Part 4 out of 6
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
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
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.
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
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
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
"He had better wait and come on later," Harry said. "He must be utterly
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
"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
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
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
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
"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
"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
"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
"There are no smugglers here," the planter said, "nor any cause for such
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
"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.
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
"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
"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
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 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
"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,
"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
"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
"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
"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.
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
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
"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 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
"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
"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
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
"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
"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
"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
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
"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
"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
"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."
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
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,