the town by the Canongate, and were surprised
and amused at the busy scene passing there. Riding to an inn, they put
up their horses and dismounted. Harry purposed to remain there for three
or four days to learn the temper of the people.

The next morning he strolled out into the streets, followed at some
little distance by Jacob and William Long, He had not the least fear of
being recognized, and for the time gave himself up thoroughly to the
amusement of the moment. He had not proceeded far, however, when he ran
full tilt against a man in a black garb, who, gazing at him, at once
shouted out at the top of his voice, "Seize this man, he is a malignant
and a spy," and to his horror Harry discovered the small preacher with
whom he had twice already been at loggerheads, and who, it seems, had
been dispatched as a member of a previous commission by his party in
London.

In a moment a dozen sturdy hands seized him by his collar. Feeling the
utter uselessness of resistance, and being afraid that should he attempt
to struggle, his friends might be drawn into the matter, Harry quietly
proceeded along the street until he reached the city guardhouse, in a
cell of which he was thrust.

"One would think," he muttered to himself, "that little preacher is an
emissary of Satan himself. Go where I will, this lantern-jawed knave is
sure to crop up and I feel convinced that until I have split his skull I
shall have no safety. I thought I had freed myself of Mm forever when I
got out of London; and here, in the middle of the Scotch capital, he
turns up as sharpsighted and as venomous as ever."

An hour or two later Harry was removed under a guard to the city prison,
and in the evening the doors were opened and a guard appeared and
briefly ordered him to follow. Under the escort of four men he was led
through the streets to a large building, and then conducted to a room in
which a number of persons, some of them evidently of high rank, were
sitting. At the head of the table was a man of sinister aspect. He had
red hair and eyebrows, and a foxy, cunning face, and Harry guessed at
once that he was in the presence of the Earl of Argyll--a man who, even
more than the rest of his treacherous race, was hated and despised by
loyal Scotchmen. In all their history, a great portion of the Scottish
nobles were ever found ready to take English gold, and to plot against
their country. But the Argylls had borne a bad pre-eminence even among
these. They had hunted Wallace, had hounded down Bruce, and had ever
been prominent in fomenting dissensions in their country; the present
earl was probably the coldest and most treacherous of his race.

"We are told," he said sternly to the prisoner, "that you are a follower
of the man Charles; that you have been already engaged in plottings
among the good citizens of London, and we shrewdly suspect that your
presence here bodes no good to the state. What hast thou to say in thy
defense?"

"I do not know that I am charged with any offence," Harry said quietly.
"I am an English gentleman, who, wishing to avoid the disorders in his
own country, has traveled north for peace and quietness. If you have
aught to urge against me or any evidence to give, I shall be prepared to
confute it. As for the preacher, whose evidence has caused my arrest, he
hath simply a grudge against me for a boyish freak, from which he
suffered at the time when I made my escape from a guardroom in London,
and his accusation against me is solely the result of prejudice."

Harry had already, upon his arrival at the jail, been searched
thoroughly, having been stripped, and even the folds and linings of his
garments ripped open, to see that they contained no correspondence.
Knowing that nothing whatever could have been found against him, unless,
indeed, his followers had also fallen into the hands of the Roundheads,
Harry was able to assume a position of injured innocence.

"Your tone comports not with your condition," the Earl of Argyll said
harshly. "We have found means here to make men of sterner mold than
thine speak the truth, and in the interests of the state we shall not
hesitate to use them against you also. The torturer here hath
instruments which would tear you limb from limb, and, young sir, these
will not be spared unless that malapert tongue of thine gives us the
information we desire to learn."

"I decline to answer any questions beyond what I have already said,"
Harry replied firmly. "I tell you that I am an English gentleman
traveling here on my own private business, and it were foul wrong for me
to be seized and punished upon the suspicion of such a one as that man
there;" and he pointed contemptuously to the preacher.

"You will be brought up again in two days," the earl said, "and if by
that time you have not made up your mind to confess all, it will go hard
with you. Think not that the life of a varlet like you will weigh for
one moment in the scale with the safety of the nation, or that any
regard for what you may consider in England the usages of war will
prevail here."

He waved his hand, and Harry was conducted back to jail, feeling far
more uneasy than he had done, for he knew that in Scotland very
different manners prevailed to those which characterized the English. In
England, throughout the war, no unnecessary bloodshed took place, and up
to that time the only persons executed in cold blood had been the two
gentlemen convicted of endeavoring to corrupt the Parliament in favor of
the king. But in Scotland, where civil broils were constant, blood was
ever shed recklessly on both sides; houses were given to the flames;
men, women, and children slaughtered; lands laid waste; and all the
atrocities which civil war, heightened by religious bigotry, could
suggest, perpetrated.

Late that evening, the door of the prison opened, and a preacher was
shown into the room.

"I have come," he said in a nasal tone, "misguided young man, to pray
you to consider the wickedness of your ways. It is written that the
ungodly shall perish, and I would fain lead you from the errors of your
way before it is too late."

Harry had started as the speaker began; but he remained immovable until
the jailer closed the door.

"Jacob," he exclaimed, "how mad, how imprudent of you! I ordered you
specially, if I was arrested, to pay no heed, but to make your way
north."

"I know that you did," Jacob said. "But you see you yourself talked of
remaining for three days in Edinburgh. Therefore, I knew that there
could be no pressing need of my journey north; and hearing some
whispers of the intention of the lord president to extract from a
certain prisoner the news of a plot with which he was supposed to be
connected, I thought it even best to come and see you."

"But how have you obtained this garb?" Harry asked; "and how, above all,
have you managed to penetrate hither?"

"Truly," Jacob said, "I have undertaken a difficult task in thy behalf,
for I have to-night to enter into a disputation with many learned
divines, and I dread that more than running the risk of meeting the Earl
of Argyll, who, they say, has the face of a fox, and the heart of a
devil."

"What mean you?" Harry asked.

"After we saw you dragged off by the townsmen, on being denounced by
that little preacher whose hat I spoiled in St. Paul's churchyard, we
followed your orders, and made back to our hostelry. There William Long
and myself talked the matter over. In the first place, we took all the
papers and documents which were concealed about us, and lifting a board
in the room, hid them beneath it, so that in case of our arrest they
would be safe. As we took out the documents, the commission which we
borrowed from the preachers met our eyes, and it struck me that, armed
with this, we might be enabled to do you service. I therefore at once
purchased cloaks and hats fitting for us as worthy divines from London,
and then, riding a mile or two into the country, we changed our
garments, and entered the good city of Edinburgh as English divines. We
proceeded direct to the house of the chief presbyter, to whom the
letters of commission were addressed, and were received by him with open
arms. I trust that we played our part rarely, and, in truth, the
unctuousness and godliness of William Long passeth belief, and he plays
his part well. Looking as he does far older than I--although in these
days of clean-shaven faces I can make up rarely for thirty--he assumed
the leading part. The presbyter would fain have summoned a number of his
divines for a discussion this evening. But we, pleading fatigue, begged
him to allow us two days of rest. He has, however, invited a few of his
fellows, and we are to wrestle with them this evening in argument. How
we shall get out of it I know not, for my head is altogether in
ignorance of the points in issue. However, there was, among the
documents of the preachers, one setting forth the points in which the
practice of the sect in England and Scotland differed, with the heads of
the arguments to be used. We have looked through these, and, as well as
we could understand the jumble of hard words, have endeavored to master
the points at issue, so we shall to-night confine ourselves to a bare
exposition of facts, and shall put off answering the arguments of the
other side until the drawn battle, which will be fixed for the day after
to-morrow. By the way, we accounted for the absence of our colleague by
saying that he fell sick on the way."

"But what is the use of all this risk?" Harry asked, laughing at the
thought of his two followers discussing theology with the learned
divines of the Scotch Church.

"That, in truth," Jacob said, "I do not yet exactly see; but I trust
that to-morrow we shall have contrived some plan of getting you out of
this prison. I shall return at the same time to-morrow evening."

"How did you get in here?" he asked.

"I had an order from the chief presbyter for entry. Saying that I
believed I knew you, and that my words might have some effect in turning
you from the evil of your ways, I volunteered to exhort you, and shall
give such an account of my mission as will lead them to give me a pass
to see you again to-morrow night."

The following evening Jacob again called, this time accompanied by
William. They brought with them another dress similar to their own.
Their visit was an hour later than upon the preceding evening.

"I learned," Jacob said, "that the guard was changed at eight o'clock,
and it is upon this that the success of our scheme depends. William will
immediately leave, and as he has been seen to enter by the guards
without, and by those at the prison gate, he will pass out without
questioning. In half an hour a fresh guard will be placed at both these
points, and you and I will march out together, armed with permission for
two preachers to pass."

The scheme appeared a hopeful one, and William took his departure after
a few minutes, saying to the guards without that he went to fetch a book
of reference which he needed to convince the hard-hearted reprobate
within. He left the door partly ajar, and the guards without were
edified by catching snatches of a discourse of exceeding godliness and
unction, delivered by the preacher to the prisoner.

Presently a trampling without informed Harry and Jacob that the guard
was being changed, and half an hour later they opened the door, and
Jacob, standing for a moment as they went out, addressed a few words of
earnest exhortation to the prisoner supposed to be within, adjuring him
to bethink himself whether it was better to sacrifice his life in the
cause of a wicked king than to purchase his freedom by forsaking the
error of his ways, and turning to the true belief. Then, closing the
door after him, Jacob strode along, accompanied by Harry, to the
guardroom. They passed through the yard of the prison to the gate. There
Jacob produced his pass for the entrance and exit of two divines, and
the guard, suspecting no evil, at once suffered them to go forth.
William had already been to the inn where they stopped, and had told the
host that he was charged to examine the chamber where the persons who
abode there upon the previous day had stopped. There he had taken the
various documents from their hiding-place, and had made his way from the
city. Outside the gates he was joined by the others, and all, at a
speedy but still dignified pace, made their way to the spot where the
horses were concealed, in a little wood in a retired valley. Here they
changed their dress, and, making a bonfire of the garments which they
had taken off, mounted their Losses, and rode for the north.



CHAPTER XI.

MONTROSE.


They stopped for the night at a village fifteen miles away from
Edinburgh, and after they had had their supper Harry inquired of Jacob
how his dispute with the divines had passed off the evening before.

Jacob burst into a fit of laughter.

"It was the funniest thing you ever saw," he said, "Imagine a large
room, with the chief presbyter sitting at a table, and eight other men,
with sour countenances and large turned-down collars and bands, sitting
round it. William Long and I faced them at the other end, looking as
grave and sanctimonious as the rest of them. The proceedings were, of
course, opened with a lengthy prayer, and then the old gentleman in the
center introduced us as the commissioners from London. William rose, and
having got up by heart the instructions to the commissioners, he said
that he would first briefly introduce to his fellow divines the points
as to which differences appeared to exist between the Presbyterians of
the north and those of the south, and concerning which he was instructed
to come to an agreement with them. First, he gave a list of the points
at variance; then he said that he understood that these, quoting from
his document, were the views of his Scotch brethren; and he then
proceeded to give briefly the arguments with which he had been
furnished. He said that his reverend brother and himself were much
wearied with long travel, and that they would fain defer the debate for
another two days, but that in the meantime they would be glad to hear
the views of their friends. Then did one after another of these eight
worthy men rise, and for six mortal hours they poured forth their views.
I do not know whether it was most difficult to avoid laughter or
yawning; but, indeed, Master Harry, it was a weary time. I dared not
look at William, for he put such grave attention and worshipful
reverence on his face that you would have thought he had been born and
bred to the work. When the last of the eight had sat dawn he rose again,
and expressed a marvelous admiration of the learning and eloquence which
his brethren had displayed. Many of their arguments he said, were new to
him--and in this, indeed, I doubt not he spoke truth--and he perceived
that it would be hard to answer all that they had so learnedly adduced.
Upon the other hand, he had much to say; but he was willing to allow
that upon some points he should have difficulty in combating their
views. He prayed them, therefore, to defer the meeting for two days,
when he would willingly give them his views upon the subject, and his
learned brother would also address them. He proposed that the party
should be as small a one as that he saw before him, and that, after
hearing him, they should, if possible, come to some arrangement upon a
few, at least, of the points in dispute, so as to leave as small a number
as might be open to for the public disputation which would follow. The
worshipful party appeared mightily taken with the idea, and, after an
hour's prayer from the chairman, we separated. I hardly slept all night
for laughing, and I would give much to see the faces of that honorable
council when they hear that they have been fooled."

"You have both shown great wisdom, Jacob," Harry said, "and have behaved
in a sore strait with much judgment and discretion. It was lucky for you
that your reverend friend did not, among his eight champions, think of
inviting our little friend from London, for I fear that he would at once
have denounced you as not being the divines whose credentials you
presented."

"I was afraid of that," Jacob said, "and therefore begged him specially,
on this our first conference, to have only ministers of his own circle
present. He mentioned that one or two godly ministers from London were
present in the capital. I replied that I was well aware of that, but
that, as these men were not favored with the instructions of the
convention, and knew not the exact turn which affairs had taken up to the
period of my leaving, their presence might be an embarrassment--which,
indeed, was only the truth."

"We must make a circuit to-morrow," Harry said, "to avoid Stirling, and
will go round by Doune, and thence make for the north. Once among the
mountains we shall be safe from all pursuit, and from any interference
by the Roundheads, for I believe that the clans of this part are all in
favor of Montrose--Argyll's power lying far to the west."

"It will be a comfort," Jacob said, "not to be obliged to talk through
one's nose, and to cast one's eyes upward. I imagine that these
Highlanders are little better than savages."

"That is so," Harry said. "They are, I believe, but little changed since
the days when the Romans struggled with them, and could make no head
north of the Forth."

The next day, by a long circuit, they traveled round Stirling, and
reached the bridge of Doune, there crossing the Teith unquestioned. They
soon left the main road, and struck into the hills. They had not
traveled far when three strange figures suddenly presented themselves.
These men were clad in a garb which to the lads was strange and wild
indeed. The kilt, as worn by Highlanders on show occasions in the
present day is a garment wholly unlike that worn by their ancestors,
being, indeed, little more than a masquerade dress. The kilt of the old
time resembled indeed the short petticoat now worn by savage peoples. It
consisted of a great length of cloth wound round and round the loins,
and falling like a loose petticoat to the knees, a portion being brought
over one shoulder, and then wrapped round and round the body. It was
generally of dark material; the tartans now supposed to be peculiar to
the various clans being then unknown, or at least not worn by the common
people, although the heads of the clans may have worn scarfs of those
patterns. A Highland gentleman or chief, however, dressed in the same
garb as Englishmen--that is, in armor, with doublet and hose. His wild
followers lived in huts of the most primitive description, understood no
language but their own, obeyed the orders of their chiefs to the death,
and knew nothing either of kings or of parliaments. For arms these men
carried a broad target or shield made of bull's hide, and a broadsword
of immense length hanging behind them, the hilt coming above the
shoulder.

What they said the lads could not understand. But when Harry repeated
the word "Montrose," the Highlanders nodded, and pointed to signify that
the road they were pursuing was the right one, and two of them at once
set out with them as escorts.

For several days they traveled north, stopping at little groups of
cabins, where they were always received with rough hospitality, the
assertion of their guides that they were going to the great earl being
quite sufficient passport for them. Bannocks of oatmeal with collops,
sometimes of venison, sometimes of mountain sheep, were always at their
service, washed down by a drink new to the boys, and which at first
brought the water into their eyes. This was called usquebaugh, and had a
strange peaty flavor, which was at first very unpleasant to them, but to
which before they left Scotland they became quite accustomed. The last
two days they traveled upon broad roads again, and being now in a
country devoted to the Earl of Montrose, were under no apprehension
whatever of interference.

At last they reached the place where the earl was residing. His castle
differed in no way from those of the nobility of England. It was
surrounded by walls and towers, and had a moat and other means of
defense. The gate was guarded by men similar in appearance to their
guides, but dressed in better material, and with some attempt at
uniformity. Large numbers of these were gathered in the courtyard, and
among them were men-at-arms attired in southern fashion. The guides,
having performed their duty of conducting these strangers from the
borders of their country, now handed them over to an officer, and he,
upon learning their errand, at once conducted them to the earl.

Montrose was a noble figure, dressed in the height of the fashion of the
day. His face was oval, with a pointed mustache; long ringlets fell
round his head; and his bearing was haughty and majestic. He rose from
his chair and advanced a step toward them.

"Do I understand," he said, "that you are bearers of dispatches from his
gracious majesty?"

"We are, sir," Harry said. "The king was pleased to commit to me various
documents intended for your eye. We left him at Oxford, and have
journeyed north with as little delay as might be in these times. The
dispatches, I believe, will speak for themselves, I have no oral
instructions committed to me."

So saying, Harry delivered the various documents with which they were
charged. The earl instructed the officer to see that they were well
lodged and cared for, and at once proceeded to his private cabinet to
examine the instructions sent him by the king. These were in effect
that, so soon as the army of the convention moved south from Dundee, he
should endeavor to make a great raid with his followers upon the south,
specially attacking the country of Argyll, so as to create a diversion,
and, if possible, cause the recall of the Scotch army to defend their
own capital.

For some weeks the lads stopped with Montrose. They had been furnished
with garments suitable to their condition, and Harry was treated by the
earl with the greatest kindness and courtesy. He often conversed with
him as to the state of politics and of military affairs in England, and
expressed himself as sanguine that he should be able to restore the
authority of the king in Scotland.

"These sour men of the conventicles have ever been stiff-necked and
rebellious," he said, "and have enforced their will upon our monarchs. I
have not forgotten," he went on, striking the hilt of his sword angrily,
"the insults which were put upon Queen Mary when she was preached to and
lectured publicly by the sour fanatic Knox, and was treated, forsooth,
as if she had been some trader's daughter who had ventured to laugh on a
Sunday. Her son, too, was kept under the control of these men until he
was summoned to England. It is time that Scotland were rid of the
domination of these knaves, and if I live I will sweep them from the
land. In courage my wild men are more than a match for the Lowlanders.
It is true that in the old days the clans could never carry their forays
southward, for, unaccustomed to discipline and unprovided with horses or
even with firearms, they fared but badly when opposed to steel-clad men
and knights in armor. But I trust it will be different this time. I
cannot hope to infuse any great discipline among them. But they can at
least be caught to charge in line, and their broad claymores may be
trusted to hew a way for them through the lines of the Lowlanders. I
trust, above all things, that the king will not be persuaded to
negotiate with the traitors who are opposed to him. I know, Master
Furness, that, from what you have said, your views run not there with
mine, and that you think a compromise is desirable. But you do not know
these fanatics as I do. While they clamor for toleration, they are the
narrowest of bigots, and will themselves tolerate nothing. Already I
have news that the convention between the Scotch conventicle and the
English rebels is agreed to, and that an order has gone forth that the
Presbyterian rites are to be observed in all the churches of England.
They say that thousands of divines will be turned from their churches
and their places filled with ignorant fanatics, and this they call
religious liberty. Why, when Laud was in power his rule was as a silken
thread compared to the hempen rope of these bigots, and should the king
make terms with them, it will be only to rule henceforth at their
bidding, and to be but an instrument in their hands for enforcing their
will upon the people of these countries."

Much as Harry desired peace and leaned toward compromise, he saw that
there was much in what the earl said. All the accounts that reached them
from the youth told of the iron tyranny which was being exercised
throughout England. Everywhere good and sincere men were being driven
from their vicarages to live how best they might, for refusing to accept
the terms of the convention. Everywhere their places were filled with
men at once ignorant, bigoted, and intolerant; holy places were
desecrated; the cavalry of the Commons was stabled in St. Paul's; the
colored windows of the cathedrals and churches were everywhere
destroyed; monuments were demolished; and fanaticism of the narrowest
and most stringent kind was rampant.

During the time they spent at the castle the lads were greatly amused in
watching the sports and exercises of the Highlanders. These consisted in
throwing great stones and blocks of wood, in contests with blunted
claymores, in foot races, and in dances executed to the wild and strange
music of the bagpipes--music which Jacob declared was worse than the
caterwauling upon the housetops in Cheapside.

The lads had deferred their journey south owing to the troubled state of
the country, and the fact that the whole of the south of Scotland was in
the hands of the convention. They were therefore waiting an opportunity
for taking ship and traveling by sea into Wales, where the followers of
the king were in the ascendency. At length the earl told them that an
occasion offered, and that although he would gladly keep them by him to
accompany him when he moved south, if they considered that their duty
compelled them to leave he would place them on board a ship bound for
that destination. He did not furnish them with any documents, but bade
Harry repeat to the king the sentiments which he had expressed, which,
indeed, were but the repetition of loyal assurances which he had sent
south by a trusty messenger immediately upon their arrival at the
castle.

The boat in which they embarked was a small one, but was fast; which
proved fortunate, for they were twice chased by ships of the Parliament.
They landed, however, safely at Pembroke, and thence made their way
through the mountains of Wales to Hereford, and joined the king, who was
still at Oxford.

Events had traveled but slowly in England; the doings of the convention
being at that time of greater importance than those of the armies. On
the 19th of January the Scotch army had entered England, having marched
from Edinburgh through the snow. The Marquis of Newcastle was in winter
quarters at York. The town of Newcastle had held out successfully
against the Scots. The English regiments in Ireland had been recalled;
but had been defeated near Nantwich by Sir Thomas Fairfax. Negotiation
after negotiation between the king and the Parliament had failed, and
the king had issued writs for a Parliament to assemble at Oxford. This
met on the 22d of January, and forty-three peers and a hundred and
eighteen commoners had taken their place beside many absent with the
army. Of the peers a large majority were with the Royalist Parliament at
Oxford while at Westminster a majority of the members sent up by the
towns assembled. The Royalist Parliament was sitting at Oxford when
Harry arrived; but their proceedings had not upon the whole been
satisfactory to the king. They had, indeed, passed votes for the raising
of taxes and supplies; but had also insisted upon the king granting
several reforms. Charles, untaught by adversity, was as obstinate as
ever; and instead of using the opportunity for showing a fair
disposition to redress the grievances which had led to the civil war,
and to grant concessions which would have rallied all moderate persons
to his cause, he betrayed much irritation at the opposition which he met
with, and the convocation of Parliament, instead of bringing matters
nearer to an issue, rather heightened the discontents of the times. The
Parliament at Westminster, upon their side, formed a council, under the
title of the committee of the two kingdoms, consisting of seven lords,
fourteen members of the commons, and four Scottish commissioners, into
whose hands the entire conduct of the war, the correspondence with
foreign states, and indeed the whole executive power of the kingdom was
given.

The king received Harry with great condescension and favor, and heard
with satisfaction of the preparations which Montrose was making for an
invasion of the Lowlands of Scotland, and promised Sir Henry to bestow
the rank of knighthood upon his son as soon as he attained the age of
twenty-one.

For some weeks Harry resided with his father at Furness Hall. He then
fell back into Oxford upon the advance of an army from London destined
to besiege that town. This force was far greater than any that the king
could raise. It consisted of two separate forces, under the command of
Essex and Waller. Presently the town was besieged, and although the
walls were very strong, the attacking force was so numerous that
resistance appeared to be hopeless. On the night of the 3d of June the
king left the city secretly, attended only by two or three personal
friends, and passed safely between the two armies. These, instead of
acting in unison, in which case the besieging lines would have been
complete, and the king unable to leave the place, were kept apart by the
dissensions of their generals. A council of war took place, and Essex
determined to march to the west. The committee in London ordered him to
retrace his steps, and go in pursuit of the king, who had made for
Worcester. But Essex replied to the committee that he could not carry on
war in pursuance of directions from London, and that all military
discipline would be subverted if they took upon themselves to direct his
plans.

In the meantime, Waller, raising the siege of Oxford, tad gone in
pursuit of the king. Charles, seeing that his enemies were separated,
returned to Oxford, where he was received with great enthusiasm, and
the whole force there, marching out, fell upon Waller at Cropredy
Bridge, near Banbury, and defeated him. Having scattered the rebels
here, he turned his course west in pursuit of Essex, for his force was
sufficient to cope with either of the armies separately, although he had
been unable to meet them when united.

Harry and his father were not present at the battle of Cropredy Bridge,
having with their troops left Oxford on the approach of the Roundheads,
together with many other bodies of cavalry, as they could do no good in
the case of a siege, and were wanted in the north, where Rupert was on
his way to take the command. Joining his force, amounting in all to
twenty thousand men, they advanced toward York. Leaving the greater
portion of his army at a short distance away, Rupert entered York with
two thousand men. Newcastle was in favor of prudent steps, knowing that
dissensions existed in the Parliamentary army between the Scots and
their English allies. Prince Rupert, however, insisted that he had the
command of the king to fight at once, and so, with all the force he
could collect, advanced against the Scots. Newcastle was much offended
at the domineering manner and headstrong course of the prince and took
no part in the forthcoming battle, in which his military genius and
caution would have been of vast service to the royal cause.

On the 2d of July, having rested two days, the Royalist army marched out
against the Roundheads. The contending parties met on Marston Moor, and
it was late in the evening when the battle began. It was short but
desperate, and when it ended four thousand one hundred and fifty men had
been killed. Here, as in every other fight in which he was engaged, the
impetuosity of Prince Rupert proved the ruin of the Royalists. With his
cavaliers upon the right of the Royalist army, he charged the Scotch
horse, scattered them in every direction and rode after them, chasing
and slaying. The center of each army, composed of infantry, fought
desperately, and without much advantage to either side. But upon the
Royalist left the fate of the day was decided. There a new element was
introduced into the struggle, for the right of the Roundhead force was
commanded by Cromwell, who had raised and disciplined a body of cavalry
called the Ironsides. These men were all fanatics in religion and fought
with a sternness and vigor which carried all before them. In the eastern
counties they had already done great service; but this was the first
pitched battle at which they had been present. Their onslaught proved
irresistible. The Royalist cavalry upon the left were completely broken,
and the Roundhead horse then charged down upon the rear of the king's
infantry. Had Rupert rallied his men and performed the same service upon
the Parliament infantry, the battle might have been a drawn one; but,
intoxicated with victory, he was chasing the Scottish horse far away,
while Cromwell's Ironsides were deciding the fate of the battle. When he
returned to the field all was over. Fifteen hundred prisoners, all the
artillery, and more than a hundred banners had fallen into the hands of
the cavalry; and with the remnants of his army Prince Rupert retired
with all haste toward Chester, while Newcastle left York and embarked at
Scarborough for the Continent.

Colonel Furness' troop had been with the wing under Prince Rupert, and
deep indeed was their mortification when, upon returning to the field of
battle, they found that all was lost.

"Unless a very different discipline is introduced upon our side,"
Colonel Furness said to his son that night in York, "it is clear that
the king's cause is ruined. The Ironsides fight in a solid mass, and,
after having given a charge, they are ready at order to wheel about and
to deliver their attack wheresoever their general commands them. With
us, no sooner do we defeat the enemy than we break into confusion, each
man scatters in pursuit as if we were hunting a fox, and when at last we
draw rein, miles away from the battle, we ever find that upon our return
our footmen have been defeated. I fear much that Prince Rupert, with all
his bravery, is a hindrance rather than an aid to the Royal cause. His
counsels have always been on the side of resistance. He has supported
the king in his too obstinate insistance upon what he deems his rights,
while in the field his command is fatal to us. I fear, my boy, that the
struggle will end badly, and I foresee bad times for England, and for
all of us who have supported the cause of the king."

As the dispirited army marched back they received news which somewhat
raised their hearts. The king had marched after Essex into Cornwall, and
there had driven him into sore straits. He had endeavored to induce
Essex to make a general treaty of peace; but the earl replied that he
had no authority to treat, and that, even did he do so, the Parliament
would not submit to be bound by it. With a considerable portion of his
cavalry, he succeeded in passing through the Royal lines; but the whole
of the infantry under General Skippon were forced to capitulate, the
king giving them honorable terms, and requiring only the surrender of
the artillery, arms, and ammunition. The whole of the army returned as
scattered fugitives to London.

The king resolved again to march upon the capital. Montrose was now in
arms in Scotland, and had gained two considerable victories over the
Covenanters. The defeat at Marston had been outbalanced by the victories
over Waller and Essex, and the Scotch, alarmed by the successes of
Montrose, were ready to listen to terms, Steadily the king advanced
eastward, and at Newbury the armies again met. As upon the previous
occasion on that field, the battle led to no decisive results. Each side
fought stoutly, and at nightfall separated without achieving substantial
results. The king fell back upon Oxford, and the Parliament army upon
Readings and negotiations were once again renewed between king and
Parliament.



CHAPTER XII.

AN ESCAPE FROM PRISON.


There was no sadder or more gloomy face among the officers of the
Parliament than that of Herbert Rippinghall--sad, not from the sour
asceticism which distinguished the great portion of these officers, but
from his regrets over the struggle in which he was taking a part. While
Harry Furness saw much to find fault with in the conduct of many of his
fellows, and in the obstinacy with which the king refused to grant
concessions which might up to this time have restored peace to the land,
Herbert, on his side, was shocked at the violence and excessive demands
on the part of the Parliament, and at the rank hypocrisy which he saw
everywhere around him. Both lads still considered that the balance of
justice was on the side upon which they fought. But both, Herbert
perhaps because more thoughtful, therefore more strongly, saw that the
faults upon one side balanced those upon the other. Herbert had not
taken up the sword willingly, as Harry had done. He was by disposition
far less prone to adventure and more given to sober thought, and the
violence of his father and the bigoted opinions which he held had
repelled him from rather than attracted him toward the principles which
he advocated. When, however, the summons came from his father to join
him at Reading, with the rest of the hands employed in the business, he
did not hesitate. He still hoped that the pacific party in Parliament
would overcome the more violent, and that the tyranny of a small
minority toward which the country appeared to be drifting would be
nipped in the bud.

The divisions, indeed, in the Parliament were far greater than in the
councils of the king. Between the Independents and the Presbyterians a
wide gulf existed. The latter party, which was much the more numerous in
Parliament, and which had moreover the countenance and alliance of the
Scotch Presbyterians, viewed with the greatest jealousy the increasing
arrogance of the Independents and of the military party. They became
alarmed when they saw that they were rapidly drifting from the rule of
the king to that of Cromwell, and that while they themselves would be
satisfied with ample concessions and a certain amount of toleration, the
Independents were working for much more than this. Upon the Presbyterian
side, Lord Essex was regarded as their champion with the army, as
against Cromwell, Fairfax, and Ireton. So strong did the feeling become
that it was moved in the Commons "that no member of either House should,
during the war, enjoy or execute any office or command, civil or
military." A long and furious debate followed; but the ordinance was
passed by the Lower House, and went up to the Lords, and was finally
passed by them.

Now, however, occurred an episode which added greatly to the religious
hatred prevailing between the two parties, and shocked many of the
adherents of the Parliament by the wanton bigotry which it displayed.
Archbishop Laud had now lain for four years in prison, and by an
ordinance of Parliament, voted by only seven lords, he was condemned for
high treason, and was beheaded on the 10th of January. This cruel and
unnecessary murder showed only too plainly that the toleration which the
Dissenters had clamored for meant only toleration for themselves, and
intolerance toward all others; and a further example of this was given
by the passing of an ordinance forbidding the use of the Liturgy of the
Church of England in any place of worship in the country.

Rendered nervous by the increasing power of the Independents, the
majority in Parliament now determined to open fresh negotiations with
the king, and these offered a fairer prospect of peace than any which
had hitherto preceded them. Commissioners were appointed by Parliament
and by the king, and these met at Uxbridge, a truce being made for
twenty days. Had the king been endowed with any sense of the danger of
his position, or any desire to treat in a straightforward and honest
manner with his opponents, peace might now have been secured. But the
unfortunate monarch was seeking to cajole his foes rather than to treat
with them, and his own papers, afterward discovered, show too plainly
that the concessions which he offered were meant only to be kept so long
as it might please him. The twenty precious days were frittered away in
disputes. The king would grant one day concessions which he would
revoke the next. The victories which Montrose was gaining in the north
had roused his hopes, and the evil advice of his wife and Prince Rupert,
and the earnest remontrances which he received from Montrose against
surrendering to the demands of Parliament, overpowered the advice of his
wiser counselors. At the end of twenty days the negotiations ceased, and
the commissioners of Parliament returned to London, convinced that there
was no hope of obtaining a permanent peace with a man so vacillating and
insincere as the king.

Herbert had been with his father at Uxbridge, as the regiment of foot to
which he belonged was on guard here, and it was with a heavy heart that
he returned to London, convinced that the war must go on, but forboding
as great a disaster to the country in the despotism which he saw the
Independents would finally establish as in the despotism of King
Charles.

There was a general gloom in the city when the news of the unsuccessful
termination of the negotiations became known. The vast majority of the
people were eagerly desirous of peace. The two years which the war had
already lasted had brought nothing save ruin to trade and general
disaster, and the great body of the public who were not tinged with the
intense fanaticism of the Independents, and who did not view all
pleasure and enjoyment in life as sinful, longed for the merry old days
when Englishmen might smile without being accused of sin, and when life
was not passed solely in prayer and exhortation. Several small riots had
broken out in London; but these were promptly suppressed. Among the
'prentice boys, especially, did the spirit of revolt against the gloomy
asceticism of the time prevail, and there can be little doubt that if at
this period, or for a long time subsequent, the king could have appeared
suddenly in the city at the head of a few score troops, he would have
been welcomed with acclamation, and the great body of the citizens would
have rallied round him.

When the Parliament commissioners reached London Fairfax received his
commission as sole general of the army. The military services of
Cromwell were of such, importance that Fairfax and his officers urged
that an exception should be made to the ordinance in his case, and that
he should be temporarily appointed lieutenant-general and chief
commander of horse. The moderate party yielded to the demand of the
Independents. The Earls of Essex, Manchester, and Denbigh gave in their
resignations. Many of the more moderate advisers of Charles also
retired to their estates, despairing of a conflict in which the king's
obstinacy admitted of no hope of a favorable termination. They, too,
had, as much perhaps as the members of the recalcitrant Parliament,
hoped for reforms; but it was clear that the king would never consent to
reign except as an absolute monarch, and for this they were unprepared.
The violent party among the Cavaliers now ruled supreme in the councils
of Charles. For a short time the royal cause seemed in the ascendant.
Leicester had been taken by storm, Taunton was besieged, Fairfax was
surrounding Oxford, but was doing nothing against the town. On the 5th
of June he was ordered to raise the siege, and to go to the Midland
counties after the royal army. On the 13th Fairfax and Cromwell joined
their forces, and pursued the king, whom they overtook the next day near
Naseby.

Herbert had accompanied the army of Fairfax, and seeing the number and
resolution of the troops, he hoped that a victory might be gained which
would terminate for good and all this disastrous conflict. The ground
round Naseby is chiefly moorland. The king's army was drawn up a mile
from Market Harborough. Prince Rupert commanded the left wing, Sir
Marmaduke Langdale the right, Lord Ashley the main body. Fairfax
commanded the center of the Roundheads, with General Skippon under him.
Cromwell commanded the right and Ireton the left. Rupert had hurried on
with his horse in advance, and coming upon the Roundheads, at once
engaged them. So sudden was the attack that neither party had formed its
lines for battle, and the artillery was in the rear. Between the armies
lay a wide level known as Broadmoor. It was across this that Rupert had
ridden, and charging up the hill on the other side, fell upon the left
wing of Fairfax. Cromwell, upon the other hand, from the extreme right
charged down the hill upon Langdale's squadrons. Prince Rupert, as
usual, carried all before him. Shouting his battle cry, "Queen Mary," he
fell upon Ireton's left wing, and drove them from the field, chasing
them back to Naseby, where, as usual, he lost time in capturing the
enemy's baggage. Cromwell, with his Ironsides, upon the other hand, had
broken Langdale's horse and driven them from the field. In the center
the fight was hot. The king's foot had come up the hill and poured
volley after volley into the parliament ranks. Hand to hand the infantry
were fighting, and gradually the Roundheads were giving way. But now, as
at Marston, Cromwell, keeping his Ironsides well in hand, returned from
the defeat of Langdale's horse, and fell upon the rear of the Royalists.
Fairfax rallied his men as he saw the horse coming up to his assistance.
Rupert's troopers were far from the field, and a panic seizing the
king's reserve of horse, who had they charged might have won the day,
the Earl of Carnewarth, taking hold of King Charles' horse, forced him
from the field, and the battle ended, with the complete defeat of the
royal troops, before Rupert returned to the field of battle.

