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RV A S AND
W I NT E R O F 1 7 34

L O ND O N
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13

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PRE F A C E T O T HE A U T H O R S ED I TI O N

R E FA C E to a novel has appeared to me in nine

cases o ut o f ten to be a needless intrusion A true


book should explain itself and all further explana
tion is superuous F or this reason I have very
seldom ventured t o s ay anything in my o w n person
to those who have been good enough to open my
books
But now that aft er the lapse o f years I have been
asked to revise these volumes and t o throw them
into a shape which will be permanent if there are
any elements o f permanence in the work itself I
feel that I may be less reticent My o w n o ld li fe
wakes up as I read these pages and my memory
recalls what I had intended while my more mature
j udgment tells me w here and why I have failed
It is depressing work and yet I recognize with
gratitude that many have with their o w n i m
a i n a t i o n s supplied the li fe which I had hoped to
g
give and have imagined that they have found when
they had really brought I am well satised if I
can only claim to have collected the material w hich
their o w n fancy ca n set alight
The writer of a historical novel is in a perpetual
dilemma H e aims at accuracy and is dull or he
aims at liveliness and is supercial Between the
alternatives he must pick his hesitating path and
hope that those who come with him will s e e the
thing as he does
.

PRE F A C E

To me it always seems that the actual condition


o f a country at any time a true sight of it with its
beauties and its brutalities its life as it reall y was
its wayside hazards and its odd possibilities are o f
greater interest than the small aims and petty love
story o f any single human bei n g The lists the
woodlands and the outlaws are more to me than
Rebecca or Rowena
But to others the story o f one human heart may
be more than all the glamour of an age and to
these I feel that I have little to offer
The rst principle in endeavouring to interest
others is to write a b out that which interests o n e
self and so I have dra wn in this picture o f the
seventeenth century those scenes and characters
All
o f which I have loved to read and dream
pictures of the past must be mere approximations
to the truth b ut at least we should spare no pains
to get some dim vague resemblance to o ur obj ect
a nd this rst essential I have tried to full If I
could n ot n d the re I have at least coll ected an
honest pile of faggots
The period o f the Monmouth Insurrection pre
sents such attractions that it is no wonder that it
has been used more than once by the writer o f
romance It is in the rst place a compact inci
dent complete i n itself dramatic in its inception
most tragic in its conclusion and all spread over
the space of a few months It provides to an
extent rare in history that unity o f time and place
w hich gives intensity to a story And then the
period w a s a curious link between two di fferent
states of society The O ld England w as passing
but had not passed ; the ghti n g roundhead and
the ribald cavalier still survived Men w ho had
fought under Cromwell at Dunbar o r Wor c e ster
,

VI

PRE F A CE
w ere opposed at S e dg mu ir to red coated regiments
-

the li ne led by the man who was destined to be


D uke o f Marlborough It w a s a battle between
the past o f England and its future Qui s ewcus c
S a ccuse but I would remind my reader that the
story is told from the point o f View o f a simple
hearted u nlettered yeoman and that although an
author may gain Vividness and directness o f treat
ment by speaki ng through the tongue o f such a
character he must be contented to sacrice breadth
o f view and to keep some relation between the
story tell er a nd the style and li mits of his sto ry
A C O N A N D O YL E
of

U NDE R S H AW ,

H IND H E AD

1 90 1

TO

M Y M O TH E

C ON TE NT S
PAGE

CHAPT E R

I
II

O F CO R N E T JOS E P H C L AR KE
O F M Y GO I N G

TO

S C H OO L

THE I R O NS I D ES
A N D O F M Y CO M I N G
OF

T HE N C E

III

IV

VI

OF T w o F R I E ND S
OF

OF

OF

13
OF

MY Y OUTH

29

THE S TRA N GE F I S H THAT W E C AUGH T AT


S P I THEA D
T HE M A N W I TH THE D RO O PI N G L ID S
T HE L ETTER THAT C A M E F RO M THE L OW
LAN DS
THE H O R S E M A N W H O R OD E F RO M THE W EST
O UR S T ART F O R T HE W AR S
A P AS S AGE OF A R M S AT THE B L UE B O AR
O UR P ER I LO US A DVE NT URE O N T HE P L A I N
THE L ON E LY M A N A ND THE GO LD C HES T
C ERT A I N P AS S AGE S U PO N THE M OO R
SI R GERV AS JERO M E KN I GH T BA NN ERE T OF
THE CO U NT Y O F S URRE Y
L EGGE D P AR S O N A N D H I S F LO C K
THE S TI FF
O UR BRU S H W I T H T HE KI N G S D RAG OO N S
O UR C O M I N G T O T AUN TO N
THE GA THER I N G I N T HE M AR KET S Q UARE
M A STER S TE PH E N T I M E WE LL M A YO R O F
T AU NTO N
A BRA W L I N THE NIGH T
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VI I

OF

OF

OF

OF

OF

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VIII
I!

X
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X II
X III

X IV
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X VI
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22 1
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C O N T E N TS
P AGE

CHAPT E R

XXI

OF

OF

THE M US TER OF T HE M E N O F THE WE ST


M Y H A ND
GR I PS W I T H T HE BRA ND E N

265

URGER
THE NEW F RO M H A A NT
THE S N ARE O N THE W ES TO N R O A D
THE WE L CO M E T HAT M ET M E A T BAD

27 8

XX II
X X III
XX IV

OF

OF

OF

M I NTO N

XX V
XXVI
XX VII
X X VIII
XXI X

OF

OF

OF

OF

OF

S TRAN GE D O I N GS I N T HE B O TE LE R D UN
GEON
T HE S TR I F E I N THE C O U N C I L
T HE A FF A I R N EAR KE YN S HA M BR I D GE
THE F I GH T I N WE LL S C A THED RA L
THE GREAT C R Y F R O M THE L ON E LY
H O US E

XXX
XXX I
XXX II
X XX III
XXX IV
XXX V
XXX VI

OF

OF

OF

OF

OF

OF

OF

APPE ND I !

THE S WO R D S M AN W I TH THE BR O WN J A C KET


T HE M A ID O F THE M AR S H A ND THE
BUB B L E W H I C H R OS E F RO M THE B OG
T HE O NF A LL A T S ED GE MOO R
M Y P ER I LO US A DV E NT URE A T T HE MI LL
THE CO M I N G 0 F S O LO MO N S PRE NT
T HE D EV I L I N W I G A ND GO WN
THE E ND OF I T A L L

3 00
31 3

3 36

35 8
37 8
38 6
402

41 6

427

4 44

464
5 00
5 18
5 33

5 66

5 75

L I ST O F I LL U ST R A T I O N S

S IN G

RO T HER S S I N G !
HEAR T E D C HA P L A I N
,

C RIE D

OUR

TO U T
F ron t i sp i ece
F ACI N G
P AGE

IT

IS

KI N G

HIP

U RE E N O U GH

33 8

M I C A H C L A R KE
H I S S T A T E ME N T
I
OF

CO R N E T

JOS

EP H

C L A R KE

OF

TH E I RON S I D E S

I T may be my de ar grandch i ldren that at on e time


o r another I have told you nearly all t he in cident s
w hich have occurred during my adventurous life
T O your father and to your mother at least I kno w
Yet when I
t hat none O f them are unfamiliar
c onsider that time wears on and that a grey head
is apt to hold a faili ng memory I am prompted t o
use these long winter evenings in putting it all b e
fore you from the beginning that y o u may have
it as o n e clear story in your minds and pass it on
as such to those who come after you F o r n o w
that the house O f Brunswick is rm upon the
throne and that peace prevails in the land it will
become less easy for y o u every year to understand
how men felt when Engli shmen were in arms
against Englishmen and when he w ho S hould have
been the S hield and the protector O f his subj ects had
no thought but to force upon them what they most
abhorred and detested
My story is o n e which you may well treasure up
in your memories and tell again to others for it is
not likely that in this whole county O f Hampshire
or even perhaps in all England there is another left
alive who is so well able t o speak from his o w n
,

M I CAH CLARKE

kn owledge O f these events or w h o has played a


more forward part in them All that I know I
shall endeavour so b erly and in due order to put
before y o u I S hall try to make these dead men
quicken int o life for your behoof and to call back
o ut o f the mists O f the past those scenes which
were brisk enough in the acting though they read
S O dull y and SO heavily in the pages o f the worthy
men who have s e t themselves to record them
Perchance my w ords too might in the ears o f
strangers seem to be but an Old man s gossip To
o u however w ho know that these eyes which a re
y
looki ng at you looked also at the things which I
describe and that this hand has struck in for a
good cause it will I kn ow be different B e ar in
mind as you li sten that it was your quarrel as well
a s o ur o w n in which we fought and that if now
you grow up to be free men in a free land able to
think or to pray as your consciences shall direct
o u may thank Go d that
ou are reaping the har
y
y
vest which your fathers sowed in blood and su ffer
ing w hen the Stuarts were o n the throne
I was born then in the year 1 6 6 4 at H a vant
which is a ourishing v ill age a few mil es from
Portsmout h Off the main London road and there it
was that I S pent the greater part o f my youth It
is n O W as it was then a pleasant healthy spot with
a hundred or more brick cottages scattered along
in a S ingle irregular street each with its little gar
den i n front and maybe a fruit tree o r two at the
b ack I n the middle O f the vill age stood the Old
church with the square tower and the great s un
di al li ke a wrinkle upon its grey weather blotched
face On the outski rts the Presbyterians had their
chapel ; but when the Act o f Uniformity was
passed their good minister Master Breckinridge
,

C O R N E T JO S EP H CLARKE

whose discourses had Oft en crowded his ru de


benches while the cosy pews Of the church were
empty w a s cast into gaol and his ock dispersed
A S to the Independents Of whom my father w as
o n e they also were under the ban Of the law but
they attended conventicle at Emsworth whither
we would trudge rain o r shine on every Sabbath
morning These meetings were broken up more
than once but the congregation was composed Of
such harmless folk S O well beloved and respected
by their neighbours that the peace Ofcers came
aft er a time to ignore them and to let them w or
ship i n their o w n fashio n There were Papists too
amongst us who were compelled to go as far as
Portsmo uth fo r their Mass Thus y o u se e small
as was o ur vill age we were a fair picture Of the
w hole country for we had our sects and o u r fac
tions which were all the more bitter for b eing in
s o narrow a compass
My father Joseph Clarke was better kno wn over
the country side by the name of Ironside Joe for
he had served in his youth in the Yaxley troop O f
O liver Cromwe ll s famous regiment Of horse and
had preached S O lustily and fought SO stoutly that
Old Noll himself called him o ut Of the ranks aft er
the ght at Dunbar and raised him to a cornetcy
It chanced however that having some little time
later fall en into an argument with one O f his troop
ers concerning the mystery O f the Trini ty the man
who was a half crazy zealot smote my father across
the face a favour which he returned by a thrust
from his broadsword which sent his adversary to
try in person the truth o f his beliefs In most
armies it would have been thought that my father
w as within his rights in punishing promptly S O rank
a n a ct but the soldiers Of Cromwell had a high n o
,

M I CA H CLAR KE

tion Of their own importance and privileges and


they resented this quick j ustice upon their c o mpan
ion A court martial s a t upon my father and it is
li kely that he would have been O ffered up as a s a c
ri c e to the angry sol di ery had not the Lord Pro
tector i nterfered and limited the punishment to
dismissal from the army Cornet Clarke w a s a c
cord i ngly stripped O f his buff coat and steel c ap
and wandered do w n to H avant where he settled
into business a s a leather merchant and tanner
thereby depriving Parliament O f as trusty a soldier
as ever drew blade in its service Fin ding that he
prospered in trade he took as wife Mary Shep
stone a young Churchwoman and I Micah Clarke
was the rst pledge Of their uni on
My father as I remember him r st w a s tall and
straight with a great S pread o f shoulder and a
His face was craggy and stern with
m ighty chest
large harsh features shaggy overhanging brows
high bridged eshy nose and a full li pped mouth
which tightened and s e t when he w a s angry His
grey eyes were piercin g and soldier li ke yet I have
seen them li ghten up into a ki n dly and merry
twinkle His voice w a s the most tremendous and
a w e inspiring that I have ever listened to
I c an well
believe what I have heard that when he chanted
the Hundr edth Psalm as he rode down among the
blue bonnets at Dunbar the sound Of him rose
above the blare O f trumpets and the crash o f guns
like the deep roll Of a breaki ng wave Yet though
he possessed every quality which was needed to
raise him to distin ction as an O fcer he had thrown
O ff his mi litary habits when he returned to civil
live A S he prospered and grew rich he might well
have worn a sword but instead he would ever bear
a small copy O f the S criptures bound to hi s girdl e
,

C O R N E T JO S EP H CLARKE

where other men hung thei r weapons He was


sober and measured in his speech and it w a s s e l
dom even in the bosom Of his o w n family that he
would speak of the scenes which he had taken part
in o r O f the great men Fleetwood and Harrison
Blake and Ireton Desborough and Lambert some
Of whom had been simple troopers like himself
when the troubles broke o ut He was frugal in
his eating backward in drinking and allowed him
self no pleasures save three pipes a day Of O ronooko
tobacco which he kept ever in a bro w n j ar by the
great wooden C hair o n the left hand S ide Of the
mantelshelf
Yet for all his self restraint the Old leaven wo uld
at times begin to work in him and bri ng o n t s Of
what his enemies would call fanaticism and his
friends piety though it must be confessed that this
piety was prone to take a erce and ery shape
A s I look back one or two instances Of that stand
o ut s o hard and clear in my recollection that they
might be scenes which I had seen Of late in the
playhouse instead Of memories o f my ch i ldhood
more than t hreescore years ago when the second
Charles was o n the thr one
The rst Of these occurred when I w as 80 young
that I can remember neither what went before n or
what immediately aft er it It stuck in my infant
mind when other things S lipped through it W e
were all in the house one sultry summer evening
when there came a rattle Of kettledrums and a
clatter Of hoofs which brought my mother and my
father to the door she w ith me in her arms that I
might have the better View It was a regiment O f
horse on their way from Chichester to Portsmouth
with colours ying and band playing making the
b r a vest S how that ever my youthful eyes had rest ed
.

M I C A H C L AR K E

upon With what w onder and admiration did I


gaze at the S leek prancin g steeds the steel morions
the plumed hats Of the Ofcers the scarfs and b an
Never I thought had such a gallant c om
do li e rs
pany assembled and I clapped my hands and cried
My father smiled gravely and
o ut in my de li ght
took me from my mother s arms
Nay lad he
said thou art a soldier s s o n and should have more
j udgment than to commend such a rabble as this
Canst tho u not chil d as thou art s e e that their
arms are ill found their sti rrup irons rusted and
?
o
r
their ranks w ithout order
cohesion
N either
have they thro w n o ut a troop in advance as should
even in times Of peace be done and their rear is
straggli ng from here to Bedhampton Yea he
continued suddenly shaki ng his long arm at the
troopers and callin g o ut to them ye are c om ripe
for the S ickle and w aiting only for the reapers l
S everal O f them reined up at this sudden out a me

Hit the crop eared rascal over the pate Jack !


cried o n e to another wheeling his horse round ;
but there was that in my father s face which caused
him to fall back into the ranks again with his pur
pose unfullled The regiment j ingled o n down
the road and my mother laid her thin hands upon
my father s arm and lull ed with her pretty coaxing
ways the sleeping devil which had stirred within
him
O n another occ a sion which I can remember
a b out my seventh or eighth year his wrath burst
o ut with more dangerous e ffect
I was playing
about him as he worked in the tanning yard o n e
spring aft ernoon w hen in through the Open door
w a y strutted two stately gentlemen
with gold
facings to their coats and smart cockades at the
side O f their three cornered hats They were a s I
.

C O R N E T JO S EP H CLARKE

aft erwards understood Ofcers Of the eet who were


passing through Havant and seeing u s at work in
the yard designed t o ask us some question a s t o
their route The younger O f the pair accosted my
father and began his speech by a great clatter o f
words which were all High Dutch to me though
I now se e that they were a string o f such oaths as
are common in the mouth Of a sailor though w hy
the very men w ho are in most dan ger Of appearing
before the Almighty should g O o u t Of their way t o
insult Him hath ever been a mystery to me M y
father in a rough stern voice bade him speak with
more reverence o f sacred things o n w hich the pair
o f them gave tongue together
swearing tenfold
worse than before and calli n g my father a canting
rogue and a smug faced Presbytery Jack What
more they might have said I know n o t for my
father picked up the great roll er wherewith he
smoothed the leather and dashing at them he
brought it down on the S ide Of o n e Of their heads
with such a swashing blow that had it not been
fo r his stiff hat the man would never have uttered
oath again A s it was he dropped like a log upon
the stones o f the yard while his companion whipped
o ut his rapier and made a vicious thrust ; but my
father w ho was as active as he was stro n g sprang
aside and bringing his cudgel down upo n the o ut
stretched arm O f the Ofcer cracked it like the
stem Of a tobacco pipe This affair made no little
stir for it occurred at the time when those arch
liars O ates Bedloe and Carstairs were disturbing
the public mind by their rumours Of plots and a
rising Of some sort was expected throughout the
country Within a few days all Hampshire was
ringing with an account Of the malcontent tanner
Of Havant
who had broken t he head and the
,

M I C AH C LARKE

arm o f two Of his Maj esty s servants An inquiry


showed however that there w a s no treasonable
meaning in the matter and the O ffi cers having con
fessed that the r st words came from them the
Justices contented themselves with imposing a ne
upon my father and binding him over to keep the
peace fo r a period Of six months
I tell y o u these things that you may have an
idea O f the erce and earnest religion which l led not
only your o w n ancestor but most of those men w ho
were trained in the parliamentary armies I n many
ways they were more like those fanatic S aracens
who believe in conversion by the sword than the
followers Of a Christian creed Yet they have this
great merit that their own lives were for the most
part clean and commendable fo r they rigidly a d
hered themselves to those laws which they would
gladly have forced at the swor d s point upon others
It is true that among s o many there were some
whose piety was a S hell for their ambition and
others who practised in secret what they denounced
in publi c but no cause however good is free from
such hypocritical parasites That the greater part Of
the saints as they termed themselves were men O f
sober and God fearing lives may be S hown by the
fact that after the disbanding o f the army o f the
Commonwealth the Old soldiers ocked into trade
throughout the country and made their mark
wherever they went by their industry and worth
There is many a wealthy business house now in
England which can trace its rise to the thrift and
honesty o f some simple pikeman O f Ireton o r
Cromwell
But that I may help y o u to understand the C har
acter O f your great grandfather I shall give an in
c i de n t w hich S hows how fervent and real were t he
.

C O R N E T J O SEPH CLARKE

emotions which prompted the violent moods which


I have described I w a s about twelve at the time
my brothers Hosea and Ephraim were respectively
nine and seven while little Ruth could scarce have
been more than four It chanced that a few days
before a wandering preacher O f the Independents
had put up at o ur house and his religious ministra
tions had left my father moody and excitable O ne
night I had gone to bed as usual and was sound
asleep with my two brothers beside me when w e
were roused and ordered to come downstairs
Huddli ng on o ur clothes we followed him into
the kitchen where my mother was S itting pale and
sc ared with Ruth upon her knee
Gather round me my children he said in a
deep reverent voice that we may all appear before
the throne together The kingdom Of the Lord is
at handOh be ye ready to receive Him ! This
very night my loved ones ye shall see Him in His
splendour with the angels and the archangels in
their might and their glory At the third hour
S hall He comethat very third hour which is n o w
drawing upon us
Dear Jo e said my mother in soothing tones
thou art scaring thyself and the C hildren to n o
avail If the Son o f Man be indeed coming w hat
matters it whether we be abed o r afoot
Peace woman he answered sternly
has He
n ot said that He will come like a thief in the night
and that it is for us to await Him ? Join with me
then in prayerful outpourings that w e may be
found as those in bridal array Let us Offer up
thanks that He has graciously vouchsafed to warn
us through the words Of His servant O h great
Lord look down upon this small ock and lead it
Mix not the littl e wheat w ith
t o the sheep fold !
.

M I CA H C LARKE

the great world o f chaff O h merciful Father


look graciously upon my wife and forgive her the
s i n O f Erastianism s he being but a woman and little
tted to cast O ff the bonds Of antichrist wherein s he
was born And these too my little ones M icah
and Hosea Ephraim and Ruth all named aft er
Thy faithful servants Of Old Oh let them stand
upon Thy right hand this night
Thus he prayed
o n in a wild rush Of burning pleading words writh
ing prostrate upon the oor in the vehemence Of
his supplication while we poor trembling mites
huddled round our mother s skirts and gazed with
terror at the contorted gure seen by the dim light
Of the simple O il lamp O n a sudden the clang Of
the n e w church clock told that the hour had come
My father sprang from the oor and rushing to the
e a s e m e n t stared up with wild expectant eyes at
the starry heavens Whether he conj ured up some
vision in his excited brain o r whether the rush o f
feeling on nding that his expectations were in vain
was too much fo r him it is certain that he threw
his long arms upwards uttered a hoarse scream
and tumbled backwards with foaming lips and
twitching limbs upon the g round F o r an hour
o r more my poor mother and I did what we could
t o soothe him while the children whimpered in a
corner until at last he staggered slowly to his feet
and in brief broken words ordered us to o ur rooms
From that time I have never heard hi m talk Of the
matter nor did he ever give us any reason why he
should S O condently have expected the second
comin g upon that particular night I have learned
since however that the preacher w ho visited us
was what w a s called in those days a ft h monarchy
man and that this same sect was very liable t o these
premonitions I have no dou b t that something
.

10

C O R N E T JO S E PH C L ARK E
which he had said had put the thought into my

father s head and that the ery nature Of the man


had done the rest
S O much for your great grandfather Ironside
I have preferred to put these passages b e
Jo e
fore you for in the faith that actions speak louder
than words I nd that in describing a man s C har
acter it is better t o give examples O f his ways than
Had I said
t o speak in broad and general terms
that he was erce in his religi on and subj ect to
strange ts Of piety the w ords might have made
little impression upon you ; but when I tell y o u o f
his attack upon the O i c e rs in the tanning yard
and his summoning us down in the dead o f the
night to await the second coming you can j udge
for yourselves the lengths t o which hi s belief would
carry him F o r the rest he was an excellent man
Of business fair and even generous in his deali ngs
respected by all and loved by fe w for his nature
w as too hard to admit Of much affection To us
he was a stern and rigid father punishing us heavily
fo r whatever he regarded as amiss in o ur conduct
He had a store Of such proverbs as Give a child its
will and a whelp its ll and neither will thrive o r
Children are certain cares and uncertain comforts
wherewith he would temper my mother s more
kindly impulses He could not bear that w e should
play trick track upon the green o r dance with the
other children upon the S aturday night
A S to my mother dear soul it was her calm
peaceful inuence which kept my father within
bounds and so ft ened his austere rule S eldom i n
deed even i n his darkest moods did the touch Of
her gentle hand and the sound o f her voice fail to
s oothe his ery sp i rit
S he came Of a Church stock
and held to her religion with a quiet grip which was

11

M I CAH CLARK E
proof against every attempt to turn her from it
I imagi ne that at o n e time her husband had argued
much with her upon Arminianism and the s i n Of
simony but nding his exhortations useless he had
abandoned the subj ect save o n very rare occasions
I n spite O f her Episcopacy however she remain ed
a staunch Whig and never allowed her loyalty t o
the throne to cloud her j udgment as t o the doin gs
Of the monarch w ho s at upon it
Women were good housekeepers fty years ag o
but she was among the best To s e e her spotless
cu ffs and snowy kirtle one would scarce credit how
hard s he laboured It w a s only the well ordered
house and the dustless rooms which proclaimed her
constant industry S he made salves and eyewaters
powders and confects cordi als and persico orange
o w e r water and cherry brandy each in its due
season and all O f the best She was wise t o o in
herbs and simples The Villagers and the farm
labourers would rather any day have her advice
upon their ailments than that Of Dr Jackson Of
P u rbrO O k who never mixed a draught under a
silver crown O ver the whole country side there
w a s no woman
more deservedly respected and
more esteemed both by those above her and by
those beneath
S uch were my parents as I remember them in
my C hildhood As to myself I shall let my story
explain the growt h Of my o w n nature My brothers
and my sister were all brow n fa c e d sturdy li ttle
country children with no very marked traits save
a love O f mischief controll ed by the fear O f their
father
These with Martha the serving maid
formed o u r whole household duri n g those boyi sh
years when the pliant soul of the child is hardening
into the settled character Of the man H o w these
.

12

O F M Y G O I N G T O S CH O O L

inuences affected me I shall leave for a future s it


ting and if I weary you by recording them y o u
must remember that I am telling these things
rather for your prot than fo r your amusement ;
that it may assist you in your j ourney through life
to know how another has picked o ut the path
before you
,

II
OF

M Y GOI NG

T O S C H OO

M Y CO MI N G T H E N C E

AND OF

W I TH the home which I have described it may be


,

readily imagined that my young mind turned very


much upon the subj ect Of religion the more S O as
my father and mother took different Views upon it
The Old Puritan soldier held that the Bible alone
contained all things essential to salvation and that
though it might be advisable that those who were
gift ed with wisdom o r eloquence should expound
the S criptures to their brethren it was by no mean s
nec essary but rather hurtful and degrading that
an
f
body
ministers
O
o
r o f bishops should C laim
y
S pecial powers o r take the place Of agents between
F o r the wealthy
the creature and the Creator
Lords Of the Church rolling in their carriages to
their cathedrals in order to preach the doctrines Of
their Master w ho wore His sandals out in tramping
over the country side he had the most bitter c o n
tempt ; nor was he more lenient t o t hose poorer
members Of the clergy w ho winked at the Vices O f
their patrons that they might secure a seat at their
table and w ho would s it thro ugh a long eveni n g O f
rofanity
rather
than
bid
good
bye
to
the
cheese
p
,

13

M I CAH C L ARK E
Cakes and the wine ask That suc h men re pre
sented religious truth w a s abhorrent to his mind
nor would he even give his support to that form
Of church government dear t o the Presbyterians
where a general counc il Of the ministers directed
the affairs O f their church E very man w as in his
Opinion equal in the eyes O f the Almighty and none
had a ri ght to C laim any precedence over his neigh
bour in matters Of religion The book was written
for all and a ll were equall y able to read it provided
that their minds were enli ghtened by the Holy
S pirit
M y mother o n the other hand held that the
very essence o f a church w a s that it should have a
hierarchy and a government within itself w ith the
king at the apex the archbishops beneath him the
bishops under their control and so down through
the ministry to the common folk S uch was in
her Opinion the Church in the beginning and no
religion without these marks could lay any claim to
being the true one Ritual was t o her Of as great
importance as morali ty and if every tradesman and
farmer were allowed to invent prayers and change
the service as the fancy seized him it would be i m
possible to preserve the purity Of the Christian
creed S he agreed that reli gion was based upon the
Bible but the Bible w as a book which contained
much that was Obscure and unless that were C leared
away by a duly elected and ordained servant Of
God a lineal descendant Of the Disciples all human
wisdom might not serve t o read it aright That
w as my mother s position and neither argument
nor entreaty could move her from it The o nl y
question O f belief o n which my two parents were
equally ardent w a s their dislike and distrust o f the
Roman Catholic forms of worship and in this the
.

14

OF MY G O I N G T O S CH O O L

Churchwoman was every whit as strong as the


fanatical Independent
It may seem strange to y o u in these days Of tol
e ran c e that the followers O f this venerable creed
S hould have met with such ill will from successive
generations Of Englishmen We know now that
there are n O more useful or loyal citizens in the
state than o u r Catholic brethr en and Mr Alexander
Pope o r any other leading Papist is no more looked
down upon for his reli gion than was Mr Will iam
Penn for his Quakerism in the reign Of King
James We can scarce credit ho w noblemen like
Lord Stafford priests like Archbishop Plunkett
and commoners like Langhorne and Pickeri n g were
dragged to death o n the word Of the vilest Of the
vile without a voice being raised in their behalf ;
o r how it could be thought a patriotic act o n the
part Of an English Protestant to carry a ail load
ed with lead beneath his cloak as a menace against
his harmless neighbours who di ffered from him o n
points O f doctrine It was a long madness which
has now happily passed O ff or at least shows itself
i n a milder and rarer form
Foolish as it appears t o us there were some solid
reasons to account fo r it You have read doubtless
how a century before I was born the great ki ng
do m Of Spain waxed and prospered
Her ships
covered every s e a
Her troops were Victorious
wherever they appeared In letters in learn ing in
all the arts Of war and peace they were the foremost
nation in Europe Y o u have heard also Of the ill
blood which existed between this great nation and
ourselves how our adventurers harried their posses
sions across the Atlantic while they retorted by
burning such Of our seamen as they could catch by
their devilish Inquisition and by threatening o ur
.

'

15

M I CAH C LARKE
coasts both from Cadiz and from their provinces
in the Netherlands
At last s o ho t became the
quarrel that the other nations stood O ff as I have
seen the folk clear a space for the sword players at
Hockley i n the Hole s o that the Spanish giant and
tough li ttle E n gland were le ft face to face to ght
the matter o ut Throughout all that business it
was as the emissary Of the Pope and as the avenger
O f the dishonoured Roman Church that King Philip
professed to come It is true that Lord Howard
and many another gentleman Of the Old reli gion
fought stoutly against the Dons but the people
could never forget that the reformed faith had been
the ag under which they had conquered and that
the blessing Of the Pontiff had rested with their O p
Then
came
the
cruel
and
fool
sh
attempt
on e n t s
i
p
o f Mary to force upon them a creed for which they
had no sympathy and at the heels Of it another
great Roman Catholi c power menaced our liberty
from the Continent
The growing strength O f
France promoted a corresponding distrust Of Papis
try in England N o w that our military successes
have secured u s against all fear O f attack w e have
happily lost that bitter religious hatred but fo r
which O ates and Dangereld would have lied in
.

,
-

va n

I n the days when I w a s young special causes had


inamed this disli ke and made it all the more bitter
because there w a s a spice O f fear mingled with it
S O long as the Catholics were only an Obscure fac
tion they might be ignored but when towards the
C lose O f the reign Of the second Charles it appeared
to be absolutely certain that a Catholic dynasty w as
about to ll the throne and that Catholicism w as
to be the court reli gion and the stepping stone to
preferment it w a s felt that a day Of vengeance
,

16

OF M Y G O I N G T O S C H OO L

might be at hand for those w ho had trampled upon


it when it w a s defenceless There w a s alarm and
uneasiness amongst all classes
The Church o f
England which depends upon the monarch as an
arch depends upon the keystone ; the nobility
whose estates and co ffers had been enriched by the
plunder of the abbeys ; the m o b whose ideas o f
Papistry were mixed up with thumbscrews and
Fox s Martyrology were all equally disturbed No r
w a s the prospect a hopeful o n e for their cause
Charles w a s a very lukewarm Protestant and i n
deed showed upon his deathbed that he was no
Protestant a t all There was n o longer any chance
The Duke o f
O f his having legitimate O ffspring
York his younger brother w a s therefore heir to the
throne and he was known to be an austere and nar
row Papist while his spouse Mary Of Modena w a s
as bigoted as himself Should they have children
there could be no question but that they would be
brought up in the faith O f their parents and that
a line Of Catholic monarchs would occupy the
throne Of England T O the Church as represented
by my m other and to the Puritan s in the person
Of my father this was an equall y intolerable pros
ect
P
I have been telling you all this o ld history be
cause you will nd as I g o O n that this state Of
things caused in the end such a seething and fer
me n t i n g throughout the nation that even I a
simple village lad was dragged into the whirl and
had my whole life inuenced by it If I did not
make the course Of events C lear to you y o u would
hardly understand the inuences which had such an
effect upon my whole history I n the meantime I
wish you t o remember that when King James I I
ascended the throne he did s o amid a sull en silence
.

17

M I CA H C LAR KE
t he

part Of a large class Of his subj ects and that


both my father and my mother were among those
who were zealous for a Protestant succession
My childhood was as I have already said a
gloomy one No w and again when there chanced
to be a fair at P o rt s dow n Hill or when a passing
raree showman s e t up his booth in the Vi llage my
dear mother would slip a penny or t w o from her
housekeeping money into my hand and with a
warning nger upon her li p would send me Off to
These treats were however rare
s e e the sights
events and made such a mark upon my mind that
when I was sixteen years Of age I could have
checked O ff upon my ngers all that I had ever
seen There w as William H arker the st rong man
who li ft ed Farmer Alcott s roan m are ; and there
was Tubby Lawson the dwarf who could t him
self into a pic kle j arthese two I well remember
from the wonder wherewith they struck my youth
ful soul Then there w a s the S how Of the playing
dolls and that O f the enchanted island and Myn
heer Munster from the Lowlands who could turn
himself round upon a tight rope while playing
most sweetly upon a virginal Last but far the
best in my estimation w a s the grand play at the
The true and ancient
P o rt s do w n Fair entitled
story Of Maudlin the merchant s daughter Of Bris
tol and Of her lover Anto n io How they were cast
away upon the shores o f Barbary where the mer
maids are seen oating upon the sea and singing
in the rocks foretelling their danger
This little
piece gave me keener pleasure than ever in after
years I received from the grandest comedies Of
Mr Congreve and Of Mr Dryden though acted by
Kynaston B etterton and the whole strength Of
the King s o w n company At Chichester once I
on

18

O F MY G O I N G T O S CH O O L
member that I paid a penny

the le ft shoe
o f the youngest sister Of Potiphar s wife but a s it
looked much li ke any other O ld shoe and w a s j ust
about the size to have tted the show woman I
have O ft en feared that my penny fell into the hands
Of rogues
There were other shows however which I might
see fo r nothing and yet were more real and every
whit as interesting as any for which I paid No w
and again upon a holiday I was permitted to walk
do w n t o Portsmouth once I was even taken in
front Of my father upon his pad nag and there I
wandered with him through the streets with w o n
dering eyes marvelli ng over the strange sights
around me The wall s and the moats the gates
and the sentinels the long High Street with the
great government buildings and the const ant rat
tle Of drums and blare Of trumpets they made my
little heart beat quicker beneath my s ag at t y stu ff
j acket Here was the house in which some thirty
years b efore the proud Duke Of Buckingham had
been struck down by the assassin s dagger There
too was the Governor s dwell ing and I remember
that even as I looked he came riding up to it red
faced and choleric with a nose such as a Governor
should have and his breast a ll slashed with gold
I s he not a ne man ? I said looking up at my
father H e laughed and drew his hat down over
his brows
It is the rst time that I have seen
Sir Ralph Lingard s face said he but I s aw his
back at Preston ght A h lad proud as he looks
if he did but see O ld Noll coming in through the
door he would n ot think it beneath him to climb
The C lank of steel o r
o ut through the window !
the sight Of a bu ff coat would always serve to stir up
t he Old Roundhe a d bitterness in my father s bre as t
re

to

se e

19

M I CA H CLARKE
B ut there were other S ights in Portsmouth

be

sides the red coats and their Governor The yard


was the second in the kingdom aft er Chatham and
there was ever some n e w warship ready upon the
slips Then there was a squadron Of King s ships
and sometimes the whole eet at Spithead when
the streets would be full o f sailors with their faces
as brown as mahogany and pigtail s as sti ff and
T O watch their ro lling
hard as their cutlasses
gait and to hear their strange quaint talk and
their tales of the D utch wars w a s a rare treat to
me ; and I have sometimes when I was alone fas
tened myself on to a group O f them and passed the
day in wandering from tavern to tavern It
chanced one day however that o n e Of them in
sisted upon my sharing his glass Of Canary wine
and aft erwards out o f roguishness persuaded me to
take a second with the result that I was sent home
speechless in the carrier s cart and was never again
allo w ed to go into Portsmouth alone M y father
w a s less S hocked at the incident than I S hould have
expected and reminded my mother that Noah had
been overtaken in a simil ar manner He also nar
rated how a certain e ld chaplain Grant Of Des
borough s regiment having a ft er a hot and dusty
day drunk sundry ag o n s Of mum had thereaft er
sung certain ungodly songs and danced in a man
ner unbecoming to his sacred profession
Also
how he had a ft erwards explained that such back
S lidings were not to be regarded as faults of the i n
dividual but rather as actual Obsessions Of the evil
o n e who contrived in this manner to give scandal
to the faithful and selected the most godl y for his
evil purpose This ingenious defence Of the e ld
chaplain w a s the saving O f my back for my father
who w a s a believer in Solomon s axiom h a d a s t out
-

20

O F M Y G O I N G T O S CH O O L

ash stick and a strong arm for whatever seemed to


him to be a falling away from the true path
From the day that I rst learned my letters
from the horn book at my mother s knee I w a s
always hungry to increase my knowledge and
never a piece Of print came in my way that I did
not eagerly master My father pushed the secta
rian hatred Of learning t o such a length that he was
averse from having any worldly books within his
1
doors
I was dependent therefore for my supply
upon o n e or two o f my friends in the village who
lent me a volume at a time from their small libra
ries These I would carry inside my shirt and
would only dare to produce when I could slip
away into the elds and li e hid among the long
grass o r at night when the rushlight was still burn
ing and my father s snoring assured me that there
was no danger o f his detecting me I n this way I
worked up from Don B e llian i s Of Greece and the
S even Champions through T arle t o n s Jests
and other such books until I could take pleasure
in the poetry O f Waller and O f H errick o r in the
plays O f Massinger and S hakespeare How sweet
were the hours when I could lay aside all thought
O f freewill and Of predestination
to lie with my
heels in the air among the scented clover and lis
ten to Old Chaucer telling the sweet story Of Grisel
the patient o r t o weep fo r the chaste D esdemona
and mourn over the untimely end Of her gallant
spouse There were times as I rose up with my
mind full O f the noble poetry and glanced over
the fair slope O f the countryside with the gleaming
s e a beyond it and the purple outline O f the I sle Of
W ight upon the horizon when it would be borne
in upon me that the Being who created all this
N t e A A pp endi x
.

21

M I CAH CLAR KE

and who gave man the power Of pouring out these


beautiful thoughts w a s not the possession Of o n e
sect or another or of this nation o r that but was
the kindl y Father O f every o n e Of the little children
whom H e had let loose on this fair playground
It grieved me then and it grieves me now that a
man O f such sincerity and loft y purpose as your
great grandfather should have been s o tied down
by iron doctrines and should imagine his Creator
to be S O niggard Of His mercy as to withhold it
from nine and ni nety in the hundred Well a
man is as he is trained and if my father bore a
narrow mind upon his broad S houlders he has at
least the credit that he was ready to do and to s uf
fer all things for what he conceived to be the truth
If y o u my dears have more enlightened views
take heed that they bring y o u to lead a more e n
lightened life
When I was fourteen years Of age a yellow
haired bro w n face d lad I w as packed O ff to a
small private school at P e t e rse ld and there I re
mained for a year returning home for the last Sat
u rday in each month
I took with me only a
scanty outt O f schoolbooks w ith Li lly s Latin
Grammar and Rosse s V iew o f all the Religions
in the W orld from the Creation down to o ur o w n
Times which w a s shoved into my hands by my
good mother as a parting present
W ith this
small stock Of letters I might have fared badly
had it not happened that my master Mr Thomas
C hi lli n g fo o t had himself a good library and took
a pleasure in lending his books to any Of his schol
ars who showed a desire to improve themselves
Under this good O ld man s care I not only picked
up some smattering Of Latin and Greek but I
found means t o read good English translations O f
,

22

O F MY G OI NG TO S CHO OL

many Of the classics and to acquire a knowledge


I
o f the history O f my o w n and other countries
w as rapidly growing in mind as well as in body
w h en my school career was cut short by no less
an event than my swift and shameful expulsion
How this unlooked for ending to my studies came
a bout I must now set before you
Pe t e rs e ld had always been a great stronghold
Of the Church having hardly a Nonconformist
within its bounds The reason o f this was that
most Of the house property was o w ned by zealous
Churchmen who refused to allow any o n e w ho dif
fe re d from the Established Church to settle there
The V icar whose name was Pinfold possessed in
this manner great power in the tow n and as he
was a man with a high inamed countenance and
a pompous manner he inspired no little awe
among the quiet inhabitants I can s e e him now
with his beaked nose his rounded waistcoat and
his b andy legs which looked as if they had gi ven
W a y beneath the load O f learning which they were
compelled to carry Walking slowly with right
hand s t ify extended tapping the pavement at
every step with his metal headed stick he would
pause a s each person passed him and wait t o s e e
that he was given the salute which he thought due
to his dignity This courtesy he never dreamed o f
returnin g save in the case Of some Of his richer
parishioners ; but if by chance it were omitted he
would hurry aft er the culprit and shaking his
stick in his face insist upon his dofng his cap t o
him
We youngsters if we met him o n o ur walks
would scuttle by him like a b rood Of chickens pass
ing an O ld turkey cock and even o ur worthy mas
ter showed a disposition to turn down a side s t reet
when the portly gure of the V icar was seen roll
,

23

M I CA H CLAR K E
ing in our direction This proud priest made a
point O f knowing the history o f every o n e w ithin
his parish a nd having learnt that I was the s o n Of
an I ndependent he S poke severely t o Mr Chilling
foot upon the evil example which he had shown in
admitting me to his school I ndeed nothing but
my mother s good name fo r orthodoxy prevented
him from insisting upon my d ismissal
At the other end O f the village there was a large
day school A constant feud prevailed between the
scholars who attended it and the lads w ho studied
under o ur master NO o n e could tell how the war
broke o ut but for many years there had been a
standing quarrel between the two which resulted
in skirmishes sallies and ambuscades with no w
and then a pitched battle
NO great harm was
done in these encounters fo r the weapons were
usually snowballs in winter and pine cones or clods
O f earth in the summer
Even when the contest
got C loser and we came to s t i c uffs a fe w bruises
and a little blood was the worst that could come Of
it O ur opponents were more numerous than we
but we had the advantage o f being always together
and O f having a secure asylum upon which to re
treat while they living in scattered houses all over
the parish had n o common rallyi n g point
A
stream crossed by t w o bridges ran through the
centre Of the town and this was the boundary
which separated o ur territories from those Of our
enemies The boy who crossed the bridge found
himself in hostile country
It chanced that in the rst conict which o c
curred aft er my arrival at the school I distinguished
myself by singling o ut the biggest Of our foemen
and smiting him such a blow that he was knocked
helpless and was carried O ff by our party as a
.

24

O F M Y G O I N G T O S CH O O L

prisoner This feat Of arms established my good


name as a warrior s o I came at last to be regarded
as the leader O f o ur forces and to be looked up
to by bigger boys than myself This tickl ed my
fancy s o much that I s e t to work to prove that I
deserved it by devising fresh and more cunning
schemes for the defeat Of our enemies
O ne winter evening news reached us that o u r
rivals were about to make a raid upon us under
cover Of night and that they proposed coming by
the little used plank bridge s o a s to escape o ur
notice This bridge lay almost o ut O f the town
and consisted O f a single broad piece O f wood with
o ut a rail erected for the good Of the town C lerk
who lived j ust Opposite to it We planned to hide
ourselves amongst the bushes on o ur side Of the
stream and make an unexpected attack upon the
invaders as they crossed As we started however
I bethought me Of an ingenious stratagem which
I had read Of as being pra ctised in the German
wars and having expounded it to the great delight
Of my companions w e took Mr C hilli n g foot s s aw
and set O ff for the seat O f action
O n reaching the bridge all w as quiet and still
It was quite dark and very cold for Christmas was
approaching There were no signs Of o ur Oppo
neuts We exchanged a few whispers as to who
should do the daring deed but as the others shrank
from it and as I was too proud to propose what I
dare not do I gripped the s aw and sitting a st ra d
dle upon the plank s e t to work upon the very cen
tre Of it
My purpose was to weaken it in such a way that
though it would he ar the weight o f on e it would
crack when the main body Of o u r foemen were
upon it a nd s o drop them into the ice cold stream
.

25

M I C A H C LARKE

The w ater was but a couple Of feet deep at the


place s o that there was nothing for them but a
fright and a ducking S O C ool a reception ought
to deter them from ever invading us again and
conrm my fame as a daring leader
Reuben
L oc karby my lieutenant son of o ld John L o ckarby
Of the W heatsheaf marshalled our forces behind
the hedgerow whilst I sawed hard at the plank
until I had nearly cut it across When at last I
felt that I had done enough and that the least
strain would snap it I crawled quietly O ff and tak
ing up my position with my schoolfello w s awaited
the coming O f the enemy
I had scarce concealed myself w hen we heard
the steps O f some one approaching down the foot
path which led to the bridge We crouched be
hind the cover convinced that the sound must
come from some scout whom our foemen had sent
o n in fronta big boy evidently for his step w as
heavy and slo w with a C linki ng noise mingling
with it Of which we could make nothing N earer
came the sound and nearer until a shadowy gure
loomed o ut Of the darkness upon the other side
and aft er pausing and peering for a moment came
straight for the bridge It was only as he was s e t
ting foot upon the plank and beginning gingerly to
pick his way across it that we discerned the out
lines O f the famil iar form and knew the dreadful
truth that the stranger whom we had taken for the
advance guard O f o ur enemy w a s in truth none
other than V icar Pinfold and that it w a s the rhy
t hmi c pat O f his stick which we heard mingli ng
with his footfalls Held by the S ight we lay bereft
O f a ll power to warn him a li ne Of staring eyeb a lls
O ne step t w o steps three steps did the haughty
Churchman t ake w hen there w as a rending c rack
,

26

MY

OF

GOING

T O S CH O O L

and he vani shed with a mighty splash into the


swi ft o w i ng stream He must have fall en upon
his back for we could se e the curved outline O f his
portly gure standing o ut above the surface a s he
At last he
s truggled desperately to regain his feet
managed to get erect and came spluttering fo r the
bank with such a mixture O f godly cries and o f pro
fane oaths that even in o ur terror we could n o t
keep from laughter Rising from under his feet
li ke a covey Of wi ld fowl we scurried O ff across the
fields and s o back to the school where as y o u may
think we said nothing to o ur good master of what
had occurred
The matter was too serious however to be
The sudden chill set up some manner
hushed up
Of disturbance in the bottle o f sack whi ch the V icar
had j ust been drinking with the to w n clerk and an
a ttack Of gout s e t in which laid him on his back for
a fortnight
Meanwhile an examination Of the
bridge had shown that it had been sa w n across and
an inquiry traced the matter to Mr C hilli n g fo ot s
T O save a wholesale driving o f the
boarders
school from the town I was forced to acknowledge
m yself as both the planner and doer Of the deed
C hilli ngfo ot was entirely i n the power o f the V icar
s o he w a s forced to read me a long homily in pub
lic which he balanced by an affectionate leave

taking in private and to expel me solemnly from


the school I never s a w my Old master again for
he died not many years afterwards but I hear that
his second s o n Willi am is sti ll carrying o n the busi
ness which is larger and more prosperous than o f
Old His eldest s on turned Quaker and went o ut
to Penn s settlement where he is reported to have
b een S lain by the savages
This adventure S hocked my dear mother b ut it
-

27

M I CA H CLARKE

found great favour in the eyes o f my father w ho


laughed until the whole Village resounded with his
stentorian merriment It reminded him he said
o f a similar stratagem executed at Market Drayton
by that God fearing soldier Colonel Pride whereby
a captain and three troopers Of Lunsford s o w n
regiment o f horse had been drowned and many
others shot into a river to the great glory Of the
true Church and to the j oy o f the chosen people
E ven Of the Church folk many were secretly glad at
the misfortune which had overtaken the V icar for
his pride had made him hated throughout the district
By this time I had grown into a sturdy broad
shouldered lad and every month added to my
strength and my stature When I was sixteen I
could carry a bag O f wheat or a cask Of beer against
any man in the village a n d I could throw the f
teen pound putting stone to a distance o f thirty s i x
feet which was four feet farther than could Ted
D awson the blacksmith O nce when my father
w a s unable to carry a bale of skins o ut Of the yard
I whipped it up and bare it away upon my shoul
ders The O ld man would Oft en look gravely at me
from under his heavy thatched eyebrows and shake
his grizzled head as he s at in his arm chair pu fng
his pipe
You grow too big for the nest lad he
would s ay
I doubt some o f these days you ll
nd your wings and away I I n my heart I longed
that the time would come for I w a s weary Of the
quiet life Of the Village and w a s anxious to se e the
great world of which I had h e ard and read so much
I could not look southward without my spirit stir
ring within me as my eyes fell upon those dark
waves the white crests O f which are li ke a ut t e r
ing signal ever waving to an English youth and
beckoning him to some unknown but glorious goal
,

28

O F TW O FRIE N D S O F M Y YO U T H
III
O F T WO

F R IE N D S

OF

MY

YO

UT H

I FE A R my children that you will think that the


prologue is over long for the play but the fo un da
tions must be laid before the building is up and a
statement O f this sort is a sorry and a barren thing
unless you have a knowledge O f the folk concerned
Be patient then while I speak t o you Of the Old
friends O f my youth some Of whom you may hear
more Of hereaft er while others remained behind in
the country hamlet and yet left traces Of our early
intercourse upon my character which might still be
discerned there
Foremost for good amongst all Of whom I knew
w as Zachary Palmer the village carpenter a man
whose aged and labo ur warped body contained the
simplest and purest Of spirits Yet hi s simplicity
was by no means the result Of ignorance fo r
from the teachings O f Plato to those Of Hobbes
there were few systems ever thought out by man
which he had n ot studied and weighed Books
were far dearer in my boyhood than they are n ow
and carpenters were less well paid but Old Palmer
had neither wife n o r child and spent little o n food
o r dress
Thus it came about that o n the shelf
over his bed he had a more choice ro w O f books
few as they were in numberthan the squire o r
the parson and these books he had read until he
not only kne w them himself but could impart them
to others
This white bearded and venerable village philos
opher would s it by his cabin door upon a summer
evening and w as never s o pleased as when some Of
,

29

M I CA H CLARKE
the young fell ows would slip away from their b owls
and their quoit playing in order to li e in the grass
at his feet and ask him questions about the great
men Of Old their words and their deeds But O f
all the youths I and Reuben L o ckarby the inn
keeper s s on were his two favourites for we would
come the earliest and stop the latest to hear the
Old man talk N O father could have loved his chil
dren better than he did us and he would spare no
pains to get at our callow thoughts and to throw
light upon whatever perplexed o r troubled u s
Like all growing things we had run our heads
against the problem O f life We had peeped and
r e d with
o u r boyish eyes into those profound
py
depths in whi ch the keenest sighted Of the human
race had seen no bottom Yet when we looked
around us in our o w n V ill age world and saw the
bitterness and rancour which tainted every sect we
coul d not but think that a tree which bore such
fruit must have something amiss with it This was
o n e O f the thoughts unspoken to o ur parents which
w e carried to good O ld Zachary and o n it he had
much to s ay which cheered and comforted us
These j angli ngs and wranglings said he are
b ut o n the surface and spring from the innite
variety Of the human mind which will ever adapt a
creed to suit i t s own turn o f thought It is the
solid core that underlies every Christian creed which
is Of import Could y o u but live among the R O
mans o r the Greeks in the days before this new
doctrine was preached you would then know the
change that it has wrought in the world H OW
this or that text should be construed is a matter of
no moment however warm men may get over it
What is Of the very greatest moment is that every
man should have a good and solid reason fo r living
-

30

O F T W O FRIEND S O F MY Y O U T H

a S imple cleanly li fe This the Christian creed has


u
i
ven
s
g
I would not have y o u virtuous out Of fear he
said upon another occasion
The experience Of a
long life has taught me however that s i n is always
punished in this world whatever may come in the
next There is always some penalty in health in
comfort or in peace Of mind to be paid fo r every
wrong It is with nations as it is with men A book
S ee how the lu x uri
o f history is a book o f sermons
ous Babylonians were destroyed by the frugal Per
sians and ho w these same Persians when t he y le arn e d
the Vices Of prosperity were put to the sword by the
Greeks Read on and mark how the sensual Greeks
were trodden down by the more robust and hardier
Romans and nall y how the Romans havin g lost
their manly Virtues were subdued by the nations
Of the north V ice and destruction came ever hand
in hand Thus did Providence u s e each in turn as
a scourge w herewith to lash the follies Of the other
These things do not come by chance They are
part Of a great plan which is at work in your o w n
lives
The longer you li ve the more you wi ll s e e
that sin and sadness are never far apart and that
no true prosperity c an exist away from virtue
A very di fferent teacher was the sea dog Solomon
Sprent who lived in the second last cottage o n the
left hand side o f the main street o f the Village He
was on e O f the O ld tarpauli n breed w ho had fought
under the red cross ensign against Frenchman D o n
D utchman and Moor until a round shot carried O ff
his foot and put an end t o his battles for ever I n
person he was thin and hard and brown as lithe
and active as a c at with a short body and very long
arms each en ding in a great hand which was ever
half closed as though shutting upon a rope From
.

31

M I C AH CLAR K E
head to foot he was covered with the most marvel
lous t a t t o o i n g s done in blue red and green begin
ning with the Creation upon his neck and winding
up with the Ascension upo n hi s left ankle N ever
have I seen such a walking work of art He was
wont to s ay that had he been drowned and his
body cast up upon some savage land the natives
might have learned the whole O f the blessed gospel
from a contemplation O f his carcass Yet with
sorrow I must say that the seaman s religion ap
e are d to have all worked into his skin so that very
p
little w a s left for inner use It had broken o ut
upon the surface like the spotted fever but he was
clear Of it elsewhere H e could swear in eleven
languages and three and twenty dialects nor did he
ever let his great powers rust for want Of practice
He would swear when he was happy or when he
w as sad when he was angry or w hen he was lovi n g
but this swearing w a s so mere a trick Of speech
without malice or bitterness that even my father
could scarce deal harshly with the sinner A s time
passed however the O ld man grew more sober and
more thoughtful until in his latter days he w ent
back to the simple faith O f his childhood and learned
to ght the devil with the same steady courage with
which he had faced the enemies O f his country
O ld S olomon was a never failing source Of amuse
ment and Of interest to my friend L o ckarby and
myself O n gala days he would have us in to dine
with him when he would regale us with lobscouse
and salmagundi or perhaps with an outland dish
a pi llaw or Oll a podrida o r s h broiled aft er the
fashion Of the Azores for he had a famous trick Of
cooking and could produce the delicacies Of all
nations And all t h e time that we were with him
he would tell us the most marvellous stories O f
,

32

O F TW O FRIEND S O F MY Y O U T H

Rupert under whom he served ; how he would


shout from the poop to his squadron to wheel to
the right or to charge o r to halt as the case might
be as if he were still with his regiment O f horse
O f Blake too he had many stories to tell But
even the name O f Blake was not so dear to o u r O ld
sailor as was that Of Sir C hristopher Mings S O lO
mo n had at one time been his coxswain and could
talk by the hour Of those gallant deeds which had
distinguished him from the day that he entered the
navy as a cabin bo y until he fell upon hi s o w n
quarter deck a full admiral O f the red and w a s
borne by his weeping ship s company to his grave
in Chatham churchyard
If s o be as there s a
j asper s e a up alo ft said the Old seaman I ll wager
that Sir Christopher will see that the English ag has
proper respect paid to it upon it and that w e are
not fooled by foreigners I ve served under him in
this world and I ask nothing better than to be his
coxswain in the next
These remembrances would
always end in the brewing Of an extra bowl O f
punch and the drinking of a solemn bumper t o the
memory O f the hero
Stirring as were Solomon S pre n t s accounts of his
O ld commanders their e ffect upon us w a s not so
great as when about his second o r third glass the
oodgates Of his memory would be opened and he
would pour o ut long tales Of the lands which he
had visited and the peoples which he had seen
Leaning forward in o ur seats with o ur chins resting
upon o ur hands we two youngsters would sit for
hours with our eyes xed upon the O ld adventurer
drinking in his words while he pleased at the i n
t e re s t which he excited would pu ff slowly at his
pipe and reel o f story aft er story o f what he had
seen o r done In those days my dears there was
,

33

M I CA H CLARKE

no Defoe to tell us the wonders Of the world no


Sp ect a t or to lie upon our breakfast table no Gulli
v e r to satisfy o u r love Of adventure by telling u s
Of such adventures as never were Not once in a
month did a common newsletter fall into o ur hands
Personal hazards therefore were Of more value then
than they are n o w and the talk Of a man like Old
Solomon was a library in itself T O us it was all
real His husky tones and i ll chosen words were
as the voice Of an angel and o ur eager minds lled
in and supplied all that was wanting in his narra
t i ve s
I n o n e evening w e ha ve engaged a S allee
rover O ff the Pill ars O f H ercules ; we have coasted
do w n the shores Of the African continent and seen
the great breakers Of the Spanish Main foaming
upon the yellow sand ; we have passed the b lack
ivory merchants with their human cargoes ; we
have faced the terrible storms which blow ever
around the Cape de Boa Esperanza ; and nally
w e have sailed away o u t over the great ocean b e
yond amid the palm C lad coral islands with the
knowledge that the realm s Of Prester John lie
somewhere behind the go lden haze which shim
mers upon the horizon Aft er such a ight as that
we would feel as we came back to the Hampshire
village and the dull round Of country life like wild
b irds who had been snared by the fowler and clapped
into narrow cages Then it was that the words Of
my father You will nd your wings some day
and y away would come back to me and s e t up
such a restlessness as all the wise words O f Zachary
Palmer could not allay
,

34

OF T HE S TRAN GE F I S H
IV
OF T H E S T R A

NGE

F I S H T HAT WE C A U G H T A T
S PI TH E AD

O NE evening in the month o f May 1 6 85 about the


e n d O f the r st week O f the month my friend Reu
b e n L oc karby and I borrowed N ed Marley s pleas
boat and went a s hi n g o ut O f Langston Bay

A t that tim e I was close o n o n e and tw enty years


O f age while my companion was one year younger
A great intimacy had sprung up betw een us
founded on mutual esteem for he b eing a little
u ndergrown man was proud O f my strength and
s tature while my melancholy and somewhat heavy
s pirit too k a pleasure in the energy and j oviality
which never deserted him and in the wit which
gleamed as bright and as innocent as summer
lightning through a ll that he said I n person he
was short and broad round faced ruddy checked
and in truth a li t t le inclined to be fat though he
would never confess to more than a pleasing
plumpness which w as held he said to b e the acme
O f ma nl y b eauty amongst the ancients
The stern
test O f common danger and hardship entitle me to
say that n o man could have desired a stauncher o r
more trusty comrade As he was destined to be
with me in the sequel it was but tting that he
should have been at my side o n that May evening
which was the starting point o f o ur adventures
We pulled o ut beyond the Warner S ands to a
place halfway between them and the Nab where
we usuall y found bass in plenty There we cast
t he heavy stone which served us as an anchor over
b o ard and proceeded to s e t our lines The sun
-

35

M I CAH CLARKE
sinking slowly behind a fog bank had slashed the
whole western sky with scarlet streaks against
which the wooded slopes O f the I sle O f Wight
stood o ut vaporous and purple A fresh breeze
w a s blowing from the south east e cki n g the long
green waves with crests O f foam and ll ing o ur
eyes and lips with the smack O f the salt spray
O ver near St Helen s Point a King s ship was
making her way down the channel while a single
large brig was tacki ng about a quarter O f a mile o r
less from where we lay S O near were we that we
could catch a glimpse O f the gures upon her deck
as s he heeled over to the breeze and could hear the
creaking o f her yards and the apping O f her
weather stained canvas as she prepared to go
about
Look ye Micah said my companion loo king

up from his s hi ng line


That i s a most weak
minded ship a ship which will make no way in
the world S ee how she hangs in the wind neither
keeping on her course nor tacking S he is a trim
mer O f the seas the Lord Halifax of the ocean

W hy there is something amiss with her I


replied staring across with hand shaded eyes
She ya w s about as though there were no o n e at
the helm Her main yard goes aback ! N o w it is
forward again
The folk on her deck seem to me
to be either ghting o r dancing Up with the
anchor Reuben and let u s pu ll to her
Up with the anchor and let us get o ut O f her
way he answered still gazing at the stranger
Why will y o u ever run that meddlesome head O f
yours into danger s w ay ? S he ies Dutch colours
but who c an s ay whence s he really comes ? A
pretty thing if w e were snapped up by a buccaneer
and sold in the Plantations
-

36

OF T HE STRAN GE F I S H
A buccaneer in the Solent

cried I derisively
We shall be seeing the black ag in Emsworth
Creek next But hark
What i s that ?
The crack O f a musket sounded from aboard the
brig Then came a moment s silence and another
musket shot rang o ut foll owed by a chorus o f
shouts and cries At the same moment the yards
swung round into position the sails caught the
breeze once more and the vessel darted away on a
course which would take her past Bembridge Point
out to the English Channel As s he ew along
her helm was put hard down a pu ff O f smoke shot
o ut from her quart er and a cannon ba ll came hop
ping and splashing over the waves passing within
a hundred yards of where we lay With this fare
well greeting she came up into the wind again and
continued her c ourse to the southward
Heart 0 grace ! cried Reuben in loose lipped
astonishment
The murdering villains
I would to the Lord that King s ship would
snap them up ! cried I hotly fo r the attack was
s o unprovoked that it stirred my bile
What
?
could the rogues have meant
They are surely
drunk or mad
Pull at the anchor man pull at the anchor !
my companion shouted springing up from the seat
I understand it
Pull at the anchor
What then ? I asked helping him to haul the
great stone up hand over hand until it came drip
ping Over the side

They were n ot r ing at us lad They were


aiming at some one in the water between us and
them
Pull Micah ! Put your back into it !
Some poor fellow may be drowning
Why I declare
said I looking over my
shoulder a s I rowed there is his head upon the
.

37

M I CA H C LARKE
c rest

a w a ve Easy or w e shall be over him !


T w o more strokes and be ready to seize him
K eep up friend
There s help at hand !

Take help to those who need help said a


voice out O f the s e a
Zounds man keep a guard
I fear a pat from it very much more
o n your oar
than I do the water
These words were delivered in S O calm and self
possessed a tone that all concern for the swimmer
was s e t at rest Drawing in o ur oars we faced
round to have a look at him The drift O f the
boat had brought us s o close th at he could h ave
grasped the gunwale had he been so minded
Sapperment he cried in a peevish voice ; to
think O f my brother Nonus serving me such a
trick ! What would our blessed mother have said
could s he have seen it ? My whole kit gone to
And
s a y nothing o f my venture in the voyage !
now I have ki cked O ff a pair O f new j ack boots that
cost sixteen rix doll ars at Va n se ddar s at Amster
dam I can t swim in j ack boots nor can I walk
without them

Won t y o u come in out O f the wet s ir ? asked


Reuben who could scarce keep serious at the
stranger s appearance and address A pair O f long
arms shot o ut O f the water and in a moment with
a lithe snake li ke motion the man wound himself
into the boat and co i led his great leng t h upon the
stern sheets
V ery lanky he was and very thin
with a craggy hard face clean shaven and s un
burned with a thousand little wrinkles intersect
ing it in every direction He had lost his hat and
his short wiry hair slightly e cke d with grey
stood up in a bristle all over his head It was hard
t o guess at his age but he could scarce have been
under his ft ieth year though the ease w it h w hich
of

38

O F T H E STRAN GE F I S H

he h a d boarded o ur boat proved that his strength


and energy were those o f a youth O f all his char
ac t e ri s t i c s however nothing drew my attention s o
much as his eyes which were almost covered by
their drooping lids and yet looked o ut through
the thin slits which remained with marvellous
brightness and keenness A passing glance might
give the idea that he was languid and half asleep
but a closer o n e would reveal those glittering
shifting lines O f li ght and warn the prudent man
n o t to trust too much to his rst impressions

I could swim to Portsmouth he remarked


rummaging in the pockets O f his sodden j acket ;
I could swim well nigh anywhere I once swam
from Gran on the Danube to B uda while a hun
dred thousand j anissaries danced with rage o n the
nether bank I did by the keys O f St Peter !
W e s s e n burg s Pandours would tell y o u whether
Decimus Saxon could swim Take my advice
young men and always carry your tobacco in a
water tight metal bo x
As he spoke he drew a at box from his pocket
and several wooden tu b es which he screwed to
gether to form a long pipe This he stu ffed with
tobacco and having lit it by means O f a int and
steel with a piece O f touch paper from the inside O f
his bo x he curled his legs under him in East
ern fashion and settled down to enj oy a smoke
There was something S O peculiar about the w hole
incident and so preposterous about the man s ap
e a ran c e and actions
that
we
both
broke
into
a
p
roar of laughter which lasted until for very ex
hau st i o n we w ere compelled t o stop
He neither
j oined in o ur merriment nor expressed Offence at
it but continued to suck away at his long wooden
tube with a perfectly stolid and wooden face save
.

39

M I CAH CLAR K E
that the half covered eyes glinted rapidly bac k
wards and forwards from one to the other O f us

You will excuse o ur laughter s i r I said at

last ; my friend and I are unused to such a d


ventures and are merry a t the happy ending
O f it
May we ask whom it is that we have
?
picked up
Decimus Saxon is my name the stranger a n
I am the tenth child O f a worthy father
s w e re d ;
as the Latin implies There are but nine betwixt
me and an inheritance Who k no w s ? S mall po x
might do it o r the plague

We heard a shot aboard O f the brig said


Reuben
That was my brother Nonus shooting at me
the stranger Observed shaking his head sadly
But there w a s a second shot
Ah that was me shooting at my brother
N onus
Good lack
I cried
I trust th at thou h a st
done him no hurt
But a esh wound at the best he answered
I thought it wise to come away however lest the
affair grow into a quarrel I am sure that it was
he who trained the nine pounder o n me when I
was in the water It came near enough to part
my hair He was always a g oo d gunner with a
falconet or a mortar piece He could n ot have
been hurt however to get do wn from the poo p t o
the main deck in the time
There w as a pause after this w hile the stranger
drew a long knife from his belt and cleaned o ut his
pipe with it Reuben and I took up o ur o ars and
having pulled up o ur tangled s hi ng lines which
had been streaming behind the boat we proceede d
to pull in towards the land
-

40

OF T H E S TRAN GE F I S H

The question n o w is said the stranger


we are to g o to ?
We are going do w n Langston Bay
,

s w e re d

w here

an

O h w e are are w e

he cried in a mocking

?
voice ; you are sure O f i t eh
Y o u are certain
we are not going to France
We have a mast and
sail there I s e e and water I n the beaker All we
want are a few s h which I hear are plentiful in
these waters and we might make a push for Bar

e ur

We are going do w n Langston B ay I repeated


coldly

Y o u see might is right upon the waters he


explained with a smile which broke his whole face
up into crinkles
I am an Old soldier a tough
g ht i n g man and you are t w o ra w lads
I have a
knife and yo u are unarmed D ye s e e the line O f
it ? The question now is Where are w e to go ?
I faced round upon him with the o ar in my
Y o u boasted that you could swim to
hand
Portsmouth said I and s o y o u shall I nto the
water with y o u you sea viper o r I ll push you in
as sure as my name is Micah Clarke
Throw your knife down o r I ll drive the boat
hook through y o u cried Reuben pushing it for
ward to within a few inches O f the man s throat
Sink me but this is most commendable ! he
said sheathing his weapon and laughing so ft ly to
himself
I love to draw spirit o ut O f the young
fellows I am the steel d ye s e e which knocks
t he re o ut O f your int
A notable simile and
one
in every way worthy O f that most witty O f
mankind Samuel Butler
This he continued
tapping a protuberance which I had remarked over

h is c h est is not a natural deformity but is a copy


,

41

M I CAH C LAR KE
of

that inestimable Hudibras which combines the


li ght touch of Horace with the broader mirth Of
Catull us
Heh ! what think you Of the eriti

ci s

Give up that kn ife said I sternly


Certainly he replied handing it over to me
with a polite bo w
I s there any other reasonable
?
matter in which I can oblige ye
I will give up

anything to do ye pleasure save only my good


name and soldierly repute or this same C opy Of
Hudibras which together with a Latin treatise
upon the usages o f war written by a Fleming and
printed at Li ege in the Lowlands I do ever b ear in
my bosom
I sat down beside him with the knife in my

Y o u pull both oars


hand
I said to Reuben ;
I ll keep guard over the fell ow and se e that he
plays us no trick I believe that y o u are right and
that he is nothing better than a pirate H e shall
be given over to the j ustices when w e g e t to H a
vant
I thought that o ur passenger s coolness deserted
him for a moment and that a look Of annoyance
p a ssed over his face

Wait a bit ! he said ; your name I gather


is Clarke and your home is Havant Are you a
kinsman Of Joseph Clarke the O ld Roundhead Of
?
that town
He is my father I answered
Hark to that now ! he cried with a thro b Of
laughter ; I have a trick o f falli ng o n my feet
Look at this lad ! Look at this !
He drew a
packet o f letters from his inside pocket w rapped in
a bit o f tarred cloth and Opening it he picked one

o ut and placed it upon my knee


Read ! said
h e pointing at it with his lo n g thin nger
.

42

OF THE S TR A N GE FI S H
It

was inscribed in large plain characters


TO
Joseph Clarke leather merchant Of H avant by the
hand o f M aster Decimus Saxon part owner o f the
ship P r oviden ce from Amsterdam to Portsmouth
At each side it was sealed with a massive red seal
and was additionally secured with a broad band o f
silk
I have three and twenty Of them to deliver in

the neighbourhood he remarked


That shows
what folk think Of Decimus S axon Three and
twenty li ves and liberties are in my hands Ah
lad invoices and bills Of lading are n ot done up in
that fashion It is n o t a cargo Of Flemish skins
that is coming for the Old man The s kins have
good English hearts in them ; a y and English
swords in their sts to strike o ut for freedom and
for conscience I risk my li fe in carrying this let
ter to your father ; and y o u his s o n threatened to
hand me over to the j ustices ! F o r shame ! F o r
shame
I blush fo r you
I don t know what you are hinting at I

answered
Y o u must speak plainer if I am to
understand y o u
Can we trust him ? he asked j erking his head
in the direction O f Reuben
As myself
How very charming ! said he with something

between a smile and a sneer


D avid and Jona
thano r to be more classical and less scriptural
Damon and Pythiaseh ? These papers then are
from the faithful abroad the exiles in Ho ll and ye
understand w ho are thinking Of m aking a move
and O f coming over to s e e King James in his o w n
country with their swords strapped o n their thighs
The letters are to those from whom they expect
sympathy and notify when and where they will
,

43

M I C A H C L A RK E

make a l andi ng No w my dear lad y ou will per


c e i ve that instead Of my being in your power you
are so completely in mine that it needs but a word
from me to destroy your whole family Decimus
S axon is staunch though and that w ord shall
never be spoken
I f all this be true said I and if your mission
is indeed as y o u have said w hy did y o u even n o w
propose to make for France ?
Aptly asked and yet the answer is clear
enough he replied
sweet and ingenuous as are
your faces I could n ot read upon them that ye
would prove to be Whigs and friends o f the good
Ye might have taken me to where
O ld cause
excisemen or others would have wanted to pry and
peep and s o endangered my commission Better
a voyage to France in an open boat than that
I wi ll take y o u to my father said I aft er a

few moments thought


Y o u c an deliver your
letter and make good your story to him I f y o u
are indeed a true man you will meet with a warm
welcome ; but should you prove as I shrewdly sus
peet to be a rogue you need expect no mercy
Bless the youngster
H e speaks like the Lord
High Chan c ellor Of England ! What is it the Old
?
man says
H e c uld t pe
H i m u th b ut ut there fell a tr pe
,

no

But it should be a threat which is the w are


which y ou are fond O f dealing
,

in

H e c ould n ot le t
A m i n ute pa w i th u t a threat
ss

How s that eh ? Waller himself could


capped the couplet neater

44

n ot

h a ve

T HE

MAN W I T H DR O O PIN G LID S

All this time Reuben had been swin ging away at


his oars and we had made o ur way into Langston
B ay down the sheltered waters o f w hich w e were
rapidly shootin g Sitting in the sheets I turned
over in my mind all that this waif had said I had
glanced over his shoulder at the addresses Of some

Of the letters Steadman O f Basingstoke Wintle


Of Alresford Fortescue o f Bognor all well known
leaders of the Dissenters I f they were what he
represented them to be it w a s no exaggeration to
that
he
held
the
fortunes
and
fates
Of
these
sa
y
men entirely in his hands Government would be
o nl y too glad to have a valid reason fo r striking
hard at the men whom they feared O n the whole
it was well to tread carefully in the matter s o I
restored o ur prisoner s knife to him and treated
him with increased consideration It was well
nigh dark when we b eached the boat and entirely
so before we reached Havant which w as fortunate
as the bootless and hatless state o f our dripping
companion could not have failed to s e t tongues
wagging and perhaps to excite the inquiries Of the
authorities As it was we scarce met a soul before
rea c hing my father s door
,

V
OF

TH E M A N W I T H THE D R OO PI N G

LI DS

M Y mother and my father were sitting in their

high backed chairs o n either side Of the empty re


place when we arrived he smoking his evening pipe
O f O ronooko and s he working at her embroidery
The moment that I Opened the door the man
-

45

M I CAH CLARKE
whom I had brought stepped briskly in and bow
,

ing to the O ld people began to make glib excuses


for the lateness o f his visit and to explain the
manner in which w e had picked him up I could
not help smiling at the utter amazement expressed
upon my mother s face as s he gazed at him for the
loss O f his j ack boots exposed a pair o f interminable
spindle shanks which were in ludicrous contrast to
the baggy low country knee breeches which sur
mounted them H i s tunic w a s made Of coarse
sad coloured kersey stu ff with at n e w gilded brass
buttons beneath which was a whitish c all am a n ca
vest edged with silver Round the neck of his
coat w a s a broad white co llar a ft er the Dutch fash
ion out Of w hich his long scraggy throat S hot
up w ards with his round head and bristle o f hair
balanced upon the top Of it like the turnip o n a
stick at which w e used to throw at the fairs In
this guise he stood blinking and winking in the
glare o f light and pattering o ut his excuses with
as many bows and scrapes as Sir Peter W i t li n g in
the play I w a s in the act Of following him into
the room when Reuben plucked at my sleeve to
detain me
N ay I won t come in with you Micah said he

there s mischief likely t o come o f all this My


father may grumble over his beer j ugs but he s a
Churchman and a Tantivy fo r all that I d best
keep out O f it
There is no need
Yo u are right I answered
Be mum as to
for you to meddle in the business
all that you have heard

Mum as a mouse said he and pressing my


hand turned away into the darkness W hen I re
turned to the sitting room I found that my mother
had hurried into the kitchen where the crac kling
,

46

MA N W I T H DR O O PIN G LID S

T HE

sticks showed that s he was busy in building a


re Decimus Saxon w a s seated at the edge o f
the iron bound o ak chest at the side Of my father
and was watching him keenly with his little twink
ling eyes while the Old man was xing his horn
glasses and breaking the seals of the packet which
his strange visitor had j ust handed to him
I s a w that when my father looked at the signa
ture at the end o f the long closely written letter
he gave a whiff O f surprise and s at still for a mo
ment o r s o staring at it Then he turned to the
commencement and read it very carefully through
a ft er which he turned it over and read it again
Clearly it brought no unwelcome news for his
eyes sparkled with j o y when he looked up from
his reading and more than once he laughed aloud
Finally he asked the man S axon how it had come
into his possession and whether he was aware Of
the contents

Why as to that said the messenger


it was
handed to me by no less a person than Dicky Rum
bold himself and in the presence O f others whom
it s not for me to name As to the contents your
own sense will tell you that I would scarce risk my
neck by bearing a message without I kn ew what
the message was I am no chicken at the trade
sir Cartels p r on un ci a mi en t os challenges ags of
truce and proposals for waffenstillstands as the

Deutschers call i t they ve all gone through my


hands and never one gone awry
Indeed q uoth my father
Y o u are yourself
o n e Of the faithful ?
I trust that I am o n e o f those w ho are o n
the narrow and thorny track said he speaking
through his nose as was the habit Of the extreme
sectaries
of

47

M I C AH C L AR K E
A track upon which no prelate can guide us

said my father
W here man is nought and the Lord is all re
j oined S axon
Good good
cried my father
Micah y o u
shall take this worthy man to my room and see
that he hath dry linen and my second best suit Of
Utrecht velvet It may serve until his o w n are
dried My boots too may perchance be useful
m y riding ones o f untanned leather
A hat with
silver braiding hangs above them in the cupboard
S ee that he lacks fo r nothing which the house c an
furnish Supper will be ready when he hath changed
his attire I be g that y o u will go at once good
Master S axon lest you take a chi ll
There is b ut o n e thing that we have omitted
said o ur visitor solemnly rising up from his chair and

clasping his long nervous hands together


Let u s
delay no longer t o send up a word Of praise to the
Almighty for His manifold blessings and for the
mercy wherewith H e plucked me and my letters
o ut Of the deep even as Jonah w a s saved from the
Violence Of the wicked ones who hurled him over
board and it may be red falconets at him though
we are not so informed in Holy Writ Let us
pray my friends
Then in a high toned chanting
voice he O ffered up a long prayer o f thanksgiving
winding up with a petition for grace and enlight
e n m e n t for the house and all its inmates
Having
concluded by a sonorous amen he at last su ffered
himself to be led u pstairs while my mother who
had S lipped in and li stened with much e dicat io n
to his words hurried away to prepare him a bump
er of green usquebaugh with ten drops Of D affy s
Elixir therein which was her sovereign recipe
against the effects o f a soaking
There was no
.

