Part 5 out of 6
stationed guards on the various roads leading toward the enemy's
quarter, and that they were ordered to turn back all, whomsoever they
might be, who might seek to pass.
Alan Campbell returned a furious answer, that he should sally out with
his garrison, and ride where he listed. Harry replied by marching fifty
men up to the road leading to the castle, and by sending a message to
Alan Campbell that, although he should regret to be obliged to treat him
as an enemy, yet that assuredly if he strove by force to break the
military rules he had laid down, he should be compelled to fire upon
him. Leaving the detachment under charge of Lieutenant Long, and the
main body in the village under that of Hugh Grahame, Harry, accompanied
by Donald Leslie and Mike, rode off to reconnoiter the morass. They
found that it was particularly bad at two points, while between these
the ground was firm for a distance of twenty yards on each side of the
track. Beyond the swamp was very deep for thirty or forty yards on both
sides, and then it was again somewhat firmer.
Harry decided to post twenty-five men behind these quagmires. Their
orders would be to remain perfectly quiet until the column, passing the
first morass, should have entered the second; then, when Harry, with the
main body, opened fire upon them there, they were to commence upon the
flanks of the column.
Returning to the camp, Harry sent forty men with shovels, obtained in
the village, to dig a trench, twelve feet wide, and as deep as they
could get for the water, across the track, at the near side of the
At nightfall, leaving twenty-five men under William Long in front of the
castle, with orders to let none issue forth, and to shoot down any who
might make the attempt, Harry marched out with the rest of his command.
Crossing the ditch which had been dug, he led fifty forward, and posted
them, as he had planned with Leslie; with twenty-five, he took up his
own station behind the breastwork formed by the earth thrown out from
the trench. The remaining fifty he bade advance as far as they safely
could into the swamp on either side. Two hours later a dull sound was
heard, the occasional clink of arms, and the muffled tread of many feet
on the soft ground. The Roundhead infantry, two hundred strong, led the
way, followed by their horse, the guide walking with the officer at the
head of the column. When it approached within twenty yards of the ditch
Harry gave the word, and a flash of fire streamed from the top of the
earthwork. At the same moment those on either side opened fire into the
flanks of the column, while the fifty men beyond poured their fire into
the cavalry in the rear of the column.
For a moment all was confusion. The Roundheads had anticipated no
attack, and were taken wholly by surprise. The guide had fallen at the
first discharge and all were ignorant of the ground on which they found
themselves. They were, however, trained to conflict. Those on the flank
of the column endeavored to penetrate the morass, but they immediately
sank to the middle, and had much ado to regain the solid track. The head
of the column, pouring a volley into their invisible foes, leveled their
pikes, and rushed to the assault. A few steps, and they fell into a deep
hole, breast high with water, and on whose slippery bottom their feet
could scarce find standing. In vain they struggled forward. From front
and flank the fire of their enemy smote them. Those who reached the
opposite side of the trench were run through with pikes as they strove
to climb from it.
For ten minutes the desperate struggle continued, and then, finding the
impossibility of storming such a position in the face of foes of whose
strength they were ignorant, the Roundhead infantry turned, and in good
order marched back, leaving half their number dead behind them. The
cavalry in the rear had fared but little better. Finding the ground on
either side was firm when the fire opened on their flanks, they faced
both ways, and charged. But ere the horses had gone twenty strides they
were struggling to their girths in the morass. Their foes kept up a
steady fire, at forty yards' distance, into the struggling mass, and
before they could extricate themselves and regain the pathway, many
leaving their horses behind, a third of their number had fallen. Joined
by the beaten infantry, they retired across the track, and made their
way back toward their camp.
Leaving a strong guard at the morass to resist further attempts, Harry
returned with his force to the village having inflicted a loss of a
hundred and fifty upon enemy, while he himself had lost but eight men.
He intrenched the position strongly, and remained there unmolested,
until a week later he received orders to march back to Edinburgh. The
following day he was summoned before King Charles. He found there
General Leslie, the Earl of Argyll, Alan Campbell, and several of the
leaders of the Covenant.
"What is this I hear of you, Colonel Furness?" the king said. "General
Leslie has reported to me that you have inflicted a very heavy defeat
upon a rebel force which marched to surprise you. This is good service,
and for it I render you my hearty thanks. But, sir, the Earl of Argyll
complains to me that you have beleaguered his kinsman, Alan Campbell, in
his hold at Kirkglen, and treated him as a prisoner, suffering none to
go out or in during your stay there."
"This, sire, is the warranty for my conduct," Harry said, producing the
document signed by Cromwell. "This was taken by one of my men from a
trooper who had borne a dispatch from Alan Campbell to the enemy. My
man watched the interview between him and Cromwell himself, heard the
terms of the dispatch, and saw Cromwell write and give this letter to
the trooper, whom he afterward slew, and brought me the letter. The
other trooper, who acted as guide to the enemy, fell in the attack."
The king took the letter and read it. "My lord," he said, "this is a
matter which gravely touches your honor. This is a letter of General
Cromwell's in answer to a traitorous communication of your kinsman here.
He has offered to betray Colonel Furness and the troops under him to
Cromwell, and has sent a guide for the English troops. He stipulates
only that Colonel Furness shall be handed over to him to do as he likes
with. As it was manifest to me here some time since that you and Colonel
Furness are not friends, this touches you nearly."
"I know nothing of it," the earl said. "My kinsman will tell you."
"I do not need his assurances," King Charles said coldly. "He, at least,
is proved to be a traitor, and methinks, my lord earl, that the
preachers who are so fond of holding forth to me upon the wickedness of
my ways might with advantage bestow some of their spare time
in conversing with you upon the beauty and godliness of
straightforwardness. General Leslie, you will arrest at once, on his
leaving our presence, Colonel Alan Campbell, and will cause a court of
inquiry to sift this matter to the bottom. And hark you, my lord of
Argyll, see you that no more of your kinsmen practice upon the life of
my faithful Colonel Furness. This is the third time that he has been in
jeopardy at your hands. I am easy, my lord earl, too easy, mayhap, but
let no man presume too far upon it. My power is but limited here, but
remember the old saying, 'Wise men do not pull the tails of lions'
whelps.' The day may come when Charles II. will be a king in power as
well as in name. Beware that you presume not too far upon his endurance
now." So saying, the king turned from Argyll, and bidding Harry follow
him, and tell him the story of the defeat of the English troops, left
the earl standing alone, the picture of rage and mortification.
"You had best beware, Master Furness," the king said. "He needs a long
spoon they say, who sups with the deil. The Earl of Argyll is the real
king of Scotland at present, and it is ill quarreling with him. You have
got the best of it in the first three rubbers, but be sure that Argyll
will play on till the cards favor him. And if you are once in his power,
I would not give a baubee for your life. The proud earl treats me as a
master would teach a froward pupil, but I tell you, Master Furness, and
I know you are discreet and can be trusted, that as surely as the earl
brought Montrose to the block, so surely shall Argyll's head roll on the
scaffold, if Charles II. is ever King of England. But I fear for you,
Master Furness. I can help you here not at all, and the lecture which,
on your behalf, I administered to the earl--and in faith I wonder now at
my own courage--will not increase his love for you. You will never be
safe as long as you remain in Scotland. What do you say? Will you south
and join one or other of the Royalist bodies who are in arms there?"
"Not so, your majesty. With your permission, I will play the game out to
the end, although I know that my adversary holds the strongest cards.
But even did I wish to leave, it would be as hazardous to do so as to
stay here. So long as I am with my regiment I am in safety. I could not
gain England by sea, for the Parliament ships bar the way, and did I
leave my regiment and go south with only a small party, my chance of
crossing the border alive would be but small. No, your majesty, I have
the honor to command a king's regiment, and whether against Cromwell in
the field, or against Argyll's plots and daggers, I shall do my duty to
When, upon his return to the camp, Harry told his friends the purport of
the interview between himself and Argyll, of Alan Campbell being put
under arrest and the earl openly reproved by the king, Donald Leslie
raised his hands in despair.
"If you get through this, Furness," he said, "I shall for the rest of my
life be convinced that you have a charmed existence, and that your good
genius is more powerful than the evil one of Argyll. The gossips say
that he is in alliance with the evil one himself, and I can well believe
them. But I beg you, in all seriousness, to confine yourself to the
camp. So long as you are here you are safe. But once beyond its limits
your life will not be worth a straw."
Jacob added his entreaties to those of Leslie, and Harry promised that
until the decisive battle was over he would keep among his men, unless
compelled by duty to appear at court.
Four days afterward a soldier entered Harry's tent, and handed him a
missive. It was as follows: "Upon receipt of this, Colonel Furness will
proceed to Leith and will board the vessel, the Royalist, which has just
arrived from Holland. There he will inspect the newly arrived recruits,
who will be attached to his regiment. He will examine the store of arms
brought by her, and will report on their state and condition.--David
Leslie, commanding his majesty's armies."
The duty was one of mere routine. Harry showed the note to Jacob, and
said, "You may as well come with Hie, Jacob. Your drilling is over for
the day, and you can aid me looking through the stores. Mike," he said,
"we shall be back to supper. We are only going down to the port." The
two officers buckled on their swords, and at once started on foot for
the port, which was but half a mile distant. Mike looked anxiously after
his master. Since the day when danger had first threatened him he had
scarce let him out of his sight, following close to his heels like a
faithful dog. His present business seemed assuredly to forbode no
danger. Nevertheless, the lad felt restless and anxious when he saw his
master depart. A few minutes later he went to William Long's tent.
"Master Long," he said, "will you see that my master's servant gets
supper in readiness at the usual hour. He has gone down to the port to
inspect some recruits just arrived from Holland, by order of General
Leslie, and said he would return by supper. I know that it is foolish,
but since the affair with Alan Campbell I am never easy when he is not
near. In this case, I do not see that there can possibly be any lurking
danger. Argyll could not know of his proceeding to the port, nor would
he venture to attack him there where the streets swarm with our
soldiers. Nevertheless, I would fain go down and assure myself that all
William Long at once promised to look after the supper, and Mike hurried
away after Harry and his companion. These had, however, too far a start
to be overtaken, and when he reached the wharf he saw a boat rowed by
two men, and having two sitters in the stern. It was already some
distance from shore, and appeared to be proceeding toward a vessel which
lay at anchor several hundred yards further out from the shore than the
"Can you tell me," he asked a sailor, "whether that ship lying there is
"That is the name she goes by to-day," the sailor said, "for as I rowed
past her this morning on my way from fishing, I saw the name newly
painted on her stern. They have put it on her boat too, which you now
see lowing toward her, and which has been lying by the pier all day, in
readiness to take out any one who might wish to go off to her."
"But have they changed her name, then?" Mike asked. "What have they been
doing that for?"
"She has been called the Covenant for the last two years," the sailor
said. "But I suppose Johnny Campbell, her master, thought the other more
suited to the times."
The name of the captain at once aroused Mike's uneasiness to the
"Tell me," he said, "good fellow, did that ship arrive this morning from
"From Holland!" repeated the sailor. "No. She came down the coast from
the north three days ago, with beasts for the army."