The Royalists lost in killed and prisoners five thousand men, their
twelve guns, and all their baggage train, and what was of even greater
importance, the king's private cabinet, which contained documents which
did more to precipitate his ruin even than the defeat of his army. Here
were found letters proving that while he had professed his desire to
treat, he had no intention of giving way in the slightest degree. Here
were copies of letters to foreign princes asking for aid, and to the
Papists in Ireland, promising all kinds of concessions if they would
rise in his favor. Not only did the publication of this correspondence
and of the private letters between the king and queen add to the
indignation of the Commons and to their determination to fight to the
bitterest end, but it disgusted and alienated a vast number of Royalists
who had hitherto believed in the king and trusted to his royal word.

Among the prisoners taken at Naseby was Harry Furness, whose troop had
been with Langdale's horse, and who, his charger having been shot, had
fallen upon the field, his head being cut by the sweep of the sword of a
Roundhead soldier, who struck at him as he was lying on the ground. Soon
after the battle, when it became known what prisoners had been taken, he
was visited by his friend Herbert.

"We are changing sides, Herbert," Harry said, with a faint smile. "The
last time we met you were nigh falling into the hands of the Royalists,
now I have altogether fallen into yours."

"Yes, and unfortunately," Herbert said, "I cannot repeat your act of
generosity. However, Harry, I trust that with this great battle the war
is nearly over, and that all prisoners now taken will speedily be
released. At any rate, I need not assure you that you will have my aid
and assistance in any matter."

The Parliamentary leaders did not allow the grass to grow under their
feet after Naseby. Prince Rupert, with considerable force, had marched
to Bristol, and Fairfax and Cromwell followed him there. A considerable
portion of the prisoners were sent to London, but some were retained
with the army. Among these was Harry Furness, whom it was intended to
confine with many others in some sure place in the south. Under a guard
they were conducted to Reading, where they were for awhile to be kept.
Essex and Cromwell advanced to Bristol, which they surrounded; and
Prince Rupert, after a brave defense, was forced to capitulate, upon
terms similar to those which had been granted by the king to the army
of Lord Essex the year before. In his conduct of the siege the prince
had certainly not failed. But this misfortune aroused the king's anger
more than the faults which had done such evil service on the fields of
Naseby and Marston, and he wrote to the prince, ordering him to leave
the kingdom at once.

It would have been well had King Charles here ceased the struggle, for
the cause of the Royalists was now hopeless. Infatuated to the last,
however, and deeming ever that the increasing contentions and ill-will
between the two parties in Parliament would finally end by one of them
bidding for the Royal support, and agreeing to his terms, the king
continued the contest. Here and there isolated affrays took place;
risings in Kent and other counties occurring, but being defeated
summarily by the vigor of Fairfax and his generals.

The time passed but slowly with Harry at Reading. He and his
fellow-prisoners were assigned quarters in a large building, under the
guard of a regiment of Parliament troops. Their imprisonment was not
rigorous. They were fairly fed and allowed exercise in a large courtyard
which adjoined the house. The more reckless spirits sang, jested, wrote
scurrilous songs on the Roundheads, and passed the time as cheerfully as
might be. Harry, however, with the restlessness of his age, longed for
liberty. He knew that Prince Charles was in command of the army in the
west, and he longed to join him and try once more the fortunes of
battle. The guard set round the building was close and vigilant, and the
chances of escape appeared small. Still, Harry thought that if he could
escape from an upper window on a dark night he could surely make his way
through the line of sentries. He had observed on moonlight nights the
exact position which each of these occupied. The intervals were short
between them; but it would be quite possible on a dark night for a
person to pass noiselessly without being perceived. The watch would have
been even more strict than it was, had not the Puritans regarded the
struggle as virtually at an end, and were, therefore, less careful as to
their prisoners than they would otherwise have been. Harry prepared for
escape by tearing up the blankets of his bed and knotting them into
ropes. A portion he wrapped round his shoes, so as to walk noiselessly,
and taking advantage of a dark, moonless night, when the fog hung thick
upon the low land round Reading, he opened his window, threw out his
rope, and slipped down to the ground.

So dark was the fog that it was difficult for him to see two paces in
advance, and he soon found that the careful observations which he had
taken of the place of the sentries would be altogether useless. Still,
in the darkness and thickness of the night, he thought that the chance
of detection was small. Creeping quietly and noiselessly along, he could
hear the constant challenges of the sentries round him. These, excited
by the unusual darkness of the night, were unusually vigilant. Harry
approached until he was within a few yards of the line, and the voices
of the men as they challenged enabled him to ascertain exactly the
position of those on the right and left of him. Passing between these,
he could see neither, although they were but a few paces on either hand,
and he would have got off unobserved had he not suddenly fallen into a
deep stream running across his way, and which in the darkness he did not
see until he fell into it. At the sound there was an instant challenge,
and then a piece was discharged. Harry struggled across the stream, and
clambered out on the opposite side. As he did so a number of muskets
were fired in his direction by the men who came rushing up to the point
of alarm. One ball struck him in the shoulder. The rest whizzed
harmlessly by, and at the top of his speed he ran forward.

He was now safe from pursuit, for in the darkness of the night it would
have been absolutely impossible to follow him. In a few minutes he
ceased running, for when all became quiet behind him, he could no longer
tell in what direction he was advancing. So long as he could hear the
shouts of the sentries he continued his way, and then, all guidance
being lost, he lay down under a hedge and waited for morning. It was
still thick and foggy; but wandering aimlessly about for some time, he
succeeded at last in striking upon a road, and judging from the side
upon which he had entered it in which direction Reading must lie, he
took the western way and went forward. The ball had passed only through
the fleshy part of his shoulder, missing the bone; and although it
caused him much pain, he was able, by wrapping his arm tightly to his
body, to proceed. More than once he had to withdraw from the road into
the fields beyond, when he heard troops of horse galloping along.

After a long day's walk he arrived near Abingdon, and there made for the
hall. Instead of going to the door he made for the windows, and, looking
in, saw a number of Roundhead soldiers in the hall, and knew that there
was no safety for him. As he glanced in one of the soldiers happened to
cast his eyes up, and gave a shout on seeing a figure looking in at the
window. Instantly the rest sprang to their feet, and started out to
secure the intruder. Harry fled along the road, and soon reached
Abingdon. He had at first thought of making for one of his father's
farms; but he felt sure that here also Roundhead troops would be
quartered. After a moment's hesitation he determined to make for Mr.
Rippinghall's. He knew the premises accurately, and thought that he
might easily take refuge in the warehouses, in which large quantities of
wool were wont to be stored. The streets were deserted, for it was now
late at night, and he found his way without interruption to the
wool-stapler's. Here he climbed over a wall, made his way into the
warehouse, and clambering over a large number of bales, laid himself
down next to the wall, secure from any casual observation. Here he went
off to sleep, and it was late next day before he opened his eyes. He was
nearly uttering an exclamation at the pain which his movement on waking
gave to his wounded arm. He, however, repressed it, and it was well he
did so, as he heard voices in the warehouse. Men were removing bales of
wool, and for some hours this process went on. Harry, being well back,
had little fear that he should be disturbed.

The hours passed wearily. He was parched and feverish from the pain of
his wound, and was unable to deliberate as to his best course. Sometimes
he dozed off into snatches of sleep, and after one of these he found
that the warehouse was again silent, and that darkness had set in. He
determined to wait at least for another day, and also that he would
early in the morning look out from the window before the men entered, in
hopes that he might catch sight of his old playfellow, Lucy, who would,
he felt sure, bring him some water and refreshment if she were able.
Accordingly, in the morning, he took his place so as to command a view
of the garden, and presently to his great surprise he saw Herbert, whom
he had believed with the army, come out together with Lucy. They had not
taken four paces in the garden when their attention was attracted by a
tap at the window, and looking up, they were astonished at beholding
Harry's pale face there. With an exclamation of surprise they hurried
into the warehouse.

"My dear Harry," Herbert exclaimed, "how did you get here? The troops
have been searching for you high and low. Your escape from Reading was
bruited abroad a few hours after it took place, and the party at the
hall having reported seeing some one looking in at the window, there was
no doubt felt that you had gained this neighborhood, and a close watch
has been kept. All your father's farms have been carefully examined, and
their occupants questioned, and the general belief is that you are still
hidden somewhere near."

"I got a ball through my shoulder," Harry said, "in making my way
through the sentries, and have felt myself unable to travel until I
could obtain some food. I thought that I should be safer from search
here, and believing you were away in the army, thought that your sister
would perhaps be moved by compassion to aid her old playfellow."

"Yes, indeed," the girl said; "I would have done anything for you,
Harry. To think of your being hidden so close to us, while we were
sleeping quietly. I will at once get you some food, and then you and
Herbert can talk over what is best to be done."

So saying she ran into the house, and returned in a few minutes with a
bowl of milk and some freshly made cakes, which Harry drank and ate
ravenously. In the meantime, he was discussing with Herbert what was the
best course to pursue.

"It would not be safe," Herbert said, "for you to try and journey
further at present. The search for you is very keen, and it happens,
unfortunately, that the officer in command here is the very man whose
face you sliced when he came to Furness Hall some two years back. It
would be a bad thing for you were you to fall into his hands."

Lucy at first proposed that Harry should be taken into the house, and
go at once to bed. She and Herbert would then give out that a friend had
arrived from a distance, who was ill, and, waiting upon him themselves,
should prevent suspicion being attracted. This, however, Herbert did not
think would be safe. It would be asked when the inmate had arrived, and
who he was, and why the servants should not, as usual, attend upon him.

"I think," he said, "that if to-night I go forth, having said at dinner
in the hearing of the servant that I am expecting a friend from London,
you can then join me outside, and return with me. You must crop off
those long ringlets of yours, and turn Roundhead for the nonce. I can
let you have a sober suit which was made for me when I was in London,
and which has not yet been seen by my servants. I can say that you are
in bad health, and this will enable you to remain at home, sleeping upon
a couch to nurse your shoulder."

"The shoulder is of no consequence," Harry said. "A mere flesh wound
like that would not detain me a way from the saddle. It is only the
fatigue and loss of blood, together with want of food, which has
weakened me."

As no other course presented itself this was followed. Harry remained
during the day in his 'place of concealment in the warehouse, and at
nightfall went out, and, being joined by Herbert, returned with him to
the house. The door was opened by Lucy and he entered unperceived by the
domestics. The first operation was to cut off the whole of his hair
close to his head. He was then attired in Herbert's clothes, and looked,
as Lucy told him, a quiet and decent young gentleman. Then he took his
place on a couch in the sitting-room, and Herbert rung for supper, which
he had ordered to be prepared for a guest as well as for Lucy and
himself.



CHAPTER XIII.

PUBLIC EVENTS.


For some days Harry remained quietly with his friend. He did not stir
beyond the door, although he had but little fear of any of his old
friends recognizing him. The two years which had passed since he was at
school had greatly changed his appearance, and his closely-cut hair, and
the somber and Puritanical cut of his garments so completely altered him
that it would have been a keen eye indeed which had recognized him when
merely passing in the street. A portion of each day he spent out in the
garden strolling with Lucy, or sitting quietly while she read to him.
The stiffness in his arm was now abating, and as the search for him had
to a great extent ceased, he intended in a short time to make for
Oxford.

The news from the various points at which the conflict still continued
was everywhere disastrous for the king. Montrose had been defeated. The
king, endeavoring to make his way north to join him, had been smartly
repulsed. The Royalists were everywhere disorganized and broken.
Negotiations were once again proceeding, and as the Scottish army was
marching south, and the affairs of the crown seemed desperate, there was
every hope that the end of the long struggle was approaching. Harry's
departure was hastened by a letter received by Herbert from his father,
saying that he had obtained leave from his regiment, and should be down
upon the following day.

"My father will not blame me," Herbert said, "for what I have done, when
he comes to know it. But I am rot sure that he would himself approve of
your remaining here. His convictions are so earnest, and his sense of
duty so strong, that I do not think he would harbor his nearest
relative, did he believe him to be in favor of the king."

Harry next morning mounted a horse of Herbert's and started to ride from
the town, after taking an affectionate farewell of his hosts. When two
miles out of Abingdon he suddenly came upon a body of Parliament horse,
in the leader of whom he recognized, by a great scar across his face,
the officer with whom he had fallen out at Furness Hall. Relying upon
his disguise, and upon the fact that it was only for a minute that the
officer had seen him, he rode quietly on.

"Whom have we here?" the Roundhead said, reining in his horse.

"My name is Roger Copley, and I am making my way from London to my
people, who reside in the west. There is no law, I believe, against my
so doing."

"There is no law for much that is done or undone," the Roundhead said.
"Malignants are going about the country in all sorts of disguises,
stirring up men to ungodly enterprises, and we cannot be too particular
whom we let pass. What hast thou been doing in London?"

"I have been serving my time as apprentice to Master Nicholas Fleming,
the merchant in velvets and silks in the Chepe."

"Hast thou any papers to prove thy identity?"

"I have not," Harry said; "not knowing that such were needed. I have
traveled thus far without interruption or question, and am surprised to
find hindrance upon the part of an officer of the Commons."

"You must turn your horse, and ride back with me into Abingdon," the
officer said. "I doubt me much that you are as you pretend to be.
However, it is a matter which we can bring to the proof."

Harry wondered to himself of what proof the matter was capable. But
without a word he turned his horse's head toward Abingdon. Scarcely a
word was spoken on the way, and Harry was meditating whether he should
say that he had been staying with his friend Herbert. But thinking that
this might lead the latter into trouble, he determined to be silent on
that head. They stopped at the door of the principal trader in the town
and the captain roughly told his prisoner to alight and enter with him.

"Master Williamson," he said, "bring out some pieces of velvet. This
man, whom I suspect to be a Cavalier in disguise, saith that he has been
an apprentice to Master Nicholas Fleming, a velvet dealer of London. I
would fain see how far his knowledge of these goods extends. Bring out
five or six pieces of various qualities, and put them upon your table
promiscuously, and not in order of value."

The mercer did as requested.

"These goods," he said, "were obtained from Master Fleming himself. I
bought them last year, and have scarce sold a piece of such an article
since."

Harry felt rather nervous at the thought of being obliged to distinguish
between the velvets, for although he had received some hints and
instructions from the merchant, he knew that the appearance of one kind
of velvet differed but slightly from that of the inferior qualities. To
his satisfaction, however, he saw at the end of the rolls the pieces of
paper intact upon which Master Fleming's private marks were placed.

"I need not," he said, "look at the velvets, for I see my master's
private marks upon them, and can of course tell you their value at
once."

So saying, from the private marks he read off the value of each roll of
velvet per yard, and as these tallied exactly with the amount which the
mercer had paid for them, no further doubts remained upon the mind of
the officer.

"These marks," he said to the mercer, "are, I suppose, private, and
could not be read save by one in the merchant's confidence?"

"That is so," the mercer replied. "I myself am in ignorance of the
meaning of these various symbols."

"You will forgive me," the Parliament officer said to Harry. "In these
times one cannot be too suspicious, and even the best friends of the
Commons need not grudge a little delay in their journeyings, in order
that the doings of the malignants may be arrested."

Harry in a few words assured the officer that he bore him no malice for
his arrest, and that, indeed, his zeal in the cause did him credit. Then
again mounting his horse, he quietly rode out of Abingdon. This time he
met with no difficulties, and an hour later entered Oxford.

Here he found his father and many of his acquaintances. A great change
had come over the royal city. The tone of boastfulness and anticipated
triumph which had pervaded it before the second battle of Newbury had
now entirely disappeared. Gloom was written upon all faces, and few
entertained any hopes of a favorable termination to their cause. Here a
year passed slowly and heavily. The great proportion of Sir Henry
Furness' troop were allowed to return to their farms, as at present
there was no occasion for their services in the field.

All this time the king was negotiating and treating; the Parliament
quarreling furiously among themselves. The war had languished
everywhere. In the west a rising had been defeated by the Parliament
troops. The Prince of Wales had retired to France; and there was now no
force which could be called an army capable of taking the field.

The bitterness of the conflict had for a long time ceased; and in the
general hope that peace was at hand, the rancor of Cavalier against
Roundhead softened down, A great many of the adherents of Charles
returned quietly to their homes, and here they were allowed to settle
down without interruption.

The contrast between this state of things and that which prevailed in
Scotland was very strong, and has been noted by more than one historian.
In England men struggled for principle, and, having fought the battle
out, appeared to bear but little animosity to each other, and returned
each to his own pursuits unmolested and unharmed. In Scotland, upon the
other hand, after the defeat of Montrose, large numbers of prisoners
were executed in cold blood, and sanguinary persecutions took place.

In Parliament the disputes between the Independents and Presbyterians
grew more and more bitter, the latter being strengthened by the presence
of the Scotch army in England. They were greatly in the majority in
point of numbers; but the Independents made up for their numerical
weakness by the violence of their opinions, and by the support of the
army, which was entirely officered by men of extreme views.

The king, instead of frankly dealing with the Commons, now that his
hopes in the field were gone, unhappily continued his intrigues, hoping
that an open breach would take place between the parties. On the 5th of
December he wrote to the speaker of the House of Lords, offering to send
a deputation to Westminster with propositions for the foundation of a
happy and well-grounded peace. This offer was declined, and he again
wrote, offering himself to proceed to Westminster to great in person.
The leaders of Parliament, and indeed with reason, suspected the
sincerity of the king. Papers had been found in the carriage of the
Catholic Archbishop of Tuam, who was killed in a skirmish in October,
proving that the king had concluded an alliance with the Irish rebels,
and that he had agreed, if they would land ten thousand men in England,
that popery should be re-established in Ireland, and the Protestants
brought under subjection. Letters which have since been discovered prove
that in January, 1646, while urging upon the Parliament to come to
terms, he was writing to the queen, saying that he was only deceiving
them. In his letter he said:

"Now, as to points which I expected by my treaty at London. Knowing
assuredly the great animosity which is betwixt the Independents and
Presbyterians, I had great reason to hope that one of the factions would
so address themselves to me that I might, without great difficulty,
obtain my so just ends, and, questionless, it would have given me the
fittest opportunity. For considering the Scots' treaty that would be
besides, I might have found means to put distractions among them, though
I had found none."

Such being the spirit that animated the king, there is little reason for
surprise that the negotiations came to nothing. The last hope of the
crown was destroyed when, on the 22d of March, Lord Astley, marching
from Worcester to join the king at Oxford, was defeated at Stow, in the
Wold, and the three thousand Cavaliers with him killed, captured, or
dispersed. Again the king sent a message to Parliament, offering to come
to Whitehall, and proposing terms similar to those which he had rejected
when the negotiators met at Uxbridge. His real object, however, was to
produce such an effect by his presence in London as would create a
reaction in his favor. Three days after he had sent this message he
wrote to Digby:

"I am endeavoring to get to London, so that the conditions may be such
as a gentleman may own, and that the rebels may acknowledge me king,
being not without hope that I shall be able so to draw either the
Presbyterians or Independents to side with me for exterminating the one
or the other, that I shall be really king again."

These offers were rejected by Parliament, and the army of Fairfax
advanced toward Oxford. In the meanwhile, Montreuil, a special
ambassador from France, bad been negotiating with the Scottish
commissioners in London to induce the Scots to take up the cause of the
king. He then proceeded to Edinburgh, and afterward to the Scotch army.
At first the Scotch were willing to receive him; but they perceived the
danger which would be involved in a quarrel with the English Parliament.
Already there were many causes of dispute. The army had not received the
pay promised them when they marched south, and being without money had
been obliged to live upon the country, creating great disorders and
confusion, and rendering themselves bitterly hated by the people. Thus
their answers continued to be ambiguous, making no absolute promise, but
yet giving a sort of encouragement to the king to place himself in their
hands.

Toward the end of April Fairfax was drawing so close around Oxford that
the king felt that hesitation was no longer possible, and accompanied
only by his chaplain, Dr. Michael Hudson, and by a groom of his
bedchamber, named Jack Ashburnham, he left Oxford at night, and after
many adventures arrived at the Scotch army, before Newark, where upon
his arrival "many lords came instantly to wait on his majesty, with
professions of joy to find that he had so far honored their army as to
think it worthy his presence after so long an opposition." Lord Leven,
however, who commanded the Scotch army, while receiving the king with
professions of courtesy and honor, yet gave him to understand that he
must in some way consider himself as a prisoner. The king, at the
request of the Scotch, signed an order to his governor of Newark, who
had been for months bravely holding out, to surrender the place, and
this having been done, the Scottish army with the king marched to
Newcastle.

After the king's surrender to the Scotch the civil war virtually ceased,
although many places still held out. Oxford, closely invested,
maintained itself until the 22d of June, when it capitulated to Fairfax,
upon the terms that the garrison "should march out of the city of Oxford
with their horses and complete arms that properly belong under them
proportionable to their present or past commands, flying colors,
trumpets sounding, drums beating, matches alight at both ends, bullets
in their mouths, and every soldier to have twelve charges of powder,
match and bullet proportionable." Those who desired to go to their
houses or friends were to lay down their arms within fifteen miles of
Oxford, and then to have passes, with the right of free quarter, and
those who wished to go across the sea to serve any foreign power were to
be allowed to do so. This surrender was honorable to both parties, and
upon the city being given up, the garrison marched out, and then
scattered to their various houses and counties, without let or
molestation from the troops of the Commons.

Harry Furness and his father had not far to go. They were soon installed
in their old house, where although some confusion prevailed owing to its
having been frequently in the occupation of bodies of Parliament troops,
yet the damage done was not serious, and in a short time it was
restored to its former condition. Several of the more valuable articles
were allowed to remain in the hiding-places in which they had been
concealed, as none could yet say how events might finally turn out. A
portion of the Parliamentary troops were also disbanded, and allowed to
return to their homes; among these were Master Rippinghall and his son,
and for some months matters went on at Abingdon as if the civil war had
never been. Harry often saw his friend Herbert; but so long as the king
remained in a doubtful position in the army of the Scots, no close
intercourse could take place between members of parties so opposed to
each other.

The time went slowly with Harry, for after the past three years of
excitement it was difficult to settle down to a quiet life at Furness
Hall. He was of course too old now for schooling, and the times were yet
too disturbed for men to engage in the field sports which occupy so
large a portion of country life. Colonel Furness, indeed, had determined
that in no case would he again take up arms. He was discontented with
the whole course of events, and foresaw that, with the unhappy temper of
the king, no favorable issue could possibly be looked for. He had done
his best, he said, for the crown and would do no more. He told his son,
however, that he should place no rein upon his inclinations should he
choose to meddle further in the matter. Harry would fain have gone
abroad, whither so many of the leading Cavaliers had already betaken
themselves, and entered the service of some foreign court for a few
years. But his father dissuaded him from this, at any rate for the
present.

"These delays and negotiations," he said, "cannot last forever. I care
not whether Presbyterians or Independents get the power over our
unhappy country. The Independents are perhaps the more bigoted; the
Presbyterians the more intolerant. But as the latter would certainly
respect the royal authority more than the former, whose rage appears to
me to pass the bounds of all moderation, I would gladly see the
Presbyterians obtain the upper hand."

For months the negotiations dragged wearily on, the king, as usual,
maintaining an indecisive attitude between the two parties. At length,
however, the negotiations ended in a manner which brought an eternal
disgrace upon the Scotch, for they agreed, upon the receipt of a large
sum of money as the deferred pay of the army, to deliver the king into
the hands of the English Parliament. A great convoy of money was sent
down from London, and the day that the cash was in the hands of the
Scots they handed over the king to the Parliamentary commissioners sent
down to receive him. The king was conducted to Holmby House, a fine
mansion within six miles of Northampton, and there was at first treated
with great honor. A large household and domestic servants were chosen
for him, an excellent stable kept, and the king was allowed a large
amount of personal liberty. The nobles and gentlemen of his court were
permitted to see him, and in fact he was apparently restored to his rank
and estate. The Presbyterian party were in power; but while they treated
the king with the respect due to his exalted station, they had no more
regard to the rights of his conscience than to those of the consciences
of the people at large. He desired to have chaplains of the Episcopal
church; but the Parliament refused this, and sent him two Presbyterian
ministers, whom the king refused to receive.

While King Charles remained at Holmby Parliament quarreled furiously.
The spirit of the Independents obtained a stronger and stronger hold
upon the army. Cromwell himself, with a host of others, preached
daily among them, and this general, although Fairfax was the
commander-in-chief, came gradually to be regarded as the leader of the
army. There can be no doubt that Cromwell was thoroughly sincere in his
convictions, and the charges of hypocrisy which have been brought
against him, are at least proved to be untrue. He was a man of
convictions as earnest as those of the king himself, and as firmly
resolved to override the authority of the Parliament, when the
Parliament withstood him.

Three days after the king arrived at Holmby House the Commons voted that
the army should be disbanded, with the exception of troops required for
the suppression of rebellion in Ireland, and for the service of the
garrisons. It was also voted that there should be no officers, except
Fairfax, of higher rank than colonel, and that every officer should take
the covenant and conform to the Presbyterian Church. A loan was raised
in the city to pay off a portion of the arrears of pay due to the army.
The sum, however, was insufficient, and there were great murmurings
among the men and officers. Fourteen of the latter petitioned Parliament
on the subject of arrears, asking that auditors should be appointed to
report on what was due to them, and laying down some conditions with
regard to their employment in Ireland. Five days afterward the House, on
receipt of this petition, declared that whoever had a hand in promoting
it, or any other such petition, was an enemy to the State, and a
disturber of the public peace. The army were furious at this
declaration. Deputations from them went to the House, and from the House
to the army. The Presbyterian members were highly indignant at their
pretensions, and Cromwell saw that the time was at hand when the army
would take the affair entirely into their hands. The soldiers organized
a council of delegates, called "Adjutators," to look after their rights.
The Parliament voted eight weeks' pay, and a committee went to the army
to see it disbanded. The army declined to disband, and said that eight
times eight weeks' pay was due. The feeling grew hotter and hotter, and
the majority in Parliament came to the conclusion that Cromwell should
be arrested. Cromwell, however, obtained word of what was intended, and
left London.

Upon the same day a party of soldiers went down to Holmby, and forcibly
carried off King Charles from the Parliamentary commissioners, the
troops stationed at Holmby fraternizing with their comrades. The king,
under the charge of these new guards, arrived at Royston on the 7th of
June, and Fairfax and Cromwell met him there. He asked if they had
commissioned Joyce, who was at the head of the party of men who had
carried him off, to remove him. They denied that they had done so.

"I shall not believe you," said the king, "unless you hang him."

And his majesty had good ground for his disbelief.

Cromwell returned to London and took his place in the House, and there
blamed the soldiers, protesting that he would stick to the Parliament;
but the same night he went away again down to the army, and there
declared to them the actions and designs of Parliament. Commissioners
came down on the 10th from the Commons; but the army formed up, and when
the votes were read, refused to obey them. The same afternoon a letter,
signed by Fairfax, Cromwell, Ireton, and ten other officers, was sent to
the city, stating that they were about to advance upon London, and
declaring that if the city did not take part against them "in their just
desires to resist that wicked party which would embroil us and the
kingdom, neither we nor our soldiers shall give you the least offense."
The army marched to St. Albans, and thence demanded the impeachment of
eleven members of the Commons, all leading Presbyterians. The city and
Parliament were in a state of consternation. The army advanced to
Uxbridge. It demanded a month's pay, and received it; but it continued
to advance. On the 26th of April Parliament gave way. The eleven members
retired from the House, the Commons passed a vote approving of the
proceedings of the army, and commissioners were appointed.

All this time the king was treated as honorably as he had been when at
Holmby House. He was always lodged at great houses in the neighborhood
of the army--at the Earl of Salisbury's, at Hatfield, when the troops
were at St. Albans, and at the Earl of Craven's, at Caversham, when the
army moved further back. And at both of these places he was allowed to
receive the visits of his friends, and to spend his time as he desired.

More critical times were now, however, at hand.



CHAPTER XIV.

LAST ATTEMPT TO RESCUE THE KING.


The king, after London had been overawed by the army, was lodged in
Hampton Court. At this time the feeling throughout England was growing
stronger and stronger in favor of the re-establishment of the monarchy,
It was now a year since, with the fall of Oxford, the civil war had
virtually concluded, and people yearned for a settled government and a
return to ancient usages and manners. The great majority of that very
Parliament which had withstood and conquered Charles were of one mind
with the people in general; but England was no longer free to choose for
itself. The army had won the victory for the Commons, and was determined
to impose its will upon the nation. At this time Cromwell, Ireton, and
Fairfax were disposed to an arrangement, but their authority was
overshadowed by that of the preachers, who, in their harangues to the
troops, denounced these generals as traitors, and then finding that they
were likely to lose their influence, and to become obnoxious to both
parties, henceforth threw their lot in with the army, and headed it in
its struggle with the Parliament. Even yet the long misfortunes which
Charles had suffered were insufficient to teach him wisdom. Had he now
heartily thrown himself into the hands of the moderate majority in
Parliament he might--aided by them and by the Scots, who, seeing that
the Independents were ignoring all the obligations which had been
undertaken by the Solemn League and government, were now almost openly
hostile to the party of the army--have again mounted the throne, amid
the joyful acclamations of the whole country. The army would have
fought, but Charles, with England at his back, would assuredly have
conquered. Unfortunately, the king could not be honest. His sole idea of
policy was to set one section of his opponents against the other. He
intrigued at once with the generals and with the Parliament, and had the
imprudence to write continually to the queen and others, avowing that he
was deceiving both. Several of these letters were intercepted, and
although desirous of playing off the king against the army, the Commons
felt that they could place no trust in him whatever; while the preachers
and the army clamored more and more loudly that he should be brought to
trial as a traitor.

Harry Furness had, after the fall of Oxford, remained quietly with his
father at Furness Hall. Once or twice only had he gone up to London,
returning with reports that the people there were becoming more and more
desirous of the restoration of the king to his rights. The great
majority were heartily sick of the rule of the preachers, with their
lengthy exhortations, their sad faces, and their abhorrence of amusement
of all kinds. There had been several popular tumults, in which the old
cry of "God save the king," had again been raised. The apprentices were
ready to join in any movement which might bring back the pleasant times
of old. Cavaliers now openly showed themselves in the streets, and
London was indeed ripe for an insurrection against the sovereignty which
the army had established over the nation. Had the king at this time
escaped from Hampton Court, and ridden into London at the head of only
twenty gentlemen, and issued a proclamation appealing to the loyalty of
the citizens, and promising faithfully to preserve the rights of the
people, and to govern constitutionally, he would have been received with
acclamation. The majority of Parliament would have declared for him,
England would have received the news with delight, and the army alone
would not have sufficed to turn the tide against him. Unhappily for
Charles, he had no more idea now than at the commencement of the war of
governing constitutionally, and instead thinking of trusting himself to
the loyalty and affection of his subjects, he was meditating an escape
to France. Harry received a letter from one of the king's most attached
adherents, who was in waiting upon him at Hampton, begging him to repair
there at once, as his majesty desired the aid of a few of those upon
whom he could best rely, for an enterprise which he was about to
undertake. Harry showed the letter to his father.

"You must do as you will, Harry," the colonel said. "For myself, I stick
to my determination to meddle no more in the broils of this kingdom.
Could I trust his Majesty, I would lay down my life for him willingly;
but I cannot trust him. All the misfortunes which have befallen him, all
the blood which has been poured out by loyal men in his cause, all the
advice which his best councilors have given him, have been thrown away
upon him. He is as lavish with his promises as ever, but all the time he
is intending to break them as soon as he gets ample chance. Were he
seated upon the throne again to-morrow, he would be as arbitrary as he
was upon the day he ascended it. I do not say that I would not far
rather see England under the tyranny of one man than under that of an
army of ambitious knaves; but the latter cannot last. The king's
authority, once riveted again on the necks of the people, might enslave
them for generations, but England will never submit long to the yoke of
military dictators. The evil is great, but it will right itself in
time. But do you do as you like, Harry. You have, I hope, a long life
before you, and 'twere best that you chose your own path in it. But
think it over, my son. Decide nothing to-night, and in the morning let
me know what you have determined."

Harry slept but little that night. When he met his father at breakfast
he said:

"I have decided, father. You know that my opinions run with yours as to
the folly of the king, and the wrongfulness and unwisdom of his policy.
Still he is alone, surrounded by traitors to whose ambition he is an
obstacle, and who clamor for his blood. I know not upon what enterprise
he may now be bent, but methinks that it must be that he thinks of an
escape from the hands of his jailers. If so, he must meditate a flight
to France. There he will need faithful followers, who will do their best
to make him feel that he is still a king who will cheer his exile and
sustain his hopes. It may be that years will pass before England shakes
off the iron yoke which Cromwell and his army are placing upon her neck.
But, as you say, I am young and can wait. There are countries in Europe
where a gentleman can take service in the army, and should aught happen
to King Charles there I will enroll myself until these evil days be all
passed. I would rather never see England again than live here to be
ruled by King Cromwell and his canting Ironsides."

"So be it, my son," the colonel said. "I do not strive to dissuade you,
for methinks had I been of your age I should have chosen the same.
Should your fortunes lead you abroad, as they likely will, I shall send
you a third of my income here. The rest will be ample for me. There will
be little feasting or merriment at Furness Hall until the cloud which
overshadows England be passed away, and you be again by my side. There
is little fear of my being disturbed. Those who laid down their arms
when the war ceased were assured of the possession of their property,
and as I shall draw sword no more there will be no excuse for the
Roundheads to lay hands on Furness Hall. And now, my boy, here are a
hundred gold pieces. Use them in the king's service. When I hear that
you are abroad I will write to Master Fleming to arrange with his
correspondents, whether in France or Holland, as you may chance to be,
to pay the money regularly into your hands. You will, I suppose, take
Jacob with you?"

"Assuredly I will," Harry said. "He is attached and faithful, and
although he cares not very greatly for the King's cause, I know he will
follow my fortunes. He is sick to death of the post which I obtained for
him after the war, with a scrivener at Oxford. I will also take William
Long with me, if he will go. He is a merry fellow, and has a wise head.
He and Jacob did marvelously at Edinburgh, when they cozened the
preachers, and got me out of the clutches of Argyll. With two such
trusty followers I could go through Europe. I will ride over to Oxford
at once."

As Harry anticipated, Jacob was delighted at the prospect of abandoning
his scrivener's desk.

"I don't believe," he said, when he had learned from Harry that they
were going to the king at Hampton, "that aught will come of these
plottings. As I told you when we were apprentices together, I love
plots, but there are men with whom it is fatal to plot. Such a one,
assuredly, is his gracious majesty. For a plot to be successful, all to
be concerned in it must know their own minds, and be true as steel to
each other. The King never knows his own mind for half an hour together,
and, unfortunately, he seems unable to be true to any one. So let it be
understood, Master Harry, that I go into this business partly from love
of you, who have been truly a most kind friend to me, partly because I
love adventure, and hate this scrivener's desk, partly because there is
a chance that I may benefit by the change."

Harry bade him procure apparel as a sober retainer in a Puritan family,
and join him that night at Furness Hall, as he purposed to set out at
daybreak. William Long also agreed at once to follow Harry's fortunes.
The old farmer, his father, offered no objection.

"It is right that my son should ride with the heir of Furness Hall," he
said. "We have been Furness tenants for centuries, and have ever fought
by our lords in battle. Besides, Master Harry, I doubt me whether
William will ever settle down here in peace. His elder brother will have
the farm after me, so it matters not greatly, but your wars and
journeyings have turned his head, and he thinks of arms and steel caps
more than of fat beeves or well-tilled fields."

The next morning, soon after daybreak, Harry and his followers left
Furness Hall, and arrived the same night at Hampton. Here they put up at
a hostelry, and Harry sent a messenger to Lord Ashburnham, who had
summoned him, and was in attendance upon the king, to say that he had
arrived.

An hour later Lord Ashburnham joined him. "I am glad you have come,
Master Furness," he said. "The king needs faithful servants; and it's
well that you have come to-day, as I have been ordered by those in power
to remove from the king's person. His majesty has lost all hope of
coming to an agreement with either party here. At one time it seemed
that Cromwell and Ireton were like to have joined him, but a letter of
the king's, in which he spoke of them somewhat discourteously, fell
into their hands, and they have now given themselves wholly over to the
party most furious against the king. Therefore he has resolved to fly.
Do you move from hence and take up your quarters at Kingston, where no
curious questions are likely to be asked you. I shall take lodgings at
Ditton, and shall there await orders from the king. It may be that he
will change his mind, but of this Major Legg, who attends him in his
bedchamber, will notify us. Our design is to ride to the coast near
Southampton and there take ship, and embark for France. It is not likely
that we shall be attacked by the way, but as the king may be recognized
in any town through which we may pass, it is as well to have half a
dozen good swords on which we can rely."