48

T HE

MA N W ITH DR O O P I N G

LID S

vent in life from a christening to a marriage b ut


had some appropriate food or drink in my mother s
vocab ulary and no ailment fo r which s he had not
so me pleasant cure in her well stocked cupboards
Master Decimus Saxon in my father s black
Utrecht velvet and untanned riding boots looked
a very different man to the bedraggled castaway
w ho had crawled like a conger eel into o u r s hi n g
boat It seemed as if he had cast o ff hi s manner
with his raiment for he behaved to my mother dur
ing supper with an air Of demure gallantry which
s at upon him better than the pert and i pa n t c a r
p
ri a e w hich he had shown towards us in the boat
g
Truth t o s ay if he were now more reserved there
was a very good reason fo r it for he played such
havoc amongst the eatables that there was little
time for talk At last aft er passing from the
round O f cold b eef t o a capon pasty and topping
up with a t w o pound perch w as hed down by a
gre at j ug o f ale he smiled upon us all and told us
that his e s hly necessities were satised for the

It is my rule he remarked
to Obey
n on c e
the wise precept which advises a man to rise from
table feeling that he could y e t eat as much as he
has partaken O f
I gather from your w ords s ir that you have

yo urself seen hard service my father re m arked


when the board had been cleared and my mother
had retired for the night

I am an Old ght i ng man our visitor answered


screwing his pipe together a lean Old dog Of the
hold fast breed This body Of mine bears the mark
Of many a cut and S lash received for the most part
in the service Of the Protestant faith though some
few were caught fo r the sake Of Christendom in
eneral
w
hen
warring
against
the
Turk
There
is
g
e

49

M I CAH CLARKE

blood Of mine s i r spotted all over the m ap o f Eu


rope Some Of it I confess w a s spilled in no pub
lic cause but for the protection o f mine o w n honour
in the private duello or holmgang as it w as called
among the nations Of the north It is necessary
that a cavaliero Of fortune being for the most part
a stranger in a strange land should be somewhat
nice in matters O f the sort s i nce he stands as it
were for his country whose good name should be
more dear to him than his o w n
Your weapon o n such occasions was I suppose
the sword ? my father asked shi ft ing uneasily in
his seat as he would do when his Old instincts were
waking up
Broadsword rapier Toledo spontoon battle
axe pike o r half pike m o rg e n st i e rn and halbert
I speak with all due modesty but with backsword
sword and dagger sword and buckler single fal
chion case Of falchions or any other such exercise
I w i ll hold mine o w n against any man that ever
wore neat s leather save only my elder brother
Quartus
By my faith said my father with his eyes
shining were I twenty years younger I should
have at you My backsword play hath been thought
well O f by stout men Of war God forgive me that
my heart should still turn to such vanities
I have heard godly men speak well Of it re

marked Saxon
M aster Richard Rumbold him
self spake O f your deeds o f arms to the Duke o f
Argyle Was there not a S cotsman one Storr or
Stour
A y a y ! Storr O f Drumlithie
I cut him nigh
to the saddle bo w in a skirmish o n the eve Of Dun
bar So Dicky Rumbold had not forgotten it eh ?
He was a hard one both at praying and at ghting
,

5O

T HE MAN WIT H DR O O PIN G LID S


We have ridden knee to knee in the eld and we
have sought truth together in the chamber S O
Dick will be in harness once again
He could not
be still if a blow were to be struck for the trampled
faith If the tide of war s e t in this direction I
too who kno w s ? who knows
And here is a stout man at arms said Saxon
passing his hand down my arm
He hath thew
and sinew and can use proud words t o o upon O C
casion as I have good cause to know even in o ur
short acquaintance Might it not be that he too
?
should strike in in this quarrel
We shall discuss it my father answered look
ing thoughtfully at me from under his heavy brows
But I pray you friend Saxon to give us some
further account upon these matters My son Micah
a s I understand hath picked yo u o ut Of the w a ves
?
o
w
came
you
there
H
Decimus S axon puffed at his pipe for a minute
o r more in s i lence as one w ho is marshalli ng fa c ts
each in its due order
It came about in this wise he said at last
When John Of Poland chased the Turk from the
gates Of V ienna peace broke o ut in the Principal
ities and many a wandering cavaliero like myself
found his occupation gone There w as no war
waging save only some petty Itali an skirmish in
which a soldier could scarce expect to reap either
dollars or repute S O I wandered across the Conti
nent much cast do wn at the strange peace which
prevailed in every quarter At last however o n
reaching the Lowlands I chanced to hear that the
P r oviden ce owned and commanded by my t w o
brothers Nonus and Quartus was about t o start
from Amsterdam for an adventure to the Guinea
c oast I proposed to them that I should j oin them
,

51

M I C A H CLAR K E
and was accordingly taken into partnership on con
dition that I paid o n e third o f the cost O f the cargo
Whil e waiting at the port I ch anced t o come
across some O f the exiles who having heard Of my
devotion to the Protestant cause brought me to
the D uke and to Master Rumbold who committed
these letters to my charge This makes it clear
how they came into my possession
But not how you and they came in to the
water my father suggested
Why that was b ut the veriest chance the
adventurer answered with some little confusion Of
manner
It was the f or t un a belli or more prop
erly p a ci s I had asked my brothers to put into
Portsmouth that I might get rid o f these letters o n
which they replied in a boorish and unmannerly
fashion that they were still waiting fo r the thousand
guineas which represented my share o f the venture
T O this I answered with brotherly familiarity that
it was a small thing and should be paid for o ut o f
the prots Of o ur enterprise Their reply was that
I had promised to pay the money down and that
money down they must have I then proceeded to
prove both by the Aristotelian and by the Platonic
o r deductive method that having no guineas in my
possession it w a s impossible for me to produce a
thousand o f them at the same time pointing o ut
that the association o f an honest man in the busi
ness was in itself an ample return for the money
since their o w n reputations had been somewhat
blown o n I further O ffered in the same frank and
friendly spirit to meet either Of them with sword o r
with pistol a prO pos al which should have satised
any honour loving cavaliero Their base mercantile
souls prompted them however to catch up t w o
muskets o n e o f which Nonus disch arged at me a nd
-

52

TH E MAN W I T H DR O O PIN G LID S


it is likely that Quartus would have followed him
had I not plucked the gun from his hand and u m
loaded it to prevent further mischief I n unloading
it I fear that o n e O f the slugs blew a hole in brother
Nonus S eeing that there was a chance Of further
disagreements aboard the vessel I at once decided
t o leave her in doing w hich I was forced to kick O ff
my beautiful j ack boots which were said by V an
s e ddars himself to be the nest pair that ever went
square toed double soledalas !
o ut O f his shop
alas !
Strange that y o u should have been picked up
by the s on o f the very man t o whom you had a
letter
The w orking O f Providence S axon ans w ered
with a sudden return Of his reli gious manner
I
have two and twenty other letters which must all
be delivered by hand I f y o u will permit me to
use your house for a while I shall make it my
headquarters

Use it as though it were your own said my


father
Your most grateful servant s ir he cried
j umping up and bowing with his hand over his
heart
This is indeed a haven O f rest aft er the
ungodly a nd profane company Of my brothers
S hall we then put up a hymn and retire from the
business o f the day ?
My father willingly agreed and we sang O h
happy land ! aft er which o ur visitor followed me
to his room bearing w ith him the unnished bottle
Of usque b augh which my mother had left o n the
table
H e took it with him he explained as a
precaution against Persian ague contracted while
battli ng against the O ttoman and li able to recur
at strange moments I left him in o ur best spare
.

53

MI CAH CLAR KE
bedroom and return ed t o my father who w as st ill
se at ed h e avy w ith thought in hi s Old corn er
?
Wha t t hi nk you o f my fi n d Dad
I as ke d

A m an o f parts and Of piety he answered ;


but in truth h e ha s brought me new s s o much
aft er my heart th at he could n o t be unwelcome
were he t h e Pope of Rome
W hat new s then

Thi s this ! he cried j oyously plucki ng the


letter out of hi s bosom
I w ill re ad it to you lad
N ay perhaps I had bes t sleep the n ight upon it
and r e ad it t o morrow when our he a ds are C learer
M ay the Lord guide my path and confound the
tyrant Pray for light boy for my li fe and yo urs
may be eq ually at stake
,

VI
THE

OF

LE TTE R T HA T CAME F R OM T H E LO WL A ND S

the morning I w as u p betimes and went fort h


with aft er the country fashion to our g uest s roo m
to s e e if there w as aught in which I cou ld serve
him O n push i n g at hi s door I found that it w a s
fa stened which surprised me the more a s I knew
that there w a s neither key nor bolt upon the inside
O n my pressing again st it however it began to
yield and I could then s e e that a heavy chest
which w a s used to stand near the window had been
p ulled round in order to s hut out any intrusion
This precaution taken under my father s roof as
though he were in a den of thieves angered me
and I gave a butt with my shoulder which cleared
IN

54

T HE LETTER FR O M T HE L O WLAND S

the box out Of the way and enabled me to enter


the room
The man Saxon was sitting up in bed staring
about him as though he were not very certain fo r
the moment where he was He had tied a white
kerchief round his head by way Of night bonnet
and his hard Visaged clean shaven face looking o ut
through this together with his bony gure gave
him some resemblance to a gigantic o ld woman
The bottle of usquebaugh stood empty by his bed
side Clearly his fears had come true and he had
had an attack Of the Persian ague
Ah my young friend he said at last
I s it
then the custom Of this part O f the country to carry
your visitor s room by storm o r escalado in the early
hours Of the morning ?
Is it the custom I answered sternly to bar
ricade up your door when y o u are sleeping under
?
f
the roof tree o an honest man
What did you
fear that you should take such a precaution ?
Nay y o u are indeed a S pitre he replied sink
in g back upon the pillow and drawing the clothes
round him a feuerkopf as the Germans call it or
sometimes tollkopf which in its literal signicance
meaneth a fool s head Your father was as I have
heard a strong and a erce man when the blood of
youth ran in his veins but y o u I should j udge are
in no way behind him Know then that the bearer
Of papers Of import documen t a p r eci os a s ed pe ri
ca los a is bound t o leave nought to C hance but to
guard in every way the charge which hath been
committed to him True it i s that I am in the
house O f an honest man but I know n ot w ho may
come or w ho may go during the hours of the night

Indeed for the matter of that but enough is said


I shall be with y o u anon
,

55

M I CAH CLARKE

Your clothes are dry and are ready for y o u I


remarked
Enough enough he answered
I have no
quarrel with the suit which your father has lent me
It may be that I have been used to better but they
will serve my turn The camp is n o t the court
It was evident to me that my father s suit was
innitely better both in texture and material than
that which o ur Visitor had brought with him As
he had withdrawn his head however entirely b e
neath the bedclothes there was nothing more to
be said so I went down to the lower room where
I found my father busily engaged fastening a new
buckle to his sword belt while my mother and the
maid were preparing the morning meal
Come into the yard with me Micah quoth my
father ; I would have a word with you
The
workmen had not yet come to their work so we
stroll ed out into the sweet morning air and seated
ourselves o n the low stone ba n km e n t o n which the
skins are dressed
I have been o ut here this morning trying my
hand at the broadsword exercise said he ; I nd
that I am as quick as ever o n a thrust but my cuts
are sadly sti ff I might be of use at a pinch but
alas ! I am n ot the same swordsman who led the
left troop o f the nest horse regiment that ever
followed a kettledrum The Lord hath given and
the Lord hath taken away ! Yet if I am o ld and
worn there is the fruit o f my loins to stand in my
place and to wield the same sword in the same
cause You shall go in my place Micah
GO
GO whither

Hush l a d and listen ! Let not your mother


know too much for the hearts O f women are soft
W hen Abraham O ffered up his eldest born I tro w
,

56

THE LE T T ER FR O M T HE L OW LA N D S
that he said li ttle to Sarah o n the matter Here is
the letter Know yo u w ho this Dicky Rumbold
is
S urely I have heard y o u speak of him as an Old
companion o f yours

The same a staunch man and true S O faith

ful was he faithful even to slaying that when the


army o f the righteous dispersed he did not lay
aside his zeal with his bu ff coat H e took to busi
ness as a maltster at Hoddesdon and in his house
was planned the famous Rye House Plot in which
so many good men were mixed
Was it n o t a foul assassination plot ? I asked

Nay nay be n o t led away by terms ! I t is a


Vile invention Of the malignants that these men
planned assassination What they would do they
purposed doing in broad dayli ght thirty of them
against ft y Of the Royal Guard when Charles and
James passed o n their w ay to N e wmarket I f the
royal brothers g ot pistol bull et or sword stab it
would be in Open ght and at the risk Of their
attackers It was give and take and no murder
He paused and looked inquiringly at me ; but I
could not truthfully say that I was satised for an
attack upon the lives o f unarmed and unsuspecting
men even though surrounded by a bodyguard
could not to my mind be j ustied
When the plot failed my father continued
Rumbold had to y for his li fe but he succeeded
in making his way to the Lowlands
There he
found that many enemies o f the Government had
gathered together Repeated messages from Eng
land especially from the western counties and from
London assured them that if they would but at
tempt an invasion they might rely upon help both
They w ere however at
in me n and in money
.

57

M I CA H CLARKE
fault for some time for want Of a leader Of s ui ci e n t
weight to carry through s o large a proj ect but n o w
at last they have o n e who is the best that could
have been singled outnone other than the well
beloved Protestant C hieft ain James Duke o f M o n
mouth s o n Of Charles I I
Ill egitimate son I remarked
That may o r may not be There are those
who s ay that Lucy Walters w a s a lawful wife
Bastard or no he holds the sound principles Of the
true Church and he is beloved by the people
Let him appear in the West and soldiers will rise
up li ke the owers in the spring time
H e paused and led me away to the farther end
Of the yard for the w orkmen had begun to arrive
and to cluster round the dipping trough
Monmouth is coming over he continued
and he expects every brave Protestant man to
rall y to his standard The Duke Of Argyle i s to
command a separate expedition which will se t the
Highlands O f S cotland in a blaze Between them
they hope to b ring the persecutor o f the faithful
o n his knees
But I hear the voice o f the man
S axon and I must not let him s ay that I have
treated him in a churlish fashion Here is the let
ter lad Read it with care and remember that
when brave men are striving for their rights it is
tting that o n e o f the Old rebel house o f Clarke
should be among them
I took the letter and wandering O ff into the
elds I settled myself under a convenient tree and
s e t myself to read it
This yell ow sheet which I
now hold in my hand is the very o n e which w a s
brought by Decimus S axon and read by me that
bright May morning under the hawthorn shade I
give it to you as it stands
,

58

LE T TER F R O M T HE L O WLAND S

T HE

my friend and companion in the cause Of

the Lord Joseph Clarke Know friend that aid


and delivery is coming upon I srael and that the
wicked king and those w ho uphold him shall be
smitten and entirely cast do w n until their place in
the land shall know them no more Hasten then
to testify to thy o w n faith that in the day o f
trouble ye be not found wanting
It has chanced from time to time that many Of
the suffering Church both from o ur o w n land and
from among the S cots have assembled in this good
Lutheran town o f Amsterdam u ntil enough are
gathered together to take a good work in hand
F o r amongst o ur ow n folk there are my Lord
Grey Of Wark Wade Dare Of Taunton A y lo ffe
Holmes Holli s Goodenough and others whom
thou shalt know
O f the S cots there are the
D uke Of Argy le who has su ffered sorely for the
Covenant S ir Patrick Hume Fletcher of S altoun
Sir John Cochrane Dr Ferguson Maj or Elphin
stone and others T O these we would fain have
added Locke and Old Hal Ludlow but they are
as those O f the Laodicean Church neither cold nor
warm
It has now come to pass however that Mon
mouth who has long lived in dalliance with the
Midianitish woman kno w n by the name Of Went
worth has at last turned him to higher things
and has consented to make a bid for the crown
It was found that the S cots preferred to follow a
C hieft ain O f their own and it has therefore been
determ ined that ArgyleM C all um More as the

breechless savages O f I nverary call him shall


command a separate expedition landing upon the
western coast O f S cotland There he hopes t o
raise ve thousand Campbells and to be j oined by
TO

,
.

59

M I CA H

CLARKE

the C ovenanters and W estern Whigs men who


would make troops O f the Old breed had they but
Go d fearing O fficers with an experience o f the
chance Of elds and the usages Of war With
such a following he should be able to hold Glas
gow and to draw away the Ki ng s force to the
north A y lo ffe and I go with Argyle It is likely
that o ur feet may be upon S cottish ground before
thy eyes read these words
The stronger expedition starts with Mon
mouth and lands at a tting place in the West
where we are assured that w e have many friends
I cannot name the spot lest this letter miscarry
but thou shalt hear ano n I have written to all
good men along the coast bid di ng them to be pre
pared to support the rising The King is weak
and hated by the greater part o f his subj ects It
doth but need o n e good stroke to bring his cro wn
in the dust Monmouth will start in a fe w weeks
when his equipment is nished and the weather
favourable If thou canst come mine Old com
rade I know well that thou wilt need no bidding
of mine to bring thee to o ur banner S hould per
chance a peaceful life and wani ng strength forbid
thy attendance I trust that thou wilt wrestle for
us in prayer even as the holy prophet o f Old and
perchance since I hear that thou hast prospered
accordi n g to the things of this world thou mayst
be able to t out a pikeman o r two or to send a
gift towards the military chest which will be none
We trust n o t to gold but to
t o o plentifully lined
steel and to our o w n good cause yet gold will be
welcome none the les s Should w e fall w e fall
like men and Christians S hould we succeed we
shall s e e how the perj ured James the persecutor
of the saints with the heart like a nether millstone

all

60

T HE L E TT ER

FR O M T HE L O WL A ND S

the man who smiled when the thumbs Of the faith


ful were wrenched o ut O f their sockets at Edin
burghw e shall see how manfully he can bear a d
versity when it falls to his lot May the hand o f
the Almighty be over us
I know little o f the bearer Of this save that he
professes to be o f the elect S houldst thou go to
Monmouth s camp see that thou take him with
thee for I hear that he hath had good experience
in the German Swedish and O ttoman wars
Yours in the faith of Christ
R I C HA RD R U M B O L D
.

Present my services to thy spouse Let her


read Timothy chapter two ninth to ft eenth
verses
.

This long letter I read very carefully and then


putting it in my pocket returned indoors to my
breakfast My father looked at me as I entered
with questioning eyes b ut I had n o answer t o re
turn him for my o w n mind was clouded and u n
certain
That day Decimus S axon left us intending to
m ake a round Of the country and t o deliver his let
ters but promising to be back again ere long
We had a small mishap ere he went for as we
were talking Of his j ourney my brother Hosea m u st
needs s t art playing with my father s powder a sk
which in some way went O ff with a sudden u ff
spattering the walls with fragm ents o f metal S O
unexpected and loud was the explosion that both
my father and I sprang t o o ur feet ; but S axon
whose back was turned to my brother s a t four
square in his chair without a glance behind him o r
a shade Of change in his rugged face
As luck
,

61

M I CA H CLAR KE

would have it no one w as inj ured not even H osea


but the incident made me t hi nk more hi ghly of
A s he st art ed O ff do w n the
o ur n e w acquaintance
Vill age street his long stringy gure and strange
gnarled vi sage w ith my father s s i lver braided hat
cocked over his eye attracted rather more atten
t ion than I cared to s e e consideri n g the i mpor
tan ce Of the mi ssives which he bore and the cer
tain ty Of their d is covery shoul d he be arrested as a
masterless man Fortunately however the curi
o f the c o rmt ry folk did but lead them to
o s it
y
cluster round their doors and wi ndows staring
open eyed while he pleased at the attention which
he excited st rode alon g wi t h hi s head in the a ir
and a cudgel of mine tw irli ng in his han d H e
had le ft golden Opin i ons behind hi m My father s
good wi shes had been w o n by hi s piety and by the
sacrices whi ch he claimed to have made for the
faith My mother he had taught ho w wimples are
w orn amongst the S erbs
and had also demon
s t ra t e d to her a n e w method Of curing mari golds
in use in some parts o f Lithuani a
For myself I
confess that I retained a vague distrust O f the man
and w a s determined to avoid putt ing faith in him
more than w as needful At present however w e
had no choice but to treat him a s an amb as sador
from friends
I V hat w a s I to do
And I
S ho ul d I foll ow
my father s wishes and draw my maiden sword o n
behalf o f the insurgents or should I stand as ide
and s e e ho w events S h aped themselves ? It w as
more tting that I should go than he But on
the other hand I w as no keen reli gious zealot
Papistry Church Dissent I beli eved that there
w a s good in all of them but that not one w as
worth the spilling of human blood James mi ght
,

62

THE LETTER FR O M THE L O WLAN DS


b e a perj urer and a vill ai n but he w as as far as I
could s e e the rightful k i ng o f England and no
tales Of secret marriages o r black boxes could alter
the fact that hi s rival was an illegi timate s o n and
Who could s a y
as such ineligible to the throne
what evil act upon the part of a monarch j ustied
?
his people in setting him aside
Who was the
j udge in such a case
Yet on the other hand the
man had notoriously broken his o w n pledges and
that surely should absolve his subj ects from their
allegiance It was a weighty question for a coun
try bred lad to have to settle and yet settled it
must be and that speedil y I took up my hat
and wandered away down the Vill age street turn
in g the matter over in my head
But it was no easy thing fo r me to think seriously
Of anyt h i ng m the hamlet ; for I w a s in some w ay
my dear ch i ldren though I s ay it myself a favour
ite with the young and with the Old s o that I
could not walk ten paces without some greeti ng
o r ad dr ess
There were my o w n brothers traili n g
behind me Baker Mitford s chil dren tugg ing at
my skirts and the mill w right s t w o li ttle maidens
o n e on either hand
Then when I had persuaded
these young rompers to leave me out came Dame
Full erton the widow with a sad tale about ho w
her grindstone had fall en o ut Of its frame and
neither she nor her household could lift it in again
That matter I set straight and proceeded on my
T
w ay

but I could not pass the S ign o f the


heat
sheaf without John L o ckarb y Reuben s father
plunging o ut at me and insisti ng upon my coming
in with him for a morning c up
The best glass o f mead in the country side and
brewed under my o w n roof said he proudly as he
M
as
oured
it
into
the
Why
bless
you

a on
p
g
,

63

M I CA H CLAR K E

ter M ica h a man with a frame like yours w ant s


store 0 good malt to keep it up

And malt li ke this is worthy of a good frame


to contain it quoth Reuben who w a s at work
among the asks
What think ye Micah ? said the landlord
There was the S quire 0 Milton over here yester
morning w i Johnny F e rn e le y O the Bank side and
they will have it that there s a man in F are ha m
w ho could wrestle y o u the best Of three and nd
your o w n grip for a good round stake
Tut tut I answered
you would have me
like a prize m a stiff showing my teeth to the whole
country side What matter if the man can throw
me o r I him
What matter ? Why the honour o f Havant
quoth he
I s that no matter ? But y ou are
right he continued draining O ff his horn
What
is all this vill age life with its small successes to
?
such as you
You are as much o ut o f your place
as a vintage wine at a harvest supper The whole
o f broad
England and n ot the streets Of H a
vant is the t stage for a man Of your kidn ey
What have y o u to do with the beatin g O f skins and
?
the tanning o f leather
My father would have y o u go forth as a
knight
errant Micah
said Reu b en laughing
Y o u might C hance to get your o w n skin beaten
and your o w n leather tanned
Who ever knew so long a tongue in so short a
?
body
cried the innkeeper
But in good sooth
Master Micah I am in sober earnest when I s ay
that you are indeed wasti n g the years Of your
youth when life is sparkling and clear and that
o u will regret it when
o u have come to the at
y
y
and avourle s s dregs of Old age
,

64

T H E LE TT ER F R O M T H E L O W L A N D S

There spoke the bre wer said Reuben ; b ut


indeed Micah my father is right for all that he
hath such a hops and water manner o f putting it
I will think over it I answered and with a
n o d to the kindly couple proceeded o n my way
Zachariah Palmer was planing a plank as I
passed Looking up he bade me good morrow
I have a book for y o u lad he said

I have but now nished the


I an
s w e re d for he had lent me John Mil ton s poem
B ut what is this new book daddy
It is by the learned Locke and t re at e t h o f
states and statecraft It is but a small thing b ut
if wisdom could show in the scales it would weigh
down many a library Y o u shall have it when I
have nished it t o morrow mayhap or the day
aft er A good man is Master Locke I s he n o t
at this moment a wanderer in the Lowlands rather
than bo w his kn ee to what his conscience approved
not Of
There are many good men among the exiles
?
are there not
said I

The pick of the country he answered


Ill
fares the land that drives the highest and bravest o f
its citizens away from it The day is coming I
fear when every man will have to choose betwixt
his beli efs and his freedom I am an Old man
Micah bo y but I may live long enough to see
strange things in this once Protestant kingdom
But if these exile s had their way I obj ected

they would place Monmouth upon the throne


and so unj ustly alter the succession
Nay nay Old Zachary answered laying down
his plane
If they use Monmouth s name it is
but to strengthen their cause and to show that
they have a leader Of repute Were James driven

65

M I CA H CLARKE
from the throne the Commons Of England in Par
li a m e n t assembled would be called upon t o name
his successor There are men at Monmouth s back
who would not stir unless this were so

Then daddy said I


since I c an trust yo u
and since yo u will tell me what you do reall y
think would it be well if Monmouth s standard b e
raised that I should j oin it ?
The carpenter stroked his white beard and po n

dered for a while


It is a pregnant question he

said at last and yet methinks that there is but


o n e answer to it especia lly for your father s s o n
Should an end be put to James s rule it is not t o o
late to preserve the nation in its o ld faith ; but if
the disease be allowed to S pread it may be that
even the tyrant s removal would n o t preve n t his
evil seed from sprouting I hold therefore that
should the exiles make such an attempt it is the
duty of every man w ho values liberty O f conscience
to rally round them And you m y s o n the pride
o f the Vi llage
what better use could you make
Of your strength than to devote it to helping t o
relieve your country o f this insupportable yoke ?
It i s treasonable and dangerous counselcounsel
which might lead to a short shri ft and a bloody

death but as the Lord liveth if you were c hild


Of mine I should s ay the same
S O S poke the Old carpenter with a voice which
trembled with earnestness and went to work upon
his plank once more while 1 with a few words O f
gratitude went o n my w a y pondering over what
he had said to me I had not gone far however
before the hoarse voice o f S olomon Sprent broke
in upon my meditations
H o y there ! Ahoy ! he bellowed though his

mouth was but a fe w yards from my ear


Would
,

66

THE LE TT E R FR O M T HE L O W LA N D S
ye come across my hawse without slacking weigh ?
Clew up d ye s e e C lew up

Why Captain I said


I did n ot s e e you
I w as lost in thought

All adri ft and without look outs quoth he


pushing his way through the break in the garden
hedge
O dd s n ig g ars man ! friends are n o t s o
plentiful d ye s e e that ye need pass em by with
o ut a dip O
the ensign S O help me if I had
had a barker I d have r ed a shot across your
bows

NO Offence Captain said I for the veteran


appeared t o be nettled ; I have much to think o f
this morning
And s o have I mate he answered I n a so ft er

voice
What think ye Of my rig eh ?
He
turned himself slowly round in the sunlight as he
spoke and I perceived that he was dressed with
unusual care H e had a blue suit of broadcloth
trimmed with eight rows Of buttons and breeches
o f the same material with great bunches Of ribbon
at the knee His vest was Of lighter blue picked
o ut with anchors in silver and edged with a n
ger s breadth of lace His boot w as s o wide that
he might have had his foot in a bucket and he
wore a cutlass at his side suspended from a bu ff
b elt which passed over his right S houlder
I ve had a new coat 0 paint all over said he
with a wink
C a rra m ba ! the Old ship is water
tight yet What would ye say now were I about
to sling my hawser o ver a little scow and take her
in t o w
A cow I cried

A c o w ! A wench man and as tight a little


craft as ever sailed into the port Of wedlock

I have heard no better news for many a long

67

M I CAH CLAR KE

day said I
I di d not even know that you were
betrothed When then is the weddi ng to be

GO slow friend g o slo w and heave your


lead li ne
Y o u have got out o f your channel and
are in shoal water I never said as ho w I w as b e
trothed
What then ? I asked

I am getting up anchor now to run do w n to


her and summon her Look ye lad he continued
plucking O ff his cap and scratching his ragged
locks
I ve had to do w i wenches enow from the

Levant to the Antill es wenches such as a sailor


man meets who are all paint and pocket It s but
the heaving o f a hand grenade and they strike their
colours This is a craft Of another guess bu i ld and
unless I steer w i care s he may put o n e in between
wind and water before I s o much as know that I
am engaged What think ye heh ? S hould I lay
myself boldl y alongside d ye s e e and ply her with
small arms o r should I work myself clear and try
a long range action ? I am none o f your sli ppery
grease tongued long shore lawyers but if s o be as
S he s willing for a mate I ll stand by her in wind
and weather while my planks hold out
I can scarce give advice in such a case said I

for my experience is less than yours I should


sa
o
though
that
had
best
speak
to
her
from
u
y
y
your heart in plain sailor language
Aye aye she can take it o r leave it Ph oe be
Dawson it is the sister Of the blacksmith Let us
work back and have a drop Of the right Nants b e
fore we go I have an anker newly come which
never paid the King a groat
Nay you had best leave it alone I an
,

s w e re d

Say you

so ?

Well mayhap you are right


,

68

T HE LETTER FR O M T HE L O W LA N D S
Throw O ff your moorin gs then and clap o n sail
for we must g o
But I am not concerned said I
he was too much
No t concerned ! No t
overcome to go on and could but look at me with
a face full of reproach
I thought better of
Micah
Would
o
u
let
this
crazy
Old
hulk
ou
y
y
go into action and not stand by to re a broad
side
W hat would you have me do then
W hy I would have y o u help me as the occa
sion may arise I f I start t o board her I would
have you work across the bows s o as to rake her
Should I range up o n the larboard quarter do you
lie o n the starboard If I get crippled do y o u
draw her re until I ret What man y o u would
not desert me !
The Old seaman s tropes and maritime conceits
were n o t always intelligible to me but it was clear
that he had set his heart upon m y accompanying
him which I was equally determined not to do
At last by much reasoning I made him understand
that my presence would be more hindrance than
help and would probably b e fatal to his chances o f
success

Well well he grumbled at last I ve been


concerned in no such expedition before An it be
the custom for single ships to en gage I ll stand to
it alone Y o u shall come with me as consort
though and stand to and fro in the ofng or sink
me if I stir a step
My mind was full o f my father s pla ns and of the
courses which lay before me There seemed to be
as Old Solomon was in dead
n o choice however
earnest but to lay the matter aside for the mo ment
a nd s e e the upshot Of this adventure
,

69

M I C AH CLAR K E

Mind Solomon said I


I don t cross t he
threshold
Aye aye mate You can please yourself We
have to beat up against the wind all the w a y S he s
on the look out for I hailed her yesternight and let
her know as how I should bear down o n her about
seven bells o f the morning watch
I was thinki ng as we trudged down the road that
Ph oe be would need to be learned in s e a terms to
make o ut the O ld man s meaning when he pulled
up short and clapped hi s hands to his pockets
Zounds
he cried I have forgot t o bring a
pistol
I n Heaven s name
I said in amazement
what could you want with a pistol ?
Why t o make signals with said he
O dds
me that I S hould have forgot it ! How is o n e s
consort to know what is going forward when the
agship carries no artillery ? Had the lass been
kind I should have red one gun that yo u might
know it

Why I answered if y o u come not o ut I


shall j udge that all is w ell If things go amiss I
shall s e e you soon

A y e o r stay ! I ll hoist a white j ack at the


port hole A white j ack means that she hath hauled
down her colours Nombre de Dios when I was a
powder b o y in the Old ship L i on the day that we
engaged the Sp i ri t us S a n ct us Of two tier 0 gu ns
the rst time that ever I heard the screech o f ball
m y heart never thumped as it does now What
sa
ye
if
we
run
back
with
a
fair
wind
and
broach
y
that anker of Nants
Nay stand to it man said I for by this time
we had come to the i v y
clad cottage behind which
w as the vill age smithy
What Solomon ! a n
,

70

TH E LETTE R FR O M T HE L O WLAND S
English seaman never feared a fo e either with pet
t i c o a t s o r witho ut them
quoth Solomon
N O curse me if he did !

squaring his shoulders never a one Don Devil


o r D utchman ; so here goes for her !
S O saying
he made his way in to the cottage leaving me stand
ing by the garden wicket half amused and half a n
noyed at this interruption to my musings
As it proved the sailor had no very great di f
culty with his suit and soon managed to capture
his prize to use his o w n language I heard from
the garden the growling o f his gru ff voice and a
good deal Of shrill laughter ending in a small
squeak which meant I suppose that he was c o m
ing to close quarters Then there was silence for
a li ttle while and at last I s aw a white kerchief
waving from the window and perceived moreover
that it was Ph oebe herself w ho was uttering it
Well she was a smart kindly hearted lass and I
was glad in my heart that the Old seaman should
have such a one to look aft er him
Here then was o n e good friend settled down
nally for life Another warned me that I was
wasting my best years in the hamlet A third the
most respected Of a ll advised me openly to thro w
in my lo t with the insurgents should the occasion
arise I f I refused I should have the shame O f
seeing my aged father setting O ff for the wars
whilst I lingered at home And w hy sho ul d I re
?
fuse
Had it not long been the secret wish Of my
heart to see something Of the great world and what
fairer chance could present itself ? My w ishes my
friend s advice and my father s hopes all pointed in
the one direction
Father said I when I returned home I am
ready to go w here you will
,

,
.

71

M I CAH CLARKE
M ay the Lord be gloried
he cried solemnly

M ay He watch over your young li fe and keep


your heart ste a dfast to the cause which is assuredly
His
.

VII

THE H OR S EM A N WH O R OD E F R OM T H E W ES T

OF

M Y father

to work forthwith prep aring for our


needs furnish i ng Saxon o ut as well as myself o n
the most li beral scale for he was determined that
the wealth Of his age should be as devoted to the
cause as was the strength of his youth These ar
rangements had to be carried out with the most
extreme caution for there were many Prelatists in
the village and in the present state o f the public
mind any activity o n the part o f so well known a
man would have at once attracted attention S O
carefull y did the wary Old soldier manage matters
however that w e soon found ourselves in a position
t o start at an hour s notice without any Of o ur
neighbours being a whit the wiser
His rst move was to buy through an agent two
suitable horses at Chichester fair which were con
v e e d to the stables of a trusty Whig farmer living
y
near Portchester w ho was ordered to keep them un
til they were call ed for O f these animals o n e w a s a
mottled grey Of great mettle and power standing
seventeen and a half hands high and well up to my
weight for in those days my dears I had not laid
o n esh and weighed a little under sixteen stone
for all my height and strength A critic might
have said that Covenant fo r so I named my steed
was a trie heavy about the head and neck but I
set

72

T HE H O RS EMAN F R O M T HE W E S T
found him a trusty willi ng brute with great power
and endurance S axon who when fully accoutred
could scarce have weighed more than twelve stone
had a li ght bay Spanish j ennet o f great speed and
spirit This mare he named Chloe aft er a godly
maiden O f hi s acquain tance though as my father re
marked there was a somewhat ungodly and heathen
ish smack about the appellation These horses and
their harness were bought and held ready without
my father appearing in the matter in any way
This important point having been settled there
was the further question Of arms to be discussed
which gave rise to much weighty controversy b e
tween Decimus S axon and my father each citing
many instances from their o w n experiences where
the presence or absence o f some taslet o r arm guard
had been Of the deepest import to the wearer
Your great grandfather had s e t his hea rt upon my
wearing the breastplate which still bore the dints
Of the S cottish spears at D unbar but o n trying it
o n we found it was t o o small for me
I confess
that this was a surprise fo r when I looked back at
the awe with which I had regarded my father s
huge proportions it was marvell ous t o me to have
this proof that I had outgrown him By ripping
down the side leather and piercing holes through
which a lace could be passed my mother managed
to arrange it s o that I could wear it without di s
comfort A pair O f taslets or thigh pieces with
guards for the upper arm and gauntlets were a ll
borrowed from the O ld Parliamentary equipment
together with the heavy straight sword and pair
Of horse pistols which formed the usual weapons of
a cavalier My father had chosen me a head piece
in Portsmo uth uted with good barrets padded
inside with soft leather very light and yet very
,

73

M I C AH C LARKE

strong When fully equipped both S a x o n a n d my


father agreed that I had a ll that was requ i site for
a well appointed sol di er S axon had purchased a
bu ff coat a steel cap and a pair Of j ack boots so
that with the rapier and pistols which my father
had presented him with he was ready to take the
eld at any time
There would we hoped be no great dii c ult y in
when the hour
o u r reaching Monmouth s forces
came I n those troublous times the main roads
were so infested by highwaymen and footpads that
it was usual fo r travellers to carry weapons and
even armour for their protection There w as no
reason therefore why o ur appearance should excite
suspicion S hould questions be asked S axon had
a long story prepared to the effect that we were
travelling t o j oin Henry S omerset D uke of Beau
fort to whose household we belonged This i n ve n
tion he explained to me with many points Of cor
roboration which I w a s to furnish but when I said
positively that I should rather be hanged as a rebel
than speak a falsehood he looked at me Open eyed
and shook his head as one much shocked A few
weeks o f campaigning he said would soon cure me
Of my squeamishness For himself no more truth
ful child had ever carried a horn book but he had
learned to lie upon the D anube and looked upon
it as a necessary part o f the soldier s upbringing
For what are all stratagems ambuscades and
outfalls but lying upon a large scale ? he argued

What i s an adroit commander but o n e w ho hath


a facility for disguising the truth ? When at the
battle O f Hastings William the N orman ordered
his men to feign ight in order that they might
break his enemy s array a wile much practised
both by the S cythians Of O ld and by the Croats of
,

74

THE

H O RS E M A N FR O M THE WE S T

day pray what is it but the acting Of a


lie
O r when Hannibal having tied torches to the
horns Of great droves Of oxen caused the Roman
Consuls t o imagine that his army w a s in retreat
was it n ot a deception o r infraction Of the truth
a point well brought out by a soldier Of repute in

the treatise An in b e llO dolo uti li ce at ; an apud


hostes fals ilo qui o uti li ce at
And s o if aft er these
great models I in order to gain mine ends do a n
nounce that we are bound to Beaufort when we are
in truth making for Monmouth is it not in accord
with the usages of w ar and the customs Of great
commanders ?
All which ne argument I made
no attempt to answer beyond repeating that he
might avail himself of the usage b ut that he must
not look to me for help O n the other hand I
promised to hold my speech and to s ay nothing
which might hamper him with which pledge he
w as for c ed to be conten t ed
And now at last my patient listeners I shall b e
ab le to carry y ou out Of the humble life Of the vil
lage and to cease my gossip Of the men who were
O ld when I was young and who are now lyi n g this
many a year in the Bedhampton churchyard Y o u
shall come with me now and you shall see Eng
land as i t was in those days and you shall hear of
ho w we set forth to the w a rs a nd O f all the advent
ures which overt ook us And if what I tell y o u
should ever chance to differ from what you have
read in the book Of Mr C oke or O f Mr O ld mi xo n
or Of any o n e else who has set these matters do w n
in print do ye bear in mind that I am telling Of
what I saw with these very eyes and that I have
helped to make history which is a higher thing than
to write it
It was then towards nightfall upon the t wel ft h
o ur o w n

75

M I CA H C LARKE
day o f June 1 6 8 5 that the news reached o ur part
o f the country that Monmouth had landed the day
before at Lyme a small seaport o n the boundary
between D orsetshire and D evonshire
A great
beacon blaze upon P ort s do w n Hill was the rst
news that w e had o f it and then came a rattling
and a drumming from Portsmouth where the troops
were assembled under arms Mounted messengers
clattered through the Village street with their heads
lo w o n their horses necks for the great tidings must
be carried to London that the Governor Of Ports
1
mouth might know how t o act
We were stan d
ing at o ur doorway in the gloaming watching the
coming and the going and the line Of beacon res
which was lengthening away to the eastward when
a little man galloped up t o the door and pull ed his
panting horse up
Is Joseph Clarke here ? he asked
I am he said my father
Are these men true ? he whispered pointing

with his whip at S axon and myself


Then the
trysting place is Taunton Pass it on t o all whom
ye know Give my horse a bait and a drink I beg
o f ye for I must get o n my w a
y
My young brother Hosea looked to the tired
creature while we brought the rider inside and
drew him a stoup Of beer A wiry sharp faced
man he w as with a birth mark u pon his tem
ple His face and clothes were caked with dust
and his limbs were s o stiff from the saddle that he
could scarce put o n e foot before another
O ne horse hath died under me he said
and
this can scarce last another twenty miles I must
be in L ondon by morning fo r w e hope that D an
Vers and Wildman may be able to raise the city
N t e B A pp en d i x
,

76

H O R S E MAN FR O M

TH E

WE S T

T HE

Yester evening I left Monmouth s camp H i s blue


ag oats over Lyme
?
my father asked anxi
W hat force hath he
-

o usl

He hath but brought over leaders The force


must come from y o u folk at home He has with
him Lord Grey Of Wark with W ade the German
Buyse and eighty or a hundred more Alas ! that
two who came are already lost t o us It is an evil
evil omen
What is amiss then
Dare the goldsmith o f Taunton hath been
slain by Fletcher Of S altoun in some child s quarrel
about a horse The peasants cried o ut for the blood
Of the S cot and he was forced t o y aboard the
S hips A sad mishap it is for he was a skilful
leader and a veteran soldier
Aye aye cried S axon impatiently there will
be some more skilful leaders and veteran soldiers in
the West presently to take his place But if he
knew the usages Of war ho w came it that he should
ght upon a private quarrel at such a time ?
He
drew a at brown b ook from his bosom and ran his
long thin nger down the table Of contents
S ub
sectio nona
here is the very case s e t forth An
in be ll O publico pro vo c at u s ad d ue llum pri vat ae ami
c i t ize caus a declinare
in
which
the
learned
os s i t
p
Fleming layeth it down that a man s private honour
must give way to the good o f t he cause Did it
not happen in my ow n case that o n the eve O f the
raising of the Anlagerung Of V ienna w e stranger
O ffi cers having been invited to the tent of the Gen
eral it chanced that a red headed Irisher o n e
O D a ffy an ancient in the regiment Of Pappen
heimer did claim precedence of me o n the ground
o f superiority O f blood
O n this I drew my glove
.

77

M I C A H CLA R K E

across his face not mark ye in anger but a s s h ow


ing that I differed in some degree from his opinion
At which dissent he did at once O ffer to sustain his
contention but I having read this subsection to
him did make it clear to him that we could not in
honour se t tle the point unti l the Turk was chased
from the city S O aft er the onfall
Nay sir I may hear the narrative some future
day said the messenger staggering to his feet
I hope to nd a relay at Chichester and time
presses W ork for the cause n o w or be slaves for
ever Farewell !
H e clambered into his saddle
and w e heard the clatter O f his hoofs dying away
down the London road

The time hath come for you to go Micah


said my father solemnly
Nay wife do not weep
but rather hearten the lad on his way by a blithe
word and a merry face I need not tell you to ght
manfull y and fearlessly in this quarrel Should the
tide o f w ar s et in this d i rection you may nd your
O ld father riding by your side
Let us now bo w
down and implore the favour Of the Almighty upon
this expedition
We all kn elt down in the low roofed heavy
raft ered room while the O ld man Offered up an
earnest strenuous prayer for o u r success Even
n ow
as I speak to ye that group rises up before
mine eyes
I see once again your ancestor s
stern rugged face with his brows knitted and his
corded hands writhed together in the fervour Of his
supplication My mother kneels beside him with
the tears trickling down her sweet placid face
sti ing her sobs lest the sound O f them make my
leave taking more bitter The chil dren are in the
sleeping room upstairs and we hear the patter of
their bare feet upon the oor The man S axon
,

78

T HE

H O RS E MAN FR O M THE WE S T

sprawls across on e Of the oaken chairs half kneel


ing half recli ning with his long legs trailing o ut
behind and his face buried in his hands All round
in the ickering light o f the hanging lamp I s e e the
Obj ects which have been s o famili ar to me from
childhoodthe settle b y the r eplace the high back
stiff elbowed chairs the stu ffed fox above the door
the picture Of Christian viewing the Promised Land

from the summit o f the Delectable Mountains all


small t rie s in themselves b ut making up among
them the marve llous thing we call home the all
powerful loadstone which draws the wanderer s
heart from the farther end Of the earth Should I

ever see it again save in my dreams I who was


leaving this sheltered cove to plunge into the heart
Of the storm
The prayer nished we all rose with the e x c e p
tion Of Saxon who remained with his face buried
in his hands for a minute or s o before starting to
his feet I shrewdly suspect that he had been fast
asleep though he explained that he had paused to
O ffer up an additional supplication
My father
placed his hands upon my head and invoked the
blessing o f Heaven upon me He then drew my
companion aside and I heard the j ingling o f coin
from which I j udge th at he was giving him some
thing wherewith to start upon his travels My
mother clasped me to her heart and slipped a small
square Of paper into my hand saying that I was t o
look at it at my leisure and that I should make her
happy if I would but conform t o the instructions
contained in it This I promised to do and tearing
myself away I set O ff down the darkened Village
street with my long limbed companion striding by
my S ide
It was close upon o n e in the morning and al l
,

79

M I CAH C LARKE
the country folk had been long abed Pass i ng the
Wheatsheaf and the house Of O ld Solomon I could
not but wonder what they would think of my mar
tial garb were they afoot I had scarce time to
form the same thought before Zachary Palmer s
cottage when his door ew open and the carpenter
came running out with his white ha ir streaming i n
the fresh night breeze

I have been awaiting you Micah he cried


I had heard that Monmouth was up and I kn ew
that you would not lose a night ere starting God
bless you lad God bless you
Strong o f arm and
soft o f heart tender to the weak and stem to the
oppressor you have the prayers and the love o f all
w ho know you
I pressed his extended hands
and the last I s a w O f my native hamlet was the
shadowy gure O f the carpenter as he waved his
good wishes to me through the darkness
We made our way across the elds to the house
Of Whittier the Whig farmer where S axon got
into his w ar harness We found o ur horses ready
saddled and bridled for my father had at the rst
alarm sent a message across that we should need
them By t w o in the morning w e were breasting
P o rt s do w n Hill armed mounted and fairly started
o n o ur j ourney to the rebel camp
.

80

O F O UR S TART F O R T HE W AR S

VIII
O F OU R S T A

RT

F OR

THE W A R S

ALL

along the ridge Of P o rt s do w n Hill we had the


lights of Portsmouth and Of the harbour ships
twinkling beneath us on the left while o n the right
the Forest O f Bere w as ablaze with the signal res
which proclaimed the landing o f the invader O ne
great beacon throbbed upon the summit o f B ut s e r
while beyond that as far as eye could reach twink
ling sparks o f li ght showed how the tidings were
being carried north into Berkshire and eastward
i n to Sussex O f these res some were composed
of faggots piled into heaps and others Of tar barrels
set upon poles We passed o n e Of these last j ust
opposite to Portchester and the watchers around
it hearing the tramp o f our horses and the C lank Of
our arms set up a loud huzza thinking doubtless
that we were King s Of cers bound for the West
Master D ecimus S axon had ung to the win ds
the precise demeanour which he had assumed in
the presence O f my father and rattled away with
many a j est and scrap of rhyme or song as we gal
loped through the darkness

Gadzooks
said he frankly it is good to be
able to speak freely without being expected to tag
every sentence with a halleluj ah or an amen
Y o u were ever the leader in those pious e xe r
cises I remarked drily
Aye indeed You have nicked it there ! If a
thing must be done then take a lead in it what
ever i t may be A plaguy good precept which has
stood me in excellent stead before n o w I cannot
bear in mind whether I told v o u ho w I was at o n e
,

81

M I CAH CLARKE

time taken prisoner by the Turks and conveyed t o


Stamboul There were a hundred o f u s o r more
but the others either perished under the bastinado
o r are to this day chained to an o ar in the Imperial
O ttoman galleys where they are like to remain
until they die under the lash o r until some V ene
tian or Genoese bullet nds its w ay into their
wretched carcasses I alone came O ff with my
freedom
?
And pray how did yo u make your escape
I
asked
By the u s e o f the wit wherewith Providence
hath endowed me he answered complacently ;
for seeing that their accursed religion is the blind
side of these i n de ls I did set myself to work upon
it T O this end I Observed the fashion in which
our guard performed their morning and evening
exercises and having transformed my doublet into
a praying cloth I did imitate them save only that
I prayed at greater length and with more fervour
What ! I cried in horror
Y o u did pretend
to be a Mussulman
Nay there was no pretence I became a Mus
s ulma n
That however betwixt ourselves as it
might n o t stand me in very good stead with some
Reverend Aminada b Fount o f Grace in the rebel
camp w ho is no friend Of Mahmoud
I w a s s o astounded at the impudence Of this c on
fe s s i o n coming from the mouth O f o n e w ho had
been leading the exercises of a pious Christian
family that I was fairly bereft Of speech Deci
mus S axon whistled a fe w bars O f a sprightly tune
and then continued
My perseverance in these exercises soon led to
my bei n g singled o ut from a mong the other pris
oners until I so prevailed upon my gaolers that
,

82

O F O UR S TART F O R T HE WAR S

the doors were opened fo r me and I was all owed


o ut o n condition o f presenting myself at the prison
gates once a day What use think ye did I make
Of my freedom ?
N ay you are capable o f anything said I
I s e t O ff forthwith to their chief mosque that
Of St Sophia When the doors Opened and the
muezzin called I was ever the rst to hurry into
devotions and the last to leave them Did I s e e a
Mussulman strike his head upon the pavement I
would strike mine twice Did I s e e him bend and
In this way
ho w I was ready to prostrate myself
ere long the piety Of the converted Giaour became
the talk Of the city and I was provided with a hut
in which t o make my sacred meditations Here I
might have done well and indeed I had well nigh
made up my mind to s e t up as a prophet and write
an extra chapter t o the Koran when some foo li sh
trie made the faithful suspicious o f my honesty
It was but some nonsense Of a W ench being found
in my hut by some who came t o consult me upon
a point O f faith but it was enough to s e t their
heathen tongues wagging ; so I thought it wisest
to give them the slip in a Levantine coaster and
leave the Koran uncompleted It is perhaps as
well for it would be a sore trial t o have to give up
Christian women and pork for their garlic breath
ing houris and accursed ky bobs Of sheep s esh
We had passed through Fareham and Botley
during this conversation and were now making our
way down the Bishopstoke road The soil changes
about here from chalk to sand s o that our horses
hoofs di d but make a dull subdued rattle which
was no bar t o o ur talko r rather to my com
panion s fo r I did little more than listen I n
truth my mind w as s o full O f anticipations o f w hat
,

83

M I CA H C LARKE
was before us and of thoughts o f the home behind
that I was in no humour for sprightly C hatter
The s ky was somewhat clouded but the moon
glinted o ut between the rift s sho w ing us the long
road which wound away in front o f us O n either
side were scattered houses with gardens sloping
down toward the road The heavy sickly scent Of
strawberries w a s in the air
Hast thou ever slain a man in anger ? asked
Saxon as we gall oped along
N ever I answered
Ha ! You will nd that when you hear the
clink of steel against steel and s e e your foeman s
eyes y o u will straightway forget all rules maxims
and precepts o f the fence which your father or
others may have taught y o u
I have learned little O f the sort said I
My
father did but teach me to strike an honest down
right blow
This sword c an shear through a
square inch of iron bar
S c a n de rb e g s sword must have S c a n de rb e g s
arm he remarked
I have Observed that it is a
n e piece o f steel
O ne of the real Old text co m

e lle rs
and
psalm
expounders
which
the
faithful
p
drew in the days Of yore when they w ould
,

r ve the ir rel i gi o n rth od ox


p os t l i c b l w and kn ock s

P o
By A

You have not fenced much then ?


S carce at all said I
I t is as well With an O ld and tried swords
man like myself knowledge O f the use Of his w e a p
o n is everything ;
but with a young Hotspur Of
your temper strength and sp irit go for much I
have oft remarked that those who are most ski ll ed
at the S hooting O f the popinj ay the cleaving Of the
,

84

O F O UR S TART F O R T H E WARS

Turk s head and other such sports are ever lag


gards in the eld Had the popinj ay a crossbow
as well and a bolt o n the string o r had the Turk a
st as well as a head our young gall ant s nerves
would scarce be as steady over the business I
make no doubt Master Clarke that we shall make
What saith Old Butler
t rusty comrades

ever di d tru s ty qui re w i th kni ght


O r kni ght wi th s q ui re ere j u m p m o re ri ght
N

I have scarce dared to quote Hudibras for these


weeks past lest I should s e t the Covenant ferment
ing in the Old man s veins
If we are indeed to be comrades said I sternly
you must learn to speak with more reverence and
less i ppa n c y Of my father who w ould assuredly
never have harbo ured y o u had he heard the tale
which y o u have told me even now
Belike n ot the adventurer answered chuck
ling t o himsel f
It is a long stride from a mosque
But be not s o hot headed my
t o a conventicle
friend Y o u lack that repose o f character which
will come t o y o u no doubt in your more mature
years What man ! within ve minutes o f seeing
me y o u would have smitten me o n the head with
an o ar and ever since y o u have been li ke a bandog
at my heels ready to bark if I do but s e t my foot
over what y o u regard as the straight li ne Remem
ber that y o u go now among men who ght o n
small occasion Of qu arrel A word awry may mean
a rapier thrust

D O you bear the same in mind


I answered
hotly ; my temper is peaceful but covert threats
and veiled menace I shall n o t abide

O dd s mercy ! he cried
I s e e that y o u wi ll
start carving me anon and take me to Monmouth s
,

85

M I CAH CLARKE
camp in sections Nay nay we shall have ght
ing enow without falli ng o ut among ourselves
?
n
f
t
What houses are those o the le

The Village O f Swathling I rep lied


The
lights O f Bishopstoke lie to the right in the
hollow
Then we are ft een miles o n o ur w ay and me
thinks there is already some faint ush Of dawn in
the east Hullo what have we here
Beds must
be scarce if folks sleep on the highways
A dark blur which I had remarked upon the
roadway in front of us had resolved itself as we
approached into the gure Of a man stretched at
fu ll length with his face do w n wards and his head
resting upon his crossed arms

Some reve ller mayhap from the vill age in n


I remarked
There s blood in the air said S axon raising up
his beak like nose li ke a vulture which scents car
rion
Methinks he sleeps the sleep which kno w s
no waking
He sprang down from his saddle and turned the
g ure over upon his back The cold pale light o f
the early dawn shimmering upon his stari ng eyes
and colourless face showed that the Old soldier s
instinct was correct and that he had indeed dr a wn
his last breath
Here s a pretty piece of work said S axon
kneeling by the dead man s side and passing his
hands over his pockets
Footpads doubtless
Not a stiver in his pockets nor as much as a
S leeve link to help pay for the burial
H o w was he slain ? I asked in horror looking
down at the poor vacant face the empty house
from which the tenant had departed
A stab from beh i nd and a tap o n the head from
,

86

O F O UR S TART F O R T HE W A R S

the b utt Of a pistol H e c annot have been dead


long and yet every g roat is gone A man Of posi
tion too I should j udge from his dress broad
cloth coat by the feel satin b reeches and silver
b uckl es o n his shoes The rogues must have had
some plunder with him Co ul d we but run across
them Clarke it w ould b e a great and grand

th i ng

It would indeed said I heartily


What
greater honour than to do j ustice upon such co w
a rdl
murderers
y
Pooh pooh he cried
Justice is a sli ppery
dame and hath a t w o edged sword in her hand
W e may have enough Of j ustice in o u r character as
rebels to give us a ll O f it I would fain overtake
these ro b bers that we may relieve them Of their
sp oli a op i ma together with any other wealth which
they may have unlawfully amassed My learned
friend the Fleming layeth it down that it is no rob
bery to ro b a robber But w here shall we conce al
this b ody ?
Where fore should we conceal it ? I asked
Why man unused to war or the precautions
O f a w arrior
you must yet s e e that should this
body be found here there will be a hue and cry
through the country and th at strangers like o ur
selves will be arrested on suspicion
Should we
clear ourselves which is n o very easy matter the
j ustice will at least want to kno w whence we come
and whither we go which may lead to inquiries
t hat may bode us li ttle good
I shall therefore
take the liberty mine unknown and silent friend
Of dragging you into yon bushes where for a day
or t w o at least
o u are like t o lie unobserved and
y
SO b ri n g n o harm upon honest men

For God s sake do n o t tre at it so unkindly I


.

87

M I C AH CLAR K E

c ried springing down from my horse a nd laying


my hand u pon my companion s arm
There is
no need to trail it in so unseemly a fashion I f it
must b e moved hence I shall carry it with all due

reverence
S O sayi ng I picked the b ody up in my
arms and bearing it to a w ayside clump of yellow
gorse bushes I laid it solemnly down and dre w the
branches over it to conceal it
Y o u have the the w s o f an o x and the heart o f
a w oman muttered my companion
By the
Mass that Old w hite headed psalm singer w a s right
for if my memory serves me he said words to that
e ffect A fe w handfuls Of dust w ill hide the stains
N o w w e may j og upon o ur way w ithout any fear
Of b eing called upon to answer for another man s
sins Let me b ut get my girth tightened and we
may soon b e out O f danger s way
I have had to do said S axon as we rode o u
w ards with many gentry Of this sort with A l
b anian brigands the banditti Of Piedmont the
L an z kn e c ht e and F re i ri t t e r o f the Rhine Algerine
picaroons and other such folk Yet I cannot call
to mind o n e w ho hath ever been able to retire in his
Old age o n a s ui ci e n t competence It i s but a poor
trade and must end sooner o r later in a dance o n
nothing in a tight cravat w ith some kind friend
tugging at your legs to ease yo u Of any b reat h that
o u might have le ft
y

N or does that end all I remarked

There is Tophet b ehind and the ames


NO
of hell S O o ur good friends the parsons tell us
Well if a man is to make no money in this world
b e hanged at the end Of it and nally burn for
ever he hath a ssuredly wandered on to a thorny
track If o n the other hand one could always lay
one s hands on a w ell lined p urse as t hese rogues
,

88

S TART FO R T HE W AR S

OU R

OF

have done to night o n e migh t be content to risk

something in the world t o come


But what ca n the well l le d purse do for them ?
said I
What w ill the fe w score pieces which
these bloodthirsty wretches have lc he d from this
poor creature avail them w hen their o w n hour o f
death comes round
True said S axon dryly ; t hey may ho w ever
prove useful in the meantime This you s ay is
?
B ishopstoke What are the lights over yonder

They come I think from B ishop s W altham


I answered
W e must press o n for I w ould fain b e i n Salis
bury before it is broad day There we shall put
o u r horses up until evening and have some rest fo r
there is nothing gain ed by man or beast coming
j aded to the wars All this day the western roads
will be crowded with couriers and mayhap patroll ed
by cavalry as well so that we cann ot show o ur
faces upon it without a risk O f b eing stopped and
examined No w if we lie by all day and push o n
at dusk keeping of the main road and making our
way across Salisbury Plain and the Somersetshire
downs we shall be less likely to come to harm
But what if Monmouth b e engaged b efore w e
?
come up to him
I asked
Then w e shall have missed a chance O f getting
o u r throats cut
Why man supposing that he has
been routed and entirely dispersed would it not be
a merry conceit for us to appear upon the scene as
two loyal yeomen who had ridden a ll the w ay from
?
Hampshire to strike in against the King s enemies
We might chance t o get some reward in money or
in land fo r o ur zeal Nay frown not for I w as
but j esting B reathe o ur horses by wal king them
up this hi ll
My j ennet is as fresh a s w hen we
-

89

M I C A H C L AR K E

start ed but t hose gre at lim b s O f thine are tell ing


upon the grey
The patch of light in the east had increased and
broadened and the sky was mottled with li ttle pink
feathers Of cloud As we passed over the lo w hills
by Chandler s Ford and Romsey w e could see the
smoke o f Southampton to the south east and the
broad dark expanse Of the New Forest with the
haze o f morning hanging over it A few horsemen
passed us pricking along too much engrossed in
their o w n errand to inquire ours
A couple o f
carts and a long string o f pack horses laden princi
pally with bales O f wool came straggli ng along a
b yroad and the drivers waved their broad hats to
us and wished us Godspeed At Dunbridge t he
fo lk were j ust stirring and paused in taking down
the cottage shutters t o come to the garden raili ngs
and watch us pass
As we entered D ean the
great red s un pushed its rosy rim over the edge o f
the horizon and the air was l led with the buzz Of
i nsects and the sweet scent O f the morning
We
dismounted at this latter vill age and had a cup Of
ale while resting and watering the horses The
landl ord could tell us nothing about the insurgents
and indeed seemed to care very little about the
matter o n e way o r the other
As long as brandy
pays a duty o f s i x shillings and eightpence a gallon
and freight and leakage comes to half a crown
w hile I am expected to sell it at twelve S hi llings
it matters li ttle to me who is King Of England
Give me a king that wi ll prevent the hop b light
and I am his man
Those were the lan dl ord s
politics and I dare s ay a good many more w ere O f
his w ay Of thinking
From Dean to S alisbu ry is all straight road with
moor mora ss and fenland o n either side broken
,

,
,

90

OF O UR S T A RT F O R T HE W A R S

only by the S ingle hamlet o f Alde rs bury j ust over


the Wiltshire border O ur horses refreshed by
the short rest stepped out gallantly and the brisk
motion with the sunlight and the beauty o f the
morning combin ed to raise our spirits and cheer u s
aft er the depression Of the long ride through the
darkness and the S ight of the murdered traveller
Wild duck widgeon and snipe appe d up from
either S ide Of the road at the sound Of the horses
hoofs and once a herd Of red deer spran g t o their
feet from among the ferns and scampered away in
the direction o f the forest O nce t o o w hen pass
ing a dense clump Of trees we s aw a shadowy white
creature half hidden by the trunks which must I
fancy have been one O f those wild cattle o f which
I have heard the peasants speak who dwell in the
recesses Of those southern woods and are s o erce
that none dare approach them The breadth Of
the view the keenness of the air and the novelty
o f the sense o f having great work to do all j oined
to send a ush Of life throu gh my veins such as the
quiet village life had never been able to give My
more experienced companion felt the inuence t o o
for he lifted up a cracked voice and broke into a
droning chant which he told me was an Eastern
Ode which had been taught him by the second
sister O f the Hospodar Of Wallachia
Anent Monmouth he remarked coming back
suddenly to the realities Of o ur position
It is
unlikely that he c an take the eld for some days
though much depends upon his striking a blow soon
and s o raising the courage Of his foll owers before
the King s troops can come down upon him H e
ha s mark ye n o t only his troops to nd but their
weapons which is like to prove a more difcult
matter S uppose he can raise ve thousand men
,

91

M I CA H C L AR KE

and

he canno t stir with lesshe wi ll not h a ve


o n e musket in ve S O the rest must do as they c a n
with pikes and bills o r such other rude arms as
they can nd A ll this takes time and though
there may be ski rmishes there can scar c e b e any
engagement of import b efore we arrive
H e will have been landed three o r four d ays
ere w e reach him said I
Hardly time for him w ith his small staff o f
Ofcers to enrol his men and divide them into regi
ments I scarce expect to nd him at Taunton
though we w ere s o directed H ast ever heard
?
whether there are any rich Papists in those parts
I kno w not I replied
I f s o there might be plate chests and silver
chargers to s ay nothing o f my lady s j ewels and
other such t rie s to reward a faithful soldier What
would war b e without plunder
A bottle withou t
the winea shell w ithout the oyster S ee the
house yonder that peeps through the trees I war
rant there is a store o f all good things under th at
roof which you and I might have for the a sking
did we but ask with o ur swords in our grip You
are my witness that your father did give and not
lend me this horse
Why say you that then
Lest he claim a half o f whatever booty I may
chance to gain What saith my learned Fleming
under the heading an qui militi e q uum prae b ui t
rae dw ab e O c a t ae particeps esse d e b e a t
which
p
p

s i n ie t h
whether
he
lendeth
a
horse
hath
a
w
h
o
g
claim o n the plunder Of him w ho borroweth it I n
this discourse he cites a case wherein a Spanish
commander having lent a steed to o n e Of his cap
tains and the said captain having captured the
general o f t he enemy the commander did sue him
,

92

OU R

OF

S T AR T F O R T HE WARS

a half share o f the twenty thousand crowns


A like
w hich formed the ransom Of the prisoner
c ase is noted by the famous P e t ri n u s Bellus in
his b ook D e Re Mili t ari much read by leaders of
1
repute
I can promise y o u I answered that n o such
claim shall ever be made by my father upon you
S ee yonder over the b row o f the hi ll ho w the sun
shines upon the high cathedral tower which points
upwards w ith its great stone nger to t he ro ad t h at

e very m a n must travel


There is good store Of silver and plat e in t hese
s ame churches quoth my companion
I re
mem b er t hat at Leipsic when I was serving my
rst campaign I got a candlestick which I was
forced to sell to a Jew b roker for a fourth o f its
value ; y e t even at his price it su fced to ll my

h a versack with b road pieces


It ch anced that S axon s mare had gained a st ride
o r two upon mine whilst he spoke SO th a t I w a s
able to get a good View o f him without turning my
head I had scarce had light during o ur ride to see
ho w his harness sat upon him but no w I was
a mazed o n looking at him t o mark the change
which it had wrought in the man I n his civil
dress his lankiness and length of li mb gave him an
awkward appearance b ut o n horse back w ith his
lean gaunt face looking o ut from his steel cap his
breastplate and buff j ac ke t lling out his gure and
his high boots Of untanned leather reaching to the
centre Of his thighs he looked the veteran man at
arms which he purported to b e The ease with
which he sat his horse the high b old expression
upon his face and the great length of his arms all
m arked him a s on e w ho could give a good a c count
N te C A pp endi x
fo r

93

M I CA H C L A R K E

himself in a fray I n his w ords alone I c ould


have placed little trust b ut there was th at in his
bearing which assured even a novice li ke myself
that he w as indeed a trained man O f w ar

That is the Avon which glitters amongst the

trees I remarked
We are about three miles
from S ali sbury town

I t is a noble spire said he glancing at the


great stone spire in front o f us
The men o f O ld
would seem to have spent all their days in pi ling
stones upon stones And yet w e read Of tough
battles and shrewd blows struck showing that they
ha d some time for soldierly deeds and w ere n o t
always at this mason work
The Church was rich in those days I answered
s haking my bridle for Covenant was beginning to
show signs o f laziness
B ut here comes o n e who
might perhaps tell us somethin g Of the w ar
A horseman w ho b ore traces o f having ridden
long and hard was rapidly approaching us Both
rider and steed were grey with dust and splashed
with mire yet he gall oped with loosened rein and
bent body as o n e to whom every extra stride is Of
value
What ho friend ! cried S axon reining his
mare across the road s o as to bar the man s passage
What news from the West ?
I must n ot tarry the messenger gasped slack
I bear papers Of
e n i n g his speed fo r an instant
import from Gregory Alford M ayor Of Lyme to
his Maj esty s Council The rebels make great head
and gather together like bees in the swarming time
There are some thousands in arms already and all
D evonshire is on the move The rebel horse under
Lord Grey hath been beaten back from Bridport
by the red m ili ti a of Dorset b ut every pri cke are d
of

94

O F O UR S T A RT FO R THE W AR S

Whig from the Channel to the S evern is maki ng


his w ay to Monmouth
With this brief summary
o f the news he pushed his way past us and clattered
o n in a cloud O f dust upon his mission

The broth is fairly o n the re then quoth


No w that
D ecimus Saxon as we rode on wards
skins have been S lit the rebels m ay dr a w their
swords and ing away their scab b ards for it s either
Victory fo r them or their quarters will be dangling
in every market to wn o f the county Heh lad ?
we t hrow a main for a b rave stake
Marked ye that Lord Grey had me t w it h a

check said I
Psha w it is O f no import A cavalry skirmish
at the most for it is impossible that Monmouth
could have brought his main forces to Bridport ;
nor would he if he could for i t is o ut Of his track
I t was o n e o f those three shots and a gall op affrays
where each side runs and each claims the Victory
But here we are in the streets Of S alisbury No w
leave the talking to me o r yo u r wrong headed
truthfulness may lay us by the heels before our
time
Passing down the broad High Street we dis
mounted i n front of the B lue Boar Inn and handed
o ur tired horses over to the ostler to whom S axon
in a loud voice and with many rough military
oaths gave strict orders as to their treatment H e
then clanked into the inn parlour and throwing
himself into one chair with his feet upon another
he summoned the landlord up b efore him and ex
plained o ur needs in a tone and manner which
should give him a due sense Of our quality
O f your best and at once quoth he
H a ve
your largest double couched chamber ready with
your so ft est lavender scented S heets for w e h a ve

95

M I CA H CLA R K E

h a d a w e ary ride and must rest And hark ye


landlord no palming O ff your stale musty goods a s
fresh o r of your washy French wines fo r the true
Hainault Vintage I w oul d have you to understand
t hat my friend here and I are men w ho meet w ith
some consideration in the world though w e care
not to speak o ur names to every underling D e
serve well O f us therefore or it may be the w orse for
.

ou

This speech combined with my companion s


haughty manner and erce face had such an effect
upon the landlord that he straightway sent us in
t he breakfast w hich had been prepared for three
Ofcers Of the B lues who w ere waiting fo r it in the
next apartment This kept them fasting for another
half hour and we could he ar their oaths and com
plaints through the partition w h ile w e were devour
ing their capon and venison pie Having eaten a
hearty meal and w ashed it down with a bottle Of
B urgundy we sought o ur room and throwing o ur
tired limbs upon the b ed were soon in a deep slum
,

ber

IX
OF

PA SS AG E

OF

A RM S A T THE B L U E B OA R

I H A D slept several hours when I was suddenly


aroused by a prodigious crash followed by the clash
Of
arms and shrill cries from the lower oor
Springing to my feet I found that the bed upon
which my comrade ha d lain was vacant and that
the door O f the apartment was Opened As the up
roar sti ll continued and as I seemed to discern his
voice in the midst of it I caught up my sword and
,

96

O F A PA S SAGE O F ARM S
w ithout waiting to put on either head piece steel
breast o r arm plates I hurried t o the scene Of the
-

c ommotion
The hall and passage w ere ll ed with silly maids
and staring drawers att racted like myself by the
uproar Thro ugh these I pushed my way into the
apartment w here w e had breakfast ed in the morn
ing which was the scene Of the wildest disorder
The round table in the centre had been tilted over
upon its side and three broken bottles o f wine
w ith apples pears nuts and the fragments o f the
dishes containing them were littered over the oor
A couple o f packs o f cards and a dice box lay
amongst the scattered feast
Close by the door
stood Decimus Saxon with his drawn rapier in his
hand and a second o n e b eneath his feet while facing
him there was a young Ofcer in a blue uniform
whose face was reddened with shame and anger
and w ho looked wi ldly about the room as though
in search Of some weapon to replace that o f which
he had been deprived H e might have served Cib
ber o r Gibbons as a model for a statue Of impotent
rage Two other Ofcers dressed in the same blue
uniform stood by their comrade and as I Observed
that they had laid their hands upon the hilts o f t heir
swords I took my place by S axon s side and stood
ready to strike in should the occasion arise
What would the maitre d armes s ay
the
?
d
c
r
maitre e s i me
cried my companion
Me
thinks he should lose his place for not teaching you
to make a better S how O ut o n him ! I s this the
way that he teaches the Ofcers Of his Maj esty s
guard to use their weapons
This rai llery s ir said the elder Of the three a

squat brown heavy faced man i s n o t undeserved


and yet might perchance be di spensed with I am
.