Mike stood for a moment thunderstruck. Then, without a word to the
sailor, he turned and ran back at full speed through the town up to the
camp. At a headlong pace he made his way through the camp until he
stopped at the tent of General Leslie. He was about to rush in without
ceremony when the sentinel stopped his way.
"Please let me pass," he panted. "I would see the general on a matter of
the utmost importance."
The sentries laughed.
"You don't suppose," one of them said, "that the general is to be
disturbed by every barefooted boy who wants to speak to him. If you have
aught to say, you must speak first to the lieutenant of the guard."
"Every moment is of importance," Mike urged. "It is a matter of life and
death. I tell you I must see the general." Then at the top of his voice
he began to shout, "Sir David Leslie! Sir David Leslie!"
"Silence there, young varmint, or I will wring thy neck for thee!"
exclaimed the soldier, greatly scandalized, seizing Mike and shaking him
violently. But the boy continued to shout out at the top of his voice,
"Sir David Leslie! Sir David Leslie!"
Unable to silence Mike's shouts, the scandalized guards began dragging
him roughly from the spot, cuffing him as they went. But the door of the
tent opened, and General Leslie appeared.
"What means all this unseemly uproar?" he asked.
"This malapert boy, general, wished to force his way into your tent, and
when we stopped him, and told him that he must apply to the lieutenant
of the guard if he had aught of importance which he wished to
communicate to you, he began to shout like one possessed."
"Loose him," the general said. "Now, varlet, what mean you by this
"Forgive me, sir," Mike pleaded, "but I come on an errand which concerns
the life of my master, Colonel Furness."
"Come within," the general said briefly, for by this time a crowd had
gathered round the tent. "Now," he went on, "what is it you would tell
"I would ask you, sir, whether an hour since you sent an order to my
master that he should forthwith go on board the ship Royalist to inspect
recruits and stores of arms just arrived from Holland?"
The general looked at him in astonishment.
"I sent no such order," he said. "No ship has arrived from Holland of
that or any other name. What story is this that you have got hold of?"
"My master received such an order, sir, for I heard him read it aloud,
and he started at once with his major to carry out the order. Knowing,
sir, how great, as you are doubtless aware, is the enmity which the Earl
of Argyll bears to my master, I followed him to the port, and there
learned that the ship called the Royalist had not come from Holland, but
is a coaster from the north. I found, moreover, that she was but
yesterday named the Royalist, and that she was before known as the
Covenant, and that she is commanded by a Campbell. Then it seemed to me
that some plot had been laid to kidnap my master, and I ran straight to
you to ask you whether you had really ordered him to go on board this
"This must be seen to at once," the general said; for having been
present at the scene when Harry produced Cromwell's letter, he knew how
deadly was the hatred of the earl for the young colonel. "Without
there!" he cried. A soldier entered. "Send the lieutenant of the guard
here at once." The soldier disappeared, and the general sat down at his
table and hastily wrote an order. "Lieutenant," he said, when the
officer entered, "give this letter to Captain Farquharson, and tell him
to take his twenty men, and to go on the instant down to the port. There
he is to take boat and row out to the ship called the Royalist. He is to
arrest the captain and crew, and if he see not there Colonel Furness,
let him search the ship from top to bottom. If he find no signs of him,
let him bring the captain and six of his men ashore at once."
As soon as he heard the order given Mike, saluting the general, hurried
from the tent, and ran at full speed to the camp of Harry's regiment.
There he related to Donald Leslie and William Long the suspicious
circumstances which had occurred, and the steps which the general had
ordered to be taken.
"This is bad news, indeed," Captain Leslie exclaimed; "and I fear that
the colonel has fallen into the hands of Argyll's minions. If it be so
Farquharson is scarce likely to find the Royalist at anchor when he
arrives at the port. Come, Long, let us be stirring. I will hand over
the command of the regiment to Grahame till we return. While I am
speaking to him pick me out ten trusty men."
He hurried off, and in five minutes was hastening toward the port, with
William Long, Mike, and ten men. Such was the speed they made that they
reached the quay just at the same time with Captain Farquharson and his
Mike gave a cry of despair. The Royalist had disappeared. He ran up to a
sailor who was still sitting on an upturned basket, smoking as he had
left him before.
"Where is the Royalist?" he exclaimed.
"Halloo! young fellow, are you back again? I thought you had gone off
with a bee in your bonnet, so suddenly and quickly did you run. The
Royalist? ay, she hoisted her sails two minutes after her boat reached
her. I was watching her closely, for I wondered whether she had aught to
do with your sudden flight. Methinks that something strange has happened
on board, for I saw what seemed to be a scuffle, and certainly the sun
shone on the gleam of swords. Then, too, instead of heaving her anchor,
she slipped the cable, and a Scotch captain must be in a hurry indeed
when he does that."
"Where is she now?" Mike asked.
"Over there, full four miles away, making across the Forth for the
northern point of land."
"Is she a fast ship?" Captain Leslie, who had come up, inquired.
"She has the name of being the fastest sailer in these parts."
"There is nothing here would catch her?" Donald Leslie asked. "Would a
rowboat have a chance of overtaking her?"
"Not this evening," the sailor said, looking at the sky. "The wind is
rising now, and it will blow a gale before morning."
"Tell me, my man," Leslie asked, "and here is a gold piece for your
pains, where you think she is likely to put in?"
"That will all depend," the sailor replied, "upon what errand she is
bound. I must know that before I can answer you."
Leslie looked at William Long. The latter said:
"It were best to tell this honest fellow the facts of the case. Look
you, my 'man, the two king's officers who have gone on board are ill
friends with the Campbells, and we doubt not that these have kidnaped
and carried them off."
"The Campbells are an ill crew to deal with," the sailor said, "and I do
not love them myself. If it be as you say, they might be landed either
at Anstruther, near which is a hold belonging to Andrew Campbell of
Glencoulie, or at St. Andrews, or at Leuchars, a little bay north of
that town, whence they might take them to Kilbeg Castle, also held by a
Campbell. It is a lonely place ten miles inland, and their friends would
be little likely to look for them there. Besides, the Royalist might
land them and sail away without any being the wiser, while at the other
ports her coming would be surely noticed."
"Think you that we can obtain horses on the other side?"
"You might obtain four or five," the sailor said, "of Tony Galbraith,
who keeps the inn there, and who lets horses on hire to those traveling
"If a storm comes on," Leslie asked, "which way is it likely to blow,
and will the Royalist be like to make the bay you name?
"Ah! that is more than I can tell," the sailor replied. "Methinks 'twill
blow from the west. In that case, she might be able to make her way
along the shore; she might run into port for shelter; she might be blown
out to sea."
"At any rate," Leslie said, "our first step is to cross. Get us a stout
sailing boat. Be not sparing of promises."
The man at once went off to a group of sailors, but these at first shook
their heads, and looked toward the sky. Its aspect was threatening. The
wind was getting up fast, and masses of scud flew rapidly across it.
Leslie went up to the group.
"Come, lads," he said, "five pounds if you put us across."
The offer was too tempting to be rejected, and the men hurried down and
began to prepare a large sailing boat. Leslie and Lieutenant Long had a
hasty consultation, and agreed that, seeing the difficulty there would
be in obtaining horses, it was useless to take more than ten men in all.
Accordingly, as soon as the boat was in readiness, the two officers,
Mike, and seven soldiers took their places in her. The sails were
closely reefed, and she at once put out into the Firth. Every minute the
wind rose, until, by the time they were half across, it was blowing a
gale. The boat was a stout one, but the waves broke freely over her, and
four of the soldiers were kept at work baling to throw out the water she
took over her bows. Once or twice they thought that she would capsize,
so furious were the gusts, but the boatmen were quick and skillful. The
sheets were let go and the sails lowered until the force of the squall
abated, and at last, after a passage which seemed rapid even to those
on board, anxious as they were, she entered the little port.
Hurrying to the inn, they found that six horses were obtainable. These
they hired at once. The host said that he could send to some farms, not
far distant, and hire four more, but that an hour or so would elapse ere
they came. Leslie and William Long had already decided that the
prisoners would most probably be taken to Kilbeg Castle, as being more
secluded than the others. They now agreed that they themselves with Mike
and three soldiers should start at once, to intercept them if possible
between the sea and the castle. When the other horses arrived two of the
soldiers were to ride with all speed to Anstruther, and two to St.
Andrews, and were there to keep sharp watch to see if the Royalist
arrived there, and landed aught in the way either of men or goods.
The point to which they were bound lay fully forty miles away. They
determined to ride as far as the horses would carry them, and then, if
able to obtain no more, to walk forward. Night was already setting in,
and a driving rain flew before the gale.
"We shall never be able to keep the road," Leslie said, "Landlord, have
you one here who could serve as guide? He must be quick-footed and sure.
Our business is urgent, and we are ready to pay well."
A guide was speedily found, a lad on a shaggy pony, who had the day
before come down from the north with cattle. While the horses were being
prepared the party had taken a hasty supper, and Leslie had seen that
each of the soldiers had a tankard of hot spiced wine. So quickly had
the arrangements been made that in half an hour after their arrival at
the port the party started from the inn. The ride was indeed a rough
one. The country was heavy and wild. The rain drenched them to the skin
in spite of their thick cloaks, and the wind blew at times with such
violence that the horses were fain to stop and stand huddled together
facing it to keep their feet. Hour after hour they rode, never getting
beyond a walk, so rough was the road; often obliged to pause altogether
from the force of the gale. Twice they stopped at inns at quiet
villages, knocked up the sleeping hosts, and obtained hot wine for
themselves and hot gruel for their horses. Their pace grew slower as the
animals became thoroughly knocked up, and at last could not be urged
beyond a walk.
At the next village they stopped, and as they found that there was no
possibility of obtaining fresh horses, they determined to push forward
on foot. It was now four o'clock in the morning, and they had ridden
over forty miles. Another guide was obtained, and they set forward.
Although they had hurried to the utmost, it was ten o'clock in the
morning before they came down upon a valley with a narrow stream which
their guide told them fell into the sea, near Leuchars. They were, he
said, now within two miles of the castle, the track from which to the
sea ran down the valley. The wind was still blowing a gale, but the
clouds had broken, and at times the sun streamed out brightly.
"Thank Heaven we are here at last," Donald Leslie said, "for a harder
night I have never spent. I think we must be in time."
"I think so," William Long said. "Supposing the Royalist made the bay
safely, she would have been there by midnight, but the sea would have
been so high that I doubt if they would have launched a boat till
morning. It was light by five, but they might wait for the gale to abate
a little, and after landing they have eight miles to come. Of course,
they might have passed here an hour ago, but a incline to think that
they would not land till later, as with this wind blowing off shore, it
would be no easy matter to row a boat in its teeth."
The guide saying that there was a cottage a mile further up the valley,
he was sent there with instructions to ask whether any one had been seen
to pass that morning. After being half an hour absent he returned,
saying that there was only an old woman at the hut, and that she had
told him she was sure no one had passed there since daybreak. They now
followed the stream down the valley until they came to a small wood.
Here they lay down to rest, one being planed upon the lookout. Two hours
later the sentry awoke them with the news that a party of men were
coming op the valley. All were at once upon the alert.