"I have with me," Harry said, "my friend Jacob, who was lieutenant in my
troop, and who can wield a sword well, and one of my old troopers, a
stout and active lad. You can rely upon them as on me."

Lord Ashburnham stayed but a few minutes with Harry, and then mounted
and rode to Ditton, while Harry the same afternoon journeyed on into
Kingston, and there took up his lodgings. On the 11th of November, three
days after their arrival, Harry received a message from Lord Ashburnham,
asking him to ride over to Ditton. At his lodgings there he found Sir
John Berkeley. Major Legg shortly after arrived, and told them that the
king had determined, when he went into his private room for evening
prayer, to slip away, and make for the river side, where they were to be
in readiness for him with horses. Harry had brought his followers with
him, and had left them at an inn while he visited Lord Ashburnham.
William Long at once rode back to Kingston, and there purchased two good
horses, with saddles, for the king and Major Legg. At seven in the
evening the party mounted, William Long and Jacob each leading a spare
horse. Lord Ashburnham and Sir John Berkeley joined them outside the
village, and they rode together until, crossing the bridge at Hampton,
they stopped on the river bank, at the point arranged, near the palace.
Half an hour passed, and then footsteps were heard, and two figures
approached. Not a word was spoken until they were near enough to discern
their faces.

"Thank God you are here, my Lord Ashburnham," the king said. "Fortune is
always so against me that I feared something might occur to detain you.
Ha! Master Furness, I am glad to see so faithful a friend."

The king and Major Legg now mounted, and the little party rode off.
Their road led through Windsor Forest, then of far greater extent than
at present. Through this the king acted as guide. The night was wild and
stormy, but the king was well acquainted with the forest, and at
daybreak the party, weary and drenched, arrived at Sutton, in Hampshire.
Here they found six horses, which Lord Ashburnham had on the previous
day sent forward, and mounting these, they again rode on. As the sun
rose their spirits revived, and the king entered into conversation with
Ashburnham, Berkeley, and Harry as to his plans. The latter was
surprised and disappointed to find that so hurriedly had the king
finally made up his mind to fly that no ship had been prepared to take
him from the coast, and that it was determined that for the time the
king should go to the Isle of Wight. The governor of the Isle of Wight
was Colonel Hammond, who was connected with both parties. His uncle was
chaplain to the king, and he was himself married to a daughter of
Hampden. It was arranged that the king and Major Legg should proceed to
a house of Lord Southampton at Titchfield, and that Berkeley and Lord
Ashburnham should go to the Isle of Wight to Colonel Hammond, to find
if he would receive the king. Harry, with his followers, was to proceed
to Southampton, and there to procure a ship, which was to be in
readiness to embark the king when a message was received from him.
Agents of the king had already received orders to have a ship in
readiness, and should this be done, it was at once to be brought round
to Titchfield.

"This seems to me," Jacob said, as, after separating from the king, they
rode to Southampton, "to be but poor plotting. Here has the king been
for three months at Hampton Court, and could, had he so chosen, have
fixed his flight for any day at his will. A vessel might have been
standing on and off the coast, ready to receive him, and he could have
ridden down, and embarked immediately he reached the coast. As it is,
there is no ship and no arrangement, and for aught he knows he may be a
closer prisoner in the Isle of Wight than he was at Hampton, while both
parties with whom he has been negotiating will be more furious than ever
at finding that he has fooled them. If I could not plot better than this
I would stick to a scrivener's desk all my life."

It was late in the afternoon when they rode into Southampton. They found
the city in a state of excitement. A messenger had, an hour before,
ridden in from London with the news of the king's escape, and with
orders from Parliament that no vessel should be allowed to leave the
port. Harry then rode to Portsmouth, but there also he was unable to do
anything. He heard that in the afternoon the king had crossed over onto
the Isle of Wight, and that he had been received by the governor with
marks of respect. They, therefore, again returned to Southampton, and
there took a boat for Cowes. Leaving his followers there, Harry rode to
Newport, and saw the king. The latter said that for the present he had
altogether changed his mind about escaping to France, and that Sir John
Berkeley would start at once to negotiate with the heads of the army. He
begged Harry to go to London, and to send him from time to time sure
news of the state of feeling of the populace.

Taking his followers with him, Harry rode to London, disguised as a
country trader. He held communication with many leading citizens, as
well as with apprentices and others with whom he could get into
conversation in the streets and public resorts. He found that the vast
majority of the people of London were longing for the overthrow of the
rule of the Independents, and for the restoration of the king. The
preachers were as busy as ever haranguing people in the streets, and
especially at Paul's Cross. In the cathedral of St. Paul's the
Independent soldiers had stabled their horses, to the great anger of
many moderate people, who were shocked at the manner in which those who
had first begun to fight for liberty of conscience now tyrannized over
the consciences and insulted the feelings of all others. Harry and his
followers mixed among the groups, and aided in inflaming the temper of
the people by passing jeering remarks, and loudly questioning the
statements of the preachers. These, unaccustomed to interruption, would
rapidly lose temper, and they and their partisans would make a rush
through the crowd to seize their interrogators. Then the apprentices
would interfere, blows would be exchanged, and not unfrequently the
fanatics were driven in to take refuge with the troops in St. Paul's.
Harry found a small printer of Royalist opinions, and with the
assistance of Jacob, strung together many doggerel verses, making a
scoff of the sour-faced rulers of England, and calling upon the people
not to submit to be tyrannized over by their own paid servants, the
army. These verses were then set in type by the printer, and in the
evening, taking different ways, they distributed them in the streets to
passers-by.

Day by day the feeling in the city rose higher, as the quarrels at
Westminster between the Independents, backed by the army and the
Presbyterian majority, waxed higher and higher. All this time the king
was negotiating with commissioners from the army, and with others sent
by the Scots, one day inclining to one party, the next to the other,
making promises to both, but intending to observe none, as soon as he
could gain his ends.

On Sunday, the 9th of April, Harry and his friends strolled up to Moor
Fields to look at the apprentices playing bowls there. Presently from
the barracks of the militia hard by a party of soldiers came out, and
ordered them to desist, some of the soldiers seizing upon the bowls.

"Now, lads," Harry shouted, "you will not stand that, will you? The
London apprentices were not wont to submit to be ridden rough-shod over
by troops. Has all spirit been taken out of you by the long-winded
sermons of these knaves in steeple hats?"

Some of the soldiers made a rush at Harry. His two friends closed in by
him. The two first of the soldiers who arrived were knocked down.
Others, however, seized the young men, but the apprentices crowded up,
pelted the soldiers with stones, and, by sheer weight, overthrew those
who had taken Harry and carried him off. The soldiers soon came pouring
out of their barracks, but fleet-footed lads had, at the commencement of
the quarrel, run down into the streets, raising the shout of "clubs,"
and swarms of apprentices came running up. Led by Harry and his
followers, who carried heavy sticks, they charged the militia with such
fury that these, in spite of their superior arms, were driven back
fighting into their barracks. When the gates were shut Harry mounted on
a stone and harangued the apprentices--he recalled to them the ancient
rights of the city, rights which the most absolute monarchs who had sat
upon the throne had not ventured to infringe, that no troops should pass
through the streets or be quartered there to restrict the liberties of
the citizens. "No king would have ventured so to insult the people of
London; why should the crop-haired knaves at Westminster dare to do so?
If you had the spirit of your fathers you would not bear it for a
moment."

"We will not, we will not," shouted the crowd. "Down with the soldiers!"

At this moment a lad approached at full run to say that the cavalry were
coming from St. Paul's. In their enthusiasm the apprentices prepared to
resist, but Harry shouted to them:

"Not here in the fields. Scatter now and assemble in the streets. With
the chains up, we can beat them there."

The apprentices gave a cheer, and, scattering, made their way from the
fields just as the cavalry issued into the open space. Hurrying in all
directions, the apprentices carried the news, and soon the streets
swarmed with their fellows. They were quickly joined by the watermen--in
those days a numerous and powerful body. These were armed with oars and
boat-stretchers. The chains which were fastened at night across the ends
of the streets were quickly placed in position, and all was prepared to
resist the attack of the troops.



CHAPTER XV.

A RIOT IN THE CITY.


So quickly were the preparations made that by the time the cavalry came
riding back from Moor Fields they found the way barred to them. The
commander of the cavalry ordered his men to charge. Harry, who had now
taken the command of the crowd, ordered a few of the apprentices to
stand before the first line of chains, so that these would not be
visible until the horses were close upon them. Behind the chains he
placed a strong body of watermen with their oars, while behind these,
and at the windows of the houses, were the apprentices, each armed with
a quantity of stones and broken bricks. The cavalry charged down upon
the defense. When they reached within a few yards of the apprentices in
front, these slipped under the chain. The leading troopers halted, but
were pressed by those behind them gainst the chain. Then a ram of stones
and brickbats opened upon them, and the watermen struck down men and
horses with their heavy oars. In vain the troopers tried with their
swords to reach their opponents. In vain they fired their pistols into
the mass. They were knocked down by the stones and brickbats in numbers,
and at last, their commander having been struck senseless, the rest drew
off, a tremendous cheer greeting their retreat, from the crowd.

"Now," Harry shouted, taking his position on a doorstep, whence he could
be seen, "attend to me. The battle has only begun yet, and they will
bring up their infantry now. Next time we will let them enter the
street, and defend the chains at the other end--a party must hold
these--do some of you fill each lane which comes down on either side,
and do ten of you enter each house and take post at the upper windows,
with a good store of ammunition. Do not show yourselves until the head
of their column reaches the chain. Then fling open the windows and pour
volleys of stones and bricks upon them. Then let those in the side
streets, each headed by parties of watermen, fall upon their flanks.
Never fear their musketry. They can only give fire once before you are
upon them. The oars will beat down the pikes, and your clubs will do the
rest. Now let the apprentices of each street form themselves into
parties, each under their captain. Let all be regular and orderly, and
we will show them what the Londoners can do."

With a cheer the crowd separated, and soon took post as Harry had
directed. He stationed himself at the barricade at the head of the
street. A quarter of an hour later the militia were seen approaching in
close column followed by the cavalry. On arriving at the end of the
street the assailants removed the chain, and again advanced. The street
was silent until they neared its end. The watermen had, under Harry's
direction, torn up the paving stones, and formed a barricade breast
high, behind which, remaining crouched, they awaited the assault.

The fight began by a volley of stones from the apprentices behind the
barricade. The leading rank of the column discharged their muskets, and
rushed at the barricade; the watermen sprang to oppose them. At the
sound of the first shot every window in the street opened, and a rain of
bricks and heavy stones poured down on all sides upon the column, while
at the same time dense masses flung themselves upon its flanks, from
every lane leading into it. Confused and broken by the sudden onslaught
in the narrow street, the column halted, and endeavored to open a fire
upon the upper windows. This, however, effected but little harm, while
every brick from above told upon their crowded mass. The column was
instantly in confusion, and Harry and his followers, leaping over the
barricade, and followed by the watermen and apprentices behind, fell
upon it with fury. In vain did the Roundheads strive to repulse the
attack. Their numbers melted away as they fell, killed or senseless,
from the rain of missiles from above. Already the column was rent by
their assailants on the flanks, and in less than five minutes from the
commencement of the assault those who remained on their legs were driven
headlong out into Moor Fields.

Loud rose the triumphant cry of the defenders, "God and King Charles."
Some hours elapsed before any attempt was made to renew the assault.
Then toward evening fresh troops were brought up from Westminster, and
the attack was renewed on two sides. Still the apprentices held their
own. Attack after attack was repulsed. All night the fight continued,
and when morning dawned the Royalists were still triumphant.

"How will it go, think you, Jacob?" Harry asked.

"They will beat us in the long run," Jacob said. "They have not been
properly led yet. When they are, guns and swords must prevail against
clubs and stones."

At eleven o'clock in the morning a heavy body of cavalry were seen
approaching from Westminster. The Roundheads had brought up Cromwell's
Ironsides, the victors in many a hard-fought field, against the
apprentice boys of London. The Roundhead infantry advanced with their
horse. As they approached the first barricade the cavalry halted, and
the infantry advanced alone to within thirty yards of it. Then, just as
its defenders thought they were going to charge, they halted, divided
into bodies, and entered the houses on either side, and appeared at the
windows. Then, as the Ironsides came down at a gallop, they opened a
heavy fire on the defenders of the barricade. Harry saw at once that the
tactics now adopted were irresistible, and that further attempts at
defense would only lead to useless slaughter. He therefore shouted:

"Enough for to-day, lads. Every man back to his own house. We will begin
again when we choose. We have given them a good lesson."

In an instant the crowd dispersed, and by the time the Ironsides had
dismounted, broken the chains, and pulled down the barricade
sufficiently to enable them to pass, Ludgate Hill was deserted, the
apprentices were back in their masters' shops, and the watermen standing
by their boats ready for a fare.

Seeing that their persons were known to so many of the citizens, and
would be instantly pointed out to the troops by those siding with the
army, who had, during the tumult, remained quietly in their houses,
watching from the windows what was going on, Harry and his friends
hurried straight to Aldersgate, where they passed out into the country
beyond. Dressed in laborers' smocks, which they had, in preparation for
any sudden flight, left at the house of a Royalist innkeeper, a mile or
two in the fields, they walked to Kingston, crossed the river there, and
made for Southampton.

The king was now closely confined in Carisbrook Castle. For the first
three months of his residence in the Isle of Wight he could have escaped
with ease, had he chosen, and it is probable that Cromwell and the other
leaders of the army would have been glad that he should go, and thus
relieve the country from the inconvenience of his presence. They had
become convinced that so long as he lived quiet could not be hoped for.
While still pretending to negotiate with them, he had signed a treaty
with the Scots, promising to establish Presbyterianism in England, and
their army was already marching south. To the Irish Papists he had
promised free exercise of their religion, and these were taking up arms
and massacring all opposed to them, as was the custom in that barbarous
country. In Wales a formidable insurrection had broken out. Essex and
Kent were up in arms, and, indeed, all through the country the Royalists
were stirring. The leaders had therefore determined upon bringing the
king to trial.

At Southampton Harry found Sir John Berkeley concealed in a house where
he had previously instructed Harry he might be looked for. He told him
that the king was now a close prisoner, and would assuredly escape if
means could be provided. Leaving Sir John, Harry joined his followers,
and after telling them the circumstances, they walked down to the port.
Here they entered into conversation with an old sailor. Seeing that he
was an honest fellow, and in no way disposed toward the fanatics, Harry
told him that he and those with him were Cavaliers, who sought to cross
over into France.

"There is a boat, there," the sailor said, pointing to a lugger which
was lying at anchor among some fishing boats, "that will carry you. The
captain, Dick Wilson, is a friend of mine, and often makes a run across
to France on dark nights, and brings back smuggled goods. I know where
he can be found, and will lead you to him, if it so pleases you." Upon
their gladly accepting the offer he led them to a small inn by the water
side, and introduced them to the captain of the Moonlight, for so the
lugger was called. Upon receiving a hint from the sailor that his
companions wished to speak to him in private, Wilson led the way
upstairs to the chamber he occupied. Here Harry at once unfolded to him
the nature of the service he required. He was to lay with his boat off
the bank of the island, making to sea before daylight, and returning
after dusk, and was to take his station off a gap in the cliffs, known
as Black Gang Chine, where a footpath from above descended to the beach.
Upon a light being shown three times at the water's edge he was to send
a boat immediately ashore, and embarking those whom he might find there,
sail for France. If at the end of the week none should come, he would
know that his services would not be required, and might sail away
whither he listed. He was to receive fifty guineas at once for the
service, and if he transported those who might come down to the shore,
to France, he would, on arriving there, be paid two hundred and fifty
more.

"It is the king, of course, who seeks to escape," the sailor said.
"Well, young gentlemen, for such I doubt not that you are, I am ready to
try it. We sailors are near all for the king, and the fleet last week
declared for him, and sailed for Holland. So, once on board, there will
be little danger. Pay me the fifty guineas at once, and you may rely
upon the Moonlight being at the point named."

Harry handed over the money, and arranged that on the third night
following the lugger should beat the post appointed, and that it should
at once run them across and land them at Cowes. It was now the middle of
May, and Harry and his friends, who were still in the disguise of
countrymen, walked across to Newport. Their first step was to examine
the castle. It lay a short distance from the town, was surrounded by a
high wall with towers, and could offer a strong resistance to an
attacking force. At the back of the castle was a small postern gate, at
which they decided that his escape must, if possible, be made. Harry had
been well supplied with money by Sir John Berkeley before leaving
Southampton, Sir John himself, on account of his figure being so well
known at Newport, during his stay there with the king, deeming it
imprudent to take any personal part in the enterprise. After an
examination of the exterior of the castle Harry bought a large basket of
eggs, and some chickens, and with these proceeded to the castle. There
was a guard at the gate, but persons could freely enter. As Harry's
wares were exceedingly cheap in price, he speedily effected a sale of
them to the soldiers and servants of the officers.

"I should like," he said to the man to whom he disposed of the last of
the contents of his basket, "to catch a sight of the king. I ha' never
seen him."

"That's easy enough," the man said. "Just mount these stairs with me to
the wall. He is walking in the garden at the back of the castle."

Harry followed the man, and presently reached a spot where he could look
down into the garden. The king was pacing up and down the walk, his head
bent, his hands behind his back, apparently in deep thought. An
attendant, a short distance behind him, followed his steps.

"Be that the king?" Harry asked. "He don't look like a king."

"That's him," the man said, "and he's not much of a king at present."

"Where does he live now?" Harry asked.

"That is his room," the man said, pointing to a window some ten feet
from the ground. After a little further conversation Harry appeared to
be satisfied, and returning to the courtyard, made his way from the
castle. During that day and the next they remained quiet, except that
Jacob walked over to Cowes, where he purchased two very fine and sharp
saws, and a short length of strong rope, with a hook. The following
night they hired a cart with a fast horse, and this they placed at a
spot a quarter of a mile from the castle.

Leaving the man in charge of it there, Harry and his companions made for
the back of the castle. They could tell by the calls upon the walls that
the sentries were watchful, but the night was so dark that they had no
fear whatever of being seen. Very quietly they crossed the moat, which
was shallow, and with but little water in it. Then with an auger they
cut four holes in a square two feet each way in the door, and, with a
saw, speedily cut the piece inclosed by them out, and creeping through,
entered the garden. The greater part of the lights were already
extinguished, but that in the king's chamber was still burning. They
made their way quietly until they stood beneath this window, and waited
until the light here was also put out. Then Harry climbed on to the
shoulders of his companions, which brought his face on a level with the
window. He tapped at it. The king, who had been warned that his friends
would attempt to open a means of escape, at once came to the window, and
threw open the casement.

"Who is there?" he asked, in low tones.

"It is I, Harry Furness, your majesty. I have two trusty friends with
me. We have cut a hole through the postern gate, a cart is waiting
without, and a ship lies ready to receive you on the coast."

"I am ready," the king said. "Thanks, my faithful servant. But have you
brought something to cut the bars?"

"The bars!" Henry exclaimed, aghast. "I did not know that there were
bars!"

"There are, indeed, Master Furness," the king said, "and if you have no
file the enterprise is ruined."

Harry put his hands on the stonework and pulled himself up, and felt the
bars within the window.

"They are too strong for our united strength," he said, in a tone of
deep disappointment. "But methinks it is possible to get between them."
Putting his head between the bars he struggled though, but with great
difficulty. "See, your majesty, I have got through."

"Ay, Master Furness, but you are slighter in figure than I, although you
are changed indeed since first the colonel, your father, presented you
to me at Oxford. However, I will try." The king tried, but in vain. He
was stouter than Harry, although less broadly built, and had none of the
lissomness which enabled the latter to wriggle through the bars. "It is
useless," he said at last. "Providence is against me. It is the will of
God that I should remain here. It may be the decree of Heaven that even
yet I may sit again on the throne of my ancestors. Now go, Master
Furness. It is too late to renew the attempt to-night. Should Charles
Stuart ever reign again over England, he will not forget your faithful
service."

Harry kissed the king's hand, and with a prayer for his welfare he again
made his way through the bars and dropped from the window, by the side
of his companions, the tears streaming down his cheeks with the
disappointment and sorrow he felt at the failure of his enterprise. "It
is all over," he said. "The king cannot force his way through the bars."

Without another word they made their way down to the postern, passed
through it, and replaced the piece of wood in its position, in the faint
hope that it might escape notice. Then they rejoined the driver with the
cart, paid him handsomely, and told him that his services would not be
required that night at least. They then returned to their lodgings in
the town. The next morning early Jacob started for Cowes to buy some
sharp files and aquafortis, but an hour later the news passed through
Newport that an attempt had been made in the night to free the king,
that a hole had been cut in the postern, and the marks of footsteps
discovered under the king's window. Perceiving that it would be useless
to renew the attempt now that the suspicions of the garrison were
aroused, Harry and William Long, fearing that a search would be
instituted, at once started for Cowes. They met Jacob close to that
town, crossed in a boat to the mainland, and walked to Southampton. They
hesitated whether they should join Lord Goring, who had risen in Kent,
or Lord Capel and Sir Charles Lucas, who had collected a large force at
Colchester. They determined upon the latter course, as the movement
appeared to promise a better chance of success. Taking passage in a
coaster, they sailed to the mouth of the Thames, and being landed near
Tilbury, made their way to Colchester. Harry was, on his arrival,
welcomed by the Royalist leaders, who were well acquainted with him.
They proposed to march upon London, which would, they felt sure, declare
for the king upon their approach. They had scarcely set their force in
motion when they heard that Fairfax, at the head of an army, was
marching against them. A debate was held among the leaders as to the
best course to pursue. Some were for marching north, but the eastern
counties had, from the commencement of the troubles, been wholly on the
side of the Parliament. Others were for dispersing the bands, and
awaiting a better opportunity for a rising. Sir Charles Lucas, however,
urged that they should defend Colchester to the last.

"Here," he said, "we are doing good service to the Royal cause, and by
detaining Fairfax here, we shall give time to our friends in Wales,
Kent, and other parts to rise and organize. If it is seen that whenever
we meet the Roundheads we disperse at once, hope and confidence will be
lost."

The next day the town was invested by Fairfax, and shortly after the
siege began in earnest. The Royalists fought with great bravery, and for
two months every attempt of the Roundheads to storm the place was
repulsed. At length, however, supplies ran short, several breaches had
been made in the walls by the Roundhead artillery, and a council of war
was held, at which it was decided that further resistance was useless,
and would only inflict a great slaughter upon their followers, who, in
the event of surrender, would for the most part be permitted to return
to their homes. Harry Furness was present at the council and agreed to
the decision. He said, however, that he would endeavor, with his two
personal followers, to effect his escape, as, if he were taken a
prisoner to London, he should be sure to be recognized there as the
leader of the rising in May, in which case he doubted not that little
mercy would be shown to him. The Royalist leaders agreed with him, but
pointed out that his chances of escape were small, as the town was
closely beleaguered. Harry, however, declared that he preferred the risk
of being shot while endeavoring to escape, to the certainty of being
executed if carried to London.

That night they procured some bladders, for although Jacob and Harry
were able to swim, William Long could not do so, and in any case it was
safer to float than to swim. The bladders were blown out and their necks
securely fastened. The three adventurers were then lowered from the wall
by ropes, and having fastened the bladders around them, noiselessly
entered the water. A numerous flotilla of ships and boats of the
Commons lay below the town; the tide was running out, however, and the
night dark, and keeping hold of each other, so as not to be separated by
the tide, they drifted through these unobserved. Once safely out of
hearing, Jacob and Harry struck out and towed their companion to shore.
While at Colchester they had been attired as Royalist officers, but they
had left these garments behind them, and carried, strapped to their
shoulders, above water, the countrymen's clothes in which they had
entered the town. They walked as far as Brentwood, where they stopped
for a few days, and learned the news of what was passing throughout the
country.

Colchester surrendered on the 27th of August, the morning after they
left it. Lord Capel was sent a prisoner to London to be tried for his
life; but Fairfax caused Sir Charles Lucas and Sir George Lisle to be
tried by court-martial, and shot. On the 10th of July the town and
castle of Pembroke had surrendered to Cromwell, who immediately
afterward marched north to meet the Scotch army, which six days before
had entered England. The Duke of Hamilton, who commanded it, was at once
joined by five thousand English Royalists under Sir Marmaduke Langdale.
General Lambert, who commanded the Parliamentary troops in the north,
fell back to avoid a battle until Cromwell could join him.

The Scotch army could not be called a national force. The Scotch
Parliament, influenced by the Duke of Hamilton and others, had entered
into an agreement with King Charles, and undertook to reinstate him on
the throne. The more violent section, headed by Argyll, were bitterly
hostile to the step. The Duke of Hamilton's army, therefore, consisted
entirely of raw and undisciplined troops. Cromwell marched with great
speed through Wales to Gloucester, and then on through Leicester and
Nottingham, and joined Lambert at Barnet Castle on the 12th of August.
Then he marched against the Scotch army, which, straggling widely and
thinking Cromwell still at a distance, was advancing toward Manchester.
On the 16th the duke with his advanced guard was at Preston, with
Langdale on his left. Cromwell attacked Langdale with his whole force
next morning, and the Royalists after fighting stoutly were entirely
defeated. Then he fell upon the Duke of Hamilton and the force under him
at Preston, and after four hours' sharp fighting in the inclosures round
the place, defeated and drove them out of the town. That night the Scots
determined to retreat, and at once began to scatter. General Baillie,
after some hard fighting around Warrington, surrendered with his
division. The duke with three thousand men went to Nantwich. The country
was hostile, his own troops, wearied and dispirited, mutinied, and
declared they would fight no longer; the Duke of Hamilton thereupon
surrendered, the Scotch invasion of England came to an end.



CHAPTER XVI.

THE EXECUTION OF KING CHARLES.


The news of the failure of the Welsh insurrection and the Scotch
invasion, while the risings in Kent and Essex were crushed out, showed
Harry Furness that, for the time at least, there was no further fighting
to be done. Cromwell, after the defeat of the Scotch, marched with his
army to Edinburgh, where he was received with enthusiasm by Argyll and
the fanatic section, who were now again restored to power, and
recommenced a cruel persecution of all suspected of Royalist opinions.
Now that the Scotch had been beaten, and the Royalist rising everywhere
crushed out, the Parliament were seized with fear as to the course which
Cromwell and his victorious army might pursue. If they had been so
arrogant and haughty before, what might not be expected now.
Negotiations were at once opened with the king. He was removed from
Carisbrook to a good house at Newport. Commissioners came down there,
and forty days were spent in prolonged argument, and the commissioners
returned to London on the 28th of November with a treaty signed. It was
too late. The army stationed at St. Albans sent in a remonstrance to
Parliament, calling upon them to bring the king to trial, and stating
that if Parliament neglected its duty the army would take the matter
into its own hands. This remonstrance caused great excitement in the
Commons. No steps were taken upon it however, and the Commons proceeded
to discuss the treaty, and voted that the king's concessions were
sufficient. On the 29th a body of soldiers went across to the Isle of
Wight, surrounded the king's house, seized him and carried him to Hurst
Castle. The next day Parliament voted that they would not debate the
remonstrance of the army, and in reply the army at Windsor marched on
the 2d of December into London. On the 5th the Commons debated all day
upon the treaty.

Prynne, formerly one of the stanchest opposers of King Charles, spoke
with others strongly in his favor, and it was carried by a hundred and
twenty-nine to thirty-eight. The same day some of the leaders of the
army met, and determined to expel from the house all those opposed to
their interests. On the 7th the Trained Bands of the city were withdrawn
from around the House, and Colonel Pride with his regiment of foot
surrounded it. As the members arrived forty-one of them were turned
back. The same process was repeated on the two following days, until
over a hundred members had been arrested. Thus the army performed a
revolution such as no English sovereign has dared to carry out. After
this it is idle to talk of the Parliament as in any way representing
the English people. The representatives who supported the king had long
since left it. The whole of the moderate portion of those who had
opposed him, that is to say, those who had fought to support the
liberties of Englishmen against encroachments by the king, and who
formed the majority after the Royalists had retired, were now expelled;
there remained only a small body of fanatics devoted to the interests of
the army, and determined to crush out all liberties of England under its
armed heel. This was the body before whom the king was ere long to
undergo the mockery of a trial.

King Charles was taken to Hurst Castle on the 17th of December, and
three days later carried to Windsor. On the 2d of January, 1649, the
Commons voted that in making war against the Parliament the king had
been guilty of treason, and should be tried by a court of a hundred and
fifty commissioners. The Peers rejected the bill, and the Commons then
voted that neither the assent of the Peers nor the king was necessary
for a law passed by themselves.

All the encroachments of King Charles together were as nothing to this
usurpation of despotic power.

In consequence of the conduct of the Peers, the number of commissioners
was reduced to a hundred and thirty-five; but of these only sixty-nine
assembled at the trial. Thus the court which was to try the king
consisted only of those who were already pledged to destroy him. Before
such a court as this there could be but one end to the trial. When,
after deciding upon their sentence, the king was brought in to hear it,
the chief commissioner told him that the charges were brought against
him in the name of the people of England, when Lady Fairfax from the
gallery cried out, "It's a lie! Not one-half of them." Had she said not
one hundredth of them, she would have been within the mark.

On the 27th sentence was pronounced. On the 29th the court signed the
sentence, which was to be carried out on the following day.

From the time when Harry Furness left Brentwood at the end of August
until the king was brought to London, he had lived quietly at
Southampton. He feared to return home, and chose this port as his
residence, in order that he might, if necessary, cross into France at
short notice. When the news came that the king had been brought up from
Windsor, Harry and his friends at once rode to London, Every one was so
absorbed in the great trial about to take place that Harry had little
fear of attracting attention or of being molested should any one
recognize in the young gentleman in sober attire the rustic who had led
the rising in the spring. To London, too, came many other Cavaliers from
all parts of the country, eager to see if something might not be
attempted to rescue the king. Throughout London the consternation was
great at the usurpation by the remnant of the Commons of all the rights
of the Three Estates, and still more, at the trial of the king. The
army, however, lay in and about London, and, with Cromwell at its head,
it would, the people felt, easily crush out any attempt at a rising in
the city. Within a few hours of his arrival in London, Harry saw that
there was no hope from any effort in this direction, and that the only
possible chance of saving the king was by his arranging for his escape.
His majesty, on his arrival from Windsor, had been lodged in St. James'
Palace, and as this was completely surrounded by the Roundhead troops,
there was no chance of effecting an invasion thence. The only possible
plan appeared to be a sudden attack upon his guards on his way to
execution.

Harry gathered round him a party of thirty Cavaliers, all men ready like
himself to sacrifice their lives for the king. Their plan was to gather
near Whitehall, where the execution was to take place, to burst through
the soldiers lining the way, to cut down the guards, and carry the king
to a boat in readiness behind Whitehall, This was to convey him across
to Lambeth, where fleet horses were to be stationed, which would take
him down to the Essex coast.

The plan was a desperate one, but it might possibly have succeeded,
could the Cavaliers have gained the position which they wished. The
whole of the army was, however, placed in the streets and passages
leading to Whitehall, and between that place and the city the cavalry
were drawn up, preventing any from coming in or going out. When they
found that this was the case, the Cavaliers in despair mounted their
horses, and rode into the country, with their hearts filled with grief
and rage.

On the 30th, an hour after the king's execution, proclamation was made
that whoever should proclaim a new king would be deemed a traitor, and a
week later, the Commons, now reduced to a hundred members, formally
abolished the House of Peers. A little later Lord Capel, Lord Holland,
and the Duke of Hamilton were executed.

Had the king effected his escape, Harry Furness had determined to return
to Abingdon and live quietly at home, believing that now the army had
grasped all power, and crushed all opposition, it was probable that they
would abstain from exciting further popular animosity by the persecution
of those who had fought against them. The fury, however, excited in his
mind by the murder of the king after the mockery of a trial, determined
him to fight to the last, wherever a rising might be offered, however
hopeless a success that rising might appear. He would not, however,
suffer Jacob and William Long any longer to follow his fortunes,
although they earnestly pleaded to do so. "I have no hope of success,"
he said. "I am ready to die, but I will not bring you to that strait. I
have written to my father begging him, Jacob, to receive you as his
friend and companion, and to do what he can, William, to assist you in
whatever mode of life your wishes may hereafter lead you to adopt. But
come with me you shall not."

Not without tears did Harry's faithful companions yield themselves to
his will, and set out for Abingdon, while he, with eight or ten comrades
as determined as himself, kept on west until they arrived at Bristol,
where they took ship and crossed to Ireland. They landed at Waterford,
and journeyed north until they reached the army, with which the Marquis
of Ormonde was besieging Dublin. Nothing that Harry had seen of war in
England prepared him in any way for the horrors which he beheld in
Ireland. The great mass of the people there were at that time but a few
degrees advanced above savages, and they carried on their war with a
brutal cruelty and bloodshed which could now only be rivaled in the
center of Africa. Between the Protestants and the English and Scotch
settlers on the one hand, and the wild peasantry on the other, a war of
something like extermination went on. Wholesale massacres took place, at
which men, women, and children were indiscriminately butchered, the
ferocity shown being as great upon one side as the other. In fact,
beyond the possession of a few large towns, Ireland had no claim
whatever to be considered a civilized country. As Harry and his comrades
rode from Waterford they beheld everywhere ruined fields and burned
houses; and on joining the army of the Marquis of Ormonde, Harry felt
even more strongly than before the hopelessness of the struggle on which
he was engaged. These bands of wild, half-clad kernes, armed with pike
and billhook, might be brave indeed, but could do nothing against the
disciplined soldiers of the Parliament. There were with Ormonde, indeed,
better troops than these. Some of the companies were formed of English
and Welsh Royalists. Others had been raised by the Catholic gentry of
the west, and into these some sort of order and discipline had been
introduced. The army, moreover, was deficient in artillery, and not more
than one-third of the footmen carried firearms. Harry was, a day or two
after reaching the camp of Lord Ormonde, sent off to the West to drill
some of the newly-raised levies there. It was now six years since he had
begun to take an active part in the war, and he was between twenty-one
and twenty-two. His life of active exertion had strengthened his
muscles, broadened his frame, and given a strength and vigor to his tall
and powerful figure.

Foreseeing that the siege of Dublin was not likely to be successful,
Harry accepted his commission to the West with pleasure. He felt already
that with all his devotion to the Royalist cause he could not wish that
the siege of Dublin should be successful; for he saw that the vast
proportion of the besieging army were animated by no sense of loyalty,
by no interest in the constitutional question at stake, but simply with
a blind hatred of the Protestant population of Dublin, and that the
capture of the city would probably be followed by the indiscriminate
slaughter of its inhabitants.

He set out on his journey, furnished with letters from Ormonde to
several influential gentlemen in Galway. The roads at first were fairly
good, but accustomed to the comfortable inns in England, Harry found the
resting-places along the road execrable. He was amused of an evening by
the eagerness with which the people came round and asked for news from
Dublin. In all parts of England the little sheets which then did service
as newspapers carried news of the events which were taking place. It is
true that none of the country population could read or write; but the
alehouses served as centers of news. The village clerk, or, perhaps, the
squire's bailiff, could read, as could probably the landlord, and thus
the news spread quickly round the country. In Ireland news traveled only
from mouth to mouth, often becoming strangely distorted on the way.

Harry was greatly struck by the bareness of the fields and the poverty
of the country; and as he journeyed further west the country became
still wilder and more lonely. It was seldom now that he met any one who
could speak English, and as the road was often little more than a track,
he had great difficulty in keeping his way, and regretted that he had
not hired a servant knowing the country before leaving the army. He
generally, however, was able to obtain a guide from village to village.
The loneliness of the way, the wretchedness of the people, the absence
of the brightness and comfort so characteristic of English life, made
the journey an oppressive one, and Harry was glad when, five days after
leaving Dublin, he approached the end of his ride. Upon this day he had
taken no guide, being told that the road was clear and unmistakable as
far as Galway.