,
,

97

M I CA H CLARKE
free t o

say that our friend attacked you somewhat


hastily and that a little more deference should have
b een shown by so young a soldier to a cavalier O f
your experience
The other O fcer who was a n e looking noble
featured man expressed himself in much the same
manner
I f this apology will serve said he I
am prepared to j oin in it
I f however more is
required I shall be happy to take the quarrel upon
myself
S axon answered
N a y nay take your bradawl
good hu mo ure dly kicking the sword towards his

youthful Opponent
But mark you ! when y o u
w ould lunge direct your point upwards rather than
down for otherwise you must throw your wrist
Open to your antagonist w ho c an scarce fail to dis
arm y o u I n quarte tierce or saccoon the same
holds good
The youth sheathed his sword but was s o over
come by his o w n easy defeat and the contemptuous
way in which his opponent had dismissed him that
he turned and hurried o ut O f the room Meanwhile
Decimus S axon and the two Ofcers s e t to work
getting the table upon its legs and restoring the
room to some sort O f order in which I did what I
could to assist them
I held three queens for the rst time to day
grumbled the soldier Of fortune
I was about to
declare them when this young bantam ew at my
throat H e hath likewise been the cause Of o u r
losing three asks Of most excellent muscadine
When he hath drunk as much bad wine as I have
been forced to do he w ill not be s o hasty in wast
ing the good
H e is a hot headed youngster the Older Ofcer

replied
and a little solitary reection added t o
,

98

OF A P AS S A GE O F ARM S

the lesson w hich you have taught him may b ring


him prot As for the muscadine that loss will
soon be made good the more gladl y as your friend
here w ill help us to drink it
I was roused by the crash O f weapons said I
and I scarce kno w n o w what has occurred
Why a mere tavern brawl which your friend s
s kill and j udgment prevented from becoming seri
I prythee take the rush bottomed chair and
o us
do you Jack order the w ine If o ur comrade
hath spilled the last it is for us to furnish this and
the best the cellars contain We have been having
a hand at basset which Mr S axon here playeth as
skilfully as he wields the small sword It chanced
that the luck ran against young Horsford which
doubtless made him prone to be quick in taking
Offence Your friend in conversation when dis
c oursing O f his experiences in foreign countries re
marked that the French household troops were t o
his mind brought to a higher state Of discipline
than any O f our o w n regiments o n which Horsford
red up and aft er a hot word or two they found
themselves as y o u have seen at drawn bilbO
The boy hath seen n o service and is therefore
over eager to giv e proof Of his valour

Wherein said the tall Ofcer he showed a


want of thought towards me for had the words
been Offensive it was for me who am a senior cap
tain and brevet maj or to take it up and not for a
sli p o f a com et who scarce knows enough to put
his troop through the exercise
Y o u s a y right O gilvy said the other resum
ing his seat by the table and wiping the cards
w hich had been splashed by the wine
Had the
comparison been made by an O fcer o f Louis s
guard for the purpose o f contumely and b ragga
,

99

M I CA H C L A RKE
d o ci O ,

it w ould then indeed have b e c ome us to


venture a passado But w hen spoken by an Eng
lishman Of ripe experience it becomes a matter
of instructive criticism w hich should prot rather
t han annoy
True Ambrose the other answered
With
o ut such criticism a force would become stagnant
and could never hope to keep level with those co n
t i n e n t al armies which are ever striving amongst
themselves for increased efcacy
S O pleased w a s I at these sensible remarks o n
the part Of the strangers that I w a s right glad
to have the Opportunity Of making their closer
acquaintance over a ask Of excellent wine M y
father s prej udices had led me to believe that a
King s O fcer was ever a compound Of the c o x
comb and the bull y but I found o n testing it that
this idea like most others which a man takes
upon trust had very little foundation upon truth
As a matter of fact had they been dressed in less
warli ke garb and deprived Of their swords and j ack
boots they would have passed as particularly mild
mannered men for their talk ran in the learned
channels and they discussed Boyle s researches in
chemistry and the ponderation o f air with much
ravity
and
show
knowledge
At
the
same
o
f
g
time their brisk bearing and manly carriage
showed that in cultivating the scholar they ha d n o t
sacriced the soldier

May I ask s i r said one o f them addressing

Saxon
whether i n your wide experiences yo u
have ever met with any o f those sages and philo s o
h
e
rs w ho have conferred such honour an d fame
p
?
upon France and Germany
My companion looked ill at ease as o n e w ho feels
t hat he has been taken O ff his ground
There w as
.

1 00

O F A P A S S A G E O F A RM S

indeed one such at Nurnberg he answered o n e


Ge rvi n u s or Ge rva n us who the folk said could turn
an ingot o f iron into an ingot O f gold as easily as I
turn this tobacco into ashes O ld Pappenheimer
shut him up with a ton O f metal and threatened
to put the thumbikins upon him unl ess he changed
it into gold pieces I c a n vouch for it that there
was not a yellow boy there for I was captain
Of the guard and searched the whole dungeon
through T O my sorrow I s ay it fo r I had myself
added a small iron brazier to the heap thinking
that if there should be any such change it would
be as w ell that I should have some small share in
the experiment

Alchemy transmutation O f metals and the

like have been set aside by true science remarked


the taller O fcer
Even O ld S ir Thomas Browne
Of Norwich who is ever ready to plead the cause
Of the ancients ca n nd nothing to say in favour
Of it
From Trismegistus downwards through
A lbertus Magnus Aquinas Raymond L ulli us
B asil V alentine Paracelsus and the rest there is
n o t one who has le ft more than a cloud Of w ords
behind him
Nor did the rogue I mention said S axon
There was another V an H e ls t at t w ho was a
man o f learning and cast horoscopes in considera
tion Of some small fee o r honorarium I have
never met so wise a man for he would talk o f the
planets and constellations as though he kept them
a ll in his o w n backyard
He made no more O f a
comet than if it were a mouldy china orange and
he explained their nature to us saying that they
were but common stars w hich had had a hole
knocked in them s o that their insides or viscera

pro t ruded H e was indeed a philosopher !


,

1 01

M I C AH C LARKE

A nd did you ever put his skill to the test ?


asked o n e Of the o fcers with a smile
Not I forsooth for I have ever kept myself
clear Of black magic or diablerie Of the sort My
comrade Pierce S cotton who was an O berst in the
Imperial cavalry brigade did pay him a rose noble
to have his future expounded If I remember
aright the stars said that he was over fond of wine
and womenhe had a wicked eye and a nose like
a carbuncle They foretold also t hat he would
attain a marshal s baton and die at a ripe age
which might well have come true had he not been
unhorsed a month later at O ber Gra us t o ck and
slain by the hoofs Of his o w n troop N either the
planets nor even the experienced farrier O f the regi
ment could have told that the brute would have

foundered s o completely
The Ofcers laughed heartily at my companion s
views and rose from their chairs for the bottle was
empty and the evening beginning to draw in
We have w ork to do here said the one addressed

as O gilvy
Besides we must nd this foolish
boy o f ours and tell him that it is no disgrace to
be disarmed by s o expert a swordsman We have
to prepare the quarters fo r the regiment who will
be up to j oin Churchill s forces not later than to
night Ye are yourselves bound for the West I
?
understand
We belong to the D uke o f B eaufort s house

hold said Saxon


Indeed ! I thought ye might belong to Port
man s yellow regiment Of militia I trust that the
Duke will muster every man he can and make

play until the royal forces come up

H o w many wi ll Churchill b ring ?


a sked my
companion carelessly
.

102

O F A PA S SAGE O F ARM S

Eight hundred horse at the most but my Lord


F e ve rs ham will follow a ft er with close o n four
thousand foot
W e may meet on the eld Of battle if n o t b e
fore said I and w e bade o ur friendly enemies a
very cordial adieu
A skilful equivoque that last o f yours Master
Micah quoth Decimus Saxon though smacking
Of double deali ng in a truth lover like yourself If
we meet them in battle I trust that it m ay be with
chev aux de frise o f pikes and m org e n st i e rn s before
us and a litter Of caltrops i n front Of them for
Monmouth has no cavalry that could stand fo r a
moment against the Royal Guards
How came y o u t o make their acquaintance ?
I asked
I slept a few hours but I have learned in
camps to do with little rest
Finding you in
sound slumber and hearing the rattle Of the dice
b o x below I came softly down a n d found means
to j oin their partywhereby I am a richer man by
ft een guineas and might have had more had that
young fool n o t lugged out at me o r had the talk
not turned aft erwards upon such unseemly subj ects
as the laws o f chemistry a nd the like Prythee
what have the Horse Guards Blue to do with the
laws o f chemistry ? W e ss e n burg Of the Pandours
would even at his o w n mess table su ffer much free
talkmore perhaps than ts in with the dignity Of
a leader
Had his O fcers ventured upon such
matter as this however there would have been a
drum head court martial or a cashiering at the
least
Wit hout stopping t o dispute either Master Sax
o n s j udgment o r that O f W e s se n b u rg O f the Pan
dours I proposed that we should ord er an evening
,

1 03

M I CAH CLARKE
meal and should employ the remaining hour o r
two of daylight in looking over the city The prin
c i a l sight is of course the noble cathedral which is
p
built in such exact proportion that o n e would fail to
understand its great size did one n o t actually enter
it and pace round the long dim aisles S O solemn
were its sweeping arches and the long shaft s O f co l
o ure d light which shone through the stained glass
windows throwing strange shadows amongst the
pillars that even my companion albeit not readily
impressed was silent and subdued I t was a great
prayer in stone
O n o ur way back to the inn w e passed the town
lock u p with a ra ile d space in front o f it in which
three great black muzzled bloodhounds were stalk
ing about with erce crimsoned eyes and red
tongues lolling out o f their mouths They were
used a bystander told us fo r the hunting down o f
wastrels upon Salisbury Plain which had been a
refuge for rogues and thieves until this means had
been used for following them to their hiding places
I t was well nigh dark before we returned to the
hostel and entirely so by the time that we had
eaten o ur suppers paid o ur reckoning and got
ready for the road
Before we set O ff I bethought me Of the paper
which my mother had slipped into my hand on
parting and drawing it from my pouch I read it by
the rushlight in o u r chamber
It still bore the
splotches O f the tears which she had dropped on it
poor soul and ran in this wise
,

Instructions from Mistress M ary Clarke to her


s o n Micah o n the twelfth day of June in the year
of our Lord sixteen hundred and eighty ve
O n occasion o f his going fort h lik e D avid of
,

1 04

O F A PAS SAGE O F ARM S

Old to do battle with the Goliath Of Papistry which


hath overshadowed and thrown into disrepute that
true and reverent regard fo r ritual which should
exist in the real Church of England as ordained by
law
Let these points be Observed by him namely
to wit
1 Change your hosen when the occasion serves
Y o u have two pairs in your saddle bag and can
buy more for the wool work i s good in the West
2 A hare s foot suspended round the neck
driveth away colic

3 S ay the Lord s Prayer night and morning


Also read the scriptures especially Job the Psalms
and the Gospel according to St M atthew
4 Daffy s elixir possesses wondrous powers in
purifying t he blood and working o ff all phlegms
humours vapours o r rheums The dose is ve
drops A small phial o f it will be found in the
barrel of your left pistol with wadding around it
lest it come to harm
5 Ten golden pieces are sewn into the hem Of
your under doublet Touch them not save as a
last resource
6 Fight stoutly for the Lord and yet I pray
you Micah be n o t too forward in battle but let
others do their turn also Press n o t into the heart
Of the fray and yet inch n ot from the standard o f
the Protestant faith
And Oh Micah my o w n bright boy come back
safe to your mother o r my very heart will break !
And the deponent will ever pray
,

The sudden gush Of tenderness in the last fe w


lines made the tears spring to my eyes and yet I
could sc arce forbear from smiling at the whole com
,

1 05

MI CA H CLARKE

position for my dear mother had li ttle time to


learn the graces O f style and it w a s evidently her
thought that i n order to make her words binding
it was needful to express them in some sort o f legal
form I had li ttle time to think over her advice
however for I had scarce ni shed readin g it before
the voice Of Decimus S axon and the cli nk O f the
horses hoofs upon the cobble stones Of the yard
told me th at all was ready for o ur depart ure
,

PERI L O U S AD VE NT U RE

OF OUR

ON

THE P L A I N

W E were not half a mile from the town before the


ro ll O f kettledrums and the blare Of bugles swell ing
up musicall y through the darkness announced the
arrival Of the regiment of horse which o ur friends
at the inn had been expecting

It is as well perhaps said Saxon


that we
gave them the slip fo r that young springald might
have smelled a rat and played u s some ill turn
Have you chanced to s e e my sil ken kerchief
Not I I answered
Nay then it must have fall en from my bosom
during o ur ru fe I c an ill afford to leave it for I
travel light in su ch matters Eight hun dr ed men
quoth the maj or and three thousand to follow
Should I meet this same O glethorpe o r O gilvy when
the little business is over I shall read him a lesson o n
thinking less of chemistry and more o f the need Of
preserving mili tary precautions It is well always
to be courteous to strangers and to give them i n for
.

1 06

O F O UR PERIL O U S AD V ENT UR E

mation but it is well also that the information


should be false
As his may have been I suggested
Nay nay the words came t o o glibly from hi s
tongue S O ho Chloe s o ho ! She is full o f oats
and would fain gallop but it is so plaguy dark that
we c an scarce s e e where we are going
We had been trotting down the broad high road
S ki mm e ri n g vaguely white in the gloom with the
S hadowy trees dancing past us o n either S ide scarce
outlined against the dark background Of cloud
We were n o w coming upon the eastern edge Of the
great pl a in which extends forty miles o n e w a y and
twenty the other over the greater part Of Wilt
shire and past the boundaries Of Somersetshire
The main road to the West skirts this wilderness
but we had agreed to follow a less important track
which would lead us to o ur goal though in a more
tedious manner Its i n s ig n ic a n ce would we hoped
prevent it from being guarded b y the K i ng s horse
W e had come to the point where this byroad
branches o f from the main highway when we heard
the clatter o f horses hoofs behind us
Here comes some o n e w ho is not afraid to
gallop I remarked
Halt here in the shadow ! cried S axon in a
short quick whisper
Have your blade loose in
the scabbard He must have a s e t errand w ho
rides so fast 0 nights
Looking down the road w e could make out
through the darkness a shadowy blur which soon
resolved itself into man and horse The rider w a s
well nigh abreast Of us before he w a s aware Of o ur
presence when he pulled up his steed in a strange
awkward fashion and faced round in o ur di re c
tion
,

1 07

M I CA H C L A R K E

Micah C larke there ? he said in a voice


which was very familiar to my ears
I am M icah Clarke said I

And I am Reuben L o ckarb y cried our pur


suer in a mock heroic voice
Ah Micah lad I d
embrace you were it not that I should assuredly
fall o ut Of the saddle if I tried it and perchance
drag you along That sudden pull up well nigh
landed me o n the roadway I have been sliding
O ff and clambering o n ever since I bade good bye
to Havant S ure such a horse fo r slipping from
under o n e w as never bestridden by man

Good Heavens Reuben ! I cried in amaze


ment
what brings y o u all this w ay from
home ?
The very same cause which brings you M icah
and also D o n Decimo S axon late O f the Solent
whom methinks I see in the shadow b ehind you
How fares it Oh illustrious o n e

It is you then young cock of the w oods !


growled S axon in no very overj oyed voice

NO less a person said Reuben


And now
my gay ca vali e ros round with your horses and trot
on your way fo r there is no time to be lost We
ought all to be at Taunton to morrow

But my dear Reuben said I it cannot b e


that you are coming with us to j oin Monmouth
What would your father say ? This is no holi day
j aunt but one that may have a s a d and stem end
ing At the best victory c a n only come through
much bloodshed and danger At the worst w e are
as like to wind up upon a scaffold as n o t
Forwards lads forwards ! cried he spurring

on his horse it i s all arranged and settled 1 am


am about to offer my august person together wit h
a sword which I borrowed and a horse which I
Is

1 08

O F O UR PERIL O U S AD V ENT URE

stole to his most Protestant highness James Duke


Of Monmouth
?
But how comes it all
I asked as w e rode o n

together
It warms my very heart to s e e y o u
but yo u were never concerned either in religion o r
in politics Whence then this sudden resolve ?
Well truth to tell he replied I am neither a
king s man n o r a duke s man nor would I give a
button which s at upon the throne I do not s u p
pose that either one o r the other would increase the
custom O f the Wheatsheaf o r want Reuben Lock
arby fo r a councillor I am a Micah Clarke man
though from the crown Of my head to the soles Of
my feet and if he ride to the wars may the plague
strike me if I don t stick to his elbow !
He raised
his hand excitedly as he spoke and instantly losing
his balance he shot into a dense clump o f bushes
b y the roadside whence his legs appe d helplessly
in the darkness
That makes the tenth said he scrambling o ut

and clambering into his saddle once more


My
father used to tell me n o t to s it a horse too closely
A gentle rise and fall said the Old man Egad
there is more fall than rise and it is anyt hing but

gentle
H o w in
O dd s truth
ex c laimed S axon
the name O f all the saints in the calendar do y o u
expect to keep your seat in the presence Of an
enemy if y o u lose it o n a peaceful high road
I can but try my illustrious he answered re
arranging his ru fed C lothing
Perchance the
sudden and unexpected character o f my movements
may disconcert the said enemy
Well well there may be more t ruth in that
than y o u are aware o ff quoth Saxon riding upon
L o c karby s bridle arm s o that there was scarce
,

1 09

M I C AH CLARK E

room for him to fall between us


I had sooner
ght a man like that young fool at the inn who
knew a li ttle Of the use Of his weapon than o n e
like Micah here o r yourself w ho know n othing
You c an tell what the o n e is aft er but the other
will invent a system Of his o w n which wi ll serve his
turn for the nonce O ber hauptmann Mull er w a s
reckoned to be the nest player at the small sword
in the Kaiser s army and could for a wager snick
any button from an Opponent s vest without cut
ting the cloth Yet w a s he slain in an encounter
with F a hn fd hre r Zollner who was a co m et in o ur
o w n Pandour corps and who knew as much o f the
rapier as you do of horsemanship F o r the rapier
be it understood is designed to thrust and n ot t o
c ut
s o that no man wielding it ever thinks o f
guardi ng a side stroke But Zoll ner being a long
armed man smote his antagonist across the face
with his weapon as though it had been a cane and
then ere he had time to recover himself fairly
pinked him Doubtless if the matter were to do
again the O ber
hauptmann would have got his
thrust in sooner but as it was no explanation o r
excuse could get over the fact that the man was
dead
If want of knowledge maketh a dangerous

swordsman quoth Reuben then a m I even more


deadly than the unpronounceable gentleman whom
you have mentioned To continue my story ho w
ever which I broke O ff in order to step down from
my horse I found out early in the morning that ye
were gone and Zachary Palmer was able to tell
me whither I made up my mind therefore that
I would out into the world also T O this end I
borrowed a sword from Solomon Sprent and my
father having gone to Gosport I helped myself t o
.

1 10

O F O UR PERI L O U S A D V ENTUR E

the best nag in his stablesfor I have t o o much re


spect fo r the O ld man to all ow o n e o f hi s esh and
blood to g O ill found t o the wars All day I have
ridden since early morning being twice stopped
but having the
o n suspicion Of being ill a ffected
good luck to get away each time I knew that I
was close at your heels for I found them searching

fo r you at the Salisbury Inn

?
Decimus whistled
Searching for us
said
he
Yes It seems that they had some notion that
ye were n o t what ye professed t o be so the inn
was surrounded as I passed but none knew which
road ye had taken
S aid I n o t s o
cried Saxon
That young
viper hath sti rred up the regiment against us We
must push o n for they may send a party o n our
track

We are O ff the main road now I remarked ;


even should they pursue us they would be un
likely t o follow this side track
Yet it would be wise to S how them a clean pair
said S axon spurring his mare into a
o f heels
gallop L ockarby and I followed his example and
w e all three rode swift ly along the rough moorland
t rack
We passed through scattered belts Of pinewood
where the wild c at howled and the o w l screeched
and across broad stretches o f fenland and moor
where the silence was only broken by the booming
cry of the bittern or the uttering o f wild duck far
above o ur heads The road was in parts overgrown
with brambles and was so deeply rutted and so
studded with sharp and dangerous hollows that
o ur horses came more than once upon their knees
I n one place t he wooden bridge which led over a
-

111

M I CAH CLARKE
stream had broken down and no atte m pt had b een
made to mend it s o that w e were compelled to ride
o ur horses girth deep through the water
At rst
some scattered li ghts had S hown that we were near
human habitations but these became fewer as we
advanced until the last died away and we found
ourselves upon the desolate moor which stretched
away in unbroken solitude to the shadowy horizon
The moon had broken through the clouds and n o w
shone hazily through wreaths o f m ist throwing a
dim light over the wild scen e and enabling us to
keep to the track which w a s not fenced in in
any way and could scarce be told from the plain
around it
We had slackened o u r pace under the belief that
all fear O f pursuit w as at an end and Reuben w a s
amusing us by an account O f the stir which had
been caused in Havant by o ur disappearance when
through the stillness Of t he night a dull muffled
rat tat tat struck upon my ear
At the same
moment S axon sprang from his horse and listened
intently with sidelong head
Boot and saddle ! he cried springing into his
seat again
They are after us as sure as fate A
dozen troopers by the sound We must shake
them O ff or good bye t o M onmouth
Give them their heads I answered and strik
ing spurs into our steeds we thundered on through
the darkness Covenant and Chloe were as fresh
as could be wished and soon settled down into
a long springy gall op O ur friend s horse how
ever had been travelling all day and its gasping
laboured breathing S howed that it could n o t hold
o u t for long
Through the clatter O f our horses
hoofs I could still from time t o time hear the dull
murmur from behind us
,

1 12

O F O UR PERI L O U S A D V ENTURE

Have a care Reuben said I anxiously as the


weary creature stumbled and the r i der came near
to shooting over its head
The Old horse is foundered he answered rue

fully
We are O ff the road now and the rough
ground is t o o much for her
Yes w e are O ff the track cried Saxon over his

shoulder for he led us by a fe w paces


Bear in
mind that the Bluecoats have been on the march
a ll day
s o that their horses may also be blown
H ow in Himmel came they to know which road
?
we took
As if in answer to his words there rose o ut of
the still night behind us a single clear bell li ke
note swelling and increasing in volume until it
seemed to ll t he whole air with its harmony
A bloodhound ! cried Saxon
A second sharper keener note ending in a erce
howl answered the rst

Another Of them said he


They have
loosed the brutes that we saw near the Cathedral
Gad ! we little thought when we peered over the
rails a t them a few hours ago that they would
s o soon be on our o w n track
Keep a rm knee
and a steady seat for a sli p now would be your
last

Holy mother ! cried Reuben I had steeled


myself to die in bat tlebut to be dog s me at ! It is
something outside the contract
They hold them in leash said Saxon between
his teeth else they would outstrip the horses and
be lost in the darkness Could we but come o n
running water we might put them O ff o ur track
M y horse cannot hold o n at this pace fo r more

than a very few minutes Reuben cried


If I
break down do ye go on for ye must remember
,

,
.

1 13

M I CA H

CLAR K E

that they are upon your track and not mine They
have found cause fo r suspicion O f the t w o strangers
Of the inn but none Of me
Nay Reuben we shall stand or fall together
said I sa dl y for at every step his horse grew more
and more feeble
I n this darkness they will
make little di stin ction between persons

Keep a good heart shouted the Old soldier


who was now lead ing us by twenty yards o r more
We can hear them because the wind blows from
that w a y but it s Odds whether they have heard us
Methinks they slacken in thei r pursuit

The sound O f their horses has indeed grown


fainter said I j oyfully
S O faint that I c a n hear it no longer my com
panion cried
We reined up our panting steeds and strained
o ur ears but not a sound could w e hear save the
gentle murmur o f the breeze amongst the whin
bushes and the melancholy cry O f the night
B ehind us the broad ro lli ng plain half light and
half shadow stretched away to the dim horizon
without S ign Of li fe or movement
We have either outstripped them completely
o r else they have
iven
up
the
chase
said
I
g
What ails the horses that they should tremble
and snort ?
My poor beast is nearly done for Reuben
remarked leaning for w ard and p assing his hand
do w n the creature s reeking neck

F o r a ll that w e cannot rest


said S axon

We may not be o ut o f danger yet Another


mile o r two may shake us clear
But I like it
.

n ot

Like not what


These horses and thei r terrors
1 14

The beast s can

O F O UR PERI L O U S AD V ENT URE

at times both see and hear more than we as I


could S ho w by divers examples drawn from mine
o w n experience o n the Danube and in the Palati
nate were the time and place more tting Let
us o n then before we rest
The weary horses responded bravely t o the call
and struggled on wards over the broken ground fo r
a considerable time At last we were thinki n g o f
pu lling up in good earnest when Of a sudden the
bell like baying broke upon o ur ears far louder than
it had been befores o loud indeed that it w as
clear that the dogs were close upon o ur heels

The accursed hounds !


cried S axon putting
S purs to his horse and shooting ahead Of us ; I
feared as much They have freed them from the
leash There is n o escape from the devils but we
can choose the spot where we S hall make o ur
stand

Come o n Reuben I shouted


We have
o nl y to reckon with the dogs now Their masters
have let them loose and turned back fo r S alis
bur

Pray heaven they b reak their necks before they

get there ! he cried


They s e t dogs on us as
though we were rats in a cock pit Yet they call
England a Christian count ry
It s n o use Micah
Poor Dido can t stir another step
A S he spoke the sharp erce bay O f the hounds
rose again clear and stem o n the night air swell
ing up from a lo w hoarse growl to a high angry
yelp There seemed to be a ring o f j o y in their
wild cry as though they knew that their quarry
was almost run to earth

Not another step ! said Reuben L o ckarby

pulli ng up and drawing his sword


If I mus t
ght I shall ght here
,

1 15

M I CAH C LARKE

There could be no better place I repli ed


Two great j agged rocks rose before us j utting o ut
Of the ground and leaving a space O f twelve or f
teen feet between them Through this gap we
rode and I shouted loudly for S axon t o j oin us
His horse however had been steadily gaining upon
ours and at the renewed alarm had darted o ff again
s o that he was already some hundred yards from
us It was useless to summon him even could he
hear our voices for the hounds would be upon us
before he could return

D O yo u
N ever heed him I said hurriedly
rein your steed behind that rock and I behind this
They will serve to break the force Of the attack
Dismount not but strike down and strike hard
O n either side in the shadow O f the rock we
waited in silence for o ur terrible pursuers Look
ing back at it my dear children I cannot but think
that it was a great trial on such young soldiers as
Reuben and myself to be put o n the rst occasion
of drawing o ur swords into such a position F o r I
have found and others have conrmed my opinion
that O f all dangers that a man is called upon to face
that arising from savage and determined animals i s
the most unnerving For with men there is ever
the chance that some trait of weakness o r o f want
Of courage may give you an advantage over them
but with erce beasts there is no such hope We
knew that the creatures to whom we were opposed
could never be turned from o ur throats while there
was breath in their bodies O ne feels in one s heart
t oo that the combat is an unequal o n e fo r your life
is precious at least to your friends while their lives
?
what are they
All this and a great deal more
passed swiftly through our minds as we s at with
drawn swords soothing o ur trembling ho rses as
,

116

OF O UR PERIL O U S AD V EN TURE

best w e might and waiting for the coming o f the


hound s
Nor had w e long to wait Another long deep
thunderous bay sounded in o ur ea rs followed by a
deep silence broken only by the quick shivering
breathing o f the horses Then suddenly and with
o u t sound a great tawny brute w ith its black muz
zle to the earth and its overhung cheeks apping
o n either side sprang into the band Of moonlight
between the rocks and on into the shadow beyond
It never paused or swerved for an instant but took
its course straight onwards without a glance to
right or t o left Close behind it came a second
and behind that a third all of enormous size and
looking even larger and more terrible than they
were in the dim shifting light Like the rst they
took no notice o f o ur presence but bounded on
along the trail left by Decimus S axon
The rst and second I let pass fo r I hardly u n
de rs t o o d that they so completely overlooked u s
When the third however sprang o ut into the
moonlight I drew my right hand pistol from its
holster and resting its long barrel across my left
forearm I red at it as it passed The bullet struck
the mark for the brute gave a erce howl Of rage
and pain but true to the scent it never turned o r
swerved L o ckarby red also as it sprang among
the brushwood but w ith no effect S O swi ft ly and
S O noiselessly did the great hounds pass that they
might have been grim silent S pirits Of the night
the phantom dogs o f Herne the hunter but for
that o n e erce yelp which foll owed my shot

What b rutes
my companion ej aculated ;
what S hall we do Micah ?

They have clearly been laid on Saxon s trail


s aid I
W e must follow them up or they will
,

117

M I CAH CLARKE
be too many for him Can yo u hear anything O f
?
r
o u pursuers

Nothi ng
They have given up the chase then and let the
dogs loose a s a last resource Doubtless the creat
ures are trained to return to the town B ut we
must push o n Reuben if we are to help o ur com
pan i on
O ne more spurt then little Dido cried Reu
ben ; can yo u muster strength for o n e more ?
Nay I have n o t the heart to put spurs to y o u I f
you can do it I kn ow y o u will
The brave mare snorted as though s he under
stood her rider s words and stretched her weary
limbs into a gallop S O stoutly did s he answer the
appeal that though I pressed Covenant to his top
most S peed s he was never more than a few strides
b ehind him
H e took this di rection said I peeri ng anxious

H e can scarce have


ly o ut into the darkness
gone far for he spoke o f making a stand O r per
haps nding that w e are not with him he may
trust to the speed Of his horse
What chance hath a horse Of outstripping
these brutes
Reuben answered
They must
run him to earth and he knows it Hu ll o ! w hat
?
have we here
A dark dim form lay stretched in the moonlight
in front O f u s It was the dead body Of a hound
the one at which I had red
There is one o f them disposed Of I cried j o y
we
have
but
two
to
settle
with
o usl
now
y
As I spoke we heard the crack Of t w o pistol
S hots some little distance to the le ft Heading o ur
steeds in that direction we pressed on at the t o p
Of o ur speed Presently out o f t he d arkn e ss i n
.

1 18

O F O UR PERI L O U S AD V ENTURE

front o f us there arose such a roaring and a yelping


as sent the hearts into o ur mouths I t was not a
single cry such as the hounds had uttered when
they were o n the scent but a continuous deep
mouthed uproar so erce and s o long that we
could not doubt that they had come to the end Of
their run
Pray Go d that they have not got him do w n
cried Reuben in a faltering voice
The same thought had crossed my own mind
for I have heard a similar thoug h lesser din come
from a pack o f otter hounds when they had over
taken their prey and were tearing it to pieces
Sick at heart I drew my sword with the vo w that
if we were too late to save o ur companion we
should at least revenge him upon the four footed
ends B ursting through a thick belt Of scrub
and tangled gorse bushes we came upon a scene
s o unlike what we had expected that w e pulled up
our horses in astonishment
A circular clearing lay in front O f u s brightly lit
by the silvery moonshine I n the centre o f this
rose a giant stone o n e o f those high dark columns
which are found all over the plain and especiall y
in the parts round Stonehenge It could not have
been less than fteen feet in height and had doubt
less been once straight but wind and weather or
the crumbling Of the soil had gradually su ffered it
to tilt over until it lay at such an angle that an
active man might C lamber to the summit O n the
top O f this ancient stone cross legged and motion
less like some strange carved idol Of former days
s at Decimus S axon
pu fng sedately at the long
pipe which was ever his comfort in moments O f
di fculty Beneath him at the base of the mono
lith as o ur learned men call them the two g reat
.

1 19

M I CA H CL A RKE
bloodhounds were rearing and springing clamber
ing over each other s backs in their frenzied and
futile eagerness to reach the impassive gure
perched above them while they gave vent to their
rage and disappointment in the hideous uproar
which had suggested such terrible thoughts to our
mind
W e had little time ho w ever to gaze at this
strange scene fo r upon o ur appearance the hounds
abandoned their helpless attempts to reach S axon
and ew with a erce snarl at Reuben and myself
O ne great brute with aring eyes and yawning
mouth his white fangs glistening in the moon
light S prang at my horse s neck ; but I met him
fair with a single sweeping c ut which shore away
his muzzle and left him wallowing and writhing in
a pool Of blood Reuben meanwh i le had spurred
his horse forward to meet his assailant ; but the
poor tired steed i n che d at the sight O f the erce
hound and pulled up suddenly with the result
that her rider rolled headlong into the very j aws O f
the animal It might have gone ill with Reuben
had he been left t o himsel f At the most he could
only have kept the cruel teeth from his throat
fo r a very few moments ; but seeing the m i s
chance I drew my remaining pistol and springing
from my horse red it full into the creature s
ank while it struggled with my friend With a
last yell O f rage and pain it brought it s erce j aws
together in o n e wild impotent snap and then sank
S lowly over upon its side while Reuben crawled
from beneath it scared and bruised but none the
worse otherwise for his perilous adventure

I o w e y o u o n e for that Micah he said


I
may live to do as much for you
And I o w e ye both o n e said S axon w ho had
,

1 20

O F O UR PERI L O U S AD V ENTURE

scrambled down from his place o f refuge


I pay
my debts too whether for good o r evil I might
have stayed up there unti l I had eaten m y j ack
boots fo r all the chance I had Of ever getting
down again S ancta Maria but that w as a shrewd
blow Of yours Clarke ! The brute s head e w in
halves like a rotten pumpkin N O wonder that
they stuck to my track fo r I have le ft both my
spare girth a nd my kerchief behind me which
would serve to put them o n Chloe s scent as well
as m i ne o w n

And where is Chloe ? I asked wiping my


sword
Chloe had to look o ut for herself I found the
brutes gaining o n me you see and I let drive at
them with my barkers but with a horse ying at
twenty mile an hour what chance is there fo r a
?
single slug nding its way home
Things looked
black then fo r I had no time to reload ; and the
rapier though the king o f weapons in the duello
is scarce strong enough t o rely upon on an occasion
like this As luck would have it j ust as I was
fairly puzzled what should I come across but this
handy stone which the good priests o f Old did
erect as far as I can s e e fo r no other purpose than
to provide worthy c a vali e ros with an escape from
such ignoble and scurvy enemies I had no time
to spare in clambering up it fo r I ha d to tear my
heel out o f the mouth Of the foremost o f them and
might have been dragged down by it had he n ot
found my S pur t o o tough a morsel for his chewing
But surely one o f my bullets must have reached i t s
mark
Lighting the touch paper in his tobacco
bo x he passed it over the body Of the hound
which had attacked me and then O f the other
Why this o n e is riddled like a sieve he cried
.

1 21

M I CAH CLARKE
Wh at do you load your petronels with good
Master Clarke ?
With two leaden slugs
Yet t w o leaden slugs have made a score o f
holes at the least And Of a ll things in this world
here is the neck O f a bottle stuck in the brute s
hide
Good heavens
I exclaimed
I remember
My dear mother packed a bottle O f Daffy s elixir in
the barrel o f my pistol
And you have shot it into the bloodhound !
H O ho ! When they hear that
roared Reuben
tale at the tap O f the Wheatsheaf there will be
some throats dry with laughter S aved my life by
shooting a dog with a bottle O f Daffy s elixir !

And a bullet as well Reuben though I dare


warrant the gossips will soon contrive to leave that
detail out It is a mercy the pistol did n o t burst
But what do you propose to do now Master
S axon ?
Why to recover my mare if it can any w ise

be done said the adventurer


Though o n this
vast moor in the dark s he will be as difcul t t o
nd as a S cotsman s breeches or a avo urle s s line in
Hudibras

And Reuben L o ckarb y s steed c an go no fur


ther I remarked
But do mine eyes deceive me
?
o r is there a glimmer o f light over yonder

A Will O the wisp said Saxon


,

A n ig ni s fa tuus that b e w i t che s


A nd lead s m e n i nt o p oo l s and

d i tche s

Yet I confess that it burns steady and clear as


though it came from lamp candl e rushli ght lan
thorn or other human agency
W h e re t here is light there is life cried Reu b en
,

1 22

O F O UR PERIL O U S AD V ENT URE

Let us make for it and see what chance O f shelter


w e may nd there
It cannot come from our dragoon fr i ends re
marked Decimus
A murrain o n them 1 ho w
came they to guess our true C haracter ; o r w a s it
o n the score Of some insult to the regimen t that
that young F ahn i hre r has s e t them o n o ur track ?
If I have him at my sword s point again he shall
not come o ff so free Well do ye lead your horses
and we shall explore this light since no better
course is open to u s
Picking our way across the moor we directed
o ur course for t he bright point which twinkled in
the distance ; and as we advanced we hazarded a
thousand conj ectures as t o whence it could come
If it were a human dwelling what sort Of being
could it be who not content with living in the
heart Of this wilderness had chosen a spot S O far
removed from the ordinary tracks which crossed it ?
The roadway was miles behind us and it w a s prob
able that no o n e save those driven by such a n e c e s
s i t y as that which had overtaken us would ever n d
themselves in that desolate region
N O hermit
could have desired an abode more completely iso
lated from all communion with his kind
As we approached we saw that the light did i n
deed come from a small cottage which was built in
a ho llow s o as to be invisible from any quarter save
that from which we approached it I n front Of this
humble dwell ing a small patch of ground had been
cleared o f shrub and in the centre o f this little
piece Of sward o u r missing steed stood grazing at
her leisure upon the scanty herbage The same
light which had attracted us ha d doubtless caught
her eye and drawn her towards it by hopes Of oats
and Of water With a grunt Of satisfaction S axon
,

1 23

M I CA H C L AR K E

es umed possession Of his lost property and leading


her by the bridle approached the door O f the soli
t ary c ott age
r

XI
OF

T H E L O N E LY

M A N A N D T H E G OL D

CH ES T

T HE strong yell ow glare which had attracted u s


across the moor found its way o ut through a S ingle
narrow slit alongside the door which served the
purpose O f a rude window As w e advanced tow
ards it the light changed suddenly to red and that
again to green throwing a ghastly pallor over o u r
faces and especially heightening the cadaverous
effect Of S axon s austere features At the same
time we b ecame aware O f a most subtle and noxious
Odour which poisoned the air all round the cottage
This combination Of portents in s o lonely a spot
worked upon the Old man a t arms superstitious
feeli ngs to such an extent that he paused and
looked back at us inquiringly Both Reuben and
I were determined however to carry the advent
ure through so he contented himself with falling
a little behind u s and pattering to himself some
exorcism appropriate to the occasion Walking up
to the door I ra pped upon it with the hilt Of my
sword and announced that we were w eary travellers
w ho were seeking a night s shelter
The rst result O f my appeal w a s a sound as o f
some one bustling rapidly about with the C linking
o f metal and noise of the turning Of locks
This
died away into a hush and I was about to knock
once more when a crackling voice greeted us from
the other side Of the door
.

1 24

O F THE L O N ELY MA N

There is little shelter here gentlemen and less

food it said
It is but s i x mil es to Amesbury
where at the Cecil Arms ye shall nd I doubt not
a ll that is needful for man and for beast
Nay nay mine invisible friend quoth Saxon
w ho w a s much reassured by the sound Of a human
voice
this is surely but a scurvy reception
O ne Of o ur horses is completely foundered and
none o f them are in very good plight so that w e
could no more make for the Cecil Arms at Ames
bury than for the Gruner Mann at Lubeck I
prithee therefore that you will allow us t o pass
the remainder Of the night under your roof
At this appeal there was much creaking Of locks
and rasping Of bolts which ended in the door
swinging slowly open and disclosing the person
who had addressed us
By the strong light which shone o ut from be
hind him we could s e e that he was a man of vener
able aspect with snow
white hair and a countenance
which bespoke a thoughtful and yet ery nature
The high pensive brow and owing beard smacked
Of the philosopher but the keen sparkling eye the
curved aquiline nose and the lithe upright gure
which the weight Of years had been unable to bend
all told O f the soldier His lofty bearing and his
rich tho ugh severe costume of black velvet were at
strange Odds with the humble nature Of the abode
which he had chosen for his dwelling place
HO
said he looking keenly at us
Two Of
ye unused t o war and the other an Old soldier Ye
have been pursued I se e

?
How did y o u kn ow that then
asked Deci
mus S axon
Ah my friend I too have served in my time
My eyes are n o t s o Old but that they can tell w hen
,

1 25

M I CAH CLAR K E
horses have been spurred to the utmost n or is it
difcult to s e e that this young giant s sword hath
been employed in something less innocent than
toasting bacon Your story however can keep
Every true soldier thinks rst o f his horse so I
pray that yo u w ill tether yours without since I
have neither ostler nor serving man to whom I may
entrust them
The strange dwelli ng into which we presently
entered had been driven into the side O f the little
hill against which it had been built so as to form
a very long narrow hall The ends o f this great
room as w e entered were wrapped in shadow but
in the centre was a bright glare from a brazier full
of coals over which a brass pipkin was suspended
Beside the re a long wooden table was plentifull y
covered with curved glass asks basins tubings
and other instruments Of which I knew neither the
name nor the purpose A long row O f b ottles con
taining various coloured liquids and powders were
arranged along a shelf whilst above it another shelf
bore a goodly array Of brown volumes For the
rest there w a s a second rough hewn table a pair Of
cupboards three o r four wooden settles and several
large screens pinned to the walls and covered all
over with gures and symbols Of which I could
make nothin g The vile smell which had greeted
us outside was very mu ch worse within the C hamber
and arose apparently from the fumes o f the boili ng
bubbling contents o f the brazen pot
Ye behold in me said our host bowing cour
t e ou sly to us
the last o f an ancient family I am
S ir Jacob Clan c i n g O f S n e lla by Hall
whispered
S m e lla by it should be methinks
Reuben in a voice which fortunately did n ot reach
the ears of the Old kn ight
,

1 26

O F T HE L O N ELY MAN
I pray that ye be seated

he continued and
that ye lay aside your plates and headpieces and
remove your boots Consider this to be your i n n
and behave a s freely Ye will hold me excused if
for a moment I turn my attention from you to this
operation o n which I am engaged which wi ll not
brook delay
S axon began forthwith to undo his buckles and
to pull O ff his harness wh i le Reuben throwing
himself into a chair appeared to be t o o weary to
do more than unfasten his sword belt F o r my
own part I was glad t o throw O ff my gear but I
kept my attention all the while upon the move
ments Of o ur host whose graceful manners and
learned appearance had aroused my curiosity and
a dmiration
He approached the evil smelling po t and stirred
it up with a face which indicated s o much anxiety
that it was clear that he had pushed hi s courtesy
to us S O far as to risk the ruin Of some important
experiment Dipping his ladl e into the compound
he scooped some up and then poured it slowly
back into the vessel showing a yellow turbid uid
The appearance of it evidently reassured him for
the look Of anxiety cleared away from his features
and he uttered an exclamation o f relief Taki n g a
handful of a whitis h powder from a trencher at his
side he threw it into the pipkin the contents o f
which began immediately to seethe and froth over
into the re causing the ames to assume the
strange greenish hue which we had observed before
entering This treatment had the effect Of C lear
ing the uid for the chemist w a s enabled to pour
O ff into a bottle a quantity Of perfectly watery
transparent liquid while a brownish sediment
remained in the vessel and w a s emptied out upon
,

1 27

M I CA H C LARKE

a sheet Of paper This done Sir Jacob Clan c i ng


pushed aside a ll his bottles and turned towards us
with a smiling face and a lighter air
We shall se e what my poor larder can furnish

forth said he
Meanwhil e this odour may be
O ffensive to your untrained nostrils s o w e shall
away with it
H e threw a few grai ns o f some bal
samic resin into the brazier which at once lled the
chamber with a most agreeable perfume He then
laid a white cloth upon the table and taking from
a cupboard a dish o f cold trout and a large meat
pasty he placed them upon it and invited us to
draw up our settles and set to work

I would that I had more toothsome fare to


Offer ye said he
Were w e at S n e lla by Hall ye
S hould n ot be put O ff in this scurvy fashion I
promise ye This may serve however fo r hungry
men and I can still lay my hands upon a brace o f
bottles of the Old Al icant
S O saying he brought
a pair Of asks o u t from a recess and havin g seen
us served and our glasses ll ed he seated himself
in a high backed oaken chair and presided with
Old fashioned courtesy over o ur feast
As w e
supped I explained to him what o ur errand was
and narrated the adventures Of the night without
maki ng mention o f o ur destination
Y o u are bound for Monmouth s camp
he
said quietly when I had nished looking me full
in the face with his keen dark eyes
I know it
but ye need not fear lest I betray you even were
it in my power What chance think ye hath the
Duke against the King s forces ?
As much chance as a farmyard fowl against a
spurred gamecock did he rely only on those whom
he hath with him S axon answered
He hath
reason to think however that all England is like
.

1 28

OF T H E L O N ELY MAN

a powder magazine and he hopes to be the spark


to s e t it ali ght
The Old man shook his head sadly
The King

hath great resources he remarked


Where is
Monmouth to get his trained soldiers ?
There is the m ili tia I suggested
And there are many of the O ld parliamentary
breed who are n ot t o o far gone to strike a blow

D O y o u but get
for their belief said S axon
half
a dozen broad brimmed
s n u fe nosed preach
ers into a camp and the whole Presbyt ery tribe
w ill swarm round them like i es o n a honey pot
NO recruiting sergeants will ever raise such an
army as did No ll s preachers in the eastern coun
ties where the promise O f a seat by the throne w a s
thought o f mo re value than a ten pound bounty
I would I could pay mine o w n debts with these
same promi ses
I should j udge from your speech sir o ur host
O b served that y o u are not o n e o f the sectaries
H o w comes it then that y o u are throwing the
weight Of your sword and your experience into the
w eaker scale ?

F o r the very reason that it is the weaker scale


said the soldier Of fortune
I should gladly have
gone with my brother to the Guinea coast and had
no say in the matter o n e way o r the other beyond
delivering letters and such t ri e s Since I must
be doing something I choose to ght for Protes
t a n t i s m and Monmouth
It is nothing to me
whether James Stuart or James Walters sits upon
the throne but the court and army O f the King are
already made up
NO W since Monmouth hath
b oth courtiers and soldiers to nd it may well hap
pen that he may be glad Of my services and rew ard
them with honourable preferment
,

1 29

M I CAH CLARK E

Your logic is sound said our host save o nl y


that you have omitted the very great chance which
you will incur of losing your head if the Duke s
party are borne down by the Odds against them
A man cannot throw a main without putting a
stake o n the board said S axon

And you young sir the Old man asked what


has caused y o u to take a hand in s o dangerous a
game
I come o f a Roundhead stock I answered
and my folk have always fought for the liberty o f
the people and the humbling O f tyran ny I come
in the place Of my father
And you s i r ? o ur questioner conti nued look
ing at Reuben
I have come to see something of the world and
to be with my friend and compani on here he re
lied
P
And I have stronger reasons than any of ye
Sir Jacob cried for appearing in arms against any
man w ho bears the name O f Stuart Had I n ot a
mission here which cannot be neglected I might
myself be tempted to hie westward with ye and
put these grey hairs Of mine once more in to the
rough clasp of a steel headpiece F or where now
is the noble castle Of S n e ll aby and where those
glades and woods amidst which the Clan ci n g s have
grown up and lived and died ere ever Norman
W ill iam s e t his foot on English soil ? A man Of
tradea man w ho by the sweat Of his half starved
workers had laid by ill gotten wealth is now the
owner o f a ll that fair property S hould I the last
o f the C la n c i n s show my face upon it I might be
g
handed over to the village bea dl e as a trespasser o r
sco urged O ff it perhaps by the bowstrin gs o f inso
lent huntsmen
,

1 30

O F T HE L ON ELY MAN

And ho w comes so sudden a reverse Of fort


une ? I asked
Fill up your glasses
cried the Old man suit
ing the action to the word
Here s a toast fo r
you ! Perdition to all faithless princes ! H o w
?
a
s
k
came it about ye
Why when the troubles
came upon the r st Charles I stood by him as
though he had been mine own brother At Edge
hill at Naseby in twenty ski rmishes and battles
I fought stoutly in his cause maintaining a troop
of horse at my own expense formed from among
my o w n gardeners grooms and attendants Then
the military chest ran low and money must be had
to carry on the contest My sil ver chargers and
candlesticks were thro w n into the melting pot as
were those O f many another cavalier They went
in metal and they came o ut as troopers and pike
men S O we tided over a few months until again
the purse was empty and again we lled it amongst
us This time it was the home farm and the oak
trees that went Then came Marston Moor and
every penny and man was needed to repair that
great disaster I i n che d n ot but gave everything
This boiler Of soap a prudent fat cheeked man
had kept himself free from civil broils and had
long had a covetous eye upon the castle It was
his ambition poor worm to be a gentleman as
though a gabled roof and a crumbling house could
ever m ake him that I let him have his w ay ho w
ever and threw the s u m received every guinea o f
it into the King s co ffers And s o I held o ut until
the nal ruin Of Worcester when I covered the re
treat o f the young prince and may indeed s a y that
save in the Isle Of Man I w a s the last Royali st
who upheld the authority Of the crown The Co m
mon w e alt h had s e t a price upon my head as a d a n
.

1 31

M I CAH CLAR KE
mal
i
gnant
s o I was forced to take my
g
passage in a Harwich ketch and arrived in the
Lowlands with nothing save my sword and a few
broad pieces in my pocket
A cavali er might do well even then remarked
S axon
There are ever wars in Germany where
a man is worth his hire W hen the Nort h Ger
mans are not in arms against the Swedes o r French
the South Germans are sure to be havin g a turn
with the j anissaries
I did indeed take arms for a time in the employ
o f the United Provinces by which means I came
face to face once more with mine Old foes the
Roundheads O liver had lent R e yn o lds s brigade
to the French and right glad w a s Louis to have
the service of such seasoned troops
F o re God I
stood on the counterscarp at Dunkirk and I found
myself when I should have been helping the de
fence actuall y cheering o n the attack
My very
heart rose when I s aw the bull dog fellows clamber
ing up the breach with their pikes at the trail and
never quavering in their psalm tune though the
b ullets sung around them as thick as bees in the
hiving time A n d when they did come to close
hugs with the Flemin gs I tell you they set up such
a rough cry o f soldierly j oy that my prid e in them
as Englishmen overtopped my hatred O f them as
foes
However my soldiering was O f no great
duration for peace was soon declared and I then
pursued the study o f chemistry for which I had a
strong love rst with V o rhaag e r of Leyden and
later with D e Huy of Strasburg though I fear that
these weighty names are but sounds to yo ur ears
Truly said S axon there seemeth to be some
fatal snare in this same chemistry for w e met t w o
O f cers Of the Blue Guards in Salisbury who
e ro u s

1 32

O F THE L O NE LY MA N

though they were stout soldierly men in other re


S e c t s had also a weakness in that direction
p
Ha ! cried Sir Jacob with interest
To
what school did they belong ?
Nay I know nothing o f the matter S axon
answered
save that they denied that Ge rvi n u s
o r any
whom
I
guarded
in
prison
o f N u rn b e r
g
other man could tr a nsmute metals
For Ge rvi n us I cannot answer said o ur host
but for the possibility O f it I c an pledge my
knightly word
However of that anon
The
time came at last when the second Charles was i n
v i t e d back to his throne and all O f us from Je ffrey
Hudson the court dwarf up to my Lord Cla re n
do n were i n high feather at the hope O f regaining
F or my o w n C laim I let it
o ur own once more
stand fo r some time thinking that it would be a
more graceful act for the Kin g to help a poor cava
lier who had ruined himself for the sake o f his fam
ily without solicitation o n his part I waited a nd
waited but no word came S 0 at last I betook m y
self to the lev e and was duly presented to him
Ah said he greeting me with the cordiality
which he could assume s o well y o u are if I mis
take n ot Sir Jasper Killigrew ?
Nay your Maj
esty I answered I am Sir Jacob Clan ci n g for
merly O f S n e lla by Hall in Staffordshire and with
that I reminded him o f Worcester ght and o f
many passages which had occurred to us in c o m

mon
O d s sh ! he cried how could I be so
forgetful ! And how are all at S n e llaby
I
then explained to him that the Hall had passed
o ut O f my hands and told him in a few words the
state to which I had been reduced
His face
clouded over and his manner chilled to me at once
They are all o n to me fo r money and for places

1 33

M I CA H C LARKE
he said and truly the Commons are s o niggardly
to me that I can scarce be generous to others
However S ir Jacob we shall see what c an be done
fo r thee and with that he dismissed me
That
same night the secretary o f my Lord Clarendon
came to me and announced with much form and
show that in consideration Of my long devotion
and the losses which I had sustained the King
was graciously pleased to make me a lottery cava
lier
And pray s ir wh at is a lottery cavali er ? I
asked
It is nothing else than a licensed keeper Of a
gambling house This w a s his reward to me I
w a s to be allowed t o have a den in the piazza Of
Covent Garden and there to decoy the young
sparks O f the town and eece them at ombre To
restore my own fortunes I w a s to ruin others M y
honour my family my reputation they were a ll to
weigh for nothing s o lo n g as I had the means Of
bubbli ng a fe w fools out Of their guineas
I have heard that some O f the lottery cavaliers
did well remarked S axon re e ct i ve ly
Well o r ill it w a s no employment for me I
waited upon the Ki ng and implored that his
bounty would take another form His only reply
w as that for one s o poor I was strangely fastidious

F o r weeks I hung about the court I and other


poor cavaliers like myself watching the royal
brothers squandering upon their gaming and their
harlots sums which would have restored us to o u r
lands I have seen Charles put upon o n e turn Of
a card as much as would have satised the most
needy o f us I n the parks O f St James or in the
Gall ery at Whitehall I still tried to keep myself
before his eyes in the hope that some provis i on
,

1 34

OF T HE L O NE LY MAN

would be made fo r me At last I received a se e


Ond message from him It w a s that unless I could
dress more in the mode he could dispense with my
attendance
That w a s his message to the Old
broken soldier who had sacriced health wealth
position everything in the service Of his father and
himself
Shameful we cried all three
Can you wonder then that I cursed the whole
Stuart race false hearted lecherous and cruel ?
F or the Hall I could buy it back t o morrow if I
chose but why should I do s o when I have no
heir
said Decimus
H O you have prospered then
Saxon with o n e of his shrewd sidelong looks
Perhaps you have yourself found o ut how to con
vert pots and pans into gold in the w ay you have
spoken O f But that cannot be for I s e e iron and
brass in this room which would hardly remain
there could you convert it t o gold
Gold has its uses and iron has its uses said
S ir Jacob oracularly
The o n e ca n never s up
plant the other
Yet these Ofcers I remarked did declare to
us that it was but a superstition Of the vulgar
Then these o fcers did S how that their knowl
edge w as less than their prej udice Alexander S e
t o n i u s a S cot w a s rst o f the moderns to achieve
it In the month O f March 1 6 0 2 he did change a
bar O f lead into gold in the house Of a certain Han
s e n a t Rotterdam who hath testied to it
He
then n ot only repeated the same process before three
learned men sent by the Kaiser Rudolph but he
taught Johann Wolfgang Dienheim o f F re i bo urg
and Gust e n ho fe r Of Strasburg which latter taught
it to my o w n i llustrious master
.

10

1 35

M I CAH CLARKE

Who in turn taught it to you cried Saxon


triumphantly
I have no great store O f metal
with me good s i r but there are my head piece
back and breast plate taslets and thigh pieces to
gether with my sword spurs and the buckles o f
my harness I pray you to us e your most excel
lent and praiseworthy art upon these and I will
promise within a fe w days to bring round a mass
which shall be more worthy O f your
o f metal
s kill
Nay nay said the alchemist smiling and shak
ing his head
It c an indeed be done but only
slowly and in order small pieces at a time and with
much cost Of work and patience F o r a man to
enrich himself at it he must labour hard and long ;
yet in the end I will not deny that he may compass
it And n o w since the asks are empty and your
young comrade is nodding in his chai r it wi ll per
haps be as well fo r y o u to spend a s much Of the
night as is left in repose
He drew several blan
kets and rugs from a corner and scattered them

over the oor


It is a soldier s couch he re
marked
but ye may sleep o n worse before ye put
Monmouth on the English throne F o r myself it
is my custom to sleep in an inside C hamber which
is hollowed o ut of the hi ll With a fe w last words
and precautions for our comfort he withdrew with
the lamp passing through a door which had e s
caped o ur notice at the further end Of the apart
ment
Reuben having had no rest since he left Havant
had already dropped upon the rugs and w as fast
asleep with a saddle for a pillow S axon and I s at
for a few minutes longer by the light o f the burning
brazier
O ne might do worse than take to this same

1 36

O F THE L ON ELY MAN

chemical business my companion remarked knock


ing the ashes out o f hi s pipe
S ee y o u yon iron
bound chest in the corner
W hat Of it ?
It is t w o thirds full of gold which this worthy
gentleman hath made
How know you that ? I asked incredulously
When you did strike the door panel with the
hilt Of your sword as though you would drive it in
you may have heard some scuttling about and the
turning o f a lock Well thanks to my inches I
was able to look through y o n slit in the wa ll and
I saw our friend throw something into the chest
with a chink and then lock it It was but a glance
at the contents yet I could swear that that du ll
yellow light could come from no metal but gold
Let us see if it be indeed locked
Rising from his
seat he walked over to the box and pu lled Vigor
o us ly at the lid
Forbear S axon forbear !
I cried angrily
What would o ur host say should he come upon
you ?
Nay then he should not keep such things be
neath his roo f With a chisel or a dagger n o w
this might be prized open

By Heaven ! I whispered if y o u should at


tempt it I shall lay y o u o n your back
Well well young Anak ! it was but a passing
fancy to see the treasure again N o w if he were
but well favoured to the King this would be fair
prize Of war Marked ye not that he claimed t o
have been the last Royalist who drew sword in
England ? and he confessed that he ha d been pro
scribed as a malignant Your father godly as he
is would have little compunction in despoiling such
an Amalekite Besides bethink yo u he c a n make
,

1 37

M I CAH C LARKE

more as easily as your good mother maketh cran


berry dumpli ngs

Enough said ! I answered sternly


It will
n o t bear discussion
Get ye to your couch lest I
summon o ur host and tell him what manner o f man
he hath entertained
With many grumbles S axon consented at last to
curl his long limbs upon a mat whilst I lay by his
side and remained awake until the mellow light Of
morning streamed through the chinks between the
ill covered raft ers
Truth to tell I feared to sleep
lest the freebooting habits Of the soldier Of fortune
should be t o o strong for him and he should dis
grace u s in the eyes O f o u r kindly entertainer At
last however his long drawn breathin g assured me
that he was asleep and I was able to settle down
t o a few hours of welcome rest

X II
OF

CE R TA I N

P A SS A G E S U PO N THE M OO R

I N the morning aft er a breakfast furnished by the


,

remains O f our supper we looked to o ur horses and


prepared fo r o ur departure Ere we could mount
however o ur good host came running out to us
with a load o f armour in his arms

Come hither said he beckoning to Reuben


I t is not meet lad that you should go bare
breasted against the enemy when your comrades
are girt with steel I have here m ine o w n O ld
breastplate and head piece which should methinks
t you for if y o u have more esh than I I am a
larger frame O f a man Ah said I not s o W e re t
,

1 38

CER T AI N PAS SAGE S UP O N T HE M O O R


measured fo r y o u by Silas Thomson the court ar
mourer it could not grip better N o w o n with
the head piece A C lose t again You are n o w
a cavalier whom Monmouth o r any other leader
might be proud to see ride beneath his banner
Both helmet and body plates were O f the nest
Milan steel richly inlaid with silver and with gold
and carved all over in rare and curious devices
S O stern and soldierly w a s the effect that the
ruddy kindly visage Of o ur friend staring o ut o f
such a panoply had an ill matched and somewhat
ludicrous appearance
N ay nay cried the O ld cavalier seeing a smile

upon our features it is but right that s o precious


a j ewel as a faithful heart should have a tting
casket to protect it
I am truly beholden to y o u s i r said Reuben ;

I can scarce nd words to express my thanks


Holy mother ! I have a mind to ride straight back
to Havant to S how them ho w stout a man at arms
hath been reared amongst them

It is steel O f proof Sir Jacob remarked ; a


pistol bu llet might glance from it And y o u he
continued turning to me here is a small gi ft by
which you shall remember this meeting I did O b
serve that you cast a wistful eye upon my book
shelf I t is Plutarch s lives of the ancient worthies
done into English by the ingenious Mr Latimer
Carry this volume with y o u and shape your life
aft er the example o f the giant men whose deeds are
here set forth In your saddle bag I place a small
but w eighty packet which I desire you to hand
over to Monmouth upon the day O f your arrival
in his camp A s to you S ir addressing Decimus
S axon here is a slug o f virgin gold for you which
may fashion into a pin or such like ornament Y o u
,

1 39

M I C A H CL A RKE
may wear it with a quiet conscience for it is fairly
given to you and n o t lche d from your host whilst
he slept
S axon and I shot a sharp glance Of surprise at
each other at this speech which showed that o ur
words O f the night before were not unknown t o
him Sir Jacob however showed no signs Of anger
but proceeded to point out our road and to advise
us as to our j ourney

You must fo ll ow this sheep track until you


come o n another and broader path which makes for
the West said he
I t is little used and there is
small chance of your falling in with any o f your
enemies upon it This path will lead y o u between
the villages Of Fovant and Hindon and so o n to
Mere which is no great distance from B ruton
upon the Somersetshire border
Thanking o ur venerable host for his great ki nd
ness towards us w e gave rein to o ur horses and
left him once more to the strange lone existence in
which we had found him S O artfully had the site
o f his cottage been chosen
that when we looked
back to give him a last greeting both he and his
dwelling had disappeared already from our View
nor could we among the many mounds and hol
lows determine where the cottage lay which had
given us such welcome shelter In front Of us and
on either side the great uneven dun coloured plain
stretched away to the horizon without a break in
its barren gorse tu ft ed surface O ver the whole
expanse there was no S ign of life save for an o c
c a s i o n a l rabbit which whisked into its burrow o n
hearing o ur approach o r a fe w thin and hungry
sheep who could scarce sustain li fe by feeding o n
the coarse and wiry grass which sprang from the
unfruitful soil
,

1 40

CER T AI N PAS S AGE S UP O N T HE M O O R

The pathway w a s s o narrow that only o n e Of us


could ride upon it at a time but w e presently
abandoned it altogether using it simply a s a guide
and galloping along side by side over the roll i n g
plain We were a ll silent Reuben meditating upon
his new corslet as I could s e e from his frequent
glances at it ; while Saxon with his eyes half
closed was brooding over some matter o f his o w n
F o r my o w n part my thoughts ran upon the vile
ness o f the Old soldier s designs upon the gold chest
and the added shame which rose from the knowl
edge that o ur host had in some w a y known his i n
tention N O good could come o f an all iance with a
man so devoid Of all feeli ngs Of honour o r Of grati
tude S O strongly di d I feel upon it that I at last
broke the silence by pointing to a cross path which
turned away from the o n e which w e were pur
suing and recommending him to follow it since he
had proved that he was no t company for honest
men
By the li ving rood he cried laying his hand
upon the hil t o f his rapier have you taken leave
Of your senses ? These are words such as no hon
o ura ble cavali ero can abide
They are none the less words Of truth I a n
,

s w e re d

His blade ashed out in an instant while his


mare bounded twice her length under the sharp
dig Of hi s spurs

We have here he cried reining her round


with his erce lean face all of a quiver with passion
an excellent level stretch on which to discuss the
matter O ut with your bilbo and maintain your
words
I shall not stir a hair s breadth to attack y o u
I answered
Why should I when I bear y o u no
,

141

M I CAH CLARKE
ill will ? If you come against me however I will
assuredly beat you o ut o f your saddle for all your

tricky sword play


I drew my broadsword as I
spoke and stood upon my guard for I guessed
that with so Old a soldier the onset would be sharp
and sudden

By a ll the saints in heaven ! cried Reuben


which ever of ye strikes rst at the other I ll snap
this pistol at his head None O f your j okes D on
Decimo for by the Lord I ll let drive at y o u if
son
Put
up
your
o u were my own mother s
y
sword fo r the trigger falls easy and my nger is
a twitching
Curse you for a spoil sport ! growled S axon

sulkily S heathing his weapon


N ay Clarke he

added aft er a few moments of reection this is


but C hild s play that t w o c a mara do s with a pur
pose i n View should fall o ut over such a trie I
who am O ld enough to be your father should have
known better than to have drawn upon you fo r a
boy s tongue wags on impulse and without due
thought D O but say that you have said more
than y o u meant
My w a y Of saying it may have been over plain
and rough I answered for I s aw that he did but
want a little salve where my short words had galled

him
At the same time our ways differ from
your ways and that must be mended o r you can
be no true comrade Of ours
All right Master Morality quoth he
I
must e en unlearn some o f the tricks O f my trade
O d s feet man if ye Obj ect to me what the henker
would ye think o f some whom I have known ?
However let that pass It is time that w e were
at the wars for o ur good swords will not hi de in
their scabbards
-

1 42

PA S S A GE S U P ON T H E

CE RTAI N

MOOR

he trenchant b lad T led tru ty


F o w a nt O f ght i ng w s gr w n ru s ty
A nd ate i nt i t s elf f la c k
O f s o m e b dy t o he w and hack

e,

or

Y ou

cannot think a thought but Old S amuel hath


been before you
S urely we shall be at the end Of this dreary

plain presently Reuben cried


Its insipid at
ness is enough to s e t the best of friends by the c a rs
We might be in the deserts Of Libya instead of his
most graceless Maj esty s county Of Wiltshire
There is smoke over yonder upon the side o f
that hill said Saxon pointing to the southward
Methinks I s e e o n e straight line of houses
there I Observed shading my eyes with my hand
But it is distant and the shimmer Of the s un dis
t urbs the sight

It must be the hamlet o f Hindon said Reu


ben
O h the heat o f this steel coat
I wonder
if it were very unsoldierly to slip it O ff and tie it
about Dido s neck I shall be baked alive else
like a crab in its shell How say you illustrious is
it contravened by any Of those thirty nine articles
O f war which you bea r about in your bosom ?
The bearing O f the weight o f your harness

young man Saxon answered gravely is o n e of


the exercises Of war and as such only attainable
by such practice as y o u are now undergoing You
have many things to learn and o n e Of them is not
to present petronels t o o readily at folk s heads
when you are o n horseback
The j erk O f your
charger s movement even now might have draw n
your trigger and s o deprived Monmouth O f an o ld
and tried soldier
There would be much weight in yo ur co nt e n
tion my friend answered w ere it n ot that I no w

1 43

M I CA H CLARKE
bethink me that I had forgot to recharge my pistol
s i nce discharging it at that great yell ow beast yes
t e rn i g ht

Decimus S axon shook his head sadly


I doubt
we shall never make a soldier o f you he remarked
Y o u fall from your horse if the brute does but
change his step you S how a levity which will not
j ump with the gravity Of the true soldado y o u
present empty petronels as a menace and nally
you crave permission to tie your armour armour
which the Cid himself might be proud to wear
around the neck o f your horse
Yet y o u have
heart and mettle I be lieve else you would n o t be
here
Gracias Signor ! cried Reuben with a b o w

which nearly unhorsed him


the last remark
makes up for a ll the rest else had I been forced to
cross blades with you to uphold my soldierly re
pute
Touching that same incident last night said
S axon Of the chest ll ed as I guess with gold
which I was inclined to take as lawful plunder I
am now ready to admit that I may have sho w n an
undue haste and precipitance considering that the
O ld man treated us fairly
S ay no more o f i t I answered if you will but
uard
against
such
impulses
for
the
future
g

They do not properly come from me he re

plied
but from Will S pot t e rbridg e who was a
man o f no character at all
And how comes he to be mixed up in the
matter ? I asked curiously
Why marry in this wise My father married
the daughter Of this same W ill S pot t e rb ridg e and
so weakened a good O ld stock by an unsound strain
W ill was a rake hell o f Fleet Street in the days O f
.

1 44

C ER T A IN PAS SAGE S UP O N THE M O O R

James a chosen light of Alsatia the home Of bu llies


and Of brawlers His blood hath through his da ug h
ter been passed to the ten of us though I rej oice to
say that I being the tenth it had by that time lost
much of its poison and indeed amounts to li ttle
more than a proper pride and a laudable desire to
prosper
I asked
H ow then ha s it affected the race
Why he answered the S axons Of Old were
a round faced contented family with their ledgers
in their hands for s i x days and their bibles o n the
seventh If my father did but drink a cup O f small
beer more than his wont o r did break o u t upon
provocation into any fond oath as O d s niggers
Heart alive ! he would mourn over it as
or
though it were the seven deadl y sins Was this a
man think ye in the due course O f nature to beget
ten long lanky children nine o f whom might have
been rst cousins Of Lucifer and foster brothers Of
Beelzebub
It was hard upon him remarked Reuben
O n him ! N ay the hardship was all with us
If he with his eyes open chose to marry the daughter
O f an incarnate devil li ke Will S o t t e rb ri d e b e
g
p
cause S he chanced to be powdered and patched to
his liking what reason hath he for complaint ? It
is we who have the blood O f this H ector Of the
taverns graft ed upon o ur o w n good honest stream
w ho have most reason to li ft up o ur voices
Faith by the same chain Of reasoning said
Reuben one O f my ancestors must have married
a woman with a plaguy dry throat for both my
father and I are much troubled with the com

plaint
You have assuredly inheri ted a plaguy pert

tongue growled S axon


From what I have told
,

1 45

M I CAH CLAR K E

you you will see that o ur whole life is a strife be


tween O u r natural Saxon virtue and the ungodly
S po t t e rbri dg e taint
That o f which you have had
cause to complain yesternight is but an example O f
the evil to which I am subj ected

And your brothers and sisters


I asked
how
hath this affected them ?
The road was bleak
and long s o that the Old soldier s gossip w a s a wel
come break to the tedium o f the j ourney
They have all succumbed said Saxon with a
groan
Alas alas they were a goodly company
could they have turned their talents to better uses
Prima was o ur eldest born S he did well until she
reached womanhood S ecundus was a stout s e a
man and owned his own vessel when he w a s yet a
young man It was remarked however that he
started o n a voyage in a schooner and came back in
a brig which gave rise to some inquiry It may
be as he said that he found it drifting in the North
Se a and left his o w n vessel in favour O f it but they
hung him before he could prove it Tertia ran
away with a north country drover and hath b e en
o n the run ever since
Quartus and N onus have
been long engaged in busying themselves over the
rescue Of the black folk from their o w n benighted
and heathen country conveying them over by the
shipload to the plant ations where they may learn
the beauties Of the Christian religion They are
however men o f violent te mper and profane speech
w ho cherish n o love for their younger brother
Quintus was a lad Of promise but he found a hogs
head o f rumbo which w a s thrown up from a wreck
and he died soon afterwards S extus might have
done well for he became clerk to Johnny Tranter
the attorney but he shi ft ed the whole business
papers cash and all t o the Lowlands to the no
,

1 46

CERTA IN PA S S A G E S UP O N THE M O O R
small trouble Of his employer w ho hath n ever been
able t o lay hands either on one o r the other from
that day to this Septimus died young at the
hands of some travell ers upon Finchley Heath
As to O ctavius Will S po t t e rbri dg e broke out sadly
in him and he w a s S lain in a quarrel over some
dice which were said by his enemies to be so
weighted that the s i x must ever come u pwards
Let this moving tale be a warning t o ye if ye are
fools enough to saddle yourselves with a wife t o
s e e that she hath no vice in he r for a fair face is a
sorry make weight against a foul mind
Reuben and I could not but laugh over this
frank family story which o u r companion told with

o ut a sign O f shame o r sorrow


Ye have paid a
heavy price fo r your father s want o f sense I re

marked
But what in the name o f fate is this
upon our left ?
A gibbet by the look O f it said S axon peer
ing across at the gaunt framework Of wood which
rose up from a little knoll
Let us ride past it
fo r it is little o ut Of o ur way
They are rare things
in England though by my faith there were more
gallows than milestones when Turenne was in the
Palatinate What between the spies and traitors
who were bred by the war the rascally S chwarz
ritter and L an z kn e c ht e the Bohemian vagabonds
and an occasional countryman who w a s put out of
the way lest he do something amiss there was never
such a brave time fo r the crows
As we approached this lonely gibbet we s aw that
a dried up wisp O f a thing which could scarce be
recognized as having once been a human being was
dangling from the centre o f it This wretched relic
Of mortality was tied to the cross bar by an iron
chain a n d appe d drearily backwards and forwards
,

1 47

M I CA H CLAR KE

in the summer breeze We had pulled up o ur


horses and were gazing in sil ence at this sign post
Of death when what had seemed to us to be a
bundle of rags thrown down at the foot Of the
gallows began suddenl y to move and turned to
wards us the wizened face Of an aged woman s o
marked with evil passions and s o malignant in its
expression that it inspired us with even more horror
than the unclean thing which dangled above her
head

Gott in Himmel ! cried Saxon


it is ever
thus ! A gibbet draws witches as a magnet draws
needles A ll the hexerei o f the country side will sit
round o n e like cats round a milk pail Beware Of
her ! she hath the evil eye !
Poor soul ! It is the evil stomach that s he
hath said Reuben walking hi s horse up to her
Whoever s a w such a bag O f bones ! I warrant
that s he is pining away for want o f a crust o f
bread
The creature whined and thrust o ut two skinny
claws to g rab the piece of silver which our friend
had thro w n down to her Her erce dark eyes and
beak like nose with the gaunt bones over which the
yellow skin was stretched tightly gave her a fear
inspiring aspect li ke some foul bird O f prey o r o n e
Of those vampires Of whom the story tellers write

What use is money in the wilderness ? I re

marked ; s he cannot feed herself upon a silver


piece
She tied the coin hurriedly into the corner Of her
rags as though s he feared that I might try to wr est
it from her
It will buy bread s he croaked
But w ho is there to sell it good mistress ? I
asked
They sell it at Fovant and they sell it at H i n
.