"Thank Heaven," Leslie said, "we have struck the right place. There seem
to be ten or twelve of them, of whom two, no doubt, are the prisoners.
We shall have no difficulty in overcoming them by a sudden surprise.
Capture or kill every man if possible, or we shall have hot work in
getting back to Edinburgh."
When the party came nearer it could be seen that it consisted of eight
armed men, in the center of whom the two Royalist officers were walking.
Their arms were bound to their sides. Leslie arranged that he with Mike
and one of the soldiers would at once spring to their aid, as likely
enough, directly the attack began, the captors might endeavor to slay
their prisoners, to prevent them from being rescued. Mike was instructed
to strike no blow, but to devote himself at once to cutting their cords,
and placing weapons in their hands.
The surprise was complete. The sailors forming the majority of the
party, with two trusty retainers of the earl, who had special charge of
the affair, were proceeding carelessly along, having no thought of
interruption. So far their plans had succeeded perfectly. The moment
the two officers had reached the quay they were addressed by the men
sent on shore with the Royalist's boat. Unsuspicious of danger they took
their place in it, and therefore missed the opportunity, which they
would have had if they had entered any of the other boats, of learning
the true character of the Royalist. They had been attacked the instant
they gained the deck of the vessel. Harry, who was first, had been
knocked down before he had time to put his hand to his sword. Jacob had
fought valiantly for a short time, but he too had been knocked senseless
by a blow with a capstan bar. They had then been roughly tumbled below,
where no further attention had been paid to them. The Royalist had been
blown many miles out to sea, and did not make her anchorage until ten
o'clock in the morning. Then the hatches were removed, and the prisoners
brought on deck.
The inlet was a small one, and contained, only a little fishing village;
the prisoners saw the Royalist sail off again, directly they had been
placed in the boat. They had from the first moment when they regained
consciousness entertained no doubts whatever into whose hands they had
fallen, and they felt their position to be desperate. The plan, indeed,
had been skillfully laid, and had it not been for Harry reading the
order aloud in Mike's presence, there would have been no clew to their
disappearance. During the night the young men were too overpowered with
the violence of the storm, and the closeness of the atmosphere in the
hold, in which they had been thrown, to converse. But as the motion
moderated in the morning they had talked over their chances, and
pronounced them to be small indeed. Harry, indeed, remembered that Mike
had been present when he asked Jacob to accompany him on board ship, but
he thought that no uneasiness would be felt until late that night, as
it might well be thought that their duties had detained them, and that
they had supped on board. The storm might further account for their
non-appearance till morning. Then they imagined that inquiry would be
made, and that it would be found that the Royalist had sailed. Their
captors would then have a start of twenty-four hours, and in such
troubled times it was scarce likely that anything would be done. Nor
indeed did they see how they could be followed, as the destination of
the ship would be entirely unknown. The very fact that they had not been
thrown overboard when fairly out at sea was in itself a proof that their
captors entertained no fear of pursuit; had they done so, they would
have dispatched them at once. The captives felt sure that it was
intended to land them, in order that Argyll himself might have the
pleasure of taunting them before putting them to death. Against Jacob,
indeed, he could have no personal feeling, and it was by accident only
that he was a sharer in Harry's fate. But as a witness of what had taken
place, his life would assuredly be taken, as well as that of his
companion. As they walked along they gathered from the talk of their
guards the distance which they had to go, and the place of their
destination. They had never heard of Kilbeg Castle, but as they had no
enemies save Argyll, they knew that it must belong to one of his clan.
They spoke but little on the way. Harry was wondering how the news of
his disappearance would be received in the camp, and thinking of the
dismay which it would occasion in the minds of Mike and William Long,
when suddenly he heard a shout, and on the instant a fierce fight was
raging around him.
Although taken completely by surprise, the sailors fought steadily. But
two were cut down before they could draw a sword, and the others,
outmatched, were driven backward. The leader of the party shouted again
and again, "Kill the prisoners," but he and each of his men were too
hotly engaged with the adversaries who pressed them, to do more than
defend their own lives. In a minute the fray was rendered still more
unequal by Harry and Jacob joining in it, and in less than three minutes
from its commencement seven of the guards lay dead or dying upon the
ground. The other, an active young fellow, had taken to flight early in
the fight, and was already beyond reach.
The contest over, there was a delighted greeting between the rescued
prisoners and their friends.
"Come," Leslie said, "we have not a moment to lose. That fellow who has
escaped will take the news to Kilbeg, and we shall be having its
garrison at our heels. He has but three miles to run, and they will beat
to horse in a few minutes after he gets there. We must strike across the
hills, and had best make a great circuit by Stirling. If we avoid the
roads and towns they may not pick up our track."
Their guide fortunately knew the country well, and leaving the path by
which they had traveled, the party started on their return. All day they
tramped across the moorlands, avoiding all villages and scattered
farmhouses. They had, they knew, three-quarters of an hour's start, and
as their pursuers would be alike ignorant whence they came or whither
they were going, the chances of their hitting the right route were
Making a circuit round Kinross and Alloa, where the Campbells might have
ridden in pursuit, and sleeping in a wood, they arrived next day at
Stirling. Here was great excitement, for Cromwell's army, marching south
of Edinburgh, had approached the town. They remained, however, a few
hours only, collecting what pre visions they could, and then falling
back again to their former camp at Musselburgh. The following day Harry
and his party marched to Edinburgh. That night Harry reported to Sir
David Leslie what had befallen him and the next morning he accompanied
the general to Holyrood, and laid a complaint before the king.
His majesty was most indignant at the attempt which had been made upon
his follower, but he said to General Leslie, "I doubt not, Sir David,
that your thoughts and mine go toward the same person. But we have no
evidence that he had an absolute hand in it, although the fact that this
ship was commanded by a Campbell, and that the hold of Kilbeg belongs to
one of his kinsmen, point to his complicity in the affair. Still, that
is no proof. Already the earl is no friend of mine. When the day comes I
will have a bitter reckoning with him, but in the present state of my
fortunes, methinks that 'twere best in this, as in other matters, to
hold my tongue for the time. I cannot afford to make him an open enemy
General Leslie agreed with the king. Cromwell's army was in a sore
strait, and would, they hoped, be shortly driven either to surrender or
to fight under disadvantageous circumstances. But the open defection of
Argyll at the present moment, followed as it would be by that of the
whole fanatical party, would entirely alter the position of affairs, and
Harry begged his majesty to take no more notice of the matter, and so
returned to the camp.
THE BATTLE OF WORCESTER.
The next morning the Scotch army moved after that of Cromwell, which had
fallen back to Dunbar, and took post on the Doon hill facing him there.
Cromwell's army occupied a peninsula, having on their face a brook
running along a deep, narrow little valley. The Scotch position on the
hill was an exceedingly strong one, and had they remained there
Cromwell's army must have been driven to surrender. Cromwell himself
wrote on that night, "The enemy hath blocked up our way at the pass at
Copperspath, through which we cannot pass without almost a miracle. He
lieth so upon the hills that we knoweth not how to come that way without
much difficulty, and our lying here daily consumeth our men, who fall
sick beyond imagination."
The Scotch had, in fact, the game in their hands, had they but waited on
the ground they had taken up. The English had, however, an ally in their
camp. The Earl of Argyll strongly urged that an attack should be made
upon the English, and he was supported by the preachers and fanatics,
who exclaimed that the Lord had delivered their enemies into their
hands. General Leslie, however, stood firm. The preachers scattered in
the camp and exhorted the soldiers to go down and smite the enemy. So
great an enthusiasm did they excite by their promises of victory that in
the afternoon the soldiers, without orders from their general, moved
down the hill toward the enemy. The more regular body of the troops
stood firm, but Leslie, seeing that the preachers had got the mastery,
and that his orders were no longer obeyed, ordered these also to move
forward, in hopes that the enthusiasm which had been excited would yet
suffice to win the victory.
Cromwell saw the fatal mistake which had been committed, and in the
night moved round his troops to his left, and these at daybreak fell
upon the Scottish right. The night had been wet, and the Scottish army
were unprovided with tents. Many of their matchlocks had been rendered
useless. At daybreak on the morning of the 3d of September the English,
led by General Lambert, fell upon them. The Scotch for a time stood
their ground firmly; but the irregular troops, who had by their folly
led the army into this plight, gave way before the English pikemen. The
preachers, who were in vast numbers, set the example of flight. Many of
the regiments of infantry fought most fiercely, but the battle was
already lost. The Scotch cavalry were broken by the charge of the
Ironsides, and in less than an hour from the commencement of the
fighting the rout was complete. Three thousand Scotch were killed, and
ten thousand taken prisoners.
Harry's regiment was but slightly engaged. It had been one of the last
to march down the hill on the evening before, and Harry and Jacob
foresaw the disaster which would happen. "If I were the king," Harry
said, "I would order every one of these preachers out of camp, and would
hang those who disobeyed. Then I would march the army on to the hill
again. If they wait there the English must attack us with grievous
disadvantage, or such as cannot get on board their ships must surrender.
Charles would really be king then, and could disregard the wrath of the
men of the conventicles. Cromwell will attack us to-morrow, and will
defeat us; his trained troops are more than a match for these Scotchmen,
who think more of their preachers than of their officers, and whose
discipline is of the slackest."
"I agree with you entirely," Jacob said. "But in the present mood of the
army, I believe that half of them would march away if the general
dismissed the preachers."
The next day, when the fight began, Harry moved forward his regiment to
the support of the Scottish right, but before he came fairly into the
fray this had already given away, and Harry, seeing that the day was
lost, halted his men, and fell back in good order. Again and again the
Ironsides charged them. The leveled pikes and heavy musketry fire each
time beat them off, and they marched from the field almost the only body
which kept its formation. Five thousand of the country people among the
prisoners Cromwell allowed to depart to their homes. The remainder he
sent to Newcastle, where great numbers of them were starved to death by
the cruelty of the governor, Sir Arthur Hazelrig. The remainder were
sent as slaves to New England.
Leslie, with the wreck of his army, fell back to Stirling, while
Charles, with the Scotch authorities, went to Perth. Here the young
king, exasperated beyond endurance at the tyranny of Argyll and the
fanatics, escaped from them, and with two or three friends rode fifty
miles north. He was overtaken and brought back to Perth, but the anger
of the army was so hot at his treatment that the fanatics were
henceforth obliged to put a curb upon themselves, and a strong king's
party, as opposed to that of the Covenant, henceforth guided his
The winter passed quietly. The English troops were unable to stand the
inclemency of the climate, and contented themselves with capturing
Edinburgh Castle, and other strongholds south of the Forth. Cromwell was
compelled by ill health to return for some months to England. Leslie's
army was strongly intrenched round Stirling. In June Cromwell again took
the field, and moved against Perth, which he captured on the 31st of
July. Charles, who had joined his army at Stirling, broke up his camp
and marched toward England, the road being open to him owing to Cromwell
and his army being further north at Perth.
During the time which had elapsed since the battle of Dunbar no events
had happened in Harry's life. Remaining quietly in camp, where the
troops, who had been disgusted by the conduct of the fanatics at Dunbar,
were now ill disposed toward Argyll and his party, he had little fear of
the machinations of the earl, who was with the king at Perth.