He had not traveled many hours when a heavy mist set in, accompanied by
a keen and driving rain, in his face. With his head bent down, Harry
rode along, paying less attention than usual to his way. The mist grew
thicker and thicker. The horse no longer proceeded at a brisk pace, and
presently came to a stop. Harry dismounted, and discovered that he had
left the road, Turning his horse's head, and taking the reins over his
arm, he tried to retrace his steps.

For an hour he walked along, the conviction growing every moment that he
was hopelessly lost. The ground was now soft and miry and was covered
with tussocks of coarse grass, between which the soil was black and
oozy. The horse floundered on for some distance, but with such
increasing difficulty that, upon reaching a space of comparatively solid
ground, Harry decided to take him no further.

The cold rain chilled him to the bone, and after awhile he determined to
try and make his way forward on foot, in hopes of finding, if not a
human habitation, some walls or bushes where he could obtain shelter
until the weather cleared. He fastened the reins to a small shrub, took
off the saddle and laid it on the grass, spread the horse rug over the
animal to protect it as far as possible, and then started on his way. He
had heard of Irish bogs extending for many miles, and deep enough to
engulf men and animals who might stray among them, and he felt that his
position was a serious one.

He blamed himself now for not having halted immediately he perceived
that he had missed the road. The only guide that he had as to the
direction he should take was the wind. On his way it had been in his
face, and he determined now to keep it at his back, not because that was
probably the way to safety, but because he could see more easily where
he was going, and he thought by continuing steadily in one direction he
might at last gain firm ground. His view extended but a few yards round
him, and he soon found that his plan of proceeding in a straight line
was impracticable. Often quagmires of black ooze, or spaces covered with
light grass, which were, he found, still more treacherous, barred his
way, and he was compelled to make considerable detours to the right or
left in order to pass them. Sometimes widths of sluggish water were met
with. For a long time Harry continued his way, leaping lightly from tuft
to tuft, where the grass grew thickest, sometimes wading knee-deep in
the slush and feeling carefully every foot lest he should get to a depth
whence he should be unable to extricate himself. Every now and then he
shouted at the top of his voice, in hopes that he might be heard by some
human being. For hours he struggled on. He was now exhausted with his
efforts, and the thickening darkness told him that day was fading. From
the time he had left his horse he had met with no bush of sufficient
height to afford him the slightest shelter.

Just as he was thinking whether he had not better stop where he was,
and sit down on the firmest tuft he could find and wait for morning,
when perhaps the rainstorm might cease and enable him to see where he
was, he heard, and at no very great distance, the sudden bray of a
donkey. He turned at once in the direction of the sound, with renewed
hopes, giving a loud shout as he did so. Again and again he raised his
voice, and presently heard an answering shout. He called again, and in
reply heard some shouts in Irish, probably questions, but to these he
could give no answer. Shouting occasionally, he made his way toward the
voice, but the bog seemed more difficult and treacherous than ever, and
at last he reached a spot where further advance seemed absolutely
impossible. It was now nearly dark, and Harry was about to sit down in
despair, when suddenly a voice sounded close to him. He answered again,
and immediately a barefooted boy sprang to his side from behind. The boy
stood astonished at Harry's appearance. The latter was splashed and
smeared from head to foot with black mire, for he had several times
fallen. His broad hat drooped a sodden mass over his shoulders, the
dripping feather adding to its forlorn appearance. His high riding boots
were gone, having long since been abandoned in the tenacious ooze in
which they had stuck; his ringlets fell in wisps on his shoulder.

After staring at him for a minute, the boy said something in Irish.
Harry shook his head.

His guide then motioned him to follow him. For some time it seemed to
Harry that he was retracing his steps. Then they turned, and by what
seemed a long detour, at last reached firmer ground. A minute or two
later they were walking along a path, and presently stopped before the
door of a cabin, by which two men were standing. They exchanged a word
or two with the boy, and then motioned to Harry to enter. A peat fire
Was burning on the hearth, and a woman, whose age Harry from her aspect
thought must be enormous, was crouched on a low stool beside it. He
threw off his riding cloak and knelt by her, and held his hands over the
fire to restore the circulation. One of the men lighted a candle formed
of rushes dipped in tallow. Harry paid no heed to them until he felt the
warmth returning to his limbs. Then he rose to his feet and addressed
them in English. They shook their heads. Perceiving how wet he was one
of them drew a bottle from under the thatch, and pouring some of its
contents into a wooden cup offered it to him. Harry put it to his lips.
At first it seemed that he was drinking a mixture of liquid fire and
smoke, and the first swallow nearly choked him. However he persevered,
and soon felt the blood coursing more rapidly in his veins. Finding the
impossibilty of conversing, he again sat down by the fire and waited the
course of events. He had observed that as he entered his young guide
had, in obedience probably to the orders of one of the men, darted away
into the mist.

The minutes passed slowly, and not a word was spoken in the cottage. An
hour went by, and then a tramp of feet was heard, and, accompanied by
the boy, eight or ten men entered. All carried pikes. Between them and
the men already in the hut an eager conversation took place. Harry felt
far from easy. The aspect of the men was wild in the extreme. Their hair
was long and unkempt, and fell in straggling masses over their
shoulders. Presently one, who appeared to be the leader, approached
Harry, who had now risen to his feet, and crossed himself on the
forehead and breast. Harry understood by the action that he inquired if
he was a Catholic, and in reply shook his head.

An angry murmur ran through the men. Harry repressed his inclination to
place his hand on his pistols, which he had on alighting from his horse
taken from the holsters and placed in his belt. He felt that even with
these and his sword, he should be no match for the men around him. Then
he bethought of the letters of which he was a bearer. Taking them from
his pocket he held them out. "Ormonde," he said, looking at the men.

No gleam of intelligence brightened their faces at the word.

Then he said "Butler," the Irish family name of the earl. Two or three
of the men spoke together, and Harry thought that there was some
comprehension of his meaning. Then he read aloud the addresses of the
letters, and the exclamations which followed each named showed that
these were familiar to the men. A lively conversation took place between
them, and the leader presently approached and held out his hand.

"Thomas Blake, Killicuddery," he said. This was the address of one of
the letters, and Harry at once gave it him. It was handed to the boy,
with a few words of instruction. The lad at once left the hut. The men
seemed to think that for the time there was nothing more to be done,
laid their pikes against the wall, and assumed, Harry thought, a more
friendly aspect. He reciprocated their action, by unbuckling his belt
and laying aside his sword and pistols. Fresh peats were piled on the
fire, another candle was lit, and the party prepared to make themselves
comfortable. The bottle and wooden cup were again produced, and the
owner of the hut offered some black bread to his visitor.



CHAPTER XVII.

THE SIEGE OF DROGHEDA.


Under the influence of the warm, close air of the hut, and the spirits
he had taken, Harry soon felt drowsiness stealing over him, and the
leader, perceiving this, pointed to a heap of dried fern lying in the
corner of the hut. Harry at once threw himself on it, and in a very few
minutes was sound asleep. When he awoke daylight was streaming in
through the door of the hut. Its inmates were for the most part sitting
as when he had last seen them, and Harry supposed that they had talked
all night. The atmosphere of the hut was close and stifling, and Harry
was glad to go to the door and breathe the fresh air outside.

The weather had changed, and the sun, which had just risen, was shining
brightly. The hut stood at the foot of a long range of stony hills,
while in front stretched, as far as the eye could see, an expanse of
brown bog. A bridle path ran along at the foot of the hills. An hour
later two figures were seen approaching along this. The one was a
mounted horseman, the other running in front of him, at a long, easy
trot, was Harry's guide of the preceding evening.

On reaching the cottage the gentleman on horseback alighted, and,
advancing to Harry, said:

"Captain Furness, I am heartily sorry to hear that you have had what
must have been a disagreeable adventure. The lad here who brought your
letter told me that you were regarded as a prisoner, and considered to
be a Protestant emissary. I am Tom Blake, and I live nearly twenty miles
from here. That is the reason why I was not here sooner. I was keeping
it up with some friends last night, and had just gone to bed when the
messenger arrived, and my foolish servants pretended I was too drunk to
be woke. However, when they did rouse me, I started at once."

"And has that boy gone forty miles on foot since last night?" Harry
asked, in surprise.

"Oh, that's nothing," Mr. Blake said. "Give him half an hour's rest, and
he'd keep up with us back to Killicuddery. But where is your horse, and
how did you get into this mess? The boy tells me he found you in the
bog."

Harry related his adventures.

"You have had a lucky escape indeed," Mr. Blake said. "There are places
in that bog thirty feet deep. I would not try to cross it for a thousand
pounds on a bright day, and how you managed to do so through the mist
yesterday is more than I can imagine. Now, the first thing is to get
your horse. I must apologize for not having brought one, but the fact
is, my head was not exactly clear when I started, and I had not taken in
the fact that you'd arrived on foot. My servant was more thoughtful. He
had heard from the boy that an English gentleman was here, and judging
that the larder was not likely to be stocked, he put a couple of bottles
of claret, a cold chicken, and some bread into my wallet, so we can have
breakfast while they are looking for your horse. The ride has sharpened
my appetite."

Mr. Blake now addressed a few words in Irish to the men clustered round
the door of the hut. One of them climbed to the top of the hill, and
presently shouted down some instructions, and another at once started
across the bog.

"They see your horse," Mr. Blake said, "but we shall have to wait for
two or three hours. It is some four miles off, and they will have to
make a long detour to bring it back."

Mr. Blake now distributed some silver among the men, and these, with the
exception of the master of the house, soon afterward left. Harry
heartily enjoyed his breakfast, and in cheery chat with his host the
time passed pleasantly until the peasant returned with the horse and
saddle. The horse was rubbed down with dry fern, and a lump of black
bread given him to eat.

"What can I do for the boy?" Harry asked. "I owe him my life, for I was
so thoroughly drenched and cold that I question whether I should have
lived till morning out in that bog."

"The boy thinks nothing of it," Mr. Blake said. "A few hundred yards
across the bog night or day is nothing to him."

Harry gave the lad a gold piece, which he looked at in wonder.

"He has never seen such a thing before," Mr. Blake laughed. "There,
Mickey," he said in Irish, "that's enough to buy you a cow, and you've
only got to build a cabin and take a wife to start life as a man."

The boy said something in Irish.

"I thought so," Mr. Blake laughed. "You haven't got rid of him yet. He
wants to go as your servant."

Harry laughed too. The appearance of the lad in his tattered garments
was in contrast indeed to the usual aspect of a gentleman's retainer.

"You'll find him useful," Mr. Blake said. "He will run errands for you
and look after your horse. These lads can be faithful to death. You
cannot do better than take him."

Mickey's joy when he was told that he might accompany the English
gentleman was extreme. He handed the money he had received to his
father, said a few words of adieu to him, and then started on ahead of
the horses.

"He had better wait and come on later," Harry said. "He must be utterly
tired now."

Mr. Blake shouted after the boy, who turned round, laughed, and shook
his head, and again proceeded on his way.

"He can keep up with us," Mr. Blake said. "That horse of yours is more
fagged than he is."

Harry soon found that this was the case, and it took them nearly four
hours' riding before they reached Killicuddery. Here a dozen barefooted
men and boys ran out at their approach, and took the horses. It was a
large, straggling house, as good as that inhabited by the majority of
English gentlemen, but Harry missed the well-kept lawn, the trim
shrubberies, and the general air of neatness and order to which he was
accustomed.

"Welcome to Killicuddery," Mr. Blake said, as he alighted. "Believe me,
Captain Furness, you won't find the wild Irish, now you are fairly among
them, such dreadful creatures as they have been described to you. Well,
Norah," he continued, as a girl some sixteen years of age bounded down
the steps to meet him, "how goes it with you this morning?"

"As well as could be expected, father, considering that you kept us
awake half the night with your songs and choruses. None of the others
are down yet, and it's past twelve o'clock. It's downright shameful."

"Norah, I'm surprised at you," Mr. Blake said, laughing. "What will
Captain Furness think of Irish girls when he hears you speaking so
disrespectfully to your father. This is my daughter Norah, Captain
Furness, who is, I regret to say, a wild and troublesome girl. This, my
dear, is Captain Furness, a king's officer, who has fought through all
the battles of the war."

"And who has lately been engaged in a struggle with an Irish bog," the
girl said, laughing, for Harry's gay dress was discolored and stained
from head to foot.

Harry laughed also.

"I certainly got the worst of that encounter, Miss Norah, as indeed has
been the case in most of those in which I have been engaged. I never
felt much more hopeless, when I thought I should have to pass the night
sitting on a tuft of grass with mud and mist all round me, except when I
was once nearly baked to death in, company with Prince Rupert."

"It must have been a large oven," the girl laughed; "but come in now. I
am sure you will both be ready for breakfast. But papa would keep you
chattering here all day if I would let him."

Mr. Blake, Harry soon found, was a widower, and his house was presided
over by his eldest daughter, Kathleen, to whom Harry was introduced on
entering the house. As it was now some hours since they had eaten the
food which Mr. Blake had brought, they were quite ready for another
meal, at which they were soon joined by six or eight other gentlemen,
who had been sleeping in the house. Breakfast over, Harry retired to his
room, put on a fresh suit from his wallet, and rejoined his companions,
when a sort of council of war was held. Harry learned that there was no
difficulty as to men, as any number of these could be recruited among
the peasantry. There was, however, an entire absence of any arms save
pikes. Harry knew how good a weapon are these when used by steady and
well-disciplined men. The matchlocks of those days were cumbrous arms,
and it was at the point of the pike that battles were then always
decided.

Mr. Blake begged Harry to make his house his headquarters during his
stay in the West, and the invitation was gladly accepted. The letters
of which he was the bearer were dispatched to their destinations, and a
few days after his arrival the recipients called upon him, and he found
himself overwhelmed with invitations and offers of hospitality. The time
therefore passed very pleasantly.

A few men were found in Galway who had served in the wars. These were
made sergeants of the newly raised regiment, which was five hundred
strong. This was not embodied, but five central places were chosen at a
distance from each other, and at these the peasants assembled for drill.
Several of the sons of the squires received commissions as officers, and
the work of drilling went on briskly, Harry superintending that at each
center by turns. In the evenings there were generally dinner parties at
the houses of one or other of the gentry, and Harry greatly enjoyed the
life. So some months passed.

In July the news came that the Earl of Ormonde's force outside Dublin
had been routed by the garrison, under General Jones, the governor, and
shortly afterward Harry received orders to march with the regiment to
join the earl, who, as the king's representative, forwarded him at the
same time a commission as its colonel, and the order to command it.

It was on the 13th of August that Harry with his force joined the army
of Ormonde, and the next day the news came that Cromwell had landed at
Dublin, and had issued a bloodthirsty proclamation against the Irish.
Harry was at once ordered to march with his regiment to Tredah, now
called Drogheda, a seaport about forty miles north of Dublin. At this
town Harry found in garrison twenty-five hundred English troops, under
the command of Sir Arthur Ashton, an old Royalist officer, he had lost a
leg in the king's service.

During the six months he had passed in the West Harry had found Mike an
in valuable servant. He had, of course, furnished him with decent suits
of clothes, but although willing to wear shoes in the house, nothing
could persuade Mike to keep these on his feet when employed without. As
a messenger he was of the greatest service, carrying Harry's missives to
the various posts as quickly as they could have been taken by a
horseman. During that time he had picked up a great deal of English, and
his affection for his master was unbounded. He had, as a matter of
course, accompanied Harry on his march east, and was ready to follow him
to the end of the world if need be.

The garrison of Drogheda employed themselves busily in strengthening the
town to the utmost, in readiness for the siege that Cromwell would, they
doubted not, lay to it. In September Cromwell moved against the place.
He was prepared to carry out the campaign in a very different spirit to
that with which he had warred in England. For years Ireland had been
desolated by the hordes of half-savage men, who had for that time been
burning, plundering, and murdering on the pretext of fighting for or
against the king. Cromwell was determined to strike so terrible a blow
as would frighten Ireland into quietude. He knew that mildness would be
thrown away upon this people, and he defended his course, which excited
a thrill of horror in England, upon the grounds that it was the most
merciful in the end. Certainly, nowhere else had Cromwell shown himself
a cruel man. In England the executions in cold blood had not amounted to
a dozen in all. The common men on both sides were, when taken prisoners,
always allowed to depart to their homes, and even the officers were not
treated with harshness. It may be assumed that his blood was fired by
the tales of massacre and bloodshed which reached him when he landed.
The times were stern, and the policy of conciliating rebels and
murderers by weak concessions was not even dreamed of. Still, no excuses
or pleas of public policy can palliate Cromwell's conduct at Drogheda
and Wexford. He was a student and expounder of the Bible, but it was in
the old Testament rather than the new that precedents for the massacre
at Drogheda must be sought for. No doubt it had the effect at the time
which Cromwell looked for, but it left an impression upon the Irish mind
which the lapse of over two centuries has not obliterated. The wholesale
massacres and murders perpetrated by Irishmen on Irishmen have long
since been forgotten, but the terrible vengeance taken by Cromwell and
his saints upon the hapless towns of Drogheda and Wexford will never be
forgotten by the Irish, among whom the "curse of Cromwell" is still the
deadliest malediction one man can hurl at another.

Cromwell's defenders who say that he warred mildly and mercifully in
England, according to English ideas, and that he fought the Irish only
as they fought each other, must be hard driven when they set up such a
defense. The fact that Murrogh O'Brien, at the capture of Cashel,
murdered the garrison who had laid down their arms, and three thousand
of the defenseless citizens, including twenty priests who had fled to
the cathedral for refuge, affords no excuse whatever for the
perpetration of equal atrocities by Cromwell, and no impartial historian
can deny that these massacres are a foul and hideous blot in the history
of a great and, for the most part, a kind and merciful man.

Upon arriving before Drogheda on the 2d of September Cromwell at once
began to throw up his batteries, and opened fire on the 10th. His
artillery was abundant, and was so well served that early the same
afternoon two practical breaches were made, the one in the east, in the
of St. Mary's Churchyard, the other to the south, in the wall of the
town. Sir Arthur Ashton had placed Harry in command at St. Mary's
Churchyard, and seeing that the wall would soon give way under the fire
of the enemy's artillery, he set his men to throw up an earthwork
behind.

Seven hundred of the Roundheads advanced to the assault, but so heavy
was the fire that Harry's troops poured upon them that they were forced
to fall back with great slaughter. At the other breach they were also
repulsed, but attacking again in great force they made their way in.
Near this spot was an ancient tumulus, called the Hill Mount. The sides
of this were defended by strong palisades, and here the Royalists,
commanded by Sir Arthur Ashton himself, opposed a desperate resistance
to the enemy. These, supported by the guns on the walls, which they
turned against the Mount, made repeated attacks, but were as often
repulsed. The loss, however, of the defenders was great, and seeing that
fresh troops were constantly brought against them they at last lost
heart and surrendered, on promise of their lives; a promise which was
not kept, as all were immediately massacred.

Up to this time Harry had successfully repulsed every attack made upon
the other breach, but at length the news of the Roundheads' success at
the Mount reached both assailants and defenders.

With exulting shouts the Roundheads poured over the wall. The garrison,
headed by Harry and the other officers, strove hard to drive them back,
but it was useless. Cromwell and Ireton were in the van of their troops,
and these, accustomed to victory, hewed their way through the ranks of
the besieged. Many of them lost heart, and, throwing down their arms,
cried for quarter. With shouts of "No quarter!" "Hew down the
Amalakites!" "Strike, and spare not!" the Roundheads cut down their now
defenseless foes. Maddened at the sight, the besieged made another
desperate effort at resistance, and for awhile fought so stoutly that
the Roundheads could gain no ground of them.

Presently, however, a party of the enemy who had forced their way over
the wall at another point took them in rear. Then the garrison fled in
all directions pursued by their victorious enemy, who slaughtered every
man they overtook. Mike had kept close to Harry through the whole of the
struggle. He had picked up a pike from a fallen man, and had more than
once, when Harry was nearly surrounded by his foes, dashed forward and
rid him of one of the most pressing. Seeing, by the general slaughter
which was going on, that the Roundhead soldiers must have received
orders from their general to give no quarter, Harry determined to sell
his life dearly, and rushed into a church where a score of the English
soldiers were taking refuge. The door was closed and barricaded with
chairs and benches, and from the windows the men opened fire upon the
Roundheads, who were engaged in slaying all--men, women and children,
without mercy. Soon, from every house around, a heavy fire was poured
into the church, and several of those within fell dead under the fire.
Under cover of this, the Roundheads attacked the door with axes. Many
were killed by the fire of the defenders, but as the door yielded, Harry
called these from their post, and with them ascended the belfry tower.
Here they prepared to fight to the last.

Looking from a window, Harry beheld a sight which thrilled him with
horror. Gathered round a cross, standing in an open space, were two
hundred women on their knees. Even while Harry looked a body of
Cromwell's saints fell upon them, hewing and cutting with their swords,
and thrusting with their pikes, and did not desist while one remained
alive. And these were the men who had the name of God ever on their
lips! When the dreadful massacre began Harry turned shuddering from the
window, and with white face and set teeth nerved himself to fight to the
last. Already the door had been beaten down, and the assailants had
streamed into the church. Then a rush of heavy feet was heard on the
stairs. Assembled round its top stood Harry and the twelve men
remaining. Each knew now that there was no hope of quarter, and fought
with the desperation of men who cared only to sell their lives dearly.
Fast as the Roundheads poured up the stairs, they fell, pierced by pike,
or shot down by musket ball. For half an hour the efforts continued, and
then the Roundheads, having lost over fifty men, fell back. Three times
during the day the attack was renewed, and each time repulsed with the
same terrible slaughter. Between the intervals the defenders could hear
the never-ceasing sound of musket and pistol firing, as house after
house, defended to the last by desperate men, was stormed; while loud,
even above the firing, rose the thrilling shrieks of dying women and
children.

In all the history of England, from its earliest times, there is no such
black and ghastly page as that of the sack of Drogheda. Even supposing
Cromwell's assertion that he wished only to terrify the Irish rebels to
be true, no shadow of an excuse can be pleaded for the massacre of the
women and children, or for that of the English Royalists who formed
five-sixths of the garrison.

All through the night occasional shrieks and pistol shots could be
heard, as the wretched people who had hidden themselves in closets and
cellars were discovered and murdered. No further assault was made upon
the church tower, nor was there any renewal of it next morning. As hour
after hour passed on Harry concluded that, deterred by the great loss
which his men had already sustained in endeavoring to capture the post,
Cromwell had determined to reduce it by starvation.

Already the defenders were, from the effects of exertion and excitement,
half-mad with thirst. As the day went on their sufferings became
greater, but there was still no thought of surrender. The next day two
of them leaped from the top of the tower and were killed by their fall.
Then Harry saw that it was better to give in.

"My lads," he said, "it is better to go down and die by a bullet-shot
than to suffer these agonies of thirst, with only death as the issue. We
must die. Better to die in our senses as men, than mad like wild beasts
with thirst. Mike, my lad, I am sorry to have brought you to this pass."

Mike put his parched lips to his master's hand.

"It is not your fault, master. My life is no differ to any."

The men agreed to Harry's proposal. There was a discussion whether they
should go down and die fighting, or not; but Harry urged upon them that
it was better not to do so. They were already weak with hunger and
thirst, and it would be more dignified to meet their fate quiet and
unresistingly. They accordingly laid by their arms, and, preceded by
Harry, descended the stairs.

The noise of their footsteps warned the soldiers in the church below of
their coming, and these formed in a semicircle round the door to receive
the expected onslaught. When they saw that the Royalists were unarmed
they lowered their weapons, and an officer said: "Take these men out
into the street, and shoot them there, according to the general's
orders."

Calmly and with dignity Harry marched at the head of his little party
into the street. They were ranged with their backs to the church, and a
firing party took their places opposite to them.

The officer was about to give the order, when a divine in a
high-steepled hat came up. He looked at the prisoners, and then rapidly
advanced between the lines and gazed earnestly at Harry.

"Is your name Master Purness?" he asked.

"I am Colonel Furness, an officer of his majesty Charles II.," Harry
said coldly. "What then?"

"I am Ebenezer Stubbs," the preacher said. "Do you not remember how
seven years ago you saved my life at the risk of your own in the streets
of Oxford? I promised you then that if the time should come I would do
as good a turn to yourself. Captain Allgood," he said, "I do beseech you
to stay this execution until I have seen the general. I am, as you know,
his private chaplain, and I am assured that he will not be wroth with
you for consenting to my request."

The influence of the preacher with Cromwell was well known, and the
officer ordered his men to ground arms, although they muttered and
grumbled to themselves at the prospect of mercy being shown to men who
had killed so many of their companions. A quarter of a hour later the
preacher returned with an order from the general for the prisoners to be
placed in durance.

"I have obtained your life," the preacher said, "but even to my prayers
the general will grant no more. You and your men are to be sent to the
Bermudas."

Although Harry felt that death itself would be almost preferable to a
life of slavery in the plantations, he thanked the preacher for his
efforts in his behalf. A week later Harry, with the eight men who had
taken with him, and twenty-seven others who been discovered in
hiding-places, long after the capture of the place, were placed on board
a ship bound for the Bermudas, the sole survivors of the garrison--three
thousand strong--and of the inhabitants of Drogheda.



CHAPTER XVIII.

SLAVES IN THE BERMUDAS.


The Good Intent, upon which Harry Furness with thirty-five other
Royalist prisoners were embarked, was a bark of two hundred tons. She
carried, in addition to the prisoners, sixty soldiers, who were going
out to strengthen the garrison of Barbadoes. The prisoners were crowded
below, and were only allowed to come on deck in batches of five or six
for an hour at a time. Four of them had died on the way, and the others
were greatly reduced in strength when they landed. As soon as they
reached Bermuda the prisoners were assigned as slaves to some of the
planters most in favor of the Commonwealth. Four or five were allotted
to each, and Harry having placed Mike next to him at the end of the
line, when they were drawn up on landing, they were, together with two
others of the soldiers who had defended the tower of Drogheda with him,
assigned to the same master.

"He is an evil-looking scoundrel," Harry said to the Irish boy. "He
looks even more sour and hypocritical than do the Puritans at home. We
have had a lesson of what their idea of mercy and Christianity is when
they get the upper hand. I fear we have a hard time before us, my lad."

The four prisoners were marched to the center of the island, which
seemed to Harry to be, as near as he could tell, about the size of the
Isle of Wight. Their new master rode in front of them, while behind
rode his overseer, with pistols at his holsters, and a long whip in his
hand. Upon their way they passed several negroes working in the fields,
a sight which mightily astonished Mike, who had never before seen these
black creatures. At that time the number of negroes in the island was
comparatively small, as the slave trade was then in its infancy. It was
the want of labor which made the planters so glad to obtain the services
of the white prisoners from England. Many of the slaves in the island
had been kidnaped as boys at the various ports in England and Scotland,
the infamous traffic being especially carried on in Scotland.

When they reached the plantation the horsemen alighted in the courtyard
of the residence, and the planter, whose name was Zachariah Stebbings,
told the overseer to take them to the slave quarters.

"You will have," he said harshly, "to subdue your pride here, and to
work honestly and hard, or the lash will become acquainted with your
backs."

"Look you here, Master Stebbings, if such be your name," Harry said, "a
word with you at the beginning. We are exiled to this place, and given
into servitude to you through no crime but that of having fought bravely
for his majesty King Charles. We are men who care not greatly for our
lives, and we four, with seven others, did, as you may learn, defend the
tower of Drogheda for two days against the whole army of Cromwell, and
did only yield to thirst, and not to force. You may judge then, of our
mettle from that fact. Now, hark you; having fallen into this strait, we
are willing to conform to our condition, and to give you fair and honest
work to the best of our powers; but mind you, if one finger be laid on
us in anger, if so much as the end of a whip touch one of us, we have
sworn that we will slay him so ventures, and you also, should you
countenance is, even though afterward we be burned at the stake for
doing it. That is our bargain; see you that you keep to it."

So stern and determined were Harry's words, so fierce and haughty his
tone, that the planter and his overseer both turned pale and shrank
back. They saw at once the manner of men with whom they had to deal, and
felt that the threat would be carried out to the fullest. Muttering some
inarticulate reply, the planter turned and entered the house, and the
overseer, with a dogged, crestfallen look, led the way to the slave
quarters. The place assigned to them was a long hut, the sides lightly
constructed of woven boughs, with a thick thatch overhead. Along one
side extended a long sloping bench, six feet wide. This was the bed of
the slaves.

An hour afterward the other inmates of the hut entered. They consisted
of four white men who had been kidnaped as boys, and two who had been
apprentices, sent out, as Harry soon learned, for their share in the
rising in the city, which he had headed. The negroes on the estate, some
twenty in number, were confined in another hut. There were, besides,
four guards, one of whom kept sentry at night over the hut, while
another with a loaded firearm stood over them while they worked. The
garrison of the island consisted, as Harry had learned before landing,
of two hundred and fifty soldiers, besides the militia, consisting of
the planters, their overseers and guards, who would number altogether
about five hundred men.

The next day the work in the fields began. It consisted of hoeing the
ground between the rows of young sugar canes and tobacco plants. The sun
was extremely powerful, and the perspiration soon flowed in streams from
the newcomers. They worked, however, steadily and well, and in a manner
which gave satisfaction even to their master and his overseer. Harry
had impressed upon his two men and Mike the importance of doing nothing
which could afford their employer a fair opportunity for complaint. He
would not, Harry felt sure, venture to touch them after the warning he
had given, but he might send one or all of them back to the town, where
they would be put to work as refractory slaves on the fortifications,
and where their lot would be far harder than it would be on the
plantation. He urged upon them above all things to have patience; sooner
or later the people of England would, he felt sure, recall the young
king, and then they would be restored to their country. But even before
that some mode of escape, either by ship, or by raising an insurrection
in concert with the white slaves scattered through the island, might
present itself.

The white slaves and negroes were kept as far as possible apart during
their work in all the plantations in the island. The whites were deemed
dangerous, and were watched with the greatest care. The blacks were a
light-hearted and merry race, not altogether discontented with their
position, and the planters did their utmost to prevent the white slaves
having communication with them, and stirring them up to discontent and
rebellion. At the same time they were not absolutely forbidden to speak.
Each slave had a small plot of ground assigned to him near the huts, and
on these, after the day's work was over, they raised vegetables for
their own consumption.

Mike, who, as a lad, was much less closely watched than the men, soon
made friends with the negroes. He was full of fun and mischief, and
became a prime favorite with them. He learned that at night, as no watch
was kept over them, they would often steal away and chat with the
negroes on other plantations, and that so long as there were no signs
of discontent, and they did their work cheerfully, the masters placed no
hindrance upon such meetings. Often at night, indeed, the sound of the
negro singing and music could be heard by the prisoners, the overseers
troubling themselves in no way with the proceedings of their slaves
after nightfall, so long as their amusements did not interfere with
their power of work next morning. Mike heard also that the treatment of
the slaves, both white and black, varied greatly on different
plantations, according to the nature of their masters. In some the use
of the lash was almost unknown, the slaves were permitted many
indulgences, and were happy and contented; while in others they were
harshly and cruelly treated. Mr. Stebbings was considered one of the
worst masters in the island, and, indeed, it was everywhere noticed that
the masters who most conformed to the usages and talk of the Puritans at
home were the most cruel taskmasters to their slaves. Many times Harry
Furness' blood boiled when he saw the lash applied to the bare shoulders
of the slaves, often, as it seemed to him, from pure wantonness on the
part of the overseer. But the latter never once ventured to touch Harry
or his three companions.

Through the negroes Mike learned that to each of the four plantations
adjoining their own four white prisoners had been assigned, and among
these, Harry found, on obtaining their names, were the other five
soldiers who had fought with him at Drogheda.

Mike soon took to going out at night with the negroes, making his way
through a small opening in the light wall of the hut. This was easily
closed up on his return, and by choosing a time when the sentry was on
the other side of the house, he had no difficulty in leaving or entering
unseen. By means of the negroes he opened up a communication with the
other soldiers, and informed them that Colonel Furness bade them hold
themselves in readiness when an opportunity for escape should arise. It
might be weeks or even months before this would come, but the signal
would be given by a fire burning at daybreak upon a hill at no great
distance from the plantation. He bade them use their discretion as to
taking any white slaves with them into their confidence. At nightfall,
after seeing the column of smoke, they were, as best they could, to make
their way from the huts, and meet in a clump of trees near the house of
Mr. Stebbings.

Harry had, indeed formed no distinct plan for escape; but he wished,
should an opportunity offer, to have such a body of men at hand as might
stand him in good stead.

One day, about a month after their arrival on the plantation, the
overseer brutally beat an old negro who was working next to Mike. The
old man resumed his work, but was so feeble that he in vain endeavored
to use his hoe, and the overseer struck him to the ground with the butt
end of his whip. Mike instinctively dropped his hoe and sprang to lift
the old man to his feet. The infuriated overseer, enraged at this
interference, brought down his whip on Mike's head and felled him by the
side of the negro. In an instant Harry sprang forward, armed with his
hoe; the overseer seeing him coming, retreated a step or two, drew his
pistol from his belt and fired--the ball flew close to Harry's ear, and
the latter, whirling his hoe round his head, brought it down with his
full strength upon that of the overseer; the man fell in his tracks as
if smitten with lightning. The guard ran up with his musket pointed, but
Harry's two companions also advanced, armed with their hoes, and the
guard, seeing that even if he shot one, he should assuredly be killed by
the others, took to his heels and ran off to the house. A minute later
Zachariah Stebbings with the four guards was seen running up to the
spot.

"What is this?" he exclaimed furiously. "Mutiny?"

"No, Master Stebbings," Harry said calmly. "We have, as you know, worked
honestly and well, but your brutal overseer has broken the agreement we
made, and struck this lad to the ground without any cause. I, of course,
carried out my part of the compact, though I doubt me the fellow is not
killed. His hat is a thick one, and may have saved his skull. You had
best leave matters alone. I and my three men are a match for you and
your guards, even though they have guns, and you best know if our
services are worth anything to you."

The planter hesitated. He was unwilling indeed to lose four of his best
slaves, and he knew that whether he attacked them now, or whether he
reported the case to the commandant of the island, he would assuredly do
this. After a moment's hesitation, he said:

"The fool has brought it on himself. Do you," turning to the guards,
"lift him up and carry him to the house, and let old Dinah see to his
head. It is an ugly cut," he said, leaning over him, "but will do him no
harm, though it will not add to his beauty."

The blow had indeed been a tremendous one, and had it alighted fairly on
the top of his head, would assuredly Lave cleft the skull, in spite of
the protection afforded by the hat. It had, however, fallen somewhat on
one side, and had shorn off the scalp, ear, and part of the cheek. It
was three weeks before the overseer again resumed his duty, and he cast
such a deadly look at Harry as assured him that he would have his life
when the occasion offered.

Two days later, when the planter happened to be in the field with the
overseer, two gentlemen rode from the house, where they had been to
inquire for him. The sobriety of their garments showed that they
belonged to the strictest sect of the Puritans.

"I have ridden hither," one said, with a strong nasal twang, "Zachariah
Stebbings, having letters of introduction to you from the governor.
These will tell that I am minded to purchase an estate in the island.
The governor tells me that maybe you would be disposed to sell, and that
if not, I might see the methods of work and culture here, and learn from
you the name of one disposed to part with his property."

At the first words of the speaker Harry Furness had started, and dropped
his hoe; without, however, looking round, he picked it up and applied
himself to his work.

"I should not be unwilling to sell," the planter answered, "for a fair
price, but the profits are good, and are likely to be better, for I hear
that large numbers of malignants, taken by the sword of the Lord
Cromwell at Dundalk and Waterford in Ireland, will be sent here, and
with more labor to till the fields, our profits will increase."

"I have heard," the newcomer said, "that some of the ungodly followers
of the man Charles have already been sent here."

"That is so," the planter agreed. "I myself, standing well in the favor
of the governor, have received four of them; that boy, the two men next
to him, and that big man working there. He is a noted malignant, and was
known as Colonel Purness."

"Truly he is a stalwart knave," the other remarked.

"Ay is he," the planter said; "but his evil fortune has not as yet
altogether driven out the evil spirit within him. He is a man of wrath,
and the other day he smote nigh to death my overseer, whose head is, as
you see, still bandaged up."