1 48

C E RTAI N

UP ON THE M O O R

PAS SAGES

don s he answered
I bide here 0 days but I
travel at night
I warrant s he does and o n a broomstick quoth
Saxon
but tell us mother who is it who hangs
above your head
It is he w ho slew my youngest born cried the
Old woman casting a malignant look at the mummy
above her and shaking a clenched hand at it which
was hardly more eshy than its o w n
It is he
who slew my bonny boy O ut here upon the wide
moor he met him and he took hi s young life from
him when no kind hand w a s near to stop the blow
O n that ground there my lad s blood w a s shed and
from that watering hath grown this goodly gallows
tree with its ne ripe fruit upon it
And here
come rain come shine shall I his mother sit while
two bones hang together Of the man who slew my
heart s darling
S he nestled down in her rags as
s he spoke and leaning her chin upon her hands
stared up with an intensity Of hatred at the hideous
remnant
Come away Reuben I cried for the sight was

enough to make o n e loathe one s kind


She is
a ghoul n ot a woman

Pah ! it gives o n e a foul taste in the mouth


quoth S axon
Who i s for a fresh gall op over the
D o w n s ? Away with care and carrion
h i b nny b r w n t eed
S i J hn g t
T M n m uth f t ri de

on

or

b rave b u ff c o at upon hi s b a c k
A b ro ad s w o rd by h i s S i de a
H a h a y o ung m a n w e re b el s ca n
Pull d o w n Ki ng Ja m e s s pri de a

H ark away lads with a loose rein and a bloody


heel !
W e s purred our steeds and galloped fro m t he
,

1 49

M I CA H C LARKE
unholy spot as fast as o ur brave beasts c o ul d carry
us
To a ll o f us the a i r had a purer avour and the
heath a sweeter scent by contrast with the grim
couple whom w e had left behind us What a
sweet world wo ul d this be my children were it not
for man and his cruel ways
When w e at last pulled up we had s e t some three
o r four miles between the gibbet and
ourselves
Right over against u s o n the S ide o f a gentle slope
stood a bright little Vill age with a red roofed church
rising up from amidst a clump O f trees To o ur
eyes aft er the dull sward o f the plain it was a glad
S ight to s e e the green spread o f the branches and
the pleasant gardens which girt the hamlet round
A ll morning we had seen no sight O f a human b e
ing save the Old hag upon the moor and a few
peat cutters in the distance O ur belts too were
beginning to be loose upon us and the remem brance
Of our breakfast more faint

This said I
must be the vill age o f M ere
which we were to pass before coming to Bruton
We shall soon be over the Somersetshir e border
I trust that we shall soon be over a dish o f
beefsteaks groaned Reuben
I am well nigh
famished S O fair a vill age must needs have a
passable inn though I have not seen o n e yet u pon
my travels which wo ul d compare with the O ld
Wheatsheaf

Neither inn n o r dinner for us j ust y e t said


Saxon
Look yonder t o the north and tell me
what you s e e
O n the extreme horizon t here Wa s visible a l ong
line Of gleaming glittering points which shone and
S parkled like a string of diamonds These brilliant
specks were all in rapid motion and yet kept their
positio n s to each other
.

150

CERTAI N PAS SAGE S UP ON THE M O O R

What i s it then ? we both cried


Horse upon the march quoth Saxon
It
may be o ur friends Of Salisbury w ho have made a
long day s j ourney ; o r as I am inclined to think
it may be some other body o f the Ki ng s horse
They are far distant and what we s e e is but the
sun shining o n their casques ; yet they are bound
for this very vill age if I mistake not I t would be
wisest to avoid entering it lest the rustics s e t them
upon o ur track Let us ski rt it and push o n for
Bruton where we may spare time for bite and s up
Alas alas for o ur di nners
cried Reuben
ruefully
I have fall en away until my body rat
tles about inside this shell Of armour like a pea in
a pod However lads it is all for the Protestant
faith
O ne more good stretch to Bruton and we may
rest in peace said Saxon
It is ill dining when
a dragoon may be served up as a grace a ft er meat
O ur horses are still fresh and we should be th e re
in little over an hour
We pushed on our way accordingly passing at a
safe distance from Mere which is the vi llage where
the second Charles did hide himself aft er the battle Of
Worcester The road beyond w a s much crowded by
peasants who were making their way o ut o f Somer
s e t s hi re and by farmers waggons which were tak
ing loads Of food to the West ready to turn a fe w
guineas either from the King s men o r from the
rebels W e questioned many as to the news from
the war but though we were n o w o n the outski rts
o f the disturbed country we could gain n o clear a c
count O f ho w matters stood save that all agreed that
the rising was o n the increase The country through
which we rode was a beautiful o n e consisting of
lo w swelling hill s well tilled and watered by nu
.

11

15 1

M I CAH CLARKE
m e ro u s streamlets

Crossing over the river Brue


by a good stone bridge w e at last reached the
small country town for which we had been making
which lies embowered in the midst o f a broad ex
panse of fertile meadows orchards and sheep walks
From the rising ground by the town w e looked
back over the plain without seeing any traces o f the
troopers We learned t oo from an O ld woman Of
the place that though a troop O f the Wiltshire
Yeomanry had passed through the day before there
were no soldiers quartered at present in the neigh
b o u rhoo d
Thus assured w e rode boldly into the
town and soon found our way to the principal inn
I have some di m remembrance o f an ancient church
upon a hill and Of a quain t stone cross within the
market place but assuredly o f all the recollections
which I retain Of Bruton there is none so pleasing
as that Of the buxom lan dl ady s face and Of the
steaming dishes which s he lost n o time in setting
before us
.

III

!
OF

S IR

E RV A S JE R OME
CO U N TY

N I G H T B A NNE R E T
O F S URR E Y
K

THE

OF

inn was very full o f company being used not


only by many Government agents and couriers on
their way to and from the seat o f the rising but
also by all the local gossips w ho gathered there to
exchange news and consume Dame Hobson the
landlady s home brewed I n spite however O f this
stress of custom and the consequent uproar the
hostess led us into her o w n private room where w e
could consume her excellent cheer in peace and
THE

15 2

S I R GER V AS JER O ME
quietness This favour w a s due I think to a li ttle
S ly man oe uvring and a few whispered words from
S axon who amongst other gifts which he had
picked up during his career had a pleasing w a y o f
getting upon friendly relations with the fair s e x
irrespective Of age size or character Gentle and
simple Church and Dissent Whig and Tory if
they did but wear a petticoat o ur comrade never
failed in spite o f his ft y years to make his way
into their good graces by the help Of his voluble
tongue and assured manner
We are your grateful servants mistress said
he when the smoki ng j oint and the batter pudding
had been placed upon the table
We have
robbed you o f your room Will y o u n o t honour
us s o far as to sit down with us and share o ur re
past
Nay kind Si r said the portly dame much at

it is n o t for me to sit
t e re d by the prO po s al ;
with gentles like yourselves
Beauty has a claim which persons o f quality
and above all c a vali e ro s O f the sword are the rst
cried Saxon with his little twinkling eyes
t o own
xed in admiration upon her buxom countenance
N ay by my troth y o u shall not leave us I
shall lock the door rst If y o u will not eat you
shall at least drink a cup o f Alicant with me

Nay s i r it is too much honour cried Dame


Hobson with a simper
I shall go down into
the cellars and bring a ask Of the best

Nay by my manhood you shall not said


Saxon springing up from his seat
What are all
these infernal lazy drawers here for if y o u are to
descend to menial Ofces ?
Handing the widow
to a chair he clanked away into the tap room
where we heard him swearing at the men servants
,

15 3

M I CAH CLARKE
and c ur sing them for a droning set Of rascals w ho
had taken advantage Of the angelic goodness O f
their mistress and her incomparable sweetness Of
temper
Here is the wi ne fair mistress said he return
ing presently with a bottle in either hand
Let
me ll your glass Ha ! it ows clear and yell ow
li ke a prime vintage These rogues c an stir their
li mbs when they nd that there is a man to c o m
mand them
Would that there were ever such said the
widow meanin gly with a languishing look at o ur

i
s
s
i
r
companion
Here
to you
and to ye too
young sirs s he added sipping at her wine
May
there be a speedy end to the insurrection for I
j udge from your gall ant equipment that ye be
serving the King
His business takes us t o the West said Reu
ben and w e have every reason to hOpe that there
will be a speedy end to the in surrection
Aye aye though blood will be shed r st s he
said shakin g her head
They tell me that the
rebels are as many as seven thousand and that they
swear to give an take no quarter the murderous
Vill ains ! Alas ! how any gentleman c an fall to
such bloody work when he might have a clean
honourable occupation such as i nn ke e pin g o r the
like is more than my poor mind can understand
There is a sad di fference betwixt the man who
lieth o n the cold ground not knowing ho w long it
may be before he i s three feet deep in it and he
who passeth his nights upon a warm feather bed
with mayhap a cell ar beneath it stocked w ith even
such win es as we are n ow drinking
She again
looked hard at Saxon as she spoke wh i le Reuben
and I nudged each other beneath the table
.

1 54

S IR GERV AS JER O ME
T his

business hath doubtless increased your


trade fair mistress quoth Saxon

Aye and in the way that payeth best said


S he
The fe w kilderkins of beer which are
drunk by the common folk make little di fference
But n o w when we have
o n e way or the other
lieutenants O f counties Ofcers mayors and gentry
spurring it for very life down the highways I have
sold more o f my rare old wines in three days than
ever I did before in a calendar month It is n o t
ale o r strong waters I promise you that these
gentles drink but P ri n i ac Languedoc Tent Mus

cadine Chiante and Tokay never a ask under


the half guinea

quoth Saxon thoughtfully


A
S O indeed !
snug home and a steady income
Would that my poor Peter had lived to share
it with me said Dame Hobson laying down her
glass and rubbing her eyes with a corner o f her
kerchie f
He was a good man poor soul though
in very truth and between friends he did at last
become as broad and a s thick as o n e Of his o w n
puncheons
Ah well the heart is the thing !
Marry come up ! if a woman were ever to wait
until her own fancy came her way there would be
more maids than mothers in the land
Prythee good dame ho w runs your o w n
?
fancy
asked Reuben mischievously
No t to fat young man s he answered smartly
with a merry glance at our plump companion
She has hit you there Reuben said I
I would have no pert young springald s he con
t in ue d
but one w ho hath knowledge O f the world
and ripe experience Tall he S hould be and o f
sinewy build free O f speech that he might li ghten
the weary hours and help entertain the gentles

155

M I CA H C LARKE
when they crack a ag o n of wine O f business
habits he must be too forsooth for is there not a
busy hostel and two hundred good pounds a year
to pass through his ngers
If Jane Hobson is to
be led to the altar again it must be by such a man
as this
S axon had listened with much attention to the
widow s words and had j ust opened his mouth to
make some reply to her when a clattering and
bustle outside announced the arrival o f some travel
ler O ur hostess drank O ff her wine and pricked
up her ears but when a loud authoritative voice
was heard in the passage demanding a private
room and a draught Of sack her call to duty over
came her private concerns and s he bustled O ff with
a fe w words o f apology to take the measure of the
n e w comer
Body 0 me lads ! quoth Decimus S axon the
moment that she disappeared ye c a n se e how the
land lies
I have half a mind to let Monmouth
carve his own road and to pitch my tent in this
quiet English township

Your tent indeed ! cried Reuben ; it is a


brave tent that is furnished with cellars Of such
wine as w e are drinking And a s to the quiet my
illustrious if you take up your residence here I ll
warrant that the quiet soon comes to an end
Y o u have seen the woman said S axon with
his brow all in a wrinkle with thought
S he hath
much t o commend her A man must look to him
self T w o hundred pounds a year are not to be
picked O ff the roadside every June morning It is
n o t princely but it is something for an o ld soldier
Of fortune w ho hath been in the wars for v e and
thirty years and foresees the time when his limbs
will grow stiff in his harness What s a y e t h o ur
.

156

S I R GER V AS JER O ME

learned Fleming an mulier


but what in the
name Of the devil have w e here ?
O ur companion s ej aculation w a s called forth by
a noise as o f a S light scu fe outside the door w ith

a smothered O h sir ! and What will the maids


think ?
The contest w a s terminated by the door
being Opened and Dame Hobson re entering the
room with her face in a glow and a slim young
man dressed in the height Of fashion at her heels
I am sure good gentlemen said s he that ye
will not Obj ect to this young nobleman drinking
his wine in the same room with ye since a ll the
others are ll ed with the townsfolk and common
altE
F a i t h ! I must needs be mine o w n usher said
the stranger sticking his gold laced cap under his
left arm and laying his hand upon hi s heart while
he bowed until hi s forehead nearly struck the edge
Of the table
Your very humble servant gentle
men Sir Gervas Jerome knight banneret Of his
Maj esty s county Of S urrey and at one time custos
rotulorum of the district o f Beacham Ford

Welcome sir quoth Reuben with a merry

Y o u have before y o u Don


twi nkle in his eye
Decimo Saxon Of the Spanish nobility together
with Sir Micah Clarke and S ir Reuben L o ckarby
both Of his Maj esty s county o f Hampshire
Proud and glad to m eet ye gentlemen
cried
the new comer with a ourish
But what i s this
?
?
upon the table
Alicant
F i e e it is a drink
fo r boys
Let us have some good sack with plenty
of body in it Claret for youth s ay I sack for
maturity and stro n g waters in O ld age Fly my
sweetest move those dainty feet Of thine fo r egad
my throat is like leather O d s oons I drank deep
last night and yet it i s clear that I could n o t have

15 7

M I C A H CL A RKE

drunk enough for I was as dry as a concordance


when I awoke
S axon s at silently at the table looking s o vi
c i o u sl
at
the
stranger
o u t Of his half C losed gli tter
y
ing eyes that I feared that w e S hould have another
such brawl as occurred at Salisbury with perhaps a
more unpleasant en ding Finally however his ill
humour at the gall ant s free and easy attention to
o u r hostess spent itself in a fe w muttered oaths
and he lit his long pipe the never failing remedy o f
a rufe d spirit As to Reuben and myself we
watched o ur n e w companion half in wonder and
half in amusement for his appearance and manners
were novel enough to raise the interest O f raw
youngsters like ourselves
I have said that he was dressed in the height of
fashion and such indeed w a s the impression which
a glance would give H i s face was thin and aristo
cratic with a well marked nose deli cate features
and gay careless expression S ome little paleness
O f the cheeks and
darkness under the eyes the
result O f hard travel or dissipation did but add a
chastening grace to his appearance His white
periwig velvet and silver riding coat lavender vest
and red satin knee breeches were all O f the best
style and cut but when looked at closely each and
all O f these articles O f attire bore evidence o f having
seen better days Beside the dust and stains o f
travel there was a shininess o r a fading O f colour
here and there which scarce accorded with the
costliness O f their material o r the bearing Of their
wearer His long riding boots had a gaping seam
in the side O f o n e Of them whilst his toe was push
ing its way through the end o f the other F o r the
rest he wore a handsome silver hilted rapier at his
S ide and had a frilled cambric shirt somewhat the
,

15 8

S I R G ER VA S J ER O ME

worse for wear and open at the front as w a s the


mode with the gallants Of those days A ll the
time he was Speaking he mumbled a toothpick
which together w ith hi s constant habit o f pro
O s as a s made his conversation sound
his
n o un cin
g
1
strange to o ur ears
Whilst we were noting
these pecu liarities he was reclining upon Dame
Hobson s best t affa t t a covered settee tranquilly
combing hi s wig with a delicate ivory comb which
he had taken from a small satin bag which hung
upon the right o f hi s sword belt
Lard preserve us from country inns ! he re
marked
What with the boors that swarm in
every chamber and the want Of mirrors and j as
mine water and other necessaries bli ster me if o n e
has not to do one s toilet in the common room
O ons ! I d as soon travel in the land o f the Great
Mogul
W hen y o u shall come to be my age young sir
S axon answered
you may know better than to
decry a snug country hostel
V ery like s i r very like
the gallant answered
with a careless laugh
F o r all that being mine
own age I feel the wilds of Wiltshire and the inns
O f Bruton t o be a sorry change a ft er the Mall and
the fare of Po n t ac k s or the Coca Tree Ah Lud
here comes the sack ! O pen it my pretty Hebe
and send a drawer with fresh glasses fo r these
gentlemen must do me the honour O f drinking with
me A pinch of snuff sirs ? Aye ye may well
look hard at the box A pretty little thing sirs
from a certain lady Of title who shall be nameless
though if I were to s ay that her title begins with
a D and her name with a C a gentleman O f the
Court might hazard a guess
N t e D A pp en d i x
,

15 9

M I CA H C LARKE
O ur hostess having brought fresh glasses wit h
,

drew and Decimus S axon soon found an O ppo r


t u n it y for following her
Sir Gervas Jerome c o n
t i n u e d however to chatter freely t o Reuben and
myself over the wine rattling along as gaily and
airily as though we were old friends
Sink me if I have not frighted your comrade
away ! he remarked
O r is it possible that he
hath gone o n the slot Of the plump widow
Me
thought he looked in no very good temper when I
kissed her at the door Yet it is a civi lity which I
seldom refuse to anything which wears a c ap Your
friend s appearance smacked more o f Mars than Of
V enus though indeed those who worship the god
are wont to be o n good terms with the goddess
A hardy Old soldier I should j udge from hi s feat
ure and attire
O ne w ho hath seen much service abroad I
answered
Ha ! ye are lucky to ride to the wars in the
company Of s o accomplished a cavalier For I pre
sume that it is t o the wars that ye are riding since
ye are all s o armed and accoutred
We are indeed bound for the West I replied
with some reserve for in S axon s absence I did n o t
care to be too loose tongued
And in what capacity
he persisted
Will
ye risk your crowns in defence Of King James s
one o r will ye strike in hit o r miss with these
rogues Of Devon and Somerset ? Stop my Vital
breath if I would n o t as soon si d e with the clown
as with the crown with all d ue respect to your own
principles
if you air your
Y o u are a daring man said I
Opinions thus in every inn parlour Dost not know
that a word of what yo u have said whispered to
,

1 60

S IR GER V A S JER O ME
the nearest j ustice O f the peace might mean y our
liberty if not your li fe ?
I don t care the rind O f a rotten orange for life
cried o ur acquaintance snappi n g
o r liberty either
his nger and thumb
Burn me if it wouldn t be
a n e w sensation to bandy words with some heavy
chopped country j ustice with the Popish plot sti ll
stuck in his gizzard and be thereaft er consigned to
a dungeon li ke the hero in John Dryden s latest
I have been round housed many a time by the
watch in the O ld H aw kub it e days ; but this would
be a more weighty matter with high treason block
and axe all looming in the background
And rack and pin cers fo r a prologue said

Reuben
This ambition is the strangest that I
have ever heard tell o f

Anything for a change cried Sir Gervas lling


up a bumper
Here s to the maid that s next
o ur heart and here s to the heart that loves the
maids
War wine and women twould be a dull
world without them But y o u have n ot answered
my question
Why truly s ir said I
frank as you have
been with us I can scarce be equall y so with you
without the permission of the gentleman w ho has
j ust left the room H e is the leader Of our party
Pleasant as o ur short intercourse has been these
are parlous times and hasty c o n de n ce s are apt to
lead to repentance
A Daniel come to j udgment ! cried our n e w
acquaintance
What ancient ancient words from
so young a head
Y o u are I ll warrant ve years
younger than a scatterbrain like myself and yet
you talk like the seven wise men O f Greece Wilt
take me as a valet ?
A valet ! I exclaimed
,

1 61

M I C A H CLA RKE

Aye a valet a man servant


I have been
waited upon s o long that it is my turn to wait n o w
and I would not wish a more likely master By
the Lard ! I must in applying for a place give an
account Of my character and a list Of my a e com
my
rascals
ever
did
with
me
O
li
s hm e n t s
S
p
though in good truth I seldom listened to their

recital H onesty there I score a trick Sober


Ananias himself could scarce s a y that I am that
Trustworthy indifferently s o
Steady hum !
about as much s o as C arraway s weathercock
Hang it man I am choke full Of good resolutions
but a sparkling glass o r a roguish eye wi ll deect
me as the mariners say Of the compass S O much
for my weakn esses Now let me see what q uali
cations I can produce A steady nerve save only
when I have my morning qualms and a cheerful
heart I score two o n that I can dance saraband
minuet o r c o rran t o ; fence ride and sing French
chansons Good Lard ! w ho ever heard a valet
urge such accomplishments ? I can play the best
game of piquet in London S O said Sir George
Etherege when I w o n a cool thousand O ff him at
the Groom Parter But that won t advance me
much either What is there then to commend
?
me
Why marry I can brew a bowl o f punch
and I can broil a devilled fowl I t is not much
but I c a n do it well
Truly good s i r I said with a smile neither
o f these accomplishments is like to prove of much
use to us on our present errand Y o u do however
but j est no doubt when y o u talk Of descending to
such a position
Not a whit not a whit he replied earnestly

T O such base uses do w e come
as Will
S hakespeare has it If you would be able to say
-

1 62

S I R GER V AS JER O ME
that you have in your service S ir Gervas Jerome
knight banneret and sole owner Of Beacham Ford
Park with a rent roll O f four thousand good pounds
a year he i s now up for sale and wi ll be knocked
down t o the bidder w ho pleases him best Say
but the word and we ll have another ag o n Of sack
to clinch the bargain

But said I if you are indeed owner o f this


fair property why should y o u descend to s o menial
a service ?

The Jews the Jews Oh most astute and yet


most slow witted master ! The ten tribes have
been upon me and I have been harried and wasted
bound ravished and despoiled Never w as Agag
ki ng Of Amalek more completely in the hands o f
the chosen and the sole difference is that they have
hewed into pieces mine estate instead Of myself
?
Have you lost all then
Reuben asked Open
e ed
y
Why no n o t allby no means all ! he a n
I have a gold J a
s w e re d with a merry laugh ;
cobus and a guinea o r two in my purse
Twill
serve fo r a ask o r s o yet There is my silver
hilted rapier my rings my gold snu ff bo x and
my watch by Tompion at the sign o f the Three
Crowns It was never bought under a hundred
I ll warrant
Then there are such relics o f gran
deur as y o u s e e upon my person though they begin
to look as frail and worn as a waiting woman s
Virtue I n this bag too I retain the means for
preserving that niceness and elegance of person
which made me though I say it as well groomed
a man as ever s e t foot in St James s Park Here
are French scissors eyebrow br ush toothpick case
patch bo x powder bag comb pu ff and my pair O f
red heeled shoes
What could a man wish for
,

1 63

M I CAH CLARKE
more ? These with a dry throat a cheerful heart
and a ready hand are my whole stock in trade
Reuben and I could not forbear from laughing
at the curious inventory o f articles which Sir Ger
He
v a s had saved fro m the wreck o f his fortunes
upon seeing o ur mirth was s o tickled at his o w n
misfortunes that he laughed in a high treble key
until the whole house resounded with his merri

ment
By the Mass he cried at last I have
never had s o much honest amusement o ut of my
prosperity as hath been caused in me by my down
fall Fill up your glasses
We have still some distance to travel this even
ing and must not drink more I Observed for pru
dence told me that it was dangerous work for two
sober country lads to keep pace with an e xpe ri
e n ce d toper
said he in surprise
I sho ul d have
SO
thought that would be a raison de plus as the
French say But I wish your long legged friend
would come back even if he were intent upon sli t
ting my weazand for my attention to the widow
He is not a man to inch from his liquor I ll war
rant Curse this Wiltshire dust that clings to my
periwig
Until my comrade returns Sir Gervas said I

you might since the subj ect does not appear to


be a painful o n e to you let us know ho w these
evil times which you bear with such p hilosophy
came upon you
The Old story
he answered icking away a
few grains o f s n uff with his deeply laced cambric
handkerchief
The Old O ld story ! My father
a good easy country baronet nding the family
purse somewhat full must needs carry me up to
town to make a man of me There as a youn g
,

1 64

S IR GER V A S JER O ME
lad I was presented at Court and bei ng a slim
active you ngster with a pert tongue and assured
mann er I caught the notice o f the Queen w ho
made me one of her pages Of honour This post I
held until I grew o ut o f it when I withdrew from
town but egad ! I found I must get back to it
again for Beacham Ford Park w a s a s dull a s a
monas t ery aft er the life which I had been living
I n town I stayed then with such boon companions
as Tommy Lawson my Lord H ali fax Sir Jasper
L e marc k little Geordi e Chichester aye and Old
Sidney Godolphin Of the Treasury fo r with all his
staid ways and long winded budgets he could drain
a c up with the best Of u s and w a s as keen o n a
main Of cocks as o n a committee o f ways and
means Well it was rare sport while it lasted and
sink me if I wouldn t do the same again if I had
my time once more It is like S liding down a
greased plank though fo r at rst a man goes slow
enough and thinks he c a n pull himself up but
presently he goes faster and faster until he comes
with a crash o n to the rocks Of ruin at the bot
tom

And did y o u run through four thousand


pounds a year ? I exclaimed
O d s bodikins man you speak as if this paltry
s u m were a ll the wealth of the Indies
Why from
O rmonde or Buckingham with their twenty thou
sand down to ranting Dicky Talbot there w a s not
o n e O f my set who could not have bought me o u t
Yet I must have my coach and four my town
house my liveried servants and my stable full Of
horses T O be in the mode I must have my poet
and throw him a handful Of guineas for his dedica
tion W ell poor devil he is o n e w ho will miss
me I warrant his heart w as as heavy as his verses
,

1 65

M I CAH CLARKE
when he found me gone though perchance he has
turned a few guineas by this time by writing a
satire upon me It would have a ready sale among
my friends Gad s life ! I wonder how my lev es
get o n and whom all my suitors have fastened o n
to n o w There they were morning after morning
the French pimp the English bully the needy
man 0 letters the neglected inventor I never
thought t o have got rid o f them but indeed I have
shaken them O ff very effectually now When the
honey pot is broken it is farewell to the ies

And your noble friends ? I asked


Did
none o f them stand by y o u in your need ?
Well well I have nought to complain o f !
exclaimed Sir Gervas
They were brave hearted
boys fo r the most part I might have had their
names o n my bills as long as their ngers could
hold a pen but slit me if I like bleeding my o w n
companions They might have found a place for
me too had I consented to play second ddle
where I had been used to lead the band 1 faith
I care n o t what I turn my hand to amongst stran
gers but I would fain leave my memory sweet in
town
As to what you proposed o f serving us as a

valet said I
it is not to be thought O f We
are in spite o f my friend s waggishness but two
plain blunt countrymen and have no more need
o f a valet than o f o n e Of those poets which
ou
y
have spoken O f O n the other hand if y o u S hould
care to attach yo u rself to o ur party we shall take
o u where
o u will see service which shall be more
y
y
to your taste than the curling o f periwigs o r the
brushing Of eyebrows
Nay nay my friend
Speak not with un
seemly levity o f the mysteries of the toilet he
,

,
,

1 66

S I R GER VA S JER O ME
cried
Ye would yourselves be none the worse
for a touch o f mine ivory comb and a closer a c
quaintance with the famous skin purifying wash Of
Murphy which I am myself in the habit o f using

I am beholden to you s i r said Reuben but


the famous spring water wash by Providence is
quite good enough for the purpose
And Dame Nature hath placed a wig o f her
I added which I should be very
o w n upon me
loth to change
Goths ! Perfect Goths ! cried the exquisite
throwing up his white hands
But here comes a
heavy tread and the c link o f armour in the pas
sage
Tis our friend the knight Of the wrathful
countenance if I mistake n o t
It was indeed Saxon who strode into the room
to tell us that o ur horses were at the door and
that all was ready for our departure Taking him
aside I explained to him in a whisper what had
passed between the stranger and ourselves w ith
the circumstances which had led me to suggest that
he should j oin o ur party The O ld soldier frowned
at the news
What have we to do with such a coxcomb he
said
We have hard fare and harder blows before
us He is not t for the work
You said yourself that Monmouth wi ll be weak
in horse I answered
Here is a well appointed
cavalier who is to all appearance a desperate man
n d ready for anything
Why should we not enrol
.

i m

I fear said Saxon that his body may prove


to be like the bran Of a ne cushion Of value only
fo r what it has around it
However it is perhaps
fo r the best
The handle to his name may make
him welcome in the camp fo r from what I hea r

12

1 67

M I CAH CLARKE
there is some dissatisfaction at the w ay in which
the gentry stand aloof from the enterprise
I had feared I remarked still speaki ng in a

whisper that we were about to lose one Of o ur


party instead Of gaining one in this Bruton inn
I have thought better of it he answered with
a smile
Nay I ll tell you o f it anon Well Sir
Gervas Jerome he added aloud turning to o u r
new associate I hear that y o u are coming with
us F o r a day yo u must be content to fo llow with
out question o r remark Is that agreed ?
With all my heart cried Sir Gervas
Then here s a bumper to o ur better acquaint
ance cried Saxon raising his glass

I pledge ye all quot h the gallant


Here s
to a fair ght and may the best men win
Donnerbli tz man
said Saxon
I believe
there s mettle in you for all your gay plumes I do
conceive a liking for you Give me your hand !
The soldier of fortune s great brown grip enclosed
the delicate hand o f o ur n e w friend in a pledge o f
comradeship
Then having paid o ur reckoning
and bade a cordial adieu to Dame Hobson w ho
glanced methought somewhat reproachfully or ex
e c t ant l
at
Saxon
we
sprang
o n o u r steeds and
p
y
continued o ur j ourney amidst a crowd Of starin g
vil lagers w ho huzzaed lustily as we rode o ut from
amongst them

1 68

O F T HE STI F F LE GGED PARS O N


-

! IV
OF

THE S T IFF LE GG ED P A R SO N

F L OCK

AND H I S

road lay through Castle Carey and Somerton


which are small towns lying in the midst Of a most
beautiful pastoral country well wooded and watered
by many streams The vall eys along the centre of
which the road lies are rich and luxuriant sheltered
from the win ds by long rolli ng hill s which are
themselves highly cultivated Here and there w e
passed the ivy clad turret Of an Old castle o r the
peaked gables O f a rambling country house pro
t ru di n g from amongst the trees and marking the
country seat O f some fami ly o f repute More than
once when these mansions were n o t far from the
road we were able t o perceive the unrepaired dints
and fractures o n the walls received during the
stormy period of the civil troubles Fairfax it
seems had been down that way and had left abun
dant traces Of his visit I have no doubt that my
father would have had much to s ay o f these signs Of
Puritan w rath had he been riding at our side
The road was crowded with peasants who were
travell ing in t w o strong currents the o n e setting
from east to west and the other from west to east
The latter consisted principally Of aged people and
o f children who were being sent o ut Of harm s w a y
t o reside in the less disturbed counties until the
troubles should be over Many of these poor folk
were pushing barrows in front of them in which a
few bedclothes and some cracked utensils re pre
sented the whole Of their worldly goods O thers
more prosperous had small carts drawn by the wi ld
shaggy colts which are bred o n the So merset moors
OUR

1 69

M I CAH CLARKE

W hat with the spirit Of the half tamed beasts and


-

the feebleness of the drivers accidents were n ot


uncommon and we passed several unhappy groups
who had been tumbled with their property into a
ditch or w ho w ere standing in anxious debate
round a cracked shaft o r a broken axle
The countrymen w ho were making for the West
were upon the other hand men in the prime Of life
with little o r n o baggage
Their brown faces
heavy boots and s m o ckfro cks proclaimed most of
them to be mere hinds though here and there we
overtook men w ho by their top boots and c o rdu
roys may have been small farmers o r yeomen
These fellows walked in gangs and were armed for
the most part with stout o ak cudgels which were
carried as an aid to their j ourney but which in the
hands of powerful men might become formidable
weapons From time to time o n e Of these travel
lers would strike up a psalm tune when all the
others within earshot would j oin in until the melody
rippled away down the road A s we passed some
scowled angrily at us while others whispered to
gether and shook their heads in evident doubt as
to o ur character and aims Now and again among
the people we marked the tall broad brimmed hat
and Geneva mantle which were the badges Of the
Puritan clergy

W e are in Monmouth s co u ntry at last said


S axon to me for Reuben L o ckarb y and Sir Ger

vas Jerome had ridden o n ahead


This i s the
raw stu ff which we shall have to lick into soldier
ship
A n d no bad stuff e i ther I replied taking note
o f the sturdy gures and bold hearty faces o f the
men
Think ye that they are bound for Mon
mouth s camp then ?
,

1 70

O F TH E S TI FF LE GGED PARS O N
-

Aye are they See y o u yon long limbed par


him with the pent house hat
s o n o n the left
Markest thou not the sti ffness wherewith he moves
his left leg
Why yes he is travel worn doubtless
laughed my companion
I have
H O ! ho !
seen such a stiffness before n o w The man hath a
straight sword within the leg O f his breeches A
regular Parliamentary tuck I ll warrant When
he is on safe ground he wi ll produce it aye and
use it too but until he is o ut Of all danger Of fall
ing in with the Ki ng s horse he is s hy Of strapping
it to his belt He is one Of the O ld breed by his
c u t who
and w rd and de lat i n
Call
-

re

g dly th oro ugh ref rmati o n

so

e n s t roke

O ld Samuel hath them to a

There
is
p
another ahead o f him there with the head o f a
scythe inside his smock Can you not s e e the out
line ? I warrant there is not o n e O f the rascals but
hath a pike head or sickle blade hid somewhere
about him I begin to feel the breath o f war once
more and t o grow younger with it Hark ye lad
I am glad that I did not tarry at the inn
Y o u seemed to be in two minds about it
said I
Aye aye She was a ne woman and the
quarters were comfortable
I do not gainsay it
But marriage d ye s e e is a citadel that it is plaguy
easy to nd one s way into but once in O ld Till y
himself could not bring one o ut again with credi t
I have known such a device o n the Danube where
at the rst onfall the Mamelukes have abandoned
the breach for the very purpose Of ensnaring the
Imperial troops in the narrow streets beyond from
!

1 71

M I CA H C LARK E

w h ich few ever returned O ld birds are not caught


with such wiles I did succeed in gaining the ear
o f o n e o f the gossips
and aski ng him what he
could tell me Of the good dame and her inn It
seemeth that she is somewhat o f a shrew upon o c
casion and that her tongue had more t o do with
her husband s death than the dropsy which the
leech put it down to Again a new inn hath been
started in the village which is well managed and
is li ke to draw the custom from her It is too as
you have said a dull sleepy spot All these rea
sons weighed with me and I decided that it would
be best to raise my siege O f the widow and to re
treat whilst I could yet do s o with the credit and
honours o f w ar

Tis best s o said I ; you could n o t have


settled down to a life O f toping and ease But
o u r n e w comrade what think
o f him
o
u
y
Faith ! S axon answered we shall grow into
a troop o f horse if we add t o our number every
gallant w ho is in want o f a j ob As to this Sir
Ger vas however I think as I said at the inn that
he hath more mettle in him than o n e would j udge
at rst sight These young sprigs Of the gentry
will always ght but I doubt if he is hardened
enough or hath constancy enough for such a cam
a i n as this is like to be
oo
His
appearance
t
p g
will be against him in the eyes Of the saints ; and
though Monmouth is a man Of easy Virtue the
saints are like to have the chief voice in his coun
c ils N o w do but look at him as he reins up that
showy grey stallion and gazes back at us Mark
his riding hat tilted over his eye his Open bosom
hi s whip dangling from his button hole his hand
o n his hip and as many oaths in his mouth as there
are ribbons to his doublet Above all mark the
.

1 72

OF

TH E

S TIFF LE GGED PARS O N


-

air with which he looks down upon the peasants


beside him He will have t o change his style if he
is to ght by the side o f the fanatics But hark !
I am much mistaken if they have not already got
themselves into trouble
O ur friends had pulled up their horses to await
They had scarce halted however
o u r coming
before the stream o f peasants who had been mov
ing along abreast of them slackened their pace and
gathered round them with a deep ominous murmur
and threatening gestures O ther rustics seeing
that there was something afoot hurried up to help
their companions S axon and I put spurs to o u r
horses and pushing through the throng which
was becoming every instant larger and more men
acing made our way to the aid Of o u r friends w ho
were hemmed in o n every side by the rabble
Reuben had laid his hand upon the hilt o f his
sword while Sir Gervas w a s placidly chewing his
toothpick and looking down at the angry mob with
an air Of amused contempt

A ask o r t w o Of scent amongst them would

n o t be amiss
he remarked ; I would I had a
casting bottle
Stand on your guard but do not draw cried

Saxon
What the henker hath come over the
chaw bacons ? They mean mischief H o w now
friends why this uproar ?
This question instead O f allaying the tumult ap
e are d to make it tenfold worse
All ro und us
p
twenty deep were savage faces and angry eyes
with the glint here and there o f a weapon half
drawn from its place O f concealment The uproar
which had been a mere hoarse growl began t o take

S hape and form


Down with the Papists
w as
the cry
Down with the Prelatists
Smite
.

1 73

M I CA H C LARKE

the Erastian butchers !


S mite the Phili stine
horsemen !
Down with them
A stone or t w o had already whistled past o ur
ears and we had been forced in self defen ce to
draw o ur swords when the tall minister whom w e
had already Observed shoved his way thr ough the
crowd and by dint O f his lo ft y stature and c o m
manding voice prevailed upon them to be silent
How say ye he asked turning upon us ght
?
ye for Baal or fo r the Lord
H e who is not with
us is against us

Which is the side Of Baal most reverend S ir


and which of the Lord ? asked Sir Gervas Jerome
Methinks if you were to speak plain Engli sh i n
stead o f Hebrew we might come to an understand
ing sooner

Thi s is n o time for light words the minister


cried with a ush O f anger upon his face
If ye
would keep your ski ns whole tell me are ye for
the bloody usurper James Stuart o r are ye for his
most Protestant Maj esty Ki ng M onmouth
What ! H e hath come to the title already !
exclaimed S axon
Know then that w e are four
unworthy vessels upon o ur way to O ffer o ur services
to the Protestant cause

He lies good Master P e t t igrue he lies most


foull y shouted a burly fell ow from t he edge O f
the crowd
Who ever s a w a good Protestant in
such a Punchinell o dress as yonder ? Is not Amale
kite w ritten upon his raiment ? I s he not attired
as becometh the bridegroom Of the harlot of Rome ?
Why then should w e n o t smite him ?
I thank y o u my worthy friend said Sir Ger
v a s whose attire had moved this C hampion s wrath

If I were nearer I should give y o u some return


for the notice which you have taken o f me

1 74

O F THE S T I FF LE G G E D PARS O N
-

What proof have we that ye are n o t in the pay


o f the usurper and on your w a y to oppress the faith
ful
asked the Puritan divine
I tell you man said S axon impatiently that
we have travelled all the way from Hampshire to
ght against James Stuart We will ride with ye
to Monmouth s camp and what better proof could
ye desire than that ?
It may be that ye do but seek an Opportunity
Of escaping from o ur bondage the minister O b
served aft er conferring with o n e or two o f the lead
ing peasants It is o ur opinion therefore that b e
fore coming with us ye must deliver unto us your
swords pistols and other carnal weapons

Nay good s ir that cannot be our leader a n


s w e re d
A c avalier may not with honour surren
der his blade o r his liberty in the manner ye de
mand Keep C lose to my bridle arm Clarke and
strike home at any rogue w ho lays hands o n you
A hum of anger rose from the crowd and a score
o f sticks and scythe blades were raised against u s
when the minister again interposed and silenced his
noisy foll owing
Did I hear aright
he asked
I s your n ame
Clarke

It is I answered
Your Christian name ?
Micah
?
Living at
Havant
The clerg yman conferred for a few moments with
a grizzly bearded harsh
faced man dressed in black
buckram w ho stood at his elbow
If you are really Micah Clarke Of Havant

quoth he you will be able to tell us the name


Of an Old soldier skilled in the German wars who
,

1 75

M I C A H C LARKE
w as

ful

to have come with ye to the camp

Of

the fait h

Why this is he I answered


D ecimus S axon
is his name
Aye aye Master Pe t t i g rue cried the Old man
The very name given by Dicky Rumbold H e
said that either the O ld Roundhead Clarke o r his
?
But
w
s o n would
o with him
h
o are these
g
This is Master Reuben L o ckarby also Of H a
vant and Sir Gervas Jerome O f S urrey I replied
They are both here as volunteers desiri ng to serve
under the D uke O f Monmouth
Right glad I am to s e e ye then said the stal
wart minister heartily
Friends I can answer for
these gentlemen that they favour the honest folk
and the O ld cause
At these words the rage o f the mob turned in an
instant into the most extravagant j oy and deli ght
They crowded round us patting o ur riding boots
pu lli n g at the skirts of o ur dress pressing o ur hands
and calling down blessings upon our heads until
their pastor succeeded at last in rescuing us from
thei r attentions and in persuading them to resume
their j ourney We walked our horses in the midst
Of them whil st the clergyman strode along betwixt
Saxon and mysel f He was as Reuben remarked
we ll tted to be an intermediary between us for
he w a s taller though not S O broad as I was and
broader though n o t s o tall as the adventurer
His
face w a s long thin and hollow C hecked with a pair
O f great thatched eyebrows and deep sunken melan
c ho l
eyes
which
lit
up
upon
occasion
with
a
sudden
y
quick ash of ery enthusiasm
Joshua Pe t t ig ru e is my name gentlemen said
he
I am an unworthy w orker in the Lord s vine
yard testifying with voice and with arm to His
,

1 76

O F THE S TI FF LE GGED PARS O N


-

holy covenant These are my faithful ock whom


I am bringing westward that they may be ready
for the reaping when it pleases the Almighty to
gather them in
And why have y o u not brought them into
some S ho w Of order o r formation ? asked Saxon
They are straggli ng along the road like a line Of
geese upon a common when Michaelmas is nigh
Have y o u no fears ? I s it n o t written that your
calamity cometh suddenlysuddenly shall y o u be
broken down w ithout remedy ?
Aye friend but is it n o t also written Trust
in the Lord with all thine heart and lean n o t unto
?
thine own understanding
Mark ye if I were to
draw up my men in military fashion it would invite
attention and attack from any o f James Stuart s
horse who may come o ur w a y It is my desire t o
bring my ock t o the camp and Obtain pieces fo r
them before exposing them to s o unequal a contest

Truly s i r it is a wise resolution said S axon


grimly for if a troop o f horse came down upon
these good people the pastor would nd himself
without his ock
Nay that could never be cried Master Petti
grue with fervour
S ay rather that pastor ock
and a ll would nd their way along the thorny track
O f martyrdom to the new Jerusalem
Know friend
that I have come from Monmouth in order to c o n
duct these men to his standard I received from
him or rather from Master Ferguson instructions
to be on the lookout fo r ye and for several others
Of the faithful we expect to j oin us from the East
By what route came ye
O ver Salisbury Plain and s o through Bruton
And s aw ye o r met ye any o f o ur people upon
the way ?
,

1 77

M I C A H CLARKE

None S axon answered


We left the B lue
Guards at Salisbury however and w e s aw either
them or some other horse regiment near this side Of
the Plain at the village Of Mere

Ah there is a gathering o f the eagles cried


Master Joshua P e t t ig rue shaking his head
They
are men o f ne raiment with w ar horses and chariots
and trappings like the Assyrians Of Old yet shall
the angel o f the Lord breathe upon them in the
night Yea H e shall cut them O ff utterly in His
wrath and they shall be destroyed
Amen ! Amen ! cried as many Of the peas
ants as were within earshot
They have elevated their horn Master Petti
grue said the grizzly haired Puritan
They have

set up their candlestick on high the candlestick o f


a perverse ritual and Of an idolatrous service Shall
it not be dashed down by the hands Of the right
cous ?
L O this same candle waxed big and burned
sooty even as an o ffence to the nostrils in the days
cried a burly red faced man whose
O f o ur fathers
dress proclaimed him to be o n e of the yeoman class
S O was it when O ld N oll did get his s n ufng
shears to work upon it It is a wick which can
only be trimmed by the sword of the faithful
A
grim laugh from the whole party told their relish Of
the pious waggery Of their companion
Ah Brother S an dcro ft cried the pastor there
is much sweetness and manna hidden in thy c on
versation But the way is long and dreary S hall
?
not
ghten
it
by
a
song
Of
praise
Where is
we
li
Brother T hi s t le t hw a it e whose voice is as the c ym
bal the tabor and the dulcimer ?
said S axon
L O most pious Master Pe t t igru e

I have myself at times ventured to lift up my


.

1 78

O F THE S TI FF LE GGED PARS O N


!

voice before the Lord


Without any further
apology he broke o ut in stentorian tones into the
following hymn the refrain of which was caught
up by pastor and congregation
.

T he L o rd H e i s a m o ri o n
Th a t guard s m e from all w ound
T he L o rd H e i s a c o at O f m a i l
T hat c i r c le s m e all ro und

Wh o t hen fears

dra w the s wo rd
A nd ght the b attle f the Lo rd
to

T he L o rd H e i s the b u c kler true


T hat s w i ngs on my left a rm
T he L o rd H e i s t he plate o f pro o f
T hat s hi e ld e t h m e fro m harm
.

W ho then fears

dra w the s wo rd
A nd ght the b attle o f the L o rd ?
to

Who then dread s the vi o lent

fears the m n o f pri de


s hall I e e fr m t w o o
three
I f H e b e b y my s i de ?
Wh o then fears t o dra w the s w o rd
A nd ght the b attle o f the L o rd ?

Or

Or

fai th i s li ke a ci tadel
Gi rt ro und w i t h m o at and w all
N m i ne o
b reach or gap
p
C n ere preva i l a t all
Who then fear t dra w the wo rd
A nd ght the b attle O f the L rd ?

My

r sa

or

Saxon ceased but the Reverend Joshua Petti


grue waved his long arms and repeated the refrain
which was taken up again and again by the long
column of marching peasants
I t is a godly hymn said o ur companion who
had to my disgust and t o the evident astonishment
o f Reuben and Sir Gervas resumed the s n ui i n
g
,

1 79

M I CAH C LARKE

whining voice which he had used in the presence


It hath availed much o n the eld
O f my father
Of battle

Truly returned the clergyman if your com


rades are o f as sweet a savour as yourself ye will
be worth a brigade O f pikes to the faithful a s e n
t i m e n t which raised a murmur Of assent from the
Puritans around
Since sir he continued you
have had much experience in the wiles of war I
shall be glad to hand over to you the command Of
this small body o f the faithful until such time as
we reach the army
It is time too in good faith that ye had a sol
dier at your head Decimus S axon answered

quiet ly
My eyes deceive me strangely if I do
not s e e the gleam Of sword and cuirass upon the
brow o f yonder declivity Methinks o ur pious
exercises have brought the enemy upon us
.

XV

B RU S H W I T H THE

O F OU R

KI N G S

D R A G OO NS

S O M E little distance from us a branch road ran into


t hat along which w e and o ur motley assemblage O f
companions i n arms were travelling
This road
curved down the side o f a well wooded hill and
then over the level for a quarter of a mile or so
before opening on the other Just at the brow o f
t he rising ground there stood a thick bristle of
trees amid the trunks Of which there came and
went a bright shimmer of sparkling steel which
proclaimed the presence Of armed men Farther
back w here the road took a sudden turn a n d ran
-

1 80

B RU S H W I T H T HE KIN G S DRAG O O N S

along the ridge O f the hill several horsemen could


be plainly seen outlined against the evening s ky
S O peaceful however was the long sweep o f coun
try side mellowed by the golden light o f the s e t
ting s un with a score O f village steeples and manor
houses peeping o u t from amongst the woods that
it was hard to think that the thundercloud o f w a r
was really lowering over that fair valley and that
at any instant the lightning might break from it
The country folk however appeared to have no
di i c u lt y at all in understanding the danger to
which they were exposed The fugitives from the
West gave a yell Of consternation and ran wildly
down the road or whipped up their beasts o f bur
den i n the endeavour t o place as safe a distance as
possible between themselves and the threatened
attack The chorus Of shrill cries and S houts with
the cracking Of whips creaking Of wheels and the
occas i onal crash when some cart load o f goods
came to grief made up a most deafening uproar
above which o ur leader s voice resounded in sharp
eager exhortation and command W hen however
the loud brazen shriek from a bugle broke from the
wood and the head o f a troop Of horse began to
descend the slope the panic became greater still
and it was difcult for us to preserve any order at
a ll amidst the wild rush O f the terried fugitives
Stop that cart Clarke cried S axon v e he
m e n t ly pointing with his sword to an Old waggon
piled high with furniture and bed ding which w a s
lumbering along drawn by two raw boned colts
At the same moment I s a w him drive his horse
into the crowd and catch at the reins o f another
Giving Covenant s bridle a shake I w a s soon
on e
abreast Of the cart which he had indicated and
brought the furious young horses to a s t and still
,

1 81

M I CA H CLARKE

Brin g it up ! cried o ur leader working with


the coolness which only a long training to war can

give
A dozen
No w friends c ut the traces !
kni ves were at work in a moment and the kicking
struggling animals scampered O ff leaving their
burdens behind them
Saxon sprang from his
horse and s e t the example in dragging the waggon
across the roadway wh i le some O f the peasants
under the direction Of Reuben L o ckarby and o f
Master Joshua P e t t igrue drew a couple o f other
carts to block the w a y ft y yards further down
The latter w a s to guard against the chance O f the
royal horse riding through the elds and attac king
us from behind S O speedily w a s the scheme co n
c e i v e d and
carried out that within a very fe w
minutes Of the rst alarm we found ourselves pro
t e c t e d front and rear by a lo ft y barricade while
within this rude fortress w a s a garrison Of a hun
dred and fty men
What rearms have we amongst us ? asked
Saxon hurriedl y
A dozen pistols at the most repli ed the elderly
Puritan w ho w a s addressed by his companions as
Hope above Willi ams
John Rod w ay the coach
man hath hi s bl underbuss There are also t w o god
ly men from Hungerford who are keepers o f game
and w ho have brought their pieces w ith them
They are here sir cried another pointing to
t w o stout
bearded fellows w ho were ramming
charges into their long barrelled muskets
Their
names are Wat and Nat Mill man
T w o w ho c a n hit their mark are worth a battal
ion who shoot wide o ur leader remarked
Get
under the waggon my friends and rest your pieces
upon the spokes Never draw trigger until the
sons o f Belial are within three pikes length Of ye
,

1 82

BRUS H W I T H T HE KIN G S DRAG O O NS

My brother and I quoth o n e of them


can
hit a running doe at t w o hundred paces O ur
lives are in the hands O f the Lord but t w o at
least of these hired butchers w e shall send before

us

As

gladly as ever we slew stoat o r wild cat


cried the other slipping under the waggon
We
are keeping the Lord s preserves n o w brother
Wat and truly these are some Of the vermin that
infest them
Let all w ho have pistols line the waggon said

i
S axon tying h s mare t o the hedge a n example
which we all followed
Clarke do you take
charge upon the right with Sir Gervas while Lock
arby helps Master Pe t t igrue upon the le ft
Ye
others shall stand behind with stones Should they
break through o ur defence slash at the horses
with your scythes O nce do w n the riders are no
match fo r ye
A low sull en murmur Of grim resolution rose
from the peasants mingled with pious cries and
little scraps Of hymn o r O f prayer They had all
drawn from under the i r smocks rustic weapons o f
some sort Ten or twelve had petronels which
from their ancient look and rusty condition threat
ened t o be more dangerous to their possessors than
to the enemy O thers had sickl es scythe blades
ails half pikes o r hammers while the remainder
carried long knives and oaken clubs Simple as
were these weapons history has proved that in the
hands Of men who are deeply stirred by religious
fanaticism they are by no means t o be despised
O n e had but t o look at the stern s e t faces o f o u r
foll owers and the gleam which shone from their
eyes to see that they were not the men to quail
either from superior numbers or equipment

13

1 83

M I CA H CLARKE

By the Mass
whispered Sir Gervas it is
n e ! An hour O f this is worth a year in the Mall
The O ld Puritan bull is fairly at bay Let us see
what sort o f sport the King s bull pups make in the
baiting o f him
I ll lay ve pieces to four o n the
chaw bacons
Nay it s no matter fo r idle betting said I
shortly for his light hearted chatter annoyed me at
s o solemn a moment

Five to four on the soldiers then ! he cried


It is too good a match not to have a stake on it
o n e way or the other
O ur lives are the stake said I
Faith I had forgot it ! he replied still mum
?
bling his toothpick
T O be o r not to be
as
Will O f Stratford says Kynaston w a s great o n the
passage But here is the bell that rings the c ur
tain up
Whilst we had been making our dispositions the
troop of horse for there appeared to be but one
had trotted down the cross road and had drawn up
across the main highway They numbered as far
as I could j udge about ninety troopers and it was
evident from their three cornered hats steel plates
red sleeves and bandoliers that they were dragoons
Of the regular army
The main body halted a
quarter Of a mil e from u s while three O i c e rs rode
to the front and held a short council which ended
in o n e of them setting spurs to his horse and can
tering down in o ur direction A bugler followed
a fe w paces behind him waving a white kerchief
and blowing an occasional blast upon his trumpet
Here comes an envoy cried Saxon w ho w a s
standi ng up in the waggon
N o w my brethren
w e have neither kettle drum n or tinkl ing brass but
w e have the music wherewith Providence hath e u
,

1 84

B RU S H W I T H

THE KIN G S DRAG O O N S

dowed u s Let us S how the redcoats that


kn ow ho w to us e it
.

we

Who t hen dread s the v i o lent

fears the m n f pri de P


three
O S hall I e e fro m t w
I f H e b e b y my s i de ?
Or

o or

S even score voices broke in


upon the chorus
Who then fe ars

in

a hoarse roar

draw the s wo rd
A nd ght the b attle O f the L o rd 2
to

I could well believe at that moment that the


Spartans had found the lame singer T yrt ae us the
most successful O f their generals for the sound Of
their o w n voices increased the condence Of the
country folk while the martial words of the O ld
hymn roused the dogged spirit in their breasts S O
high did their courage run that they broke O ff their
song with a loud warlike shout waving their w e a p
o n s above their heads and ready I verily believe
t o march out from their barricades and make
straight for the horsemen In the midst O f this
clamour and turmoil the young dragoon O fcer a
handsome brown faced lad rode fearlessly up to
the barrier and pulling up his beautiful roan steed
held up his hand with an imperious gesture which
demanded silence
Who i s the leader Of this conventicle ? he
asked

Address your message to me s ir said our


leader from the top Of the waggon but understand
that your white ag will only protect you whilst
you u s e such words as may come from o n e cour
S ay your s a y o r retire
t e o u s adversary to another
Courtesy and honour said the O fcer with a
,

1 85

M I CA H CLARKE
sneer are not for rebels w ho are in arms against
their lawful king I f you are the leader o f this
rabble I warn you if they are not dispersed within
ve minutes by this watch he pu lled out an ele
gant gold time piece
we S hall ride down upon
them and cut them to pieces

The Lord can protect His o w n S axon a n


s w e re d
amid a erce hum o f approval from the
?
I
crowd
s this a ll thy message
It is all and you will nd it enough you Pres
by t e ri an traitor cried the dragoon cornet
Lis
ten to me y o u fools he continued standing up
upon his stirrups and speaki ng t o the peasants at
the other side Of the waggon
What chance
have ye with your whittles and cheese scrapers ?
Ye may yet save your skins if ye will b ut give up
your leaders throw down what ye are pleased to
call your arms and trust to the King s mercy
This exceeds the limits of your privileges said
S axon drawing a pistol from his belt and cocki ng
it
If y o u s a y another word t o draw these peo
ple from their all egiance I re
Hope not to help Monmouth cried the young
O fcer disregarding the threat and still addressing
his words to the peasants
The whole royal
army is drawing round him and
H ave a care ! shouted o ur leader in a deep
harsh voice
His head within a month shall ro ll upon the
scaffold
But you shall never live to s e e it said Saxon
and stooping over he red straight at the cornet s
head
At the ash of the pistol the trumpeter
wheeled round and rode for his life while the roan
horse turned and followed with i t s m a ster sti ll
seated rmly in the saddle
,

1 86

B RUS H

WITH THE KI N G S DRAG O O N S

V erily

have missed the Midianite


cried
Hope above Williams
He is dead said o ur leader pouring a fresh

charge into his pistol


It is the la w Of war
Clarke he added looking round at me
He
hath chosen to break it and must pay forfeit
As he spoke I s aw the young O f cer lean slowly
over in his saddle until when about half w a y
back to his friends he lost his seat and fell heavily
in the roadway turning over t w o o r three times
with the force o f his fall and lying at last twisted
and motionless a dust coloured heap A loud yell
Of rage broke from the troopers at the sight which
was answered by a shout o f dea nce from the Puri
tan peasantry
Do w n o n your faces ! cried Saxon ; they
are a bout to re
The crackl e Of musketry and a storm Of bullets
pinging o n the hard ground o r cutting twigs from
the hedges o n either side o f us lent weight to o u r
leader s order Many O f the peasants crouched b e
hind the feather beds and tables which had been
pu lled o ut Of the cart
Some lay in the waggon
itself and some sheltered themselves behind o r
underneath it O thers again lined the d itches o n
either side o r lay at upon the roadway while a
fe w showed their belief in the workings Of Provi
dence by standing upright without i n chin g from
the bull ets Amongst these latter were S axon and
Sir Gervas the former to s e t an example to his raw
troops and the latter o u t Of pure laziness and i n dif
ference Reuben and I s at together in the ditch
and I c an assure you my dear grandchildren that
we felt very much inclined t o bob our heads when
we heard the bu llets piping all around them If
any soldier ever told you that he did n o t the rst
o
u
y

1 87

M I CAH C LARKE
time that he was under re then that soldier is n ot
a man to trust
A ft er sitting rigid and silent
however as if we had both sti ff necks for a very
fe w minutes the feeling passed completely away
and from that day to this it has never returned to
me
Y o u see familiarity breeds contempt with
bull ets as with other things and though it is no
easy matter to come to like them like the King Of
Sweden or my Lord Cutts it is not so very hard
to become indi fferent to them
The cornet s death did not remain long un
avenged A little O ld man with a sickle who had
been standing near Sir Gervas gave a sudden sharp
and
springing
up
into
the
air
with
a
loud
cr
y
Glory to God
fell at upon his face dead A
bullet had struck him j ust o ver the right eye A l
most at the same moment one Of the peasants in
the waggon w a s shot through the chest and s at up
coughing blood all over the wheel I saw Master
Joshua P e t t ig ru e catch him in his long arms and
settle some bedding under his head s o that he lay
breathing heavily and pattering forth prayers The
minister showed himself a man that day for amid
the erce carbine re he walked boldly up and

down with a drawn rapier in his le ft hand for he


was a le ft handed man and hi s Bible in the other
This is what you are dying for dear brothers he
cried continuall y holding the brown volume up in
the air ; are ye not ready to die for this ?
And
every time he asked the question a lo w eager mur
mur rose from the ditches the waggon and the
road
They aim like yokels at a Wappenscha w said
Saxon seating himself on the side o f the waggon
Like all young soldiers t hey re too high When
I w a s an adj utant it w as my custom to press down
,

1 88

B RU S H

KI NG S

THE

WITH

D RAG O O N S

the barrels O f the muskets until my eye told me


that they were level These rogues think that they
have done their part if they do but let the gun o ff
though they are as like t o hit the plovers above us
as ourselves

Five O f the faithful have fall en said Hope


above Williams
Shall we not sall y forth and do
battle with the children o f Antichrist ? Are w e to
lie here like s o many popinj ays at a fair fo r the
troopers to practise upon
There is a stone barn over yonder o n the hill
side I remarked
If w e who have horses and a
fe w others were t o keep the dragoons in play the
people might be able to reach it and s o be sheltered
from the re
At least let my brother and me have a shot or
two back at them cried o n e o f the marksmen be
side the wheel
T O all o ur prayers and council however our
leader only replied by a shake o f the head and con
t i n u e d to swing his long legs over the side Of the
waggon with his eyes xed hard upon the horse
men many Of whom had dismounted and were
leaning their carbines over the cruppers O f their
chargers

This cannot go o n s i r said the pastor in a


lo w earnest voice
two more men have j ust been
hit
I f ft y more men are hit we must wait until
they charge Saxon answered
What would you
do man
If you leave this shelter you will be c ut
o ff and utterly destroyed
When you have seen
as much Of war as I have done you will learn to
put up quietly with what i s not to be avoided I
remember o n such another occasion when the rear
guard o r nachhut o f the I mperial troops was fol
.

1 89

M I CAH CLARKE
lowed by Croats w ho were in the pay O f the Grand
Turk I lost half my company before the mercenary
renegades came t o close ghting Ha my brave
boys they are mounting ! We shall not have to
wait long n o w
The dragoons were indeed climbing into their
saddles again and forming across the road with the
evident intention of charging down upon us At
the same time about thirty men detached them
selves from the main body and trotted away into
the elds upon our right Saxon growled a heart y
oath under his breath a s he Observed them
They have some knowledge Of warfare aft er
all said he
They mean to charge us ank and
front Master Joshua s e e that your s cyt he s m e n
line the quickset hedge upon the right
Stand
well up my brothers and inch not from the
horses Y o u men with the sickles li e in the ditch
there and c ut at the legs Of the brutes A li ne Of
stone throwers behind that A heavy stone is as
sure as a bull et at close quarters If ye would s e e
your wives and childr en again make that hedge
good against the horsemen No w fo r the front
attack Let the men w ho carry petronels come
into the waggon T w o o f yours Clarke and t w o
O f yours L o c karb
I
spare
one
also
That
c
a
n
y
makes v e No w here are ten others o f a sort and
three muskets Twe n ty shots in all Have y ou
n o pistols Sir Gervas
NO but I can get a pair said our companion
and springing upon his horse he forced his way
through the ditch past the barrier a n d s o down the
road in the direction Of the dragoons
The movement w a s S O sudden and S O unexpected
that there w a s a dead silenc e for a few seconds
which w a s broken by a general howl of hatred and
,

1 90

B RU S H W I T H

THE KING S DRAG O O N S

rage from the peasants


Shoot upon him Shoot
down the false Amalekite they shrieked
He
hath gone to j oin his kind ! H e hath delivered us
into
the
hands
of
the
enemy
Judas
Judas
U
p
As to the horsemen w ho were still forming up for
a charge and waiting for the anking party to get
into position they sat still and silent n o t knowing
what to make Of the gaily dressed cavalier w ho was
speeding towards them
We were not left long in doubt however He
had no sooner reached the spot where the co m et
had fallen than he sprang from his horse and helped
himself to the dead man s pistols and to the belt
which contain ed his powder and ball Mounting
at his leisure amid a sho w er O f bullets which pu ffed
up the white dust all around him he rode onwards
towards the dragoons and discharged o n e of his pis
tols at them Wheeling round he poli tely raised
his cap and galloped back to us none the worse for
his adventure though a ball had grazed his horse s
fetlock and another had left a hole in the skirt Of
his riding coat The peasants raised a shout Of
j ubilation as he rode in and from that day forward
our friend w a s free to wear his gay trappings and to
bear himself as he would without being suspected
of having mounted the livery O f S atan or Of being
wanting in zeal for the cause of the saints
They are coming cried Saxon
Let no man
draw trigger until he sees me shoot I f any does I
shall send a bullet through him though it w a s my
last shot and the troopers were amongst us
As our leader uttered this threat and looked grim
ly round upon us with an evident intention Of exe
euting it a shrill blare of a bugle burst from the
horsemen in front of us and w a s answered by those
upon o ur ank At the signal both bodies s e t
.

1 91

M I CA H C LARK E
spurs to their horses and dashed down upon us a t
the top o f their speed
Those in the eld were
delayed for a fe w moments and thrown into some
di sorder by nd i ng that the ground immediately in
front o f them w a s soft and boggy but ha vmg made
their way through it they re formed upon the other
side and rode gallantly at the hedge O ur o w n
opponents having a clear course before them never
slackened for an instant but came thundering down
with a j ingli n g O f harness and a tempest o f oaths
upon o ur rude barricades
Ah my children when a man I n his age tries to
describe such things as these and to make others
s e e what he has seen it is only then that he under
stands what a small stock Of language a plain man
keeps by him for his daily use in the world and
F or
how unt it is to meet any call upon it
though at t hi s very moment I c a n myself see that
white S omersetshire road with the wild whirling
charge O f the horsemen the red angry faces o f the
men and the gaping nostril s o f the horses all
wreathed and framed in clouds o f dust I cannot
hope to make it clear to your young eyes which
never have looked and I trust never S hall look
upon such a scene When too I think o f the
sound a mere rattle and j ingle at rst but growing
in strength and volume with every step until it
came upon u s with a thunderous rush and roar I
feel that that too is beyond the power of my feeble
words to express T O inexperienced soldiers li ke
ourselves it seemed impossible that our frail defence
and o ur feeble weapons could check for an instant
the impetus and weight Of the dragoons T O right
and left I s a w white s e t faces Open eyed and rigid
uninching with a stubbornness Which rose less from
hope than from despair A ll round rose cries and
.

1 92

BR U S H W I T H T HE

K I N G S DR A G O O N S

ayers
Lord save Thy people !
M ercy

p
r
o rd mercy !
Be with u S this day !
Re
c e i ve o ur souls O merciful Father !
S axon lay
across the waggon with his eyes glinting like dia
monds and hi s petronel presented at t he full length
Of his rigid arm Following his example we a ll took
aim as steadily as possible at the rst rank Of the
enemy O ur only hope o f safety lay in making
that o n e discharge s o deadly that o ur Opponents
should be t o o much shaken to continue their
attack
?
Would the man never re
They could n ot be
more than t e n paces from us
I could s e e the
buckles Of the men s plates an d the powder charges
in their bandoli ers O ne more stride yet and at
last o ur leader s pistol ashed and we poured in a
close voll ey supported by a sho w er O f heavy stones
from the sturdy peasants be hind I could hear
them splintering against casque and cuirass like hail
upon a casement The cloud o f smoke veili n g fo r
an instant the line o f galloping steeds and gallant
riders drift ed slowly aside to S how a very di fferent
scene A dozen men and horses were rolling in o n e
wild blood S purting heap the unwounded falling
over those whom o ur ball s and stones had brought
down
Struggling snorting C hargers iron shod
feet staggering gures rising and falling wild hat
less bewildered men half stunned by a fall and n o t

knowing which w ay to turn that w a s the fore


ground O f the picture while behind t hem the re
m ai n de r O f the troop were riding furiously back
wounded and hale all driven by the o n e desire Of
getting to a place o f safety where they might rally
their shattered formation A great shout O f praise
and thanksgivin g rose from the delighted peasants
and surging over the barricade they struck down

1 93

M I CA H CLARKE
or secured the fe w uninj ured troopers w ho had been
unable or unwilling to j oin thei r companions in
their ight The carbines swords and bandoliers
were eagerly pounced upon by the victors some o f
whom had served in the militia and knew well how
to handle the weapons which they had w o n
The victory however was by n o means c o m
The
anking
squadron
had
ridden
boldly

l
et e d
p
at the hedge and a dozen o r more had forced their
way through in spite of the showers o f stones and
the desperate thrusts Of the pikemen and scythe
men O nce amongst the peasants the long swords
and the armour o f the dragoons gave them a great
advantage and though t he sickles brought several
Of the horses to the ground the soldiers continued
to lay about them freely and to beat back the erce
but ill armed resistance Of their opponents A
dragoon sergeant a man Of great resolution and o f
prodigious strength appeared to be the leader Of
the party and encouraged his foll owers both by
word and example A stab from a half pike brought
his horse to the ground but he sprang from the
saddle as it fell and avenged its death by a sweep
ing backhanded c ut from his broadsword Waving
his hat in his le ft hand he continued t o rally his
men and to strike down every Puritan who came
against him until a blow from a hatchet brought
him o n his knees and a ail stroke broke his sword
close by the hilt At the fall Of their leader his
comrades turned and ed through the hedge but
the gallant fellow wounded and bleeding still
showed ght and would assuredly have been
knocked upon the head for his pains had I not
picked him up and thrown him into the waggon
where he had the good sense to lie quiet until the
skirmish w as at an end O f the dozen w ho broke
,

1 94

B RU S H W I T H THE KI NG S D RAG O O N S

through n ot more than four escaped and several


others lay dead o r wounded upon the other side o f
the hedge impaled by scythe blades o r knocked O ff
their horses by stones Altogether nine O f the
dragoons were slain and fourteen wounded while
we kept seven unscathed prisoners ten horses t
fo r service and a score o r s o o f carbines with good
store O f match powder and ball The remainder of
the troop red a single straggling volley and then
galloped away down the cross road disappearing
amongst the trees from which they had come
All this however had n o t been done without
severe loss upon o ur S ide Three men had been
kill ed and s i x wounded o n e Of them very badly by
the musketry r e Five had been cut down when
the anking party broke their way in and only one
Of these could be expected t o recover In addition
to this o n e man had lost his life through the burst
ing Of an ancient pistol and another had his arm
broken by the kick o f a horse O ur total losses
therefore were eight ki lled and the same wounded
which could not but be regarded as a very small
number when we consider the e rc e n e s s Of the
skirmish and the superiority Of o ur enemy both in
discipline and in arms
S O heated were the peasants by their victory
that those w ho had horses were clamorous to follow
the dragoons the more so as Sir Gervas Jerome and
Reuben were both eager to lead them Decimus
S axon refused however to li sten to any such
scheme nor did he S how more favour to the Rever
end Joshua P e t t ig rue s proposal that he should in
his capacity as pastor mount at on ce upon the
waggon and improve the occasion by a fe w words
o f healing and unction
It is true good Master P e t t i grue that w e o w e
,

1 95

M I CAH CLARKE

much praise and much outpouring and much sweet


and holy contending for this blessing which hath
come upon I srael said he but the time hath not
yet arrived There is an hour for prayer and an
hour fo r labour Hark ye friend to o n e o f the
prisoners
to what regiment do you belong ?

It is not for me to answer your questions the


man answered sul kily
N ay then we ll try if a string round your scalp
and a few twists o f a drumstick will make y o u nd
your tongue said Saxon pushing his face up to
that of the prisoner and staring into hi s eyes with
s o sa vage an expression that the man shrank away
affrighted
It is a troop O f the second dragoon regiment
he said
W here is the regiment itself ?

We le ft it o n the Ilchester and Langport


,

ro a d

You hear said o ur leader


We have not a
moment to S pare or we may have the whole crew
about o u r ears Put our dead and wounded in the
carts and we c a n harness t w o o f these chargers to
them W e shall n ot be in safety until we are in
Taunton town
Even Master Joshua s a w that the matter was
too pressing to permit of any spiritual exercises
The wounded men were lifted into the waggon
and laid upon the bedding while o ur dead were
placed in the cart which had defended o u r rear
The peasants who owned these far from making
any Obj ection to this disposal O f their property
helped u s in every w a y tightening girths and
buckling traces Within an hour o f the ending o f
the skirmish w e found ourselves pursuing our w ay
once more and looking back through the twil ight
.

