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Friends, though divided by G. A. Henty

Part 6 out of 6

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years, I felt that it would not be worthy either of me or you were I to
affect a maiden coyness and so to throw difficulties in your way. I feel
the honor of the offer you have made me. That you should for so many
years have been absent and seen the grand ladies of the court, and have
yet thought of your little playfellow, shows that your heart is as true
and good as I of old thought it to be, and I need feel no shame in
acknowledging that I have ever thought of you with affection."

For the next few days there was much argument over the project of going
to Virginia. Herbert, when he heard what had happened in London, joined
his entreaties to those of Sir Henry, asserting that he had only
consented to Lucy's going to so outlandish a place in the belief that
there was no help for it, and that he did not think it fair for Harry to
take her to such a life when he could stay comfortably at home. Sir
Henry did not say much, but Harry could see how ardently he longed for
him to remain. As for Lucy, she stood neutral, saying that assuredly
she did not wish to go to Virginia, but that, upon the other hand, she
should feel that her consent had been obtained under false pretenses,
and that she had been defrauded of the enjoyment of a proper and regular
courtship, did it prove that Harry might have come home and sought her
hand in regular form. Harry's reluctance to remain arose principally
from the fact that he had gained permission to do so by an act of
personal service which he had done the king's great enemy. Had he been
included in a general amnesty he would gladly have accepted it. However,
his resolution gave way under the arguments of Herbert, who urged upon
him that he had no right, on a mere point of punctilio, to leave his
father in his old age, and to take Lucy from her country and friends to
a life of hardship in the plantations of Virginia. At last he yielded.
Then a difficulty arose with Lucy, who would fain have returned to
Abingdon with her brother, and urged she should there have time given
her to be married in regular fashion. This Harry would by no means
consent to, and as both Sir Henry and Herbert saw no occasion for the
delay, they were married a fortnight later at the Protestant church at
Hamburg, Jacob, who was by this time perfectly restored to health,
acting as his best man.

One of the first steps which Harry took after his return to Hamburg was
to inquire about the gypsy maid who had done him such service. She was
still singing at the drinking-house. Harry went down there in the
daytime and gave one of the drawers a crown to tell her quietly that the
Englishman she knew would fain see her, and would wait for her at a spot
he named on the walk by the river bank, between ten and twelve the next
day. Here, accompanied by Lucy, who, having heard of the service which
the girl had rendered him, fully entered into his anxiety to befriend
her, he awaited her the next day. She came punctual to the appointment,
but in great fear that the old gypsy would discover her absence. Upon
Harry telling her that Lucy, who was about to become his wife, would
willingly take her to England and receive her as a companion until such
time as some opportunity for furthering her way in life might appear,
Zita accepted the proposal with tears of joy. She abhorred the life she
was forced to lead, and it was only after many beatings and much
ill-usage from the gypsies that she consented to it, and it made her
life the harder, inasmuch as she knew that she had not been born to such
a fate, but had been stolen as a child.

"What could have been their motive in carrying you away?" Lucy asked.

"I believe," the girl said, "from what they have told me, that I was
taken in revenge. My father had charged one of the gypsies with theft,
and the man having been hung, the others, to avenge themselves, carried
me off."

"But why did you not, when you grew old enough, tell your story to the
magistrates, and appeal to them for assistance?"

"Alas!" the girl said, "what proofs have I for my tale? Moreover, even
were I believed, and taken from the gypsies, what was there for me to
do, save to beg in the streets for charity?"

They now arranged with her the manner of her flight. She was afraid to
meet them again lest her footsteps should be traced, for she was sure
that the gypsies would carry her away to some other town if they had the
least suspicion that she had made friends with any capable of taking her
part, as the whole party lived in idleness upon the money she gained by
singing. It was arranged, therefore, that the night before they were to
depart Harry should appear in the singing hall, and should take his
place near the door. She should let him know that she perceived him by
passing her hand twice across her forehead. When the performance was
over she should, instead of leaving as usual by the back way, slip down
the steps, and mingle with those leaving the hall. Outside the door she
would find Harry, who would take her to the hotel, where dresses would
be provided for her. There she should stop the night, and go on board
ship with them in the morning.

These arrangements were all carried out, and four days after the wedding
of Harry and Lucy the party, with Zita, sailed for England. Had the
tenantry on the Furness estate known of the home-coming of their young
master and his bride, they would have given him a grand reception; but
Harry and his father both agreed that this had better not be, for that
it was as well to call no public attention to his return, even though he
had received Cromwell's permission.

After all his adventures, Sir Harry Furness dwelt quietly and happily
with his father. In the following years the English fleet fought many
hard battles with the Dutch, and the Parliament, in order to obtain
money, confiscated the property of most of those Cavaliers who had now
returned under the Act of Amnesty. Steps were taken against Sir Henry
Furness, but as he had taken no part in the troubles after the close of
the first civil war, Cromwell, on receiving an application from him,
peremptorily quashed the proceedings.