"Truly he is a son of Belial," the other argued, but in a tone in which
a close observer might have perceived a struggle to keep down laughter.
"I warrant me, you punished him heartily for such an outbreak."

"To tell you the truth," the planter said, "the man is a good workman,
and like to an ox in his strength. The three others were by his side,
and also withstood me. Had I laid a complaint before the governor they
would all have been shot, or put on the roads to work, and I should have
lost their labor. My overseer was in the wrong, and struck one of them
first, so 'twas better to say naught about the matter. And now will you
walk me to the house, where I can open the letter of the governor, and
talk more of the business you have in hand."

The instant the man had spoken Harry had recognized the voice of his old
friend Jacob, and doubted not, though he had not ventured to look round,
that he who accompanied him was William Long; and he guessed that
hearing he had been sent with the other captives spared at the massacre
of Drogheda to the Bermudas, they had come out to try and rescue him. So
excited was he at the thought that it was with difficulty he could
continue steadily at his work through the rest of the day. When at
nightfall he was shut up in the hut with his companions, he told them
that the Puritan they had seen was a friend of his own, a captain in his
troop, and that he doubted not that deliverance was at hand. He charged
Mike at once to creep forth to join the negroes, and to bid them tell
one of their color who served in the house to take an opportunity to
whisper to one of his master's guests--for he learned that they were
biding there for the night, "Be in the grove near the house when all are
asleep." The negroes willingly undertook the commission, and Mike
rejoined the party in the hut. Two hours later Harry himself crept out
through the hole, which they had silently and at great pains enlarged
for the purpose, and made his way round to the grove. There were still
lights in the house, and the negroes in their hut were talking and
singing. An hour later the lights were extinguished, and soon afterward
he saw a figure stealthily approaching.

"Jacob," he whispered, as the man entered the shelter of the trees, and
in another moment he was clasped in the arms of his faithful friend. For
some time their hearts were too full to speak, and then Harry leading
his companion to the side of the wood furthest from the house, they sat
down and began to talk. After the first questions as to the health of
Harry's father had been answered, Jacob went on:

"We saw by the dispatch of Cromwell to Parliament that the sole
survivors of the sack of Drogheda, being one officer, Colonel Furness, a
noted malignant, and thirty-five soldiers, had been sent in slavery to
the Bermudas. So, of course, we made up our minds to come and look after
you. Through Master Fleming I obtained letters, introducing to the
governor the worshipful Grace-be-to-the-Lord Hobson and Jeremiah
Perkins, who desired to buy an estate in the Bermudas. So hither we
came, William Long and I; and now, Harry, what do you advise to be done?
I find that the ships which leave the port are searched before they
leave, and that guards are placed over them while they load, to see that
none conceal themselves there, and I see not, therefore, how you can
well escape in that way. There seem to be no coasting craft here, or we
might seize one of these and make for sea."

"No," Harry replied. "They allow none such in the port, for fear that
they might be so taken. There are large rowing boats, pulled by twelve
slaves, that come to take produce from the plantations farthest from the
port round to ships there. But it would be madness to trust ourselves
to sea in one of these. We should either die of hunger and thirst, or be
picked up again by their cruisers. The only way would be to seize a
ship."

"That is what William Long and I have been thinking of," Jacob said.
"But there is a shrewd watch kept up, and the ships are moored under the
guns of the battery. We passed, on our way hither, a bark bringing a
number of prisoners taken at Waterford. She is a slow sailer, and, by
the calculations of our captain, will not arrive here for some days
yet."

"If we could intercept her," Harry said thoughtfully, "we might, with
the aid of the prisoners, overcome the guard, and then turning her head,
sail for Holland."

"That might be done," Jacob assented, "if you have force enough."

"I can bring forty men," Harry answered. "There are eight here, and we
have communication with those in the neighboring plantations, who are
ready to join me in any enterprise. That should be enough."

"It is worth trying," Jacob said. "I will hire a rowboat, as if to bring
round a cargo of sugar from this plantation to the port. I will station
a man on the highest point of the hills to give me notice when a sail is
in sight. He may see it thence forty miles away. The winds are light and
baffling, and she will make slow progress, and may bring up outside the
port that night, but assuredly will not enter until next morning. The
instant I know it is in sight I will ride over here, and William Long
will start with the barge from the port. When you see me come, do you
send round word to the others to meet at midnight on the beach, where
you will see the boat drawn up. Can you let your friends know speedily?"

"Yes," Harry replied. "My signal was to have been given at daybreak, but
I will send round word of the change of hour, and that if, when they
are locked up for the night, they see a fire burning on the point
agreed, they are to meet on the shore at midnight. Tell William Long to
haul the boat up, and let the rowers go to deep on the shore. We will
seize them noiselessly. Then we will row along the shore till off the
port, and at first daybreak out to the ship if she be at anchor, or away
to meet her if she be not yet come. They will think that we bear a
message from the port."

After some further discussion of details the friends separated, and the
next day Mike sent round by the negroes the news of the change of plans.
Two days later Jacob rode up to the plantation. He had upon the first
occasion told Stebbings that the sum he asked for the estate seemed to
him too high, but that he would return to talk it over with him, after
he had seen other properties. Immediately upon his arrival, which
happened just as the slaves returned from work, Mike sent off one of the
negro boys, who had already collected a pile of brushwood on the beacon
hill. Half an hour later a bright flame shone out on its summit.

"I wonder what that means?" the planter, who was sitting at dinner in
his veranda with Jacob, said angrily.

"It looks like a signal fire," Jacob remarked calmly. "I have heard that
they are sometimes lit on the seacoast of England as a signal to
smugglers."

"There are no smugglers here," the planter said, "nor any cause for such
a signal."

He clapped his hands, and ordered the black slave who answered to tell
the overseer to take two of the guards, and at once proceed to the fire,
and examine its cause. After dinner was over the planter went out to the
slave huts. All the white men were sitting or lying in the open air,
enjoying the rest after their labor. The negroes were singing or working
in their garden plots, The list was called over, and all found to be
present.

"I expect," the planter said, "that it is only a silly freak of some of
these black fellows to cause uneasiness. It can mean nothing, for the
garrison and militia could put down any rising without difficulty and
there is no hope of escape. In a week we could search every possible
hiding-place in the island."

"Yes, that is an advantage which you have over the planters in Virginia,
to which place I hear our Scottish brethren have sent large numbers of
the malignants. There are great woods stretching no man knoweth how far
inland, and inhabited by fierce tribes of Indians, among whom those who
escape find refuge."

That night when all was still Harry Furness and his seven comrades crept
through the opening in the hut. In the grove they were joined by Jacob.
They then made their way to the seashore, where they saw lying a large
shallop, drawn partly up on the beach. A man was sitting in her, while
many other dark figures lay stretched on the sand near. Harry and his
party moved in that direction, and found that the men from two of the
other plantations had already arrived. A few minutes later the other two
parties arrived. The whole body advanced noiselessly along the shore,
and seized and gagged the sleepers without the least difficulty or
noise. These were bound with ropes from the boat, and laid down one by
one on the sand, at a distance from each other.



CHAPTER XIX.

A SEA FIGHT.


The instant the rowers were secured Harry Furness embraced his faithful
follower William Long. He had learned from Jacob that the ship had
appeared in sight about two in the afternoon, and that it was not
thought likely by the sailors of the port that she would reach it until
the breeze sprang up in the morning, although she might get within a
distance of five or six miles. The whole party had, in concurrence with
Harry's orders, brought with them their hoes, which were the only
weapons that were attainable. It was agreed that their best course would
be to row along the shore until near the lights of the port, then to row
out and lay on their oars half a mile beyond the entrance, where, as it
was a starlight night, they would assuredly see the ship if she had come
to anchor. As soon as the first dawn commenced they were to row out and
meet the ship. Wrappings of cloth were fastened round the rowlocks to
prevent noise, twelve men took the oars, the boat was shoved down into
the sea, and they started on their voyage. The boat rowed but slowly,
and it was, Harry judged, past three o'clock when they reached the point
they had fixed on off the mouth of the harbor. No ship was visible
outside the port, although there was sufficient light to have seen its
masts had it been there.

"We had better go another half-mile further out," he said. "Should they
take it into their heads on shore, when they see us, to send a fast
boat out to inquire what we are doing, it might overtake us before we
could reach the ship."

An hour after they had ceased rowing a faint streak of daylight appeared
in the west, and a ship could be seen about three miles seaward, while
the shore was nearly that distance behind them, for they had been
deceived by the darkness, and were much further out than they had
thought.

"It is all the better," Harry said. "It must be some time before they
think of sending a boat after us, and we shall reach the ship before it
can overtake us."

As soon as it became broad daylight Harry took one of the oars himself,
and all save the twelve rowers, and Jacob and William Long who sat in
the stern, lay down in the bottom of the boat, where some pieces of
matting, used for covering cargo, were thrown over them. There was not
as yet a breath of wind, and the ship's sails hung idly against the
masts. After three-quarters of an hour's hard rowing the barge
approached her side. There were only a few figures on the deck.

"Are you the captain of this vessel?" Jacob asked one who seemed to him
of that condition.

"Ay, ay," the sailor said. "What is the news?"

"I have come off from the island," Jacob answered, "by orders of his
worshipful the governor, to warn you that there is an insurrection among
the slaves of the island, and to bid you not to anchor outside, or to
wait for your papers being examined, but to enter at once."

By this time the boat was alongside, and Jacob climbed on board.

"You have brought some troops with you?" he asked, "They will be
wanted."

"Yes, I have eighty men whom I have brought as a reinforcement to the
garrison of the island, besides a hundred and fifty prisoners from
Waterford, stowed away below the hatches forward. Hullo! why, what is
this? Treason!"

As he spoke Harry, followed by the rowers, swarmed on board armed with
their hoes. The captain and the men round him were at once knocked down.
The sentries over the fore hatchway discharged their muskets, and, with
some of the crew stationed there, made aft. But Harry's party had now
all joined him on deck. A rush was made, and the decks entirely cleared.
A few of the soldiers who came running up through the after hatchway on
hearing the tumult and noise of the fight were beaten down and hurled
below on those following them, and the hatches were slipped on and
secured. Then a triumphant shout of "God and the King!" was raised.

The forehatches were now lifted, and the prisoners invited to come up.
They rushed on deck, delighted and bewildered, for it was the first time
that they had seen the sun since they left England, having been kept
below, where many had died from confinement and bad air, while all were
sorely weakened and brought low. Among them were many officers, of whom
several were known to Harry--although they had some difficulty in
recognizing in the man, bronzed brown by his exposure to the sun and
clad in a tattered shirt and breeches--their former comrade, Harry
Furness. A search was at once made for arms, and ranged in the passage
to the captain's cabin were found twenty muskets for the use of the
crew, together with as many boarding pikes and sabers. Ammunition was
not wanting. The arms were divided among Harry's band of forty men, and
the twenty strongest of those they had rescued. The hoes were given to
the remainder.

The captain, who had by this time recovered from the blow dealt him by
Harry, was now questioned. He was told that if he would consent with his
crew to navigate the vessel to Holland, he should there be allowed to go
free with the ship, which it seemed was his own property; but the cargo
would be sold as a fair prize, to satisfy the needs of his captors. If
he refused, he would be sent with his crew on shore in the barge, and
his ship and cargo would alike be lost to him. The captain had no
hesitation in accepting the first of these alternatives, as he would be,
although no gainer by the voyage, yet no loser either. He told Harry
that for himself he had no sympathy with the rulers in London, and that
he sorely pitied the prisoners he was bringing over.

The hatch was now a little lifted, and the prisoners below summoned to
surrender. This they refused to do. Harry and his men then, with much
labor, lowered a four-pounder carronade down the forehatch, and wheeled
it to within a few feet of the bulkhead which divided that portion where
the prisoners had been confined from the after part. The gun was loaded
to the muzzle with grape, and discharged, tearing a hole through the
bulkhead and killing and wounding many within. Then the officer in
command offered to surrender.

Harry ordered them at once to hand up all their firelocks and other arms
through the hatchway, which was again lifted for the purpose. When those
on deck had armed themselves with those weapons, the prisoners were
ordered to come up, bringing their wounded with them. As they reached
the deck they were passed down into the barge, from which all the oars
save four had been removed. Six of the soldiers had been killed, and the
remainder having entered the barge, where they were stowed as thickly as
they could pack, the head rope was dropped, and they were allowed to row
away. Besides the eighty muskets of the guard, a store of firelocks,
sufficient to arm all on board, was found; these having been intended
for the use of the garrison. A gentle breeze had by this time sprung up
from the land, and the ship's head was turned seaward.

The boat was but half a mile behind them when it was joined by an
eight-oared galley, which had been seen rowing out from the harbor,
whence, doubtless, it had been dispatched to inquire into the errand of
the boat seen rowing off to the ship. After lying alongside the barge
for a minute or two she turned her head, and made back again with all
speed.

"You would have done more wisely," the captain said to Harry, "if you
had retained the prisoners on board until the second boat came
alongside. You could have swamped that, and sent those in it back with
the others, who will not reach shore until late this afternoon, for with
only four oars they will make no way until the land breeze falls."

"It would have been better--far better"--Harry agreed--"but one does not
always think of things at the right time. What ships are there in port,
Jacob?"

"There is the vessel I came by and two others," Jacob replied, "all
about the same size as this, and mounting each as many guns. You have
eight, I see, captain; the one I came out in had ten."

"They will pursue us," the captain said, "you may be sure. It is known
that we are not a fast sailer, and I think, sir, you will have to fight
for it."

"So be it," Harry said. "There are two hundred of us, and though they
might sink the ship, they will assuredly never carry it by boarding.
There is not a man here who would not rather die fighting than spend his
life in slavery on that island."

The vessel had gone about six miles on her course, when from the
topmast the captain announced that the galley had gained the port, now
twelve miles distant. "There is a gun," he said, five minutes later.
"They have taken the alarm now." He then descended to the deck, leaving
a sailor in the tops. Two hours later the latter announced that the
topsails of three ships coming out from the harbor were visible.

"We have nigh thirty miles' start," the captain said. "They will not be
up to us till to-morrow at midday."

"Do you think it would be any use to try to lose them by altering our
course in the night?" Harry asked.

"No," the captain answered. "It is but ten o'clock in the day now. They
will be within ten or twelve miles by nightfall, for the wind is
stronger near the land than it is here, and with their night glasses
they could hardly miss us on a bright starlight night. I am ready to try
if you like, for I do not wish to see the ship knocked into matchwood."

After some deliberation it was determined to hold their course, and as
night came on it was found that escape would have been out of the
question, for the vessels behind had overhauled the Lass of Devon faster
than had been anticipated, and were little more than five miles astern.
They could be plainly seen after darkness set in, with the night
glasses.

"What you must do, captain, is to lay her aboard the first which comes
up," Harry said; "even if they have brought all the garrison we shall be
far stronger than any one of them taken singly."

During the night the pursuing vessels lessened sail and maintained a
position about a mile astern of the chase, evidently intending to attack
in the morning. The day spent in the open air, with plenty of the best
eating and drinking which could be found in the ship, had greatly
reinvigorated the released prisoners, and when at daybreak the vessels
behind were seen to be closing up, all were ready for the fight. The
enemy, sure that their prey could not escape them, did not fire a shot
as they came up in her wake. The two immediately behind were but a
cable's length asunder, and evidently meant to engage on either side.
Harry ordered the greater portion of men below, leaving only sufficient
on deck to fight the guns, to whose use many were well accustomed. The
wind was very light, and the ships were scarcely stealing through the
water.

"We had better fight them broadside to broadside," Harry said; "but keep
on edging down toward the ship to leeward."

The fight began with a heavy fire of musketry from the tops, where, in
all three ships, the best marksmen had been posted. Then, when they were
abreast of each other, the guns opened fire. The vessels were little
more than fifty yards apart. For half an hour the engagement continued
without intermission. Both ships of the enemy had brought all their guns
over to the sides opposed to the Royalist vessel, and fought eighteen
guns to his eight. Fearing to injure each other, both aimed entirely at
the hull of their opponent, while Harry's guns were pointed at the masts
and rigging. The sides of the Lass of Devon were splintered and broken
in all directions, while those of his assailants showed scarcely a shot
mark. The fire of his men in the tops--all old soldiers--had been so
heavy and deadly that they had killed most of the marksmen in the
enemy's tops, and had driven the rest below. All this time the Lass of
Devon was raked by the fire of the third vessel which had come up behind
her, and raked her fore and aft. At the end of the half-hour the
mainmast of the vessel to windward, which had been several times struck,
fell with a crash.

"Now, captain, lay her aboard the ship to leeward."

They had already edged down within twenty yards of this ship, and slowly
as they were moving through the water, in another three or four minutes
the vessels grated together. At Harry's first order the whole of his men
had swarmed on deck, pouring in such a fire of musketry that none could
stand alive at the enemy's tiller to keep her head away as the Lass of
Devon approached. As the vessels touched Harry leaped from the bulwark
on to the deck of the enemy, followed by Jacob and his men. The
Parliamentary troops had also rushed on deck, and, although inferior in
numbers, for they counted but eighty men, they made a sturdy stand.
Gradually, however, they were driven back, when an exclamation from
Mike, who, as usual, was close to Harry, caused him to look round.

The ship behind had, the moment she perceived the Lass of Devon bearing
down upon her consort, crowded on more sail, and was now ranging up on
the other side of her. Bidding Jacob press the enemy hard with half his
force, Harry, with the remainder, leaped back on to the deck of his own
ship, just as the enemy boarded from the other side. The fight was now a
desperate one. The vessel which had last arrived bore a hundred of the
troops of the garrison, and the numbers were thus nearly equal. The
Royalists, however, fought with a greater desperation, for they knew the
fate that awaited them if conquered. Gradually they cleared the deck of
the Lass of Devon of the enemy, and in turn boarded their opponent.
William Long led thirty men into the tops of the Lass of Devon, and
poured their fire into the crowded enemy. Every step of the deck was
fiercely contested, but at last the Roundheads gave way. Some threw down
their arms and called for quarter, others ran below. The Royalists, with
shouts of "Remember Drogheda!" fell upon them, and many of those who
had surrendered were cut down before Harry could arrest the slaughter.

A loud cheer announced the victory, and the men in the other ship, who
had hitherto, although with difficulty, made front against the attacks
of Jacob and his men, now lost heart and ran below. The wind had by this
time entirely dropped, but battening the prisoners below, Harry set his
men to thrust the ships past one another, until they were sufficiently
in line for their guns to be brought to bear upon the third enemy.
Crippled as she was by the loss of her mast, she immediately hauled down
her colors, and the victory was complete.

The prisoners were brought on deck and disarmed. Harry found that the
boats of the four ships would carry two hundred men closely packed, and
but a hundred and eighty of the two hundred and fifty troops who had
sailed in pursuit remained alive. These, with sufficient provisions and
water to last for three days, were made to take their places in the
boats, and told to row back to the island, which they should be able to
regain in two days at the utmost. The crews of the captured ships were
willing enough to obey the orders of their captors, for the sailors had
in general but little sympathy with the doings of Parliament. Harry had
lost in killed and wounded forty-two men, and the rest he divided
between the four ships, giving about thirty-five men to each. He
himself, with Jacob, William Long, and Mike, remained on board the Lass
of Devon, officers being placed in command of the troops on board the
other ships, which were ordered to sail in company with her. Twenty-four
hours were spent in getting a jury-mast set in place of that which had
been shot away. When this was completed the four ships hoisted their
canvas and sailed together for Holland.

They met with no adventure until near the mouth of the English Channel,
when one morning a fleet of eight ships was perceived. The captain of
the Lass of Devon at once pronounced them to be ships of war, and their
rate of sailing speedily convinced Harry that there was no chance of
escape. Against such odds resistance was useless, and the other ships
were signaled to lower their topsails in answer to the gun which the
leading ship of the squadron fired. Anticipating a return to captivity,
if not instant death, all on board watched the approaching men-of-war.
Presently these, when close at hand, brought up into the wind, and a
boat was lowered. It rowed rapidly to the Lass of Devon, which lay
somewhat the nearest to them. Harry stood on the quarter-deck ready to
surrender his sword. The boat came alongside, an officer leaped on deck
and advanced toward him.

Harry could scarce believe his eyes; this gallant, in the gay dress of a
cavalier officer, could be no follower of Cromwell. The officer paused
and gazed in astonishment at Harry. The recognition was mutual, and the
words "Furness" and "Elphinstone" broke from their lips.

"Why, Elphinstone, what squadron is that?"

"Prince Rupert's, to be sure," the officer said.

"What! did you take us for the Roundhead fleet?"

Harry made no reply, but taking off his hat, shouted to his men, "It is
the Royalist fleet. Three cheers for Prince Rupert."

A cheer of joy burst from the men, caught up and re-echoed by the crews
of the other ships. Harry led the officer into his cabin, and rapidly
explained to him the circumstances which had taken place; ten minutes
later, entering a boat, he rowed off to the flagship.

"Why! Harry Furness!" exclaimed Prince Rupert, "whither do you spring
from? I heard of you last as being sent to slave in the Bermudas, and
methought, old friend, that you would stand the heat better than most,
since you had served such a sharp apprenticeship with me in that oven
you wot of. And now tell me how is it that you have got free, and that I
find you sailing here with four ships?"

Harry related his adventure. When he had finished Prince Rupert said:

"I envy you, Furness, in that you have three faithful friends. One is as
much as most men could even hope for, whereas you have three, who each
seem willing to go through fire and water for you. They do remind me of
the wonderful servants of whom my old nurse used to tell me as a child.
They were given by a fairy to some fortunate prince, and whenever he got
into sore straits were ready to do the most impossible things to free
him from them. Now you must take up your quarters here until we reach
Holland, whither I am on the point of sailing. We have picked up several
fat prizes, which I have sent to Italy to sell, to pay the wages of my
men, for his gracious majesty's exchequer is of the emptiest. But I hear
that Blake is about to put to sea with the ships of the Parliament, and
I care not to risk my fleet, for they will be needed to escort his
majesty to Scotland are long."

"Are the Scots then again inclined to his majesty's cause? Were I King
Charles, I would not trust myself to them," Harry said. "They sold his
father, and would sell him--at least Argyll and the knaves with him
would do so."

"I like not these cold, calculating men of the north, myself," Prince
Rupert said, "and trust them as little. Nor would my cousin venture
himself again among them, if he took my advice. His majesty, however, is
no more given to the taking of advice than was his father before him,
unless it be of Buckingham and Wilmot, and other dissolute young lords,
whose counsel and company are alike evil for him."

The same afternoon the fleet sailed for Holland, the four merchantmen
accompanying it. Upon their arrival there Harry sold the three ships
which he had taken, together with such cargo as was found in their
holds. He sold also the cargo of the Lass of Devon, leaving the ship
itself, as he had promised, to the captain, its owner, and making him
and the sailors a handsome present for the way they stood by him and
worked the ship during the action. The rest of the proceeds he divided
between the officers and men who had sailed with him, and finding that
these were ready still to share his fortunes, he formed them into a
regiment for the service of the king, enlisting another hundred
Royalists, whom he found there well-nigh starving, in his ranks.

It was at the end of April, 1650, that Harry reached Hamburg, and a
month later came the news of the defeat and death of the Earl of
Montrose. He had two months before sailed from Hamburg to the Orkneys,
where he had landed with a thousand men. Crossing to the mainland he had
marched down into Sunderland. There he had met a body of cavalry under
Colonel Strachan, in a pass in the parish of Kincardine, now called
Craigchonichan, or the Rock of Lamentation. The recruits he had raised
in Orkney and the north fled at once. The Scotch and Germans he had
brought with him fought bravely, but without effect, and were utterly
defeated, scattering in all directions. Montrose wandered for many days
in disguise, but was at last captured, and was brought to Edinburgh with
every indignity. He was condemned to death by the Covenanters, and
executed. So nobly did he bear himself at his death that the very
indignities with which Argyll and his minions loaded him, in order to
make him an object of derision to the people, failed in their object,
and even those who hated him most were yet struck with pity and
admiration at his noble aspect and bearing. Argyll stood at a balcony to
see him pass, and Montrose foretold a similar fate for this double-dyed
traitor, a prediction which was afterward fulfilled. Harry deeply
regretted the loss of this gallant and chivalrous gentleman.



CHAPTER XX.

WITH THE SCOTCH ARMY.


While trying and executing Montrose for loyalty to the king, the Scots
were themselves negotiating with Charles, commissioners having come over
to Breda, where he was living, for the purpose. They insisted upon his
swearing to be faithful to the Covenant, to his submitting himself to
the advice of the Parliament and Church, and to his promising never to
permit the exercise of the Catholic religion in any part of his
dominions. Charles agreed to everything demanded of him, having all the
time no intention whatever of keeping his promises. While he was
swearing to observe everything the Scots asked of him, he was writing to
Ormonde to tell him that he was to mind nothing he heard as to his
agreement with the Scots, for that he would do all the Irish required.
Charles, indeed, although but a young man of twenty, was as full of
duplicity and faithlessness as his father, without possessing any of the
virtues of that unfortunate king, and the older and wiser men among his
followers were alienated by his dissolute conduct, and by the manner in
which he gave himself up to the reckless counsels of men like Buckingham
and Wilmot.

Harry heard with deep regret the many stories current of the evil life
and ways of the young king. Had it not been for the deadly hatred which
he felt to Cromwell and the Puritans for the murder of Sir Arthur
Ashton, and the rest of the garrison and people of Drogheda, in cold
blood, he would have retired altogether from the strife, and would have
entered one of the continental armies, in which many Royalist refugees
had already taken service. He determined, however, that he would join in
this one expedition, and that if it failed he would take no further part
in civil wars in England, but wait for the time, however distant, when,
as he doubted not, the people of England would tire of the hard rule of
the men of the army and conventicle, and would, with open arms, welcome
the return of their sovereign.

Early in June the king sailed for Scotland, accompanied by the regiment
which Harry had raised, and a few hundred other troops. He landed there
on the 16th. The English Parliament at once appointed Cromwell
captain-general and commander-in-chief of all the forces raised and to
be raised within the commonwealth of England. A few days later he left
London, and on the 23d of June entered Scotland with sixteen thousand
men. King Charles, to whom Harry had been presented by Prince Rupert as
one of his father's most gallant and faithful soldiers, received him at
first with great cordiality. As soon as he found, however, that this
young colonel was in no way inclined to join in his dissipations, that
his face was stern and set when light talk or sneers against religion
were uttered by the king's companions, Charles grew cold to him, and
Harry was glad to be relieved from all personal attendance upon him, and
to devote himself solely to his military duties. Upon landing in
Scotland, Harry, with his regiment, was encamped in the valley between
Edinburgh Castle and the high hill called Arthur's Seat. A few days
after his arrival he, with Jacob, who was now raised to the rank of
major, and William Long, who was one of his lieutenants, entered the
palace of Holyrood, where the king's court was held. Here were gathered
a motley assembly. A few English Cavaliers, many loyal Scotch nobles and
gentlemen, and a large number of somber men of the Covenant. Next to
Charles stood a tall man, whom Harry instantly recognized. Argyll, for
it was he, stared fixedly at the young colonel, who returned his look
with one as cold and haughty.

"This is Colonel Furness, my lord earl," the young king said. "One of my
father's bravest and most devoted followers."

"I seem to have met the gentleman before," the earl said.

"You have," Harry replied coldly. "At that time the Earl of Argyll
threatened to torture me into betraying the secrets of his majesty, and
would, I doubt not, have carried his threat into effect had I not
escaped from his hands. The times have changed, and the Earl of Argyll
now stands beside his king, but I, sir, have not forgotten the past so
easily." So saying, with a deep bow to the king, Harry passed on.

"Harry," whispered Donald Leslie, a young Scotch officer who had joined
the ranks of his regiment as captain at Hamburg, "hitherto I have
thought you the wisest and most discreet of men. I cannot say as much
now. It would have been safer to walk into a den of lions than to insult
the old red fox. He was never known to forgive, and those who offend him
have a short life. Beware, colonel, for henceforth you carry your life
in your hand."

"My sword is as sharp as his," Harry laughed, as they issued into the
open air.

"I doubt it not," Leslie said, "but it is with daggers rather than
swords that Argyll fights, and with secret plottings more than either.
Edinburgh swarms with Campbells, any one of whom would think no more of
running you through at his lord's command than he would of killing a
rat. Mark my words, before a week is out you will be engaged in some
broil or other."

Jacob and William Long heard with great disquietude the remarks of the
young Scotch officer, which they knew sufficient of Argyll to be aware
were perfectly true. They resolved that they would maintain a careful
watch over their friend, and that night they charged Mike, who was now a
tall, active young fellow of seventeen, to keep the strictest watch as
he followed his master in the streets, and to have pistol and sword
always in readiness.

Two days later Harry had the first evidence of the truth of Leslie's
prediction. He was walking up the High Street, accompanied by Jacob,
while Leslie and two or three of his officers followed a short distance
behind, when three or four Scotch nobles were seen approaching. One of
these, Colonel Campbell, of Arrain, a tall and powerful figure, in
passing jostled roughly against Harry.

"S'death, sir!" he exclaimed. "Do you think that you are in England,
that you can take up the whole of the road?"

"I'm as much entitled to the road as yourself," Harry said hotly; "you
purposely jostled me."

"Well, sir, and what if I did?" Colonel Campbell replied. "If you don't
like it you have your remedy," and he touched his sword significantly.

"I will meet you, sir," Harry said, "in an hour's time at the foot of
the Castlehill."

The colonel nodded, and accompanied by his kinsmen strode on.

"Jacob, you and Leslie will act with me?" Harry asked.

"Willingly enough," Leslie replied. "But it is a bad business. Campbell
has the name of being one of the best swordsmen in the Scottish army.
Of course he has been set on to attack you."

"I have been fighting," Harry said, "for the last ten years, and was not
a bad swordsman when I began. Unless I mistake, I am as powerful a man
as Colonel Campbell, and I fear not him or any man."

At the time appointed Harry, accompanied by his seconds, was upon the
ground, where five minutes later they were joined by Colonel Campbell,
with two of his kinsmen. While the principals divested themselves of
their cloaks and doublets, the seconds compared their swords. They were
of entirely different fashion, Harry's being long and straight with
sharp edges, while Colonel Campbell's was a basket-hilted sword, also
straight and double edged, and even larger and much heavier than
Harry's; each had brought one of similar make and size to his own. Some
conversation took place as to the weapons which should be used.

"I cannot fight with a plaything like that," Colonel Campbell said
roughly.

"And I object equally," Harry puts in calmly, "to wield a heavier weapon
than that to which I am accustomed. But I am quite content to fight with
my own against that of Colonel Campbell."

The seconds at first on both sides objected to this, arguing that the
weight and length of Campbell's weapon would give him an unfair
advantage. Harry, however, was firm.

"A man fights better," he said, "with the sword to which he is used.
Mine is of tried temper, and I have no fear of its breaking." Harry had
good reason for faith in his weapon. It was a long, straight blade of
Toledo steel, which he had purchased for a considerable sum from a
Spanish Jew in Hamburg. Colonel Campbell put an end to the argument by
roughly saying that he wanted no more talk, and that if Colonel Furness
meant fighting he had better take up his ground. This had already been
marked out, and Harry immediately stood on the defensive.

In a moment the swords met. Colonel Campbell at once attacked furiously,
trying to beat down Harry's guard by sheer strength and the weight of
his weapon. The Englishman, however, was to the full as powerful a man,
and his muscles from long usage were like cords of steel. His blade met
the sweeping blows of the Scotchman firmly and steadily, while his point
over and over again menaced the breast of his adversary, who several
times only saved himself by springing back beyond it. Harry's seconds
saw from the first that the issue was not doubtful. In a contest between
the edge and the point, the latter always wins if strength and skill be
equal, and in this case, while in point of strength the combatants were
fairly matched, Harry was more skilled in the use of his weapon, whose
lightness, combined with its strength, added to his advantage. The fight
lasted but five minutes. Twice Harry's sword drew blood, and at the
third thrust he ran his adversary through under the shoulder. The latter
dropped his sword, with a curse.

"I have spared your life, Colonel Campbell," Harry said. "It was at my
mercy a dozed times, but I wished not to kill you. You forced this
quarrel upon me at the bidding of another, and against you I had no
animosity. Farewell, sir. I trust that ere the day of battle you will be
able to use your sword again in the service of the king."

So saying, Harry resumed his doublet and cloak, and, accompanied by his
seconds, returned to his camp, leaving Campbell, furious with pain and
disappointment, to be conveyed home by his friends.

"So far, so good, Harry," Captain Leslie said. "The attempt will, you
will find, be a more serious one. Argyll will not try fair means again.
But beware how you go out at night."

The duel made a good deal of talk, and Argyll attempted to induce the
king to take the matter up, and to punish Harry for his share in it. But
the young king, although obliged to listen every day to the long sermons
and admonitions of the Covenanters, was heartily sick of them already
and answered Argyll lightly that, so far as he had heard of the
circumstances, Colonel Campbell was wholly to blame. "And, indeed,"
added the king, "from what I have heard, the conduct of your kinsman was
so wantonly insulting that men say he must have been provoked thereto by
others, as the two officers appear to have been strangers until the
moment when their quarrel arose."

The earl grew paler than usual, and pressed his thin lips tightly
together.

"I know of no reason," he said, "why Colonel Campbell should have
engaged wantonly in a quarrel with this English officer."

"No!" Charles said innocently. "And if you do not, my lord, I know of no
one that does. Colonel Furness is an officer who is somewhat staid and
severe for his years, and who, in sooth, stands somewhat aloof from me,
and cares not for the merry jests of Buckingham; but he is a gallant
soldier. He has risked his life over and over again in the cause of my
sainted father, and tried his utmost to save him, both at Carisbrook and
Whitehall. Any one who plots against him is no friend of mine." The
young king spoke with a dignity and sternness which were not common to
him, and Argyll, biting his lips, felt a deadlier enmity than ever
toward the man who had brought this reproof upon his shoulders.

The following day Harry received orders from General Leslie, who
commanded the royal forces, to march down toward the border, accompanied
by two regiments of horse. He was to devastate the country and to fall
back gradually before Cromwell's advance, the cavalry harassing him
closely, but avoiding any serious conflict with the Roundhead horse. The
whole party were under the command of Colonel Macleod.

"I am heartily glad to be on the move, Jacob," Harry said, on the
evening before starting. "It is not pleasant to know that one is in
constant danger of being attacked whenever one goes abroad. Once away
from Edinburgh one may hope to be beyond the power of Argyll."

"I would not be too sure of that," Donald Leslie said. "A hound on the
track of a deer is not more sure or untiring than is Argyll when he
hunts down a foe. Be warned by me, and never relax a precaution so long
as you are on Scottish ground. There are men who whisper that even now,
when he stands by the side of the king, Argyll is in communication with
Cromwell. Trust me, if he can do you an ill turn, he will."

Upon the following morning the detachment marched, with flags flying and
drums beating, and the king himself rode down to see them depart. Argyll
was with him, and the king, as if in bravado of the formidable earl,
waved his hand to Harry, and said: "Good-by, my grave colonel. Take care
of yourself, and do not spare my enemies as you spared my friend."

Harry doffed his plumed hat, and rode on at the head of his regiment.
The force marched rapidly, for it was known that Cromwell was within a
few days of Berwick. So fast did they travel that in three days they
were near the border. Then they began the work which they had been
ordered to carry out. Every head of cattle was driven up the country,
and the inhabitants were ordered to load as much of their stores of
grain in wagons as these would hold, and to destroy the rest. The force
under Colonel Macleod saw that these orders were carried out, and when,
on the 14th of July, Cromwell crossed the Tweed, he found the whole
country bare of all provision for his troops. In vain his cavalry made
forays to a distance from the coast. Harry's foot opposed them at every
defensible point, while the cavalry hung upon their skirts. In vain the
Roundheads tried to charge by them. The Scotch cavalry, in obedience to
orders, avoided a contest, and day after day Cromwell's troopers had to
return empty handed, losing many of their men by the fire of Harry's
infantry. Thus the army of Cromwell was obliged to advance slowly upon
the line of coast, drawing their supplies wholly from the fleet which
accompanied it.

One evening Colonel Macleod rode up to the cottage where Harry was
quartered for the night.

"I am going to beat up Oliver's camp to-night," he said. "Do you cover
the retreat with your men at the ford of the river. If I can get for
five minutes in his camp I will read the Roundheads a lesson, and maybe
spike some of his cannon. If I could catch Cromwell himself it would be
as good as a great victory."