1 96

O F O UR C O M I N G T O TAUNT O N

at the scattered black dots upon the white road


where the bodies Of the dragoons marked the scene
Of o ur victory
,

X VI
OF OU R

COM I N G

TO

T A U NT O N

T HE

purple shadows O f evening had fallen over the


country side and the s un had sunk behind the dis
tant Quantock and Brendon Hills as our rude
column O f rustic infantry plodded through Curry
Rivell W ran t ag e and H e n la de At every w a y
side cottage and red tiled farmhouse the people
swarmed o u t as we passed with j ugs full Of milk
o r beer shaking hands with o u r yokels and press
ing food and drink upon them In the little vil
lages O ld and young came buzzing t o greet us and
cheered long and loud fo r King Monmouth and
the Protestant cause
The stay
a t homes were
mostly elderly folks and children but here and
there a young labourer whom hesitation o r duties
had kept back w a s s o carried away by o ur martial
appearance and by the Visible trophies Of o u r vi c
tory that he snatched up a weapon and j oined our
ranks
The skirmish had reduced o u r numbers but it
had done much to turn our rabble o f peasants into
a real military force The leadership Of Saxon
and his stern short words o f praise o r Of censure
had done even more The men kept some sort Of
order and stepped together briskly in a compact
body The O ld soldier and I rode at the head O f
the column with Master P e t t i g rue still walking
between u s Then came t he cartful o f o ur dead
-

1 97

M I CAH CLARKE

whom we were carryi ng with us to insure their


decent burial Behind this walked t w o score Of
scythe and sickl e men with their rude weapons
over their shoulders guarding the waggon in which
the wounded were carried T hi s w a s followed by
the main body o f the peasants and the rear was
brought up by ten or twelve men under the c o m
mand Of L o ckarby and Sir Gervas mounted upon
captured chargers and wearing the breastplates
swords and carbines O f the dragoons
I Observed that S axon rode with his chin upon
his shoulder casting continual uneasy glances be
hind him and halting at every piece o f rising
ground to make sure that there were no pursuers
at o ur heels It was not until aft er many weary
miles of marching the lights o f Taunton could be
seen twinkli ng far O ff in the valley beneath us that
he at last heaved a deep sigh Of relief and ex
pressed his belief that all danger was over

I am not fearful upon small occasion he re


marked but hampered as we are with wounded
men and prisoners it might have puzzled P e t ri n us
himself to know what we should have done had the
cavalry overtaken us I can now Master Petti
rue
smoke
my
pipe
in
peace
without
pricking
up
g
my ears at every chance rumble o f a wheel o r shout
o f a vill age roisterer
Even had they pursued us said the minister

stoutly so long as the hand o f the Lord shall


?
shield us w hy should we fear them
Aye aye
S axon answered impatiently but
the devil prevail eth at times
Were n o t the
chosen people them selves overthrown and led into
bondage
How s a y you Clarke ?
O ne such skirmish is enough for a day I re

marked
Faith ! i f instead of charging u s they
.

,
.

1 98

OF O UR C O MIN G TO TAUNT O N

had continued that carbine re w e must either


have come forth o r been shot where we lay

F o r that reason I forbade o ur friends with the


muskets to answer it said S axon
O ur silence
led them to think that w e had but a pistol o r t w o
among us and s o brought them to C harge us
Thus our voll ey became the more terrify ing since
it was unexpected I ll wager there was not a
man amongst them who did n o t feel that he had
been led into a trap Mark you how the rogues
wheeled and ed with o n e accord as though it had
been part of their daily drill
The peasants stood to it li ke men I rem arked
There is nothing li ke a tincture o f Calvinism
Look
for stiffening a line Of battle said Saxon
at the Swede when he is at home What more
honest simple hearted fellow could you nd with
no S ingle soldierly virtue s a ve that he could put
away more spruce beer than you would care to pay
Yet if y o u do but cram him with a fe w strong
fo r
homely texts place a pike in his hand and give
hi m a Gustavus to lead him there is no infantry in
the world that can stand against him O n the
other hand I have seen young Turks untrained to
arms strike in o n behalf O f the Koran as lustily as
these brave fellows behind us did for the Bible
w hich Master P e t t ig rue held up in front Of them
I trust s i r said the minister gravely
that
you do not b y these remarks intend to make any
comparison between o ur sacred scriptures and the
writings Of the impostor Mahomet or to infer that
there is any kinship between the devil inspired fury
O f the in del Saracens and the Christian fortitude
Of the struggling faithful
By no means Saxon answered grinning at me
over the minister s head
I w a s but sho w in g
,

'

14

199

M I C A H CLARKE
ho w

closely the E vi l O ne can imitate the work


ings Of the Spirit
T O O true Master S axon too true !
the clergy
man answered sadl y
Amid the conict and dis
cord it is hard to pick o ut the true path But I
marvel much that amidst the snares and t e mpt a
tions that beset a soldier s life you have kept your
self unsullied with your heart still s e t upon the
true faith
It was through no strengt h Of mine o w n said
Saxon piously
I am what grace has made me
He looked at me with a solemn face and leering
ey es
In very truth such men as y o u are much
needed in Monmouth s army Master Joshua ex

claimed
They have there several as I under
stand from Holland Brandenburg and Scotland
who have been trained in arms but w ho care s o
little for the cause which we uphold that they curse
and swear in a manner that affrights the peasants
and threatens to call down a j udgment upon the
army O thers there are w ho cling close to the true
faith and have been born again among the right
cous ; but alas ! they have had no experience Of
camps and elds O ur blessed Master can work by
means o f weak instruments yet the fact remains
that a man may be a chosen li ght in a pulpit and
yet be of li ttle avail in an onslaught such as we
have seen this day I c a n myself arrange my di s
course to the satisfaction O f my ock S O that they
1
grieve when the sand is run o ut ; but I am aware
that this power would stand me in little stead when
it came to the raising O f barricades and the use o f
carnal weapons In this way it comes about in
the army o f the faithful that those w ho are t to
N t e E App en d i x H ur g la e in p ul p i t

200

ss s

O F O UR C O M I N G T O TAUNT O N

lead are hateful to the people whil e those to whose


words the people will hearken know little o f war
N o w we have this day seen that you are ready of
head and o f hand o f much experience Of battle
and yet of demure and sober li fe fu ll O f yearnings
a ft er the word and strivings against Apollyon I
therefore repeat that you shall be as a very Joshua
amongst them or as a S amson destined t o tear
down the twin pi llars of Prelacy and Popery s o as
to bury this corrupt government in its fall
Decimus Saxon s only reply to this eulog y was
o n e of those groans which were supposed among
the zealots to be the symbol of intense inner c o n
S O austere and holy was his
i c t and emotion
expression s o solemn his demeanour and s o fre
quent the upturnings o f his eyes clasping of his
hands and other signs which marked the extreme
sectary that I could n ot but marvel at the depths
and completeness Of the hypocrisy which had cast
so complete a C loak over his rapacious self F o r
very mischief s sake I could not keep fro m remind
ing him that there was one at least who valued his
professions at their real value

Have y o u told the worthy minister said I

O f your captivity amongst the Mussulmans and


Of the noble way in which you did uphold the
Christian faith at Stamboul ?
Nay cried our comp anion I would fain hear
the tale I marvel much that o n e s o faithful and
unbending as thyself was ever let loose by the u n
clean and bloodthirsty followers o f Mahomet
It does not become me to tell the tale Saxon
answered casting at the same time a most venom

o u s sidelong glance at me
It is for my c o m
rades in sorrow and not for me to describe what I
bore fo r the faith I have li ttle doubt Mas t er
,

20 1

M I CA H CLAR KE
that you would have done as much had
o f Taunton lies very
The
town
o u been there
y
quiet beneath u s and there are few li ghts for s o
early an hour seeing that it has not yet gone ten
It is clear that Monmouth s forces have not reached
it yet else had there been some S how O f camp r e s
in the vall ey for though it is warm enough to lie
o ut in the open the men must have res to cook
their victual
The army could scarce have come SO far said

the pastor
They have I hear been much de
layed by the want O f arms and by the need O f
training Bethink ye it w as o n the eleventh day
Of the month that Monmouth landed at Lyme and
it is now but the night o f the fourteenth There
was much to be done in the time
Four whole days ! growled the Old soldier
Yet I expected no better seeing that they have
so far as I can hear no tried soldiers amongst them
V
By my sword Till y o r V all e n st e i n would not have
taken four days to come from Lyme to Taunton
though all James Stuart s cavalry barred the way
Great enterprises are not pushed through in this
halting fashion
The blow should be S harp and
sudden But tell me worthy s i r all that y o u
know about the matter for we have heard little
upon the road save rumour and surmise Was
there not some fashion Of onfall at Bridport ?
There was indeed some shedding o f blood at
that place The rst two days were consumed as
I understand in the enrolli ng o f the faithful and
the search for arms wherewith to equip them You
may well shake your head for the hours were pre
ci o us
At last ve hundred men were broken into
some sort Of order and marched along the coast
under command o f Lord Grey o f Wark and W ade
P e t t ig ru e

202

O F O UR C O MIN G T O

T AUNT O N

the lawyer At Bridport they were faced by the


red Dorset militia and part Of Portman s yellow
coats If all be true that is said neither side had
much t o boast O f Grey and his cavalry never
tightened bridle unti l they were back in Lyme
once more though it is said their ight had m ore
t o do with the hard mouths o f their horses than
with the so ft hearts Of the riders Wade and his
footmen di d bravely and had the best Of it against
the King s troops There was much outcry against
Grey in the camp but Monmouth c an scarce afford
t o be hard upon the only nobleman w ho hath
j oined his standard
Pshaw
cried Saxon peevishly
There was
no great stock Of noblemen in Cromwell s army I
trow and yet they held their o w n against the King
who had as many lords by him as there are haws
in a thicket If ye have the people o n your side
w hy should ye crave fo r these bewigged ne gen
t le me n whose white hands and delicate rapiers are
Of as much service as so many ladies bodkins

Faith
said I if all the fops are as careless
for their lives as o ur friend Sir Gervas I could wish
no better comrades in the eld
In good sooth yes ! cried Master P e t t ig rue

heartily
What though he be clothed in a J o
s e h s coat Of many colours and hath strange turns
p
Of speech
N O man could have fought more stout
ly or shown a bolder front against the enemies o f
I srael Surely the youth hath good in hi s heart
and will become a seat Of grace and a vessel Of the
Spirit though at present he be entan gled in the net
Of worldly follies and carnal vanities
It is to be hoped s o quoth Saxon devoutly
And what else c an you tell us Of the revolt

worthy s i r ?
.

203

MI CAH CL A R K E

V ery little save that the peasants have ocked


,

in in such numbers that many have had to be


turned away for want Of arms Every tithing man
in Somersetshire is searching for axes and scythes
There is n ot a blacksmith but is at his forge from
morn to night at work upon pike heads There
are s i x thousand men of a sort in the camp but
not one in ve carries a musket They have a d
va n ce d I hear upon Axminste r where they must
meet the Duke Of Albemarl e w ho hath s e t out
from Exeter w ith four thousand O f the train bands
Then w e shall be too late aft er all I exclaimed
Y o u wil l have enough O f battles before Mon
mouth exchanges his riding hat for a crown and
hi s laced roq uelaure for the royal purple
quoth
Saxon
S hould o ur worthy friend here be cor
re c t l
i
nformed
and
such
an
engagement
take
place
y
it will but be the prologu e to the play When
F e ve rs ha m and Churchill come up with the King s
it is then that Monmouth takes the
o w n troops
last S pring that lands him either o n the throne o r
the scaffold
Whilst this talk had been proceeding we had
been walking o u r horses do w n the winding track
which leads along the eastern mpe O f Taunton
Deane For some time past we had been able to
s e e in the vall ey beneath us the lights O f Taunton
to w n and the long silver strip o f the river Tone
The moon w a s S hining brightly in a cloudless
heaven throwing a still and peaceful radiance over
t he fairest and richest Of English valleys
Lordly
manorial houses pinnacled towers clusters Of nes
tling t hat c lr ro o fe d cottages broad silent stretches
O f cornland dark groves with the glint O f lamp lit
windows shin ing from their recesses i t all lay
around us like the shadowy voiceless landscapes
-

204

OUR

OF

C O M I N G T O TAU N T O N

which stretch before us in o ur dreams S O cal m


a n d s o beautiful w a s the scene that w e reined up
o ur horses at the bend O f the path w ay the tired
and footsore peasants came to a halt while even
the wounded raised themselves in the waggon in
o rder t o feast their eyes upon this land Of promise
S uddenly in the stillness a strong fervent voice
was heard call ing upon the source o f all life to guard
and preserve that which H e had created I t w a s
Joshua Pe t t igrue w ho had ung himself upon hi s
knees and w ho while asking fo r future guidance
was returning thanks for the safe deliveran ce which
his ock had experienced from the many perils
which had beset them upon their j ourney
I
would my chi ldren that I had o n e Of those magic
crystals Of which we have read that I might show
you that scene The dark gures Of the horsemen
the g rave earnest bearing Of the rustics as they
knelt in prayer or leaned upon their rude weapo n s
the half cowed half sneering features o f the captive
dragoons the line of white pain drawn faces that
peeped over the side O f the waggon and the chorus
o f groans
cries and ej aculations which broke in
upon the steady earnest voice O f the pastor Above
u s the brilliant heavens beneath us the beautiful
sloping valley stretching away in the white moon
light a s far as the eye could reach Could I but
paint such a scene with the brush Of a V e rri o or
Laguerre I should have no need to describe it in
these halting and feeble words
Master P e t t i gru e had concluded his thanksgiving
and was in the act O f rising to his feet when the
musical peal Of a bell rose up from the sleeping
town before us F o r a minute or more it rose and
fell in its sweet clear cadence Then a second with
a deeper harsher note j oined in and then a third
.

205

M I C AH

C LARKE

ntil t h e air was l led with the merry j angling At


the same time a buzz Of shouting or huzzaing could
b e heard which increased and spread until it swell ed
into a mighty uproar Lights ashed in the win
dows drums beat and the whole place was astir
These sudden signs Of rej oicing coming at the heels
o f the minister s prayer were seized upon as a happy
omen by the superstitious peasants w ho set up a
glad cry and pushing onwards were soon within
the outski rts Of the town
The footpaths and causeway were black with
throngs Of the townsfolk men women and chil
dren m any Of whom were bearing torches and Ia n
thorns all ocking in the same direction FO llow
ing them we found ourselves in the market place
where crowds Of apprentice lads were piling u p
faggots fo r a bonr e while others were broaching
two or three great puncheons o f ale The cause o f
this sudden outbreak o f rej oicing w a s we learned
that news had j ust come in that Albemarle s Devon
shire militia had partly deserted and partly been
defeated at Axminster that very morning O n
hearing o f o ur own successful skirmish the j o y Of
the people became more tumultuous than ever
They rushed in amongst us pouring blessings o n
o ur heads in their strange burring west country
speech and embracing o ur horses as well as o ur
selves Preparations were soon made for o ur weary
companions A long empty wool warehouse thick
ly strewn with s t raw w a s put at their disposal with
a tub Of ale and a good supply Of cold meats and
W heaten bread
For o ur o w n part we made o ur
way do w n East Street through the clamorous
hand shaking crowd t o the Wh ite Hart I nn where
aft er a hasty meal we were right glad to seek o ur
couches Late into the night however o ur slum
u

206

IN

THE MA R K E T S Q UARE
-

b ers were broken by the rej oicings of the mob who


having burned the e fg i e s o f Lord Sunderland and
o f Gregory Alford Mayor Of Lyme continued to
sing west country songs and Puritan hymns i nto
the small hours Of the morning
,

X VII

O F T HE

G AT H E R I N G I N TH E M A R KE T
S QU A RE

T HE

fair town in which we now found o urselves


was although Monmouth had not yet reached it
the real centre Of the rebellion It was a prosper
o us place with a great woollen and kersey trade
which gave occupation t o as many as seven thou
sand inhabitants I t stood high therefore amongst
English boroughs being inferior only to Bristol
Norwich Bath Exeter York Worcester and Not
T a unt o n had
t i n g ha m amongst the country town s
long been famous n ot only fo r its o w n riches and for
the spirit Of its inhabitants but also for the beauti
ful and highly till ed country which spread around
it and gave rise to a gallant breed o f yeomen
From Olden time the town had been a rallying
point for the party Of liberty and for many years
it had leaned to the side Of Republicanism in poli
tics and Of Puritanism in religion N O place in the
kingdom had fought more stoutly for the Parlia
ment and though it had been twice besieged by
Goring the burghers headed by the brave Robert
Blake had fought S O desperately that the Royali sts
had been compell ed each time to retire O n the
second occasion the garrison had been reduced to
dog s e s h and horse e s h but no word of surrender
,

207

M I CA H C L A R K E

had come either from them or their hero i c l eader


w ho was the same Blake un d er whom the Old s e a
man Solomon Sprent had fought against the Dutch
A ft er the Restoration the Privy Council had S hown
their recollection o f the part played by the Somer
s e t s hire town
by issuing a special order that the
battlements which fenced round the maiden strong
hold should be destroyed Thus at the time Of
which I speak nothing but a li ne o f ruins and a
few rude mounds marked the massive line o f wall
which had been s o bravely held by the last genera
tion Of townsmen There were not wanting how
ever many other relics Of those stormy times The
houses o n the outskirts were still scarred and splin
t e re d from the bombs and grenades O f the Cavaliers
Indeed the whole town bore a grimly martial air
a s though she were a veteran among boroughs who
had served in the past and was not averse from
seeing the ash of guns and hearing the screech Of
shot once more
Charles s Council might raze the b attlements
which his soldiers had been unable to take but no
royal edict could do away with the resolute spirit
and strong Opinions Of the burghers M any Of
them born and bred amidst the clash O f civil strife
had been red from their infancy by the tales Of
the O ld w ar and by reminiscences Of the great
assault when Lunsford s babe eaters were hurled
down the m ain breach by the strong arms O f their
fathers In this w ay there w a s bred in Taunton a
e rc e r and more soldierly spirit than is usual in an
English country town and this ame was fanned
by the unwearied m i n i s t e ri n g s O f a chosen band of
N o n c on fo rmi st clergymen amongst whom Joseph
Alleine was the most famed NO better centre fo r
a revolt could have been chosen for no city valued
,

208

IN T HE

M A RKET S QUARE
-

highly those li b erties and that creed which w a s


in peril
A large body o f the burghers had already s e t o ut
t o j oin the rebel army but a good number had
stayed behind to guard the C ity and these were
reinforced by gangs o f peasants like the o n e to
which we had attached ourselves w ho had trooped
in from the country round and n o w divided their
time between liste n ing to their favourite preachers
and learning t o step in line and to handle their
weapons In yard street and market square there
was marching and drilling night morn ing and
noon A S we rode o ut a ft er breakfast the whole
town was ringing with the shouting of orders and
the clatter Of arms O ur own friends o f yesterday
marched into the market
place at the moment w e
entered it and no sooner did they catch sight O f
us than they plucked o ff their hats and cheered
lustily n o r would they stop until we cantered over
t o them and took o ur places at their head
They have vowed that none other should lead

them said the minister s tanding by S axon s


stirrup
I could not wish to lead stouter fell ows said
he
Let them deploy into double line in front Of
the town hall S O s o smartly there rear rank !
No w
he shouted facing his horse towards them
swing round into position Keep your ground le ft

ank and let the others pivot u pon you S O as


hard and as straight as an Andrea Ferrara I pry
thee friend do not carry your pike as though it
were a hoe though I trust yo u will do some weed
ing in the Lord s vineyard with it And y o u s i r
your musquetoon should be S loped upon your
shoulder and not borne under your arm like a
dandy s cane D id ever an unhappy soldier nd
so

209

M I C AH C L A R KE

himself called upon to make order among s o mot


ley a crew ! E ven my good friend the Fleming

cannot avail here nor does P e t rin u s in his De


re mili tari lay down any inj unctions as to the
method of drilli ng a man who is armed wi th a
sic kle or a scythe

w hi s
Shoulder scythe present sc yt he m ow
pered Reuben to Sir Gervas and the pair b egan to
laugh heedless Of the angry frowns o f S axon
Let us divide them he said in to three com

a n i e s of eighty men
O
r
stay
how
many
mus
p

u
e
t
e
e
rs have we in all
Five
and
f
t
Let
them
q
y
stand forward and form the rst li ne or company
S ir Gervas Jerome you have O fc e re d the militia
of your county and have doubtless some knowl
edge O f the manual exercise If I am command
ant Of this force I hand over the captaincy Of this
company to yo u It shall be the rst li ne in battle
a position which I kn ow you will not mislike
Gad they ll have to powder their heads said
Sir Gervas w ith decision

You shall have the entire ordering Of them


S axon answered
Let the r st company take six

paces to the front SO ! No w let the pikemen stand


out Eighty seven a serviceable company ! Lock
arby do you take these men in hand and never
forget that the German wars have proved that the
best O f horse has no more chance against steady
pikeme n than the waves against a crag Take the
a t ai n c
Of
the
second
company
and
ride
at
their
p
y
p
l ead
Faith ! I f they don t ght better than the i r

captain rides wh i spered Reuben


it wi ll be an
evil busines s I tru st they will be rmer in the
eld than I in the sa ddle
The third company o f s c yt he sm e n I commit

21 0

IN T HE MARKET S QUARE
-

to your charge Captain Micah Clarke continued


Saxon
Good Master Joshua P e t t ig rue will be
Shall not his voice and his
o ur e ld chaplain
presence be to us as manna in the wilderness and
The under
as springs Of water in dry places
O f c e rs 1 s e e that you have yourselves chosen and
your captains shall have power to add to the num
ber from those who smite boldly and spare n ot
No w one thing I have to s a y to you and I speak it
that all may hear and that none may hereaft er
complain that the rules he serves under were n o t
made clear to him For I tell you n ow that when
the evening bugle call s and the helm and pike are
laid aside I am as you and you as I fellow workers
in the same eld and drinkers from the same wells
Of life L O I will pray with you o r preach with
you or hearken with you or expound t o you o r do
aught that ma y become a brother pilgrim upon the
weary road But hark y ou friends ! when we are
in arms and the good work is t o be done o n the
march in the eld or on parade then let your
bearing be strict soldierly and scrupulous quick to
hear and alert to Obey for I shall have no sluggards
o r laggards and if there be any such my hand sha ll
be heavy upon them yea even to the cutting Of
them O ff I say there shall be no mercy for such
here he paused and surveyed his force with a set
face and his eyelids drawn low over his glinting

S hi ft ing eyes
If then he continued there i s
any man among y o u w ho fears to serve under a
hard discipline let him stand forth now and let him
betake him to some easier leader for I say to you
that wh i lst I command this corps S axon s regiment
Of Wiltshire foot shall be worthy to testify in this
great and soul raising cause
The Colonel stopped and s at silent upon his
,

21 1

M I CA H CLARKE

mare The long li nes of rustic faces looked up


some stolidly some admiringly some with an ex
pression of fear at hi s stern gaunt face and baneful
eyes None moved however s o he continued

Worthy Master Timewell the Mayor o f this


fair to w n O f Taunton who has been a tower Of
strengt h to the faithful during these long and spirit
trying times is about to inspect us when the others
shall have assembled Captains to your companies
then ! Close up there on the m us q ue t e e rs with
three paces between each line S c yt he s m e n take
ground to your le ft Let the under O fce rs stand
on the anks and rear S O ! tis smartly done for a
rst venture though a good adj utant with a cane
a ft er the Imperial fashion might nd work to do
Whilst we were thus turning ourselves into a
regiment other bo di es o f peasantry more o r less
trained had marched into the market square and
had taken up their position there Those o n o u r
right had come from Frome and Radstock in the
north Of Somersetshire and were a mere rabble
armed with a ils hammers and other such w e a p
o n s with no common S ign of order o r cohesion save
the green boughs which waved in their hat bands
The body upon o ur left who bore a banner
amongst them to s a y that they were men o f Dorset
were fewer in number but better equipped having
a front rank like our o w n entirely armed with
muskets
The good to w n smen O f Taunton with their wives
and their daughters had meanwhile been assembling
on the balconies and at the windows which over
looked the square whence they might have a view
Of the pageant The g rave square bearded broad
clothed burghers and their portly dames in velvet
a nd three piled taffeta looked do wn from every
.

21 2

IN

T HE MARKE T S Q UARE
-

post Of vantage while here and there a pretty


timid face peeping o ut from a Puritan C oif made
good the O ld claim that Taunton excelled in beau
tiful women as well a s in gallant men The side
walks were crowded with the commoner folko ld
white bearded wool workers stern faced matrons
country lasses with their shawls over their heads
and swarms Of children w ho cried o ut with their
treble voices for Ki ng Monmouth and the Protes
tant succession
By my faith said S ir Gervas reining back his
steed until he was abreast Of me o ur square toed
friends need not be in such post haste t o get to hea
ve n when they have s o many angels among them
?
o n earth
Gad s wounds are they not beautiful
Never a patch o r a diamond amongst them and yet
what would n o t o ur faded belles of the Mall o r the
?
Piazza give for their innocence and freshness
Nay for Heaven s sake do not smile and bow

at them said I
These courtesies may pass in
London but they may be misunderstood among
simple Somerset maidens and their ho t headed
hard handed kinsfolk
I had hardly spoken before the folding doors of
the town hall were thrown Open and a procession
Of the city fathers emerged into the market place
T W O trumpeters in parti coloured j erkins preceded
t hem w ho ble w a ourish upon their instruments
as they advanced B ehind came the aldermen and
councilmen grave and reverend elders clad in
their sweeping go wns O f black silk trimmed and
t ippe t e d with costly furs
I n rear o f these walked
a pursy little red faced man the town clerk bear
ing a staff o f O fce in his hand wh i le the line o f
dignitaries w as closed by the tall and stately gure
Of Stephen Timewell Mayor o f Taunton
,

21 3

M I C A H CLARKE

There was much in thi s magistrate s appearance


to attract attention for all the characteristics Of
the Puritan party to which he belonged were em
bodied and exaggerated in his person O f great
height he was and very thin with a long drawn
heavy e y e lidde d expression which spoke Of fasts
and vigi ls The bent shoulders and the head sunk
upon the breast proclaimed the ad vances Of age
but his bright steel grey eyes and the animation Of
his eager face showed how the enthusiasm Of relig
ion could rise above bodily weakness A peaked
straggling grey beard descended half way to his
waist and his long snow white hairs uttered o ut
from under a velvet skull cap
The latter was
drawn tightly down upon his head S O as to make
his ears protrude in an unnatural manner on either
side a custom which had earned fo r his party the
title o f pri cke are d s o O ft en applied to them by
their Opponents His attire was o f stu di ous plain
ness and sombre in colour consisti ng Of his bla c k
mantle dark velvet breeches and sil k hosen with
velvet bows upon his shoes instead o f the S il ver
buckles then in vogue A broad chain Of gold
around his neck formed the b adge O f hi s Ofce I n
front o f him strutted the fat red vested town clerk
the other extended and
o n e hand upon his hi p
bearing his wand o f Ofce looki ng pompously to
right and left and occasionally bo w ing as though
the plaudits were entirely on his o w n behalf This
little man had tied a huge broadsword to his g i r
dle which clanked along the cobble stones when
he walked and occ a sionally in serted itself b etween
his legs when he would g ravely cock his foot over
it again and walk o n w ithout any abatement o f hi s
dignity At last ndi ng these interruptions be
come rather too frequent he held down the hilt O f
,

21 4

I N THE MARKET SQUARE


-

his great sword in order to raise the point and


S O strutted on w ards like a bantam cock with a
single straight feather in its tail
Havin g passed round the front and rear Of the
various bodies and inspected them with a care
which showed that his years had not dulled hi s
soldier s eye the Mayor faced round with the e vi
dent intention O f addressi ng us His clerk i h
s t a n t ly darted in front Of him and waving his arms
began to shout S i lence good people ! S ilence
for his most worshipful the M ayor Of Taunton !
Silence for the worthy Master Stephen Time
well ! until in the midst Of his antics and cries
he got entangled once more with his overgrown
weapon and went sprawling o n hi s hands and
knees in the kennel
Silence yourself Master T e t he ridg e said the
chief magistrate severely
I f your sword and
your tongue were both cli pped it would be a s well
for yourself and us Shall I not speak a few
words in season to these good people but y o u must
interrupt with your discordant be llo w i ng s ?
The busybody gathered himself together and
S lunk b ehind the group o f councilmen while the
Mayor slowly ascended the steps Of the market
cross From this position he addressed us speak
ing in a high piping voice which gathered strengt h
until it was audible at the remotest corners Of the
square

Friends in the faith he said


I thank the
Lord that I have been spared in my Old age to
look down upon this goodly assembly For we Of
Taunton have ever kept the ame O f the Covenant
burning amongst us obscured it may be at times
by time servers and Laodiceans but none the less
burning in the hearts Of o u r people All round us
,

15

21 5

M I CAH CLARKE

however there was a worse than Egyptian dark


ness where Popery and Prelacy Arminianism
E ra s t l a n l s m and S imony might rage and riot u n
checked and unconned But what do I s e e n o w ?
D O I see the faithful cowering in their hiding
places and straining their ears fo r the sound o f the
horsehoofs o f their Oppressors ? D O I see a time
serving generation with lies on their lips and truth
buried in their hearts
N O I s e e before me godly
men n o t from this fair city only but from the
broad country round and from Dorset and from
Wiltshire and some even as I hear from Hamp
shire all ready and eager to do mighty work in the
cause Of the Lord And when I see these faith
ful men and when I think that every broad piece
in the strong boxes o f my townsmen is ready to
support them and when I know that the perse
c ut e d remnant throughout the country is w re s
tling hard in prayer for us then a voice speaks with
in me and tells me that we shall tear down the
idols of Dagon and build up in this England of
ours such a temple o f the true faith that not P o p
ery nor Prelacy nor idolatry nor any other device
o f the Evil O ne shall ever prevail against it
A deep irrepressible hum O f approval burst from
the close ranks Of the insurgent infantry with a
clang Of arms as musquetoon o r pike was grounded
upon the stone pavement S axon half turned his
fi erce face raising an impatient hand and the
hoarse murmur died away among o ur men though
o u r less disciplined companions to right and le ft
continued t o wave their green boughs and to clat
ter their arms The T a u n t o n men Opposite stood
grim and silent but their s e t faces and bent brows
showed that their townsman s oratory had stirred
the deep fanatic spirit which distinguished them
,

21 6

IN THE MARKET S QUARE


-

I n my hands

continued the Mayor drawing a

roll O f paper from his bosom is the proclamation


which our royal leader hath sent in advance of
him In his great goodness and self abnegation he
had in his early declaration given forth at Lyme
declared that he should leave the choice o f a mon
arch to the Commons O f England but having
found that his enemies did most scandalously and
basely make use o f this his self denial and di d
assert that he had s o little condence in his o w n
cause that he dared not take publicly the title
which is due to him he hath determined that this
should have an end Know therefore that it is
hereby proclaimed that James Duke Of Monmouth
is now and henceforth rightful King O f England ;
that James Stuart the Papist and fratricide is a
wicked usurper upon whose head dead or alive a
price of ve thousand guineas is afxed ; and that
the assembly now sitting at Westminster and
calling itself the Commons of England is an ill egal
assembly and its acts are null and void in the sight
of the law God bless King Monmouth and the
Protestant religion
The trumpeters struck up a ourish and the peo
ple huzzaed but the Mayor raised his thin white

hands as a signal for silence


A messenger hath
reached me this morning from the King he c on
t in ue d
He sends a greeting to all his faithful
Protestant subj ects and having halted at A x m i n
ster to rest aft er his victory he will advance pres
ently and be with ye in two days at the latest

Ye will grieve to hear that good Alderman


Rider w a s struck down in the thick of the fray
He hath died like a man and a Christian leaving
all his worldly goods together with his cloth works
an d household property to the carrying o n O f the
,

21 7

M I CA H CLARKE
war O f the other slain there are not more than
ten Of Taunton birth T w o gallant young broth
ers have been cut O ff O li ver and Ephraim Hollis
whose poor mother

Grieve not for me good Master Time w ell


cried a female voice from the crowd
I have
three others as stout who shall all be Offered i n the
same quarrel

You are a worthy w oman Mistress Hollis


the Mayor answered and your children shall not
be lost to you The next name upon my list is
Jesse T re fail then come Joseph Millar and Am i n
adab Holt
A n elderly m u s qu e t e e r in the r st line Of the
Taunton foot pulled his hat down over his brows

and cried o ut in a loud steady voice


The Lord
hath given and the Lord hath taken away Blessed
be the name o f the Lord

It is your only s on Master Holt said the


Mayor but the Lord also sacriced His only S on
that you and I might drink the waters of eternal
life The others are Path of Light Regan James

Fletcher Salvation Smith and Robert J O hn st on e


The Old Puritan g ravely rolled up his papers and
having stood for a few moments with his hands
folded across his breast in s i lent prayer he de
scended from the market cross and moved O ff
fo llowed by the aldermen and council men
The
crowd began likewise to disperse in sedate and
sober fashion with grave earnest faces and do wn
cast eyes A large number o f the country folk
however more curious or less devout than the
citizens gathered round o ur regime nt to s e e the
men w ho had beaten O ff the dragoons
S ee the mon w i a face li ke a gerfalcon cried

one
pointing to S axon ;
tis he th at s l ew t he
.

2 18

I N T H E M A R KET S QUARE
-

Ph i l istine

Ofcer yestreen an brought the faithful


O ff Victorious

Mark ye yo n ot h er o n e cried an O ld dame

him w i the white face an the clothes like a


prince He s o n e 0 the Quality what s come a
i the way froe Lunnon to testify to the Protestant
He s a main pious gentleman he i s an if
c re e d
h 6 had bided in the wicked city they d ha had his
h ead o ff like they did the good Lord R oos s e ll o r
i I t him in chains w i the worthy Maister Baxter
p
Marry come up gossip cried a third
The
i
i t mun o n the grey horse is the soldier fo r me
g
H e has the smooth cheeks O a wench an limbs
like Goliath O Gath I ll war nt he could pick up
my Old gaffer Jones an awa w i him at his sad dl e
But here s
b O i 7v as easy as Towser does a rotten
o
d
Maister
T
e t he ridg e
the
C
lark
and
on
great
o
g
bu ! Si n e ss too for he s a mun that spares n e time n e
tro O ble in the girt cause

cried the little


R oom good people room !
C lerk bustling up with an air O f authority
Hin
der n o t the high Ofcials Of the Corporation in the
discharge of their functions
N either should ye
hamper the anks of g ht i n g men I prythee who
commands this cohort or legion rather seeing that
you have auxiliary horse attached to it

Tis a regiment sirrah said S axon sternly


Colonel Saxon s regiment O f Wiltshire foot which
I have the honour to command
I beg your Colonelship s pardon cried the
clerk nervously edging away from the swarthy
faced soldier
I have heard speak of your Colonel
ship and Of your doings in the German wars I
have myself trailed a pike in my youth and have
broken a head or two aye and a heart o r two also
w hen I wore buff and bandolier
,

'

2 19

M I CA H C L A RKE

Discharge your message said o ur Colonel


shortly
Tis from his most worshipful the Mayor and
is addressed to yourself and to your captains who
are doubtless these tall cavaliers whom I s e e o n
either side o f me Pretty fellows by my faith
but y o u and I know well Colonel that a little trick
o f fence wi ll s e t the smallest o f u s on a level with
the brawniest N ow I warrant that y o u and I
being O ld soldiers could back to back make it good
against these three gallants
Speak fellow snarled Saxon and reachin g o ut
a long sinewy arm he seized the loquacious clerk by
the lappet O f his gown and shook him until his
long sword clattered again
H o w Colonel how
cried Master T e t he ri dg e
while his vest seemed to acquire a deeper tint from
the sudden pallor o f his face
Would y o u lay an
?
angry hand upon the Mayor s representative I wear
a bilbo by my side as y o u c a n see I am also some
what quick and choleric and warn you therefore not
to do aught which I might perchance construe into
a personal slight As to my message it was that
his most worshipful the Mayor did desire to have
word with you and your captains in the town hall

We shall be there anon said Saxon and t urning


to the regiment he set himself to explain some Of the
simpler movements and exercises teaching his O f
cers as well as his men for though Sir Gervas knew
something o f the manual L o ckarby and I brought
li ttle but our good will to the task When the
order to dismiss w as at last given o ur companies
marched back to their barracks in the wool ware
house while w e handed over our horses to the
grooms from the White Hart and s e t O ff to pay
o u r respects to the Mayor
,

220

OF M A S TER ST EP HE N TIMEWELL

XVIII
OF

M AS TE R S TEP H E N T I ME WELL M AYO R


,

T A U NT O N

OF

W I TH I N the town hall all was bustle and tur


-

moil At on e side behind a low table covered with


green baize s at t w o scriveners with great roll s Of
paper in front Of them A long line o f citizens
passed slowly before them each in turn putting
down a roll or bag O f coins which was duly noted
by the receivers A square iron bound chest stood
by their side into which the money w a s thrown
and we noted as we passed that it w a s half full o f
gold pieces We could not but mark that many Of
the givers were men whose threadbare doublets and
pinched faces showed that the wealth which they
were dashing down s o readily must have been
b o arde d up for such a purpose at the cost O f scanty
fare and hard living Most o f them accompanied
their gift by a fe w words Of prayer o r by some
pithy text anent the treasure which ru st e t h n o t o r
the lending to the Lord The town clerk stood by
the table giving forth the vouchers fo r each s u m
and the constant clack O f his to n gue lled the hall
as he read aloud the names and amounts with his
o w n remarks between

Abraham Willis he shouted a s w e entered ;

put him do w n twenty six pounds and ten shillings


Y o u S hall receive ten per centum upon this earth
Master W illis and I warrant that it shall not be
forgotten hereaft er John Standish t w o pounds
Willi am Simons t w o guineas Stand fast Healin g
forty ve pounds That i s a rare blow which you
have struck into the ribs Of Prelacy good Master
Healing Solomon Warren ve gu i neas James
.

221

CLAR KE

M I CAH

White ve shillings the widow s mite James !


Thomas Bakewell ten pounds Nay Master Bake
well surely Out Of three farms o n the banks O f Tone
and grazing land in the fattest part Of Athelney
o u ca n spare more than this for the good cause
y
We shall doubtless s e e you again Alderman
S mithson ninety pounds Aha ! There is a slap
for the scarlet woman
A few more such and her
throne shall be a ducking stool We shall break
her down worthy Master S mithson even as Jehu
the son Of Nimshi broke down the house O f Baa
S O he babbled o n with praise precept and rebuke
though the grave and solemn burghers took little
notice O f his empty clamour
At the other side O f the hall were sever al long
wooden drinki ng troughs which were used for the
storing of pikes and scythes Special messengers
and tithing men had been sent out to scour the
country for arms w ho as they returned placed
their prizes here under the care Of the armourer
general Besides the common weapons O f the peas
ants there was a puncheon half full O f pistols and
petronels together with a good number Of muskets
screw guns snaphances birding pieces and carbines
with a dozen bell mouthed brass blunderbusses and
a few o ld fashioned wall pieces such as sakers and
culverins taken from the manor houses O f the county
From the w alls and the lumber rooms Of these old
d w ellings many other arms had been brought to
light which were doubtless esteemed as things o f
price by o ur forefathers but which would seem
strange to your eyes in these days when a musket
may be r ed once in every two minutes and will
carry a ball to a distance Of four hundred paces
There were halberds battle axes morning stars
brown bills maces and ancient coats o f chain m ail

,
.

222

O F MASTER S TE PHEN TI MEWELL

which might even now save a man from sword


stroke o r pike thrust
In the midst Of the comin g and the going stood
Master Timewell the Mayor ordering all things
like a skilful and provident commander I could
understand the trust and love which his townsmen
had for him as I watched him labouring with all
the wisdom Of an Old man and the blithesomeness
Of a young o n e He was hard at work as we ap
but
per
ro a c he d in t rying the lock o f a falconet
p
c e i vi n g u s he came forward and saluted us with
much kindliness
I have heard much O f ye said he ; how ye
caused the faithful t o gather to a head and s o he at
It will n o t be
o ff the horsemen Of the usurper
the last time I trust that ye shall see their backs
I hear Colonel S axon that ye have seen much se r
v ice abroad
I have been the humble tool Of Providence in
much good work said Saxon with a bow
I
have fought with the Swedes against the Bran
de n b urg e rs and again with the Brandenburgers
against the Swedes my time and conditions with
the latter having been duly carried o ut I have
aft erwards in the Bavarian service fought against
Swedes and Brandenburgers combined besides
having undergone the great wars o n the Danube
against the Turk and two c ampaigns with the
Messieurs in the Palatinate
A soldi erly record in very truth cried the
Mayor strokin g his white beard
I hear that
o u are also powerfully borne onwards in prayer
y
and song You are I perceive one of the Old breed
Of 4 4 Colonelthe men who were in the saddle
all day and o n their knees half the night When
shall w e s e e the like o f them again ? A fe w such
.

223

M I CAH C LARKE
broken wrecks as I are left with the re Of o ur
youth all burned o ut and nought left but the ashes
O f lethargy a nd lukewarmness
Nay nay said Saxon
your position and
present business will scarce j ump with the modesty
Of your words But here are young men who will
nd the re if their elders bring the brains This
is Captain Micah Clarke and Captain L o ckarby
and Captain the Honourable Sir Gervas Jerome
w ho have all come far to draw their swords fo r the
down trodden faith
Taunton welcomes ye young sirs said the
Mayor looking a trie askance as I thought at
the baronet w ho had drawn o ut his pocket mirror
and was engaged in the brushing o f his eyebrows
I trust that during your stay in this town ye will
all four take up your abode with me
Tis a home
ly roof and simple fare but a soldier s wants are
few And now Colonel I would fain have your
advice as to these three drakes whether if re ho ope d
they may be deemed t for service and also as to
these demi cannons which were used in the Old
Parliame n tary days and may yet have a word to
sa
i
n the people s cause
y
The Old soldier and the Puritan instantly plunged
into a deep and learned discourse upon the merits
Of wall pieces drakes demi culverins sakers min
ions mortar pieces falcons and pat t e re ro e s c o n
cerning all which pieces Of ordnance S axon had
strong opinions t o Offer fortied by many personal
hazards and experiences He then dwelt upon the
merits of r e arrows and re pikes in the attack o r
defence O f places o f stren gth and had nally begun
to descant upon sconces dire c t i s lat e ri b us and
upon works sem i lunar rectilineal horizontal o r
orbicular with s o many references to his I mperial
,

,
,

224

OF MA ST ER ST EP HE N T I ME W E LL

Maj esty s lines at Gran that it seemed that hi s dis


course would never nd a n end We slipped away
at last leaving him still discussing the effects pro
d u ce d by the Austrian g re n a d oe s upon a Bavarian
brigade of pikes at the battle O f O ber Gra ust o ck
Curse me if I like accepting this Old fell ow s
O ffer said Sir Gervas in an undertone
I have
heard O f these Puritan households
Much g race
to little sack and texts ying about as hard and as
j agged as int stones T 0 bed at sundown and a
sermon ready if ye do but look ki ndly at the wait
ing
wench o r hum the lilt Of a ditty
H i s home may be larger but it could scarce be
stricter than that Of my o w n father I remarked
I ll warrant that cried Reuben
When we
have been a morris dancing o r having a S aturday
night game o f kiss i n the ring o r parson ha s d o st
his coat I have seen Ironside Jo e stride past u s
and cast a glance at us which hath frozen the smil e
upon our lips I warrant that he would have aided
Colonel Pride to shoot the bears and hack down
the maypoles
Twere fratricide for such a man to shoot a
bear quoth Sir Gervas
with all respect friend
Clarke for your honoured progenitor
No more than for you to shoot at a popinj ay
I answered laughing
but as to the Mayor s
Offer we can but go to meat with him n o w and
S hould it prove irksome it will be easy for you to
plead some excuse and s o get honourably quit
Of it But bear i n mind Sir Gervas that such
households are in very truth di fferent to any with
which you are acquainted s o curb your tongue or
O ffence may come Of it Should I c ry hem ! o r
cough it will be a S ign to y o u that you had best
beware

'

225

M I CA H

CLARKE

A greed young Solomon ! cried h e


I t is
in deed well to have a pilot like yourself who know s
these godly waters F o r my o w n part I S hould
never kn ow ho w ne ar I was to the shoals But
o u r friends have nished the battle Of O ber w hat s
its name and are coming towards us
I trust
worthy Mr M ayor that your difc ul ties have b een
resolved

They are S ir replied the Purita n


I have
been much e di e d by your Colonel s discourse and
I have little dou b t that by serving under him ye
wi ll prot much by his ripe experience
V ery like sir ve ry li ke said Sir Gervas care
lessly
But it is nigh o n e O clock the Mayor contin
ued our frail esh cries aloud for meat and dri nk
I beg that ye will do me the favour to accompany
me to my humble dwelli ng where we shall n d

the household board already dressed


W ith these words he led the way o ut Of the hall
and paced slowly down Fore Street the people
falling back to right and to left as he passed and
raising their caps to do him reverence Here and
there as he po i nted out to us arrangements had
been made for barring the road with strong chains
In places
t o prevent any sudden rush o f cavalry
too at the corner o f a house a hole had been
knocked in the masonry through which peeped the
dark muzzle o f a falconet or wall piece
These
precautions were the more necessary as several
bodies Of the Royal Horse besides the o n e w hich
w e had repulsed were known to be within the
Deane and the town deprived of its ramparts was
open to an incursion from any daring commander
The chief magistrate s house w a s a squat square
faced stone buildin g within a court which Opened

226

O F MA ST ER STEPHEN T I ME W ELL

to East Street The peaked o ak door span


gled with broad iron nails had a gloomy and surly
aspect but the hall within was li ghtful and airy
with a bright polished cedar planking and high
panelli ng O f some dark grained wood which gave
forth a pleasant smell as Of violets A broad i ght
Of steps rose up from the farther end o f the hall
down which as we entered a young sweet faced
maid came tripping w ith an O ld dame behind her
who bore in her hands a pile Of fresh napery At
t he sight Of us the elder o n e retreated up the stairs
again whilst the younger came ying do w n three
steps at a time threw her arms round the Old May
o r s neck and kissed him fondly looking hard into
his face the while as a mother gazes into that Of a
child with whom s he fears that aught may have

one
amiss
g
Weary again daddy weary again s he said
with a small white
s haking her head anxiously
hand upon each Of his shoulders
I ndeed and
indeed thy spirit is greater than thy strengt h

Nay nay lass said he passing hi s hand fondly


over her rich brown hair
The workman must
toil until the hour of rest is rung This gentle
men is my granddaughter Ruth the sole relic Of
my family and the light Of mine O ld age The
whole grove hath been cut do w n and only the Old
est oak and the youngest sapling left These cav
a li e rs little o n e have come from afar t o serve the
cause and they have done us the honour t o accept
Of o ur poor hospitality

Ye are come in good time gentlemen s he


answered looki n g us straight in the eyes with a
kindly smile as a sister might greet her brothers

The household is gathered round t he t a ble and


the meal is ready
on

227

M I CAH CLARKE

But not more ready than w e cried the stout


Old burgher
D O thou conduct o u r g uests to their
places whilst I seek my room and doff these robes
o f ofce with my chain and tippet ere I break my
,

Fo llowing our fair guide we passed into a very


large and loft y room the walls O f which were wain
s c ot e d with carved oak and hung at either end with
tapestry The oor w a s tesselated aft er the French
fashion and plentifull y strewn with skins and rugs
At o n e end Of the apartment stood a great white
marble replace like a small room in itself tted
up a s w a s the ancient custom with an iron stand
in the centre and with broad stone benches in the
recess o n either side Lines o f hooks above the
chimneypiece had been used as I surmise to sup
port arms for the wealthy merchants Of England
were wont to keep enough in their houses to at
least equip their apprentices and craft smen They
had n o w however been removed nor was there
any token o f the troublo u s times s ave a S ingle heap
Of pikes and halberds piled together in a corner
Down the centre Of this room there ran a long
and massive table which w a s surrounded by thirty
o r forty people the greater part O f whom were men
They were on their feet as we entered and a grave
faced man at the farther end w a s drawling forth an
interminable grace which began as a thanksgiving
fo r food but wandered away into questions o f
Church and State and nally ended in a supplication
for I srael n o w in arms to do battle for the Lord
While this w a s proceeding w e stood in a group by
the door with o ur caps do ffed and spent o u r time
in Observing the company more closely than w e
co uld have done with courtesy had their eyes not
been cast down and their thoughts elsewhere
,

228

O F M AS TER S TEPHE N

T I M E VVELL

They were Of a ll ages from greybeards down to


lads scarce o ut o f their teens all with the same
solemn and austere expression O f co untena n ce and
clad in the same homely and sombre gar b Save
their wide white collars and cuffs not a string O f
any colour lessened the s a d severity O f their attire
Their black coats and doublets were cut straight
and close and their cordovan leather shoes whic h
in the days o f o ur youth were usuall y the seat Of
some little ornament were uniformly square toed
and tied with s a d coloured ribbon Most O f t hem
wore plain sword belts o f untanned hide but t he
weapons themselves with their broad felt hats and
black cloaks were laid under the benches o r placed
upon the settles which lined t he walls They stood
with their hands clasped and their heads bent lis
teni ng to the untimely address and occasionall y
by some g roan o r exclamation testifying that the
preacher s words had moved them
The overgrown grace came at last to an end
when the company s at s i lently down and proceeded
without pause or ceremony to attack the gr eat
j oints which smoked before them
O ur young
hostess led us t o the end of the table where a high
carved chair with a black cushion upon it marked
the position o f the master Of the house Mistress
T i me w e ll seated herself upon the right Of the
Mayor s place with Sir Gervas beside her while the
post o f honour upon the left was assigned to Saxon
O n my left s at L o c karb y whose eyes I Observed
had been xed in undisguised and all absorbing a d
m i rat i on upon the Puritan maiden from the rst
moment that he had seen her The table w a s Of
no great breadth so that w e could talk across in
S pite O f the clatter Of plates and dishes the bustle
Of servants and the deep murmur o f voices
,

229

M I CAH CLARKE

This is my father s household said o ur hostess


addressing herself t o S axon
There is n ot o n e Of
them who is n ot in hi s employ He hath many ap
prentices in the wool trade W e s i t do w n forty to
meat every day in the year
And t o right good fare t oo quoth S axon
glancing down the table
S almon ribs O f b eef
loin o f mutton veal pasties what could man wish
fo r more ? Plenty Of good home brewed too t o
w ash it down I f worthy M aster Timewell can
arrange that the army be victualled aft er the same
fashion I for on e shall be beholden t o him A cup
Of dirty water and a charred morsel cooked o n a
ramrod over the camp re are like t o take the place
o f these toothsome dai nties
Is it not best to have faith ? said the Purit an
maiden
Shall n o t the Almigh t y feed His s o l
diers even as E lisha was fed in the wilderness and

?
H agar in the desert
Aye exclaimed a lanky haired swarthy young
man who s at upon the right Of Sir Gervas H e
will provide fo r u s even a s the stream o f water
gushed forth out Of dry places even as the quails
and the manna lay thick upon barren soil
but we
S O I trust young s i r quoth S axon
must none the less arrange a victual train with a
sta ff Of wains duly numbered and an intendant
ove r each aft er the German fashion S uch t hin gs
should not b e left to chance
Pretty Mistress Timewell glanced up with a half
startled look at this remark a s though shocked at
the want Of faith implied in it Her t houghts
might have taken the form o f words had not her
father entered the room at the moment the whole
company rising a nd bo wing to h i m as he advance d
to his seat
,

230

O F MAS TER S TEPHEN TI MEWELL

Be seated friends said he with a wave of his


hand ; we are a homely folk Colonel Saxon and
the Old time Vi rt ue Of respect fo r o ur elders has n ot
entirely forsaken us I trust Ruth he continued

that thou hast seen to the wants Of o ur guests


We all protested that we had never received such
care and hospitality
Tis we ll tis well said the good wool worker
But your plates are clear and your glasses empty
William look t o it ! A good workman is ever a
good trencherman I f a prentice Of mine cannot
clean his platter I know that I shall get little from
him with carder and teazel Thew and sinew need
building up A sli ce from that round o f beef
William
Touching that same battle Of O ber
Grau s t o ck Colonel what part was played in the
fray by that regiment o f Pandour horse in which
a s I understand thou didst hold a commission ?
This w a s a question o n which as may be i mag
i n e d Saxon had much t o s ay and the pair were
soon involved in a heated discussion in which the
experiences o f Roundway Down and Marston
Moor were balanced against the results Of a score
Of unpronounceable ghts in the Styrian Alps and
along the Danube Stephen Timewell in his lusty
youth had led rst a troop and then a regiment
through the wars of the Parliament from Chal
grove Field to the nal battle at Worcester S O that
his warlike passages though less varied and exten
sive than those Of our companion were enough to
enable him t o form and hold strong opinions
These were in the m ain the same as those of the
soldier Of fortune but when their ideas differed
upon any point there arose forthwith such a cross
re O f military j argon such S peech of estacados and
palisados such comparisons o f light horse and heavy
,

16

23 1

M I CAH CLARKE
Of pikemen and mu s q u e t e e rs o f L a n z kn e cht e
Leaguers and o u falls that the unused ear became
bewildered with the babble At last o n some
question Of fortication the Mayor drew his o ut
works with the spoons and knives o n which S axon
Opened his parallels with li nes o f bread and push
ing them rapidly up with traverses and covered
ways he established himself upon the re entering
angle Of the Mayor s redoubt This opened up a
fresh question as to counter mines with the resul t
that the di sp ute raged with renewed vigour
Whilst this friendly strife was proceeding be
tween the elders Sir Gervas Jerome and Mistress
Ruth had fall en into conversation at the other side
Of the table I have seldom seen my dear chil
dren s o beautiful a face as that o f this Puritan
damsel ; and it was beautiful with that sort O f
modest and maidenly comeliness where the features
derive their sweetness from the sweet soul which
shines through them The perfectly moulded body
appeared to be but the outer expression Of the
perfect spirit within Her dark brow n hair swept
back from a broad and white forehead which s ur
mounted a pair Of well marked eyebrows and large
blue thoughtful eyes The whole cast Of her feat
ures was gentle and dove like yet there was a r m
ness in the mouth and delicate prominence O f the
chin which might indicate that in times Of trouble
and danger the little maid would prove t o be n o
unworthy descendant of the Roundhead soldier and
Puritan magistrate I doubt not that where more
loud tongued a n d assertive dames might be cowed
the Mayor s so ft voiced daughter would begin to
cast O ff her gentler disposition and to S how the
stronger n ature which underlay it It amused me
much to listen to the e fforts which Sir Gervas
,

232

T I M E I VE L L

O F MA S T ER S TEPHEN

made to converse with her fo r the damsel and he


lived s o entirely in t w o different worlds that it took
all hi s gall antry and ready wit to keep o n ground
which would be intelli gible to her
NO doubt you spend much o f your time in

reading Mistress Ruth he remarked


It puz
o u c a n do S O far from
z le s me to think what else
y
town
Town ! said s he in surprise
What is Taun
ton but a town ?

Heaven forbid that I S hould deny it repli ed


Sir Gervas more especially in the presence of S O
many worthy burghers w ho have the name Of be
ing somewhat j ealous Of the honour of their native
city Yet the fact remains fair mistress that the
town Of London s o far transcends a ll other towns
that it is called even as I called it j ust n o w t he
town
?
I s it s o very large then
s he cried with pretty
wonder
But n e w houses are building in Taun
ton outside the Old walls and beyond S hut t e rn
and some even at the other side Of the river Per
haps in time it may be a s large
If all the folks in Taunton were to be added to

London said Sir Gervas


no o n e there would
Observe that there had been any increase
Nay there y o u are laughing at me That is
against all reason cried the country maiden
Your grandfather will bear o ut my words
said Sir Gervas
But to return to your reading
I ll warrant that there is not a page of Scud ery
and her Grand Cyrus which yo u have not read
Y o u are familiar doubtless with every sentiment
in Cowley o r Wall er or Dryden ?
Who are these ? s he asked
At what
church do they preach ?
,

233

M I CAH C LARKE

Faith
cried the baronet with a laugh hon
est John preaches a t the church O f Will Unwin
commo nl y known as VVill s where many a time it
is two in the morning before he comes to the end of
?
his sermon But why this question D O you think
that no o n e may put pen to paper unless they have
also a right to wear a gown and cli mb up to a pul
pit ? I had thought that all o f your s e x had read
Dryden Pray what are your own favourite books ?
There is A ll e i n e s Alarm to the U n c o n
verted said she
It is a stirring work and o n e
which hath wrought much good Hast thou not
found it to fructify within thee
I have n ot read the book you name Sir Ger
vas confessed
No t read it ? s he cried wi th raised eyebrows
Truly I had thought that every o n e had read the
Alarm
What dost thou think then o f Faith
ful Contendi ngs
I have n ot read it
O r Of Baxter s S ermons ? s he asked
I have not read them
O f Bull s Spirit Cordial t hen
I have not read it
Mist ress Ruth Timewell stared at him in undis
guised wonder
You may think me ill bred to
s he remarked
it
but
I
cannot
but
mar
sa
si r
y
vel where you have been o r what you have done
a ll your li fe
Why the very ch ildren in the street
have read these books
I n truth such works come little in o ur way in
London Sir Gervas answered
A play Of
George E t he re ge s or a j ingle of Sir John S uck
ling s i s li ghter though mayh ap less wholesome
food for the mind A man in London may keep
pace with the w orld of letters without much read
,

234

O F M A S TER S TEPHEN TIMEWELL

ing fo r what with the gossip of the co ffee houses


and the news letters that fall in his w a y and the
babble O f poets o r wits at the assemblies with
mayhap an evening o r two in the week at the play
house with V anbrugh or Farq uhar o n e can never
part company fo r long with the muses
Then
aft er the play if a man is in n o humour fo r a turn
O f luck at the green table at the Groom Port er s he
may stroll down to the Coca Tree if he be a Tory
o r to St J ames s if he be a Whig and it is ten to
o n e if the talk turn n o t upon the turning Of alcaics
Then
o r the contest between blank verse o r rhyme
o n e may a ft er an arri ere supper drop into Wi ll s
or Slaughter s and nd O ld John with T i c ke ll and
Congreve and the rest Of them hard at work o n the
dramatic unities or poetical j ustice or some such
matter I confess that my o w n tastes lay little in
that line for about that hour I was li kely to b
worse employed with wine a sk d ice bo x or
Hem hem ! cried I warningly for several Of
the Puritans were li stening with faces which ex
pressed anything but approval
What y ou s ay Of London is Of much interest

t o me
said the Puritan maiden
though these
n ames and places have little meaning to my ign o
rant ears You did speak however Of the play
house S urely no worthy man goes near those
sinks O f iniquity the baited traps Of the Evil O ne ?
Has not the good and sanctied Master Bull de
c la re d from the pulpit that they are the gathering
place Of the froward the chosen haunts Of the per
verse Assyrians as dangerous to the soul as any Of
those Papal steeple houses wherein the creature is
?
sacrilegiously confounded with the Creator
Well and truly spoken Mistress Timewell
cried the lean young Puritan upon the right w ho
-

2 35

M I CA H CL A RKE

had been an attentive listener to the whole conver


sation
There is more evil in such houses than
even in the cit ies Of the plain I doubt not that
the wrath Of the Lord will descend upon them and
destroy them and wreck them utterly together
with the dissolute men and abandoned women who
frequent them
Your strong Opinions friend said Sir Gervas
quietly
are borne o ut doubtless by your full
knowledge O f the subj ect H o w Oft en prythee
have you been in these playhouses which y o u are
s o ready to decry
I thank the Lord that I have never been so far
tempted from the straight path as to set foot with

in o n e the Puritan answered


nor have I ever
been in that great sewer which is called London
I trust however that I with others Of the faithful
may nd our w ay thither with o ur tucks at o ur
sides ere this b usiness is nished when we shall n ot
be content I ll warrant with shutting these homes
O f vice as Cromwell did but w e shall n o t leave
and shall s o w the spot
o n e stone upon another
with salt that it may be a hissing and a byword
amongst the people
Y o u are right John Derrick said the Mayor
who had overheard the latter part o f his remarks
Yet methinks that a lower tone and a more back
ward manner would become you better when y o u
are speaking with your master s guests Touching
these same playhouses Colonel when we have
carried the upper hand this time w e shall n o t allow
the Old tares t o check the n e w wheat W e know
what fruit these places have borne in the days o f
Charles the Gwynnes the Palmers and the whole
base crew Of foul lecherous parasites Have y ou
ever been in London Captain Clarke
.

236

O F M AST E R S TEP H EN

T I ME WEL L

Nay sir I am country born and bred


The better man you said our host
I have
been there twice The rst time w as in the days
Of the Rump when Lambert brought in hi s division
I was then quartered
t o overawe the Commons
at the S ign O f the Four Crosses in Southwark then
kept by a worthy man o n e John Dolman with
whom I had much edifying speech concerni ng pre
destination A ll was quiet and sober then I prom
ise you and you might have walked from West
minster to the Tower in the dead o f the night
without hearing augh t save the murmur o f prayer
and the chanting Of hymns No t a rufe r o r a
wench was in the streets aft er dark n o r any o n e
save staid citizens upon their business o r the hal
The second Visit which I
b e rdi e rs O f the watch
made was over this business o f t he levelling Of the
ramparts when I and neighbour Foster the glover
were sent at the head o f a deputation from this town
to the Privy Council O f Charles Who could have
credited that a few years would have made such a
change ? Every evil thing that had been stamped
underground had spawned and festered until its
vermin brood ooded the streets and the godly
were themselves driven to shun the light Of day
Apollyon had indeed triumphed fo r awhile A
quiet man could not walk the highways without
being elbowed into the kennel by swaggering
swashbucklers o r accosted by painted hussies
Padders and michers laced cloaks j ingling spurs
slashed boots tall plumes bu llies and pimps oaths

and blasphemies I promise y o u hell w a s waxing


fat Even in the solitude Of one s coach one was
not free from the robber
H o w that s i r ? asked Reuben
Why marry in this wise As I was the su fferer
.

237

M I CA H

CLARKE

I have the best right to tell the tale Ye must

know that aft er our reception which was cold


enough for we were about as welcome to the Privy
Council a s the hearth tax man is to the vil lage
house w ife w e were asked more as I guess from
derision than from courtesy to the evening lev e at
Bucki ngham Palace We would both fain have
been excused from going but w e feared that o ur
refusal might give undue O ffence and so hinder the
success of our mission My homespun garments
were somewhat rough for such an occasion yet I
determined to appear in them with the addition o f
a new black baize waistcoat faced with silk and a
good periwig for which I gave three pounds ten
shill ings in the Haymarket
The young Puritan opposite turned up his eyes

and murmured someth i ng about sacricing to


Dagon which fortunately for him was i naudible to
the high spirited Old man
It was but a worldly vanity quoth the Mayor ;
for with all deference S ir Gervas Jerome a man s
o w n hair arranged with some taste and with per
haps a sprinkli ng O f powder is to my mind the
ttest ornament to hi s head It is the contents
and not the case which availeth Having donned
this frippery good Master Foster and I h i red a
calash and drove to the Palace We were deep in
grave and I trust protable converse speedin g
through the endless streets when Of a sudden I felt
a sharp tug at my head and my hat uttered down
onto my knees I raised my hands and 10 ! they
came upon my bare pate The w ig had vanished
We were roll ing down Fleet Street at the moment
and there w a s no o n e in the calash save neighbour
Foster who s at as astounded as I We looked
high and low o n the seats and beneath them but
.

238

O F M A S TE R STE PHEN T IM E W ELL

not a S ign O f the periwig w a s there It w a s gone


utterly a n d without a trace
Whither then ? w e asked with one voice
That was the question which w e set ourselves
t o solve
F o r a moment I do assure ye that w e
bethought us that it might be a j udgment upon us
fo r o ur attention to such carnal follies
Then it
crossed my mind that it might be the doing Of some
m alicious sprite as the Drummer Of Tedworth o r
those who occasioned the disturbances no very long
time since at the Old Gast House at Little Burton
1
here in Somersetshire
With this thought w e
hallooed to the coachman and told him what had
occurred to u s The fellow came down from hi s
perch and having heard o ur story he burst straight
w a into muc h foul language and walking round to
y
the back Of his calash showed us that a S lit had
been made in the leather wherewith it was fash
i on e d
Through this the thief had thrust his hand
and had drawn my w ig through the hole resting
the while o n the crossbar Of the coach It w a s no
uncommon thing he said and the wig s n atchers
were a numerous body who waited beside the
peruke m akers shops an d when they s aw a c us
tomer come forth with a purchase which was worth
their pains they would follow him and S hould he
chance to drive deprive him Of it in this fashion
Be that as it may I never saw my w ig again and
had to purchase another before I could venture into
the royal presence

A strange adventure truly exclaimed Saxon


How fared it with you for the remainder o f the
?
evening
But scurvily fo r Charles s face which was
black enough at all times w a s blackest Of all to
N te F A pp ndi
D i turb anc e in t h L i ttle Ga t H u e
.

239

M I C A H CL A R K E

us ; nor was his brother the Papist more complai


sant They had but brought us there that they
might dazzle us with their glitter and gee gaws in
order that we might bear a ne report O f them
back to the West with us There were supple
backed courtiers and strutting nobles and hussies
with their shoulders bare w ho should for a ll their
high birth have been sent to Bridewell as readi ly as
any poor girl who ever walked at the cart s tail
Then there were the gentlemen o f the chamber
with cinnamon and plum coloured coats and a
brave S how of gold lace and silk and ostrich
feather Neighbour Foster and I felt as two crows
might do w ho have wandered among the peacocks
Yet w e bare in mind in whose image we were
fashioned and we carried ourselves I trust as i n
dependent English burghers His Grace Of Buck
ingham had his out at us and Rochester sneered
and the women simpered ; but w e stood four
square my friend and I discussing as I well re
member the most precious doctrines Of election
and reprobation without giving much heed either
to those w ho mocked us or to the gamesters upon
o u r left or t o the dancers upon o u r right
SO w e
stood throughout the evenin g until nding that
they could get little sport from u s my Lord Clar
endon the Ch a ncellor gave us the word to retire
which w e did at our leisure aft er saluting the King
and the company

N ay that I should never have done ! cried


the young Puritan w ho had listened intently to his

elder s narrative
Would it not have been more
tting to have raised u p your hands and called
down vengeance upon them as the holy man of
Old did upon the wicked cities ?

More tting quotha ! said the Mayor impa


.

240

OF MASTE R S T E PHEN T I ME W EL L
t i e n t ly

It is most tting that youth should be


silent until his opinion is asked o n such matters
God s wrath comes with leaden feet but it strikes
with iron hands I n His o w n good time He has
j udged when the cup Of these men s iniquities is
overowing
It is not for us to instruct Him
Curses have as the wise man said a habit o f com
ing home to roost Bear that in mind Master
John Derrick and be n o t too liberal with them
The young apprentice for such he w a s bowed
his head su llenly to the rebuke whilst the Mayor
aft er a S hort pause resumed his story
Being a ne night said he w e chose to walk
back t o o ur lodgings ; but never shall I forget the
wicked scenes wherewith we were encountered o n
the way Good Master Bunyan Of Elstow might
have added some pages t o his account O f V anity
Fair had he been with us
The women b e
patched b e ruddled and brazen ; the men swag

gering roistering cursing the brawling the drab


bing and the drunkenness ! I t w as a t ki ngdom
At last we had
t o be ruled over by such a court
made our way to more quiet streets and were hop
ing that o ur adventures were at an end when o f a
sudden there came a rush o f half drunken cavaliers
from a side street w ho set upon the passers by
with their swords as though we had fallen into an
ambuscade O f savages in some Paynim country
They were as I surmise Of the same breed as
those Of whom the excell ent John Milton wrote !

The sons Of Belial own with insolence and


wine
Alas ! my memory is not what it w a s for
at o n e time I could say by rote whole books O f that
noble and godly poem
And pray how fared ye with these ru fflers
sir
I asked

241

M I CAH

CLARK E

They beset us and some few other honest citi


zens who were wending their ways homewards
and waving their naked swords they called upon us

to lay do w n o ur arms and pay homage


TO
whom ? I asked They pointed to o n e o f their
number who w a s more gaudily dressed and some
what drunker than the rest
This is o ur most
sovereign liege they cried
Sovereign over

?
whom
I asked
O ver the T i t yre Tus they
answered
O h most barbarous and cu ckoldy
citizen do you not recognise that yo u have fallen

?
into the hands Of that most noble order
This

is not your real monarch said I fo r he is down


beneath us chai ned in the pit where some day he
will gather his dutiful subj ects around him
LO
he hath S poken treason ! they cried o n which
without much more ado they se t upon us with
sword and dagger Neighbour Foster and I placed
our backs against a wall and with o ur cloaks round
o ur left arms we made play with o ur tucks and
managed t o put in o n e o r t w o of the O ld W i gan
Lane raspers In particular friend Foster pinked
the King in such wise that his M aj esty ran howling
down the street like a gored bull pup W e were
beset by numbers however and might have ended
our mission then and there had not the watch
appeared upon the scene struck up our weapons
with their halberds and S O arrested the whole
party Whilst the fray lasted the burghers from
the adj oining houses were pouring water upon u s
as though we were cats o n the tiles which though
it di d not cool o ur ardour in the ght le ft us in a
scurvy and unsavoury condition In this guise w e
were dr agged to the round house where we spent
the night amidst bullies thieves and orange
wenches t o whom I am proud to s ay that both
,

242

O F MAS TER S TEPHEN T IMEWELL

neighbour Foster and myself S poke some words of


j oy and comfort In the morning we were re
leased and forthwith shook the dust Of London
from our feet ; n o r do I ever wish to return thither
unless it be at the head o f o ur Somersetshire regi
ments to s e e King Monmouth don the crown
which he had wrested in fair ght from the Popish
perverter
As Master Stephen Timewell ended his tale a
general shu fing and risin g announced the conclu
sion Of the meal The company l ed slowly o ut
in order O f seniority all wearing the same gloomy
and earnest expression with grave gait and do w n
cast eyes
These Puritan ways were it is true
familiar to me from childhood yet I h a d never be
fore seen a large household conforming to them or
marked their effect upon s o many young men
Y o u shall bide behind fo r a while
said the
Mayor as w e were a bout to foll ow the others

W i lliam do you bring a ask o f the Old green


sealed sack These creature comforts I do n ot
produce before my lads for beef and honest malt
i s the ttest food fo r such
O n occasion however
I am O f Paul s opinion that a ag o n Of wine among
friends is no bad thing for mind o r for body Y o u
c a n away now
sweetheart if yo u have aught to
engage y o u
D O you go o ut again ? asked Mistress Ruth

Presently to the town hall


The survey Of
arms is not yet complete
I shall have your robes ready and also the
rooms O f our guests s he answered and so with a
bright sm ile to u s tripped away upon her duty
I would that I could order our town as that
maiden orders this house
said the Mayor
There is not a want that is n ot supplied before it
.

24 3

M I CAH CLARKE
is felt She reads my thoughts and acts upon
them ere my lips have time to form them If I
have still strength to spend in the public service it
is because my private life i s full Of restful peace
I t cometh from Brooke
D O not fear the sack sirs
and Helli er s of Abchurch Lane and may be reli ed
u Pon
Which s ho w e t h that o n e good thing cometh
remarked S ir Gervas
o u t O f London

Aye truly said the Old man smiling


But
?
what think ye O f my you n g men sir
They must
needs be Of a very different class to any with whom
you are acquainted if as I understand y o u have
frequented court circles
Why marry they are good en ough young
men no doubt Sir Gervas answered li ghtly
Methinks however that there is a want O f s ap
about them It is not blood but sour buttermilk
that ows in their veins

Nay nay the Mayor responded warmly


There you do them a wrong Their passions and
feelings are under control a s the s kilful rider keeps
his horse in hand ; but they are as surely there as
is the S pee d and endurance of the animal Did
you Observe the godly youth w ho s at upon your
right whom I had occasion to reprove more than
once fo r over zeal
He is a t example of how a
man may take the upper hand Of his feeli ngs and
keep them in control
And ho w ha s he done s o
I asked

Why between friends quoth the Mayor it


w a s but last Lady day that he asked the hand O f
my granddaughter Ruth in marriage His time is
nearly served and hi s father Sam Derrick is an
honourable craft sman so that the match would
have been no un t t i n g o n e The maiden turned
.