Argyll refused to join in the southern march, and the army with which
Leslie entered England numbered only eleven thousand men. As soon as he
crossed the border, Charles was proclaimed king, and proclamations were
issued calling on all loyal subjects to join him.
The people were, however, weary of civil war. The Royalists had already
suffered so heavily that they held back now, and the hatred excited,
alike by the devastations of the Scotch army on its former visit to
England, and by the treachery with which they had then sold the king,
deterred men from joining them. A few hundred, indeed, came to his
standard; but upon the other hand, Lambert and Harrison, with a strong
force, were marching against him, and Cromwell, having left six thousand
men in Scotland, under Monk, was pressing hotly behind with the victors
of Dunbar. On the 22d of August Charles reached Worcester. On the 28th
Cromwell was close to the town with thirty thousand men.
"This is the end of it all, Jacob," Harry said that night. "They
outnumber us by three to one, and even if equal, they would assuredly
beat us, for the Scotch are dispirited at finding themselves so far from
home, in a hostile country. Things look desperate. If all is lost
to-morrow, do you and William Long and Mike keep close to me. Get a
horse for Mike to-night. You and Long are already mounted. If all is
lost we must try and make our way to the seacoast, and take boat for
France or Holland. But first of all we must see to the safety of the
king. It is clear that at present England is not ready to return to the
former state of things. We must hope that some day she will weary of the
Roundhead rule, and if the king can reach the Continent he must remain
there till England calls him. At present she only wants peace. It is
just nine years now since King Charles' father set up his standard at
Nottingham. Nine years of wars and troubles! No wonder men are aweary of
it. It is all very well for us, Jacob, who have no wives, neither
families nor occupations, and are without property to lose, but I wonder
not that men who have these things are chary of risking them in a cause
which seems destined to failure."
Upon the 3d of September, 1651, the anniversary of the battle of Dunbar,
Cromwell advanced to the attack. Harry's regiment was placed among some
hedges around the city, and upon them the brunt of the fight first fell.
In spite of the immense numbers brought against them they defended
themselves with desperate bravery. Some of the Scottish troops came up,
and for a time Cromwell's footmen could make but little way. At other
parts, however, the resistance was more feeble, and the Scotch fell
rapidly into confusion. Contesting every foot of the way, Harry's
regiment was driven back into the town, where a terrible confusion
reigned. Still keeping his men together, he marched to the marketplace.
Here he found the king with a considerable body of horse. The greater
part, however, of the horse had fled through the town without drawing
rein, while the foot were throwing away their arms and flying in all
"If all my troops had fought like your regiment, Colonel Furness, we
should have won the day," the king said. "As it is now, it is a hopeless
rout. It is useless for your brave fellows to throw away their lives
further. They will only be cut down vainly, seeing that the rest of my
army are disbanded. Thank them from me for their services, and bid them
seek their homes as best they may and wait for better times. They are
English, and will meet with better treatment from the country people
than will the Scotch. Then do you join me. I am going to head my
horsemen here in a charge against the Roundhead cavalry, and so give
more time for the army to get away."
Harry rode up to his troops, now reduced to half their former strength.
Leslie and Grahame had both been killed, and William Long was sorely
wounded. He gave the men the message from the king, and the brave
fellows gave a cheer for King Charles, the last he was to hear for ten
years. Then they marched away in orderly array, with their arms,
intending to beat off all who might attack them before nightfall, and
then to break up and scatter, each for himself. William Long had friends
near Gloucester, and as his wound would prevent him from traveling
rapidly with Harry, he took farewell of him, and rode away with the
regiment. Harry, with Jacob and Mike, rejoined the king, and they rode
toward the gate by which the Roundhead troops were already entering the
town. The horsemen, however, had but little stomach for the fight, and
as the king advanced, in twos and threes they turned their horses'
heads and rode off.
Harry was riding close to the king, and looking round said at length,
"It is useless, your majesty. There are not a dozen men with us."
The king looked round and checked his horse. Besides his personal
friends, Buckingham, Wilmot, and one or two other nobles, scarce a man
remained. The king shrugged his shoulders. "Well, gentlemen, as we
cannot fight, we must needs run." Then the party turned their horses and
galloped out on the other side of Worcester. The country was covered
with fugitives. They soon came upon a considerable body of horse, who at
once attached themselves to the party. "These, gentlemen," the king
said, "would not fight when I wanted them to, and now that I would fain
be alone, they follow me."
At last, when darkness came on, the king, with his personal friends and
some sixty others, slipped away down a by-road, and after riding for
some hours came to a house called the White Ladies. Here for a few hours
they rested. Then a council was held. They had news that on a heath near
were some three thousand Scotch cavalry. The king's friends urged him to
join these and endeavor to make his way back into Scotland, but Charles
had already had more than enough of that country, and he was sure that
Argyll and his party would not hesitate to deliver him up to the
Parliament, as they had done his father before him. He therefore
determined to disguise himself, and endeavor to escape on foot, taking
with him only a guide. The rest of the party agreed to join the Scotch
horse, and endeavor to reach the border. After a consultation with
Jacob, Harry determined to follow the example of the king, and to try
and make his way in disguise to a seaport. He did not believe that the
Scotch cavalry would be able to regain their country, nor even if they
did would his position be improved were he with them. With the
destruction of the Royalist army, Argyll would again become supreme, and
Harry doubted not that he would satisfy his old grudge against him. He
was right in his anticipations. The Scots were a day or two later routed
by the English horse, and comparatively few of them ever regained their
country. Out of the eleven thousand men who fought at Worcester, seven
thousand were taken prisoners, including the greater part of the
Scottish contingent. The English, attracting less hostility and
attention from the country people, for the most part reached their homes
As soon as the king had ridden off, Harry with Jacob and Mike, started
in another direction. Stopping at a farmhouse, they purchased from the
master three suits of clothes. Harry's was one of the farmer's own, the
man being nearly his own size. For Jacob, who was much shorter, a dress,
cloak and bonnet of the farmer's wife was procured, and for Mike the
clothes of one of the farmer's sons. One of the horses was left here,
and a pillion obtained for the other. Putting on these disguises, Harry
mounted his horse, with Jacob seated behind him on a pillion, while Mike
rode by his side. They started amid the good wishes of the farmer and
his family, who were favorable to the Royalist cause. Harry had cut off
his ringlets, and looked the character of a young farmer of twenty-four
or twenty-five years old well enough, while Jacob had the appearance of
a suitable wife for him. Mike was to pass as his brother.
In the course of the first day's journey they met several parties of
Roundhead horse, who plied them with questions as to whether they had
seen any parties of fugitives. Making a detour, they rode toward
Gloucester, not intending to enter that town, where there was a
Parliamentary garrison, but to cross the river higher up. They stopped
for the night at a wayside inn, where they heard much talk concerning
the battle, and learned that all the fords were guarded to prevent
fugitives crossing into Wales, and that none might pass who could not
give a good account of themselves. They heard, too, that on the evening
before a proclamation had been made at Gloucester and other towns
offering a reward of a thousand pounds for the capture of Charles, and
threatening all with the penalties of treason who should venture to aid
or shelter him; a systematic watch was being set on all the roads.
They determined to ride again next morning toward Worcester, and to
remain in that neighborhood for some days, judging that less inquiry
would be made there than elsewhere. This they did, but journeyed very
slowly, and slept a mile or two from Worcester.
Before reaching their halting-place they took off a shoe from Mike's
horse, and with a nail wounded the frog of the foot, so that the animal
walked lame. Under this pretense they stopped three days, feigning great
annoyance at the delay. They found now that orders had been issued that
none should journey on the roads save those who had passes, and these
had to be shown before entering any of the large towns. They therefore
resolved to leave their horses, and to proceed on foot, as they could
then travel by byways and across the country. There was some debate as
to the best guise in which to travel, but it was presently determined to
go as Egyptians, as the gypsies were then called. Harry walked into
Worcester, and there, at the shop of a dealer in old clothes, procured
such garments as were needed, and at an apothecary's purchased some dyes
for staining the skin.
The next day, telling the landlord that they should leave the lame
horse with him until their return, they started as before, Mike walking
instead of riding. They presently left the main road, and finding a
convenient place in a wood, changed their attire. Harry and Mike were
dressed in ragged clothes, with bright handkerchiefs round their necks,
and others round their heads. Jacob still retained his attire as a
woman, with a tattered shawl round his shoulders, and a red handkerchief
over his head. All darkened their faces and hands. They took the saddle
from the horse, and placed the bundles, containing the clothes they had
taken off, on his back. Mike took the bridle, Harry and Jacob walked
beside, and so they continued for some miles along the lonely roads,
until they came to a farmhouse. Here they stopped. The farmer came out,
and roughly demanded what they wanted. Harry replied that he wanted to
sell their horse, and would take a small sum for it.
"I doubt me," the farmer said, looking at it, "that that horse was not
honestly come by. It suits not your condition. It may well be," he said,
"the horse of some officer who was slain at Worcester, and which you
have found roaming in the country."
"It matters not," Harry said, "where I got it; it is mine now, and may
be yours if you like it, cheap. As you say, its looks agree not with
mine, and I desire not to be asked questions. If you will give me that
donkey I see there, and three pounds, you shall have him."
The offer was a tempting one, but the farmer beat them down a pound
before he agreed to it. Then shifting their bundles to the donkey, they
continued their way. At the next village they purchased a cooking-pot
and some old stuff for a tent. Cutting some sticks, they encamped that
night on some wild land hard by, having purchased provisions for their
supper. Very slowly they traveled south, attracting no attention as
they passed. They avoided all large towns, and purchased such things as
they needed at villages, always camping out on commons and waste places.
They could hear no news of the king at any of their halting-places. That
he had not been taken was certain; also, that he had not reached France,
or the news of his coming there would have been known. It was generally
supposed that he was in hiding somewhere in the south, hoping to find an
opportunity to take ship to France. Everywhere they heard of the active
search which was being made for him, and how the houses of all suspected
to be favorable to him were being searched.
Traveling only a few miles a day, and frequently halting for two or
three days together, the party crossed the Thames above Reading, and
journeyed west into Wiltshire. So they went on until they reached the
port of Charmouth, near Lime Regis. Here, as in all the seaport towns,
were many soldiers of the Parliament. They did not enter the town, but
encamped a short distance outside, Harry alone going in to gather the
news. He found that numerous rumors concerning the king were afloat. It
was asserted that he had been seen near Bristol, and failing to embark
there, was supposed to be making his way east along the coast, in hopes
of finding a ship. The troops were loud in their expressions of
confidence that in a few days, if not in a few hours, he would be in
their hands, and that he would be brought to the scaffold, as his father
Uneasy at the news, Harry wandered about the town, and at nightfall
entered a small public house near the port. Calling for some liquor, he
sat down, and listened to the talk of the sailors. Presently these left,
and soon after they did so three other men entered. One was dressed as a
farmer, the other two as serving-men. Harry thought that he noticed a
glance of recognition pass between the farmer and the landlord, and as
the latter placed some liquor and a candle on the table before the
newcomers, Harry recognized in the farmer Colonel Wyndham, a Royalist
with whom he was well acquainted. He now looked more closely at the two
serving-men, and recognized in them the king and Lord Wilmot.