After nightfall the force approached the enemy's camp; at the ford the
infantry halted, the cavalry crossing and continuing their way to the
camp, about a mile distant. An hour passed without any sound being
heard. At length a sound of distant shouts, mingled with the reports of
firearms, fell upon the ear.

"Macleod is among them now," Donald Leslie exclaimed. "I would I wore
with him."

"You will have your turn presently," Harry replied. "A thousand horse
may do a good deal of damage in a sudden attack, but they must fall back
as soon as tis Roundheads rally."

For five or six minutes the distant tumult continued. Then it ceased
almost as suddenly as it had begun. A minute or two later there was a
deep, muffled sound.

"Here come the horse," Jacob said.

The infantry had already been placed along the bank of the river on each
side of the ford, leaving the way clear in the center for the passage of
the cavalry. It was not long before they arrived on the opposite bank,
and dashed at full speed across the river. Colonel Macleod rode at their
rear.

"The Ironsides are just behind," he said to Harry. "Let your men shoot
sharp and straight as they try to cross. We will charge them as they
reach the bank."

A minute later, and the close files of the Roundhead cavalry could be
seen approaching, the moonlight glinting on steel cap, breastpiece, and
sword.

"Steady, lads!" Harry shouted. "Do not fire a shot till they enter the
river. Then keep up a steady fire on the head of the column."

The Roundheads halted when they reached the river, and formed rapidly
into a column, twelve abreast, for the ford was no wider. As they
entered the stream a heavy musketry fire opened suddenly upon them. Men
and horses went down, floating away in the river. In spite of their
losses the cavalry pressed on, and though numbers fell, gained the
opposite bank. Then arose the Royalist cry "King and Covenant!" and the
Scottish horse swept down. The head of the column was shattered by the
charge, but the Ironsides still pressed on, and breaking the center of
the Scottish horse, poured across the river.

Harry had already given his orders to Jacob, who commanded the left wing
of the infantry, and the regiment, drawing up on both flanks of the
column of Ironsides, poured so heavy a fire upon them, while the cavalry
of Macleod again charged them in front, that the column was broken, and
still fighting sturdily, fell back again across the river. The moment
they did so a heavy fire of musketry opened from the further bank.

"Their infantry are up, Colonel Furness," Macleod said. "Draw off your
men in good order. I will cover the retreat. We have done enough for
to-night."

Getting his regiment together, Harry ordered them to retire at the
double, keeping their formation as they went. The Roundhead cavalry
again crossed the river, and several times charged the Scotch horse.
Twice they succeeded in breaking through, but Harry, facing his men
round, received them pike in hand, the musketeers in rear keeping up so
hot a fire over the shoulders of the pikemen that the Ironsides drew
rein before reaching them, and presently fell back, leaving the party to
retire without further pursuit.

"I as nearly as possible caught Cromwell," Colonel Macleod said, riding
up to Harry. "We got confused among the tents and ropes, or should have
had him. We entered his tent, but the bird had flown. We cut down some
scores of his infantry, and spiked four guns, I have not lost twenty
men, and his cavalry must have lost at least a hundred from your fire,
besides the damage I did at their camp."

Obtaining a stock of supplies sufficient for some days from the ships at
Dunbar, Cromwell advanced to Musselburgh, within striking distance of
Edinburgh. Leslie had strongly posted his army in intrenched lines
extending from Edinburgh to Leith, a distance of two miles. Colonel
Macleod with his detachment rejoined the army on the same day that
Cromwell reached Musselburgh. Upon the day after the arrival of the
English there was a sharp cavalry fight, and Cromwell would fain have
tempted the Scotch army to engage beyond their lines. But Leslie was
not to be drawn. He knew that if he could maintain himself in his
intrenchments the English must fall back, as they had the sea behind
them and on their right, Edinburgh in front of them, and a devastated
country on their left. At the urgent request of Cromwell the Parliament
strained every nerve to send up provisions by ships, and so enabled him
to remain before Edinburgh for a month.

A few days after his arrival Harry received orders to take a hundred and
fifty men of his regiment, and to post himself at Kirkglen, which
blocked a road by which it was thought Cromwell might send foraging
parties westward. Harry asked that a detachment of cavalry might
accompany him, but the request was refused. Kirkglen stood fifteen miles
south of Edinburgh, and somewhat to its west. Harry left Jacob to
command the main body of the regiment, and took with him the companies
of Donald Leslie and Hugh Grahame, in the latter of which William Long
was lieutenant. They sallied out from the western side of the camp at
daybreak.

"I like not this expedition, Colonel Furness," Donald Leslie said. "The
refusal to send cavalry with us is strange. Methinks I see the finger of
that crafty fox Argyll in the pie. His faithfulness to the cause is more
and more doubted, though none dare wag a tongue against him, and if it
be true that he is in communication with Cromwell, we shall have the
Roundheads, horse and foot, down upon us."

"There is a castle there, is there not," Harry asked, "which we might
occupy?"

"Assuredly there is," Leslie replied. "It is the hold of Alan Campbell,
a cousin of the man you pinked. It is that which adds to my suspicion.
You will see, unless I am greatly mistaken, that he will not admit us."

Such, indeed, proved to be the case. Upon their arrival at Kirkglen,
Leslie went in Harry's name to demand admittance to the castle for the
royal troops, but Campbell replied that he had received no orders to
that effect, and that it would greatly incommode him to quarter so large
a number of men there. He said, however, that he would willingly
entertain Colonel Furness and his officers. Leslie brought back the
message, strongly urging Harry on no account to enter the castle and put
himself in the hands of the Campbells. Harry said that even had he no
cause to doubt the welcome he might receive at the castle, he should in
no case separate himself from his men, when he might be at any moment
attacked.

"It is a rough piece of country between this and Cromwell's post,"
Leslie said, "and he would have difficulty in finding his way hither.
There is more than one broad morass to be crossed, and without a guide
he would scarce attempt it. It is for this reason that he is so unlikely
to send out foraging parties in this direction. It was this reflection
which caused me to wonder why we should be ordered hither."

"Mike," Harry said, "you have heard what Captain Leslie says. Do you
keep watch to-night near the castle gate, and let me know whether any
leave it; and in which direction they go. I will place a man behind to
watch the postern. If treachery is meditated, Campbell will send news of
our coming to Cromwell."



CHAPTER XXI.

THE PATH ACROSS THE MORASS.


Mike, when night fell, moved away toward the castle, which lay about a
quarter of a mile from the village. Approaching to within fifty yards of
the gate, he sat down to watch. About eleven o'clock he heard the creak
of the gate, and presently was startled by seeing two horsemen ride past
him. "They must have muffled their horses' feet," he said to himself.
"They are up to no good. I wish there had only been one of them." Mike
slipped off his shoes and started in pursuit, keeping just far enough
behind the horsemen to enable him to observe the outline of their
figures. For half a mile they proceeded quietly. Then they stopped,
dismounted, removed the cloths from their horses' feet, and remounting
rode forward at a gallop. Mike's old exercise as a runner now rendered
him good service. He could already tell, by the direction which the
horsemen were taking, that they were bearing to the east of Edinburgh,
but he resolved to follow as far as possible in order to see exactly
whither they went. The road, or rather track, lay across a moorland
country. The ground was often deep and quaggy, and the horsemen several
times checked their speed, and went at a slow walk, one advancing on
foot along the track to guide the way. These halts allowed breathing
time for Mike, who found it hard work to keep near them when going at
full speed. At last, after riding for an hour, the horsemen halted at a
solitary house on the moorland, Here several horses, held by troopers,
were standing. Mike crept round to the back of the house, and looked in
at the window. He saw two English officers sitting by a fire, while a
light burned on a table. Mike at once recognized in one of them the
dreaded General Cromwell, whom he had seen at Drogheda.

"What a fool I was," he muttered to himself, "to have come without my
pistol. I would have shot him as he sits, and so wiped out Drogheda."

At the moment the door opened, and a trooper in Scotch uniform entered.
"I have brought this letter," he said, "from Alan Campbell."

The general took the letter and opened it. "Campbell promises," he said
to the other officer, "to open fire upon the detachment in the village
with the guns of the castle as soon as we attack. One of the men who has
brought this will remain here and guide our troops across the morass. He
suggests that two hundred foot and as many horse should be here at eight
to-morrow evening. All he stipulates for is that Colonel Furness, the
Royalist who commands the enemy's detachment, shall be given over to
him, he having, it seems, some enmity with Argyll. Furness? ah, that is
the officer whom I sent to the Bermudas from Drogheda. We had advices of
his having got away and captured a ship with other prisoners on board. A
bold fellow, and a good officer, but all the more dangerous. Let
Campbell do with him as he likes."

The other officer drew out an inkhorn and wrote, at Cromwell's
dictation, his adherence to the terms offered by Alan Campbell. Cromwell
signed the paper, and handed it to the messenger. Then the English
general and his escort mounted and rode off. Campbell's retainers sat
for half an hour drinking together. Then they came to the door. One
mounted, and saying to the other, "I would rather have twenty-four
hours' sleep such as you have before you, than have to ride back to
Kirkglen to-night; the mist is setting in thickly," rode off into the
darkness.

Mike kept close to him, until at last the man dismounted to follow the
track where the morass was most dangerous. In an instant Mike sprang
upon him and buried his dagger in his body. Without a cry the trooper
fell. Mike felt in his doublet for Cromwell's letter. Placing this in
his breast, he went a few paces from the path where he found that he
sunk to his knees, the water being some inches deep over the bog. Then
he returned, lifted the body of the trooper, carried it as far into the
bog as he dared venture, and then dropped it. He placed his foot on the
iron breastpiece, and pressed until the body sank in the soft ooze, and
the water completely covered it. Then he went back to the horse, and
taking the reins, followed the track until completely clear of the
moorland country, where, mounting, he rode back to Kirkglen, and
presented himself to Harry. The latter had, hours before, gone to bed,
having posted strong guards around the village. He struck a light and
listened to Mike's relation of what he had done, and ended by the
production of the document with Cromwell's signature.

"Another debt to the Earl of Argyll," Harry said grimly. "However,
although this proves the treachery of his kinsman, it does not convict
Argyll himself, although the evidence is strong enough to hang any other
man. Now, Leslie, what do you advise? Shall we send and seize the man
left at the hut?"

"It is a doubtful question," Leslie answered, after a pause. "When
Campbell finds that his messenger does not return before morning, he
will like enough send others off to learn the reason why. If they find
him gone, Campbell may suspect that his plan has failed and may send
warning to Cromwell."

"At any rate," Harry continued, "we need not decide before morning. But
at daybreak, Leslie, plant a party of men on the road and stop any
horseman riding out. Let the sergeant in charge say only that he has my
orders that none are to pass eastward. It would be a natural precaution
to take, and when the news comes back to the castle, Campbell will not
necessarily know that his scheme has been detected."

The next morning Leslie volunteered to go out with a couple of men and
capture the guide, and arraying himself in his clothes, to take his
place, and lead the Roundhead troops astray.

"Were the country other than it is," Harry said, "I would accept your
offer, my brave Leslie, even though it might entail your death, for it
would be difficult for you to slip away. But over such ground there is
no need of this. Let the guide lead the Roundhead troops along the path.
We will reconnoiter the morass to-day, and when night falls will so post
our men as to open a fire on either flank of him as he comes across the
track. Not more than four footmen can march abreast, according to what
Mike says, and we shall surprise him, instead of he surprising us."

An hour later two horsemen rode out from the castle, but upon reaching
the guard Leslie had placed were turned back. They returned to the
castle, and a short time afterward a trooper rode down into the village
with a note from Alan Campbell, demanding haughtily by what warrant
Colonel Furness ventured to interfere with the free passage of his
retainers. Harry replied that he had, as a military precaution,
stationed guards on the various roads leading toward the enemy's
quarter, and that they were ordered to turn back all, whomsoever they
might be, who might seek to pass.

Alan Campbell returned a furious answer, that he should sally out with
his garrison, and ride where he listed. Harry replied by marching fifty
men up to the road leading to the castle, and by sending a message to
Alan Campbell that, although he should regret to be obliged to treat him
as an enemy, yet that assuredly if he strove by force to break the
military rules he had laid down, he should be compelled to fire upon
him. Leaving the detachment under charge of Lieutenant Long, and the
main body in the village under that of Hugh Grahame, Harry, accompanied
by Donald Leslie and Mike, rode off to reconnoiter the morass. They
found that it was particularly bad at two points, while between these
the ground was firm for a distance of twenty yards on each side of the
track. Beyond the swamp was very deep for thirty or forty yards on both
sides, and then it was again somewhat firmer.

Harry decided to post twenty-five men behind these quagmires. Their
orders would be to remain perfectly quiet until the column, passing the
first morass, should have entered the second; then, when Harry, with the
main body, opened fire upon them there, they were to commence upon the
flanks of the column.

Returning to the camp, Harry sent forty men with shovels, obtained in
the village, to dig a trench, twelve feet wide, and as deep as they
could get for the water, across the track, at the near side of the
morass.

At nightfall, leaving twenty-five men under William Long in front of the
castle, with orders to let none issue forth, and to shoot down any who
might make the attempt, Harry marched out with the rest of his command.
Crossing the ditch which had been dug, he led fifty forward, and posted
them, as he had planned with Leslie; with twenty-five, he took up his
own station behind the breastwork formed by the earth thrown out from
the trench. The remaining fifty he bade advance as far as they safely
could into the swamp on either side. Two hours later a dull sound was
heard, the occasional clink of arms, and the muffled tread of many feet
on the soft ground. The Roundhead infantry, two hundred strong, led the
way, followed by their horse, the guide walking with the officer at the
head of the column. When it approached within twenty yards of the ditch
Harry gave the word, and a flash of fire streamed from the top of the
earthwork. At the same moment those on either side opened fire into the
flanks of the column, while the fifty men beyond poured their fire into
the cavalry in the rear of the column.

For a moment all was confusion. The Roundheads had anticipated no
attack, and were taken wholly by surprise. The guide had fallen at the
first discharge and all were ignorant of the ground on which they found
themselves. They were, however, trained to conflict. Those on the flank
of the column endeavored to penetrate the morass, but they immediately
sank to the middle, and had much ado to regain the solid track. The head
of the column, pouring a volley into their invisible foes, leveled their
pikes, and rushed to the assault. A few steps, and they fell into a deep
hole, breast high with water, and on whose slippery bottom their feet
could scarce find standing. In vain they struggled forward. From front
and flank the fire of their enemy smote them. Those who reached the
opposite side of the trench were run through with pikes as they strove
to climb from it.

For ten minutes the desperate struggle continued, and then, finding the
impossibility of storming such a position in the face of foes of whose
strength they were ignorant, the Roundhead infantry turned, and in good
order marched back, leaving half their number dead behind them. The
cavalry in the rear had fared but little better. Finding the ground on
either side was firm when the fire opened on their flanks, they faced
both ways, and charged. But ere the horses had gone twenty strides they
were struggling to their girths in the morass. Their foes kept up a
steady fire, at forty yards' distance, into the struggling mass, and
before they could extricate themselves and regain the pathway, many
leaving their horses behind, a third of their number had fallen. Joined
by the beaten infantry, they retired across the track, and made their
way back toward their camp.

Leaving a strong guard at the morass to resist further attempts, Harry
returned with his force to the village having inflicted a loss of a
hundred and fifty upon enemy, while he himself had lost but eight men.
He intrenched the position strongly, and remained there unmolested,
until a week later he received orders to march back to Edinburgh. The
following day he was summoned before King Charles. He found there
General Leslie, the Earl of Argyll, Alan Campbell, and several of the
leaders of the Covenant.

"What is this I hear of you, Colonel Furness?" the king said. "General
Leslie has reported to me that you have inflicted a very heavy defeat
upon a rebel force which marched to surprise you. This is good service,
and for it I render you my hearty thanks. But, sir, the Earl of Argyll
complains to me that you have beleaguered his kinsman, Alan Campbell, in
his hold at Kirkglen, and treated him as a prisoner, suffering none to
go out or in during your stay there."

"This, sire, is the warranty for my conduct," Harry said, producing the
document signed by Cromwell. "This was taken by one of my men from a
trooper who had borne a dispatch from Alan Campbell to the enemy. My
man watched the interview between him and Cromwell himself, heard the
terms of the dispatch, and saw Cromwell write and give this letter to
the trooper, whom he afterward slew, and brought me the letter. The
other trooper, who acted as guide to the enemy, fell in the attack."

The king took the letter and read it. "My lord," he said, "this is a
matter which gravely touches your honor. This is a letter of General
Cromwell's in answer to a traitorous communication of your kinsman here.
He has offered to betray Colonel Furness and the troops under him to
Cromwell, and has sent a guide for the English troops. He stipulates
only that Colonel Furness shall be handed over to him to do as he likes
with. As it was manifest to me here some time since that you and Colonel
Furness are not friends, this touches you nearly."

"I know nothing of it," the earl said. "My kinsman will tell you."

"I do not need his assurances," King Charles said coldly. "He, at least,
is proved to be a traitor, and methinks, my lord earl, that the
preachers who are so fond of holding forth to me upon the wickedness of
my ways might with advantage bestow some of their spare time
in conversing with you upon the beauty and godliness of
straightforwardness. General Leslie, you will arrest at once, on his
leaving our presence, Colonel Alan Campbell, and will cause a court of
inquiry to sift this matter to the bottom. And hark you, my lord of
Argyll, see you that no more of your kinsmen practice upon the life of
my faithful Colonel Furness. This is the third time that he has been in
jeopardy at your hands. I am easy, my lord earl, too easy, mayhap, but
let no man presume too far upon it. My power is but limited here, but
remember the old saying, 'Wise men do not pull the tails of lions'
whelps.' The day may come when Charles II. will be a king in power as
well as in name. Beware that you presume not too far upon his endurance
now." So saying, the king turned from Argyll, and bidding Harry follow
him, and tell him the story of the defeat of the English troops, left
the earl standing alone, the picture of rage and mortification.

"You had best beware, Master Furness," the king said. "He needs a long
spoon they say, who sups with the deil. The Earl of Argyll is the real
king of Scotland at present, and it is ill quarreling with him. You have
got the best of it in the first three rubbers, but be sure that Argyll
will play on till the cards favor him. And if you are once in his power,
I would not give a baubee for your life. The proud earl treats me as a
master would teach a froward pupil, but I tell you, Master Furness, and
I know you are discreet and can be trusted, that as surely as the earl
brought Montrose to the block, so surely shall Argyll's head roll on the
scaffold, if Charles II. is ever King of England. But I fear for you,
Master Furness. I can help you here not at all, and the lecture which,
on your behalf, I administered to the earl--and in faith I wonder now at
my own courage--will not increase his love for you. You will never be
safe as long as you remain in Scotland. What do you say? Will you south
and join one or other of the Royalist bodies who are in arms there?"

"Not so, your majesty. With your permission, I will play the game out to
the end, although I know that my adversary holds the strongest cards.
But even did I wish to leave, it would be as hazardous to do so as to
stay here. So long as I am with my regiment I am in safety. I could not
gain England by sea, for the Parliament ships bar the way, and did I
leave my regiment and go south with only a small party, my chance of
crossing the border alive would be but small. No, your majesty, I have
the honor to command a king's regiment, and whether against Cromwell in
the field, or against Argyll's plots and daggers, I shall do my duty to
the end."

When, upon his return to the camp, Harry told his friends the purport of
the interview between himself and Argyll, of Alan Campbell being put
under arrest and the earl openly reproved by the king, Donald Leslie
raised his hands in despair.

"If you get through this, Furness," he said, "I shall for the rest of my
life be convinced that you have a charmed existence, and that your good
genius is more powerful than the evil one of Argyll. The gossips say
that he is in alliance with the evil one himself, and I can well believe
them. But I beg you, in all seriousness, to confine yourself to the
camp. So long as you are here you are safe. But once beyond its limits
your life will not be worth a straw."

Jacob added his entreaties to those of Leslie, and Harry promised that
until the decisive battle was over he would keep among his men, unless
compelled by duty to appear at court.

Four days afterward a soldier entered Harry's tent, and handed him a
missive. It was as follows: "Upon receipt of this, Colonel Furness will
proceed to Leith and will board the vessel, the Royalist, which has just
arrived from Holland. There he will inspect the newly arrived recruits,
who will be attached to his regiment. He will examine the store of arms
brought by her, and will report on their state and condition.--David
Leslie, commanding his majesty's armies."

The duty was one of mere routine. Harry showed the note to Jacob, and
said, "You may as well come with Hie, Jacob. Your drilling is over for
the day, and you can aid me looking through the stores. Mike," he said,
"we shall be back to supper. We are only going down to the port." The
two officers buckled on their swords, and at once started on foot for
the port, which was but half a mile distant. Mike looked anxiously after
his master. Since the day when danger had first threatened him he had
scarce let him out of his sight, following close to his heels like a
faithful dog. His present business seemed assuredly to forbode no
danger. Nevertheless, the lad felt restless and anxious when he saw his
master depart. A few minutes later he went to William Long's tent.
"Master Long," he said, "will you see that my master's servant gets
supper in readiness at the usual hour. He has gone down to the port to
inspect some recruits just arrived from Holland, by order of General
Leslie, and said he would return by supper. I know that it is foolish,
but since the affair with Alan Campbell I am never easy when he is not
near. In this case, I do not see that there can possibly be any lurking
danger. Argyll could not know of his proceeding to the port, nor would
he venture to attack him there where the streets swarm with our
soldiers. Nevertheless, I would fain go down and assure myself that all
is well."

William Long at once promised to look after the supper, and Mike hurried
away after Harry and his companion. These had, however, too far a start
to be overtaken, and when he reached the wharf he saw a boat rowed by
two men, and having two sitters in the stern. It was already some
distance from shore, and appeared to be proceeding toward a vessel which
lay at anchor several hundred yards further out from the shore than the
others.

"Can you tell me," he asked a sailor, "whether that ship lying there is
the Royalist?"

"That is the name she goes by to-day," the sailor said, "for as I rowed
past her this morning on my way from fishing, I saw the name newly
painted on her stern. They have put it on her boat too, which you now
see lowing toward her, and which has been lying by the pier all day, in
readiness to take out any one who might wish to go off to her."

"But have they changed her name, then?" Mike asked. "What have they been
doing that for?"

"She has been called the Covenant for the last two years," the sailor
said. "But I suppose Johnny Campbell, her master, thought the other more
suited to the times."

The name of the captain at once aroused Mike's uneasiness to the
fullest.

"Tell me," he said, "good fellow, did that ship arrive this morning from
Holland?"

"From Holland!" repeated the sailor. "No. She came down the coast from
the north three days ago, with beasts for the army."

Mike stood for a moment thunderstruck. Then, without a word to the
sailor, he turned and ran back at full speed through the town up to the
camp. At a headlong pace he made his way through the camp until he
stopped at the tent of General Leslie. He was about to rush in without
ceremony when the sentinel stopped his way.

"Please let me pass," he panted. "I would see the general on a matter of
the utmost importance."

The sentries laughed.

"You don't suppose," one of them said, "that the general is to be
disturbed by every barefooted boy who wants to speak to him. If you have
aught to say, you must speak first to the lieutenant of the guard."

"Every moment is of importance," Mike urged. "It is a matter of life and
death. I tell you I must see the general." Then at the top of his voice
he began to shout, "Sir David Leslie! Sir David Leslie!"

"Silence there, young varmint, or I will wring thy neck for thee!"
exclaimed the soldier, greatly scandalized, seizing Mike and shaking him
violently. But the boy continued to shout out at the top of his voice,
"Sir David Leslie! Sir David Leslie!"



CHAPTER XXII.

KIDNAPED.


Unable to silence Mike's shouts, the scandalized guards began dragging
him roughly from the spot, cuffing him as they went. But the door of the
tent opened, and General Leslie appeared.

"What means all this unseemly uproar?" he asked.

"This malapert boy, general, wished to force his way into your tent, and
when we stopped him, and told him that he must apply to the lieutenant
of the guard if he had aught of importance which he wished to
communicate to you, he began to shout like one possessed."

"Loose him," the general said. "Now, varlet, what mean you by this
uproar?"

"Forgive me, sir," Mike pleaded, "but I come on an errand which concerns
the life of my master, Colonel Furness."

"Come within," the general said briefly, for by this time a crowd had
gathered round the tent. "Now," he went on, "what is it you would tell
me?"

"I would ask you, sir, whether an hour since you sent an order to my
master that he should forthwith go on board the ship Royalist to inspect
recruits and stores of arms just arrived from Holland?"

The general looked at him in astonishment.

"I sent no such order," he said. "No ship has arrived from Holland of
that or any other name. What story is this that you have got hold of?"

"My master received such an order, sir, for I heard him read it aloud,
and he started at once with his major to carry out the order. Knowing,
sir, how great, as you are doubtless aware, is the enmity which the Earl
of Argyll bears to my master, I followed him to the port, and there
learned that the ship called the Royalist had not come from Holland, but
is a coaster from the north. I found, moreover, that she was but
yesterday named the Royalist, and that she was before known as the
Covenant, and that she is commanded by a Campbell. Then it seemed to me
that some plot had been laid to kidnap my master, and I ran straight to
you to ask you whether you had really ordered him to go on board this
ship."

"This must be seen to at once," the general said; for having been
present at the scene when Harry produced Cromwell's letter, he knew how
deadly was the hatred of the earl for the young colonel. "Without
there!" he cried. A soldier entered. "Send the lieutenant of the guard
here at once." The soldier disappeared, and the general sat down at his
table and hastily wrote an order. "Lieutenant," he said, when the
officer entered, "give this letter to Captain Farquharson, and tell him
to take his twenty men, and to go on the instant down to the port. There
he is to take boat and row out to the ship called the Royalist. He is to
arrest the captain and crew, and if he see not there Colonel Furness,
let him search the ship from top to bottom. If he find no signs of him,
let him bring the captain and six of his men ashore at once."

As soon as he heard the order given Mike, saluting the general, hurried
from the tent, and ran at full speed to the camp of Harry's regiment.
There he related to Donald Leslie and William Long the suspicious
circumstances which had occurred, and the steps which the general had
ordered to be taken.

"This is bad news, indeed," Captain Leslie exclaimed; "and I fear that
the colonel has fallen into the hands of Argyll's minions. If it be so
Farquharson is scarce likely to find the Royalist at anchor when he
arrives at the port. Come, Long, let us be stirring. I will hand over
the command of the regiment to Grahame till we return. While I am
speaking to him pick me out ten trusty men."

He hurried off, and in five minutes was hastening toward the port, with
William Long, Mike, and ten men. Such was the speed they made that they
reached the quay just at the same time with Captain Farquharson and his
men.

Mike gave a cry of despair. The Royalist had disappeared. He ran up to a
sailor who was still sitting on an upturned basket, smoking as he had
left him before.

"Where is the Royalist?" he exclaimed.

"Halloo! young fellow, are you back again? I thought you had gone off
with a bee in your bonnet, so suddenly and quickly did you run. The
Royalist? ay, she hoisted her sails two minutes after her boat reached
her. I was watching her closely, for I wondered whether she had aught to
do with your sudden flight. Methinks that something strange has happened
on board, for I saw what seemed to be a scuffle, and certainly the sun
shone on the gleam of swords. Then, too, instead of heaving her anchor,
she slipped the cable, and a Scotch captain must be in a hurry indeed
when he does that."

"Where is she now?" Mike asked.

"Over there, full four miles away, making across the Forth for the
northern point of land."

"Is she a fast ship?" Captain Leslie, who had come up, inquired.

"She has the name of being the fastest sailer in these parts."

"There is nothing here would catch her?" Donald Leslie asked. "Would a
rowboat have a chance of overtaking her?"

"Not this evening," the sailor said, looking at the sky. "The wind is
rising now, and it will blow a gale before morning."

"Tell me, my man," Leslie asked, "and here is a gold piece for your
pains, where you think she is likely to put in?"

"That will all depend," the sailor replied, "upon what errand she is
bound. I must know that before I can answer you."

Leslie looked at William Long. The latter said:

"It were best to tell this honest fellow the facts of the case. Look
you, my 'man, the two king's officers who have gone on board are ill
friends with the Campbells, and we doubt not that these have kidnaped
and carried them off."

"The Campbells are an ill crew to deal with," the sailor said, "and I do
not love them myself. If it be as you say, they might be landed either
at Anstruther, near which is a hold belonging to Andrew Campbell of
Glencoulie, or at St. Andrews, or at Leuchars, a little bay north of
that town, whence they might take them to Kilbeg Castle, also held by a
Campbell. It is a lonely place ten miles inland, and their friends would
be little likely to look for them there. Besides, the Royalist might
land them and sail away without any being the wiser, while at the other
ports her coming would be surely noticed."

"Think you that we can obtain horses on the other side?"

"You might obtain four or five," the sailor said, "of Tony Galbraith,
who keeps the inn there, and who lets horses on hire to those traveling
north."

"If a storm comes on," Leslie asked, "which way is it likely to blow,
and will the Royalist be like to make the bay you name?

"Ah! that is more than I can tell," the sailor replied. "Methinks 'twill
blow from the west. In that case, she might be able to make her way
along the shore; she might run into port for shelter; she might be blown
out to sea."

"At any rate," Leslie said, "our first step is to cross. Get us a stout
sailing boat. Be not sparing of promises."

The man at once went off to a group of sailors, but these at first shook
their heads, and looked toward the sky. Its aspect was threatening. The
wind was getting up fast, and masses of scud flew rapidly across it.
Leslie went up to the group.

"Come, lads," he said, "five pounds if you put us across."

The offer was too tempting to be rejected, and the men hurried down and
began to prepare a large sailing boat. Leslie and Lieutenant Long had a
hasty consultation, and agreed that, seeing the difficulty there would
be in obtaining horses, it was useless to take more than ten men in all.
Accordingly, as soon as the boat was in readiness, the two officers,
Mike, and seven soldiers took their places in her. The sails were
closely reefed, and she at once put out into the Firth. Every minute the
wind rose, until, by the time they were half across, it was blowing a
gale. The boat was a stout one, but the waves broke freely over her, and
four of the soldiers were kept at work baling to throw out the water she
took over her bows. Once or twice they thought that she would capsize,
so furious were the gusts, but the boatmen were quick and skillful. The
sheets were let go and the sails lowered until the force of the squall
abated, and at last, after a passage which seemed rapid even to those
on board, anxious as they were, she entered the little port.

Hurrying to the inn, they found that six horses were obtainable. These
they hired at once. The host said that he could send to some farms, not
far distant, and hire four more, but that an hour or so would elapse ere
they came. Leslie and William Long had already decided that the
prisoners would most probably be taken to Kilbeg Castle, as being more
secluded than the others. They now agreed that they themselves with Mike
and three soldiers should start at once, to intercept them if possible
between the sea and the castle. When the other horses arrived two of the
soldiers were to ride with all speed to Anstruther, and two to St.
Andrews, and were there to keep sharp watch to see if the Royalist
arrived there, and landed aught in the way either of men or goods.

The point to which they were bound lay fully forty miles away. They
determined to ride as far as the horses would carry them, and then, if
able to obtain no more, to walk forward. Night was already setting in,
and a driving rain flew before the gale.

"We shall never be able to keep the road," Leslie said, "Landlord, have
you one here who could serve as guide? He must be quick-footed and sure.
Our business is urgent, and we are ready to pay well."

A guide was speedily found, a lad on a shaggy pony, who had the day
before come down from the north with cattle. While the horses were being
prepared the party had taken a hasty supper, and Leslie had seen that
each of the soldiers had a tankard of hot spiced wine. So quickly had
the arrangements been made that in half an hour after their arrival at
the port the party started from the inn. The ride was indeed a rough
one. The country was heavy and wild. The rain drenched them to the skin
in spite of their thick cloaks, and the wind blew at times with such
violence that the horses were fain to stop and stand huddled together
facing it to keep their feet. Hour after hour they rode, never getting
beyond a walk, so rough was the road; often obliged to pause altogether
from the force of the gale. Twice they stopped at inns at quiet
villages, knocked up the sleeping hosts, and obtained hot wine for
themselves and hot gruel for their horses. Their pace grew slower as the
animals became thoroughly knocked up, and at last could not be urged
beyond a walk.

At the next village they stopped, and as they found that there was no
possibility of obtaining fresh horses, they determined to push forward
on foot. It was now four o'clock in the morning, and they had ridden
over forty miles. Another guide was obtained, and they set forward.
Although they had hurried to the utmost, it was ten o'clock in the
morning before they came down upon a valley with a narrow stream which
their guide told them fell into the sea, near Leuchars. They were, he
said, now within two miles of the castle, the track from which to the
sea ran down the valley. The wind was still blowing a gale, but the
clouds had broken, and at times the sun streamed out brightly.

"Thank Heaven we are here at last," Donald Leslie said, "for a harder
night I have never spent. I think we must be in time."

"I think so," William Long said. "Supposing the Royalist made the bay
safely, she would have been there by midnight, but the sea would have
been so high that I doubt if they would have launched a boat till
morning. It was light by five, but they might wait for the gale to abate
a little, and after landing they have eight miles to come. Of course,
they might have passed here an hour ago, but a incline to think that
they would not land till later, as with this wind blowing off shore, it
would be no easy matter to row a boat in its teeth."

The guide saying that there was a cottage a mile further up the valley,
he was sent there with instructions to ask whether any one had been seen
to pass that morning. After being half an hour absent he returned,
saying that there was only an old woman at the hut, and that she had
told him she was sure no one had passed there since daybreak. They now
followed the stream down the valley until they came to a small wood.
Here they lay down to rest, one being planed upon the lookout. Two hours
later the sentry awoke them with the news that a party of men were
coming op the valley. All were at once upon the alert.

"Thank Heaven," Leslie said, "we have struck the right place. There seem
to be ten or twelve of them, of whom two, no doubt, are the prisoners.
We shall have no difficulty in overcoming them by a sudden surprise.
Capture or kill every man if possible, or we shall have hot work in
getting back to Edinburgh."

When the party came nearer it could be seen that it consisted of eight
armed men, in the center of whom the two Royalist officers were walking.
Their arms were bound to their sides. Leslie arranged that he with Mike
and one of the soldiers would at once spring to their aid, as likely
enough, directly the attack began, the captors might endeavor to slay
their prisoners, to prevent them from being rescued. Mike was instructed
to strike no blow, but to devote himself at once to cutting their cords,
and placing weapons in their hands.

The surprise was complete. The sailors forming the majority of the
party, with two trusty retainers of the earl, who had special charge of
the affair, were proceeding carelessly along, having no thought of
interruption. So far their plans had succeeded perfectly. The moment
the two officers had reached the quay they were addressed by the men
sent on shore with the Royalist's boat. Unsuspicious of danger they took
their place in it, and therefore missed the opportunity, which they
would have had if they had entered any of the other boats, of learning
the true character of the Royalist. They had been attacked the instant
they gained the deck of the vessel. Harry, who was first, had been
knocked down before he had time to put his hand to his sword. Jacob had
fought valiantly for a short time, but he too had been knocked senseless
by a blow with a capstan bar. They had then been roughly tumbled below,
where no further attention had been paid to them. The Royalist had been
blown many miles out to sea, and did not make her anchorage until ten
o'clock in the morning. Then the hatches were removed, and the prisoners
brought on deck.