244

O F MASTER S TEPHEN T IMEWELL

against him howeveryoung girls wi ll have their


fanciesand the matter came to an end Yet here
he dwell s under the same roof tree at her elbow
from morn till night with never a S ign Of that
passion which can scarce have died o ut S O soon
Twice my wool warehouse hath been nigh burned
to the ground since then and twice he hath headed
those who fought the ames There are not many
whose suit hath been rej ected w ho would bear
themselves in so resigned and patient a fashion
I am prepared t o nd that your j udgment is
the correct on e said Sir Gervas Jerome
I have
learned to distrust too hasty disli kes and bear in
mind that couplet of John Dryden
,

rrors l i ke s tra w s up o n the s urface ow


H e w ho w ould s earch fo pearl s m u s t d i ve b el ow

O r worthy Dr Samuel Butler


.

w ho in his immortal poem of


,

T he
T he

said Saxon
Hudibras says
,

fo l can o nly s e e the s ki n


wi s e m n tri e s t o peep w i th n
o

I wonder Colonel S axon

said o ur host s e

that yo u should speak favourably Of that


ve re ly
licentious poem which is composed as I have
heard for the sole purpose o f casting ridicule upon
the go dl y I should as soon have expected to hear
you praise the wicked and foolish work of Hobbes

with his mischievous thesis A Deo rex a rege


,

le x

It is true that I contemn and despise the us e


which Butler hath made of his satire said Saxon
adroitly ; yet I may admire the satire itself j ust as
o n e may admire a damascened blade without a p
proving o f the quarrel in which it is drawn
These distinctions are I fear t o o subtle for

245

M I CAH CLARKE

my Old brain said the stout Old Puritan


This
England O f ours is divided into two camps that O f
God and that o f Antichrist H e w ho is not with
us is against u s nor shall any who serve under the
devil s banner have anything from me save my
scorn and the sharp edge o f my sword

Well well said S axon ll ing up his glass


The cause
1 am no Laodicean o r time server
shall not n d me wanting with tongue or with
sword
O f that I am we ll convinced my worthy
friend the Mayor answered
and if I have
spoken over sharply you will hold me excused
But I regret to have evil tidings to announce t o
you I have not told the commonalty lest it cast
them down but I know that adversity will be but
the W hetstone to give your ardour a ner edge
Argyle s rising has failed and he and his compa u
ions are prisoners in the hands O f the man who
never knew what pity w as
We all started in our chairs at this and looked
at o n e another aghast save only Sir Gervas Jerome
whose natural serenity was I am well convinced
proof against any disturbance F or you may re
member my children that I stated when I rst
took it in hand to narrate to you these passages Of
my life that the hopes Of Monmouth s party rested
very much upon the raid which Argyle and the
S cottish exiles had made upon Ayrshire where it
was hoped that they would create such a disturb
ance as would divert a good share o f King James s
forces and S O make our march to London less di i
cult This was the more condently expected since
Argyle s own estates lay upon that side o f S cot
land where he could raise ve thousand swordsmen
among his o w n clansmen The western counties
.

24 6

O F MASTER S TEPHEN TIMEWELL

abounded too in erce zealots who were ready to


a ssert the cause o f the C ovenant and w ho had
proved themselves in many a skirmish to be valiant
warriors With the help O f the Highlanders and
Of the Covenanters it seemed certain that A rgyle
would be able to hold his own the more s o since
he took with him to S cotland the English Puritan
Rumbold and many others ski ll ed in warfare
This sudden new s of his total defeat and downfall
was therefore a heavy blow since it turned the
whole forces Of the Government upon ourselves
Have you the news from a trusty source ?
asked Decimus Saxon aft er a long S ilence
I t is beyond all doubt or question Master
Stephen Timewell answered
Yet I c a n well n u
derstand your surprise for the Duke had trusty
co uncillors with him There was Sir Patrick Hume
Of Polwarth
All talk and no ght said S axon
And Richard Rumbold
All ght and n o talk quoth o ur companion
H e should methinks have rendered a better a c
count O f himself
Then there was Maj or Elphinstone
A bragging fool
cried Saxon
And Sir John Cochrane
A captious long tongued short w itted slug
gard said the soldier Of fortune
The expedi
tion was doomed from the r st with such men at
its head Yet I had thought that could they have
done nought else they might at least have ung
themselves into the mountain country where these
bare legged caterans could have held their o w n
amid their native clouds and mists All taken
ou sa
It
is
a
lesson
and
a
warning
to
us
I
!
y
y
tell you that unless Monmouth infuses more energy
,

17

24 7

MI CAH C LARKE

into his councils and thrusts straight fo r the heart


instead Of fencing and foinin g at the extremities
w e shall nd ourselves as Argyle and Rumbold
What mean these two days wasted at Axminster
at a time when every hour is o f import ? I S he
every time that he brushes 3 party o f militia aside
to stop forty eight hours and ch a nt Te D e ums
when Churchill and Fe ve rs ham are as I kno w
pushing for the West with every available man
and the Dutch grenadiers are swarming over like
rats into a granary ?
Y o u are very right Colonel Saxon the Mayor
answered
And I trust that when the King
comes here we may stir him up to more prompt
a ction He has m uch need Of more soldierly a d
vi s e rs for S ince Fletcher hath gone there is hardly
a man about him who hath been trained to arms
Well said Saxon moodily n o w that A rgyle
hath gone under we are face to face with James
with noth i ng but o ur o w n good swords to trust to
T o them and to the j ustice o f our cause H o w
like ye the new s young sirs ? H as the wine lost its
?
smack o n account O f it Are ye disposed to inch
?
from the standard of the Lord
F o r my own part I shall s e e the matter
through said I

And I shall bide w here Micah Clarke bides


quoth Reuben L o c karby

And t o me said Sir Gervas it is a matter Of


indifference S O long as I am in good company and
there is something stirring
In that case said the Mayor w e had best
each turn t o hi s o w n work and have all ready for
the King s arrival Until then I trust that ye wi ll
honour my humble roo f
I fear t hat I cannot accept your kindness
,

248

O F A BRAWL I N THE N I GHT

S axon answered
When I am in harness I come
and go early and late I shall therefore take up my
quarters in the inn which is not very well furnished
with victual and yet can supply me with the simple
fare which with a black Jack O f O ctober and a pipe
o f Trinidado is all I require
As Saxon was rm in this resolution the Mayor
forbore to press it upon him but my two friends
gla dl y j oined with me in accepting the worthy
wool worker s O ffer and took up o ur quarters for
the time under his hospit a ble roo f
.

! I!
OF

A BR AW L I N TH E N I G HT

D E C I M US

S A ! O N refused to avail himself o f Mas


ter Timewell s house and table for the reason as
I aft erwards learned that the Mayor being a rm
Presbyt erian he thought it might stand him in ill
stead with the Independents and other zealots were
he to allow too great an intimacy to S pring up be
tween them
Indeed my dears from this time
onward thi s cunning man framed his whole life and
actions in such a w ay as to make friends of the
sectaries and to cause them to look upon him as
their leader For he had a rm belief that in a ll
such outbreaks as that in which we were engaged
the most extreme party is sure in the end to gain
the upper hand
Fanatics he said to me o n e
day mean fervour and fervour means hard work
and hard work means power That was the centre
p oint of all his plotting and scheming
An d rst o f all he set himself t o S how ho w ex

249

M I CAH C LARKE

a soldier he was and he spared neither time


nor work to make this apparent From morn till
midday and from aft ernoon till night we drilled
and drill ed until in very tr uth the shouting Of the
orders and the clatter O f the arms became weari
some to o ur ears The good burghers may well
have thought that Colonel S axon s Wil tshire foot
were as much part O f the market place as the town
cross o r the parish stocks There w a s much to be
done in very little time S O much that many w o ul d
have thought it hopeless to attempt it N ot onl y
was there the general muster O f the regiment but
w e had each to practise our own companies in their
several drills and to learn as b est we could the
names and the wants O f the men Yet o ur work
was made easier to us by the assurance that it was
not thrown away for at every gathering our bump
ki ns stood more erect and handled their weapons
more deft ly
From cock crow to s un down the
streets reso unded with
Poise your muskets !
O rder your muskets
Rest your muskets ! Han dl e
your primers and all the other orders O f the Old
manual exercise
As we became more soldierly we increased in
numbers for o u r smart appearance drew the pick O f
the new comers into o u r ranks My o w n company
swell ed until it had to be divided and the others
enl arged in proportion The baronet s mus q ue t e e rs
mustered a fu ll hundred skill ed fo r the most part
in the use Of the gun Altogether we sprang from
three hundred to four hundred and fty and o ur
drill improved until w e received praise from all
S ides on the state of our men
Late in the evening I w a s riding slowly back to
the house Of Master Timewell when Reuben clat
t e re d aft er me and besought me to turn back with
ce lle n t

25 0

O F A B RAWL IN T HE N I G H T

him to s e e a noteworthy sight Though feeli n g


little in the mood for such things I turned Cove
nant and rode with him down the lengt h Of High
Street and into the suburb which is known as
S hut t e rn where my companion pu lled up at a bare
barn like building and bade me look in through the
window
The interior which consisted Of a single great
hall the empty warehouse in which wool had used
t o be stored was all alight with lamps and candles
A great throng Of men whom I recognised as b e
longing to my o w n company or that of my c o m
pani on lay about o n either side some smoking
some praying and some burnishing their arms
Down the midd le a line Of benches had been drawn
up o n which there were seated astraddle the whole
hundred O f the baronet s m u s q u e t e e rs each e n
gaged in plaiting into a queue the hair o f the man
who s at in front Of him A boy walked up and down
with a pot o f grease by the aid o f which with some
whipcord the work was going forward merrily
Sir Gervas himself w ith a great our dr edger s at
perched upon a bale o f wool at the head of the line
and as quickly as any queue was nished he exam
i n e d it through his quizzing glass and if it found
favour in his eyes daintily powdered it from hi s
dredger with as much care and reverence as though
it were some service O f the Church NO cook s e a
soning a dish could have added his spices with more
nicety o f j udgment than o ur friend displayed in
whitening the pates O f his company Glanci n g up
from his labours he s aw o u r t w o smiling faces look
ing in at him through the window but his work
was too engrossing to allow him to leave it and
w e rode O ff at last without having speech with
him
.

25 1

M I CA H CL A R K E
B y this time the town was very quiet and still

for the folk in those parts were early bed goers


save when some special occasion kept them afoot
We rode slowly together through the s i lent streets
o ur horses hoofs ringing o ut sharp against the c o b
ble stones talking about such light matters as e n
gage the mind O f youth The moon w as shining
very brightly above us S ilvering the broad streets
and casting a fretwork O f shadows from the peaks
and pinnacles of the churches At Master Time
well s courtyard I sprang from my saddle b ut Reu
ben attracted by the peace and beauty O f the scene
rode onwards with the intention Of going as far as
the town gate
I was still at work upon my girth buckles u m
d oing my harness when Of a sudden there came
from the street a S houting and a rushing with the
clinking o f blades and my comrade s voice calling
upon me for help Drawing my sword I ran o ut
S ome little way do w n there w a s a C lear space white
with the moon shi n e in the centre of which I caught
a glimpse o f the sturdy gure Of my friend S pring
ing about with an activity for which I had ne ver
given him credit and exchanging sword thrusts
with three o r four men who were pressing him
closely O n the ground there lay a dark gure and
behind the struggling group Reuben s mare reared
and plu n ged in sympathy with her master s peril
As I rushed down shouting and waving my sword
the assailants took i ght do wn a S ide street save
o n e a tall sinewy swordsman who rushed in upon
Reuben stabbing furiously at him and cursing him
the while for a spoil sport T O my horror I saw
as I ran the fellow s blade slip inside my friend s
guard w ho threw up his arms and fell prostrate
while the other with a nal thrust dashed O ff do wn
-

25 2

O F A B RA WL I N T H E N I G H T

Of the narrow winding lanes which lead from


East Street t o the banks Of the Tone

F o r Heaven s sake where are y o u hurt ?


I
c ried throwing myself upon my knees beside hi s
W here i s your inj ury Reuben ?
prostrate body
I n the wind mostly quoth he blowing like a

smithy bell ows ; likewise o n the back Of my pate


Give me your hand I pray
And are you indeed scathless ? I cried with a
great lightening Of the heart as I helped him to his
feet
I thought that the vill ain had stabbed
you
As w ell st ab a Warsash crab with a bodkin
s a id he
Thanks to good Sir Jacob Clan ci ng
once Of S n e llaby Hall and n o w o f Salisbury Plain
their rapiers did n o more than scratch my plate O f
?
f
h
o
w
proo
But
is it with the maid
The maid ? said I
Aye it was t o save her that I drew She was
beset by these night walkers S ee s he rises ! They
threw her down when I s e t upon them
H o w is it with you Mistress ?
I asked ; for
the prostrate gure had arisen and taken the form
Of a woman young and graceful to all appearance
with her face mu fed in a mantle
I trust that
o
u
have
met
with
no
hurt
y
None s i r s he answered in a low sweet voice
but that I have escaped is due to the ready va l
o ur Of your friend and the guiding wisdom Of Him
w ho confutes the plots Of the wicked
Doubtless
a true man would have rendered this help to any
damsel in distress and yet it may add to your s at
i s fa c t i o n to know that she whom you have served
is no stranger to you
With these words s he
dropped her mantle and turned her face towards
us in the moonlight
On e

25 3

M I CA H C LARKE

Good lack ! it is Mistress Timewell


I cried
in amazement

Let us homewards s he said in rm quick


tones
The neighbours are alarmed and there
will be a rabble collected anon Let us escape
from the babblement
W i ndows had indeed begun to clatter up in
every direction and loud voices to demand what
was amiss Far away down the street we could
s e e the g lint of lanthorns s winging to and fro as
the watch hurried thitherwards We slipped along
in the shadow however and found ourselves safe
with i n the Mayor s courtyard without let or hin
,

dra n c e

I trust sir that you have really met with no


hurt said the maiden to my companion
Reuben had said not a word sin ce s he had u n
covered her face and bore the face O f a man w ho
nds himself in some pleasant dream and is vexed
onl y by the fear lest he wake up from it
Nay I
am not hurt he answered but I would that you
could tell us who these roving blades may be and
where they may be found

Nay nay said she with uplift ed n ger y o u


shall not follow the matter further As t o the
men I cannot s ay with certainty w ho they may
have been I had gone forth to visit Dame Clat
worthy w ho hath the tertian ague and they did
beset me on my return Perchance they are some
who are not Of my grandfather s way Of thinki ng
in affai rs O f State and w ho struck at him through
me But ye have both been s o kind that ye will
not refuse me one other favour which I shall ask
?
e
y
We protested that w e could n ot with o ur h ands
upon o u r sword hil ts
,

25 4

O F A B RA W L I N THE N I G H T

Nay keep them for the Lord s quarrel said


A ll that I a sk i s that
she smiling at the action
ye will s ay nothing Of this matter t o my grandsire
He is choleric and a little matter doth set him in a
ame so O ld as he is I would not have his mind
turned from the public needs to a private trie Of
?
this sort Have I your promises
Mine said I bowing
And mine said L o c karby
Thanks good friends Alack I have dropped
my gauntlet in the street But it is Of no import
I thank God that no har m has come to any one
My thanks once more and may pleasant dreams
a w ait ye
She sprang up the steps and was gone
in an instant
Reuben and I unharnessed our horses and saw
them cared fo r in silence We then entered the
house and ascended to our chambers still without
a word O utside his room door my friend paused
I have heard that long man s voice before
Micah said he
And so have I I answered
The O ld man
must beware Of his prentices I have half a mind
to go back for the little maiden s gauntlet
A merry twinkle shot through the cloud which
had gathered on Reuben s brow H e Opened his
left hand and S howed me the do e skin glove crum
pled up in his palm
I would not barter it for all the gold in her
grandsire s co ffers said he with a sudden o ut a me
and then half laughing half blushing at his ow n
heat he whisked in and left me to my thoughts
And so I learned for the rst time my dears
that my good comrade had been struck by the lit
tle god s arrows When a man s years number o n e
score love springs up in him a s the gourd grew in
,

25 5

M I CAH C L A R KE
t he

S cript ures i n a single night I h a ve told my


story ill if I have not made you understand that
my friend was a frank warm hearted lad Of im
pulse whose reason seldom stood sentry over his
inclinations S uch a man can no more draw away
from a winning maid than the needl e can shun the
magnet H e loves as the mavis s i ngs or the kitten
plays Now a slow witted heavy fellow like my
self i n whose veins the blood has always owed
somewhat coolly and temperately may go into
love as a horse goes into a shelving stream step
by step but a man like Reuben is kicking his heels
upon the bank o n e moment and is over ears in the
deepest pool the next
Heaven only knows wh at m atch it w a s that had
set the tow alight I can but s a y that from that
day o n my comrade was sad and cloudy one hour
gay and blithesome the next His even ow Of
good spirits had deserted hi m and he became as
dismal as a moulting chicken which has ever
seemed to me to be one o f the strangest outcomes
Of what poets have called the j oyous state Of love
B ut indeed pain and pleasure are so very nearly
akin in this world that it is as if they w ere teth
ered in neighbouring stalls and a ki ck would at
any time bring down the partition Here is a m a n
who is as fu ll of sighs as a gr enade is o f powder
his face is sad his brow is do wncast his wits are
wandering ; yet if you remark to him that it is
an ill thing that he should be in this state he will
answer you as like as n ot that he would not
exchange it for all the powers and principalities
Tears to him are golden and laughter is but base
coin Well my dears it is useless for me to ex
pound to y ou that which I cannot myself under
stand I f as I h a ve heard it is impossible to get
.

25 6

O F A B RAW L I N

THE

N I GHT

the thumb marks O f any t w o men to be alike how


can we expect their i nmost thoughts and feelings
t o tally ?
Ye t this I can s ay with all truth that
w hen I asked your grandmother s hand I did n ot
demean myself as if I were chief mourner at a
funeral She will bear me out that I walked up
t o her with a smile upon my face though mayhap
there was a little utter at my heart and I took
her hand and I saidbut lack a day whither have
I wandered ? What has all this to do with Taun
?
w
t o n to n and the rising Of 1 6 85
O n the night Of Wednesday June 1 7 we learned
t hat the King as Monmouth was called through
o ut the West
w as lyin g less than ten miles O ff
with his forces and that he would make his entry
into the loyal to wn O f Taunton the next morning
Every effort w as made as ye may well guess to
give him a welcome which should be worthy o f the
most Whiggish and Protestant town in England
A n arch O f evergreens had already been built up at
the western gate bearing the motto Welcome t o
King Monmouth ! and another spanned the e n
trance t o the market place from the upper window
Of the White Hart Inn with Hail t o the Protes
tant Chief in great scarlet letters A third if I
remember right bridged the entrance to the Castle
yard but the motto o n it has escaped me The
cloth and wool industry is as I have told you the
staple trade Of the town and the merchants had
no mercy o n their wares but used them freely to
beautify the streets Rich tapestries glossy vel
vets and costly brocades uttered from the w i n
dows o r lined the balconies East Street High
Street and Fore Street were draped from garret
to basement with rare and beautiful fabrics while
gay ags hung from the roofs o n either side or
-

25 7

M I C A H CLAR K E

u t tered in long festoons from house to house


The royal banner o f England oated from the lo ft y
tower Of St Mary Magdalen e wh ile the blue e n
sign O f Monmouth waved from the sister turret Of
St James Late into the night there w a s planning
and hammering working and devising until when
the sun rose upon Thursday June 1 8 it shone on
as brave a S how Of bunting and evergreen as ever
graced a town Taunton had changed as by magic
from a city into a ower garden
Master Stephen Timewell had busied himself i n
these preparations but he had borne in mind at
the same time that the most welcome sight which
he could present t o Monmouth s eyes was the large
body O f armed men who were prepared to follow
his fortunes There were sixteen hundred in the
to wn two hundred of which were horse mostly
well armed and equipped These were disposed in
such a way that the King should pass them in his
progress The townsmen lined the market place
three deep from the Castle gate t o the entrance to
the High Street ; from thence to S hut t e rn Dorset
shire and Frome peasants were drawn up o n either
side o f the street ; while o ur o w n regiment was
stationed at the western ga t e With arms well
burnished serried ranks and fresh S prigs Of green
in every bonnet no leader could desire a better
addition to his army
When all were in their
places and the burghers and their wives had ar
rayed themselves in their holiday gear with glad
some faces and baskets o f new c ut owers all w a s
ready fo r the royal visitor s reception
My orders are said Saxon riding up to us as
we sat o u r horses beside our c o mpanions that I
and my captains S hould fall in with the King s
escort as he passes and s o accompany him to the
.

25 8

O F A B RA W L I N T HE N IGHT
market place

Your men shall present arms and


s hall then stand their ground until we return
W e all three drew o ur swords and saluted
If ye will come with me gentlemen and take
position to the right Of the gate here said he I
may be able to tell ye something Of these folk as
they pass Thirty years Of war in many climes
s hould give me the master craft sman s right to ex
pound to his apprentices
We all very gladly followed his advice and
passed o ut through the gate which was n o w noth
ing more than a broad gap amongst the mounds
which marked the lines Of the O ld walls
There

is no S ign Of them yet I remarked as w e pull ed

up upon a convenient hill ock


I suppose tha t
they must come by this road which winds through
the vall ey before us
There are two sorts Of b ad general quoth
S axon the man w ho is t o o fast and the man w ho
is too slow His Maj esty s advisers will never be
accused O f the former faili ng whatever other mi s
takes they may fall into There was Old Marshal
Grunberg with whom I di d twenty six months
soldiering in Bohemia H e would y through the
country pell mell horse foot and artillery as if the
devil were at his heels He might make fty
blunders but the enemy ha d never time to take
advantage I call to mind a raid which w e made
into S ilesia when aft er two days o r s o Of mountain
roads his O berhauptmann Of the staff told him
that it was impossible for the artillery to keep up
Lass es hinter says he S O the guns were left
and by the evening Of the next day the foot were
dead beat
They cannot walk another m ile says
the O berhauptmann
Lassen Sie hinter says he

o
we
w
ent
with
the
horse
O
n
I w as in his Pa n~
S
-

25 9

M I C A H CLAR K E
dour regi ment worse luck ! But aft er a S kirmis h
o r two what with the roads and what with the
enemy o ur horses were foundered and useless
The horses are used up says the O b erhauptmann

Lassen Sie hinter he cries ; and I warrant that


he would have pushed o n to Prague with his staff
had they allowed him
General H interlassen we
called him aft er that
A dashing commander t oo cried S ir Gervas
I would fain have served under him
Aye and he had a way Of knocking his recruits
i nto S hape which would scarce be reli shed by o ur
good friends here in the west co untry said Saxon
I remember that aft er the leaguer Of S alzburg
when w e had taken the castle o r fortalice o f that
name we were j oined by some thousand untrained
foot whi ch had been raised in Dalmatia in the
Emperor s employ As they approached our lines
with wavin g o f hands and blowing O f bugles Old
Marshal Hinterlassen discharged a volley o f all the
cannon upon the walls at them ki lling three score
and striking great panic into the others
The
rog ues must get used to standing r e sooner o r
later said he so they may as well commence
their schooli ng at once
H e was a rough schoolm aster I remarked
He might have left that part O f the dri ll to the
enemy
He
Ye t his soldier s loved him said Saxon
was not a m an when a city had been forced to i n
quire into every squawk o f a woman o r give ear to
every burgess who chanced to nd his strong box a
trie the lighter But as to the slow commanders
I have known none to equal Brigadier Baumgarten
also O f the I mperial service He would break up
h i s wi nter quarters and s it down before some pl a ce
,

260

NI GHT

O F A B R AW L IN T H E
of

strength where he would raise a sconce here


and sink a sap there unti l his soldiers were sick Of
the very sight o f the place S O he would play with
it as a cat with a mouse unti l at last it was about
to Open its gates w hen as like as n ot he would
raise the leaguer and march back into his winter
quarters I served two campaigns under him with
sack plunder o r emolument save a
o ut honour
beggarly stipend O f three gulden a day paid in
clipped money six months in arrear But mark ye
the folk upon yonder tower ! They are waving
their kerchiefs as though something w ere visible t o
them
I can see nothi ng I answered shading my
eyes and gazing do w n the tree sprinkled valley
which rose slowly in green uplands to the grassy
Blackdo wn hills
Those on the housetops are w aving and point
ing said Reuben
Methinks I can myself see
the ash O f steel among yonder woods
There it is cried Saxon extending his gaunt
le t e d hand
o n the western bank o f the Tone hard
by the wooden bridge Foll ow my nger Clarke
and see if you cannot distinguish it
Yes truly I exclaimed I s e e a bright S him
mer coming and going And there to the left
where the road curves over the hill mark you that
dense mass Of men
Ha ! the head Of the co lumn
begins to emerge from the trees
There was not a cloud in the s ky but the great
heat had caused a haz e to overlie the vall ey gath
ering thickly along the winding course of the river
and hanging in little sprays and feathers over the
woodlands which clothe its banks Through this
lmy vapour there broke from time to time erce
S parkles of bri lliant light as the sun s rays fell upo n
,

26 1

M I CA H CLARK E
breastplate or headpiece No w and again the gen
tle summer breeze wafted up sudden pulses Of mar
tial music t o o ur ears with the blare O f trumpets
and the long deep snarl Of the drums As we
gazed the van O f the army began to roll o ut from
the cover o f the trees and to darken the white dusty
roads The long line slowly extended itself writh
ing o ut o f the forest land like a dark snake with
sparkling scales until the whole rebel armyhorse
foot and ordnancewere visible beneath us The
gleam O f the weapons the waving of numerous
banners the plumes O f the leaders and the deep
columns o f marching men made up a picture which
stirred the very hearts o f the citizens who from the
housetops and from the ruinous summit Of the
dismantled walls were enabled to gaze down upon
the champions of their faith If the mere sight
of a passing regiment wi ll cause a thrill in your
bosoms you c a n fancy how it i s when the soldiers
upon whom you look are in actual arms fo r your
own dearest and most cherished interests a nd have
j ust come out Victorious from a bloody st ruggle
If every other man s hand w as against us these at
least were o n o ur side and o ur hearts went o ut to
them as to friends and brothers O f a ll the ties
that unite men in this world that Of a common
danger is the strongest
It all appeared t o be most warlike and most i m
posing to my inexperienced eyes and I thought as
I looked at the long array that o ur cause w as as
good as won
T O my surprise however S axon
pished and pshawed under his breath until at last
unable to contain his impatience he broke out in
hot discontent
D O but look at that vanguard as they breast
he cried
Where is the advance party
t he slope
.

26 2

O F A BRAWL I N THE N I GHT


V orreiter as the Germans call them ?

Where
t o o is the space which should be le ft between the
fore guard and the main battle ? By the sword o f
S canderbeg they remind me more o f a drove Of
pilgrims as I have seen them approaching the
shrine O f St S e b ald us Of Nii rn be rg with their ban
ners and streamers There in the centre amid that
cavalcade O f cavaliers rides o ur new monarch
doubtless Pity he hath n o t a man by him who
can put this swarm Of peasants into something like
campaign order No w do but look at those four
pieces O f ordnance trailing along like lame sheep
behind the ock Cara c c o I would that I were a
young King s O fcer with a troop Of light horse o n
the ridge yonder ! My faith how I should sweep
down yon cross road like a kestrel o n a brood Of
young plover ! Then heh for c ut and thrust down
with the S kulking cannoniers a carbine r e t o
cover us round with the horses and away go the
rebel guns in a cloud O f dust ! How s that Sir
Gervas ?
Good S port Colonel said the baronet with a
touch Of colour in his white cheeks
I warrant
that yo u did keep your Pandours o n the trot
Aye the rogues had t o work o r hangon e o r
t other But methinks o ur friends here are scarce
as numerous as reported I reckon them to be a
thousand horse and mayhap ve thousand t w o
hundred foot I have been thought a good tally
man on such occasions With fteen hundred in
the town that would bring us to close o n eight
thousand men which is no great force to invade a
kingdom and dispute a crown

If the West c an give eight thousand how


?
ff
many can all the counties Of England a ord
I
?
i
t
a sked
I s n ot that the fairer way to count
or

18

263

M I CAH C LAR K E
Monmouth s following lies mostly in the
West Saxon answered
It w a s the memory O f
that which prompted him to raise his standard in
these counties

His standards rather quoth Reuben


Why
it looks as though they had hung thei r li nen up to
d ry all do w n the li ne
True ! They have more ensigns than ever I
Saxon answered rising
s aw with s o sma ll a force
in his stirrups
O ne o r t w o are blue and the
rest as far as I can s e e for the s un shining upon
them are white with some motto or device
Whil st we had been conversing the body Of
horse which formed the vanguard Of the Protestant
army had approached within a quarter Of a mile o r
less Of the town when a loud clear bugle call
brought them to a h alt I n each successive regi
ment o r squadron the S ignal was repeated S O that
the sound passed swi ft ly do w n the long array until
it died away in the distance As t he coil Of men
formed up upon the white road with j ust a trem
u lo u s shi ft ing motion along the curved and undu
lating line its likeness to a giant serpent occurred
again to my mind
I could fancy it a great bo a I remarked

which was drawing its co ils round the town


A rattlesnake rather said Reuben pointing
to the guns in the rear
It keeps all its noise in
its tail
Here comes its head if I mistake not quoth
S axon
It were best perhaps that we stand at
the side O f the gate
As he S poke a group Of gaily dressed cavaliers
broke away from the main body and rode straight
Their leader w as a tall slim elegant
fo r the town
young man who sat his horse with the grace of a

264

M U S TER O F T HE MEN O F THE WE S T


S killed rider and who

remarkable amongst
those around him for the gallantry Of his bearing
and the richness Of his trappings A s he gall oped
towards the gate a roar o f welcome burst from the
assembled multitude which was taken up and pro
longed by the crowds behind who though unable
t o s e e what was going forward gathered from the
shouting th at the Ki ng was approaching
w as

! !
OF

TH E M U ST ER

OF

TH E ME N

OF

THE W ES T

M ON M O U TH w a s at that time in his thirty sixth


year and w as remarkable for those supercial graces
which please the multitude and t a man to lead
in a popular cause H e was young well spoken
-

witty and skill ed in all martial and manly exercises


O n his progress in the West he had not thought it
beneath him to kiss the village maidens to Offer
prizes at the rural S ports and to run races in his
boots against the e e t e st O f the barefooted country
1
men
His nature was vain and prodigal but he
excell ed in that showy magnicence and careless
generosity which wins the hearts Of the people
Both o n the C ontinent and at Bothwell Bridge in
S cotland he had led armies with success and his
kindness and mercy to the C ovenanters a ft er his
victory had caused him to be as much esteemed
amongst the Whigs as Dalzell and Claverhouse
were hated As he reined up his beautiful black
horse at the gate Of the city and raised his plumed
montero cap to the shouting crowd the grace and

N t e G A pp endi
M nm u th Pr gre
.

265

ss .

M I CAH CLARKE
di gnity Of his bearing were such
kni ght errant in a Romance w ho

as might be t the
is ghting at long
Odds for a crown w hich a tyrant has lche d from
-

H e was reckoned w ell

avou re d

but I cannot
say that I found him s o His face was I thought
too long and white for comeliness yet his features
were high and noble with we ll marked nose and
clear searching eyes
In his mouth might per
chance be noticed some trace Of that weakness
which marred his character though the expression
was sweet and amiable He wore a dark pui p le
roquelaure riding j acke t faced and lapelled with gold
lace through the open front Of which shone a s i lver
breastplate A velvet suit Of a lighter S hade than
the j acket a pair of high yellow Cordovan boots
w ith a gold hilted rapier o n o n e side and a poni ard
o f Parma on the other each hung from the mo
rocco leather sword belt completed his attire A
broad co llar o f Mechlin lace owed over hi s shoul
ders while wristbands Of the same costly material
dangled from his sleeves
Again and again he
raised his cap and bent to the saddle bow in re
s o n se to the storm o f cheering
A
Monmouth
p

A Monmouth ! cried the people ; Hail to the

Protestant chief !
Long live the noble King
Monmouth ! wh ile from every window and roof
and balcony uttering kerchief o r waving hat
brightened the j oyous scene The rebel va n caught
r e at the sight and raised a great deep chested
shout which was taken up again and again by the
rest of the army until the whole country side w a s
sonorous
I n the meanwhil e the city elders headed by o ur
i e n d the Mayor advanced from the gate in a ll the
di gnity Of s ilk a nd fur to pay homage to the King
-

266

M U S TER O F THE MEN O F TH E WE S T

Sinking upon o n e knee by Monmouth s stirrup he


ki ssed the hand which w a s graciously extended to
him
Nay good Master Mayor said the King in a

clear strong voice it is for my enemies t o S ink


before me and not for my friends Pryt hee what
is this scroll which yo u do unroll

It is an address O f welcome and Of all egiance


your Maj esty from your loyal town o f Taunton
I need no such address said King Monmouth
looking round
It is written all around me in
fairer characters than ever found themselves upon
parchment M y good friends have made me feel
that I was welcome without the aid Of clerk o r
scrivener Your name good Master Mayor is
Stephen T i me w e ll as I understand ?
The same your Maj esty

T O O cu rt a name for s o trusty a man said the


Ki n g drawing his sword and touching him upon

the S houlder with it


I shall make it longer by
three letters Rise up Sir Stephen and may I nd
that there are many other knights in my dominions
as loyal and as stout
Amidst the huzzas which broke o ut afresh at this
honour done to the town the Mayor withdrew with
the councilmen to the le ft side o f the gate whilst
Monmouth with his staff gathered upon the right
At a signal a trumpeter blew a fanfare the drums
struck up a point O f war and the insurgent army
with serried ranks and waving banners resumed
its advance upon the town As it approached
S axon pointed o ut to us the various leaders and
men of note w ho surrounded the King giving us
their names and some few words as to their char

a c t e rs

That

is

Lord Grey

Of

26 7

W ark said

he

'

the

M I C AH C L A R K E
l ittle middle aged lean man at the King s b rid l e

arm He hath been in the Tower once for treason


Twas he w ho ed with the Lady Henrietta Berke
ley his wife s sister
A ne leader truly for a
godly cause ! The man upon his left with the red
swollen face and the white feather in hi s cap is
Colonel Holmes I trust that he will never S how
the white feather save on his head
The other
upon the high chestn ut horse is a lawyer though
b y my soul he is a better man at ordering a bat
talion than at drawing a bill O f costs H e is the
republican W ade who led the foot at the skirmish
at Bridport and brought them O ff w ith safety The
tall heavy faced soldier in the steel bonnet is A n
t ho n y Buyse the Brandenburger a soldado Of fort
une and a man Of high heart as are most of his
countrymen I have fought both with him and
against him ere now
?
Mark ye the long thin man behind him
cried Reuben
He hath draw n his s word and
waves it over his head
Tis a strange time and
place fo r the broadsword exercise He is surely
mad
Perhaps you are n o t far amiss said Saxon
Yet by my hilt were it not fo r that man there
would be no Protestant army advancing upon us
down yonder road
Tis he w ho by dangling the
crown before Monmouth s eyes beguiled him away
from his snug retreat in Brabant There is n o t o n e
Of these men whom he hath not tempted into this
a ffair by some bait o r other With Grey it was a
dukedom with Wade the woolsack with Buyse
the plunder Of Cheapside Every one hath his
o w n motive but the clues to them all are in the
hands O f yonder crazy fanatic w ho makes the pup
pets dance as he will He hath plotted more
.

268

M USTER O F THE MEN O F THE WE S T


lied more and su ffered less than any Whig in the
party
I t must be that Dr Robert Fergu son Of whom
I have heard my father speak said I
Tis he I have but seen him
Y o u are right
once in Amsterdam and yet I know him by his
shock wig and crooked shoulders It i s whispered
that O f late his overweening conceit hath unseated
his reason See the German places hi s hand upon
his shoulder and persuades him to sheathe his
weapon King Monmouth glances round too and
smil es as though he were the Cou rt bu ffoon with
a Geneva cloak instead of the motley But the
T O your companies and mind
va n is upon u s
that ye raise your swords to the salute while the
colours O f each troop go by
Whilst o u r companion had been talking the
whole Protestant army had been streaming t o w
ards the town and the head o f the fore guard w a s
abreast with the gateway Four troops o f horse
led the w ay badly equipped and mounted with
ropes instead Of bridles and in some cases squares
o f sacking in place
Of saddles The men were
armed for the most part with sword and pistol
while a few had the buff coats plates and head
pieces taken at Axminster still stained sometimes
with the blood of the last wearer I n the midst Of
them rode a banner bearer w ho carried a great
square ensign hung upon a pole which w a s s u p
ported upon a socket let into the side Of the girth
Upon it w a s printed in golden letters the legend
Pro libertate e t religione nostr a
These horse
soldiers were made up Of y e o me n s and farmers
sons unused to discipline and having a high regard
for themselves as volunteers which caused them
to cavil and argue over every order F o r this
,

269

M I CAH CL A R K E
cause though not wanting in natural courage they
did little service during the war and were a hin
dra n c e rather than a help to the army
Behind the horse came the foot walki ng s i x
abreast divided into companies O f varying size
each company bearing a banner which gave the
name Of the town o r vi llage from which it had
been raised This manner of arranging the troops
had been chosen because it had been found to be
impossible to separate men who were akin and
neighbours t o each other They would ght they
said S ide by side or they would not ght at all
F or my own part I think that it i s no bad plan
for when it comes to push O f pike a man stands a ll
the faster when he knows that he hath Old and tried
friends on either side Of him Many Of these coun
try places I came to kn ow aft erwards from the
talk Of the men and many others I have travelled
through s o that the names upon the banners have
come to have a real meaning with me Homer
hath I remember a chapter or book wherein he
records the names Of all the Grecian chiefs and
whence they came and how many men they
brought to the common muster It is pity that
there is not some Western Homer w ho could re
cord the names O f these brave peasants and arti
sans and recount what each did o r su ffered in up
holding a noble though disastrous cause Their
places of birth at least shall n o t be lost as far as
mine own feeble memory can carry me
The r st foot regiment if so rudely formed a
band could be s o call ed consisted of men Of the
clad in the heavy blue
s e a shers and coastmen
j erkins and rude garb O f their class They were
bronzed weather beaten tarpau li ns with hard ma
ho g a n y faces variously armed with birding pieces
,

270

M US TER O F THE MEN O F THE WE S T


cutlasses or pistols I have a notion that it w a s
not the rst time that those weapons had been
turned against King James s servants for the S o m
and Devon coasts were famous breeding
e rs e t
places for smugglers and many a saucy lugger w a s
doubtless lying up in creek or in bay whilst her
cre w had gone a soldiering to Taunton As to
discipline they had no notion Of it but rolled along
i n true blue water style with many a shout and
From Star
hallOO to each other o r to the crowd
Point to Portland Roads there would be few nets
for many weeks to come and sh would swim the
narrow seas which should have been heaped o n
Lyme Cobb o r exposed for sale in Plymouth mar
ket Each group o r band of these men Of the
se a bore with it its o w n banner that O f Lyme in the
front followed by Topsham Colyford Bridport
Sidmouth O tterton Abbotsbury and Charmouth
all southern towns which are on o r near the coast
S O they trooped past us rough and careless with
caps cocked and the reek o f their tobacco rising
up from them like the steam from a tired horse
I n num b er they may have been four hundred o r
thereabouts
The peasants of R ockbe re w ith ail and scythe
led the next column followed by the banner O f
Honiton which was supported by t w o hundred
stout la ce make rs from the banks O f the O tter
These men showed by the colour O f their faces that
their work kept them within four wall s yet they
excelled their peasant companions in their alert and
soldierly bearing Indeed with all the troops we
observed that though the countrymen were the
stouter and heartier the craftsmen were the most
ready to catch the air and spirit O f the camp B e
hind the men O f Honiton came the Puritan cloth
.

27 1

M I CAH CLAR K E

workers Of Welli ngton with thei r mayor upon a


white horse beside their standard bearer and a
band o f twenty instruments before him Grim
visaged thoughtful sober men they were for the
most part clad in grey suits and wearing broad

brimmed hats
For God and faith was the
motto O f a streamer which oated from amongst
them
The clo t hw orke rs formed three strong
companies and the whole regiment may have
numbered close on s i x hundred men
The third regiment w a s headed by ve hundred
foot from Taunton men Of peaceful and indus
t ri o u s life but deeply imbued with those great
prin ciples Of civil and religious liberty which were
three years later to carry a ll before them in Eng
land As they passed the gates they were greeted
by a thunderous welcome from their townsmen
upon the wall s and at the w indows Their steady
solid ranks and broad honest burgher faces seemed
to me to smack Of discipline and Of work well done
Behind them came the musters o f Winterbourne
Ilminster Chard Yeovil and C oll umpt o n a hun
dred or more pikemen to each bringing the tally
Of the regiment to a thousand men
A squadron o f horse trotted by closely foll owed
b y the fourth regiment bearing in i t s van the
standards o f Beaminster Crewkerne Langport
and C hidio ck all quiet S omersetshire vi llages
which had sent o ut their manhood to strike a blow
for the Old cause Puritan ministers with their
steeple hats and Geneva go w ns once black but
now white with dust marched sturdily along beside
their ocks Then came a strong company Of wild
half a rmed S hepherds from the great plains which
extend from the B la ckdo w n s o n the south t o the
Mendips o n the north very di ff erent fellows I
,

27 2

T HE

M U STER O F

M EN O F THE WE S T

promise you from the C o rydo n s and Strephons of


Master Waller o r Master Dry den w ho have de
i
c t e d the shepherd as ever shedding tears Of love
p
and tootling upon a plaintive pipe I fear that
Chlo e or Phyllis would have met with rough w o o
ing at the hands Of these Western savages B e
hind them were m us q u e t e e rs from Dorchester
pikemen from Newton Poppleford and a body o f
stout infantry from among the serge workers of
O tte ry St Mary This fourth regiment numbered
rather better than eight hundred but w a s inferior
in arms and in discipline to that which preceded it
The ft h regiment was headed by a column o f
fen men from the dreary marches which stretch
round Athelney These men in their s a d and s o r
did dwelli ngs , had retained the same free and bold
spirit which had made them in past days the last
resource Of the good King Alfred and the protect
o rs O f the Western S hires from the inroads O f the
Danes w ho were never able to force their w ay into
their watery strongholds Two companies O f them
towsy headed and bare legged but loud in hymn
and prayer had come out from their fastnesses to
help the Protestant cause At their heels came
the woodmen and lumberers Of Bishop s L i di ard
big sturdy men in green j erkins and the white
smocked villagers Of Huish C ha mpo w e r The
rear Of the regiment was formed by four hundred
men in scarlet coats with white cross belts and
well burnished muskets
These were deserters
from the Devonshire Militia w ho had marched
with Albemarle from Exeter and w ho had come
over to Monmouth o n the eld at Axminster
These kept together in a body but there were
many other militiamen both in red and in yell ow
coats amongst the various bodies which I have s e t
,

'

273

M I CA H CLA R KE

forth This regi ment may have numbered seven


hundred men
The S ixth and last column Of foot was headed by
a body Of peasants bearing Minehead upon their
banner and the ensig n o f the three wool bales and
the sailing ship which is the S ign of that ancient
borough They had come for the most part from
the wild country which lies to the north O f D unster
Castle and S kirts the shores o f the Bristol Channel
Behind them were the poachers and huntsmen O f
Porlock Quay who had left the red deer o f Exmoor
to graze in peace whilst they followed a nobler
quarry They were foll owed by men from Dul
verton men from Milverton men from W i ve li s
combe and the sunny slopes of the Q uan t o cks
swart erce men from the bleak moors Of D un
kerry Beacon and tall stalwart pony rearers and
graziers from Bampton The banners o f Bridge
water O f Shepton Mallet and Of Nether Stowey
swept past us with that of the shers Of Clovell y
and the quarrymen of the B la ckdo w n s I n the
rear were three companies o f strange men giants
in stature though somewhat bowed with labour
with long tangled beards and unkempt hair hang
ing over their eyes These were the miners from
the Mendip hills and from the O are and B ag w ort hy
valleys rough half savage m e n w hos e eyes rolled up
at the velvets and brocades Of the shouting citizens
or xed themselves upon their smiling dames with
a erce intensity which scared the peaceful burghers
S O the long line ro lled in until three squadrons O f
horse and four small cannon with the blue coated
Dutch cannoniers as stiff as their ow n ramrods
brought up the rear A long train Of carts and o f
waggons which had followed the army were led into
the elds outside the walls and there quartered
.

2 74

M USTER O F T HE MEN O F THE W E ST


When the last soldier had passed through the
S hut t e rn Gate Monmouth and his leaders rode
slowly in the Mayor walking by the King s charger
A s we saluted they all faced round to us and I s a w
a quick ush o f surprise and pleasure come over
Monmouth s pale face as he noted o ur close lines
and soldierly bearin g
By my faith gentlemen he said glancing

round at his staff o ur worthy friend the Mayor


must have inherited Ca dm us s dragon teeth Where
?
raised ye this pretty crop Sir Stephen H o w came
ye to brin g them to such perfection t oo even I
declare t o the hair powder o f the grenadiers

I have ft een hundred in the town the O ld


wool worker answered proudly
though some are
scarce as disciplined These men come from W i lt
shire and the Ofcers from Hampshire A S to
their order the credit is due not to me but to the
whom they
O ld soldier Colonel Decimus Saxon
have chosen as their commander as well as to the
captains w ho serve under him

My thanks are due to you Colonel said the


King turning to Saxon w ho bowed and sank the
point Of his sword t o the earth and t o y o u also
gentlemen I shall not forget the warm loyalty
which brought you from Hampshire i n s o short a
time Would that I could nd the same virtue in
higher places ! But Colonel Saxon y o u have I
gather seen much service abroad What think
?
you Of the army w hich hath j ust passed before you

If it please your Maj esty Saxon answered

it is like s o much uncarded wool which is rough


enough in itself a n d yet may in time come t o be
woven into a noble garment
Hem ! There is not much leisure for the w e a v
ing said Monmouth
But they ght well Y o u
,

27 5

M I CAH C LARKE
at Axminst er ! W e
hO pe to s e e you and to hear your views at the
council table B ut how is this ? Have I not seen
?
this gentleman s face before
It is the Honourable Sir Gervas Jerome o f the
county Of S urrey quoth S axon

Your Maj esty may have seen me at St

James s said the baronet raising his hat o r in


the balcony at Whitehall I was much at Court
during the latter years o f the late king
Y es ye s
I remember the name as well as the

Y o u s e e gentlemen
face cried Monmouth

he continued turning to his st aff the courtiers


begin to come in at last Were y o u n o t the man
who did ght Sir Thomas Killigrew behind D un
kirk House ? I thought as much W ill y o u not
?
attach yourself to my personal attendants
If it please your Maj esty Sir Gervas answered
I am of opinion that I could do your royal cause
better service at the head Of my mus q ue t e e rs

S O be it !
So be it ! said K ing Monmouth
S etting spurs to his horse he raised his hat in re
spouse to the cheers O f the troops and cantered
down the High Street under a rain Of owers
which showered from roof and window upon him
his staff and his escort W e had j oined in his
train as commanded s o that we came in for o ur
S hare of this merry cross r e O ne rose a s it ut
t e re d down was ca ught by Reuben w ho I o h
served pressed it to his li ps and then pushed it
inside his b reastplate Glancing up I caught sight
Of the smiling face O f our host s daughter peeping
do w n at us from a casement

Well caught Reuben ! I whispered


At
trick track or trap and ball you were ever o ur best
player
S hould have seen them fall

on

27 6

M US TER O F THE ME N O F THE WE S T

Ah Micah said he I bless t he day that ever


I fo llowed you to the wars I would not change
places with Monmouth this day
Has it gone S O far then ! I exclaimed
Why
lad I thought that you were but opening your
trenches and yo u S peak as though y o u had carried

the city

Perhaps I am over hopeful he cried turning


from hot to cold as a man doth when he is in love
or hath the t ertian ague or other bod i ly trouble
God knows that I am little worthy Of her and
,

et

Set n ot your heart t o o rmly upon that which

may prove to be beyond your reach said I


The
Old man is rich and will look higher

I would he were poor ! sighed Reuben with

If this w ar last I
a ll the selshness Of a lover
may win myself some honour o r title
Who
knows ? O thers have done it and why n o t I
O f o u r three from Havant I remarked one
is spurred o nwards by ambition and o n e by love
Now what am I to do who care neither fo r high
Ofce nor for the face Of a maid ? What i s to c arry
?
me into the ght
O ur motives come and go b ut yours is ever

with yo u said Reuben


Honour and duty are
the t w o stars Micah by which yo u have ever
steered your course
Faith Mistress Ruth has taught y o u to make
pretty speeches said I but methinks s he ought
t o be here amid the beauty of Taunton
As I spoke we were riding into the market
place which was n ow crowded with Our troops
Round the cross were grouped a score o f maidens
clad in white muslin dresses with blue scarfs around
their waists A S the Ki ng approached these little

27 7

M I CAH CLARKE
maids with much pretty nervousness advanced to
meet him and handed him a banner which they
had worked for him and also a dainty gold clasped
Bible Monmouth handed the ag to one Of his
captains but he raised the b ook above his head ex
claiming that he had come there to defend the
truths contained withi n it at which the c he e ri n gs
and acclamations broke forth with redoubled vig
o ur
I t had been expected that he might address
the people from the cross but he contented him
self with waitin g while the heralds proclaimed his
titles to the Crown when he gave the word to dis
perse and the troops marched O ff to the different
centres where food had been provided for them
The King and his chief O ffi c ers took up their quar
ters in the Castle while the Mayor and richer bur
gesses found bed and board for the rest A S to
the common soldiers many were billeted among
the town sfolk many others encamped in the streets
and Castle grounds while the remainder took up
their dwelling among the waggons in the elds
outside the city where they li t up great res and
had sheep roasting and beer owing as merrily as
though a march on London were but a holiday
outing
,

! ! I
OF

M Y HA N D G RIPS W I T H THE B R A N D E N B UR G E R
-

K I N G M O N M O U TH had call ed a council meeting

fo r

the evening and summoned Colonel Decim u s


Saxon to attend it with whom I went bearing
w ith me the small package which Sir Jacob Clan
c ing had given over t o my keeping O n arriving
,

27 8

O F MY HAND GRI PS
-

at the Castle we found that the King had n o t yet


come o ut from his chamber but we were shown
into the great hall to await him a ne room with
lo ft y windows and a noble ceiling Of carved wood
work
At the further end the royal arms had
been erected without the bar sinister which M o n
mouth had formerly worn Here were assembled
the principal chiefs O f the army with many Of the
inferior commanders town Ofcers and others who
had petitions to O ffer Lord Grey O f Wark stood
silently by the windo w looki ng out over the coun
try side with a gloomy face Wade and Holmes
shook their heads and whispered in a corner Fer
guson strode about with his wig awry shouting
o ut exhortations and prayers in a broad S cottish
accent A few Of the more gaily dressed gathered
round the empty replace and listened t o a tale
from o n e Of their number which appeared to be
shrouded in many oaths and which was greeted
with shouts o f laughter I n another corner a nu
m e ro us group Of zealots clad in black o r ru sset
go wns with broad white bands and hanging man
tles stood round some favourite preacher and
cussed in an undertone Calvinistic philosophy and
its relation to statecraft A few plain homely s o l
diers who w ere neither sectaries nor courtiers w a n
dered up and down o r stared o ut through the
windows at the busy encampment upon the Castle
Green T O o n e Of these remarkable for his great
size and breadth Of S houlder Saxon led me and
touching him o n the S leeve he held o ut his hand
as to an old friend
Mein Gott cried the German soldier of fort
une for it w as the same man whom my companion
had pointed out in the mornin g I thought it was
o u S axon w hen I s aw you by the gate t hough
y
,

19

27 9

M I CA H CLARKE
you are even thinner than Of Old H o w a man
could suck up SO much good Bavarian beer as you
have done and yet make s o li ttle esh upon it is
more than I can verstehen How have all things
gone with you ?

As Of Old said S axon


More blows than
thalers and greater need Of a surgeon than Of a
?
strong box
When did I se e you last friend
Was it not at the onfall at N ii rn be rg when I led
?
the right and you the left wing o f the heavy horse
Nay said Buyse
I have met y o u in the
way Of business since then Have you forgot the
skirmish o n the Rhine bank when you did ash
?
your s n apphahn at me
S apperment ! Had some
rascally schel m not stabbed my horse I should have
swept your head O ff as a boy c uts thistles mit a

stick

Aye aye Saxon answered composedly


I
had forgot i t You were taken if I remem b er
aright but did a ft erwards brain the sentry wit h
your fetters and swam the Rhine under the re Of
a regiment Yet I th i nk that w e did Offer you the
same terms that you were having with the others

Some such base O ffer was indeed made me


said the German sternly
T O which I answered
that though I sold my sword I did not sell my
honour It is well that cavaliers o f fortune should

show that an engagement is with them how do ye

sa
it
unbreakable
un
t
i
l
the
war
is
over
Then
y
by all means let hi m change his paymaster
Warum ni cht ?

True friend true ! repli ed S axon


These
beggarly Italians and Swiss have made such a trade
Of the matter and S old themselves so freely body
and soul to the longest purse that it is well that
we should be nice upon points O f honour But yo u
.

280

O F MY HAND GRIPS
-

remember the o ld hand grip which n o man in the


Palatinate could exchange with you ? H ere is my
captain Micah Clarke Let him see how warm a
North German welcome may be
The Brandenburger showed hi s white teeth in a
grin as he held out his broad brown hand to me
The instant that mine w as enclosed in it he s ud
de n ly bent his whole strength upon it and sq ueezed
my ngers together until t he blood tingled in the
nails and the whole hand was limp and powerless

Donnerwetter ! he cried laughing heartily at


my start Of pain and surprise
It is a rough Prus
sian game and the English lads have n o t much
stomach for it

Truly s i r said I it is the rst time that I


have seen the pastime and I would fain practis e it
under s o able a master
What another he cried
Why y o u must
be still pri n g lin g from the r st N ay if yo u will I
S hall n ot refuse y o u though I fear it may weaken
your hold upon your sword hilt
He held o ut hi s hand as he spoke and I grasped
it rmly thumb to thumb keeping my elbow high
His o w n trick
s o as to bear all my force upon it
was as I Observed to gain command o f the other
hand by a great output Of strength at the onset
This I prevented by myself putting o ut all my
power F o r a minute or more we stood motion
less gazin g into each other s faces Then I s a w a
bead Of sweat trickle down his forehead and I knew
that he was beaten Slowly his grip relaxed and
his hand g rew limp and slack while my o w n tight
ened ever upon it until he was forced in a surly
muttering voice to request that I should unhand
him
Teufel und hexerei he cried wiping aw ay the
-

281

MI C AH CLARKE

blood which oozed from under his nails I might


as well put my ngers in a rat trap Y o u are the
rst man that ever yet exchanged fair hand grips
with Anthony Buyse
W e breed brawn in England as well as in
Brandenburg said S axon who w a s shaki ng with
laughter over the German soldier s di s co mt ure

Why I have seen that lad pick up a fu ll size


sergeant Of dragoons and throw him into a cart as
though he had been a clod of earth

Strong he is grumbled Buyse still w ringi ng


his inj ured hand strong as Old GOt z mit de iron
grip
But what good is strength alone in the
handli ng of a weapon ? It is not the force Of a
blow but the w ay in which it is geschlagen that
makes the effect Your sword now is heavier than
mine by the look of it and yet my blade would
bite deeper Eh ? I S not that a more soldierly
sport than kinderspiel such as hand grasping and
the like ?

He is a modest youth said S axon


Yet I
would match his stroke against yours
For what ? snarled the German
For as much wine as we can take at a sitting

N O small amount either


said Buyse ;
a
brace of gallons at the least Well be it S O D O
you accept the contest ?
I shall do what I may I answered though I
can scarce hOpe to strike as heavy a blow as s o old
and tried a soldier

Henker take your compli ments he cried

ru f
y
It w as with sweet words that you did
g
coax my ngers into that fool catcher of yours
No w here is my O ld headpiece o f Spanish steel
It has as you c a n s e e one o r two dints of blows
and a fresh one will not hurt it I place it her e
,

'

282

O F M Y HAND GRIPS
-

upon this oaken stool high enough to be within


fair sword sweep Have at it Junker and let us
can
leave
your
mark
upon
it
s e e if
o
u
!
y

said I
since the
D O y o u strike rst s i r
challenge is yours
I must bruise my o w n headpiece to regain my
soldierly credit he grumbled
Well well it has
stood a c ut o r two in its day
Drawing his broad
sword he waved back the crowd who had gathered
around u s while he s w ung the great weapon with
tremendous force round his head and brought it
down with a full clean sweep o n t o the smooth
cap Of steel The headpiece sprang high into the
air and then clattered down upon the oaken oor
with a long deep line bitten into the soli d metal
Well struck !
A brave stroke ! cried the
spectators
It is proof steel thr ice w elded and
warranted to turn a sword blade on e remarked
raising up the helmet to examine it and then re
placing i t upon the stool
I have seen my father cut through proof steel
with this very sword said 1 drawi ng the ft y
year O ld weapon
He put rather more Of his
weight into it than you have done I have heard
him s ay that a good stroke should come from the
back and loins rather than from the mere muscles
o f the arm
It is not a lecture we want but a b eispiel or
example sneered the German
It is with your
stroke that we have to do and not with the teach
ing O f your father

My stroke said I is in accordance with his


teaching ; and whistling round the sword I
brought it down with all my might and strengt h
upon the German s helmet The good Old Com
mo n w e alt h blade shore through the plate Of steel
-

283

M I C A H CLAR K E
cut the stool asunder and buried its point tw o
inches deep in the oaken oor
It is but a trick
I explained
I have practised it in the w int er
evenings at home
It is not a trick that I S hould care to have
played upon me said Lord Grey amid a general
murmur o f applause and surprise
O d s bud
man you have li ved two centuries t o o late What
woul d not your thews have been worth before gun
powder put all men upon a level

Wunderbar ! growled Buyse wunderbar ! I


am past my prime young s ir and may well res i gn
the palm o f strength to you It w a s a right noble
stroke It hath cost me a runlet or two o f canary
and a good O ld helmet ; but I grudge it no t for it
w a s fair ly done
I am thank ful that my head was
not darin
S axon here used to S how us some
brave s chw e rt spi e le re i but he hath not the weight

for such smash i ng blows as thi s


My eye is still true and my hand rm though
both are perhaps a trie the worse fo r want Of use
said S axon only too glad at the chance Of drawing
the eyes Of the chiefs upon him
At backsword
sword and dagger sword and buckler single fal
chion and case Of falchions mine Old chall enge
still holds good against any comer save only my
brother Quartus w ho plays as well as I do but
hath an extra half inch in reach which gives him
the vantage
I studied sword play under Signor Contarini Of
Paris said Lord Grey
Who was your master ?

I have studied my lord under Sign or Stern


Necessity Of Europe quoth S axon
For ve
and thirty years my li fe has depended from day to
day upon being able t o cover myself with this S lip
of steel Here is a small trick w hich s ho w e t h
,

284

O F MY HAND GRIPS
-

some nicety o f eye ! to throw this ring to the cei l


ing and catch it upon a rapier point I t seems
S imple perchance and yet is only t o be attained by
some practice
Simple ! cried Wade the lawyer a square
W hy the ring is but the
faced bo ld eyed man
rth
your
l
i
ttle
nger
A
man
might
do
it
O
f
i
g
once by good luck but none could ensure it
I will lay a guinea a thrust o n it said Saxon ;
and tossing the little gold circlet up into the air he
ashed o ut his rapier and made a pass at it The
ring rasped down the steel blade fairly impaled
By a sharp motion O f the wrist he shot it up to the
ceiling again where it struck a carved rafter and
altered its course ; but again with a quick step
forward he got beneath it and received it o n his
sword point
S urely there is some cavalier pres
ent who is as apt at the trick as I am he said
replacing the ring upon his nger
I think Colonel that I could venture upon it
s a id a voice ; and looking round we found that
Monmouth had entered the room and was standing
quietly on the outskirts Of the throng unperceived
in the general interest which o ur contention had
excited
Nay nay gentlemen he continued
pleasantly as we uncovered and bowed with some
little embarrassment
ho w could my faithful fol
lowers be better employed than by breathing them
selves i n a little sword play ? I prythee lend me
your rapier Colonel
He drew a diamond ring
from his nger and spinning it up into the air he
transxed it as deft ly as S axon had done
I
practised the trick at The Hague where by my
faith I had only too many hours to devote to such
t rie s
But how come these steel li nks and splin
ters O f wood to be littered over the oor
.

285

M I CAH C LAR KE

A s o n of Anak hath appaired a mang us said


Ferguson turning his face all scarred and reddened
with the kin g s evil in my direction
A Go liath
Gath wha hath a stroke like un t ae a weaver s
O
beam Hath he no the smooth face 0 a bairn and
?
the thews O Behemoth

A shrewd blow indeed King Monmouth re


marked picking up half the stool
How is our
champion name d ?

He is my captain your Maj esty Saxon a n


the
sword
which
the
King
had
s w e re d re s he at hin
g
handed to him
Micah Clarke a man O f Hamp
shire birth
They breed a good O ld English stock in those

parts said Monmouth ; but how comes it that


?
you are here S ir
I summoned this meeting for
my o w n immediate ho usehold and for the colonels
Of the regiments If every captain is to be admit
ted into o ur counc ils we must hold o ur meetings
on the Castle Green for no apartment could con
tain us
I ventured to come here your Maj esty I re
plied because on my w ay hither I received a
commission which w a s that I should deliver this
small but weighty package into your hands
I
therefore thought it my duty to lose no time in ful
llin g my errand
What is in it ? he asked

I know not I answered


Doctor Ferguson whispered a few words into the
King s ear who laughed and held out his hand fo r
the packet
Tut tut said he
The days Of the B o rgi a s
and the Medicis are over Doctor Besides the
lad is no Italian conspirator but hath honest blue
eyes and axen hair as Nature s certicate to his
,

286

O F MY HAND GRIPS
-

character This is passing heavya n ingot of lead


by the feel
Lend me your dagger Colonel
Holmes
It is stitched round with packthread

Ha ! it is a bar Of gold solid virgin gold by all


that is wonderful Take charge Of it Wade and
This
s e e that it is added t o the common fund
little piece o f metal may furnish ten pikemen
What have we here ? A letter and an enclosure

hum
It was
T O James Duke Of Monmouth
written before we assumed o ur royal state
S ir
Jacob Clan ci n g late Of S n e llaby Hall sends greet
ing and a pledge o f affection Carry o ut the good
work A hundred more such ingots await y o u
when you have crossed Salisbury Plain
Bravely
promised Sir Jacob ! I would that y o u had sent
them Well gentlemen ye s e e ho w support and
tokens Of goodwi ll come pouring in upon us I s
not the tide upon the turn
Can the usurper hope
to hold his o w n ? Will his men stand by him ?
Within a month o r less I shall s e e ye all gathered
round me at Westminster and no duty will then
be S O pleasing to me as to se e that ye are all from
the highest to the lowest rewarded for your loyalty
to your monarch in this the hour Of his darkness
and his danger
A murmur Of thanks rose up from the courtiers
at this gracious speech but the German plucked at
Saxon s sleeve and whispered H e hath his warm
t upon him Y o u shall s e e him cold anon

Fift een hundred men have j oined me here


where I did but expect a thousand at the most
the King continued
I f we had high hopes when
w e landed at Lym e Co b b with eighty at o ur back
what should we think now when w e nd ourselves
in the chief city Of S omerset with eight thousand
brave men around us ? T is but o n e other a ffair
.

287

M I CAH CLARKE
like that at Axminster and my uncle s po w er will
go down li ke a ho use of cards But gather round
the table gentlemen and we shall discuss matters
in due form

There is yet a scrap o f paper which you have


not read sire said Wade picking up a little slip
which had been enclosed in the note
It is a rhyming catch or the posy Of a ring
said Monmouth glancing at it
What are we t o
make of this

W hen thy s tar

tri ne
B et w een darkne s s and S h i ne
D uke M n m o uth D uke M o nm outh
B e w are O f the Rh i ne
is in

star in trine ! What tomfoolery is this ?


If it please your Maj esty said I I have rea
s o n to beli eve that the man who sent you this
message is one of those w ho are deeply skilled in
the arts o f divination and who pretend from the
motions Of the celestial bodies to foretell the fates
Of men
This gentleman is right s ir remarked Lord
Grey
Thy star in trine is an astrological term
which s ig n ie t h when your natal planet shall be in
a certain quarter O f the heavens The verse is O f
the nature O f a prophecy The Chaldeans and
Egyptians of O ld are said to have attained much
skill in the art but I confess that I have no great
opinion o f those latter day prophets w ho busy them
selves in answering the foolish questions of every
housewife
A nd tell b y V enu and t h m n
Wh t le a th im b le
a p n
T hy

o s o

or

oo

oo

muttered Saxon quoting from his favourite poem


Why here are our Colonels catching the rhym
,

288

O F MY HAND GRIPS
-

ing complaint said the King laughing


We
shall be dropping the sword and taking to the harp
anon as Alfred did in these very parts O r I shall
become a king of bards and trouveurs like good
Ki ng Ren Of Provence But gentlemen if this
be indeed a prophecy it should methinks bode
well for o ur enterprise It is true that I am warned
against the Rhine but there is li ttle prospect of o ur
ghting this quarrel upon its banks
Worse luck ! murmured the German under
his breath
We may therefore thank this Sir Jacob and
his giant messenger for his forecast as well as for
his gold But here comes the worthy Mayor of
Taunton the Oldest Of o ur councill ors and the
youngest o f o ur knights Captain Clarke I desire
o u to stand at the inside Of the door and to pre
y
vent intrusion
What passes amongst us will I
am well convinced be safe in your keeping
I bowed and took up my post as ordered while
the counc i lmen and commanders gathered round
the great oaken table which ran down the centre O f
the hall The mellow evening light was streaming
through the three western windows while the di s
tant babble Of the soldiers upon the Castle Green
sounded li ke the sleepy drone Of insects Mon
mouth paced with quick uneasy steps up and down
the further end O f the room unti l all were seated
when he turned towards them and addressed them
Y o u will have surmised gentlemen he said
that I have called y o u together to day that I
might have the benet Of your collective wisdom
in determining what our next steps S hould be
W e have n ow marched some forty miles into our
kin gdom and w e have met wherever w e have gone
with the warm w elcome which we expected Close

289

M I CA H CLARKE

upon eight thousand men follow o ur s t andards and


as many more have been turned away for want Of
arms We have twice met the enemy with the
effect that w e have armed ourselves with their mus
kets and e ld pieces From rst t o last there hath
been nothing which has not prospered with u s
We must look to it that the future be as successful
as the past T O insure this I have call ed ye to
gether and I n o w ask ye to give me your Opinions
Of our situation leaving me aft er I have listened to
your views to form our plan Of action There are
statesmen among ye and there are soldiers among
ye and there are godly men among ye who may
chance to get a ash Of light when statesman and
soldier are in the dark Speak fearlessly then and
let me know what is in your minds
From my central post by the door I could s e e
the lines o f faces on either side Of the board the s o l
e mn close shaven Puritans sunburned soldiers and
white wigged moustachioed courtiers
My eyes
rested particularly upon Ferguson s scorb utic feat
ures S axon s hard aquiline prole the German s
burly face and the peaky thoughtful countenance
O f the Lord o f Wark
If naebody else will gie an o pe e n i o n cried the
fanatical Doctor
I ll een speak mysel as led by
the inward voice F or have I no worked in th e
cause and slaved in it much enduri n g and su ffering
mony things at the b o n ds 0 the froward whereby
my ain spe e rit hath plentifully fru ct ie d ? Have I
no been bruised as in a wine press and cast o o t w i
hissing and scorning into waste places ?
We know your merits and your su fferings
Doctor said the King
The question before us
is as to o ur course Of action
Was there no a voice heard in the East ? cried
,

29 0

O F MY HAND GRIPS
-

the Old Whig


Was there no a s o on d as O a
great crying the crying fo r a broken covenant and
?
sinful
generation
Whence came the cry
a
?
Was it no that O the man
W ha s was the voice
Robert Ferguson wha raised himsel up against the
great ones in the land and w o uldn a be appeased
Aye aye Doctor said Monmouth impatiently
Speak to the point or give place t o another
I shall mak my sel clear your Maj esty Have
we no heard that Argy le is cutten O ff
And why
was he cutten O ff
Because he hadna due faith in
t he worki n gs O the Almighty and must needs
rej ect the help 0 t he children 0 light in favour O
the bare legged spaw n O Prelacy wha are half
Pagan half Popish Had he walked in the path 0
the Lord he w u dn a be lying in the Tolbooth 0
E dinburgh w i the tow o r the axe before him
Why did he no gird up his loins and march straight
o nwards w i the banner 0
light instead 0 dallying
here and biding there like a half hairt e d Didymus
And the same or waur wi ll fa upon us if we dinna
march o n i n t ae the land and plant o ur ensign s afore
the w icked toun O Londonthe toun where the
Lord s w ark is tae be done and the tares tae be s e p
a ra t e d frae the wheat and piled up fo r the burning
Your advice in short is that we march on
said Monmouth
That we march on your Maj esty and that we
prepare o ors e lve s tae be the vessels 0 grace and
forbear frae poll uting the cause 0 the Gospel by
wearing the livery O the devil here he glared at
a ga i ly attired cavalier at the other side Of the
o r by the playing 0
table
cairds the singing O
profane songs and the swearing O oaths all which
are n i c ht ly done by members 0 this army w i t he
e ffec t 0 giving mu c h scandal tae God s ain folk

29 1

M I CA H C L A RKE
A hum

assent and approval rose up from the


more Puritan members o f the council at this ex
pression o f opinion while the courtiers glanced at
each other and curled their lips in derision Mon
mouth took two or three turns and then c alled for
another opinion
You Lord Grey he said are a soldier and
?
a man of experience
What is your advice
S hould we halt here or push forward towards L on
of

d on

advance to the East would in my hum ble


j udgment be fatal t o us Grey answered speaki ng
slowly with the manner O f a man w ho has thought
long and deeply before delivering an Opinion
James Stuart is strong in horse and we have
none We can hold o ur own amongst hedgerows
o r in broken country
but what chance could we
have in the middle Of Sali sbury Plain
With the
dragoons round us we should b e like a ock Of sheep
amid a pack O f wolves Again every step w hich
we take towards London removes us from o ur
natural vantage ground and from the fertile coun
try which supplies o u r necessities while it strengt h
ens Our enemy by shortening the distance he has
to convey his troops and his victuals U nless
therefore we hear Of some great outbreak else
where o r Of some general movement in London in
o ur favour we would do best to hold o ur ground
and wait an attack
Y o u argue shrewdly and well my Lord Grey
said the King
But how long are we t o wait for
this outbreak which never comes and fo r this s up
port which is ever promised and never provided ?
We have n o w been seven long days in England
and during that time o f a ll the House Of Commons
no single man hath come over to us and O f the
TO

29 2

O F MY HAND GRIPS
-

lords none save my Lord Grey w ho w a s himself an


exile Not a baron or an earl and only o n e baronet
hath taken up arms for me Where are the men
whom Danvers and Wildman promised me from
London ? Where are the brisk boys Of the City
who were said t o be longing fo r me ? Where are
the breakings o ut from Berwick to Port land which
?
they foretold
Not a man hath moved save only
these good peasants I have been deluded e n
snared trappedtrapped by vile agents w ho have
led me into the shambles
H e paced up a n d down
wringing his hands and biting his lips with despair
stamped upon his face
I Observed that Buyse
smiled and whispered something to S axona hint
I suppose that this was the cold t Of which he
Spoke
Tell me Colonel Buyse said the King mas

tering his emotion by a strong effort


D O yo u
as a soldier agree with my Lord Grey
Ask S axon your M aj esty the German a n
My Opinion in a Raths V ersammlung
s w e re d
is I have Observed ever the same as hi s

Then we turn t o you Colonel Saxon said


Monmouth
We have in this council a party
w ho are in favour o f an advance and a party who
wish to stand their ground
Their weight and
numbers are methinks nearly e q ual If y o u had
?
the casting vote how would you decide
All
eyes were bent upon o ur leader fo r his martial
bearing and the respect shown to him by the
veteran Buyse made it likely that hi s opinion
might really turn the scale H e s at fo r a fe w mo
ments in S ilence with his hands before his face
I will give my opinion your Maj esty he said
at last
F e ve rs ha m and Churchill are making
for Salisbury with three thousand foot and the y
,

293

M I CA H CLARKE
have pushed o n eight hundred Of the B lue Guards
and t w o or three dragoon regiments We should
therefore as Lord Grey says have t o ght o n
S alisbury Plain and o ur foot armed with a medl ey
Of weapons could scarce make head aga inst their
horse All is possible to the Lord as Dr F e rg u
W e are as grains of dust in the
s o n wisely says
hollow of His hand Yet H e hath given u s brains
w herewith to choose the better course and if we
neglect it we must su ffer the consequence Of o ur
,

fO ll

Eg

laughed contemptuously and breathed


a prayer but many O f the other Puritans
o ut
nodded their heads to acknowledge that this w a s
not an unreasonable View to take o f it

O n the other hand sire S axon continued it


appears to me that to remain here is equally i m
possible Your Maj esty s friends throughout Eng
land would lose a ll heart i f the army lay motion
less and struck no blow The rustics woul d ock
O ff to their wives and homes
S uch an example is
catching I have seen a great army th aw away
li ke an icicle in the sunshine O nce gone it is no
easy matter to collect them again T O keep them
we must employ them N ever let them have an
idle minute Drill them M arch them Exercise
them Work them Preach to them M a ke them
O b ey God and their Colonel This cannot be done
in snug quarters They must travel W e cannot
hope to end this b usiness until we get to London
London then must be our goal But there are
many ways O f reaching it Y o u have sire as I
have heard many friends at Bristol and in the Mid
lands I f I might advise I should s ay let us march
round in that direction Every day that passes
will serve to s well your forces and improve your
er

us on

294

O F M Y HAND GRIPS
-

troops while all will feel something is as t i rrin g

S ho uld we take Bristol and I hear that the works

are not very strong i t would give us a very good


command o f shipping and a rare centre from w hich
to act If all goes well with us we could make
o ur w ay to Lond on through Gloucestershire and
Worcestershire In the meantime I might suggest
that a day o f fast and humiliation b e called to
bring down a blessing o n the cause
This address ski lfu lly compounded Of worldly
wisdom and Of spiritual zeal w o n the applause Of
the whole council and especially that O f King
Monmouth whose melancholy vanished as if by
magi c

y my faith Colonel said he you make it


a ll as clear as day
O f course if we make ourselves
strong in the West and my uncle is threatened
with disaffection else where he will have no chance
Should he wish to ght
t o hold o ut against us
us upon o ur own ground he must needs drain his
troops from north south and east which is not to
be thought O f We may very well march to Lon
don by way Of Bristol

I think that the advice is good Lord Grey


Observed ; but I should like to ask Colonel Saxon
what warrant he hath for saying that Churchill and
F e ve rs ha m are o n their way with three thousand
regular foot and several regiments O f horse ?
The word Of an Ofcer o f the Blues with whom
I conversed at Salisbury Saxon answered
He
conded in me believing me to be one Of the Duke
Of Beaufort s household As to the horse one party
pursued us on Salis bury Plain with bloodhounds
and another attacked u s not twenty miles from
here and lost a score o f troopers and a co m et

We heard something of the brush said t he


,

20

295

MI CAH CLAR K E
King
I t w as bravely done But if these men
are S O close we have no great time for preparation
The i r foot cannot be here before a week said
the Mayor
By that time we might be behin d
the walls o f Bristol

There is o n e point which might be urged


Observed Wade the lawyer
We have as your
Maj esty most truly says met with heavy discour
a e m e n t in the fact that no noblemen and few
g
commoners O f repute have declared for u s The
reason is I opine that each doth wait for his neigh
bour to make a move Should o n e o r two come
over the others would soon follow H o w then
?
o
r
are we to bring a duke
two to o ur standards
There s the question Master W ade said M o n
mouth shaking his head despondently
I think that it might be done continued the
Whig lawyer
Mere proclamations addressed to
the commonalty will not catch these gold s h
They are not to be angled for with a naked hook
I should recommend that some form Of summons
o r writ be served upon each Of them calling upon
them to appear in o ur camp within a certain date
under pain O f high treason

There spake the legal mind quoth King M on


mouth with a laugh
But y o u have omitted to
tell us ho w the said writ or summons is to be co n
v e e d to these same deli nquents
y

There is the Duke Of Beaufort continued


Wade disregarding the King s Obj ection
He is
President o f Wales and he is as your Maj esty
knows lieutenant Of four English counties His
inuence overshadows the whole West He hath
t w o hundred horses in his stables at Badminton
and a thousand men as I have heard sit do wn at
hi s tables every day
Why should not a special
.