He sauntered across the room as if to get a light for his pipe, and
said, in low tones:
"Colonel Wyndham, I am Harry Furness. Is there any way I can serve his
"Ah! Colonel Furness, I am glad to see you," the king said heartily;
"though if you are hunted as shrewdly as I am, your state is a perilous
"The landlord is to be trusted," Colonel Wyndham said. "We had best call
him in. He said nothing before you, deeming you a stranger."
The landlord was called in, and told Harry was a friend, whereupon he
barred the door and closed the shutters, as if for the night. Then
turning to Colonel Wyndham, whom alone he knew, he said:
"I am sorry to say that my news is bad, sir. An hour since I went round
to the man who had engaged to take you across to St. Malo, but his wife
has got an inkling of his intentions. She has locked him into his room,
and swears that if he attempts to come forth she will give the alarm to
the Parliament troops; for that she will not have herself and her
children sacrificed by meddlings of his in the affairs of state."
ACROSS THE SEA.
The announcement of the innkeeper struck consternation into the party.
"This is bad news indeed," Colonel Wyndham said; "what does your majesty
"I know not, my good Wyndham," King Charles replied. "Methinks 'twere
better that I should give myself up at once. Fate seems against us, and
I'm only bringing danger on all my friends."
"Your friends are ready to risk the danger," Colonel Wyndham said; "and
I doubt not that we shall finally place your majesty in safety. I think
we had best try Bridport. Unfortunately, the Roundheads are so sure of
your being on the coast that it is well-nigh impossible to procure a
ship, so strict is the search of all who leave port. If we could but put
them off your scent, and lead them to believe that you have given it up
in despair here, and are trying again to reach Scotland, it might throw
them off their guard, and make it more easy for us to find a ship."
"I might do that," Harry said. "I have with me my comrade Jacob, who is
about the king's height and stature. I will travel north again, and will
in some way excite suspicion that he is the king. The news that your
majesty has been seen traveling there will throw them off your track
"But you may be caught yourself," the king said. "The Earl of Derby and
other officers have been executed. There would be small chance for you
were you to fall into their hands."
"I trust that I shall escape, sire. My friend Jacob is as cunning as a
fox, and will, I warrant me, throw dust in their eyes. And how has it
fared with your majesty since I left you at White Ladies?"
"Faith," Charles replied, laughing, "I have been like a rat with the
dogs after him. The next night after leaving you I was in danger from a
rascally miller, who raised an alarm because we refused to stay at his
bidding. Then we made for Moseley, where I hoped to cross the Severn.
The Roundheads had set a guard there, and Richard Penderell went to the
house of Mr. Woolfe, a loyal gentleman, and asked him for shelter for an
officer from Worcester. Mr. Woolfe said he would risk his neck for none
save the king himself. Then Richard told him who I was, and brought me
in. Mr. Woolfe hid me in the barn and gave me provisions. The
neighborhood was dangerous, for the search was hot thereabout, and I
determined to double back again to White Ladies, that I might hear what
had become of Wilmot. Richard Penderell guided me to Boscabell, a
farmhouse kept by his brother William. Here I found Major Careless in
hiding. The search was hot, and we thought of hiding in a wood near, but
William advised that as this might be searched we should take refuge in
an oak lying apart in the middle of the plain."
"This had been lopped three or four years before and had grown again
very thick and bushy, so that it could not be seen through. So, early in
the morning, Careless and I, taking provisions for the day, climbed up
it and hid there, and it was well we did so, for in the day the
Roundheads came and searched the wood from end to end, as also the
house. But they did not think of the tree. The next two days I lay at
Boscabell, and learned on the second day that Wilmot was hiding at the
house of Mr. Whitgrave, a Catholic gentleman at Moseley, where he begged
me to join him. That night I rode thither. The six Penderells, for there
were that number of brothers, rode with me as a bodyguard. I was well
received by Mr. Whitgrave, who furnished me with fresh linen, to my
great comfort, for that which I had on was coarse, and galled my flesh
grievously, and my feet were so sore I could scarce walk. But the
Roundheads were all about, and the search hot, and it was determined
that I should leave. This time I was dressed as a decent serving man,
and Colonel Lane's daughter agreed to go with me. I was to pass as her
serving man, taking her to Bristol. A cousin rode with us in company.
Colonel Lane procured us a pass, and we met with no adventure for three
days. A smith who shod my horse, which had cast a shoe, did say that
that rogue Charles Stuart had not been taken yet, and that he thought he
ought to be hanged. I thought so too, so we had no argument. At Bristol
we could find no ship in which I could embark, and after some time I
went with Miss Lane and her cousin to my good friend Colonel Wyndham, at
Trent House. After much trouble he had engaged a ship to take me hence,
and now this rascal refuses to go, or rather his wife refuses for him.
And now, my friend, we will at once make for Bridport, since Colonel
Wyndham hopes to find a ship there. I trust we may meet ere long in
France. None of my friends have served me and my father more faithfully
than you. It would seem but a mockery now to take knighthood at the
hands of Charles Stuart, but it will not harm thee."
Taking a sword from Colonel Wyndham, the king dubbed Harry knight. Then
giving his hand to the landlord to kiss, Charles, accompanied by his
two companions, left the inn.
A few minutes later Harry started and joined his friends. Jacob agreed
at once to the proposal to throw the Roundheads off King Charles' track.
The next day they started north, and traveled through Wiltshire up into
Gloucestershire, still keeping their disguises as gypsies. There they
left their donkey with a peasant, telling him they would return in a
fortnight's time and claim it. In a wood near they again changed their
disguise, hid their gypsy dresses, and started north on foot. In the
evening they stopped at Fairford, and took up their abode at a small
inn, where they asked for a private room. They soon ascertained that the
landlord was a follower of the Parliament. Going toward the room into
which they were shown, Jacob stumbled, and swore in a man's voice, which
caused the servant maid who was conducting them to start and look
suspiciously at him. Supper was brought, but Harry noticed that the
landlord, who himself brought it in, glanced several times at Jacob.
They were eating their supper when they heard his footstep again coming
along the passage. Harry dropped on one knee, and was in the act of
handing the jug in that attitude to Jacob, when the landlord entered.
Harry rose hastily, as if in confusion, and the landlord, setting down
on the table a dish which he had brought, again retired.
"Throw up the window, Jacob, and listen," Harry said. "We must not be
caught like rats in a trap."
The window opened into a garden, and Jacob, listening, could hear
footsteps as of men running in the streets.
"That is enough, then," Harry said. "The alarm is given. Now let us be
off." They leaped from the window, and they were soon making their way
across the country. They had not been gone a hundred yards before they
heard a great shouting, and knew that their departure had been
discovered. They had not walked far that day and now pressed forward
north. They had filled their pockets with the remains of their supper,
and after walking all night, left the road, and climbing into a haystack
at a short distance, ate their breakfast and were soon fast asleep.
It was late in the afternoon before they awoke. Then they walked on
until, after darkness fell, they entered a small village. Here they went
into a shop to buy bread. The woman looked at them earnestly.
"I do not know whether it concerns you," she said, "but I will warn you
that this morning a mounted man from Fairford came by warning all to
seize a tall countryman with a young fellow and a woman with him, for
that she was no other than King Charles."
"Thanks, my good woman," Jacob said. "Thanks for your warning. I do not
say that I am he you name, but whether or no, the king shall hear some
day of your good-will."
Traveling on again, they made thirty miles that night, and again slept
in a wood. The next evening, when they entered a village to buy food,
the man in the shop, after looking at them, suddenly seized Jacob, and
shouted loudly for help. Harry stretched him on the ground with a heavy
blow of the stout cudgel he carried. The man's shouts, however, had
called up some of his neighbors, and these ran up as they issued from
the shop, and tried to seize them. The friends, however, struck out
lustily with their sticks, Jacob carrying one concealed beneath his
dress. In two or three minutes they had fought their way clear, and ran
at full speed through the village, pursued by a shouting crowd of
"Now," Harry said, "we can return for our gypsy dresses, and then make
for the east coast. We have put the king's enemies off the scent. I
trust that when we may get across the water we may hear that he is in
They made a long detour, traveling only at night, Harry entering alone
after dusk the villages where it was necessary to buy food. When they
regained the wood where they had left their disguises they dressed
themselves again as gypsies, called for the donkey, and then journeyed
across England by easy stages to Colchester, where they succeeded in
taking passage in a lugger bound for Hamburg. They arrived there in
safety, and found to their great joy the news had arrived that the king
had landed in France.
He had, they afterward found, failed to obtain a ship at Bridport, where
when he arrived he here found a large number of soldiers about to cross
to Jersey. He returned to Trent House, and a ship at Southampton was
then engaged. But this was afterward taken up for the carriage of
troops. A week later a ship lying at Shoreham was hired to carry a
nobleman and his servant to France, and King Charles, with his friends,
made his way thither in safety. The captain of the ship at once
recognized the king, but remained true to his promise, and landed him at
Fécamp in Normandy.
Six weeks had elapsed since the battle of Worcester, and during that
time the king's hiding-places had been known to no less than forty-five
persons, all of whom proved faithful to the trust, and it was owing to
their prudence and caution as well as to their loyalty that the king
escaped, in spite of the reward offered and the hot search kept up
everywhere for him.
Harry had now to settle upon his plans for the future. There was no hope
whatever of an early restoration. He had no thought of hanging about the
king whose ways and dissolute associates revolted him. It was open to
him to take service, as so many of his companions had done, in one or
other of the Continental armies, but Harry had had more than enough of
fighting. He determined then to cross the ocean to the plantations of
Virginia, where many loyal gentlemen had established themselves. The
moneys which Colonel Furness had during the last four years regularly
sent across to a banker at the Hague, for his use, were lying untouched,
and these constituted a sum amply sufficient for establishing himself
there. Before starting, however, he determined that if possible he would
take a wife with him. In all his wanderings he had never seen any one he
liked so much as his old playmate, Lucy Rippinghall. It was nearly four
years since he had seen her, and she must now be twenty-one. Herbert, he
knew by his father's letters, had left the army at the end of the first
civil war, and was carrying on his father's business, the wool-stapler
having been killed at Marston Moor. Harry wrote to the colonel, telling
him of his intention to go to Virginia and settle there until either
Cromwell's death, and the dying out of old animosities, or the
restoration of the king permitted him to return to England, and also
that he was writing to ask Lucy Rippinghall to accompany him as his
wife. He told his father that he was well aware that he would not have
regarded such a match as suitable had he been living at home with him at
Furness Hall, but that any inequality of birth would matter no whit in
the plantations of Virginia, and that such a match would greatly promote
his happiness there. By the same mail he wrote to Herbert Rippinghall.