The inlet was a small one, and contained, only a little fishing village;
the prisoners saw the Royalist sail off again, directly they had been
placed in the boat. They had from the first moment when they regained
consciousness entertained no doubts whatever into whose hands they had
fallen, and they felt their position to be desperate. The plan, indeed,
had been skillfully laid, and had it not been for Harry reading the
order aloud in Mike's presence, there would have been no clew to their
disappearance. During the night the young men were too overpowered with
the violence of the storm, and the closeness of the atmosphere in the
hold, in which they had been thrown, to converse. But as the motion
moderated in the morning they had talked over their chances, and
pronounced them to be small indeed. Harry, indeed, remembered that Mike
had been present when he asked Jacob to accompany him on board ship, but
he thought that no uneasiness would be felt until late that night, as
it might well be thought that their duties had detained them, and that
they had supped on board. The storm might further account for their
non-appearance till morning. Then they imagined that inquiry would be
made, and that it would be found that the Royalist had sailed. Their
captors would then have a start of twenty-four hours, and in such
troubled times it was scarce likely that anything would be done. Nor
indeed did they see how they could be followed, as the destination of
the ship would be entirely unknown. The very fact that they had not been
thrown overboard when fairly out at sea was in itself a proof that their
captors entertained no fear of pursuit; had they done so, they would
have dispatched them at once. The captives felt sure that it was
intended to land them, in order that Argyll himself might have the
pleasure of taunting them before putting them to death. Against Jacob,
indeed, he could have no personal feeling, and it was by accident only
that he was a sharer in Harry's fate. But as a witness of what had taken
place, his life would assuredly be taken, as well as that of his
companion. As they walked along they gathered from the talk of their
guards the distance which they had to go, and the place of their
destination. They had never heard of Kilbeg Castle, but as they had no
enemies save Argyll, they knew that it must belong to one of his clan.
They spoke but little on the way. Harry was wondering how the news of
his disappearance would be received in the camp, and thinking of the
dismay which it would occasion in the minds of Mike and William Long,
when suddenly he heard a shout, and on the instant a fierce fight was
raging around him.

Although taken completely by surprise, the sailors fought steadily. But
two were cut down before they could draw a sword, and the others,
outmatched, were driven backward. The leader of the party shouted again
and again, "Kill the prisoners," but he and each of his men were too
hotly engaged with the adversaries who pressed them, to do more than
defend their own lives. In a minute the fray was rendered still more
unequal by Harry and Jacob joining in it, and in less than three minutes
from its commencement seven of the guards lay dead or dying upon the
ground. The other, an active young fellow, had taken to flight early in
the fight, and was already beyond reach.

The contest over, there was a delighted greeting between the rescued
prisoners and their friends.

"Come," Leslie said, "we have not a moment to lose. That fellow who has
escaped will take the news to Kilbeg, and we shall be having its
garrison at our heels. He has but three miles to run, and they will beat
to horse in a few minutes after he gets there. We must strike across the
hills, and had best make a great circuit by Stirling. If we avoid the
roads and towns they may not pick up our track."

Their guide fortunately knew the country well, and leaving the path by
which they had traveled, the party started on their return. All day they
tramped across the moorlands, avoiding all villages and scattered
farmhouses. They had, they knew, three-quarters of an hour's start, and
as their pursuers would be alike ignorant whence they came or whither
they were going, the chances of their hitting the right route were
small.

Making a circuit round Kinross and Alloa, where the Campbells might have
ridden in pursuit, and sleeping in a wood, they arrived next day at
Stirling. Here was great excitement, for Cromwell's army, marching south
of Edinburgh, had approached the town. They remained, however, a few
hours only, collecting what pre visions they could, and then falling
back again to their former camp at Musselburgh. The following day Harry
and his party marched to Edinburgh. That night Harry reported to Sir
David Leslie what had befallen him and the next morning he accompanied
the general to Holyrood, and laid a complaint before the king.

His majesty was most indignant at the attempt which had been made upon
his follower, but he said to General Leslie, "I doubt not, Sir David,
that your thoughts and mine go toward the same person. But we have no
evidence that he had an absolute hand in it, although the fact that this
ship was commanded by a Campbell, and that the hold of Kilbeg belongs to
one of his kinsmen, point to his complicity in the affair. Still, that
is no proof. Already the earl is no friend of mine. When the day comes I
will have a bitter reckoning with him, but in the present state of my
fortunes, methinks that 'twere best in this, as in other matters, to
hold my tongue for the time. I cannot afford to make him an open enemy
now."

General Leslie agreed with the king. Cromwell's army was in a sore
strait, and would, they hoped, be shortly driven either to surrender or
to fight under disadvantageous circumstances. But the open defection of
Argyll at the present moment, followed as it would be by that of the
whole fanatical party, would entirely alter the position of affairs, and
Harry begged his majesty to take no more notice of the matter, and so
returned to the camp.



CHAPTER XXIII.

THE BATTLE OF WORCESTER.


The next morning the Scotch army moved after that of Cromwell, which had
fallen back to Dunbar, and took post on the Doon hill facing him there.
Cromwell's army occupied a peninsula, having on their face a brook
running along a deep, narrow little valley. The Scotch position on the
hill was an exceedingly strong one, and had they remained there
Cromwell's army must have been driven to surrender. Cromwell himself
wrote on that night, "The enemy hath blocked up our way at the pass at
Copperspath, through which we cannot pass without almost a miracle. He
lieth so upon the hills that we knoweth not how to come that way without
much difficulty, and our lying here daily consumeth our men, who fall
sick beyond imagination."

The Scotch had, in fact, the game in their hands, had they but waited on
the ground they had taken up. The English had, however, an ally in their
camp. The Earl of Argyll strongly urged that an attack should be made
upon the English, and he was supported by the preachers and fanatics,
who exclaimed that the Lord had delivered their enemies into their
hands. General Leslie, however, stood firm. The preachers scattered in
the camp and exhorted the soldiers to go down and smite the enemy. So
great an enthusiasm did they excite by their promises of victory that in
the afternoon the soldiers, without orders from their general, moved
down the hill toward the enemy. The more regular body of the troops
stood firm, but Leslie, seeing that the preachers had got the mastery,
and that his orders were no longer obeyed, ordered these also to move
forward, in hopes that the enthusiasm which had been excited would yet
suffice to win the victory.

Cromwell saw the fatal mistake which had been committed, and in the
night moved round his troops to his left, and these at daybreak fell
upon the Scottish right. The night had been wet, and the Scottish army
were unprovided with tents. Many of their matchlocks had been rendered
useless. At daybreak on the morning of the 3d of September the English,
led by General Lambert, fell upon them. The Scotch for a time stood
their ground firmly; but the irregular troops, who had by their folly
led the army into this plight, gave way before the English pikemen. The
preachers, who were in vast numbers, set the example of flight. Many of
the regiments of infantry fought most fiercely, but the battle was
already lost. The Scotch cavalry were broken by the charge of the
Ironsides, and in less than an hour from the commencement of the
fighting the rout was complete. Three thousand Scotch were killed, and
ten thousand taken prisoners.

Harry's regiment was but slightly engaged. It had been one of the last
to march down the hill on the evening before, and Harry and Jacob
foresaw the disaster which would happen. "If I were the king," Harry
said, "I would order every one of these preachers out of camp, and would
hang those who disobeyed. Then I would march the army on to the hill
again. If they wait there the English must attack us with grievous
disadvantage, or such as cannot get on board their ships must surrender.
Charles would really be king then, and could disregard the wrath of the
men of the conventicles. Cromwell will attack us to-morrow, and will
defeat us; his trained troops are more than a match for these Scotchmen,
who think more of their preachers than of their officers, and whose
discipline is of the slackest."

"I agree with you entirely," Jacob said. "But in the present mood of the
army, I believe that half of them would march away if the general
dismissed the preachers."

The next day, when the fight began, Harry moved forward his regiment to
the support of the Scottish right, but before he came fairly into the
fray this had already given away, and Harry, seeing that the day was
lost, halted his men, and fell back in good order. Again and again the
Ironsides charged them. The leveled pikes and heavy musketry fire each
time beat them off, and they marched from the field almost the only body
which kept its formation. Five thousand of the country people among the
prisoners Cromwell allowed to depart to their homes. The remainder he
sent to Newcastle, where great numbers of them were starved to death by
the cruelty of the governor, Sir Arthur Hazelrig. The remainder were
sent as slaves to New England.

Leslie, with the wreck of his army, fell back to Stirling, while
Charles, with the Scotch authorities, went to Perth. Here the young
king, exasperated beyond endurance at the tyranny of Argyll and the
fanatics, escaped from them, and with two or three friends rode fifty
miles north. He was overtaken and brought back to Perth, but the anger
of the army was so hot at his treatment that the fanatics were
henceforth obliged to put a curb upon themselves, and a strong king's
party, as opposed to that of the Covenant, henceforth guided his
counsels.

The winter passed quietly. The English troops were unable to stand the
inclemency of the climate, and contented themselves with capturing
Edinburgh Castle, and other strongholds south of the Forth. Cromwell was
compelled by ill health to return for some months to England. Leslie's
army was strongly intrenched round Stirling. In June Cromwell again took
the field, and moved against Perth, which he captured on the 31st of
July. Charles, who had joined his army at Stirling, broke up his camp
and marched toward England, the road being open to him owing to Cromwell
and his army being further north at Perth.

During the time which had elapsed since the battle of Dunbar no events
had happened in Harry's life. Remaining quietly in camp, where the
troops, who had been disgusted by the conduct of the fanatics at Dunbar,
were now ill disposed toward Argyll and his party, he had little fear of
the machinations of the earl, who was with the king at Perth.

Argyll refused to join in the southern march, and the army with which
Leslie entered England numbered only eleven thousand men. As soon as he
crossed the border, Charles was proclaimed king, and proclamations were
issued calling on all loyal subjects to join him.

The people were, however, weary of civil war. The Royalists had already
suffered so heavily that they held back now, and the hatred excited,
alike by the devastations of the Scotch army on its former visit to
England, and by the treachery with which they had then sold the king,
deterred men from joining them. A few hundred, indeed, came to his
standard; but upon the other hand, Lambert and Harrison, with a strong
force, were marching against him, and Cromwell, having left six thousand
men in Scotland, under Monk, was pressing hotly behind with the victors
of Dunbar. On the 22d of August Charles reached Worcester. On the 28th
Cromwell was close to the town with thirty thousand men.

"This is the end of it all, Jacob," Harry said that night. "They
outnumber us by three to one, and even if equal, they would assuredly
beat us, for the Scotch are dispirited at finding themselves so far from
home, in a hostile country. Things look desperate. If all is lost
to-morrow, do you and William Long and Mike keep close to me. Get a
horse for Mike to-night. You and Long are already mounted. If all is
lost we must try and make our way to the seacoast, and take boat for
France or Holland. But first of all we must see to the safety of the
king. It is clear that at present England is not ready to return to the
former state of things. We must hope that some day she will weary of the
Roundhead rule, and if the king can reach the Continent he must remain
there till England calls him. At present she only wants peace. It is
just nine years now since King Charles' father set up his standard at
Nottingham. Nine years of wars and troubles! No wonder men are aweary of
it. It is all very well for us, Jacob, who have no wives, neither
families nor occupations, and are without property to lose, but I wonder
not that men who have these things are chary of risking them in a cause
which seems destined to failure."

Upon the 3d of September, 1651, the anniversary of the battle of Dunbar,
Cromwell advanced to the attack. Harry's regiment was placed among some
hedges around the city, and upon them the brunt of the fight first fell.
In spite of the immense numbers brought against them they defended
themselves with desperate bravery. Some of the Scottish troops came up,
and for a time Cromwell's footmen could make but little way. At other
parts, however, the resistance was more feeble, and the Scotch fell
rapidly into confusion. Contesting every foot of the way, Harry's
regiment was driven back into the town, where a terrible confusion
reigned. Still keeping his men together, he marched to the marketplace.
Here he found the king with a considerable body of horse. The greater
part, however, of the horse had fled through the town without drawing
rein, while the foot were throwing away their arms and flying in all
directions.

"If all my troops had fought like your regiment, Colonel Furness, we
should have won the day," the king said. "As it is now, it is a hopeless
rout. It is useless for your brave fellows to throw away their lives
further. They will only be cut down vainly, seeing that the rest of my
army are disbanded. Thank them from me for their services, and bid them
seek their homes as best they may and wait for better times. They are
English, and will meet with better treatment from the country people
than will the Scotch. Then do you join me. I am going to head my
horsemen here in a charge against the Roundhead cavalry, and so give
more time for the army to get away."

Harry rode up to his troops, now reduced to half their former strength.
Leslie and Grahame had both been killed, and William Long was sorely
wounded. He gave the men the message from the king, and the brave
fellows gave a cheer for King Charles, the last he was to hear for ten
years. Then they marched away in orderly array, with their arms,
intending to beat off all who might attack them before nightfall, and
then to break up and scatter, each for himself. William Long had friends
near Gloucester, and as his wound would prevent him from traveling
rapidly with Harry, he took farewell of him, and rode away with the
regiment. Harry, with Jacob and Mike, rejoined the king, and they rode
toward the gate by which the Roundhead troops were already entering the
town. The horsemen, however, had but little stomach for the fight, and
as the king advanced, in twos and threes they turned their horses'
heads and rode off.

Harry was riding close to the king, and looking round said at length,
"It is useless, your majesty. There are not a dozen men with us."

The king looked round and checked his horse. Besides his personal
friends, Buckingham, Wilmot, and one or two other nobles, scarce a man
remained. The king shrugged his shoulders. "Well, gentlemen, as we
cannot fight, we must needs run." Then the party turned their horses and
galloped out on the other side of Worcester. The country was covered
with fugitives. They soon came upon a considerable body of horse, who at
once attached themselves to the party. "These, gentlemen," the king
said, "would not fight when I wanted them to, and now that I would fain
be alone, they follow me."

At last, when darkness came on, the king, with his personal friends and
some sixty others, slipped away down a by-road, and after riding for
some hours came to a house called the White Ladies. Here for a few hours
they rested. Then a council was held. They had news that on a heath near
were some three thousand Scotch cavalry. The king's friends urged him to
join these and endeavor to make his way back into Scotland, but Charles
had already had more than enough of that country, and he was sure that
Argyll and his party would not hesitate to deliver him up to the
Parliament, as they had done his father before him. He therefore
determined to disguise himself, and endeavor to escape on foot, taking
with him only a guide. The rest of the party agreed to join the Scotch
horse, and endeavor to reach the border. After a consultation with
Jacob, Harry determined to follow the example of the king, and to try
and make his way in disguise to a seaport. He did not believe that the
Scotch cavalry would be able to regain their country, nor even if they
did would his position be improved were he with them. With the
destruction of the Royalist army, Argyll would again become supreme, and
Harry doubted not that he would satisfy his old grudge against him. He
was right in his anticipations. The Scots were a day or two later routed
by the English horse, and comparatively few of them ever regained their
country. Out of the eleven thousand men who fought at Worcester, seven
thousand were taken prisoners, including the greater part of the
Scottish contingent. The English, attracting less hostility and
attention from the country people, for the most part reached their homes
in safety.

As soon as the king had ridden off, Harry with Jacob and Mike, started
in another direction. Stopping at a farmhouse, they purchased from the
master three suits of clothes. Harry's was one of the farmer's own, the
man being nearly his own size. For Jacob, who was much shorter, a dress,
cloak and bonnet of the farmer's wife was procured, and for Mike the
clothes of one of the farmer's sons. One of the horses was left here,
and a pillion obtained for the other. Putting on these disguises, Harry
mounted his horse, with Jacob seated behind him on a pillion, while Mike
rode by his side. They started amid the good wishes of the farmer and
his family, who were favorable to the Royalist cause. Harry had cut off
his ringlets, and looked the character of a young farmer of twenty-four
or twenty-five years old well enough, while Jacob had the appearance of
a suitable wife for him. Mike was to pass as his brother.

In the course of the first day's journey they met several parties of
Roundhead horse, who plied them with questions as to whether they had
seen any parties of fugitives. Making a detour, they rode toward
Gloucester, not intending to enter that town, where there was a
Parliamentary garrison, but to cross the river higher up. They stopped
for the night at a wayside inn, where they heard much talk concerning
the battle, and learned that all the fords were guarded to prevent
fugitives crossing into Wales, and that none might pass who could not
give a good account of themselves. They heard, too, that on the evening
before a proclamation had been made at Gloucester and other towns
offering a reward of a thousand pounds for the capture of Charles, and
threatening all with the penalties of treason who should venture to aid
or shelter him; a systematic watch was being set on all the roads.

They determined to ride again next morning toward Worcester, and to
remain in that neighborhood for some days, judging that less inquiry
would be made there than elsewhere. This they did, but journeyed very
slowly, and slept a mile or two from Worcester.

Before reaching their halting-place they took off a shoe from Mike's
horse, and with a nail wounded the frog of the foot, so that the animal
walked lame. Under this pretense they stopped three days, feigning great
annoyance at the delay. They found now that orders had been issued that
none should journey on the roads save those who had passes, and these
had to be shown before entering any of the large towns. They therefore
resolved to leave their horses, and to proceed on foot, as they could
then travel by byways and across the country. There was some debate as
to the best guise in which to travel, but it was presently determined to
go as Egyptians, as the gypsies were then called. Harry walked into
Worcester, and there, at the shop of a dealer in old clothes, procured
such garments as were needed, and at an apothecary's purchased some dyes
for staining the skin.

The next day, telling the landlord that they should leave the lame
horse with him until their return, they started as before, Mike walking
instead of riding. They presently left the main road, and finding a
convenient place in a wood, changed their attire. Harry and Mike were
dressed in ragged clothes, with bright handkerchiefs round their necks,
and others round their heads. Jacob still retained his attire as a
woman, with a tattered shawl round his shoulders, and a red handkerchief
over his head. All darkened their faces and hands. They took the saddle
from the horse, and placed the bundles, containing the clothes they had
taken off, on his back. Mike took the bridle, Harry and Jacob walked
beside, and so they continued for some miles along the lonely roads,
until they came to a farmhouse. Here they stopped. The farmer came out,
and roughly demanded what they wanted. Harry replied that he wanted to
sell their horse, and would take a small sum for it.

"I doubt me," the farmer said, looking at it, "that that horse was not
honestly come by. It suits not your condition. It may well be," he said,
"the horse of some officer who was slain at Worcester, and which you
have found roaming in the country."

"It matters not," Harry said, "where I got it; it is mine now, and may
be yours if you like it, cheap. As you say, its looks agree not with
mine, and I desire not to be asked questions. If you will give me that
donkey I see there, and three pounds, you shall have him."

The offer was a tempting one, but the farmer beat them down a pound
before he agreed to it. Then shifting their bundles to the donkey, they
continued their way. At the next village they purchased a cooking-pot
and some old stuff for a tent. Cutting some sticks, they encamped that
night on some wild land hard by, having purchased provisions for their
supper. Very slowly they traveled south, attracting no attention as
they passed. They avoided all large towns, and purchased such things as
they needed at villages, always camping out on commons and waste places.
They could hear no news of the king at any of their halting-places. That
he had not been taken was certain; also, that he had not reached France,
or the news of his coming there would have been known. It was generally
supposed that he was in hiding somewhere in the south, hoping to find an
opportunity to take ship to France. Everywhere they heard of the active
search which was being made for him, and how the houses of all suspected
to be favorable to him were being searched.

Traveling only a few miles a day, and frequently halting for two or
three days together, the party crossed the Thames above Reading, and
journeyed west into Wiltshire. So they went on until they reached the
port of Charmouth, near Lime Regis. Here, as in all the seaport towns,
were many soldiers of the Parliament. They did not enter the town, but
encamped a short distance outside, Harry alone going in to gather the
news. He found that numerous rumors concerning the king were afloat. It
was asserted that he had been seen near Bristol, and failing to embark
there, was supposed to be making his way east along the coast, in hopes
of finding a ship. The troops were loud in their expressions of
confidence that in a few days, if not in a few hours, he would be in
their hands, and that he would be brought to the scaffold, as his father
had been.

Uneasy at the news, Harry wandered about the town, and at nightfall
entered a small public house near the port. Calling for some liquor, he
sat down, and listened to the talk of the sailors. Presently these left,
and soon after they did so three other men entered. One was dressed as a
farmer, the other two as serving-men. Harry thought that he noticed a
glance of recognition pass between the farmer and the landlord, and as
the latter placed some liquor and a candle on the table before the
newcomers, Harry recognized in the farmer Colonel Wyndham, a Royalist
with whom he was well acquainted. He now looked more closely at the two
serving-men, and recognized in them the king and Lord Wilmot.

He sauntered across the room as if to get a light for his pipe, and
said, in low tones:

"Colonel Wyndham, I am Harry Furness. Is there any way I can serve his
majesty?"

"Ah! Colonel Furness, I am glad to see you," the king said heartily;
"though if you are hunted as shrewdly as I am, your state is a perilous
one."

"The landlord is to be trusted," Colonel Wyndham said. "We had best call
him in. He said nothing before you, deeming you a stranger."

The landlord was called in, and told Harry was a friend, whereupon he
barred the door and closed the shutters, as if for the night. Then
turning to Colonel Wyndham, whom alone he knew, he said:

"I am sorry to say that my news is bad, sir. An hour since I went round
to the man who had engaged to take you across to St. Malo, but his wife
has got an inkling of his intentions. She has locked him into his room,
and swears that if he attempts to come forth she will give the alarm to
the Parliament troops; for that she will not have herself and her
children sacrificed by meddlings of his in the affairs of state."



CHAPTER XXIV.

ACROSS THE SEA.


The announcement of the innkeeper struck consternation into the party.

"This is bad news indeed," Colonel Wyndham said; "what does your majesty
advise now?"

"I know not, my good Wyndham," King Charles replied. "Methinks 'twere
better that I should give myself up at once. Fate seems against us, and
I'm only bringing danger on all my friends."

"Your friends are ready to risk the danger," Colonel Wyndham said; "and
I doubt not that we shall finally place your majesty in safety. I think
we had best try Bridport. Unfortunately, the Roundheads are so sure of
your being on the coast that it is well-nigh impossible to procure a
ship, so strict is the search of all who leave port. If we could but put
them off your scent, and lead them to believe that you have given it up
in despair here, and are trying again to reach Scotland, it might throw
them off their guard, and make it more easy for us to find a ship."

"I might do that," Harry said. "I have with me my comrade Jacob, who is
about the king's height and stature. I will travel north again, and will
in some way excite suspicion that he is the king. The news that your
majesty has been seen traveling there will throw them off your track
here."

"But you may be caught yourself," the king said. "The Earl of Derby and
other officers have been executed. There would be small chance for you
were you to fall into their hands."

"I trust that I shall escape, sire. My friend Jacob is as cunning as a
fox, and will, I warrant me, throw dust in their eyes. And how has it
fared with your majesty since I left you at White Ladies?"

"Faith," Charles replied, laughing, "I have been like a rat with the
dogs after him. The next night after leaving you I was in danger from a
rascally miller, who raised an alarm because we refused to stay at his
bidding. Then we made for Moseley, where I hoped to cross the Severn.
The Roundheads had set a guard there, and Richard Penderell went to the
house of Mr. Woolfe, a loyal gentleman, and asked him for shelter for an
officer from Worcester. Mr. Woolfe said he would risk his neck for none
save the king himself. Then Richard told him who I was, and brought me
in. Mr. Woolfe hid me in the barn and gave me provisions. The
neighborhood was dangerous, for the search was hot thereabout, and I
determined to double back again to White Ladies, that I might hear what
had become of Wilmot. Richard Penderell guided me to Boscabell, a
farmhouse kept by his brother William. Here I found Major Careless in
hiding. The search was hot, and we thought of hiding in a wood near, but
William advised that as this might be searched we should take refuge in
an oak lying apart in the middle of the plain."

"This had been lopped three or four years before and had grown again
very thick and bushy, so that it could not be seen through. So, early in
the morning, Careless and I, taking provisions for the day, climbed up
it and hid there, and it was well we did so, for in the day the
Roundheads came and searched the wood from end to end, as also the
house. But they did not think of the tree. The next two days I lay at
Boscabell, and learned on the second day that Wilmot was hiding at the
house of Mr. Whitgrave, a Catholic gentleman at Moseley, where he begged
me to join him. That night I rode thither. The six Penderells, for there
were that number of brothers, rode with me as a bodyguard. I was well
received by Mr. Whitgrave, who furnished me with fresh linen, to my
great comfort, for that which I had on was coarse, and galled my flesh
grievously, and my feet were so sore I could scarce walk. But the
Roundheads were all about, and the search hot, and it was determined
that I should leave. This time I was dressed as a decent serving man,
and Colonel Lane's daughter agreed to go with me. I was to pass as her
serving man, taking her to Bristol. A cousin rode with us in company.
Colonel Lane procured us a pass, and we met with no adventure for three
days. A smith who shod my horse, which had cast a shoe, did say that
that rogue Charles Stuart had not been taken yet, and that he thought he
ought to be hanged. I thought so too, so we had no argument. At Bristol
we could find no ship in which I could embark, and after some time I
went with Miss Lane and her cousin to my good friend Colonel Wyndham, at
Trent House. After much trouble he had engaged a ship to take me hence,
and now this rascal refuses to go, or rather his wife refuses for him.
And now, my friend, we will at once make for Bridport, since Colonel
Wyndham hopes to find a ship there. I trust we may meet ere long in
France. None of my friends have served me and my father more faithfully
than you. It would seem but a mockery now to take knighthood at the
hands of Charles Stuart, but it will not harm thee."

Taking a sword from Colonel Wyndham, the king dubbed Harry knight. Then
giving his hand to the landlord to kiss, Charles, accompanied by his
two companions, left the inn.

A few minutes later Harry started and joined his friends. Jacob agreed
at once to the proposal to throw the Roundheads off King Charles' track.
The next day they started north, and traveled through Wiltshire up into
Gloucestershire, still keeping their disguises as gypsies. There they
left their donkey with a peasant, telling him they would return in a
fortnight's time and claim it. In a wood near they again changed their
disguise, hid their gypsy dresses, and started north on foot. In the
evening they stopped at Fairford, and took up their abode at a small
inn, where they asked for a private room. They soon ascertained that the
landlord was a follower of the Parliament. Going toward the room into
which they were shown, Jacob stumbled, and swore in a man's voice, which
caused the servant maid who was conducting them to start and look
suspiciously at him. Supper was brought, but Harry noticed that the
landlord, who himself brought it in, glanced several times at Jacob.
They were eating their supper when they heard his footstep again coming
along the passage. Harry dropped on one knee, and was in the act of
handing the jug in that attitude to Jacob, when the landlord entered.
Harry rose hastily, as if in confusion, and the landlord, setting down
on the table a dish which he had brought, again retired.

"Throw up the window, Jacob, and listen," Harry said. "We must not be
caught like rats in a trap."

The window opened into a garden, and Jacob, listening, could hear
footsteps as of men running in the streets.

"That is enough, then," Harry said. "The alarm is given. Now let us be
off." They leaped from the window, and they were soon making their way
across the country. They had not been gone a hundred yards before they
heard a great shouting, and knew that their departure had been
discovered. They had not walked far that day and now pressed forward
north. They had filled their pockets with the remains of their supper,
and after walking all night, left the road, and climbing into a haystack
at a short distance, ate their breakfast and were soon fast asleep.

It was late in the afternoon before they awoke. Then they walked on
until, after darkness fell, they entered a small village. Here they went
into a shop to buy bread. The woman looked at them earnestly.

"I do not know whether it concerns you," she said, "but I will warn you
that this morning a mounted man from Fairford came by warning all to
seize a tall countryman with a young fellow and a woman with him, for
that she was no other than King Charles."

"Thanks, my good woman," Jacob said. "Thanks for your warning. I do not
say that I am he you name, but whether or no, the king shall hear some
day of your good-will."

Traveling on again, they made thirty miles that night, and again slept
in a wood. The next evening, when they entered a village to buy food,
the man in the shop, after looking at them, suddenly seized Jacob, and
shouted loudly for help. Harry stretched him on the ground with a heavy
blow of the stout cudgel he carried. The man's shouts, however, had
called up some of his neighbors, and these ran up as they issued from
the shop, and tried to seize them. The friends, however, struck out
lustily with their sticks, Jacob carrying one concealed beneath his
dress. In two or three minutes they had fought their way clear, and ran
at full speed through the village, pursued by a shouting crowd of
rustics.

"Now," Harry said, "we can return for our gypsy dresses, and then make
for the east coast. We have put the king's enemies off the scent. I
trust that when we may get across the water we may hear that he is in
safety."

They made a long detour, traveling only at night, Harry entering alone
after dusk the villages where it was necessary to buy food. When they
regained the wood where they had left their disguises they dressed
themselves again as gypsies, called for the donkey, and then journeyed
across England by easy stages to Colchester, where they succeeded in
taking passage in a lugger bound for Hamburg. They arrived there in
safety, and found to their great joy the news had arrived that the king
had landed in France.

He had, they afterward found, failed to obtain a ship at Bridport, where
when he arrived he here found a large number of soldiers about to cross
to Jersey. He returned to Trent House, and a ship at Southampton was
then engaged. But this was afterward taken up for the carriage of
troops. A week later a ship lying at Shoreham was hired to carry a
nobleman and his servant to France, and King Charles, with his friends,
made his way thither in safety. The captain of the ship at once
recognized the king, but remained true to his promise, and landed him at
Fécamp in Normandy.

Six weeks had elapsed since the battle of Worcester, and during that
time the king's hiding-places had been known to no less than forty-five
persons, all of whom proved faithful to the trust, and it was owing to
their prudence and caution as well as to their loyalty that the king
escaped, in spite of the reward offered and the hot search kept up
everywhere for him.

Harry had now to settle upon his plans for the future. There was no hope
whatever of an early restoration. He had no thought of hanging about the
king whose ways and dissolute associates revolted him. It was open to
him to take service, as so many of his companions had done, in one or
other of the Continental armies, but Harry had had more than enough of
fighting. He determined then to cross the ocean to the plantations of
Virginia, where many loyal gentlemen had established themselves. The
moneys which Colonel Furness had during the last four years regularly
sent across to a banker at the Hague, for his use, were lying untouched,
and these constituted a sum amply sufficient for establishing himself
there. Before starting, however, he determined that if possible he would
take a wife with him. In all his wanderings he had never seen any one he
liked so much as his old playmate, Lucy Rippinghall. It was nearly four
years since he had seen her, and she must now be twenty-one. Herbert, he
knew by his father's letters, had left the army at the end of the first
civil war, and was carrying on his father's business, the wool-stapler
having been killed at Marston Moor. Harry wrote to the colonel, telling
him of his intention to go to Virginia and settle there until either
Cromwell's death, and the dying out of old animosities, or the
restoration of the king permitted him to return to England, and also
that he was writing to ask Lucy Rippinghall to accompany him as his
wife. He told his father that he was well aware that he would not have
regarded such a match as suitable had he been living at home with him at
Furness Hall, but that any inequality of birth would matter no whit in
the plantations of Virginia, and that such a match would greatly promote
his happiness there. By the same mail he wrote to Herbert Rippinghall.

"My DEAR HERBERT: The bonds of affection which held us together when
boys are in no way slackened in their hold upon me, and you showed, when
we last met, that you loved me in no way less than of old. I purpose
sailing to Virginia with such store of money as would purchase a
plantation there, and there I mean to settle down until such times as
these divisions in England may be all passed. But I would fain not go
alone. As a boy I loved your sister Lucy, and I have seen none to take
the place of her image in my heart. She is, I know, still unmarried, but
I know not whether she has any regard for me. I do beseech you to sound
her, and if she be willing to give her to me. I hear that you are well
married, and can therefore the better spare her. If she be willing to
take me, I will be a good husband to her, and trust some day or other to
bring her back to be lady of Furness Hall. Although I know that she will
care little for such things, I may say that she would be Lady Lucy,
since the king has been pleased to make me Sir Harry Furness. Should the
dear girl be willing, will you, since I cannot come to you, bring her
hither to me. I have written to my father, and have told him what I
purpose to do. Trusting that this will find you as well disposed toward
me as ever, I remain, your affectionate friend, HARRY FURNESS."

This letter, together with that to his father, Harry gave to Mike. The
post in those days was extremely irregular, and none confided letters of
importance to it which could possibly be sent by hand. Such a
communication as that to Herbert Rippinghall was not one which Harry
cared to trust to the post. Mike had never been at Abingdon, and would
therefore be unknown there. Nor, indeed, unless they were taken
prisoners in battle or in the first hot pursuit, were any of lower
degree meddled with after their return to their homes. There was
therefore no fear whatever of molestation. At this time Jacob was far
from well. The fatigues which he had undergone since the king broke up
his camp at Stirling had been immense. Prolonged marches, great anxiety,
sleeping on wet ground, being frequently soaked to the skin by heavy
rains, all these things had told upon him, and now that the necessity
for exertion was over, a sort of low fever seized him, and he was
forced to take to his bed. The leech whom Harry called in told him that
Jacob needed rest and care more than medicine. He gave him, however,
cooling drinks, and said that when the fever passed he would need
strengthening food and medicine.

Hamburg was at that time the resort of many desperate men from England.
After Worcester, as after the crushing out of the first civil war, those
too deeply committed to return to their homes sought refuge here. But
though all professed to be Cavaliers, who were suffering only from their
loyalty to the crown, a great many of them were men who had no just
claim to so honorable a position. There were many who took advantage of
the times in England to satisfy private enmities or to gratify evil
passions. Although the courts of law sat during the whole of the civil
war, and the judges made their circuits, there was necessarily far more
crime than in ordinary times. Thus many of those who betook themselves
to Hamburg and other seaports on the continent had made England too hot
for them by crimes of violence and dishonesty.

The evening after Mike sailed Harry, who had been sitting during the
afternoon chatting by Jacob's bedside, went out to take the air. He
strolled along the wharves, near which were the drinking-houses, whence
came sounds of singing, dancing, and revelry, mingled occasionally with
shouts and the clash of steel, as quarrels arose among the sailors and
others frequenting them. Never having seen one of these places, Harry
strolled into one which appeared of a somewhat better class than the
rest. At one end was a sort of raised platform, upon which were two men,
with fiddles, who, from time to time, played lively airs, to which those
at the tables kept time by stamping their feet. Sometimes men or women
came on to the platform and sang. The occupants of the body of the hall
were mostly sailors, but among whom were a considerable number of men,
who seemed by their garb to be broken-down soldiers and adventurers.

Harry took his seat by the door, called for a glass of wine and drank
it, and, having soon seen enough of the nature of the entertainment, was
about to leave, when his attention was attracted by a young girl who
took her place on the platform. She was evidently a gypsy, for at this
time these people were the minstrels of Europe. It would have been
considered shameful for any other woman to sing publicly. Two or three
of these women had already sung, and Harry had been disgusted with their
hard voices and bold looks. But he saw that the one who now took her
place on the platform was of a different nature. She advanced nervously,
and as if quite strange to such a scene, and touched her guitar with
trembling fingers. Then she began to sing a Spanish romance in a sweet,
pure voice. There was a good deal of applause when it finished, for even
the rough sailors could appreciate the softness and beauty of the
melody. Then a half-drunken man shouted, "Give us something lively.
Sing 'May the Devil fly off with Old Noll.'"

The proposal was received with a shout of approval by many, but some of
the sailors cried out, "No, no. No politics. We won't hear Cromwell
insulted."

This only led to louder and more angry shouts on the part of the others,
and in all parts of the room men rose to their feet, gesticulating and
shouting. The girl, who evidently did not understand a word that was
said, stood looking with affright at the tumult which had so suddenly
risen. In a minute swords were drawn. The foreign sailors, in ignorance
of the cause of dispute, drew their knives, and stood by the side of
those from the English ships, while the foreign soldiers seemed ready
to make common cause with the English who had commenced the disturbance.
Two or three of the latter leaped upon the platform to insist upon their
wishes being carried out. The girl, with a little scream, retreated into
a corner. Harry, indignant at the conduct to his countrymen, had drawn
his sword, and made his way quietly toward the end of the hall, and he
now sprang upon the platform.

"Stand back," he shouted angrily. "I'll spit the first man who advances
a step."

"And who are you, sir, who ventures to thrust yourself into a quarrel,
and to interfere with English gentlemen?"

"English gentlemen," Harry said bitterly. "God help England if you are
specimens of her gentlemen."

"S'death!" exclaimed one. "Run the scoundrel through, Ralph."

In a moment Harry slashed open the cheek of one, and ran the other
through the arm. By this time the fray had become general in the hall.
Benches were broken up, swords and knives were used freely. Just as the
matter began to grow serious there was a cry of "The watch!" and a
strong armed guard entered the hall.

There was an instant cessation of hostilities, and then both parties
uniting, rushed upon the watch, and by sheer weight bore them back out
of the place. Harry looked round, and saw that the girl had fled by a
door at the back of the platform. Seeing that a fight was going on round
the door, and desiring to escape from the broil, he went out by the door
she had taken, followed a passage for some distance, went down a
dimly-lighted stair, and issued through a door into the air. He found
himself in a foul and narrow lane. It was entirely unlighted, and Harry
made his way with difficulty along, stumbling into holes in the
pavement, and over heaps of rubbish of all kinds.