296

O F MY HA N D G RIP S
-

e ffort be made to gain over such a o n e the more


so as w e intend to march in his direction ?
Henry Duke Of Beaufort is unfortunately
already in arms against his sovereign said Mon
mouth gloomily
He is sire but he may be induced t o turn in
your favour the weapon which he hath raised
against you He is a Protestant He is said to be
a W hig Why should we not send a message to
him ? Flatter his pride Appeal to his religion
?
Coax and threaten him Who knows
H e may
have private grievances o f which we know nothing
and may be ripe fo r such a move
Your counsel is good Wade said Lord Grey
but methin ks his Maj esty hath asked a pert i nent
question
Your messenger would I fear nd
himself swinging upon one Of the Badminton oaks
if the Duke desired to S how his loyalty to James
Stuart Where are we to nd a man who is wary
enough and bold enough for such a mission without
risking o n e Of our leaders who could be ill spared
at such a time ?

I t is true said the Ki ng


I t were better
not to venture it at all than to do it in a clumsy
and halting fashion Beaufort would thin k that it
was a plot n ot t o gain him over but to throw di s
credit upon him But w hat means our giant at
the door by signing to us
If it please your Maj esty I asked have I
leave to speak ?
We would fain hear y o u C aptain he a n
s w e re d graciously
If your understandi ng is in
any degree correspondent to your strength your
opinion should be of weight
Then your Maj esty said I
I would Offer
myself as a tting messenger in this matter My
,

297

M I CAH CLARKE
father bid me spare neither life nor limb in this
quarrel and if this honourable council thinks that
the Duke may be gained over I am ready to guar
antee that the message shall be conveyed to him if
man and horse can do it
I ll warrant that no better herald could be
found cried S axon
The lad hath a cool head
and a staunch heart
Then young s ir we shall accept your loyal
and gall ant O ffer said Monmouth
Are ye a ll
agreed gentlemen upon the point ?
A murmur Of assent rose from the company

Y o u shall draw up the paper Wade


O ffer
him money a seniority amongst the dukes the per
e t ua l Presidentship Of Wales what you will
if
p
ou can
but
shake
him
If
not
sequestration
y
exile and everlasting infamy And hark ye ! y o u
can enclose a copy Of the papers drawn up by V an
Brunow which prove the marriage Of my mother
together with the attestations o f the witnesses
Have them ready by to morrow at daybreak when
1
the messenger may start
They shall be ready your Maj esty
s aid
Wade
I n that case gentlemen
continued King
Monmouth I may n o w dismiss ye to your posts
Should anything fresh arise I S hall summon ye
again that I may prot by your wisdom Here
we shall stay if Sir Stephen Timewell will have
us until the men are refreshed and the recruits
enrolled We shall then make our way Bristol
wards and s e e what luck awaits us in the North
If Beaufort comes over all will be well Farewell
my kind friends
I need not tell ye to be diligent
and faithful

N t e H A pp en di
M nm ut h C ntenti n f L e gi t imacy
,

298

O F MY HAND GRIPS
-

The council rose at the King s salutation and


b owing to him they began to le o ut O f the Castle
hall Several O f the members clustered round me
with hints for my j ourney o r suggestions as to my
conduct

Speak
H e is a proud froward man said o n e
humbly to him o r he will never hearken to your
message but will order you to be scourged o ut Of
his presence
Nay nay ! cried another
H e is hot but he
loves a man that is a man Speak boldly and hon
e s t ly to him and he is more like to listen to reason
Speak as the Lord shall direct y o u said a

Puritan
It is His message which you bear as
well as the Ki n g s
Entice him o ut alone upon some excuse said

Buyse
then up and away mit him upon your
crupper Hagelsturm ! that would be a proper
game
Leave him alone cried S axon
The lad
hath as much sense as any Of ye He will s e e
which way the c at j umps Come friend let us
make o u r way back t o o ur men
I am sorry indeed t o lose yo u he said as w e
threaded o ur way through the throng Of peasants
and soldiers upon the Castle Green
Your c o m
pany will miss y o u sorely L o ckarby must s e e to
the t w o I f a ll goes well yo u should be back in
three or four days I need not tell y o u that there
is a real danger If the Duke wishes to prove to
James that he would not allow himself t o be tam
pered with he can only do it by punishing the
messenger which as lieutenant o f a county he hath
power to do in times Of civil commotion H e is a
hard man if all reports be true O n the other hand
if you should chance to succeed it may lay the
,

299

M I CAH CLAR K E

foundations Of your fortunes and be the means O f


sav i ng Monmouth H e needs help by the Lord
Harry ! N ever have I seen such a rabble as this
army Of his Buyse says that they fought lustily
at this rufe at Axminster but he is o f o n e mind
with me that a few whiffs Of shot and cavalry
charges would scatter them over the country S ide
?
Have y o u any message to leave
N one save my love to my mother said I
It is well Should y o u fall in any unfair w ay
I shall not forget his Grace O f Beaufort and the
next O f his gentlemen who comes in my way shall
hang as high as Haman And n ow you had best
make for your chamber and have as good a slum
ber as you may since to morrow at cock cro w b e
gins your new mission
,

XX II
OF

TH E N E W S F R OM HAV A NT

H AV I N G given my orders that Covenant should be

saddl ed and bridled by daybreak I had gone to my


room and was preparing for a long night s rest
when Sir Gervas w ho slept in the same apartment
came dancing in with a bundle Of papers waving
over his head
Three g uesses Clarke ! he cried
What
would y o u most desire
Letters from Havant said I eagerly

Right he answered throwing them into my


lap
Three o f them and not a woman s hand
among them Sink me if I c an understand what
you have been doing all your life
,

300

O F THE

N EWS

FR O M HA V A N T

can youthful heart re i gn


L o v e ly w m an parkl i ng w i ne
H ow

But you are S O lost in your news that y o u have not


Observed my transformation
?
Why wherever did you get these
I asked in
astonishment for he was attired in a delicate plum
coloured suit with gold buttons and trimmings s e t
O ff by silken hosen and Spanish leather S hoes with
roses o n the instep
It smacks more o f the court than O f the camp
quoth Sir Gervas rubbing his hands and glancing
down at himself with some satisfaction
I am
also revictualled in the matter Of rat aa and orange
o w e r water together with two new wigs a bob
and a court a pound o f the I mperial snu ff from the
S ign Of the Black Man a box O f De Cre pign y s hair
powder my foxskin mu ff and several other n e ce s
s a ri e s
But I hinder y o u in your readi ng
I have seen enough to tell me that all i s well
at home I answered glancing over my father s
letter
But how came these things
Some horsemen have come in from Pe t e rs e ld
bearing them w ith them As to my little box
which a fair friend Of mine in town packed for me
it was to be forwarded to Bristol where I am n o w
supposed t o be and should be were it not for my
good fortune in meeting your party It chanced
to nd its way however to the Bruton inn and the
good woman there found means to send it after me
It is a good rule to go upon Clarke in this earthly
pilgrimage always to ki ss the landlady It may
seem a small thing and yet life is made up Of small
things I have few xed principles I fear but two
there are which I c a n s ay from my heart that I
never transgress I always carry a corkscrew and
I never forget t o kiss the landlady

301

M I CAH CLARKE

From what I have seen Of you said I laugh


ing I could be warranty that those two duties are
ever fu lll ed
I have letters t o o said he sitting on the side
bed and turning over a sheaf Of papers
o f the

Your broken hearted Araminta
Hum ! The
wench cannot know that I am ruined or her heart
?
would speedily be restored What s this A C hal
lenge to match my bird Julius against my Lord
D o rc he s t e r s cockerel for a hundred guineas Faith !
I am too busy backi ng the Monmouth rooster for
the champion stakes Another asking me to chase
the stag at Epping Zounds ! had I not cleared
O ff I should have been run down myself with a
pack o f bandog baili ffs at my heels A dunning
letter from my clothier H e can afford to lose this
bill He hath had many a long o n e o ut O f me
A n O ffer o f three thousand from little Dicky Chi
chester N O no Dicky it won t do A gentleman
can t li ve upon his friends None the less grateful
H o w n o w ? From Mrs Butterworth
NO money
for three weeks Baili ffs in the house ! Now curse
me if this is not t oo bad
What is the matter ? I asked glancing up from
my o w n letters The baronet s pale face had taken
a tinge Of red and he was striding furiously up and
down the bedroom with a letter crumpled up in his
hand
It is a burning shame Clarke he cried
Hang
it she shall have my watch It is by Tompion o f
the S ign Of the Three Crowns in Paul s Yard and
cost a hundred when new It should keep her
fo r a few months
Mortimer shall measure swords
with me fo r this I shall write villain upon him
with my rapier s point
I have never seen y o u rufed before said I
,

302

O F THE NEWS FR O M HA VA N T
NO

he answered laughing
Many have
lived with me fo r years and would give me a cer
t icat e for temper
But this is too much Sir
Edward Mortimer is my mother s younger brother
Clarke but he is not many years Older than
mys el f A proper strait laced so ft voiced lad he
has ever been and as a consequence he throve in
the world and j oined land to land aft er the script
ural fashion I had befriended him from my purse
in the O ld days but he soon came to be a richer
man than I for all that he gained he kept whereas
all I g ot well it went O ff like the smoke O f the
pipe which y o u are lighting When I found that
a ll was up with me I received from Mortimer an
advance which w a s su fcient to take me according
to my wish over to V irginia together with a horse
and a personal outt There was some chance
Clarke Of the Jerome acres going to him should
aught befall me so that he was not averse to help
ing me O ff to a land Of fevers and scalping knives
Nay never shake your head my dear country lad

you little know the w iles Of the world


Give him credit for the best until the worst is
proved said I sitting up in bed smoking with my
letters littered about in front Of me
The worst i s proved said Sir Gervas with a

darkening face
I have as I said done Morti
mer some turns w hich he might remember though
it did not become me to remind him Of them
This Mistress Butterworth is mine old w e t nurse
and it hath been the custom O f the family to pro
vide for her I could not bear the thought that in
the ruin O f my fortune S he S hould lose the paltry
guinea or so a week which stood between her and
hunger My only request to Mortimer therefore
made o n the score of old friendship w a s that he
.

303

M I C AH CLARKE

should continue this pittance I promising that


should I prosper I would return whatever he
should disburse The mean hearted villain wrung
my hand and s wore that it should be so How
vile a thing is human nature Clarke ! For the
sake Of this paltry sum he a rich man hath broken
his pledge and left this poor woman to starve
But he shall answer to me for it H e thinks that
I am o n the Atlantic If I march back to London
with these brave boys I shall disturb the tenor Of
his sainted existence Meanwhile I shall trust to
s u n dials and O ff goes my watch to Mother But
Bless her ample bosoms ! I have tried
t e rw o rt h
many liquors but I dare bet that the rst was the
most healthy But how of your o w n letters ?
You have been frowning and smiling li ke an April
daZ
T he re is o n e from my father with a few words

attached from my mother said I


The second
is from an O ld friend of mine Zachariah Palmer
the vill age carpenter The third is from Solomon
Sprent a retired seaman for w hom I have an a ffe c
tion and respect

Y o u have a rare trio o f newsmen


I would I
knew your father Clarke H e must from what
I
spoke
o u say be a stout bit Of British o a k
y
even now Of your knowing little Of the world but
indeed it may be that in your Village y o u c an s e e
mankind without the varnish and S O come to learn
more Of the good O f human nature V arnish or
none the bad will ever peep through Now this
carpenter and seaman S how themselves n o doubt
for what they are A man might know my friends
Of the court fo r a lifetime and never come upon
their real selves nor would it perhaps repay the
search when you had come across it Sink me
,

304

OF THE N E WS F R O M HA VA N T

b ut I w ax philosophical which is the Old refuge O f


the ruined man Give me a tub and I Shall s e t
up i n the Piazza O f Covent Garden and be the
Diogenes of London I would n o t be wealthy
?
again Micah ! How goes the old lilt
O u m ney hall never i nd i te u
O drag u t G ld m i th H all
N p i rate
w reck can a ffri ght u
,

s or

W e that have

e s tate s
F ear n pl under o rate s
No care t o l o ck gate s
H e that li e s o n the ground canno t fall !
no

That last would make a good motto for an alms


house

Y o u w ill have Sir Stephen up said I warn


in gly for he w as c arolling a w ay at the pitch Of his
lungs
Never fe ar ! H e and his prentices were all at
the broadsword exercise in the hall as I came by
It is worth something to se e the Old fellow stamp
and swing his sword and cry Ha ! o n the down
cut Mistress Ruth and friend L o c karby are in
the tapestried room s he spinning and he reading
a loud one Of those entertaining volumes which s he
would have me read Methinks s he hath taken his
c onversion in hand w hich may end in his convert
ing her from a maid into a wife And s o y o u go
Well I would that I
t o the Duke Of Beaufort !
could travel with y o u but Saxon will not hear Of
it and my m us q ue t e e rs must be my rst care
God send you safe back ! Where is my j asmine
powder and the patch bo x ? Read me your letters
if there b e aught in them O f interest I have been
s plitting a ask with o ur ga llant Colonel at his inn
a n d he hath told me enough o f your home at H a
v ant t o make me w ish to know more

305

M I CAH C LARKE

This one is somewhat grave said I


Nay I am in the humour for grave things
Have at it if it contain the whole Plato ni c phi
.

lO S O phy

Tis from the venerable carpenter who hath


for many years been my adviser and friend He
is o n e w ho is religious without being sectarian
philosophic without being a partisan and loving
without being weak

A paragon truly ! exclaimed Sir Gervas who


w a s busy with his eyebrow brush
This is what he saith I continued and pro
c e e de d to read the very letter which I now read to
yo u
Having heard from your father my de ar lad
that there was some chance Of bein g able to send
a letter to you I have written this and am now
sending it under the charge o f the worthy John
Packi ngham Of Chichester w ho is bound for the
West I trust that you are now safe with M on
mouth s army and that y o u have received honour
able appointment therein I doubt n o t that you
will nd among your comrades some w ho are ex
treme sectaries and others w ho are sco ffers and dis
believers
Be advised by me friend and avoid
both the o n e and the other For the zealot is a
man who not only defends his own right of worship
wherein he hath j ustice but wishes to impose upon
the consciences Of others by which he falls into the
very error against which he ghts
The mere
brainless sco ffer i s o n the other hand lower than
the beast o f the eld since he lacks the animal s
self respect and humble resignation
My faith ! cried the Baronet the Old gentle
man hath a rough side to his tongue
Let us take religion upon its broadest base

306

O F T HE NEWS F R O M HA V ANT

for the truth must be broader than aught which


w e c a n conceive
The presence Of a table doth
prove the existence Of a carpenter and s o the pres
ence Of a universe proves the existence of a universe
Maker call Him by what name you will S O far
the ground is very rm beneath u s without either
inspiration teaching o r any aid whatever Since
then there mus t be a world Maker let us j udge O f
His nature by His work W e cannot Observe the
glories Of the rma me n t its innite extent its
beauty and the Divine skill wherewith every plant
and animal hath i t s wants cared for without seeing
that He is full o f wisdom intelli gence and power
We are still you will perceive upon so lid ground
without having to call t o o ur aid aught save pure
reason
Having got S O far let us inquire to what end
the universe w as made and we put upon it The
teaching Of all nature shows that it must be t o the
end of improvement and upward growth the i n
crease in real virtue in knowledge and in wisdom
Nature is a silent preacher which holds forth upon
week days as o n Sabbaths
W e s e e the acorn
ak the egg into the bird the mag
row
into
the
o
g
got into the buttery Shall we doubt then that
the human soul the most precious Of all things is
also upon the upward path ? And ho w can the
soul progress save through the cultivation o f Vi rtue
and self mastery
What other way is there
There is none We may s ay with condence then
that w e are placed here t o increase in knowledge
and in vi rtue
This i s the core Of all religion and this much
needs no faith in the acceptance It is as true and
as capable o f proof as o n e of those exercises o f
Euclid which we h a ve gone over together
On
.

307

M I CA H CLAR K E

this common ground men have raised many differ


ent buildings Christianity the creed Of Mahomet
the creed O f the E as t e rn s have all the same
essence The di fference lies in the forms and the
details Let us hold to o ur own Christian creed
the beautiful O ft en professed and seldom practised
doctrine Of love but let us n ot despise o ur fellow
men fo r we are all branches from the common root
o f truth
Man comes o ut o f darkness into light H e
tarries awhile and then passes into darkness again
Micah lad the days are passing mine as well as
thine Let them n o t be wasted They are few
in number W hat says Petrarch
T o him that
enters life seems innite ; t o him that departs
nothing
Let every day every hour be spent in

furthering the Creator s end i n getting o ut what


ever power for good there is in y o u What is
pain or work o r trouble ? The cloud that passes
over the s un But the result Of work well d one is
everything
It is eternal
It lives and waxes
stronger through the centuries Pause n o t fo r rest
The rest will come when the hour o f work is passed
May God protect and guard y o u
There is
n o great news
The Portsmouth garrison hath
marched to the West Sir John Lawson the
magistrate hath been down here threatening yo u r
father and others but he c an do little fo r want Of
proofs Church and Dissent are at each other s
throats as ever Truly the stern law O f Moses is
more enduring than the sweet words Of Christ
Adieu my dear lad ! A ll good wishes from your
grey headed friend Z A C H A R I A H P A L M E R
O d s sh
cried S ir Gervas as I folded up the
letter I have heard S t illin g e e t and T e n i s o n but
I never listened to a better sermon This is a
.

308

O F TH E N E WS FR O M HA V ANT

b ishop disguised as a carpenter The crozier wo uld


suit his hand better than the plane But ho w o f
?
I S he a tarpaulin theologian
our seaman friend
a divine among the tarry breeks
Solomon Sprent is a very di fferent man though
good enough in his w ay said I
But you shall
j udge him from his letter

Master Clarke Sir When last we was in


company I had run in under the batteries o n c ut
ting out service while yo u did stand on and O ff in
the channel and wait signals Having sto pped to
ret and t o overhaul my prize which proved t o be
in proper trim alow and aloft

?
W hat the devil doth he mean
asked Sir
Gervas
It is a maid o f whom he talksPh oe be Daw
son the sister O f the blacksmith H e hath scarce
put foot o n land fo r nigh forty years and can as a
consequence only speak in this sea j argon though
he fancies that he uses as pure King s English as
any man in Hampshire
Proceed then quoth the Baronet
Having also read her the articles Of war I ex
plained to her the conditions under which we were
to sail in company on life s voyage namely
First She to Obey signals without question
as soon as received
Second S he t o steer by my reckoning
Third S he t o stand by me as true consort in
foul weather battle o r shipwreck
Fourth S he to run under my guns if as
sailed by picaroons pri vat e e ro s or garda costas
Fi ft h M e to keep her in due repair dry dock
her at intervals and see that s he hath her allowance
Of coats of paint streamers and bunting as bets
a saucy pleasure boat
.

3 09

M I CAH C LAR KE

Sixth Me to take no other craft in tow and


if any be now attached to cut their hawsers
S eventh ! M e to revictual her day by day
Eighth Should s he chance to spring a leak
o r be blown o n her beam ends by the winds Of mis
fortune to stand by her and s e e her pumped o ut o r
righted
Ninth T O y the Protesta nt ensign at the
peak during life s voyage and to lay our course for
the great harbour in the hope that moorings and
ground to swing may be found for tw o British built
cra ft s when laid up for eternity
Twas close on eight bell s before these articles
w ere signed and sealed When I headed aft er you
I could not so much as catch a glimpse Of your
topsail Soon aft er I heard as you had gone a s o l
di e ri n g together with that lean rakish long sparred
picaroon li ke craft which I have seen Of late in the
Vill age I take it unkind o f yo u that you have not
s o much as d ipped ensign to me on leaving
But
perchance the tide w a s favourable and you could
not tarry Had I not been j ury rigged with o n e
o f my spars shot away I should have dearly loved
to have strapped on my hanger and come with y o u
to smell gunpowder once more I would do it now
timber toe and all were it not for my consort
who might claim it as a breach Of the articles and
s o sheer O ff
I must follow the light o n her poop
until we are fairly j oined
Farewell mate ! In action take an Old sail
o r s advice
Keep the weather gauge and board !
Tell that to your admiral o n the day o f battle
\V hi s pe r it in his ear
Say to him Keep the
weather gauge and board ! Tell him also to strike
quick strike hard and keep o n striking That s
the word O f Christopher Mings and a better man
,

310

O F THE NEWS FR O M HA VA N T
ha s

not been launched though he did cli mb in


through the hawse pipe
Yours to command
S O L O M O N S PR E N T
Sir Gervas had been chuckli ng t o himself during
the reading Of this epistle but at the last part w e
both broke out a laughing

Land o r s e a he will have it that battles are


fought in ships said the Baronet
You should
have had that sage piece O f advice for Monmouth s
council to day S hould he ever a s k your Opinion
it must be Keep the weather gauge and board
I must to sleep said I laying aside my pipe
I should be on the road by daybreak
Na y I prythee complete your kindness by let
ting me have a gli mpse o f your respected parent
the Roundhead

Tis but a few li nes I answered


He was
ever short Of speech But if they interest yo u you
shall hear them
I am sending this by a godly
man my dear s o n to s ay that I trust that y o u are
bearing yourself as becomes yo u I n all danger
and dii c u lt y trust not to yourself but ask help
from on high If you are in authority teach your
men to sing psalm s when they fall o n as is the
good Old custom In action give point rather than
edge A thrust must beat a c ut Your mother
and the others send their affection to y o u Sir
John Lawson hath been do w n here like a ravening
wolf but could n d no proof against me John
M arc hba n k Of Bedhampton i s cast into pr i son
Truly Antichrist reigns in the land but the kingdom
of li ght is at hand Strike lustily for truth and
conscienc e Your loving father J O S E PH C L A R KE

Postscriptum (from my mother ) I trust that


remember
what
I
have
said
concerning
o u wi ll
y
your hosen and also the broad linen collars whic h
,

21

31 1

M I CAH CLARKE
wi
l
l
nd
in
the
bag
I
t
is
little
over
a
week
y
since you left yet it seems a year When cold or
w et take ten drops of Daffy s elixir in a small glass
Of strong waters Should your feet chafe rub
tallow o n the inside O f your boots Commend me
to Master Saxon and t o Master L o c karby if he be
with you His father w a s mad at his going for he
hath a great brewing going forward and none to
mind the mash tub Ru t h hath baked a cake but
the oven hath played her false and it is lumpy in
the inside A thousand kisses dear heart from
your loving mother M C

A right sensible couple quoth S ir Gervas


w ho having completed his toilet had b etaken him

to his couch
I now begin to understand your
manufacture Clarke I see the threads that are
used in the weaving O f you Your father looks
Your mother concerns
t o your spiritual wants
herself with the material Yet the Old carpenter s
preaching is methinks more to your taste Y o u
are a rank latitudinarian man Sir Stephen would
cry e upon you and Joshua Pe t t i g rue abj ure
ou !
Well
out
with
the
light
for
we
should
y
both be stirring at cock crow That is o ur relig
ion a t present
Early Christians I suggested and w e laughed
as we settled down to sleep
ou

S NARE O N THE W E ST ON R O AD

T HE

X X III
OF

THE S NA R E

ON

THE W E S TO N ROAD

J US T aft er sunrise I was awoke by o n e Of the


Mayor s servants who brought word that the
Honourable Master Wade was awaiting me down
stairs Having dressed and descended I found
him seated by the table in the sitting room with
papers and wafer box sealing up the missive which
I was t o carry He was a small worn grey faced
man very erect in his bearing and sudden in his
speech with more Of the soldier than Of the lawyer
in his appearance
S O said he pressing his seal above the fasten

ing O f the string I s e e that your horse is ready


for you outside Y o u had best make your way
round by Nether Stowey and the Bristol Channel
fo r we have heard that the enemy s horse guard the
roads on the far S ide o f Well s Here is your
packet
I bowed and placed it in the inside Of my tu ni c
It is a written order as suggested in the coun
cil The Duke s reply may be written or it may
be by word Of mouth In either case guard it well
This packet contains also a copy O f the depositions
o f the clergyman at The Hague and O f the other
witnesses who saw Charles o f E n gland marry Lucy
W alters the mother of his Maj esty Your mis
s ion is o n e o f such importance that the whole s u c
cess Of o ur venture may turn upon it See that
you serve the paper upon Beaufort in person and
n o t through any agent o r it might not stand in a
court o f law
I promised t o do s o if possible

313

M I C AH C L ARKE

I should advise y o u also he continued t o


carry sword and pistol as a protection against the
chance dangers O f the road but to discard your
head piece and steel front as giving you t o o war
like an aspect fo r a peaceful messenger
I had already come to that resolve said I

There is nothing more t o be said Captain


said the law yer giving me hi s hand
May all
good fortune go with you Keep a still tongue
and a quick ear W atch keenly how all things go
Mark whose face is gloomy and whose content
The Duke may be at Bristol but y o u had best
make fo r his seat at Badminton O ur S ign Of the
day is Tewkesbury
Thanking my instructor for his advice I went
out and mounted Covenant who pawed and
champed at his bit in his delight at getting started
once more Few O f the townsmen were stirring
though here and there a night bonneted head stared
I took the pre c a u
o u t at me through a casement
tion o f walking the horse very quietly until we
were some distance from the house for I had told
Reuben nothing of my intended j ourney and I was
convinced that if he knew Of it neither discipline
nor even his new ties o f love w ould prevent him
from coming with me Covenant s iron shod feet
rang sharply in spite o f my care upon the cobble
stones but looking back I s a w that the blinds Of
my faithful friend s room were undrawn and that
all seemed quiet in the house I shook my bridle
therefore and rode at a brisk trot through the
silent streets which were still strewn with faded
owers and gay with streamers At the north gate
a guard o f half a company w a s stationed w ho let
me pass upon hearing the word O nce beyond the
O ld walls I found myself out o n the country side

314

THE

S N ARE O N T HE WE ST O N R O AD

with my face to the north and a clear road in front

Of me
It was a blithesome morning The s un w a s
rising over the distant hills and heaven and earth
were ruddy and golden The trees in the wayside
orchards were full Of swarms Of birds who chat
t e re d and sang until the air was fu ll Of their piping
There was li ghtsomeness and gladness in eve ry
breath The wistful eyed red Somerset kine stood
along by the hedgerows casting great shadows
down the elds and gazing at me as I passed
Farm horses leaned over wooden gates and snorted
a word Of greeting to their glossy coated brother
A great herd Of snowy e e ce d sheep streamed tow
ards us over the hillside and frisked and gamboll ed
in the sunshine All was innocent life from the
lark which sang o n high to the little S hrew mouse
w hich ran amongst the ripening corn o r the martin
which dashed away at the sound Of my approach
From the high ground to the north I looked back
upon the sleeping town with the broad edging Of
tents and waggons which S howed ho w suddenly its
population had outgrown it The Royal Standard
sti ll uttered from the tower Of St Mary Magda
lene while close by its beautiful brother turret O f
St James bore alo ft the blue ag O f Monmouth
As I gazed the quick petulant roll Of a drum rose
up on the still morning air with the clear ringing
call Of the bugles summoning the troops from their
slumbers Beyond the town and o n either side Of
it stretched a glorious view Of the Somersetshire
downs rolling away to the distant s e a with town
and hamlet castle turret and church tower wooded
coombe and stretch o f grain landas fair a scene as
t he eye could wish to rest upon
As I wheeled my
horse and sped upon my way I felt my dears that
.

315

M I CAH CLARKE

this was a land worth ghting for and that a man s


life w a s a small thing if he could but aid in how
ever triing a degree in working o ut its freedom
and its happiness At a little Village over the h ill
I fell in with an outpost O f horse the commander
o f which rode some distance with me and s e t me
on my road to N ether Stowey It seemed strange
to my Hampshire eyes to note that the earth is all
red in these parts very di fferent to the chalk and
gravel Of Havant The cows too are mostly red
The cottages are built neither of brick nor Of wood
but Of some form Of plaster which they call c ob
which is strong and smooth so long as no water
comes near it They shelter the walls from the
rain therefore by great overhanging thatches
There is scarcely a steeple in the whole c ountry
side which also seems strange to a man from any
other part o f England Every church hath a
square tower with pinnacles upon the top and
they are mostly very large with n e peals Of bells
My course ran along by the foot of the beautiful
Quantock Hill s where heavy w ooded coombes are
scattered over the broad heathery downs deep with
bracken and whortle bushes O n either side of the
track steep winding glens l pe d do w nwards li ned
with yell ow gorse which blazed o ut from the deep
red soil like a ame from embers Peat coloured
streams splashed down these vall eys and over the
road through which Covenant ploughed fetlock
deep and shied to se e the broad backed trout dart
ing from between his fore feet
All day I rode through this beautiful country
meeting few folk fo r I kept away from the main
roads A fe w shepherds and farmers a long legged
clergym an a packman with hi s mule and a horse
man w ith a great bag whom I took to be a buyer
,

31 6

THE S NARE O N THE WE ST O N R O AD


f

hair are all that I can recall A black j ack o f


ale and the heel O f a loaf at a wayside inn were all
my refreshments Near C o mbw i c h Covenant cast
a shoe and two hours were wasted before I found
a smithy in the town and had the matter s e t right
It was not until evening that I at last came o ut
upon the banks Of the Bristol Channel at a place
called S hurt o n Bars where the muddy Parret
makes its way into the s e a At this point the
channel is s o broad that the Welsh mountains c a n
scarcely be distinguished The shore is at and
black and oozy e c ke d over with white patches o f
sea birds but further to the east there rises a line
Of hills very wild and rugged rising in places into
steep precipices These cliffs run o ut into the s e a
and numerous little harbours and bays are formed
in their broken surface which are dry half the day
but can oat a good sized boat at half tide The
road wound over these bleak and rocky hills which
are sparsely inhabited by a wild race Of shermen
o r shepherds who came to their cabin doors o n
hearing the clatter Of my horse s hoofs and shot
some rough West country j est at me as I passed
As the night drew in the country became bleaker
and more deserted A n occasional light twinkling
in the distance from some lonely hill side cottage
was the only S ign o f the presence Of man The
rough track still skirted the s e a and high as it w as
the spray from the breakers dri ft ed across it The
salt prin kle d on my lips and the air w a s lled with
the hoarse roar o f the surge and the thin piping o f
curlews who i t t e d past in the darkness like white
shado w y s a d voiced creatures from some other
world The wind blew i n short quick angry pu ffs
from the westward and far o ut o n the black waters
a S ingle glimmer o f li ght rising and falling tossi ng

31 7

M I CAH C LARKE
up and then S inking o ut o f sight showed ho w
erce a sea had risen i n the channel
Riding through the gloaming in this strange wild
scenery my mind naturally turned towards the
past I thought O f my father and my mother Of
the Old carpenter and o f S olomon Sprent Then
I pondered over Decimus S axon his many faced
character having in it s o much to be admired and
so much to be abhorred Did I like him or no ?
It was more than I could say From him I wan
dered O ff to my faithful Reuben and to his love
passage with the pretty Puritan which in turn
brought me to S ir Gervas and the wreck of his
fortunes My mind then w andered to the state O f
the army and the prospects O f the rising which led
me to my present mission with its perils and its
di fculties Having turned over all these things
in my mind I began t o doze upon my horse s back
overcome by the fatigue Of the j ourney and the
drowsy l ullaby O f the waves I had j ust fallen
into a dream in which I s a w Reuben L o c ka rby
crowned King of England by Mistress Ruth Time
well while Decimus S axon endeavoured t o shoot
him with a bottle Of Daffy s e lixir when in an i n
stant without warning I was dashed violently from
my horse and left lying half conscious o n the stony
track
S O stunned and shaken was I by the sudden fall
that though I had a dim knowledge o f shadowy
g ures bending over me and of hoarse laughter
sounding in my ears I could not tell fo r a few min
utes where I was nor what had befallen me When
at last I did make an attempt to recover my feet I
found that a loop O f rope had been slipped round
my arms and my legs so as to secure them With
a hard struggle I go t o n e hand free and dashed it
,

318

T HE

S NARE O N THE WEST O N R O AD

in the face Of one Of the men w ho were holding


me down but the whole gang Of a dozen o r more
set upon me at once and while some thumped and
kicked at me others tied a fresh cord round my
elbows and deft ly fastened it in such a way as to
pinion me completely Finding that in my weak
and dazed state all efforts were Of no avail I lay
sullen and watchful taking no heed Of the random
blows which were still showered upon me
SO
dark was it that I could neither s e e the faces Of
my attackers nor form any guess as to who they
might be o r ho w they had hurled me from my
saddle The champing and stamping o f a horse
hard by showed me that Covenant w a s a prisoner
as well as his master
Dutch P ete s g o t as much as he can carry
said a rough harsh voice
He lies on the track

as limp as a conger

Ah poor Pete ! muttered another


He ll
never deal a card o r drain a glass Of the right
Cognac again

There you lie mine goot vri e n d said the i n


j ured man in weak quavering tones
And I
will prove that you lie if you have a aschen in
your pocket
If Pete were dead and buried the rst speaker
said
a word about strong waters would bring
him t o Give him a s up from your bottle Dicon
There was a great gurgling and sucking in the
darkness fo llowed by a gasp from the drinker
Donnerblitz
he exclaimed in a stronger voice
I have seen more stars than ever were made
Had my head not been well hooped he would have
knocked it in like an ill stave d cask He hits like
the kick o f a horse
As he spoke the edge O f the moon peeped over
,

31 9

M I C AH C LARKE

a c liff and threw a ood Of cold clear light upon


the scene Looking up I s aw that a strong rope
had been tied across the road from o n e tree trunk
to another about eight feet above the ground
This could n o t be seen by me even had I been
full y aw ake in the dusk ; but catching me across
the breast as Covenant trotted under it it had
swept me O ff and dashed me with great force to
the ground Either the fall or the blows which I
had received had cut me badly for I could feel the
blood trickl ing in a warm stream past my ear and
down my neck I made no attempt to move
however but waited in silence t o nd o ut w ho
these men were into whose hands I had fallen
My o n e fear was lest my letters should be taken
away from me and my mission rendered Of no
avai l That in this my rst trust I S hould be dis
armed without a blow and lose the papers which
had been conded to me w a s a C hance which made
me ush and tingle with shame at the very thought
The gang w ho had seized me were rough bearded
fellows in fur caps and fustian j ackets with bu ff belts
round their waists from which hung S hort straight
whinyards Their dark s un dried faces and their
great boots marked them as shermen o r seamen
as might be guessed from their rude sailor speech
A pair knelt o n either side with their hands upon
my arms a third stood behind with a cocked pistol
pointed at my head while the others seven o r
eight in number were helping to his feet the man
whom I had struck who was bleeding freely from
a cut over the eye
Take the horse up to Daddy M y cro ft s said a
s tout black bearded man w ho seemed to be the ir
1
leader
It is no mere dragooner hack b ut a
d Charg e r
N t e I A pp en di D g
.

ra

320

oo n e rs a n

s.

T HE

S NARE O N T HE WE ST O N R O A D

comely full blooded brute which will fetch sixty


pieces at the least Your share o f that Peter will
buy salve and plaster for your c ut
Ha houndsfoot
cried the Dutchman shak
ing his st at me
You would strike Peter
would you ? Y o u would draw Peter s blood
?
would y o u
Tausend Teufel man ! if you and I
were together upon the hi llside we should s e e Vich
va s the petter man

Slack your j aw tackle Pete growled one O f


his comrades
This fellow is a limb Of Satan for
sure and doth foll o w a calling that none but a
mean snivelling baseborn son Of a gun would take
Yet I warrant from the look o f him that he
to
could truss you like a woodcock if he had his great
hands upon y o u And you would ho w l for help
as you did last Martinmas when you did mistake
Cooper Dick s wife fo r a gauger
?
Truss me would he
Death and hell ! cried
the other whom the blow and the brandy had
dri ven t o madness
We shall s e e Take that
thou de y vil s spaw n take that !
He ran at me
and kicked me as hard as he could with his heavy
s e a boots
S ome o f the gang laughed but the man w ho
had spoken before gave the D utchman a shove
that sent him whirling
None of that he said
sternly
We ll have British fair play o n British
soil and none O f your cursed longshore tricks I
won t stand by and see an Englishman kicked d ye
s e e by a tub bellied round starned schnapps swill
ing chicken hearted s o n o f an Amsterdam lust
vrouw Hang him if the skipper likes That s
a ll above board but by thunder if i t s a ght that
you will have touch that man again
All right Dicon said their leader soothingly
-

321

M I CAH CLARKE
We all know that Pete s not a ghting man b ut
he s the best C ooper on the coast eh Pete
There
is n o t his equal at staving hooping and bumping
He ll take a plank O f wood and turn it into a keg
while another man would be thinking Of it
O h you remember that Captain Murgatroyd
said the Dutchman sulkily
But you see me
knocked about and s c hlagge d and bullied and
called names and what help have I
S O help me
when the Al a rmis in the Texel next I ll take to
my Old trade I will and never s e t foot on her
aga i n
the C aptain answered laughing
N O fear
While the M a ri a brings in ve thousand good
pieces a year and can show her heels to any cutter
o n the coast there is no fear Of greedy Pete losing
his S hare o f her Why man at this rate you may
have a lust haus of your o w n in a year o r two with
a trimmed lawn and the trees a ll clipped li ke pea
cocks and the owers in pattern and a canal by
the door and a great bouncing housewife j ust li ke
any Burgomeister There s many such a fortune
been made o ut O f Mechlin and Cognac
Aye and there s many a broken head got over
Mechlin and Cognac
grumbled my enemy
Donner ! There are other things beside lust
houses and ower beds There are lee shores and
nor westers beaks and preventives
And there s where the smart seaman ha s the
pull over the herring buss or the S kulking coaster
that works from Christmas to Christmas with all
the danger and none O f the little pickings But
enough said
Up with the prisoner and let us get
him safely into the bil boes
I was raised to my feet and half carried half
dragged along in the midst o f the gang My horse

322

T HE S NA R E O N THE WE ST O N R O AD

had already been led away in the opposite dire c


tion O ur course lay O ff the road down a very
rocky and rugged ravine which l pe d away t o w
ards the s e a There seemed to be no trace o f a
path and I could o nl y stumble along over rocks
and bushes as best I might in my fettered and
crippled state The blood however had dried over
my wounds and the cool s e a breeze playing upon
my forehead refreshed me and helped me t o take a
clearer View Of my position
It was plain from their talk that these men were
smugglers As such they were not likely to have
any great love for the Government o r desire to up
hold King James in any way O n the contrary
their goodwill would probably be with Monmouth
for had I n o t seen the day before a whole regiment
Of foot in his army raised from among the coaster
folk ? O n the other hand their greed might be
stronger than their loyalty and might lead them
to hand me over to j ustice in the hope Of reward
O n the whole it would be best I thought to s a y
nothing Of my mission and to keep my papers s e
cret as long as possible
But I could n o t but wonder as I was dragged
along what had led these men to lie in wait for me
as they had done The road along which I had
travelled w as a lonely o n e and yet a fair number Of
travellers b ound from the West through Weston
to Bristol must use it The gang could n ot lie in
perpetual guard over it Why had they s e t a trap
o n this particular night
then ? The smugglers
were a lawless and desperate body but they did
o r robbery
n o t as a rule descend to foot
a d de r
y
p
As long as no o n e interfered with them they were
seldom the rst to break the peace Then why
h ad they lain in wait for me who had never inj ured
.

323

M I CA H CL A R K E

Could it possi bly be that I had b een b e


t ra y e d ? I w a s still turning over these questions in
my mind when we all came to a halt and the Cap
tain ble w a shri ll note o n a whistle w hich hung
round his neck
The place where w e found ourselves was the
darkest and most rugged spot in the w hole wild
gorge O n either side great cliffs S hot up which
arched over o ur heads with a fringe Of ferns and
bracken o n either lip so that the dark s ky and the
few twinkling stars were well nigh hid Great black
rocks loomed vaguely o ut in the shadowy light
wh i le in fron t a high tangle Of what seemed to be
brushwood barred our road At a second whistle
however a glint O f light was seen through the
branches and the whole mass was swung to o n e
side as though it moved upon a hinge Beyond it
a dark winding passage Opened into the S ide of the
hill down which we went with our ba c ks bowed
for the rock ceili ng was o f no great height O n
every side o f us sounded the throbbing of the sea
Passing through the entrance which must have
been dug with great labour through the soli d rock
we came out into a lo ft y and roomy cave lit up by
a re at one end and by several torches By their
smoky yell ow glare I could see that the roof was
at least ft y feet above us and was hung by long
lime crystals which sparkled a nd gleamed with
great brightness The oor Of the cave was formed
Of ne sand as so ft and velvety as a Wilton carpet
sloping down in a way which showed that the cave
must at it s mouth Open upon the sea which w as
conrmed by the booming and S plashing Of the
waves and by the fresh salt air which lled the
whole cavern NO water could be seen however
as a sharp turn c ut O ff o ur View o f t he O utlet
them ?

324

T HE S N ARE O N THE WE ST O N R O AD

I n this rock girt space which may have been


S ixty paces long and thirty across there were
gathered great piles Of casks kegs and cases mus
kets cutlasses staves cudgels and straw were lit
t e re d about upon the oor At one end a high wood
re blazed merrily casting strange shadows along
the walls and sparkling like a thousand diamonds
among the crystals o n the roof The smoke w a s
carried away through a great cleft in the rocks
Seated on boxes or stretched o n the sand round
t he re there were seven o r eight more o f the
band w ho sprang to their feet and ran eagerly tow
ards us as we entered
Hav e ye got him ? they cried
Did he i n
deed come ? Had he attendants ?
He is here and he is alone the Captain a n
s w e re d
O ur hawser fetched him O ff his horse as
neatly as ever a g ull was netted by a cragsman
What have ye done in our absence Silas ?
W e have the packs ready for carriage said the
man addressed a sturdy weather beaten seaman Of
middle age
The silk and lace are done in these
squares co vered over with sacking The one I have

marked yarn and the other j ute a thousand


Of Mechlin to a hundred Of the shiny They will
sling over a mule s back Brandy schnapps S chie
dam and Hamburg Goldwasser are all set o ut in
due order The baccy is in the at cases over by
the Black Drop there
A plaguy j o b we had
carrying it all out but here it is ship shape at last
and the lugger oats like a skimming dish with
scarce ball ast enough t o stand up to a ve knot
breeze

Any signs O f the F a iry Queen


asked the
smuggler
Non e Long John is down at the wat er s edge
-

325

M I CA H C LARKE

looking out fo r her as h li ght This wind should


bring her up if s he has rounded Combe Martin
Point
There was a sail about ten miles to the
east nor east at sundown She might have been
a Bristol schooner o r she might have been a King s
y boat
?
W ho cares which
said Captain Murgatroyd
with a sneer
W e cannot hang the gauger until
V enables brings up the F a i ry Q u een for a ft er all
it w a s o n e o f his hands that w a s s n a c kle d Let
him do his o w n dirty work
Tausend Blitzen cried the rufa n D utchman
would it not be a kindly greeting t o Captain
V enables t o chuck the gauger down the Black Drop
ere he come ? He may have such another j o b to
do for us some day
Zounds man are you in co mmand or am I ?
said the leader angrily
B ring the prisoner for
ward to the r e ! No w hark ye dog O f a land
S hark ; y o u are as surely a dead man as though you
w ere laid out with the tapers burning S ee here
he li ft ed a torch and showed by it s red light a
great crack in the oor across the far end Of the
cave
you c a n j udge o f the Black Drop s depth
he said raising an empty keg and tossing it over
into the yawn ing gulf For ten seconds we stood
silent before a dull distant clatter told that it had
at last reached the bottom
It will carry him half way to hell before the
breath leaves him said o n e
It s an easier de ath than the De vizes gallows
cried a second

Nay he shall have the gall ows rst ! a third


shouted
It is but his burial that we are arrang
I ng
H e hath n ot Opened hi s mouth since w e t ook
-

326

THE S N ARE O N THE WE ST O N R O AD

him said the man who was called Dicon


I s he
a mute then ? Find your tongue my ne fellow
and let us hear what your name is It would have
been well for you if you had been born dumb S O
that you could n o t have sworn o ur comrade s life
away

I have been waiting fo r a civil question aft er


all this brawling and babbling said I
My name
is Micah Clarke Now pray inform me w ho ye
may be and by what warrant ye stop peaceful
?
travellers upon the public highway
This is our warrant Murgatroyd answered

touching the hilt Of his c utlass


As t o who we
are ye know that well enough Your name is not
Clarke but Westhouse o r Waterhouse and y o u
are the same cursed exciseman who s n a ckle d our
poor comrade Cooper Dick and swore away his
life at Ilchester
I swear that you are mistaken I replied
I

have never in my life been in these parts before


F i ne words ! Fine words !
cried another
smuggler
Gauger o r no you must j ump for it
S ince you know the secret O f our cave
Your secret is safe with me I answered
B ut
if ye wish to murder me I shall meet my fate as a
soldier should I should have chosen to die o n the
eld Of battle rather than to lie at the mercy Of
such a pack O f water rats in their burrow
My faith ! said Murgatroyd
This is too tall
talk fo r a gauger He he ars himself like a soldier
too It is possible that in snaring the o w l we have
caught the falcon Yet we had certain token that
he would come this way and o n such another
horse
Call up Long John suggested the Dutchman

I vould not give a plug of Trinid a do for t he


,

22

327

M I CAH CLARKE
S chelm s word Long John w a s with Cooper Dick
when he was taken
Aye growled the mate S i las
He got a
wipe over the arm from the gauger s whinyard
He ll know his face if any w ill
Call him then said Murgatroyd and presently
a long loose limbed seaman came up from the
mouth Of the cave where he had been o n watch
H e wore a red kerchief round his forehead and a
b lue j erkin the sleeve o f which he slowly roll ed up
a s he came nigh
Where is Gauger Westhouse
he cried ; he
has le ft his mark on my arm Rat me if the scar
is healed yet The sun is o n o ur side of the wall
But hullo mates ! who be this that
n o w gauger
?
ye have clapped into irons
This is not o ur man !
Not our man
they cried w ith a volley o f
curses
Why this fell ow would make two o f the gauger
and leave enough over to fashion a magistrate s
clerk Ye may hang him to make sure but still
he s not the man
Yes hang him ! said Dutch Pete
Sapper
ment ! is our cave to be the talk Of all the country ?
V ere is the pretty M a r i a t o go then v i d her silks
?
and her satins her kegs and her cases
Are we to
risk o ur cave for the sake o f this fell ow ? Besides
has he not s c hlag g e d my heads c hlagg e d your

cooper s head as if he had hit me mit mine o w n


mallet ? Is that n ot vo rt h a hemp cravat
Worth a j orum O f rumbo cried Dicon
By
your leave Captain I would say that we are not a
gang O f padders and michers but a crew Of honest
seamen who harm none b ut t hos e who harm us
Exciseman Westhouse hath slain Cooper Dick and
it i s j ust that he should die for it ; but as to taking

328

T HE

S NARE O N THE WE ST O N R O A D

this young soldier s life I d as soon think o f scut


tli ng the saucy M a ri a o r Of mounting the Jo lly
Roger at her peak
What answer would have been gi ven to this
speech I cannot tell for at that moment a shrill
whistle resounded outside the cave and two smug
l
rs appeared bearing between them the body Of a
e
g
man It hung s o li mp that I thought at rst that
he might be dead but when they threw him o n the
sand he moved and at last s at up like o n e w ho is
but half awoken from a swoon He w a s a square
dogged faced fello w with a long white scar down
his cheek and a close t t in g blue coat w ith brass
b uttons
I t s Gauger Westhouse
cried a chorus Of
Vo i ces

Yes i t is Gauger Westhouse said the m an


calmly giving his neck a wriggle as though he were
in pain
I represent the King s law and in i t s
name I arrest ye all and declare all the contraband
goods which I see around me to be conscate and
forfeited according to the second section Of the rst
clause O f the statute upon illegal dealing If there
are any honest men in this company they will
assist me in the execution Of my duty
He stag
e
re d to his feet as he spoke but hi s S pirit w a s
g
greater than his strength and he sank back u pon
the sand amid a roar Of laughter from the rough
seamen
W e found him lying on the road when w e came
from Daddy M y cro ft s said o n e o f the n e w comers
w ho were the same men w ho had led away my
horse
He must have passed j ust aft er y o u left
and the rope caught him under the chin and threw
him a dozen paces We s a w the revenue button on
his coat S O we brought him down Body 0 me

329

M I CA H CLARKE
but he kicked and plunged fo r all that he was
three quarters stunned
?
Have y e slacked the haw ser
the Captain
asked
We cast one end loose and let it hang
Tis well We must keep him for Captain
V enables But n ow as to our other prisoner ! we
must overhaul him and examine his papers for so
many craft are sailing under false colours that we
must needs be careful Hark ye Mister Soldier !
What brings you to these parts and what king do
o u serve ? for I hear there s a mutiny broke out
y
and two skippers claim equal rating in t he Old
British ship

I am serving under King Monmouth I an


s w e re d seeing that the proposed search must end
in the nding o f my papers
Under King Monmouth
cried the smuggler
Nay friend that rings somewhat false The good
King hath I hear too much need O f his friends in
the south to let an able soldier go wandering along
the s e a coast like a Cornish wrecker in a so n
wester

I bear despatches said I


from the Ki ng s
o w n hand to Henry D uke O f Beaufort at his castle
at Badminton Y e can nd them in my inner
pocket but I pray ye not to break the seal lest i t
bring discredit upon my mission
Sir cried the gauger raising himself upon his
elbow I do hereby arrest you on the charge o f
being a traitor a promoter o f treason a vagrant
and a masterless man within the meaning o f the
fourth statute Of the Act As an O fcer of the law
I call upon you to submit to my warrant

Brace up his j a w with your scarf Jim said


Murgatroyd
When V enables comes he w ill

'

330

THE S N A R E O N

T HE

WE ST O N R O AD

soon nd a way to check hi s gab Y e s he con


it is
t i n ue d looking at the back o f my papers

marked as y o u s ay From James the Second O f


England kn own lately as the Duke o f Monmouth
to Henry Duke Of Beaufort President Of Wales
by the hand O f Captain Micah Clarke O f Saxon s
regi ment Of W iltshire foot
Cast O ff the lashings
Dicon
S O Captain y o u are a free man once
more and I grieve that we should have unwittingly
harmed yo u We are good Lutherans to a man
and would rather speed y o u than hinder you o n
this mission
Could w e not indeed help him o n his w ay ?
said the mate Silas
F o r myself I don t fear a
wet j acket or a tarry hand for the cause and I
doubt not ye are all o f my way O f thinking Now
with this breeze we could run up to Bristol and
drop the Captain by morning which would save
him from b eing snapped up by any land sharks o n
the road

Aye aye cried Long John


The King s
horse are o ut beyond Weston but he could give
them the slip if he had the M a ri a under him

Well said Murgatroyd w e could get back


b y three long tacks V enables will need a day o r
s o to get his goods ashore
If we are t o sail back
in company we shall have time o n our hands

H o w would the plan suit y o u Captain ?


My horse
I obj ected
It need not stop us I can rig up a handy
horse
stall with my spare spars and the grating
The w ind has died down The lugger could be
brought t o Dead Man s Edge and the horse led
down to it Run up t o Daddy s Jim ; and yo u
Silas se e to the boat Here is some cold j unk and
biscuitseaman s fare Captainand a glass 0 the
.

331

M I C A H CLARKE

real Jamaica to wash it down an thy stomach b e


not too dainty for rough living
I seated myself o n a barrel by the re and
stretched my limbs which were cramped and stiff
ened by their connement while o n e Of the seamen
bathed the cut o n my head with a w e t kerchief and
another laid out some food on a case in front Of
me The rest O f the gang had trooped away to the
mouth O f the cave to prepare the lugger save only
t w o o r three who stood o n guard round the ill
fated gauger H e lay with his back resting against
the wall of the cave and hi s arms crossed over his
breast glancing round from time to time at the
smugglers with menacing eyes as a staunch Old
hound might gaze at a pack o f wolves w ho had
overmatched him I w a s turning it over in my
o w n mind whether aught could be done t o help
him when Murgatroyd came over and dipping a
tin pann ikin into the Open rum tub drained it t o
the success O f my mission
I shall send Silas Boli tho with you said he

wh i le I bide here to meet V enables who c o m


mands my consort If there is aught that I can
do to repay yo u for your i ll usage
There is but o n e thing Captain I broke in
eagerly
It is as much o r m ore for your O w n
sake than mine that I ask it D O n o t allo w this
unhappy man t o be murdered
Y ou
M urg at ro y d s face ushed with anger
are a plain speaker Captain Clarke said he
This
is no murder It is j ustice W hat harm do we
here ? There is n o t an Old housewife over the
whole country side who does not bless u s Where
is s he to buy her souchong or her strong waters
except from us ? We charge little and force o ur
goods o n no one We are peaceful traders Y e t
,

332

S N A R E O N THE WE ST O N R O AD

T HE

this man and his fellows are ever yelping at our


heels like S O many dog s h o n a c o d bank We
have been harried and chivied and S hot at until
we are driven into such dens as this A month
ago four Of o ur men were bearing a keg up the
hill side to Farmer Black w ho hath dealt with us
these ve years back O f a sudden down came
half a score Of horse led by this gauger hacked
and slashed with their broadswords c ut Long

John s arm Open and took Cooper Dick prisoner


Dick w a s haled to Ilchester Gaol and hung up
aft er the assizes like a stoat o n a gamekeeper s door
This night we had news that this very gauger w a s
coming this way little knowing that w e should be on
the look o ut for him I s it a wonder that we S hould
lay a trap fo r him and that having caught him
we should g ive him the same j ustice as he gave our
comrades

He is but a servant I argued


He hath
not made the law It is his duty t o enforce it It
is with the la w itself that your quarrel is
You are right said the smuggler gloomily

It is with Judge Moorcro ft that w e have o ur


chief account to square He may pass this road
upon his circuit Heaven send he does ! But w e
shall hang the gauger too H e knows o ur cave
now and it would be madness to let him go
I s aw that it was useless to argue longer s o I
contented myself with dropping my pocket knife
on the sand within reach Of the prisoner in the
hope that it might prove to be O f some service to
him His guards were laughing and j oking to
gether and gi ving li ttle heed to their charge but
the gauger was keen enough for I s a w hi s hand
close over it
I had walked and smoked for a n hour o r more
,

333

M I CA H C L A RKE
when Silas t he mate appeared and said that the
lugger was ready and the horse aboard Bidding
Murgatroyd farewell I ventured a few more words
in favour o f the gauger which were received with
a frown and an angry shake of the head A boat
was drawn up o n the sand inside the cave at the
water s edge Into this I stepped as directed with
my sword and pistols which had been given back
to me while the crew pushed her O ff and sprang in
as she glided into deep water
I could see by the dim light O f the single torch
which Murgatroyd held upon the margin that the
roof O f the cave sloped sheer down upon us as we
scu lled slowly out towards the entrance S O low
did it come at last that there was only a space O f a
fe w feet between it and the water and we had to
bend our heads to avoid the rocks above us The
boatmen gave two strong strokes and we S hot out
from under the overhanging ledge and found o ur
selves i n the open with the stars shining murkil y
above us and the moon showing herself dimly and
cloud i ly through a gathering haze Right in front
Of us w a s a dark blur which as we pu lled towards
it took the outline of a large lugger rising and fall
ing with the pulse O f the s e a Her tall thin spars
and delicate network Of cordage towered above us
as w e glided under the counter while the creaking
o f blocks and rattle Of ropes sho w ed that she was
all ready to glide O ff upon her j ourney
Lightly
and daintily s he rode upon the waters li ke some
giant seafowl spreading one white pinion aft er
another in preparation for her ight The boat
men ran us alongside and steadied the di n gy while
I climbed over the bulwarks on to the deck
She was a roomy vessel very broad in the beam
with a graceful curve in her bows and masts which
,

334

T HE

S NARE O N THE WEST O N R O AD

were tall er than any that I had seen o n such a boat


o n the Solent
She w as decked over in front but
very deep in the aft er part with ropes xed a ll
round the sides to secure kegs when the hold should
be full I n the midst Of this aft er deck the mari
ners had bu ilt a strong stall in which my good steed
was standing with a bucket full Of oats in front o f
him My Old friend shoved his nose against my
face as I came aboard and neighed his pleasure at
nding his master once more W e were still ex
changing caresses when the grizzled head o f Silas
B olitho the mate popped o ut Of the cabin hatch
way
W e are fairly o n o u r w a y n ow Captain
Clarke said he
The breeze has fall en away
to nothing as you c an s e e and w e may be some
time in running down t o o ur port A re y o u not
awe ary ?
I am a little tired I confessed
My head is
throbbing from the crack I got when that ha wser
o f yours dashed me from my saddle
An hour or two Of S leep will make y ou as fresh

as a Mother Carey s chicken said the smuggler


Your horse is w ell cared fo r and y o u can leave
him without fear I will set a man t o tend him
though truth t o s ay the rogues know more about
studding sails and halli ards than they do Of steeds
and their requirements Yet no harm c a n come to
him S O you had best come do w n and turn I n
I descended the steep stair s which led down into
the low roofed cabin o f the lugger O n either side
a recess in the wall had been tted up as a couch

This is your bed said he pointing to one Of

them
We shall call you if there be aught to
report
I needed no second invitation but i ng
ing myself down without undressing I sank in a
.

335

M I CAH CLARKE
few minutes into a dreamless sleep which neither
the gentle motion O f the boat nor the C lank O f feet
above my head could break O ff
,

XX IV
THE W EL CO ME TH AT MET ME A T B AD MI NTO N

OF

W H E N I opened my eyes I had some ado to recall

where I was but on sitting up it was brought


home to me by my head striking the low ceiling
with a sharp rap O n the other side Of the cabin
Silas Boli tho was stretched at full length with a
red woollen nightcap upon his head fast asleep and
snoring In the centre O f the cabin hung a swing
table much worn and stained all over with the
marks O f countless glasses and pannikins
A
wooden bench screwed to the oor completed the
furniture with the exception Of a stand of muskets
along o n e side Above and below the berths in
which we lay were rows of lockers in which doubt
less some O f the more choice laces and silks w ere
stowed The vessel w a s rising and falli ng with a
gentle motion but from the apping o f canvas I
j udged that there w a s li ttle wind Slipping quiet ly
from my couch S O as not to wake the mate I stole
upon deck
We were I found not only becalmed but
hemmed in by a dense fog bank which rolled in
thick choking wreaths all round us and hid the very
water beneat h us We might have been a ship o f
the air riding upon a white cloud bank N o w and
anon a little pu ff Of breeze caught the foresail and
bellied it out for a moment only to let it ap back
,

336

O F THE WE LC O ME THAT MET ME

against the mast limp and slack once m ore A


sunbeam would at times break through the dense
cloud and would spangle the dead grey wall with
a streak Of rainbow colour but the haze would
gather in again and shut o ff the bright invader
Covenant was staring right and le ft with great
questioning eyes The crew were gathered along
the bulwarks and smoking their pipes while they
peered out into the dense fog
God den Captain said Dicon touching his

We have had a rare run while the


fu r ca p
breeze lasted and the mate reckoned before he
turned in that we were not many miles from Bris
t o l town
In that case my good fello w I answered ye
can set me ashore for I have not far to go
We must e en wait till the fo g lift s said Long
John
There s only o n e place along here d ye
where we can land cargoes unquestioned
see
When it clears w e shall turn her head for it but
until we can take o ur bearings it is anxious work
w i the sands under o ur lee

Keep a look out there T om B aldock ! cried

Dicon to a man in the bows


We are in the
track of every Bristol ship and though there s s o
little wind a high sparred craft might catch a
breez e which we miss
Sh ! said Long John suddenly holding up his
hand in w arning
Sh
W e listened with all our ears but there w as no
sound save the gentle wash Of the unseen waves
against our sides

Call the mate !


whispered the seaman
There s a craft close by us I heard the rattle o f
a rope upon her deck
Silas Bolitho was up in an instant and we all
,

337

M I CAH CLA R K E

stood straini ng our ears and peering through t he


dense fog bank We had well nigh made up o ur
minds that it was a false alarm and the mate w as
turning back in no very good humour when a clear
loud bell sounded seven times quite close to us
followed by a shrill whistle and a confused shout
ing and stamping
It s a Ki ng s ship growled the mate
That s
seven bells and the bo sun is turning out the watch
below

It was o n o ur quarter whispered o n e

Nay I think it was o n our larboard bo w said


another
The mate held up his hand and we all listened
for some fresh S ign Of the whereabouts o f o ur
s c urvy neighbour The wind had freshened a little
and we were sli pping through the water at four or
ve knots an hour O f a sudden a hoarse voice was
heard roaring at our very side
Bout S hip it
shouted
Bear a hand on the lee braces there !
Stand by the halliards
Bear a han d ye lazy
rogues or I ll be among ye with my cane with a
wannion to ye

It is a King s ship sure enough and s he lies


just there said Long John pointing o ut over the
quarter
Merch ant adventurers have civil tongues
It s your blue coated gold braided swivel eyed
quarter
deckers that talk Of canes Ha ! did I not
?
tell ye
As he spoke the white screen of vapour roll ed
up like the curtain in a playhouse and uncovered a
stately war ship lyin g s o close that w e could have
thrown a biscuit aboard
Her long lean black
hull rose and fell with a slow graceful rhyt hm
while her beautiful spars and snow white sails shot
aloft until they were lost in the wreaths Of fog which
,

338

O F THE W ELC O M E T HAT MET ME

still hung around her Nine bright brass cannons


peeped o ut at us from her portholes Above the
line Of hammocks which hung li ke carded wool
along her bul w arks we could S ee the heads o f the
seamen staring down at us and pointing us out to
ea c h other O n the high poop stood an elderly
O i c e r with cocked hat and trim white w i g
w ho
at once whipped up his glass a nd gazed at us
through it

Ahoy there he shouted leaning over the taff

rail
What lugger is that ?

The L u cy answered the mate bound from


Porlock Q uay to Bristol with hides and tallow
Stand ready to tack ! he added in a lo wer voice
the fog is coming do w n again
Y e have o n e o f the hides with the horse still in
it cried the o fcer
Run down under o ur coun
ter We must have a closer look at ye
Aye aye sir ! said the mate and puttin g his
helm hard do w n the boom swung across and the
M a r i a darted O ff like a scared seabird into the fog
Looking back there was nothing but a dim loom to
S how where we had le ft the great vessel We could
hear ho w ever the hoarse shouting Of orders and
the bustle Of men

Look o ut for squalls lads ! cried the mat e


He ll let us have it now
H e had scarcely spoken before there were half a
dozen throbs of ame in the mist behind and as
many balls sung among our rigging O ne c ut away
the end of the yard and left it dangling ; another
grazed the bowsprit and sent a pu ff Of white splin
ters into the air
W arm work Captain eh ? said O ld Silas ru b
bing his hands
Zounds they shoot better in the
dark t h an ever they did in t he light There h ave
.

339

M I CA H CLARKE
been more S hots red at this lugger than s he co ul d
carry were s he loaded with them And yet they
never S O much as knocked the paint O ff her before
There they go again
A fresh discharge burst from the man O f war b ut
this time they had lost all trace Of us and were r
ing by guess
That is their last bark s i r said Dicon
They ll blaze away for the rest Of the
NO fear

day growled another of the smugglers


Why
L o r bless ye it s good exercise for the crew and
the munition is the King s s o it don t cost nobody
a groat
It s well the breeze freshened said Long John
I heard the creak O davits j ust aft er the rst
discharge She was lowering her boats or I m a
Dutchman
The petter for you if y o u v as you seven foot
stock s h cried my enemy the cooper whose as
e ct w as not improved by a great strip o f plaster
p
over hi s eye
Y o u might have learned something
petter than to pull on a rope or to swab decks
like a vrouw all your li fe
I ll s e t you adrift in one Of your o w n barrels
you S kin Of lard said the seaman
How O ft en
are w e t o trounce you before we knock the sauce
o ut Of y o u ?

The fog lifts a little towards the land S ilas


remarked
Methin ks I s e e the loom o f St Aus
tin s Point It rises there upon the starboard bow
There it is sure enough S ir cried one Of the
seamen pointing to a dark cape which cut i nto the
mist
Steer for the three fathom creek then said the
mate
When we are o n the other side o f the
point Captain Clarke w e shall be a ble to land your
.

340

O F THE WEL C O ME T HA T MET ME

horse and yourself You will then be within a few


hours ride Of your destination
I led the Old seama n aside and having thanked
him for the kindness which he had sho w n me I
Spoke to him O f the gauger and implored him to
u s e his inuence to save the man
It rests with Captain V enables
said he
gloomily
If we let him go what becomes Of o u r

cave ?

?
f
I s there n o w ay o insuring his silence
I
asked
Well w e might ship him to the Plantations
W e could take him to the Texel
said the mate
with us and get Captain Donders o r some other
t o give him a li ft across the western ocean

D O SO
said I
and I shall take care that
Ki ng Monmouth shall hear o f the help which ye
have given his messenger
Well we shall be there in a brace Of shakes

he remarked
Let us g o below an d load your
ground tier fo r there is nothing like starting well
trimmed with plenty o f ballast in the hold
Following the sailor s advice I went down with
hi m and enj oyed a rude but plentiful meal
By
the time that we had nished the lugger had been
run into a narrow creek with S helving sandy banks
o n either side
The district w a s wild and marshy
with few signs Of any inhabitants With much
coaxing and pushing Covenant w a s induced to
take t o the water and swam easily ashore wh i le I
followed in the smuggler s dingy A fe w words Of
rough kindly leave taking were shouted aft er me
I s aw the dingy return and the beautiful craft
glided o ut to sea and faded away once more into
the mists which still hung over the face Of the
waters
.