"My DEAR HERBERT: The bonds of affection which held us together when
boys are in no way slackened in their hold upon me, and you showed, when
we last met, that you loved me in no way less than of old. I purpose
sailing to Virginia with such store of money as would purchase a
plantation there, and there I mean to settle down until such times as
these divisions in England may be all passed. But I would fain not go
alone. As a boy I loved your sister Lucy, and I have seen none to take
the place of her image in my heart. She is, I know, still unmarried, but
I know not whether she has any regard for me. I do beseech you to sound
her, and if she be willing to give her to me. I hear that you are well
married, and can therefore the better spare her. If she be willing to
take me, I will be a good husband to her, and trust some day or other to
bring her back to be lady of Furness Hall. Although I know that she will
care little for such things, I may say that she would be Lady Lucy,
since the king has been pleased to make me Sir Harry Furness. Should the
dear girl be willing, will you, since I cannot come to you, bring her
hither to me. I have written to my father, and have told him what I
purpose to do. Trusting that this will find you as well disposed toward
me as ever, I remain, your affectionate friend, HARRY FURNESS."
This letter, together with that to his father, Harry gave to Mike. The
post in those days was extremely irregular, and none confided letters of
importance to it which could possibly be sent by hand. Such a
communication as that to Herbert Rippinghall was not one which Harry
cared to trust to the post. Mike had never been at Abingdon, and would
therefore be unknown there. Nor, indeed, unless they were taken
prisoners in battle or in the first hot pursuit, were any of lower
degree meddled with after their return to their homes. There was
therefore no fear whatever of molestation. At this time Jacob was far
from well. The fatigues which he had undergone since the king broke up
his camp at Stirling had been immense. Prolonged marches, great anxiety,
sleeping on wet ground, being frequently soaked to the skin by heavy
rains, all these things had told upon him, and now that the necessity
for exertion was over, a sort of low fever seized him, and he was
forced to take to his bed. The leech whom Harry called in told him that
Jacob needed rest and care more than medicine. He gave him, however,
cooling drinks, and said that when the fever passed he would need
strengthening food and medicine.
Hamburg was at that time the resort of many desperate men from England.
After Worcester, as after the crushing out of the first civil war, those
too deeply committed to return to their homes sought refuge here. But
though all professed to be Cavaliers, who were suffering only from their
loyalty to the crown, a great many of them were men who had no just
claim to so honorable a position. There were many who took advantage of
the times in England to satisfy private enmities or to gratify evil
passions. Although the courts of law sat during the whole of the civil
war, and the judges made their circuits, there was necessarily far more
crime than in ordinary times. Thus many of those who betook themselves
to Hamburg and other seaports on the continent had made England too hot
for them by crimes of violence and dishonesty.
The evening after Mike sailed Harry, who had been sitting during the
afternoon chatting by Jacob's bedside, went out to take the air. He
strolled along the wharves, near which were the drinking-houses, whence
came sounds of singing, dancing, and revelry, mingled occasionally with
shouts and the clash of steel, as quarrels arose among the sailors and
others frequenting them. Never having seen one of these places, Harry
strolled into one which appeared of a somewhat better class than the
rest. At one end was a sort of raised platform, upon which were two men,
with fiddles, who, from time to time, played lively airs, to which those
at the tables kept time by stamping their feet. Sometimes men or women
came on to the platform and sang. The occupants of the body of the hall
were mostly sailors, but among whom were a considerable number of men,
who seemed by their garb to be broken-down soldiers and adventurers.
Harry took his seat by the door, called for a glass of wine and drank
it, and, having soon seen enough of the nature of the entertainment, was
about to leave, when his attention was attracted by a young girl who
took her place on the platform. She was evidently a gypsy, for at this
time these people were the minstrels of Europe. It would have been
considered shameful for any other woman to sing publicly. Two or three
of these women had already sung, and Harry had been disgusted with their
hard voices and bold looks. But he saw that the one who now took her
place on the platform was of a different nature. She advanced nervously,
and as if quite strange to such a scene, and touched her guitar with
trembling fingers. Then she began to sing a Spanish romance in a sweet,
pure voice. There was a good deal of applause when it finished, for even
the rough sailors could appreciate the softness and beauty of the
melody. Then a half-drunken man shouted, "Give us something lively.
Sing 'May the Devil fly off with Old Noll.'"
The proposal was received with a shout of approval by many, but some of
the sailors cried out, "No, no. No politics. We won't hear Cromwell
This only led to louder and more angry shouts on the part of the others,
and in all parts of the room men rose to their feet, gesticulating and
shouting. The girl, who evidently did not understand a word that was
said, stood looking with affright at the tumult which had so suddenly
risen. In a minute swords were drawn. The foreign sailors, in ignorance
of the cause of dispute, drew their knives, and stood by the side of
those from the English ships, while the foreign soldiers seemed ready
to make common cause with the English who had commenced the disturbance.
Two or three of the latter leaped upon the platform to insist upon their
wishes being carried out. The girl, with a little scream, retreated into
a corner. Harry, indignant at the conduct to his countrymen, had drawn
his sword, and made his way quietly toward the end of the hall, and he
now sprang upon the platform.
"Stand back," he shouted angrily. "I'll spit the first man who advances
"And who are you, sir, who ventures to thrust yourself into a quarrel,
and to interfere with English gentlemen?"
"English gentlemen," Harry said bitterly. "God help England if you are
specimens of her gentlemen."
"S'death!" exclaimed one. "Run the scoundrel through, Ralph."
In a moment Harry slashed open the cheek of one, and ran the other
through the arm. By this time the fray had become general in the hall.
Benches were broken up, swords and knives were used freely. Just as the
matter began to grow serious there was a cry of "The watch!" and a
strong armed guard entered the hall.
There was an instant cessation of hostilities, and then both parties
uniting, rushed upon the watch, and by sheer weight bore them back out
of the place. Harry looked round, and saw that the girl had fled by a
door at the back of the platform. Seeing that a fight was going on round
the door, and desiring to escape from the broil, he went out by the door
she had taken, followed a passage for some distance, went down a
dimly-lighted stair, and issued through a door into the air. He found
himself in a foul and narrow lane. It was entirely unlighted, and Harry
made his way with difficulty along, stumbling into holes in the
pavement, and over heaps of rubbish of all kinds.
"I have got into a nice quarter of the town," he muttered to himself.
"I have heard there are places in Hamburg, the resort of thieves and
scoundrels of the worst kind, and where even the watch dare not
penetrate, Methinks that this must be one them."
He groped his way along till he came to the end of the lane. Here a dim
light was burning. Three or four other lanes, in appearance as
forbidding as that up which he had come, met at this spot. Several men
were standing about. Harry paused for a moment, wondering whether he had
better take the first turning at random, or invite attention by asking
his way. He determined that the former was the least dangerous
alternative, and turned down the lane to his right. He had not gone ten
steps when a woman came up to him from behind.
"Are you not the gentleman who drew a sword to save me from insult?" she
asked in French.
Harry understood enough of the language to make out what she said.
"Yes," he said, "if you are the singer."
"Good heavens! sir, what misfortune has brought you here? I recognized
your face in the light. Your life, sir, is in the greatest danger. There
are men here who would murder you for the sake of a gold piece, and that
jewel which fastens your plume must have caught their eyes. Follow me,
A PLOT OVERHEARD.
As the gypsy ended her warning she sprang forward, saying, "Follow me,
for your life, sir." Harry did not hesitate. He heard several footsteps
coming down the lane, and drawing his sword he followed his guide at a
run. As he did so there was a shout among the men behind him and these
set off in hot pursuit. Harry kept close to the girl, who turned down
another lane even more narrow than that they were leaving. A few paces
further she stopped, opened a door and entered. Harry followed her in
and she closed the door behind her.
"Hush!" she whispered. "There are men here as bad as those without. Take
off your shoes."
Harry did as directed. He was in pitch darkness. Taking him by the hand,
the girl led him forward for some distance.
"There is a staircase here," she whispered.
Still holding his hand, she began to mount the stairs. As they passed
each landing Harry heard the voices of men in the rooms on either side.
At last they arrived at the top of the house. Here she opened a door,
and led Harry into a room.
"Are you here, mother?" she asked.
There was no answer. The girl uttered an exclamation of thankfulness;
then, after groping about, she found a tinder-box, and struck a light.
"You are safe here for the present. This is my room, where I live with
my mother. At least," she sighed, "she calls herself my mother, and is
the only one I have known."
"Is it possible," Harry asked in surprise, "that one like yourself can
live in such an abode as this?"
"I am safe here," she answered. "There are five men of my tribe in the
next room, and fierce and brutal as are the men of these courts, none of
them would care to quarrel with the gypsies. But now I have got you
here, how am I to get you away?"
"If the gypsies are so feared, I might go out with them," Harry said.
"Alas!" the girl answered, "they are as had as the others. And even if
they were disposed to aid you for the kindness you have shown me, I
doubt if they could do so. Assuredly they would not run the risk of
thwarting the cutthroats here for the sake of saving you."
"Could you go and tell the watch?" Harry asked.
"The watch never comes here," the girl replied, shaking her head. "Were
they to venture up these lanes it would be like entering a hive of bees.
This is an Alsatia--a safe refuge for assassins and robbers."
"I have got myself into a nice mess," Harry said. "It seems to me I had
better sally out and take my chance."
"Look," the girl said, going to the window and opening it.
Peering out, Harry saw below a number of men with swords and knives
drawn. One or two had torches, and they were examining every doorway and
court. Outside the window ran a parapet.
"They will search like hounds," the girl continued. "They must know that
you have not gone far. If they come here you must take to the parapet,
and go some distance along. Now, I must try and find some disguise for
At this moment the door opened, and an old woman entered. She uttered
an exclamation of astonishment at seeing Harry, and turning angrily to
the girl, spoke to her in the gypsy dialect. For two or three minutes
the conversation continued in that language; then the old woman turned
to Harry, and said in English:
"My daughter tells me that you have got into a broil on her behalf.
There are few gentlemen who draw sword for a gypsy. I will do my best to
aid you, but it will be difficult to get a gallant like yourself out of
Her eye fell covetously upon the jewel in Harry's hat. He noticed the
"Thanks, dame," he said; "I will gladly repay your services. Will you
accept this token?" And removing the jewel from the hat, he offered it
The girl uttered an angry exclamation as the old woman seized it, and
after examining it by the candle light, placed it in a small iron
coffer. Harry felt he had done wisely, for the old woman's face bore a
much warmer expression of good-will than had before characterized it.
"You cannot leave now," she said. "I heard as I came along that a
well-dressed gallant had been seen in the lanes, and every one's mouth
is on water. They said that they thought he had some woman with him, but
I did not dream it was Zita. You cannot leave to-night; to-morrow I will
get you some clothes of my son's, and in these you should be able to
escape without detection."
Very slowly the hours passed. The women at times talked together in
Romaic, while Harry, who had possession of the only chair in the room,
several times nodded off to sleep. In the morning there was a movement
heard in the next room, and the old woman went in there.
"Surely that woman cannot be your mother?" Harry said to the girl.
"She is not," she answered. "I believe that I was stolen as a child;
indeed, they have owned as much. But what can I do? I am one of them.
What can a gypsy do? We are good for nothing but to sing and to steal."
"If I get free from this scrape," Harry said, "you may be sure that
shall not be ungrateful, and if you long to leave this life, I can
secure you a quiet home in England with my father."