On April 20, 1653, Cromwell went down to the House with a body of
troops, and expelled the Parliament, who were in the act of passing a
bill for their own dissolution, and a new representation. He thus proved
himself as tyrannous and despotic as any sovereign could have been. A
new Parliament was summoned, but instead of its members being elected in
accordance with the customs of England, they were selected and
nominated by Cromwell himself. The history of England contains no
instance of such a defiance of the constitutional rights of the people.
But although he had grasped power arbitrarily and by force, Cromwell
used it well and wisely, and many wise laws and great social reforms
were passed by the Parliament under his orders. Still the fanatical
party were in the majority in this body, and as Cromwell saw that these
persons would push matters further than he wished, he made an
arrangement with the minority, who resigned their seats, thereby leaving
an insufficient number in the House to transact business. Cromwell
accepted their resignation, and the Parliament then ceased to exist.

Four days later, on the 16th of December, Cromwell assumed the state and
title of Lord Protector of the Commonwealth. For the next five years he
governed England wisely and well. The Parliament was assembled, but as
its proceedings were not in accordance with his wishes, he dissolved it,
and for the most part governed England by his own absolute will. That it
was a strong will and a wise cannot be questioned, but that a rising,
which originally began because the king would not yield to the absolute
will of Parliament, should have ended in a despotism, in which the chief
of the king's opponents should have ruled altogether without
Parliaments, is strange indeed. It is singular to find that those who
make most talk about the liberties of Englishmen should regard as their
hero and champion the man who trod all the constitutional rights of
Englishmen under foot. But if a despot, Cromwell was a wise and firm
one, and his rule was greatly for the good of the country. Above all, he
brought the name of England into the highest honor abroad, and made it
respected throughout Europe. Would that among all Englishmen of the
present day there existed the same feeling of patriotism, the same
desire for the honor and credit of their country, as dwelt in the breast
of Oliver Cromwell.

On August 30, 1658, Cromwell died, and his son Richard succeeded him.
The Parliament and the army soon fell out, and the army, coming down in
force, dissolved Parliament, and Richard Cromwell ceased at once to have
any power. The army called together forty-two of the old members of the
Long Parliament, of extreme republican views, but these had no sooner
met than they broke into divisions, and England was wholly without a
government. So matters went on for some time, until General Monk, with
the army of the north, came up to London. He had for weeks been in
communication with the king. For a time he was uncertain of the course
he should take, but after awhile he found that the feeling of London was
wholly averse to the Parliament, and so resolved to take the lead in a
restoration. A Parliament was summoned, and upon the day after its
assembling Monk presented to them a document from King Charles,
promising to observe the constitution, granting full liberty of
conscience, and an amnesty for past offenses. Parliament at once
declared in favor of the ancient laws of the kingdom, the government to
be by King, Lords and Commons; and on May 8, 1660, Charles II. was
proclaimed king, and on the 30th entered London in triumph.

Sir Harry Furness sat in the Parliament which recalled the king, and in
many subsequent ones. His father came to London to see the royal entry,
and both were most kindly received by the king, who expressed a warm
hope that he should often see them at court. This, however, was not to
be. The court of King Charles offered no attractions to pure-minded and
honorable men. Sir Henry came no more to London, but lived quietly and
happily to the end of a long life at Furness Hall, rejoicing much over
the happiness of his son, and in the society of his daughter-in-law and
her children. Herbert Rippinghall sat in Parliament for Abingdon. Except
when obliged by his duties as a member to be in London, Sir Harry
Furness lived quietly at Furness Hall, taking much interest in country
matters. Twenty-eight years later James II fled from England, and
William of Orange mounted the throne. At this time Sir Harry Furness was
sixty-one, and he lived many years to see the freedom and rights for
which Englishmen had so hotly struggled and fought now enjoyed by them
in all their fullness.

A few words as to the other personages of this story. Jacob, three years
after Harry's return to England, married the Spanish girl Zita, and
settled down in a pretty house called the Dower House, on the Furness
property, which, together with a large farm attached to it, Sir Henry
Furness settled upon him, as a token of his affection and gratitude to
him for the faithful services he had rendered to his son.

William Long was made bailiff of the estate, and Mike remained the
attached and faithful body-servant of Sir Harry, until he, ten years
later, married the daughter and heiress of a tradesman in Abingdon, and
became a leading citizen of that town.

Although Harry was not of a revengeful disposition, he rejoiced
exceedingly when he heard, two or three months after the king's
restoration, of the execution of that doubly-dyed traitor, the Earl of


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