"I have got into a nice quarter of the town," he muttered to himself.
"I have heard there are places in Hamburg, the resort of thieves and
scoundrels of the worst kind, and where even the watch dare not
penetrate, Methinks that this must be one them."

He groped his way along till he came to the end of the lane. Here a dim
light was burning. Three or four other lanes, in appearance as
forbidding as that up which he had come, met at this spot. Several men
were standing about. Harry paused for a moment, wondering whether he had
better take the first turning at random, or invite attention by asking
his way. He determined that the former was the least dangerous
alternative, and turned down the lane to his right. He had not gone ten
steps when a woman came up to him from behind.

"Are you not the gentleman who drew a sword to save me from insult?" she
asked in French.

Harry understood enough of the language to make out what she said.

"Yes," he said, "if you are the singer."

"Good heavens! sir, what misfortune has brought you here? I recognized
your face in the light. Your life, sir, is in the greatest danger. There
are men here who would murder you for the sake of a gold piece, and that
jewel which fastens your plume must have caught their eyes. Follow me,
sir, quickly."



CHAPTER XXV.

A PLOT OVERHEARD.


As the gypsy ended her warning she sprang forward, saying, "Follow me,
for your life, sir." Harry did not hesitate. He heard several footsteps
coming down the lane, and drawing his sword he followed his guide at a
run. As he did so there was a shout among the men behind him and these
set off in hot pursuit. Harry kept close to the girl, who turned down
another lane even more narrow than that they were leaving. A few paces
further she stopped, opened a door and entered. Harry followed her in
and she closed the door behind her.

"Hush!" she whispered. "There are men here as bad as those without. Take
off your shoes."

Harry did as directed. He was in pitch darkness. Taking him by the hand,
the girl led him forward for some distance.

"There is a staircase here," she whispered.

Still holding his hand, she began to mount the stairs. As they passed
each landing Harry heard the voices of men in the rooms on either side.
At last they arrived at the top of the house. Here she opened a door,
and led Harry into a room.

"Are you here, mother?" she asked.

There was no answer. The girl uttered an exclamation of thankfulness;
then, after groping about, she found a tinder-box, and struck a light.

"You are safe here for the present. This is my room, where I live with
my mother. At least," she sighed, "she calls herself my mother, and is
the only one I have known."

"Is it possible," Harry asked in surprise, "that one like yourself can
live in such an abode as this?"

"I am safe here," she answered. "There are five men of my tribe in the
next room, and fierce and brutal as are the men of these courts, none of
them would care to quarrel with the gypsies. But now I have got you
here, how am I to get you away?"

"If the gypsies are so feared, I might go out with them," Harry said.

"Alas!" the girl answered, "they are as had as the others. And even if
they were disposed to aid you for the kindness you have shown me, I
doubt if they could do so. Assuredly they would not run the risk of
thwarting the cutthroats here for the sake of saving you."

"Could you go and tell the watch?" Harry asked.

"The watch never comes here," the girl replied, shaking her head. "Were
they to venture up these lanes it would be like entering a hive of bees.
This is an Alsatia--a safe refuge for assassins and robbers."

"I have got myself into a nice mess," Harry said. "It seems to me I had
better sally out and take my chance."

"Look," the girl said, going to the window and opening it.

Peering out, Harry saw below a number of men with swords and knives
drawn. One or two had torches, and they were examining every doorway and
court. Outside the window ran a parapet.

"They will search like hounds," the girl continued. "They must know that
you have not gone far. If they come here you must take to the parapet,
and go some distance along. Now, I must try and find some disguise for
you."

At this moment the door opened, and an old woman entered. She uttered
an exclamation of astonishment at seeing Harry, and turning angrily to
the girl, spoke to her in the gypsy dialect. For two or three minutes
the conversation continued in that language; then the old woman turned
to Harry, and said in English:

"My daughter tells me that you have got into a broil on her behalf.
There are few gentlemen who draw sword for a gypsy. I will do my best to
aid you, but it will be difficult to get a gallant like yourself out of
this place."

Her eye fell covetously upon the jewel in Harry's hat. He noticed the
glance.

"Thanks, dame," he said; "I will gladly repay your services. Will you
accept this token?" And removing the jewel from the hat, he offered it
to her.

The girl uttered an angry exclamation as the old woman seized it, and
after examining it by the candle light, placed it in a small iron
coffer. Harry felt he had done wisely, for the old woman's face bore a
much warmer expression of good-will than had before characterized it.

"You cannot leave now," she said. "I heard as I came along that a
well-dressed gallant had been seen in the lanes, and every one's mouth
is on water. They said that they thought he had some woman with him, but
I did not dream it was Zita. You cannot leave to-night; to-morrow I will
get you some clothes of my son's, and in these you should be able to
escape without detection."

Very slowly the hours passed. The women at times talked together in
Romaic, while Harry, who had possession of the only chair in the room,
several times nodded off to sleep. In the morning there was a movement
heard in the next room, and the old woman went in there.

"Surely that woman cannot be your mother?" Harry said to the girl.

"She is not," she answered. "I believe that I was stolen as a child;
indeed, they have owned as much. But what can I do? I am one of them.
What can a gypsy do? We are good for nothing but to sing and to steal."

"If I get free from this scrape," Harry said, "you may be sure that
shall not be ungrateful, and if you long to leave this life, I can
secure you a quiet home in England with my father."

The girl clasped her hands in delight.

"Oh, that would be too good!" she exclaimed. "Too good; but I fear it
can never be."

She put her fingers to her lips, as the door again opened. The old woman
entered, carrying some clothes.

"Here," she said; "they have gone out; put these on, Zita and I will go
out and see if the coast is clear."

Harry, smiling to himself at the singularity of his having twice to
disguise himself as a gypsy, rapidly changed his clothes. Presently the
old woman returned.

"Quick," she exclaimed; "I hear that the news of the riot in the
drinking-house has got about this morning, and it is known that an
Englishman, something like the one seen in the lanes, took Zita's part,
and there are suspicions that it was she who acted as his guide. They
have been roughly questioning us. I told her to go on to avoid
suspicion, while I ran back. You cannot stir out now, and I heard a talk
of searching our rooms. Come, then, we may find a room unoccupied below;
you must take refuge there for the present."

Harry still retained his sword, incongruous as it was with his attire,
but he had determined to hide it under his clothes, so that, if
detected, he might be able at least to sell his life. Taking it in his
hand, he followed the old woman downstairs. She listened at each door,
and continued downward until she reached the first floor.

"I can hear no one here," she said, listening at a door. "Go up a few
steps; I will knock. If any one is there I can make some excuse."

She knocked, but there was no answer. Then she drew from her pocket a
piece of bent wire, and inserted it in the keyhole.

"We gypsies can enter where we will," she said, beckoning Harry to enter
as the door opened. "Wait quiet here till I come for you. The road will
be clear then." So saying, she closed the door behind him, and again
shot the bolt.

Harry felt extremely uncomfortable. Should the owner of the room return,
he would be taken for a thief, although, as he thought, looking round
the room, there was little enough to steal. It was a large room, with
several truckle beds standing against the walls. In the center was a
table, upon which were some mugs, horns, and empty bottles, with some
dirty cards scattered about. The place smelled strongly of tobacco, and
benches lying on the ground showed that the party of the night before
had ended in a broil, further evidence to which was given by stains of
blood on one of the beds, and by a rag saturated with blood, which lay
beside it. At one side of the room was a door, giving communication into
the next apartment. Scarcely had Harry entered when he heard voices
there, and was surprised to find that the speakers were English.

"I tell you I'm sick of this," one of the speakers said. "I might be as
well hanged at home as starved here."

"You might enlist," another voice said, in sneering tones. "Gallant
soldiers are welcome in the Low Countries."

"You'd best keep your sneering tongue between your lips," the other said
angrily. "If I don't care for fighting in the field, I can use a knife
at a pinch, as you know full well. You will carry your gibes too far
with me some day. No," he went on more calmly, after a pause, "I shall
go back to England next week, after Marmaduke Harris and his gang have
finished Oliver, The country will be turned so topsy-turvy that there
will be no nice inquiry into bygones, and at any rate I can keep out of
London."

"Yes, it will be wise to do that," the other said, since that little
affair when the mercer and his wife in Cheap were found with their
throats cut, and you--"

"Fire and furies! John Marlow, do you want three inches of steel in your
ribs?"

"By no means!" the other answered. "You have become marvelously
straightlaced all at once. As you know, I have been concerned in as many
affairs as you have. Aha! I have had a merry time of it!"

"And may again," the other said. "Noll once dead, there will be good
times for us again. It is a pity that you and I were too well known to
have a hand in the job. Dost think there is any chance of a failure?"

"None," the other replied. "It is in good hands. Black Harry has bribed
a cook wench, who will open the back door. They say he was to return to
London this week, and if so Sunday is fixed for the affair. Five days
yet, and say another week for the news to get here. In a fortnight we
will be on our way to England. There, I am thirsty, and we left the
bottle in the next room. We had a late night of it with the boys there."

During this conversation, to which Harry listened breathlessly, he had
heard the tramp of feet going upstairs, and just as they finished
speaking these had descended again. A moment later the door between the
two rooms opened, and a man in the faded finery of a Royalist gentleman
entered.

"Fires and furies!" he exclaimed. "Whom have we here? Marlow, here is
an eavesdropper or a thief. We will slit his weasand. Aha!" he said,
gazing fixedly at Harry, "you are Colonel Furness. I know you. You had
me flogged the day before Worcester, for helping myself to an old
woman's purse. It is my turn now."

Joined by his fellow ruffian he fell upon Harry, but they were no match
for the Royalist colonel. After a few rapid thrusts and parries he ran
his first assailant through the body and cut down the man called Marlow,
with a sweeping blow which nearly cleft his head asunder.

Scarcely was the conflict ended when the door opened, and the old gypsy
entered. She started at seeing the bodies of the two ruffians.

"I have been attacked," Harry said briefly, "and have defended myself."

"It is no business of mine," the old woman remarked. "When I have guided
you out I will come back again. It's strange if there's not something
worth picking up. Now, pull your hat well over your eyes and follow me."

Closing and locking the door again, she led the way downstairs.

"Do not walk so straight and stiff," she said. "Slouch your shoulders,
and stoop your head. Now."

Harry sallied out into the lane, keeping by the side of his guide, with
his head bent forward, and his eyes on the ground, walking, as far as he
could, with a listless gait. The old woman continued to chatter to him
in Romaic. There were many people about in the lane, but none paid any
heed to them. Harry did not look up, but turned with his guide down
several lanes, until they at length emerged on the quays. Saying she
would call next day at his hotel for the reward he had promised her, she
left him, and Harry, with his head full of the plot against Cromwell's
life, crossed at once to the vessels by the quay.

"Is any ship sailing for the Thames to-day?" he asked.

"Yes," the sailor said. "The Mary Anne is just hoisting her anchor now,
out there in midstream. You will be but just in time, for the anchor's
under her foot."

Harry sprang into a boat and told the waterman to row to the ship. The
latter stared in astonishment at the authoritative manner in which this
gypsy addressed him, but Harry thrust his hand into his pocket, and
showed him some silver.

"Quick, man," he said, "for she is moving. You will have double fare to
put me on board."

The man pulled vigorously, and they were soon alongside the brig.

"Halloo! what now?" the captain said, looking over the side.

"I want a passage to England, and will pay you your own price."

"You haven't been killing any one, have you?" the captain asked. "I don't
want to have trouble when I come back here, for carrying off
malefactors."

"No, indeed," Harry said, as he lightly leaped on the deck. "I am Sir
Harry Furness, though I may not look it, and am bound to England on
urgent business. It is all right, my good fellow, and here is earnest
money for my passage," and he placed two pieces of gold in the captain's
hand.

"That will do," the captain said. "I will take you."

Harry went to the side.

"Here, my man, is your money, and a crown piece beside. Go to the Hotel
des Etoiles and ask for the English officer who is there lying sick.
Tell him Colonel Furness has been forced to leave for England at a
moment's notice, but will be back by the first ship."

The man nodded, and rowed back to shore as the Mary Anne, with her sails
hoisted, ran down the river.

Never did a voyage appear longer to an anxious passenger than did that
of the Mary Anne to England. The winds were light and baffling, and at
times the Mary Anne scarce moved through the water. Harry had no love
for Cromwell. Upon the contrary, he regarded him as the deadliest enemy
of the king, and moreover personally hated him for the cruel massacre of
Drogheda. In battle he would have gladly slain him, but he was
determined to save him from assassination. He felt the man to be a great
Englishman, and knew that it was greatly due to his counsels that so
little English blood had been shed upon the scaffold. Most of all, he
thought that his assassination would injure the royal cause. The time
was not yet ripe for a restoration. England had shown but lately that
there existed no enthusiasm for the royal cause. At Cromwell's death the
chief power would fall into the hands of fanatics more dangerous and
more violent than he. His murder would be used as a weapon for a
wholesale persecution of the Royalists throughout the land, and would
create such a prejudice against them that the inevitable reaction in
favor of royalty would be retarded for years. Full of these thoughts,
Harry fretted and fumed over the slow progress of the Mary Anne. Late on
Saturday night she entered the mouth of the Thames, and anchored until
the tide turned. Before daybreak she was on her way, and bore up on the
tide as far as Gravesend, when she had again to anchor. Harry obtained a
boat and was rowed to shore. In his present appearance, he did not like
to go to one of the principal inns for a horse, but entering a small one
on the outskirts of the place, asked the landlord if he could procure
him a horse.

"I am not what I seem," he said, in answer to his host's look of
surprise. "But I have urgent need to get to London this evening. I will
pay well for the horse, and will leave this ring with you as a
guarantee for his safe return."

"I have not a horse myself," the landlord said, with more respect than
he had at first shown; "but I might get one from my neighbor Harry
Fletcher, the butcher. Are you willing to pay a guinea for his use?
Fletcher will drive you himself."

Harry agreed to the sum, and a quarter of an hour later the man, with a
light horse and cart, came to the door.

"You are a strange-looking carle," he said, "to be riding on a Sunday in
haste; I scarce like being seen with thee."

"I have landed but an hour ago," Harry said, "and can buy no clothes
to-day; but if you or mine host here, who is nearer my size, have a
decent suit which you can sell me, I will pay you double the sum it
cost."

The landlord at once agreed to the terms, and five minutes later Harry,
clad in the sober garb of a decent tradesman, mounted the cart. The
horse was not a fast one, and the roads were bad. It was nigh six
o'clock before they reached London. Paying Fletcher the sum agreed upon,
Harry walked rapidly westward. Cromwell was abiding in a house in Pall
Mall. Upon Harry arriving there he was asked his business.

"The general is ill," the servant said, "and can see no one."

"I must see him," Harry urged. "It is a matter of the extremest
importance."

"See him you cannot," the man repeated, "and it were waste of words to
talk further on the matter. Dost think that, even were he well, the
general, with all the affairs of the Commonwealth on his shoulders, has
time to see every gossiping citizen who would have speech with him?"

Harry slipped a gold piece into the man's hand.

"It is useless," the man said. "The general is, as I truly told thee,
ill."

Harry stood in despair, "Could you gain me speech with the general's
wife?"

"Ay," the man said. "I might do that. What name shall say?"

"She would not know my name. Merely say that one wishes to speak to her
on a matter nearly touching the safety of the general."

"Hadst thou said that at once," the man grumbled, "I might have admitted
you before. There are many rumors of plots on the part of the malignants
against the life of the general. I will take your message to Madam
Cromwell, and she can deal with it as she will."

The man was absent for a few minutes. Then he returned with an officer.

"Can you tell me," the latter asked, "what you have to reveal?"

"No," Harry replied, "I must speak with the general himself."

"Beware," the officer said sternly, "that you trifle not. The general is
sick, and has many things on his mind; 'twill be ill for you if you
disturb him without cause."

"The cause is sufficient," Harry said. "I would see him in person."

Without a word the officer turned and led the way to a room upstairs,
where Cromwell was sitting at a table, His wife was near him. A Bible
lay open before him. Cromwell looked steadily at Harry.

"I hear that you have a matter of importance to tell me, young man, and
one touching my safety. I know that there are many who thirst for my
blood. But I am in the hands of the Lord, who has so far watched over
His servant. If there be truth in what you have to tell you will be
rewarded."

"I seek for no reward," Harry said. "I have gained knowledge of a plot
against your life. Do you wish that I should speak in the presence of
this officer?"

"Assuredly," the general said.

"Briefly, then, I have arrived from Hamburg but now to give you warning
of a matter which came to my ears. I overheard, how it matters not, a
conversation between two rascals who gave themselves out as Royalists,
but who were indeed rather escaped criminals, to the effect that men had
gone over thence to England with the intention of killing you. The plot
was to come off to-night, Whether there be any change in the
arrangements or no I cannot say, but the matter was, as they said, fixed
for to-night. One of the women servants has been bribed to open the back
entrance and to admit them there, More than this I know not."

"You speak, sir, as one beyond your station," Cromwell said; "and
methinks I know both your face and figure, which are not easily
forgotten when once seen."

"It matters not who I am," Harry replied, "so that the news I bring be
true. I am no friend of yours, but a servant of King Charles. Though I
would withstand you to the death in the field, I would not that a life
like yours should be cut short by assassination; or that the royal cause
should be sullied by such a deed, the dishonor of which, though planned
and carried out by a small band of desperate partisans, would yet, in
the eyes of the world, fall upon all who followed King Charles."

"You are bold, sir," Cromwell said. "But I wonder not, for I know you
now. We have met, so far as I know, but once before. That was after
Drogheda, where you defended the church, and where I spared your life at
the intercession of my chaplain. I heard of you afterward as having, by
a desperate enterprise, escaped, and afterward captured a ship with
prisoners; and as having inflicted heavy loss and damage upon the
soldiers of Parliament. You fought at Dunbar and Worcester, and, if I
mistake not, incurred the enmity of the Earl of Argyll."

"I am Sir Harry Furness," Harry said calmly; "his majesty having been
pleased to bestow upon me the honor of knighthood. Nor are you mistaken
touching the other matters, since you yourself agreed at the lonely
house on the moor to hand me over to Colonel Campbell, as his price for
betraying the post I commanded. That matter, as you may remember, turned
out otherwise than had been expected. I am not ashamed of my name, nor
have I any fear of its being known to you. I have come over to do you
service, and fear not harm at your hands when on such business."

"Why then did you not tell me at once?" Cromwell asked.

"Simply because I seek no favor at your hands. I would not that you
should think that Harry Furness sought to reconcile himself with the
Commons, by giving notice of a plot against your life. I am intending to
start for Virginia and settle there, and would not stoop to sue for
amnesty, though I should never see Furness Hall or England again."

Harry spoke in a tone of haughty frankness, which carried conviction
with it.

"I doubt you not," Cromwell said. "You have been a bitter foe to the
Commons, Colonel Furness, but it is not of men like you that we need be
afraid. You meet us fairly in the field, and fight us loyally and
honorably. It is the tricksters, the double-dealers, and the traitors,
the men who profess to be on our side but who burrow in the dark against
us, who trouble our peace. In this matter I am greatly beholden to you.
Now that you have given us warning of the plot, it will be met if
attempted. But should these men's hearts fail them, or for any other
cause the attempt be laid aside, I shall be none the less indebted to
you. I trust, Colonel Furness, that you will not go to the plantations.
England needs honest men here. There is a great work yet to be done
before happiness and quiet are restored; and we need all wise and good
men in the counsels of the state. Be assured that you are free to return
and dwell with the Cavalier, your father, at your pleasure. He drew
aside from the strife when he saw that the cause he fought for was
hopeless, and none have interfered with him. Charles will, methinks,
fight no more in England. His cause is lost, and wise men will adapt
themselves to the circumstances. Let me know where you lodge to-night.
You will hear further from me to-morrow."



CHAPTER XXVI.

REST AT LAST.


Harry slept at an inn in Westminster, and the next morning on going down
to his breakfast, he found people much excited, a rumor having gone
about that an attack had been made upon Cromwell's house during the
night, and that several had been killed, but no harm done to the
general. An hour afterward a messenger brought word that General
Cromwell wished to see Colonel Furness. After his breakfast Harry had at
once gone out and purchased clothes suitable to a country gentleman; in
these he proceeded to the general, and was at once shown up to his room.

"Your news was trustworthy, Colonel Furness, and Oliver Cromwell owes
his life to you. Soon after midnight one of the serving wenches opened
the back door, and eight men entered. Had no watch been set, they would
doubtless have reached my room unobserved, by the staircase which leads
from that part of the house. As it was, I had a guard in waiting, and
when the men were fairly inside they fell upon them. The soldiers were
too quick with them, being hot at the plot which was intended against my
life, and all were killed, together with the wench who admitted them,
who was stabbed by one of the men at the first alarm, thinking doubtless
she had betrayed them. I hear that none of them have the air of
gentlemen, but are clearly broken men and vagabonds. The haste of my
soldiers has prevented me from getting any clew as to those who set them
on, but I am sure that no English gentleman, even although devoted to
the cause of Charles Stuart, would so plot against my life. And now,
sir, I thank you heartily for the great service you have rendered me. My
life is, I think, precious to England, where I hope to do some good work
before I die. I say only in return that henceforth you may come and go
as you list; and I hope yet that you will sit by me in Parliament, and
aid me to set things in England in order. Do not take this, sir, as in
any way a recompense for saving my life. The war is over; a few of those
who had troubled, and would always trouble the peace of England, have
been executed. Against the rest we bear no malice. They are free to
return to their homes and occupations as they list, and so long as they
obey the laws, and abstain from fresh troubles and plots, none will
molest them. But, sir, in order that no molestation or vexation may
occur to you, here is a free pass, signed by General Fairfax and two of
the commissioners, saying that you are at liberty to go or come and to
stay where you please, without hindrance or molestation from any."

Harry took the document, bowed, and withdrew.

"It is a thousand pities," he said to himself, "that his majesty the
king has not somewhat of this man's quality. This is a strong man, and a
true. He may have his faults--ay, he has them--he is ambitions, he is
far more fanatical for his religion than was Charles I. for his. He is
far more absolute, far more domineering than was King Charles. Were he
made king to-morrow, as I hear he is like enough to be, he would trample
upon the Parliament and despise its will infinitely more than any
English king would ever have dared to do. But for all that he is a great
man, honest, sincere, and, above all, to be trusted. Who can say that
for the Stuarts?"

Upon the day of his arrival Harry had written to Jacob telling him the
cause of his sudden departure, and promising to return by the first
ship, He hesitated now whether he should sail at once, or go down to see
his father, but he determined that it would be best, at any rate in the
first place, to return to Hamburg and look after his companion, and then
to come over to see his father, before carrying out his intention of
proceeding to Virginia. A ship would, he found, be sailing in three
days, and he wrote to his father telling him that he had been in London
for a day or two, but was forced by the illness of Jacob to return at
once; but that upon his friend's recovery he would come back to Abingdon
for a short time before leaving. He arrived at Hamburg without
adventure. On reaching the hotel he was informed that Jacob was
delirious, and that his life was despaired of. The rascally boatman
could not have given the message with which he had been charged, since
Jacob, upon the day after he was first missed, had risen from his bed,
and insisted on going in search of him. He had, after many inquiries,
learned that one answering to his description had taken part in a fray
in a drinking-house--interfering to protect a Bohemian singer from
insult. Beyond this nothing could be heard of him. He had not been seen
in the fray in the street, when several of the rioters had been captured
and carried off by the watch, and some supposed that he might have left
the place at the back, in which case it was feared that he might have
been fallen upon and assassinated by the ruffians in the low quarter
lying behind the drinking hall. Jacob had worked himself into a state of
high fever by his anxiety, and upon returning to the hotel had become so
violent that they were forced to restrain him. He had been bled and
blistered, but had remained for a fortnight in a state of violent fever
and delirium. This had now somewhat abated, but he was in such a weak
state that the doctors feared the worst.

The return of Harry did more for him than all the doctors of Hamburg. He
seemed at once to recognize his voice, and the pressure of his hand
soothed and calmed him. He presently fell into a deep sleep, in which he
lay for twelve hours, and on opening his eyes at once recognized his
friend. His recovery now was rapid, and in a week he was able to sit up.

One morning the servant told Harry that a gentleman wished to speak to
him, and a moment after his father entered. With a cry of delight father
and son flew into each other's arms. It was four years since they had
met, and both were altered much. The colonel had aged greatly, while
Harry had grown into a broad and powerful man.

"My dear father, this is an unexpected pleasure indeed," Harry said,
when the first burst of delight was over. "Did you not get my letter
from London, saying that I hoped shortly to be with you?"

"From London!" the colonel exclaimed, astonished. "No, indeed; I have
received no letter save that which your boy brought me. We started a
week later for Southampton, where we were detained nigh ten days for a
ship."

"And who is the _we_, father?" Harry asked anxiously.

"Ah," the old man said, "now you are in a hurry to know. Who should it
be but Master Rippinghall and a certain young lady?"

"Oh, father, has Lucy really come?"

"Assuredly she has," Colonel Purness said, "and is now waiting in a
private room below with her brother, for Sir Harry. I have not
congratulated you yet, my boy, on your new dignity."

"And you really consent to my marriage, sir?"

"I don't see that I could help it," the colonel said, "since you had
set your mind on it, especially as when I came to inquire I found the
young lady was willing to go to Virginia. But we must talk of that anon.
Yes, Harry, you have my full consent. The young lady is not quite of the
rank of life I should have chosen for you; but ranks and classes are all
topsy-turvy in England at present, and when we are ruled over by a
brewer, it would be nice indeed to refuse to take a wool-stapler's
sister for wife. But seriously, Harry, I am well contented. I knew
little of the young lady except by common report, which spoke of her as
the sweetest and kindest damsel in Abingdon. But now I have seen her, I
wonder not at your choice. During the fortnight we have been together I
have watched her closely, and I find in her a rare combination of
gentleness and firmness. You have won her heart, Harry, though how she
can have kept thee in mind all this time is more than I can tell. Her
brother tells me that he placed no pressure upon her either for or
against, though he desired much for your sake, and from the love he bore
you, that she should accept of your suit. Now you had better go down,
and learn from her own lips how it stands with her."

It need not to describe the meeting between Harry and his old friends.
Herbert was warm and cordial as of old. Lucy was but little changed
since Harry had seen her four years before, save that she was more fair
and womanly.

"Your letter gave me," Herbert said, "a mixed feeling of pleasure and
pain. I knew that my little sister has always looked upon you as a hero
of romance, and though I knew not that as a woman her heart still turned
to you, yet she refused so sharply and shrewishly all the suitors who
came to her, that I suspected that her thoughts of you were more than a
mere child's fancy. When your letter came I laid no pressure upon her,
just as in other cases I have held aloof, and indeed have gained some
ill-will at the hands of old friends because I would not, as her
brother, and the head of the family, lay stress upon her. I read your
letter to her, and she at first said she was ready to obey my wishes in
the matter, and to go with you to Virginia if I bade her. I said that in
such a matter it was her will and not mine which I wished to consult,
and thus pressed into a corner, she owned that she would gladly go with
you."

"Harry," the girl said, "for my tongue is not as yet used to your new
title, under other circumstances I should have needed to be wooed and
won like other girls. But seeing how strangely you are placed, and that
you were about to start across the sea, to be absent perhaps for many
years, I felt that it would not be worthy either of me or you were I to
affect a maiden coyness and so to throw difficulties in your way. I feel
the honor of the offer you have made me. That you should for so many
years have been absent and seen the grand ladies of the court, and have
yet thought of your little playfellow, shows that your heart is as true
and good as I of old thought it to be, and I need feel no shame in
acknowledging that I have ever thought of you with affection."

For the next few days there was much argument over the project of going
to Virginia. Herbert, when he heard what had happened in London, joined
his entreaties to those of Sir Henry, asserting that he had only
consented to Lucy's going to so outlandish a place in the belief that
there was no help for it, and that he did not think it fair for Harry to
take her to such a life when he could stay comfortably at home. Sir
Henry did not say much, but Harry could see how ardently he longed for
him to remain. As for Lucy, she stood neutral, saying that assuredly
she did not wish to go to Virginia, but that, upon the other hand, she
should feel that her consent had been obtained under false pretenses,
and that she had been defrauded of the enjoyment of a proper and regular
courtship, did it prove that Harry might have come home and sought her
hand in regular form. Harry's reluctance to remain arose principally
from the fact that he had gained permission to do so by an act of
personal service which he had done the king's great enemy. Had he been
included in a general amnesty he would gladly have accepted it. However,
his resolution gave way under the arguments of Herbert, who urged upon
him that he had no right, on a mere point of punctilio, to leave his
father in his old age, and to take Lucy from her country and friends to
a life of hardship in the plantations of Virginia. At last he yielded.
Then a difficulty arose with Lucy, who would fain have returned to
Abingdon with her brother, and urged she should there have time given
her to be married in regular fashion. This Harry would by no means
consent to, and as both Sir Henry and Herbert saw no occasion for the
delay, they were married a fortnight later at the Protestant church at
Hamburg, Jacob, who was by this time perfectly restored to health,
acting as his best man.

One of the first steps which Harry took after his return to Hamburg was
to inquire about the gypsy maid who had done him such service. She was
still singing at the drinking-house. Harry went down there in the
daytime and gave one of the drawers a crown to tell her quietly that the
Englishman she knew would fain see her, and would wait for her at a spot
he named on the walk by the river bank, between ten and twelve the next
day. Here, accompanied by Lucy, who, having heard of the service which
the girl had rendered him, fully entered into his anxiety to befriend
her, he awaited her the next day. She came punctual to the appointment,
but in great fear that the old gypsy would discover her absence. Upon
Harry telling her that Lucy, who was about to become his wife, would
willingly take her to England and receive her as a companion until such
time as some opportunity for furthering her way in life might appear,
Zita accepted the proposal with tears of joy. She abhorred the life she
was forced to lead, and it was only after many beatings and much
ill-usage from the gypsies that she consented to it, and it made her
life the harder, inasmuch as she knew that she had not been born to such
a fate, but had been stolen as a child.

"What could have been their motive in carrying you away?" Lucy asked.

"I believe," the girl said, "from what they have told me, that I was
taken in revenge. My father had charged one of the gypsies with theft,
and the man having been hung, the others, to avenge themselves, carried
me off."

"But why did you not, when you grew old enough, tell your story to the
magistrates, and appeal to them for assistance?"

"Alas!" the girl said, "what proofs have I for my tale? Moreover, even
were I believed, and taken from the gypsies, what was there for me to
do, save to beg in the streets for charity?"

They now arranged with her the manner of her flight. She was afraid to
meet them again lest her footsteps should be traced, for she was sure
that the gypsies would carry her away to some other town if they had the
least suspicion that she had made friends with any capable of taking her
part, as the whole party lived in idleness upon the money she gained by
singing. It was arranged, therefore, that the night before they were to
depart Harry should appear in the singing hall, and should take his
place near the door. She should let him know that she perceived him by
passing her hand twice across her forehead. When the performance was
over she should, instead of leaving as usual by the back way, slip down
the steps, and mingle with those leaving the hall. Outside the door she
would find Harry, who would take her to the hotel, where dresses would
be provided for her. There she should stop the night, and go on board
ship with them in the morning.

These arrangements were all carried out, and four days after the wedding
of Harry and Lucy the party, with Zita, sailed for England. Had the
tenantry on the Furness estate known of the home-coming of their young
master and his bride, they would have given him a grand reception; but
Harry and his father both agreed that this had better not be, for that
it was as well to call no public attention to his return, even though he
had received Cromwell's permission.

After all his adventures, Sir Harry Furness dwelt quietly and happily
with his father. In the following years the English fleet fought many
hard battles with the Dutch, and the Parliament, in order to obtain
money, confiscated the property of most of those Cavaliers who had now
returned under the Act of Amnesty. Steps were taken against Sir Henry
Furness, but as he had taken no part in the troubles after the close of
the first civil war, Cromwell, on receiving an application from him,
peremptorily quashed the proceedings.

On April 20, 1653, Cromwell went down to the House with a body of
troops, and expelled the Parliament, who were in the act of passing a
bill for their own dissolution, and a new representation. He thus proved
himself as tyrannous and despotic as any sovereign could have been. A
new Parliament was summoned, but instead of its members being elected in
accordance with the customs of England, they were selected and
nominated by Cromwell himself. The history of England contains no
instance of such a defiance of the constitutional rights of the people.
But although he had grasped power arbitrarily and by force, Cromwell
used it well and wisely, and many wise laws and great social reforms
were passed by the Parliament under his orders. Still the fanatical
party were in the majority in this body, and as Cromwell saw that these
persons would push matters further than he wished, he made an
arrangement with the minority, who resigned their seats, thereby leaving
an insufficient number in the House to transact business. Cromwell
accepted their resignation, and the Parliament then ceased to exist.

Four days later, on the 16th of December, Cromwell assumed the state and
title of Lord Protector of the Commonwealth. For the next five years he
governed England wisely and well. The Parliament was assembled, but as
its proceedings were not in accordance with his wishes, he dissolved it,
and for the most part governed England by his own absolute will. That it
was a strong will and a wise cannot be questioned, but that a rising,
which originally began because the king would not yield to the absolute
will of Parliament, should have ended in a despotism, in which the chief
of the king's opponents should have ruled altogether without
Parliaments, is strange indeed. It is singular to find that those who
make most talk about the liberties of Englishmen should regard as their
hero and champion the man who trod all the constitutional rights of
Englishmen under foot. But if a despot, Cromwell was a wise and firm
one, and his rule was greatly for the good of the country. Above all, he
brought the name of England into the highest honor abroad, and made it
respected throughout Europe. Would that among all Englishmen of the
present day there existed the same feeling of patriotism, the same
desire for the honor and credit of their country, as dwelt in the breast
of Oliver Cromwell.

On August 30, 1658, Cromwell died, and his son Richard succeeded him.
The Parliament and the army soon fell out, and the army, coming down in
force, dissolved Parliament, and Richard Cromwell ceased at once to have
any power. The army called together forty-two of the old members of the
Long Parliament, of extreme republican views, but these had no sooner
met than they broke into divisions, and England was wholly without a
government. So matters went on for some time, until General Monk, with
the army of the north, came up to London. He had for weeks been in
communication with the king. For a time he was uncertain of the course
he should take, but after awhile he found that the feeling of London was
wholly averse to the Parliament, and so resolved to take the lead in a
restoration. A Parliament was summoned, and upon the day after its
assembling Monk presented to them a document from King Charles,
promising to observe the constitution, granting full liberty of
conscience, and an amnesty for past offenses. Parliament at once
declared in favor of the ancient laws of the kingdom, the government to
be by King, Lords and Commons; and on May 8, 1660, Charles II. was
proclaimed king, and on the 30th entered London in triumph.

Sir Harry Furness sat in the Parliament which recalled the king, and in
many subsequent ones. His father came to London to see the royal entry,
and both were most kindly received by the king, who expressed a warm
hope that he should often see them at court. This, however, was not to
be. The court of King Charles offered no attractions to pure-minded and
honorable men. Sir Henry came no more to London, but lived quietly and
happily to the end of a long life at Furness Hall, rejoicing much over
the happiness of his son, and in the society of his daughter-in-law and
her children. Herbert Rippinghall sat in Parliament for Abingdon. Except
when obliged by his duties as a member to be in London, Sir Harry
Furness lived quietly at Furness Hall, taking much interest in country
matters. Twenty-eight years later James II fled from England, and
William of Orange mounted the throne. At this time Sir Harry Furness was
sixty-one, and he lived many years to see the freedom and rights for
which Englishmen had so hotly struggled and fought now enjoyed by them
in all their fullness.

A few words as to the other personages of this story. Jacob, three years
after Harry's return to England, married the Spanish girl Zita, and
settled down in a pretty house called the Dower House, on the Furness
property, which, together with a large farm attached to it, Sir Henry
Furness settled upon him, as a token of his affection and gratitude to
him for the faithful services he had rendered to his son.

William Long was made bailiff of the estate, and Mike remained the
attached and faithful body-servant of Sir Harry, until he, ten years
later, married the daughter and heiress of a tradesman in Abingdon, and
became a leading citizen of that town.

Although Harry was not of a revengeful disposition, he rejoiced
exceedingly when he heard, two or three months after the king's
restoration, of the execution of that doubly-dyed traitor, the Earl of
Argyll.

THE END.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Friends, though divided - A Tale of the Civil War" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home