The girl clasped her hands in delight.
"Oh, that would be too good!" she exclaimed. "Too good; but I fear it
can never be."
She put her fingers to her lips, as the door again opened. The old woman
entered, carrying some clothes.
"Here," she said; "they have gone out; put these on, Zita and I will go
out and see if the coast is clear."
Harry, smiling to himself at the singularity of his having twice to
disguise himself as a gypsy, rapidly changed his clothes. Presently the
old woman returned.
"Quick," she exclaimed; "I hear that the news of the riot in the
drinking-house has got about this morning, and it is known that an
Englishman, something like the one seen in the lanes, took Zita's part,
and there are suspicions that it was she who acted as his guide. They
have been roughly questioning us. I told her to go on to avoid
suspicion, while I ran back. You cannot stir out now, and I heard a talk
of searching our rooms. Come, then, we may find a room unoccupied below;
you must take refuge there for the present."
Harry still retained his sword, incongruous as it was with his attire,
but he had determined to hide it under his clothes, so that, if
detected, he might be able at least to sell his life. Taking it in his
hand, he followed the old woman downstairs. She listened at each door,
and continued downward until she reached the first floor.
"I can hear no one here," she said, listening at a door. "Go up a few
steps; I will knock. If any one is there I can make some excuse."
She knocked, but there was no answer. Then she drew from her pocket a
piece of bent wire, and inserted it in the keyhole.
"We gypsies can enter where we will," she said, beckoning Harry to enter
as the door opened. "Wait quiet here till I come for you. The road will
be clear then." So saying, she closed the door behind him, and again
shot the bolt.
Harry felt extremely uncomfortable. Should the owner of the room return,
he would be taken for a thief, although, as he thought, looking round
the room, there was little enough to steal. It was a large room, with
several truckle beds standing against the walls. In the center was a
table, upon which were some mugs, horns, and empty bottles, with some
dirty cards scattered about. The place smelled strongly of tobacco, and
benches lying on the ground showed that the party of the night before
had ended in a broil, further evidence to which was given by stains of
blood on one of the beds, and by a rag saturated with blood, which lay
beside it. At one side of the room was a door, giving communication into
the next apartment. Scarcely had Harry entered when he heard voices
there, and was surprised to find that the speakers were English.
"I tell you I'm sick of this," one of the speakers said. "I might be as
well hanged at home as starved here."
"You might enlist," another voice said, in sneering tones. "Gallant
soldiers are welcome in the Low Countries."
"You'd best keep your sneering tongue between your lips," the other said
angrily. "If I don't care for fighting in the field, I can use a knife
at a pinch, as you know full well. You will carry your gibes too far
with me some day. No," he went on more calmly, after a pause, "I shall
go back to England next week, after Marmaduke Harris and his gang have
finished Oliver, The country will be turned so topsy-turvy that there
will be no nice inquiry into bygones, and at any rate I can keep out of
"Yes, it will be wise to do that," the other said, since that little
affair when the mercer and his wife in Cheap were found with their
throats cut, and you--"
"Fire and furies! John Marlow, do you want three inches of steel in your
"By no means!" the other answered. "You have become marvelously
straightlaced all at once. As you know, I have been concerned in as many
affairs as you have. Aha! I have had a merry time of it!"
"And may again," the other said. "Noll once dead, there will be good
times for us again. It is a pity that you and I were too well known to
have a hand in the job. Dost think there is any chance of a failure?"
"None," the other replied. "It is in good hands. Black Harry has bribed
a cook wench, who will open the back door. They say he was to return to
London this week, and if so Sunday is fixed for the affair. Five days
yet, and say another week for the news to get here. In a fortnight we
will be on our way to England. There, I am thirsty, and we left the
bottle in the next room. We had a late night of it with the boys there."
During this conversation, to which Harry listened breathlessly, he had
heard the tramp of feet going upstairs, and just as they finished
speaking these had descended again. A moment later the door between the
two rooms opened, and a man in the faded finery of a Royalist gentleman
"Fires and furies!" he exclaimed. "Whom have we here? Marlow, here is
an eavesdropper or a thief. We will slit his weasand. Aha!" he said,
gazing fixedly at Harry, "you are Colonel Furness. I know you. You had
me flogged the day before Worcester, for helping myself to an old
woman's purse. It is my turn now."
Joined by his fellow ruffian he fell upon Harry, but they were no match
for the Royalist colonel. After a few rapid thrusts and parries he ran
his first assailant through the body and cut down the man called Marlow,
with a sweeping blow which nearly cleft his head asunder.
Scarcely was the conflict ended when the door opened, and the old gypsy
entered. She started at seeing the bodies of the two ruffians.
"I have been attacked," Harry said briefly, "and have defended myself."
"It is no business of mine," the old woman remarked. "When I have guided
you out I will come back again. It's strange if there's not something
worth picking up. Now, pull your hat well over your eyes and follow me."
Closing and locking the door again, she led the way downstairs.
"Do not walk so straight and stiff," she said. "Slouch your shoulders,
and stoop your head. Now."
Harry sallied out into the lane, keeping by the side of his guide, with
his head bent forward, and his eyes on the ground, walking, as far as he
could, with a listless gait. The old woman continued to chatter to him
in Romaic. There were many people about in the lane, but none paid any
heed to them. Harry did not look up, but turned with his guide down
several lanes, until they at length emerged on the quays. Saying she
would call next day at his hotel for the reward he had promised her, she
left him, and Harry, with his head full of the plot against Cromwell's
life, crossed at once to the vessels by the quay.
"Is any ship sailing for the Thames to-day?" he asked.
"Yes," the sailor said. "The Mary Anne is just hoisting her anchor now,
out there in midstream. You will be but just in time, for the anchor's
under her foot."
Harry sprang into a boat and told the waterman to row to the ship. The
latter stared in astonishment at the authoritative manner in which this
gypsy addressed him, but Harry thrust his hand into his pocket, and
showed him some silver.
"Quick, man," he said, "for she is moving. You will have double fare to
put me on board."
The man pulled vigorously, and they were soon alongside the brig.
"Halloo! what now?" the captain said, looking over the side.
"I want a passage to England, and will pay you your own price."
"You haven't been killing any one, have you?" the captain asked. "I don't
want to have trouble when I come back here, for carrying off
"No, indeed," Harry said, as he lightly leaped on the deck. "I am Sir
Harry Furness, though I may not look it, and am bound to England on
urgent business. It is all right, my good fellow, and here is earnest
money for my passage," and he placed two pieces of gold in the captain's
"That will do," the captain said. "I will take you."
Harry went to the side.
"Here, my man, is your money, and a crown piece beside. Go to the Hotel
des Etoiles and ask for the English officer who is there lying sick.
Tell him Colonel Furness has been forced to leave for England at a
moment's notice, but will be back by the first ship."
The man nodded, and rowed back to shore as the Mary Anne, with her sails
hoisted, ran down the river.
Never did a voyage appear longer to an anxious passenger than did that
of the Mary Anne to England. The winds were light and baffling, and at
times the Mary Anne scarce moved through the water. Harry had no love
for Cromwell. Upon the contrary, he regarded him as the deadliest enemy
of the king, and moreover personally hated him for the cruel massacre of
Drogheda. In battle he would have gladly slain him, but he was
determined to save him from assassination. He felt the man to be a great
Englishman, and knew that it was greatly due to his counsels that so
little English blood had been shed upon the scaffold. Most of all, he
thought that his assassination would injure the royal cause. The time
was not yet ripe for a restoration. England had shown but lately that
there existed no enthusiasm for the royal cause. At Cromwell's death the
chief power would fall into the hands of fanatics more dangerous and
more violent than he. His murder would be used as a weapon for a
wholesale persecution of the Royalists throughout the land, and would
create such a prejudice against them that the inevitable reaction in
favor of royalty would be retarded for years. Full of these thoughts,
Harry fretted and fumed over the slow progress of the Mary Anne. Late on
Saturday night she entered the mouth of the Thames, and anchored until
the tide turned. Before daybreak she was on her way, and bore up on the
tide as far as Gravesend, when she had again to anchor. Harry obtained a
boat and was rowed to shore. In his present appearance, he did not like
to go to one of the principal inns for a horse, but entering a small one
on the outskirts of the place, asked the landlord if he could procure
him a horse.
"I am not what I seem," he said, in answer to his host's look of
surprise. "But I have urgent need to get to London this evening. I will
pay well for the horse, and will leave this ring with you as a
guarantee for his safe return."
"I have not a horse myself," the landlord said, with more respect than
he had at first shown; "but I might get one from my neighbor Harry
Fletcher, the butcher. Are you willing to pay a guinea for his use?
Fletcher will drive you himself."
Harry agreed to the sum, and a quarter of an hour later the man, with a
light horse and cart, came to the door.
"You are a strange-looking carle," he said, "to be riding on a Sunday in
haste; I scarce like being seen with thee."
"I have landed but an hour ago," Harry said, "and can buy no clothes
to-day; but if you or mine host here, who is nearer my size, have a
decent suit which you can sell me, I will pay you double the sum it
The landlord at once agreed to the terms, and five minutes later Harry,
clad in the sober garb of a decent tradesman, mounted the cart. The
horse was not a fast one, and the roads were bad. It was nigh six
o'clock before they reached London. Paying Fletcher the sum agreed upon,
Harry walked rapidly westward. Cromwell was abiding in a house in Pall
Mall. Upon Harry arriving there he was asked his business.
"The general is ill," the servant said, "and can see no one."
"I must see him," Harry urged. "It is a matter of the extremest
"See him you cannot," the man repeated, "and it were waste of words to
talk further on the matter. Dost think that, even were he well, the
general, with all the affairs of the Commonwealth on his shoulders, has
time to see every gossiping citizen who would have speech with him?"
Harry slipped a gold piece into the man's hand.
"It is useless," the man said. "The general is, as I truly told thee,
Harry stood in despair, "Could you gain me speech with the general's
"Ay," the man said. "I might do that. What name shall say?"
"She would not know my name. Merely say that one wishes to speak to her
on a matter nearly touching the safety of the general."
"Hadst thou said that at once," the man grumbled, "I might have admitted
you before. There are many rumors of plots on the part of the malignants
against the life of the general. I will take your message to Madam
Cromwell, and she can deal with it as she will."
The man was absent for a few minutes. Then he returned with an officer.
"Can you tell me," the latter asked, "what you have to reveal?"
"No," Harry replied, "I must speak with the general himself."
"Beware," the officer said sternly, "that you trifle not. The general is
sick, and has many things on his mind; 'twill be ill for you if you
disturb him without cause."
"The cause is sufficient," Harry said. "I would see him in person."
Without a word the officer turned and led the way to a room upstairs,
where Cromwell was sitting at a table, His wife was near him. A Bible
lay open before him. Cromwell looked steadily at Harry.
"I hear that you have a matter of importance to tell me, young man, and
one touching my safety. I know that there are many who thirst for my
blood. But I am in the hands of the Lord, who has so far watched over
His servant. If there be truth in what you have to tell you will be
"I seek for no reward," Harry said. "I have gained knowledge of a plot
against your life. Do you wish that I should speak in the presence of
"Assuredly," the general said.
"Briefly, then, I have arrived from Hamburg but now to give you warning
of a matter which came to my ears. I overheard, how it matters not, a
conversation between two rascals who gave themselves out as Royalists,
but who were indeed rather escaped criminals, to the effect that men had
gone over thence to England with the intention of killing you. The plot
was to come off to-night, Whether there be any change in the
arrangements or no I cannot say, but the matter was, as they said, fixed
for to-night. One of the women servants has been bribed to open the back
entrance and to admit them there, More than this I know not."
"You speak, sir, as one beyond your station," Cromwell said; "and
methinks I know both your face and figure, which are not easily
forgotten when once seen."
"It matters not who I am," Harry replied, "so that the news I bring be
true. I am no friend of yours, but a servant of King Charles. Though I
would withstand you to the death in the field, I would not that a life
like yours should be cut short by assassination; or that the royal cause
should be sullied by such a deed, the dishonor of which, though planned
and carried out by a small band of desperate partisans, would yet, in
the eyes of the world, fall upon all who followed King Charles."
"You are bold, sir," Cromwell said. "But I wonder not, for I know you
now. We have met, so far as I know, but once before. That was after
Drogheda, where you defended the church, and where I spared your life at
the intercession of my chaplain. I heard of you afterward as having, by
a desperate enterprise, escaped, and afterward captured a ship with
prisoners; and as having inflicted heavy loss and damage upon the
soldiers of Parliament. You fought at Dunbar and Worcester, and, if I
mistake not, incurred the enmity of the Earl of Argyll."
"I am Sir Harry Furness," Harry said calmly; "his majesty having been
pleased to bestow upon me the honor of knighthood. Nor are you mistaken
touching the other matters, since you yourself agreed at the lonely
house on the moor to hand me over to Colonel Campbell, as his price for
betraying the post I commanded. That matter, as you may remember, turned
out otherwise than had been expected. I am not ashamed of my name, nor
have I any fear of its being known to you. I have come over to do you
service, and fear not harm at your hands when on such business."
"Why then did you not tell me at once?" Cromwell asked.
"Simply because I seek no favor at your hands. I would not that you
should think that Harry Furness sought to reconcile himself with the
Commons, by giving notice of a plot against your life. I am intending to
start for Virginia and settle there, and would not stoop to sue for
amnesty, though I should never see Furness Hall or England again."
Harry spoke in a tone of haughty frankness, which carried conviction
"I doubt you not," Cromwell said. "You have been a bitter foe to the
Commons, Colonel Furness, but it is not of men like you that we need be
afraid. You meet us fairly in the field, and fight us loyally and
honorably. It is the tricksters, the double-dealers, and the traitors,
the men who profess to be on our side but who burrow in the dark against
us, who trouble our peace. In this matter I am greatly beholden to you.
Now that you have given us warning of the plot, it will be met if
attempted. But should these men's hearts fail them, or for any other
cause the attempt be laid aside, I shall be none the less indebted to
you. I trust, Colonel Furness, that you will not go to the plantations.
England needs honest men here. There is a great work yet to be done
before happiness and quiet are restored; and we need all wise and good
men in the counsels of the state. Be assured that you are free to return
and dwell with the Cavalier, your father, at your pleasure. He drew
aside from the strife when he saw that the cause he fought for was
hopeless, and none have interfered with him. Charles will, methinks,
fight no more in England. His cause is lost, and wise men will adapt
themselves to the circumstances. Let me know where you lodge to-night.
You will hear further from me to-morrow."
REST AT LAST.
Harry slept at an inn in Westminster, and the next morning on going down
to his breakfast, he found people much excited, a rumor having gone
about that an attack had been made upon Cromwell's house during the
night, and that several had been killed, but no harm done to the
general. An hour afterward a messenger brought word that General
Cromwell wished to see Colonel Furness. After his breakfast Harry had at
once gone out and purchased clothes suitable to a country gentleman; in
these he proceeded to the general, and was at once shown up to his room.
"Your news was trustworthy, Colonel Furness, and Oliver Cromwell owes
his life to you. Soon after midnight one of the serving wenches opened
the back door, and eight men entered. Had no watch been set, they would
doubtless have reached my room unobserved, by the staircase which leads
from that part of the house. As it was, I had a guard in waiting, and
when the men were fairly inside they fell upon them. The soldiers were
too quick with them, being hot at the plot which was intended against my
life, and all were killed, together with the wench who admitted them,
who was stabbed by one of the men at the first alarm, thinking doubtless
she had betrayed them. I hear that none of them have the air of
gentlemen, but are clearly broken men and vagabonds. The haste of my
soldiers has prevented me from getting any clew as to those who set them
on, but I am sure that no English gentleman, even although devoted to
the cause of Charles Stuart, would so plot against my life. And now,
sir, I thank you heartily for the great service you have rendered me. My
life is, I think, precious to England, where I hope to do some good work
before I die. I say only in return that henceforth you may come and go
as you list; and I hope yet that you will sit by me in Parliament, and
aid me to set things in England in order. Do not take this, sir, as in
any way a recompense for saving my life. The war is over; a few of those
who had troubled, and would always trouble the peace of England, have
been executed. Against the rest we bear no malice. They are free to
return to their homes and occupations as they list, and so long as they
obey the laws, and abstain from fresh troubles and plots, none will
molest them. But, sir, in order that no molestation or vexation may
occur to you, here is a free pass, signed by General Fairfax and two of
the commissioners, saying that you are at liberty to go or come and to
stay where you please, without hindrance or molestation from any."
Harry took the document, bowed, and withdrew.
"It is a thousand pities," he said to himself, "that his majesty the
king has not somewhat of this man's quality. This is a strong man, and a
true. He may have his faults--ay, he has them--he is ambitions, he is
far more fanatical for his religion than was Charles I. for his. He is
far more absolute, far more domineering than was King Charles. Were he
made king to-morrow, as I hear he is like enough to be, he would trample
upon the Parliament and despise its will infinitely more than any
English king would ever have dared to do. But for all that he is a great
man, honest, sincere, and, above all, to be trusted. Who can say that
for the Stuarts?"
Upon the day of his arrival Harry had written to Jacob telling him the
cause of his sudden departure, and promising to return by the first
ship, He hesitated now whether he should sail at once, or go down to see
his father, but he determined that it would be best, at any rate in the
first place, to return to Hamburg and look after his companion, and then
to come over to see his father, before carrying out his intention of
proceeding to Virginia. A ship would, he found, be sailing in three
days, and he wrote to his father telling him that he had been in London
for a day or two, but was forced by the illness of Jacob to return at
once; but that upon his friend's recovery he would come back to Abingdon
for a short time before leaving. He arrived at Hamburg without
adventure. On reaching the hotel he was informed that Jacob was
delirious, and that his life was despaired of. The rascally boatman
could not have given the message with which he had been charged, since
Jacob, upon the day after he was first missed, had risen from his bed,
and insisted on going in search of him. He had, after many inquiries,
learned that one answering to his description had taken part in a fray
in a drinking-house--interfering to protect a Bohemian singer from
insult. Beyond this nothing could be heard of him. He had not been seen
in the fray in the street, when several of the rioters had been captured
and carried off by the watch, and some supposed that he might have left
the place at the back, in which case it was feared that he might have
been fallen upon and assassinated by the ruffians in the low quarter
lying behind the drinking hall. Jacob had worked himself into a state of
high fever by his anxiety, and upon returning to the hotel had become so
violent that they were forced to restrain him. He had been bled and
blistered, but had remained for a fortnight in a state of violent fever
and delirium. This had now somewhat abated, but he was in such a weak
state that the doctors feared the worst.
The return of Harry did more for him than all the doctors of Hamburg. He
seemed at once to recognize his voice, and the pressure of his hand
soothed and calmed him. He presently fell into a deep sleep, in which he
lay for twelve hours, and on opening his eyes at once recognized his
friend. His recovery now was rapid, and in a week he was able to sit up.
One morning the servant told Harry that a gentleman wished to speak to
him, and a moment after his father entered. With a cry of delight father
and son flew into each other's arms. It was four years since they had
met, and both were altered much. The colonel had aged greatly, while
Harry had grown into a broad and powerful man.
"My dear father, this is an unexpected pleasure indeed," Harry said,
when the first burst of delight was over. "Did you not get my letter
from London, saying that I hoped shortly to be with you?"
"From London!" the colonel exclaimed, astonished. "No, indeed; I have
received no letter save that which your boy brought me. We started a
week later for Southampton, where we were detained nigh ten days for a
"And who is the _we_, father?" Harry asked anxiously.
"Ah," the old man said, "now you are in a hurry to know. Who should it
be but Master Rippinghall and a certain young lady?"
"Oh, father, has Lucy really come?"
"Assuredly she has," Colonel Purness said, "and is now waiting in a
private room below with her brother, for Sir Harry. I have not
congratulated you yet, my boy, on your new dignity."
"And you really consent to my marriage, sir?"
"I don't see that I could help it," the colonel said, "since you had
set your mind on it, especially as when I came to inquire I found the
young lady was willing to go to Virginia. But we must talk of that anon.
Yes, Harry, you have my full consent. The young lady is not quite of the
rank of life I should have chosen for you; but ranks and classes are all
topsy-turvy in England at present, and when we are ruled over by a
brewer, it would be nice indeed to refuse to take a wool-stapler's
sister for wife. But seriously, Harry, I am well contented. I knew
little of the young lady except by common report, which spoke of her as
the sweetest and kindest damsel in Abingdon. But now I have seen her, I
wonder not at your choice. During the fortnight we have been together I
have watched her closely, and I find in her a rare combination of
gentleness and firmness. You have won her heart, Harry, though how she
can have kept thee in mind all this time is more than I can tell. Her
brother tells me that he placed no pressure upon her either for or
against, though he desired much for your sake, and from the love he bore
you, that she should accept of your suit. Now you had better go down,
and learn from her own lips how it stands with her."
It need not to describe the meeting between Harry and his old friends.
Herbert was warm and cordial as of old. Lucy was but little changed
since Harry had seen her four years before, save that she was more fair
"Your letter gave me," Herbert said, "a mixed feeling of pleasure and
pain. I knew that my little sister has always looked upon you as a hero
of romance, and though I knew not that as a woman her heart still turned
to you, yet she refused so sharply and shrewishly all the suitors who
came to her, that I suspected that her thoughts of you were more than a
mere child's fancy. When your letter came I laid no pressure upon her,
just as in other cases I have held aloof, and indeed have gained some
ill-will at the hands of old friends because I would not, as her
brother, and the head of the family, lay stress upon her. I read your
letter to her, and she at first said she was ready to obey my wishes in
the matter, and to go with you to Virginia if I bade her. I said that in
such a matter it was her will and not mine which I wished to consult,
and thus pressed into a corner, she owned that she would gladly go with
"Harry," the girl said, "for my tongue is not as yet used to your new
title, under other circumstances I should have needed to be wooed and
won like other girls. But seeing how strangely you are placed, and that
you were about to start across the sea, to be absent perhaps for many