841

M I CAH CLARKE

Truly Providence works in strange ways my


children and until a man comes to the autumn Of
his days he can scarce s ay what hath been ill luck
and what hath been good For o f all the seeming
misfortunes which have befallen me during my
wandering li fe there is n ot o n e which I have not
come to look upon as a blessing And if you once
take this into your hearts it is a mighty help in
enabling you to meet all troubles with a sti ff lip ;
for w hy should a man grieve when he hath n o t yet
determined whether what hath chanced may not
prove to be a cause o f rej oicing ? Now here ye
will perceive that I began by being dashed upon a
stony road beaten kicked and nall y well nigh
put to death in mistake for another Yet it ended
in my being safely carried to my j ourney s end
w hereas had I gone by land it is more than likely
that I should have been cut O ff at Weston ; for as
I heard aft erwards a troop Of horse were makin g
themselves very active in those parts by b locking
the roads and seizing a ll who came that w ay
B eing now alone my r st care w a s to bathe my
face and hands in a stream which ran down to
the s e a and to wipe away any trace Of my advent
ures o f the night before My c u t w a s but a small
one and was concealed by my hair Having re
duce d myself to some sort of order I next rubbed
down my horse as best I could and rearranged his
girth and his saddle I then led him by the bridle
to the top of a sandhill hard by whence I might
gai n some idea as to my position
The fog lay thick upon the Channel but all i n
land was very clear and bright Along the coast
the country w a s dreary and marshy but at the
other side a goodl y extent of fertile plain lay before
me well t ill ed and cared for A range O f lo ft y
,

34 2

O F T HE WELC O ME T HAT ME T ME

hill s which I guessed to be the Mendips bordered


the whole skyline and further north there lay a
second chain in the blue distance The glittering
Avon wound its way over the country side like a
silver snake in a o w e r bed Close to its mouth
and not more than two leagues from w here I stood
rose the spires and towers Of stately Bristol the
Queen Of the West which was and still may be
the second city in the ki n gdom The forests o f
masts which shot up like a pinegrove above the
roofs Of the houses bore witness to the great trade
both with Ireland and with the Plantations which
had built up s o ourishing a city
A S I knew that the Duke s seat was miles on
the Gloucestershire side o f the city and as I feared
lest I might be arrested and exam i ned should I
attempt to pass the gates I struck inland with i n
tent to ride round the walls and s o avoid the peril
The path which I followed led me into a country
lane which in turn Opened into a broad highway
crowded with travell ers both on horseback and o n
foot As the troublous times required that a man
should j ourney with his arms there was naught in
my outt to excite remark and I was able to j og
o n among the other horsemen w ithout question or
suspicion
From their appearance they were I
j udged country farmers o r squires fo r the most
part w ho were riding into Bristol to hear the news
and to store away their things Of pric e in a place
Of safety
By your leave zur said a burly heavy faced
man in a velveteen j acket riding up upon my
bridle arm
Can you tell me whether his Grace Of
Beaufort is in Bristol or at his house 0 Badminton ?
I answered that I could not tell but th at I w a s
myself bound for his presence
,

23

343

M I CAH CLARKE
H e was in Bristol yestreen

drilling O the
train bands said the stranger ; but indeed his
Grace be that loyal and works that hard fo r his
Maj esty s cause that he s a ower the county and
it is but chance work for to try and to catch him
But if you are about to zeek him whither S hall you
gO ?
I w ill to Badminton I answered and await
him there Can you tell me the way
What ! N ot know the way to Badminton !
he cried with a blank stare Of wonder
W ho y
I thought all the w arld knew that You re n ot
fra Wales o r the border counties zur that be very
clear

I am a Hampshire man said I


I h a ve
come som e distance to s e e the Duke

Aye S O I should think ! he cried laughing


lou dl y
If you do a n t know the way t o Bad
minton you do an t know much ! But I ll go with
you danged if I do an t and I ll S how you your
road and run my chance 0 nding the D uke
?
there What be your name
Micah Clarke is my name
And Vai rme r Brown is mineJohn B rown by
the register but better knowed as the V ai rm e r
Tak this turn to the right O ff the high road No w
we c a n trot our beasts and not be smothered in
other folk s dust And what be you going to
Beaufort for
O n private matters which will not brook dis
cussion I answered
L o r now ! A ffairs 0 State belike
said he
with a whistle
Well a still tongue saves many
a neck I m a cautious man myself and these
be times when I w o uld na whisper some 0 my

houghts
no
n o t into the ears 0
m y Old bro wn
t
a

,7

344

O F THE WELC O ME T HA T MET ME

mare herefo r fear I d s e e her some day standing


over against me in the witness box
They seem very busy over there I remarked
for we were now in full sight of the walls o f Bris
tol where gangs Of men were working hard with
i
C
k
and
shovel
improving
the
defences
p
Aye they be busy sure enough makin ready
in case the rebels come this road Cromwell and
his tawnies found it a rasper in my va t he r s time
and Monmouth is li ke to do the same
It hath a strong garrison too said I bethink
ing me O f Saxon s advice at Salisbury
I see
t w o o r three regiments o ut yonder o n the bare open
space
They have four thousand foot and a thousand
horse the farmer answered
But the foot are
only train bands and there s no trusting them a ft er
Axmi nster They say up here that the rebels run
to nigh twenty thousand and that they gi ve no
quarter Well if we must have civil w ar I hope
it may be ho t and sudden n o t spun o ut for a dozen
years li ke t he last one I f our throats are to be
Cu t let it be with a s hai r
knife
and
not
with
a
p

blunt hedge shears


What say you to a stoup of c ider
I asked
for w e were passing an i vy clad inn with
The
Beaufort Arms printed upon the S ign

With all my heart lad my companion a n

s w e re d
H O there ! two pints of the Old hard
brewed ! That will serve to wash the dust down
The real B eaufort Arms is up yonder at B a dmi n
ton for at the buttery hatch one may call fo r what
o n e will in reason and never put hand to pocket
Y o u speak Of the house as though y o u kn ew I t
well said I

?
And who should know it better
asked the

345

M I CAH CLARKE
sturdy farmer wiping his lips as w e resumed our

j o urney
Why it seems but yesterday that I
played hide and seek w i my brothers in the Old
Boteler Castle that stood where the new house 0
Badminton or Acton Turvill e as some calls it
now stands The Duke hath built it but a few
years and indeed his Dukedom itself is scarce
Older There are some who think that he would
have done better to stick by t he Old n ame that his
forebears bore
What manner Of man is the Duke
I a sked
Hot and hasty like a ll Of his blood
Yet
when he hath time to think and hath cooled do w n
he i s j ust in the main Your horse hath been in
the water this morning vri e n d
he hath had a bath
Y e s said I S hortly
I am going to his Grace o n the business of a

horse quoth my companion


His Ofcers have
pressed my piebald four year O ld and taken it
without a With your leave or By your leave
for the u s e Of the King I would have them know
that there is something higher than the D uke or
even than the King There is the E n gli sh law
which w ill preserve a man s goods and hi s chattels
I would do aught in reason for King James s ser
vice but my piebald four year O ld is too much
I fear that the needs Of the public service will
override your Obj ection said I
Why it is enough to make a man a Whig he

cried
E ven the Roundheads always paid their
vair penny for every pennyworth they had though
they wanted a vair pennyworth for each penny I
have heard my father s ay that trade was never so
brisk as in forty six when they were down this
w ay
O ld Noll had a noose of hemp ready fo r
ho rs e s t e ale rs were they for King o r for P arli a ment
,

34 6

OF

THE

WE LC O ME THAT MET ME

But here comes his Grace s carriage if I mistake


not
As he spoke a great heavy yellow coach drawn
by s i x cream coloured Flemish mares dashed down
t h e road and came swi ft ly towards us Two mounted
lackeys galloped in front and t w o others all in light
blue and silver liveries rode o n either side
His Grace is not within else there had been an

escort behind said the farmer as w e reined our


horses aside to let the carriage pass A s they
swept by he sho u ted o ut a question as to whether
the Duke was at Badminton and received a n od
from the stately bewigged coachman in reply
We are in luck to catch him said Farmer
Brown
He s as hard to nd these days as a
crake in a w he at e ld We should be there in an
hour or less I must thank you that I did not
take a fruitless j ourney into Bristol What did
you s a y your errand was ?
I was again compell ed to assure him that the
m atter w a s not o n e Of which I could speak with a
stranger o n which he appeared to be huffe d a n d rode
for some miles without opening his mouth Groves
o f trees lined the road o n either side and the sweet
smell o f pines w a s in o ur nostrils Far away the
musical pealing Of a bell rose and fell on the hot
close summer air The shelter o f the branches w as
pleasant for the sun was very strong blazing do w n
o ut of a cloudless heaven and raising a haze from
the elds and valleys
Tis the bell from Chipping Sodbury said my
companion at last wiping his ruddy face
That s
Sodbury Church yonder over the brow Of the hill
and here o n the right is the entrance Of Badminton
Park
High iron gates with the leopard and grifn
,

34 7

M I CAH CLARKE
which are the supporters of the Beaufort arms xed
Opened into a
o n the pill ars which ank them
beautiful domain of lawn and grass land with
clumps o f trees scattered over it and broad sheets
O f water thick with wild fowl
At every turn as
we rode up the winding avenue some new beauty
caught our eyes all o f which were pointed out and
expounded by Farmer Brown w ho seemed to take
as much pride in the place as though it belonged to
him Here it was a rockery where a thousand
bright coloured stones shone o ut through the ferns
and creepers which had been trained over them
There it was a pretty prattling brook the channel
Of which had been turned s o as to make it come
foaming down over a steep ledge Of rocks O r per
haps it was some statue o f nymph o r sylvan god or
some artfu lly built arbour overgrown with roses o r
honeysuckl e I have never seen grounds s o taste
fully laid O ut and it w a s done as all good work in
art must be done by following Nature so closely
that it only differed from her handiwork in its pro
fusion in s o narrow a compass A few years later
our healthy English taste w a s spoiled by the pedant
gardening Of the Dutch with their straight at
ponds and their trees all clipped and in a line like
vegetable grenadiers In truth I think that the
Prince Of O range and Sir William Temple had
much to answer for in working this change but
things have n o w come round again I understand
and w e have ceased to be wiser than Nature in o u r
pleasure grounds
As we drew near the house we came o n a large
extent of level sward on which a troop o f horse
were exercising who were raised as my companion
informed me entirely from the Duke s o w n per
sonal attendants Passing them w e rode through
,

348

O F T HE WELC O ME THAT MET ME

a g rove Of rare trees and came out on a broad S pace


Of gravel which lay in front o f the house The
building itself w as O f great extent built aft er the
new Italian fashion rather for comfort than for de
fence ; but o n one wing there remained as my
co mpanion pointed o u t a portion O f the O ld keep
and battlements O f the feudal castle Of the B o t e le rs
looking as out o f place a s a farthingale o f Queen
Elizabeth j oined to a court dress fresh from Paris
The main doorway was led up to by lines O f c o l
umus and a broad ight o f marble steps o n which
stood a group of footmen and grooms who took o u r
horses when w e dismounted A grey haired stew
ard or maj or domo inquired our business and o n
learning that w e wished to s e e the D uke in person
he told us that his Grace would give audience to
strangers in the aft ernoon at half aft er three by the
clock I n the meantime he said that the guests
dinner had j ust been laid in the hall and it w a s his
master s wish that none who came to Badminton
should depart hungry My companion and I were
but too glad to accept the steward s invitation so
having visited the bath room and attended to the
needs Of the toilet we followed a footman who
ushered us into a great room where the company
had already assemble d
The guests may have numbered ft y or sixty
Old and young gentle and simple o f the most
varied types and appearance
I Observed that
many Of them cast haughty and inquiring glances
round them in the pauses between the dishes as
though each marvelled how he came to be a mem
ber O f s o motley a crew Their only common feat
ure appeared to be the devotion which they showed
to the platter and the wine agon There w a s little
talking for there were fe w who knew their neigh
.

34 9

M I C AH CLARKE

bours Some were soldiers w ho had come to O ffer


their swords and their services to the King s lieu
tenant ; others were merchants from Bristol with
some proposal o r suggestion anent the safety of
their property There were two o r three Ofcials
Of the city who had come out to receive in s t ruc
tions as to its defence while here and there I
marked the chil d Of Israel who had found his way
there in the hO pe that in times O f trouble he might
nd high interest and noble borrowers Horse
dealers saddlers armourers surgeons and clergy
men completed the company w ho were waited
upon by a staff Of powdered and liveried servants
w ho brought and removed the dishes with the si
lence and deft ness O f long training
The room was a contrast to the bare plainness O f
Sir Stephen Timewell s dining hall at Taunton for
it was richly panelled and highly decorated all
round The oor was formed o f black and white
marble s e t in squares and the wall s were o f pol
i s he d oak and bore a long li ne Of paintings O f the
Somerset family from John Of Gaunt downwards
The ceili ng too was tastefully painted with owers
and nymphs s o that a man s neck was sti ff ere he
had done admiring it At the further end o f the
hall yawned a great replace O f white marble with
the lions an d lilies of the S omerset arms carved in
oak above it and a long gilt scroll bearing the
family motto
Mutare vel timere s pe rn o
The
massive tables at which w e s at were loaded with
S ilver chargers and candelabra and bright with the
rich plate for which Badminton was famous I
could not but think that if Saxon could clap
eyes upon it he would n o t be long in urging that
the w ar he carried on in this direction
A ft er dinner we were all shown into a small ante
.

35 0

O F T HE WELC O ME T HA T MET ME

chamber set round with velvet settees where w e


were to wait till the Duke w a s ready to s e e us In
the centre o f this room there stood several cases
glass topped and lined with silk wherein were little
steel and iron rods with brass tubes and divers
other things very bright and ingenious though I
could not devise for what end they had been put
together
A gentleman i n waiting came round
with paper and ink horn making notes Of o u r
names and O f o ur busin ess Him I asked whether
it might n o t be possible fo r me to have an entirely
private audience
His Grace never sees in private he replied
H e has ever his chosen councillors and o fcers in
attendance
But the business is on e which i s only t for his

I urged
o w n c ar

His Grace holds that there is no business t


only for his own ear said the gentleman
Y ou
must arrange matters as best y o u c an when y o u
are shown in t o him I will promise however that
your request be carried t o him though I warn yo u
that it cannot be granted
I thanked him for his good O fces and turned
away with the farmer t o look at the strange li ttle
engines within the cases

?
What is it
I asked
I have never seen
aught that was li ke it
V
It is the work o f the mad Marquis o f V orce S
ter quoth he
He was the Duke s grandfather
H e w a s ever making and devising such toys but
they were never o f any service to himself or to
others No w look ye here ! This w i the wheels
were called the water en gi ne and it w as his crazy
thought that by heating the water in that ere
kettle ye might make the wheels go round and
,

35 1

M I CAH CLARKE
thereby travel along iron bars quicker n o r a horse
could run
O ons ! I d match my Old brown mare
against all su ch contrivances to the end 0 time
But to o ur places for the Duke is coming
We had scarce ta ken o ur seats with the other
suitors when the folding doors were ung Open
and a stout thick S hort man o f ft y o r there
abouts came bustling into the room and strode
down it between two li nes Of bowing clients He
had large proj ecting blue eyes with great pouches
Of skin beneath them and a yell ow sallow visage
At his heels walked a dozen Of cers and men O f
rank with owing wigs and clanking swords
They had hardly passed through the Opposite door
into the Duke s own room when the gentleman
with the list called out a name and the guests be
gan o n e aft er the other to le into the great man s
presence
Methinks his Grace is in no very gentle tem
per quoth Farmer Brown
Did you not mark
ho w he gnawed his nether li p as he passed
He seemed a quiet gentleman enough I a n
s w e re d
It would try Job himself to s e e a ll these
folk Of an aft ernoon
Hark at that ! he whispered raising his nger
As he spoke the sound O f the Duke s voice in a
storm o f wrath was heard from the inner chamber
and a little sharp faced man came out and ew
through the ante chamber as though fright had
turned his head
H e is an armourer Of Bristol whispered o n e

O f my neighbours
It is likely that the Duke
cannot come to terms with him over a contract
Nay said another
He supplied Sir Marma
duke Hyson s troop with sabres and it i s said that
the blades wi ll bend as though they were lead

35 2

O F THE WEL C O ME TH A T MET ME


O nce used they can never be tted back into the

scabbard again
The tall man who goes in now is an inventor
quoth the rst
He hath the secret o f some very
grievous re such as hath been used by the Greeks
against the Turks in the Levant which he desires
to sell for the better fortifying o f Bristol
The Greek re seemed to be in no great request
with the Duke for the inventor came o ut presently
with his face as red as though it had been touched
by his o w n compound The next upon the list
was my honest friend the farmer
The angry
tones which greeted him promised badly for the
fate o f the four year Old but a lull ensued and
the farmer came out and resumed his seat rubbing
his great red hands wi t h satisfaction

Ecod
he whispered
H e was plaguy ho t
at rst but he soon came round and he hath
promised that if I pay for the hire o f a dragooner
as long as the war S hall last I shall have back the
piebald
I had been S itting all this time wondering ho w in
the world I was to conduct my business amid the
swarm O f suppliants and the crowd of O fcers w ho
were attending the Duke Had there been any
likelihood of my gaining audience with him in any
other w ay I should gladly have adopted it but all
my endeavours to that end had been useless U m
less I took this occasion I might never come face
t o face with him at a ll
But how could he give
d ue thought o r discussion to such a matter before
others ? Wh at chance was there O f his weighing it
as it should be weighed ? Even if his feelings
inclined him that w ay he dared not show any S ign
Of wavering when so many eyes were upon him I
was tempted to feign some other reason for my
.

35 3

M I C AH C L A RK E

c oming and trust to fortune to give me so me more


favourable chance for handing him my papers
But then that chance might never arrive and time
was pressing It was said that he would return to
Bristol next morning O n the whole it seemed
best that I should make the ttest use I could of
my present position in the hope that the Duke s
o w n discretion and self command might when he
s a w the address upon my despatches
lead to a
more private interview
I had j ust come to this resolution when my name
was read o ut o n which I rose and advanced into
the inner chamber I t w as a small but lo ft y room
hung in blue silk with a broad gold cornice I n
the centre was a square table littered over with
piles Of papers and behind this s at his Grace with
full bottomed wig roll ing do w n to his S houlders
very stately and imposing He had the same sub
tle air Of the court which I had Observed both in
Monmouth and in Sir Gervas which with his high
bold features and large piercing eyes marked him
as a leader O f men
His private scrivener sat
beside him taking notes Of his directions whil e the
others stood behind in a half circle o r took snu ff
together in the deep recess of the window
Make a note O f Smithson s order he said as I
entered
A hundred pots and as many fronts and
backs to be ready by Tuesday ; also six score snap
han c es for the mus q uet e e rs and t w o hundred extra
S pades for the workers Mark that the order be
decl ared null and void unless fulll ed within the
time appointed
It is s o marked your Gra c e
Captain Micah Clarke said the Duke reading
from the list in front of him
What is your wish
Captain
,

35 4

O F THE WE LC O ME THAT M ET ME
O ne which it would be better if I could deliver

privately to your Grace I answered


Ah y o u are he who desired private audience ?
Well Captain these are my council and they are
as myself S O w e may look upon ourselves as
alo n e What I may hear they may hear Zounds
man never stammer and boggle but o ut with it
My request had roused the interest Of the c o m
pany and those who were i n the window came
over to the table Nothing could have been worse
fo r the success o f my mission and yet there was no
help for it but to deliver my despatches I c a n
with
a
clear
conscience
without
any
vainglory
sa
y
that I had no fears fo r mysel f The doing Of my
duty was the o n e thought in my m i nd And here
I may s ay once for all my dear children that I am
speaking o f myself all through this statement with
the same freedom as though it were another man
In very truth the strong active lad of on e and
twenty w as another man from the grey headed Old
fellow who sits in the chimney corner and c an do
naught better than tell Old tales to the youngsters
Shallow water gives a great splash and so a brag
gart has ever been contemptible in my eyes I
trust therefore that ye will never think that your
grandad is singi ng his o w n praises o r setting him
self u p as better than his neighbours I do but lay
the facts as far as I c an recall them before ye with
all freedom and with all truth
My S hort delay and hesitation had sent a hot
ush Of anger into the D uke s face S O I drew the
packet Of papers from my inner pocket and handed
them to him w ith a respectful bow As hi s eyes
fell upon the superscription he gave a sudden start
of
surprise and agitation making a motion as
I f this we re
t hough t o hide them in his bosom
,

35 5

M I CAH CLARKE
his impulse he overcame it and s at lost in thought
fo r a min ute or more with the papers in his hand
Then with a quick toss o f the head like a man who
hath formed his resolution he broke the seals and
cast hi s eyes over the contents which he then thre w
dow n upon the table with a bitter laugh
?
What think ye gentlemen
he cried looking
round with scornful eyes ; what think ye this
private message hath proved to be ? It is a letter
from the traitor Monmouth calling upon me to
resign the allegiance o f my natural sovereign and
If I do this I am
t o dr aw my sword in his behalf !
to have his gracious favour and protection If n ot
I incur sequestration banishment and ruin H e
thinks Beaufort s loyalty is to be bought li ke a
packman s ware o r bulli ed out O f him by rufin g
words The descendant o f John of Gaunt is to ren
der fealty to the brat Of a wandering playwoman !
S everal Of the company sprang to their feet and
a general buzz Of surprise and anger greeted the
Duke s words H e s at with bent brows beating
his foot against the ground and turning over the
papers upon the table
What hath raised his hopes to such mad
?
heights
he cried
Ho w doth he presume t o
send such a missive to o n e O f my quali ty ? I s it
because he hath seen the backs of a parcel Of ras
cally mili tiamen and because he hath draw n a fe w
hundred chaw bacons from the plough s tail to his
standard that he ventures to hold such language to
the President O f Wales ? But ye will be my wit
nesses as to the spirit in which I received it ?
We c a n preserve your Grace from all d anger
Of slander o n that point sai d an elderly Ofcer
while a murmur O f assent from the others greeted
the remark
,

35 6

O F THE W EL C O ME T HAT MET ME

And y o u ! cried Beaufort raising his voice

and turning his ashing eyes upon me ; w ho are


you that dare to bring such a message to B admi n
ton ? Y o u had surely taken leave Of your senses
ere you did s e t out upon such an errand
I am in the hands o f God here as elsewhere I
answered with some ash Of my father s fatalism
I have done what I promised to do and the rest
is no concern O f mine
Y o u shall n d it a very close concern Of th i ne
he shouted springing from his chair and pacing up
and down the room
Call in the halberdiers from
the outer hall
No w fellow what have you to s a y
for yourself ?
There is n aught to be said I ans w ered

But something to be done he retorted in a


Seize this man and secure his hands !
fury
Four halberdi ers w ho had answered the summons
c losed in upon me and laid hands on me Resist
an c e w ould have b e en foll y for I had no wish to
harm the men in the doing o f their duty I had
come t o take my chan c e and if that chance S hould
prove to be death as seemed likely enough at
present it must be met as a thing foreseen I
thought o f those Old time li nes which Master Chil
li n gfoo t Of Pe t e rs e ld had ever held up to o ur
admiration
,

No n c i vi um ard or prava j ub e n t i um
No n vu lt us i n s t a n t i s tyrann i

M ente qua t i t

so

l i da

Here was the v ult u s i n s t an t i s tyranni in this


stout bewigged lace covered yellow faced man in
I had obeyed the poet in s o far that
front o f me
my courage had not been S haken I confess that
t h is S pinning dust heap of a world has never h ad

35 7

M I CA H CLARKE
such attractions for me that it would be a pang to
leave it Never at least until my marriageand
that you will nd alters your thoughts about the
value o f your li fe and many other O f your thoughts
as well This being s o I stood erect with my eyes
xed upon the angry nobleman while his soldiers
were putting the gyves about my w rists
.

XXV
OF S T

R A N G E D OI N GS

TH E

IN

B OTELER D U N G E O N

T A KE down this fell ow s statement said the

Duke to his scrivener


Now sirrah it may not
be known to you that his gracious M aj esty the
Ki ng hath conferred plenary powers upon me dur
ing these troubled times and that I have his war
rant to deal with all traitors without either j ury or
j udge Y o u do bear a commission I understand
in the rebellious body which is here d escribed as
Saxon s regiment o f W i ltshire Foot ? Speak the
truth for your neck s sake
I will speak the truth for the sake Of something
higher than that your Grace I answered
I
command a company in that regi ment

And who is this Saxon ?


I will answer all that I may concerning my

self said I but not a word which may reect


upon others
Ha he roared hot with anger
O ur pretty
gentleman must needs stand upon the niceties Of
honour aft er taking up arms against his King I
tell you s i r that your honour is in such a parlous
state already that you may well throw it over and

35 8

IN THE B O TELER DUN GE O N


look to your safety
The s u n is sin ki ng in the
west Ere it s e t your life too may have s e t fo r
ever
I am the keeper Of my o w n honour your
Grace I answered
As to my life I should not
be standing here this moment if I had any great
dread o f losing it It is right that I should tell you
that my Colonel hath sworn to exact a return for
any evil that may befall me o n you o r any o f your
household w ho may come into his power This I
not
sa
as a threat but as a warning for I know
y
him to be a man who is like to be as good as his
word
Your Colonel as yo u call him may nd it hard
enough to save himself soon the Duke answered
with a sneer
How many men hath Monmouth
with him ?
I smiled and S hook my head
H o w shall we make this traitor nd his
tongue ? he asked furiously turning to hi s council
I S hould clap on the thumbkins said o n e
e rce faced Old sol dier
I have known a lighted match between the
ngers work wonders another suggested
Sir
Thomas Dalzell hath in the S cottish war been able
t o win over several O f that most stubborn and hard
ened race the Western Covenanters by such per
suas i on
Sir Thomas Dalz ell said a grey haired gentle
man clad in black velvet hath studied the art o f
w a r among the Muscovites in their barbarous and
bloody encounters with the Turks
God forbid
that we Christians Of England S hould seek o ur ex
amples among the s kin clad idolaters o f a savage
country
Sir William would like to s e e war carried o ut
.

24

35 9

M I CAH CLARKE

truly courteous principles said the rst speaker


A battle should be like a stately minuet with no
loss o f dignity or of etiquette
Sir the other answered hotly I have been in
battles when you were in your baby linen and I
handled a ba t t oo n when y o u could scarce shake a
rattle In leaguer o r onfall a soldier s work is sharp
and stern but I s ay that the u s e of torture which
the law of England hath abolished should also be
laid aside by the law Of nations
Enough gentlemen enough cried the Duke
seeing that the dispute was like to wax warm
Your Opinion Sir Will iam hath much weight
with us and yours also Colonel Hearn We shall
discuss this at greater length in privacy Halber
diers remove the prisoner and let a clergyman be
sent t o look t o his spiritual needs
Shall we take him to the strong room your
Grace ? asked the Captain o f the guard
NO to the O ld Boteler dungeon he replied ;
and I heard the next name upon the list called out
while I w a s led through a side door with a guard in
front and behind me We passed through endless
passages and corridors with heavy step and clank O f
arms until we reached the ancient wing Here in
the corner turret w a s a small bare room mouldy
and damp with a high arched roof and a single
long slit in the outer wall to admit light A small
wooden couch and a rude chair formed the whole
Of the furniture Into this I w a s shown by the
Captain w ho stationed a guard at the door and
then came in aft er me and loosened my wrists He
was a s a d faced man with solemn sunken eyes and
a dreary expression which matched ill with his
bright trappings and gay sword knot
Keep your heart up friend said he in a hollo w

on

36 0

I N THE BO T ELER D UNGE O N


voice
I t is but a choke and a struggle A day
o r two S ince w e had the same j ob to do and the
man scarcely groaned O ld Spender the Duke s
marshal hath a s sure a trick of tying and as good
j u dgment in arranging a drop a s hath Dun Of T y
burn Be o f good heart therefore for y o u shall
not fall into the hands Of a bungler
I would that I could let Monmouth know that
his letters were delivered I exclaimed seating
myself o n the side Of the bed
Had y o u been
1 faith they were delivered
the penny postman Of Mr Robert Murray Of
whom we heard s o much in London last spring
could
not
have
handed
it
in
more
directly
o
u
y
?
Why did y o u not talk the Duke fair
He is a
gracious nobleman and kind o f heart save when
he i s thwarted o r angered Some li ttle talk as to
the rebels numbers and dispositions might have
saved you
I wonder that you as a soldier should speak
o r think Of such a thing
said I coldly

Well well ! Your neck is your own I f it


please you to take a leap into nothing it were pity
to thwart you But his Grace commanded that y o
should have the chaplain I must away to him
I pryt hee do not bring him said I
I am
o n e of a dissenting stock and I s e e that there is a
Bible in yonder recess NO man can aid me in
makin g my peace with Go d

It is well he answered
for Dean H e w b y
hath come over from Chippenham and he is dis
coursing with Our good chaplain o n the need Of
self denial moistening his throat the while with a
ask o f the prime tokay At dinner I heard him
put up thanks for what he w a s to receive and in
the same bre ath as k the butler ho w he d ared t o
.

36 1

M I CA H CLARKE

serve a deacon o f the Church with a pullet without


tru f e dressing But perhaps y o u woul d desire
?
?
O
N
Dean H e w by s spiritual help
Well what
I can do for y o u in reason shall be done since you
wil l not be long upon o ur hands Above all keep
a cheery heart
He left the cell but presently unlocked the door
and pushed his dismal face round the corner
I
am Captain Sinclair o f the Duke s household he
said
should y o u have occasion to ask fo r me
Y o u had best have spiritual help fo r I do assure
o u that there hath been something worse th a n
y
either warder o r prisoner in this cell
What then ? I asked
Why marry nothing less than the Devil he
answered coming in and closing the door
It
was in this way he wen t on S in king his voice
Two years agone Hector Marot the highway
man was shut up in this very Boteler dungeon
I was myself o n guard in the corridor that night
and s aw the prisoner at ten O clock sitting on that
bed even as y o u are n o w At twelve I had occa
sion to look in as my custom is with the hOpe o f
cheering his lonely hours when 10 he was gone !
Mine eyes had never
Y e s you may we ll stare
been o ff the door and you c an j udge what chance
there was Of his getting through the windows
Walls and oor are both soli d stone which might
be solid rock for the thickness When I entered
there was a plaguy smell Of brimstone and the
ame of my lanthorn burned blue Nay it is no
smili ng matter If the Devil did not run away
with Hector Marot pray w ho did ? for sure I am
that no angel Of grace could come to him as to
Peter Of O ld Perchance the Evil O ne may desire
a second bird out of the same cage and s o I tell
,

362

IN

T HE

BO TELER D U NGE O N

this that y o u may be o n your guard against


his assaults
Nay I fear him not I answered

It i s well croaked the Captain


Be not
cast down !
His head vanished and the key
turned in the creaking lock S O thick were the
walls that I could hear no sound aft er the door w a s
closed Save for the S ighing o f the wind in the
branches Of the trees outside the narrow window
all was as S ilent as the grave within the dungeon
Thus left to myself I tried to follow Captain
Sinclair s advice as t o the keeping up o f my heart
though his talk w a s far from being Of a cheering
In my young days more particularly
n ature
among the sect aries with whom I had been brought
most in contact a belief in the occasional appear
ance o f the Prince o f Darkness and his i n t e rfe r
ence in bodily form with the affairs O f men w a s
widespread and unquestioning
Philosophers in
their o w n quiet chambers may argue learnedly o n
the absurdity Of such things but in a dim lit dun
geon cut O ff from the world with the grey gloam
ing creeping down and one s o w n fate hanging in
the balance it becomes a very different matter
The escape if the Captain s story were true ap
e a re d to border upon the miraculous
I
examined
p
the walls Of the cell very carefully They were
formed o f great square stones cunningly tted to
gether The thin slit or window was c ut through
the centre O f a single large block A ll over as
high as the hand could reach the face Of the walls
was covered with letters and legends c u t by many
generations Of captives The oor w a s composed O f
Old foot worn slabs rmly cemented together The
closest search failed t o show any hole o r cranny
where a rat could have escaped far less a man
o
y u

'

363

M I CAH C L ARKE

It is a very strange thing my dears to S it do w n


in cold bloo d and think that the chances are that
within a few hours your pulses will have given their
last throb and your soul have sped away upon its
nal errand Strange and very awesome
The
man w ho ridet h down into the press o f the b attle
with his j a w set and his grip tight upon rein and
sword hilt cannot feel this for the human mind is
such that o n e emotion will ever push out another
Neither can the man who draws slow and catching
breaths upon the bed of deadl y sickness be said to
have experience of it for the mind weakened with
disease c an but submit without examining too
closely that which it submits to When however
a young and hale man S its alone in quiet and sees
present death hanging over him he hath such food
for thought that should he survive and live to be
grey headed his whole life will b e marked and a l
t e re d by those solemn hours as a stream is changed
in its course by some rough bank against which it
hath struck Every little fault and blemish stands
o ut clear in the presence o f death as the dust specks
appear when the sunbeam S hines into the darkened
room I noted them then and I have I trust
noted them ever since
I w a s seated with my head bowed upon my
breast deeply buried in this solemn train o f
thoughts when I w a s startled by hearing a S harp
cli ck such as a man might give w ho wished t o at
tract attention I sprang to my feet and gazed
round in the gathering gloom without being able to
tell whence it came I had well nigh persuaded
myself that my senses had deceived me when the
sound w a s repeated louder than before and casting
my eyes upwards I s aw a face peering in at me
through the slit o r part of a face rather for I could
,

364

IN

THE B O TELER D UN GE O N

but see the eye and corner o f the cheek Standing


on my chair I made o u t that it w a s none other than
the farmer who had been my companion upon the
road
Hush lad
he whispered with a warning fore
ng er pushed through the narrow crack
Speak
low or the guard may chance t o hear What can
I do for you ?
How did you come to know where I was ? I
asked in astonishment
W ho y mun he answered I know as much
Of this ere house as Beaufort does himsel
Afore
Badminton was built me and my brothers has
spent many a day in climbing over the Old Boteler
tower It s not the rst time that I have S poke
through this window But quick ; what can I do
?
for y o u

I am much beholden to y o u sir I answered

but I fear that there is no help which you can


give me unless indeed you could convey news to
my friends in the army Of what hath befallen me
I might do that whispered Farmer Brown
Hark ye in your ear lad what I never breathed
Mine o w n conscience pricks me at
t o man yet
times over this bolstering up o f a Papist to rule
over a Protestant nation Let like rule like s ay I
At the lections I rode to Sudbury and I put in
my vote for Maister Evans of T urn fo rd w ho w a s
in favour O the Exclusionists Sure enough if that
same Bill had been carried the Duke would be s i t
ting o n his father s throne The la w would have
said yea Now it says nay A wonderful thing
is the law with its yea yea and nay nay like Bar
clay the Quaker man that came down here in a
leather suit and c a d the parson a s t e e ple ma n
There s the la w It s no use shootin at it o r pass
.

365

M I CAH CLARKE

in pikes through it no nor chargin at it w i a troop

If it begins by saying nay it will s ay


o f horse
nay to the end of the chapter Ye might as well
ght w i the book 0 Genesis Let Monmouth get
the law changed and it wi ll do more for him than
all the dukes in England F o r all that he s a Prot
and I would do what I might to serve
e st a n t
him
There i s a Captain L o c karby w ho is serving in

Colonel Saxon s regiment in Monmouth s army


said I
Should things go wrong with me I
would take it a s a great ki ndness if you would bear
hi m my love and a s k him to break it gently by
word or by letter to those at Havant If I were
sure that this would be done it would b e a great
ease to my mind

It shall be done lad said the good farmer


I S hall send my best man and e e t e st horse
this very night that they may kn ow the straits
in which y o u are I have a le here if it would
help y o u
Nay I answered human aid can do little t o
help me here
There used to b e a hole in the roo f Look up
and see if you c an se e aught O f it

It arches high above my head I answered


looki ng upwards ; but there is no S ign o f any
open i ng

There w a s o n e he repeated
My brother
Roger hath swu ng himself down w i a rope In
the O ld time the prisoners were put in s o like JO
eph into the pit The door is but a n e w thing
Hole o r no hole it cannot help me I an
I have no means o f climbing to it D O
s w e re d
not wait longer kind friend or you may n d your
self in trouble

366

IN T HE B O TELER D UN GE O N

Good bye then my brave heart he whispered


and the honest grey eye and corner Of ruddy cheek
disappeared from the e a se me n t
Many a time
during the course Of the long evening I glanced up
with some wi ld hO pe that he might return and
every creak o f the branches outside brought me o n
to the chair but it was the last that I s aw of
Farmer Brown
This kindly visit short as it w a s relieved my
mind g reatly for I had a trusty man s word that
come what might my friends should at least have
some news Of my fate It was n o w quite dark
and I was pacing up and down the little chamber
when the key turned in the door and the Captain
entered with a rushli ght and a great bowl Of bread
and milk
Here is your supper friend said he
Take
it down appetite or no for it will gi ve y o u strength
to play the man at the time ye w o t o f They s ay
it was beautiful to see my Lord Russell die upon
Tower Hill B e o f good cheer
Folk may s ay as
much Of you His Grace is in a terrible w ay He
walketh up and down and b iteth his lip and
c le n c he t h his hands like o n e w ho c a n scarce contain
his wrath It may n ot be against y o u but I know
n o t what else c a n have angered him
I made n o answer to this Job s comforter s o he
presently le ft me placing the bowl upon the chair
with the rushlight beside it I nished the food
and feeling the better for it stretched myself upon
the couch and fell in to a heavy and dreamless
sleep This may have lasted three o r four hours
when I was suddenly awoken by a sound like the
creaking O f hinges
S itting up o n the pallet I
gazed around me The rushlight had burned o ut
and the cell w a s impenetrably dark A greyish
-

367

M I CAH CLARKE
glimmer at one end showed dimly the positio n o f
the aperture but all else was thick and black I
strained my ears but no further sound fell upon
them Yet I was certain that I had not been de
c e i ve d and that the noise which had aroused me
was within my very chamber I rose and felt my
way S lowly round the room passing my hand over
the walls and door Then I paced backwards and
forwards to test the ooring Neither around me
nor beneath me was there any change W hence
did the sound come from then ? I sat down upon
the side O f the bed and waited patiently in the
hope O f hearing it once again
Presently it was repeated a lo w groaning and
creaking as though a door or shutter long disused
was being slowly and stealthily opened At the
same time a dull yellow light streamed down fro m
above issuing from a thin slit in the centre Of the
arched rOO f above me Slowly as I watched it
this S lit widened and extended as if a Sli ding panel
were being pull ed out until a good sized hole was
left through which I saw a head looking down at
me outlined against the misty light behind it
The knotted end of a rope was passed through this
aperture and came dangli ng down t o the dungeon
oor It was a good stout piece O f hemp strong
enough to bear the weight O f a heavy man and I
found upon pulling at it that it was rmly secured
above Clearly it was the desire Of my unkno w n
benefactor that I should ascend by it so I went up
hand over hand and aft er some difculty in s q u e e z
ing my S houlders through the hole I succeeded in
reaching the room above While I was still rub
bing my eyes after the sudden change from dark
ness into light the rope w a s swift ly whisked up
and the sliding S hutter closed once more
To
.

368

I N T H E B O T E LE R D UNGE O N

those who were not in the secret there was nothing


to thro w light upon my disappearance
I found myself in the presence Of a stout S hort
man clad in a rude j erkin and leather breeches
which gave him somewhat the appearance O f a
groom H e wore a broad felt hat drawn do w n
very low over his eyes while the lower part Of his
face was swathed round with a broad cravat In his
hand he bore a horn lanthorn by the light Of which
I s aw that the room in which w e were w as Of the
same size as the dungeon beneath and di ffered
from it only in having a broad casement which
looked o ut upon the park There was no furniture
in the chamber but a great beam ran across it to
which the rOpe had been fastened by which I
ascended

Speak lo w friend said the stranger


The
wall s are thick and the doors are close yet I would
not have your guardians know by what means you
have been spirited away
Truly S i r I answered
I c an scarce credit
that it is other than a dream It is wondrous that
my dungeon should be s o easily broken into and
more won drous still that I should nd a friend w ho

w ould be will ing t o risk s o much for my sake


Look there quoth he holding down his lan
thorn s o as t o cast its light on the part o f the oor
where the panel was tted
Can you not s e e ho w
Old and crumbled is the stonework which s ur
rounds it ? This opening in the roof is as Old as
the dungeon itself and Older far than the door by
which you were led into it F o r this w as one o f
those bottle shaped cells or oubliettes which hard
men of O ld devised for the safe keeping o f their
captives O nce lowered through this hole into the
stone girt pit a man might eat his heart o ut for
.

369

M I CAH CL A R K E

fate was sealed Yet you see that the very


device which once hindered escape has now brought
freedom within your reach
Thanks to your clemency your Grace I an
s w e re d looking keenly at my companion
Now o ut on these disguises ! he cried pe e v
ishly pushing back the broad edged hat and di s clo s

ing as I expected the features Of the Duke


Even
a blunt soldier lad can s e e through my attempts
at concealment I fear Captain that I should
make a bad plotter for my nature is as openwell
as thine is I cannot better the simile
Your Grace s voice once heard is not easil y for
got said I

Especially when i t talks Of hemp and dungeons


he answered with a smile
But if I clapped you
into prison you must confess that I have made y o u
amends by pulling y o u o ut again at the end Of my
line like a minnow out o f a bottle But how came
o
u
to
deliver
such
papers
in
the
presence
Of
my
y
council
I did what I could to deliver them in private
said I
I sent y o u a message to that e ffect
It is true he answered ; but such messages
come in to me from every soldier who W ishes to sell
his sword and every inventor w ho hath a long
tongue and a short purse How could I tell that
?
the matter was Of real import
I feared to let the chance slip lest it might
never return said I
I hear that your Grace
hath little leisure during these times

I cannot blame yo u he answered pacing up


and down the room
But it w a s unto w ard I
might have hid the despatches yet it would have
roused suspicions Your errand would have leaked
out There are many who envy my lo ft y fortunes
hi s

37 0

I N THE B O TELER D UNGE O N


and who would seize upon a chance o f inj uring me
with Kin g James S underland o r Somers would
either o f them blow the least rumour in to a ame
which might prove unquenchable
There w as
naught for it therefore but to S how the papers and
The most
t O t urn a harsh face o n the messenger
venomous tongue could not nd fault in my co n
duct What course woul d you have advised u nder
such circumstances
The most direct I answered

Aye aye Sir Honesty


Public men have
however to pick their steps as best they may fo r
the straight path w ould lead too Oft en to the cliff
edge The Tower would be too scanty fo r its
guests were we all to wear o ur hearts upon our
sleeves But to you in this privacy I can tell my
real thoughts without fear Of betrayal o r miscon
struction O n paper I wi ll not write on e word
Your memory must be the sheet whi ch b ears my
ans w er to Monmouth And rst o f all era se from
it all that you have heard me s ay in the council
room Let it be as though it never were spoken
?
Is that done
I understand that it di d n ot really represent
your Grace s thoughts
V ery far from it Captain B ut prythee tell
me what expectation Of success is there among the
rebels themselves
Y o u must have heard your
Colonel and others discuss the question or noted
by their bearing which w ay their thoughts lay
Have they good hopes Of holding o ut against the
King s troops
They have met with naught but success hither
to I answered

Against the militia


B ut they will nd it
ano t her thing when they have trai ned troops to
.

37 1

M I CAH CLARKE
deal with And yetand yet !
O ne thing I
know that any defeat o f F e ve rs ham s army would
cause a general rising throughout the country O n
the other hand the King s party are active Every
post brings news O f some fresh levy Al b emarle
sti ll holds the militia together in the west The
Earl o f Pembroke is in arms in Wil tshire Lord
Lumley is moving from the east with the Sussex
forces The Earl o f A bingdon i s up in O xford
shire At the university the caps and gowns are
all turning into headpieces and steel fronts J ames s
Dutch regiments have sailed from Amsterdam
Yet Monmouth hath gained t w o ghts and why
They are troubled waterstroubled
n o t a third ?
waters
The Duke paced backwards and fo r
wards with brows drawn down muttering all this
to himself rather than to me and shaking his head
like one in the sorest perplexity
I would have you tell Monmouth he said at

last that I thank him for the papers which he


hath sent me and that I will duly read and weigh
them Tell him also that I wish him well in his
enterprise and would help him were it n o t that I
am hemmed in by those w ho watch me closely and
w ho would denounce m e w e re I to S how my true
thoughts Tell hi m that should he move his army
into these parts I may then openly declare myself ;
but to do s o n o w would be to ruin the fortunes o f
my house without in any w a y helping him Can
o u bear him that message ?
y
I shall do so your Grace
ho w doth Monmouth
Tell me he asked
bear himself in this enterprise ?
Like a wise and gallant leader I answered

Strange he murmured
it w a s ever the j est
at court t h at he h ad scarce energy or constancy
.

372

IN THE B O TELER D U NGE O N


enough to nish a game at ball but would ever
throw hi s racquet down ere the winning point w a s
scored His plans were like a weather vane altered
by every breeze He was constant only in his
inconstancy It is true that he led the King s
troops in Scotland b ut all men knew that Claver
house and Dalzell were the real conquerors at
Bothwell Bridge
Methinks he resembles that
Brutus in Roman history w ho feigned weakness o f
mind as a cover to his ambitions
The Duke was once again conversing with him
self rather than with me s o that I made n o remark
save to Observe that Monmouth had w o n the hearts
Of the lower people
There lies his stren gth said Beaufort
The
blood O f his mother runs in his veins He doth
n o t think it bene ath him to shake the dirty paw of
Jerry the tinker o r to run a race against a bump
kin on the village green Well events have shown
that he hath been right These same bumpkins
have stood by him when nobler friends have held
aloo f I would I could s e e into the future But
o u have my message Captain and I trust that if
y
you change it in the delivery it will be in the
direction Of greater warmth and kindliness It is
time now that you depart fo r within three hours
the guard is changed and your escape will be di s
covered
But how depart
I asked
Through here he answered pushing open the
casement and S liding the rope along the beam in

that direction
The rope may be a foot o r t w o
short but you have extra inches to make matters
even When you have reached the ground take
the gravel path which turns to the right and follow
it unt i l it leads you to the high t rees which ski rt
,

37 3

M I CA H CLARKE

the park The seventh Of these hath a bough


which shoots over the boundary wall
Climb
along the bough drop over upon the other S ide
and you will nd my o w n valet waiting with your
horse Up with y o u and ride haste haste post
haste for the south By morn you S hould be well
out of danger s way
My sword ? I asked
All your property is there Tell Monmouth
what I have said and let him know that I have
used you as ki ndly as was possible
But what will your Grace s council s ay when
they nd that I am gone
I asked

Pshaw man ! Never fret about that ! I will


O ff to Bristol at daybreak
and give my council
enough to think Of without their having time to
devote to your fate The soldiers wil l but have
another instance Of the working O f the Father Of
Evil who hath long been thought t o have a weak
ness for that cell beneath us Faith if all we hear
be true there have been horrors enough acted
there to call up every devil o ut of the pit But
time presses Gently through the casement ! S O
Remember the message

Adieu your Grace ! I answered and seizing


the rope slipped rapi dl y and noiselessly to the
ground upon which he drew it up and closed the
casement As I looked round my eye fell upon
the dark narrow slit which opened into my cell
and through which honest Farmer Brown had held
converse with me Half a n hour ago I had been
stretched upon the prison pallet without a hope o r
a thought of escape No w I w a s o ut in the open
with no hand to stay me breathing the air o f free
dom with the prison and the gallows cast O ff from
me as the waking man casts O ff his evil dreams
.

37 4

I N T HE BO T ELER D UNGE O N
S uch changes shake a man s soul my children
The heart that c an steel itself against death is
so ft ened by th e assurance Of safety S O I have
kn own a worthy trader bear up manfully when
convin ced that his fortunes had been engulfed in
the ocean but lose a ll philosophy o n nding that
the alarm was false and that they had come safely
through the danger F o r my o w n part beli eving
as I do that there is nothin g Of chance in the affairs
Of this world I felt that I had been exposed to
this trial in order to dispose me to serious thought
and that I had been saved that I might put those
thoughts into effect A s an earnest O f my e n de a v
o ur to do S O I knelt down o n the green sward in
the shadow Of the Boteler turret and I prayed that
I might come t o be of u se o n t he earth and that I
might be helped to rise above my own wants and
interests to aid forward whatever Of good o r noble
might be stirring in my days I t is well nigh ft y
years my dears since I bowed my spirit before the
Great Unkn own in the moon tinted park of Bad
minton but I can truly say that from that day to
this the aims which I laid down for myself have
served me as a compass over the dark waters of life
a compass which I may perchance not always
followfor esh is weak and ail but which hath
at least been ever present that I might turn to it
in seasons Of doubt and O f danger
The path to the right led through groves and
past carp ponds for a mile or more until I reached
the li ne Of trees which Skirted the boundary wall
No t a li ving thing did I s e e upon my w a y save a
herd O f fallow deer which scudded a w ay li ke swi ft
S hadows through the S himmering moonshine Look
ing back the high turrets and gables Of the Boteler
wing stood o ut dark and threatening against t h e

25

37 5

M I CAH CLARKE
starlit sky Having reached the seventh tree I
clambered along the proj ecting bough which shot
over the park wall and dropped down upon the
other side where I found my good Old dapple grey
awaiting me in the charge Of a groom Springing
to my saddle I strapped my sword once more to
my side and gall oped O ff as fast a s the four willi ng
feet could carry me on my return j ourney
All that night I rode hard without drawing bri
dl e through sleeping hamlets by moon bathed
farmhouses past shining stealthy rivers and over
birch clad hills When the eastern s ky deepened
from pink into scarlet and the great s u n pushed
his rim over the blue north S omerset hills I w a s
already far upon my j ourney It w a s a Sabbath
morning and from every vill age rose the S weet
tinkling and calling o f the bell s I bore no dan
e
ro u s papers with me now and might therefore
g
be more careless as to my route At o n e point I
was questioned by a keen eyed toll keeper as to
whence I came but my reply that I w a s riding
direct from his Grace Of Beaufort put an end to
his suspicions Further down near Axbridge I
overtook a grazier who w a s j ogging into Wells upon
his sleek cob With him I rode for some time and
learned that the whole of North Somerset as well
as south w a s n o w in Open revolt and that Wells
Shepton Mallet and Glastonbury were held by
armed volunteers for King Monmouth The royal
forces had all retired west or east until help should
come A S I rode through the vill ages I marked
the blue ag upon the church towers and the
rustics drill ing upon the green without any sign
o f trooper o r dragoon to uphold the authority o f
the Stuarts
My road lay through Shepton Mall et Piper s
.

37 6

IN THE B O TELER DUNGE O N


I nn Bridgewater and North Petherton until in
the cool Of the evening I pull ed up my weary horse
,

at the Cross Hands and s a w the towers of Taunton


in the valley beneath me A agon Of beer for the
rider and a sieveful O f oats for the steed put fresh
mettle into both o f us and we were j ogging o n o ur
way once more when there came gall oping down
the side O f the hill about forty cavali ers as hard as
their horses could carry them S O wild w a s their
riding that I pulled up uncertain whether they
were friend o r foe until as they came whirli ng
towards me I recognised that the t w o O f cers w ho
rode in front o f them were none other than Reuben
At the sight
L o c karby and Sir Gervas Jerome
Of me they ung up their hands and Reuben shot
on to his horse s neck where he s at for a moment
astride o f the mane until the brute tossed him back
into the saddle
I t s Micah
he gasped with his
I t s Micah !
mouth Open and the tears hOppi ng down his honest
face
O d s pi t liki n s man how did you come here ?
asked Sir Gervas poking me with his forenger as
though to see if I were really of esh and blood
We were leading a forlorn o f horse into Beaufort s
country to beat him up and t o burn his ne house
about his ears if y o u had come to harm There
has j ust come a groom from some farmer in those
parts who hath brought us news that you were
under sentence o f death o n w hich I came away
with my w ig half frizzled and found that friend
L o ckarby had leave from Lord Grey to go north
?
with these troopers But ho w have you fared
Well and i ll I answered wringing their kind
I had n o t thought last night to s e e a n
ly hands
other s u n rise and yet ye s e e that I am here sound
,

37 7

M I CAH CL A RKE
in life and lim b B ut all these things will t ake
some time in the telli ng
Aye and King Monmouth will be o n thorns to
see
ou
Right
about
my
lads
and
back
f
o r the
y
camp Never was errand s o rapidly and happily
nished as this Of ours It would have fared i ll
with Badminton had y o u been hurt
The troopers turned their horses and trotted
slowly back t o Taunton wh i le I rode behind
them between my two faithful friends hearin g
from them all that had occurred in my absence
and telli ng my own adventures in return
The
night had fall en ere we rode through the gates
where I handed Covenant over to the Mayor s
groom and went direct t o the castle to deliver an
a ccount Of my mission
.

XXVI
OF

TH E

ST

R IFE I N THE CO U N CI L

K I N G M O N M O U TH S council was assembled at the

time O f my coming and my entrance caused the


utmost surprise and j oy as they had j ust heard
news O f my sore danger Even the royal presence
could not prevent several members among whom
were the Old Mayor and the two soldiers Of fortune
from springing to their feet and shakin g me warmly
by the hand Monmouth himself said a few gra
c i o us words and requested that I should be seated
at the board with the others
You have earned the right to be Of our council
said he
and lest there should be a j ealousy
amongst other captains that y o u should come
,

3 78

O F THE S TRI FE I N T H E C O UN CI L

among us I do hereby confer upon you the special


title Of S cout master which though it entail fe w if
any duties in the present state Of o ur force will yet
give y o u precedence over your fellows We had
heard that your greeting from Beaufort w a s Of the
roughest and that y o u were in sore straits in hi s
dungeons But you have happily come yourself on
the very heels Of him who bore the tidings Tell
us then from the beginning how things have fared
with y o u
I should have wished to have limited my story
to Beaufort and his message but as the council
seemed to be intent upon hearing a fu ll account Of
my j ourney I told in as short and simple speech as
I could the various passages which had befallen me
the ambuscado O f the smugglers the cave the
capture o f the gauger t he j ourney in the lugger
the acquaintance with Farmer Brown my being cast
into prison with the manner Of my release and the
message wherewith I had been commissioned To
a ll Of this the council hearkened with the uttermost
attention whil e a muttered oath ever and anon
from a courtier o r a groan and prayer from a
Puritan showed how keenly they foll owed the
various phases Of my fortunes Above all they
gave the greatest heed to Beaufort s words and
stopped me more than once when I appeared to be
passing over any saying o r event before they had
due time to weigh it When I at last nished they
looking into each other s faces
a ll s a t speechless
and waiting for an expression O f Opinion
O n my word said Monmouth at last thi s IS
a young Ulysses though his O dyssey doth but take
three days in the acting S cud ery might not be S O
dull were s he to take a hint from these smugglers
?
caves and S lidi n g panels H o w s ay y o u Grey
,

379

M I CAH CLARKE

He hath indeed had his share Of adventure


the nobleman answered and hath also performed
his mission like a fearless and zealous messenger
You say that Beaufort gave you nought in writ
,

i ng

Not a word my lord I replied


And his private message w a s that he wished us
w ell and would j oin u s if we were in his country ?
That w a s the effect my lord
Yet in his council as I understand he di d utter
bitter things against u s putting affronts upon the
King and making light of his j ust C laims upon the
fealty o f his nobility ?
He did I answered
H e would fain stand upon both sides Of the

hedge at once said King Monmouth


Such a
man is very like to nd himself o n neither side but
in the very heart of the briars It may be as well
however that w e should move his w ay SO as to give
him the chance Of declaring himself
In any case as your Maj esty remembers said
Saxon we had determined to march B ri s t olw ards
and attempt the town

The works are being strengthened said I and


there are ve thousand of the Gloucestershire train
bands assembled within I s aw the labourers at
work upon the ramparts as I passed
If we gain Beaufort w e shall gain the to wn
quoth Sir Stephen Timewell
There are already
a strong body of godly and honest folk therein who
would rej oice to see a Protestant army w ithin their
gates Should we have to beleaguer it we may
count upon some help from within
Hegel und bli tzen
exclaimed the German
soldier with an impatience which even the presence
Of the King could n ot keep in bounds ; ho w c an
.

380

O F THE STRI FE I N THE C O UN C IL

we talk O f sieges and leaguers when we have n o t a


breaching piece in the army ?

The Lard wil l nd us the breaching pieces


cried Ferguson in his stran ge nasal voice
Did
the Lard no breach the t OO e rs O Jericho w it ho o t
?
n
o
o
d
e
r
Did
the
Lard
no
raise
up
h
u
t e aid 0 g
p
the man Robert Fergu son and pre s a irve him
through ve and t ha irt y indictments and t w a and
twenty proclamations O the godless
What is
there He canna do
Hosannah Hosann ah
The Doctor is right said a square faced

leather skinned English Independent


We talk
t o o much 0 carnal means and worldly chances
without leaning upon that heavenly goodwill which
should be to us as a staff o n stony and broken
paths Y e s gentlemen he continued raising his
voice and glancin g across the table at some o f the

courtiers ye may sneer at words O f piety but I


say that it is you and those like y o u who will bring
down God s anger upon this army
And I s ay SO t oo
cried another sectary
ercely
And I
And I shouted several with Saxon
I think among them
I s it your wish your Maj esty that we should
be insulted at your very council board ? cried o n e
Of the courtiers springing to his feet with a ushed
face
How long are we to be subj e ct to this i i i
s o le n ce because we have the religion of a gentle
man and prefer to practise it in the privacy o f our
hearts rather than at the street corners with these
pharisees
Speak not against God s sa i nts cr i ed a Pur i

tan i n a loud stern voice


There i s a v oi c e
within me which tells me that it were better to
strike thee deadyea even in the presence Of the
-

381

M I C A H CLARKE

K ing than to allow thee to revile those w ho have


been born again
Several had sprung t o their feet o n either S ide
Hands were laid upon sword hilts and glances as
stern and as deadly as rapier thrusts were ashing
backwards and forwards but the more neutral and
reasonable members o f the council succeeded in re
storing peace and in persuading the angry di spu
tants to resume their seats
cried the King his
H o w n o w gentlemen ?
face dark with anger when silence was at last re
stored
I s this the extent Of my authority that
ye should babble and brawl as though my council
chamber were a Fleet Street pot house ? Is this
?
f
o
your respect r my person
I tell ye that I would
forfeit my j ust claims for ever and return to Hol
land o r devote my sword to the cause o f Christian
ity against the Turk rather than submit to such
indignity If any man be proved to have stirred
u p strife amongst the soldiers o r commonalty o n
the score Of religion I shall know ho w to deal with
him Let each preach t o his o w n but let him n o t
interfere with the ock o f his neighbour A S to
you Mr Bramwell and y o u Mr Joyce and y o u
also Sir Henry Nuttall w e shall hold ye excused
from attending these meetings until ye have further
notice from us Y e may n o w separate each to
your quarters and to morrow morning w e shall
with the blessing O f Go d start for the north t o s e e
what luck may await our enterprise in those parts
The King bowed as a S ign that the formal meet
ing w a s over and taking Lord Grey aside he c on
versed with him anxiously in a recess The cour
tiers who numbered in their p arty several English
and foreign gentlemen w ho had come over together
with some Devonshire and Somerset country

382

O F THE S TRI FE IN THE C O U N CI L

squires swaggered out O f the room in a body with


much clinking Of spurs and clanking o f swords
The Puritans dre w gravely together and followed
a ft er them walking not with demure and downcast
looks as was their common us e but with g rim
faces and knitted brows a s the Jews O f Old may
have appeared when T o your tents O Israel !
w as still ringing in their ears
Indeed religious dissension and sectarian heat
were in the very air O utside o n the Castle Green
the voices o f preachers rose up like the drone o f i n
sects Every waggon o r barrel or chance provision
case had been converted into a pulpit each with its
orator and little knot o f eager hearkeners
ow n
Here was a russet coated Taunton volunteer in
j ack boots and bandolier hol di ng forth o n the j usti
Further o n a grenadier O f the
cat i o n by works
militia with blazing red coat and white crossbelt
was deep in the mystery o f the Trinity I n o n e o r
two places where the rude pulpits were too n ear
to each other the sermons had changed into a hot
discussion between the two preachers in which the
audience took part by hums or groans each ap
w
a s most in
the
champion
whose
creed
l
a u di n
g
p
accordance with his o w n Through this wild scene
made more striki ng by the ruddy ickering glare
o f the camp re s I picked my w a y with a weight
at my heart for I felt how vain it must be to hope
Saxon
fo r success where such division reigned
looked o n however with glistening eyes and
rubbed his hands with satisfaction

The leaven is working quoth he


Some
thing wi ll come Of all this ferment
I s e e not what c a n come o f it save disorder and
weakness I answered

Good sold i ers will come of I t lad sa i d he


,

383

M I C AH C L A RKE
They are all S harpening themselves each aft er his
own fashion on the W hetstone o f religion This
arguing bre e de t h fanatics and fanatics are the stu ff
Have you
o ut O f which conquerors are fashioned
not heard how O ld Noll s army divided into Pres
by t e ri an s Independents Ranters Anabaptists Fi ft h
Monarchy men Bro wnists and a score O f other sects
o ut o f whose strife rose the nest regiments th a t
ever formed line upon a eld Of battle ?
,

b u i ld the i r fa i th up on
T he h oly te xt o f s wo rd and g un

S uch

as

do

Old Samuel s couplet I tell you I


would rather see them thus employed than at their
drill for all their wrangling and j angli ng

But ho w Of this split in the council ?


I
asked
Ah that is indeed a graver matter All creeds
may be welded together but the Puritan and the
sco ffer are like O il and water Yet the Puritan is
the o il for he will be ever atop These courtiers
do but stand for themselves while the others are
backed up by the pith and marrow o f the army
It is well that w e are afoot to morrow
The
Ki ng s troops are I hear pouring across Salisbury
Plain but their ordnance and stores are delaying
them for they know well that they must bring a ll
they need since they c a n expect little from the
goodwill of the country folk Ah friend Buyse
w i e geht es
Ganz gut said the big German looming up
before us through the darkness
But sapper
ment what a cawing and croaking like a rookery
at sunset ! You English are a strange people
es
donnerwetter
a
very
strange
There
e
O
l
e
!
y
p p
are no two o f you who think alike upon any s ub
Y o u know

384

O F THE S T RI FE I N THE C O U N C I L

under Himmel ! The Cavalier will have his


j
gay coat and his loose word The Puritan will c ut
your throat rather than give up his s a d coloured
dress and his Bible
King James
some
cr
y
King Monmouth ! s ay the peasants
King
Jesus says the Fift h Monarchy man
NO King
at all ! cry Master Wade and a fe w others w ho
are for a Commonwealth Since I s e t foot o n the
H e lde re n be rg h at Amsterdam my head hath bee n
in a whirl with trying to understand what it is that
ye desire for before I have g o t to the end Of one
man s tale and begin t o se e a little through the
n s t e rn i s s another will come with another story
and I am in as evil a case as ever But my young
H ercules I am right glad to s e e y o u back in safety
I am half in fear to give y o u my hand now aft er
your recent treatment O f it I trust that y o u are
none the worse for the danger that you have gone
through
Mine eyelids are in truth a little heavy I an
Save for an hour o r t w o aboard the
s w e re d
lugger and about as long o n a prison couch I have
n o t closed eye since I le ft the camp
We shall fall in at the second bugle call about
eight Of the clock said Saxon
We shall leave
o u therefore that you may restore yourself a ft er
y
your fatigu es
With a parting nod the t w o o ld
soldiers strode O ff together down the crowded Fore
Street while I made the best o f my w ay back to
the Mayor s hospitable dwelling where I had to
repeat my story all over again to the assembled
household before I was at last su ffered to seek my
room
e ct

385

M I CA H C LA R K E

XXVII
T H E A FF A I R

OF

NE AR

KEY N S HA M

B R I D GE

June 2 1 1 6 85 broke very dark and


windy with dull clouds moving heavily across the
Yet a little
s ky and a constant sputter o f rain
aft er daybreak Monmouth s bugles were blowing
in every quarter of the town from Tone Bridge to
S hut t e rn and by the hour appointed the regiments
had mustered the ro ll had been call ed and the
vanguard was marching briskly out through the
eastern gate It went forth in the same order as
it entered o ur own regiment and the Taunton
burghers bringing up the rear Mayor Timewell
and S axon had the ordering Of this part o f the
army between them and being men who had seen
much service they drew the ordnance into a less
hazardous position and placed a strong gu ard of
horse a cannon s shot in the rear to meet any a t
tempt O f the Royal dragoons
It was remarked on all S ides that the army had
improved in order and discipline during the three
days halt owing perchance to the example Of o ur
o w n unceasing dri ll and soldierly bearing
In
numbers it had increased to nigh eight thousand
and the men were well fed and light Of heart
With sturdy close locked ranks they splashed their
w a y through mud and puddle with many a rough
country j oke and many a lusty stave from song or
hymn Sir Gervas rode at the head Of his mus
u
e
t
e
e
rs whose b e o u re d tails hung limp and lank
q
with the water dripping from them L o ckarby s
pikemen and my o w n company Of s c yt he s me n
were mostly labourers from the country who were
M O N D AY

386

A FF AI R NEAR KEYN S HA M BRIDGE

hardened against all weathers and plodded pa


t i e n t ly along with the rain drops glisten ing upon
their ruddy faces In front were the Taunton
foot ; behind the lumbering train Of baggage w ag
gons with the horse in the rear Of them S O the
long line wound its way over the hills
At the summit where the road begins to dip
down upon the other side a halt was called to e n
able the regiments to close up and we looked back
at the fair to wn which many Of us were never to
s e e again
From the dark wall s and house roofs
we could still mark the apping and utter o f
white kerchiefs from those whom w e left behin d
Reuben s at his horse beside me with his S pare
shirt streaming in the wind and his great pikemen
all agrin behind him though his thoughts and his
eyes were t oo far away to note them As we
gazed a long thin quiver Of sunshine slipped o ut
between two cloud banks and gilded the summit
Of the Magdalene tower with the Royal standard
which still waved from it The incident w as hai led
as a happy augury and a great shout spread from
rank to rank at the sight Of it with a waving Of
Then the bugles
hats and a clattering O f weapons
ble w a fanfare the drums struck up a point Of
war Reuben thrust his shirt into his haversack
and o n we marched through mud and slush with
the dreary clouds bending lo w over us and but
tressed by the no less dreary hill s o n either S ide
A seeker for omens might have said that the
heavens were weeping over o ur ill fated venture
All day w e trudged along roads which were
quagmires over o ur ankles in mud until i n the
evening we made o ur way to Bridgewater where
we gained some recruits and also some hundred
ounds
f
o r o ur military chest for it was a w e ll to
p
,

387

M I CA H CLARKE

place w ith a thriving coast trade carried o n


down the river Parret A ft er a night in snug quar
ters we s e t O ff again in even worse weather than
before The country in these parts is a quagmire
in the driest season but the heavy rains had caused
the fens to overow and turned them into broad
lakes o n either side of the road This may have
been to some degree in o ur favour as shielding u s
from the raids Of the King s cavalry but it made
o ur march very slow
All day it was splashin g and
swashing through mud and mire the rain drops

o
n
shining
the gun barrels and dripping from the
heavy footed horses Past the swollen Parret
through Eastover by the peaceful vill age Of Baw
drip and over Polden Hill we made o ur w ay until
the bugles sounded a halt under the groves O f A s h
cot and a rude meal was served out to the men
Then o n again through the pitiless rain past the
wooded park o f Piper s I nn through Walton where
the oods were threatening the cottages past the
orchards of Street and so in the dusk Of the even
ing into the grey Old to w n o f Glastonbury where
the good folk did their best by the warmth o f their
w elcome to atone for the bitterness O f the weather
The next morning w a s w e t still and inclement
s o the army made a S hort march to We lls which is
a good S ized town well laid o ut with a ne cathe
dral which hath a great number Of gures carved
in stone and placed in niches on the outer side li ke
that which we saw at Sali sbury The townsfolk
were strong for the Protestant cause and the army
w as s o we ll received that their victual cost little fro m
the mil itary chest O n this march we rst began
More
t o come into touch with the Royal horse
than once when the rain mist cleared w e s a w the
gleam o f arms upon the low hills w h ich overlo ok
do

388

A FFAI R NEAR KEYN S HAM BRIDGE

the road and o ur scouts came in with reports Of


strong bodies O f dragoons o n either ank At one
time they massed heavily upon o u r rear as though
planning a descent upon the baggage Saxon ho w
ever planted a regiment o f pikes o n either side s o
h a t they broke up again and glinted O ff over the
ill s
From Wells we marched upon the twenty fourth
to Shepton Mallet with the ominous sabres and
helmets still twinkling behind and o n either side
Of us
That evening we were at Keynsham Bridge less
than two leagues from Bristol as the crow ies and
some Of o ur horse forded the river and pushed o n
almost t o the walls
By morning the rainclouds had at last cleared S O
Reuben and I rode S lowly up one O f the sloping
green hill s which rose behind the camp in the hope
Of gai n ing some sight Of the enemy O ur men w e
le ft littered about upon the grass trying to light
res with the damp sticks or laying o ut their
clothes to dry in the sunshin e A strange looking
band they were coated and splashed with mud
from head to heel their hats all li mp and draggled
their arms rusted and their boots s o worn that
many walked barefoot and others had swathed
their kerchiefs round their feet Yet their short
spell o f soldiering had changed them from honest
faced yokels into e rc e eyed half shaven gaunt
c he c ke d fe llows w ho could carry arms or port pikes
as though they had done nought else since ch ild
hood
The plight O f the o fcers was no better than that
o f the men nor S hould an O fcer my dears when
he is upon service ever demean himself by par
t aking O f any comfort which all cannot S hare wit h
,

389

M I CAH CLARKE

him Let him li e by a soldier s re and eat a s o l


di er s fare o r let him hence for he is a hindrance
and a stumbling block O ur clothes were pulp
our steel fronts red with rust and our chargers as
stained and splashed as though they had rolled in
the m ire O ur very swords and pistols were i n
such a plight that we could scarce draw the o n e o r
snap the other Sir Gervas alone succeeded in
keeping his attir e and his person as neat and as
dainty as ever What he did in the watches Of the
night and how he gained his sleep hath ever been
a mystery to me for day aft er day he turned o ut
at the bugle call washed scented brushed with
w i g in order and clothes from which every speck
of mud had been carefu lly removed At his saddl e
bow he bore with him the great our dredger which
we s a w him us e at T a unt on and his honest mus
u
e e rs had their heads duly dusted every morn
e
t
q
ing though in an hour their tails would be as brown
as nature made them while the our would be
trickl ing in little m i lky streams down their broad
backs or forming in cakes upon the skirts O f their
coats It w a s a long contest between the weather
and the Baronet but o ur comrade proved the victor

There was a time when I w a s called plump


Reuben quoth my friend as we rode together up
the winding track
What with t o o little that is
soli d and too much that is liquid I am like to be
skeleton Reuben ere I see Havant again I am as
full o f rain water as my father s casks are Of O cto
he r
I would Micah that y o u would wring me
o ut and hang me to dry upon o n e Of these bushes
I f we are w e t King James s men must be wet
ter said I for at least we have had such shelter
as there was

It is poor comfort w hen you are starved to


.

390

AFFAI R NEAR KEY N S HAM BRIDGE


know that another is in the same plight I give
o u my word Micah I took in o n e hole o f my
y
sword belt on Monday t w o o n Tuesday one yester
day and o n e to day I tell you I am thawin g like
an icicle in the s un

I f you should chance to dwindle to nought


said I laughing what account are we to give o f
?
you in Taunton
S ince y o u have donned armour
and taken to winning the hearts o f fair maiden s
you have outstripped us all in importance and b e
come a man Of weight and substance
I had more substance and weight ere I began
trailing over t he country side like a Hambledon
packman quoth he
But in very truth and with
all gravity Micah it i s a strange thing to feel that
the whole world for y o u your hopes your ambi
tions your all are gathered into s o small a compass
that a hood might cover it and two little pattens
support it I feel as if s he were my o w n higher
self my lo ft ier part and that I should I be torn
from her would remain for ever an incomplete and
half formed being With her I a sk nothing else
Without her all else is nothing

But have y o u spoken to the Old man ? I asked


Are y o u indeed betrothed ?
I have spoken to him my friend answered

but he w as s o busy in lli ng ammunition cases


that I could not gain his attention When I tried
once more he w a s counting the spare pikes in the
Castle armoury with a tally and an ink horn I
told him that I had come to crave his g ran ddaugh
ter s hand o n which he turned to me and asked

which hand ? with s o blank a stare that it w a s


clear that his mind w a s elsewhere O n the third
trial though the day that you did come back from
B adminton I did at last prefer my request but he
.

26

39 1

MI CA H CLARKE

ashed out at me that this was no time fo r suc h


fooleries and he bade me wait until King M o n
mouth was O h the throne when I might a s k him
again I warrant that he did not call such things
fooleries ft y years ago when he went a courtin g
himself
At least he did not refuse yo u said I
It is
as good as a promise that ; should the cause b e suc
c e s s ful y o u shall be s o too

By my faith cried R euben if a man could


by his o w n single blade bring that about there is
none who hath s o strong an interest in it as I NO
not Monmouth himself ! The apprentice Derrick
hath for a long time raised his eyes to his master s
daughter and the o ld man was ready to have him
as a son s o much was he taken by his godli ness and
zeal Yet I have learned from a side wind that he
is but a debauched and low li ving man though
he covers his pleasures with a mask Of piety I
thought as y o u did think that he was at the head
Of the roisterers w ho tried to bear Mistress Ruth
away though i faith I c an scarce think harshly of
them since they did me the greatest service that
ever men did yet Meanwhile I have taken occa
sion ere we le ft Wells two nights ago t o speak to
Master Derrick o n the matter and to warn him as
he loved his life to plan no treachery against her
?
And ho w t ook he this mild intimation
I
asked

As a rat takes a rat trap Snarled o ut some few


words O f godly hatred and s o S lunk away
O n my life lad said I yo u have been having
as many adventures in your o w n way as I in mine
But here we are upon the hill top with as fair an

outlook as man could wish to have


Just beneath us ran the Avon curving in long
,

3 92

AFFAI R NEAR KEYN S HAM

B RIDGE

bends through the woodl ands with the gleam of


the s un striking back from it here and there a s
though a row of baby suns had been s e t upon a s i l
ve r string
O n the further side the peaceful many
hued country rising and falli ng in a swell Of corn
e lds and orchards swept away to break in a fringe
o f forest upon the distant M a lve rn s
O n o ur right
were the green hills near Bath and o n o ur le ft the
rugged Mendips with queenly Bristol crouching
behind her forts and the grey channel behind
e cke d with snow white sails
At o ur very feet
lay Keynsham Bridge and o ur army spotted in
dark patches over the green elds the smoke of
their r es and the babble Of their voices oating up
in the still summer air
A road ran along the Somersetshire bank o f the
Avon and do wn this tw o troops Of o ur horse were
adv ancing w ith intent to establi sh outposts upon
our eastern ank As they j angled past in some
what loose order their course lay through a pine
wood into which the road takes a sharp bend We
were gazing down at the scene when like lightning
from a cloud a troop Of the Horse Guards wheeled
o ut into the Open and breaking from trot to canter
and from canter to gallop dashed do w n in a whirl
wind O f blue and steel upon o ur unprepared squad
rons A crackle O f hastily unslung carbines broke
from the leading ranks but in an instant the
Guards burst through them and plunged o n into
the second troop F or a S pace the gallant rustics
held their o w n and the dense mass o f men and
horses swayed backwards and forwards with the
swirling sword blades playing above them in ashes
Then blue coats began to break
o f angry light
from among the russet the ght roll ed wildl y
back for a hundred paces the dense throng w a s
,

393

M I CA H C LARKE

split asunder and the Royal Guards came pouring


through the rent and swerved O ff t o right and left
through hedges and over ditches stabbing and
hacking at the eeing horsemen
The whole
scene with the stamping horses tossing manes
shouts o f triumph o r despair gasping o f hard
drawn breath and musical clink and clatter o f steel
was to us upon the hill like so me wild vision S O
swi ft ly did it come and so swiftly go A sharp
stern bugle call summoned the Blues back into the
road where they formed up and trotted slowly
away before fresh squadrons could come up from
the c a mp The s un gleamed and the river rippled
as ever and there was nothing save the long litter
Of men a nd horses to mark the course Of the hell
b last which had broken s o suddenly upon us
As the Blues retired we Observed that a S ingle
O fcer brought up the rear riding very slowly as
though it went much against his mood to turn his
back even to an army The space betwixt the
troop and him was steadily growing greater yet he
made no effort to quicken his pace but j ogged
quietly o n looking back from time to time to s e e
if he were followed The same thought sprang
into my comrade s mind and my o w n at the same
instant and w e read it in each other s faces

This path cried he eagerly


It brings us
o u t beyond the grove and is in the hollow a ll the
,

w af

L e ad

the horses until w e get o n b etter ground


I answered
We may j ust c ut him O ff if we are
lucky
There was no time fo r another w ord for we hur
ried o ff down the uneven track sliding and slipping
o n the rain soaked turf
Springing into o ur s a d
dl es we dashed down the gorge through the grove
,

39 4

A FFAI R NEAR KEYN S HAM BRIDGE

and s o o ut o n to the road in time to s e e the troop


disappear in the distance and to meet the so litary
O i ce r face to face
He w as a s un burned high featured man with
black moustachios mounted on a great ra w boned
chest nut charger As w e broke o ut o n to the road
he pulled up to have a good look at us Then
having fully made up his min d as to o u r hostile
intent he drew hi s sword plucked a pistol o u t of
his holster with his le ft hand and gripping the
bridle between his teeth dug hi s spurs into his
horse s anks and charged down upon us at the top
Of his speed As w e dashed at him Reuben on his
bridle arm and I o n the other he cut ercely at
me and at the same moment red at my compau
ion The ball grazed Reuben s cheek leaving a
red weal behind it like a lash from a whip and
blackening hi s face with the powder His cut
however fell S hort and thro w ing my arm round
his waist as the t w o horses dashed past each other
I plucked him from the sad dl e and drew him face
upwards across my saddl ebow Brave Covenant
lumbered o n with his double burden and before
the Guards had learned that they had lost their
O fcer w e had brought him safe in S pite o f his
struggles and writhings to within sight of M on
mouth s camp

A narrow shave friend quoth Reuben with

his hand to his cheek


He hath tattooed my
face with powder until I S hall be taken for Solo
mon S pre n t s younger brother

Thank Go d that y o u are unhurt said I

See o ur horse are advancing along the upper


road Lord Grey himself rides at their head We
had best take o u r prisoner into camp since w e c an
do nought here
,

395

M I C A H CL A RKE
For Christ s sake either S lay me o r set me
down
he cried
I cannot bear to be carried in
this plight like a half weaned infant through your
c am fu l o f grinning yokels
p
I would not make sport Of a brave m an I a n
If you will give your w ord to stay w ith
s w e re d
us you shall walk between us
Willi ngly said he scrambling down and ar
ranging his ru fed attire
By my faith sirs ye
have taught me a lesson not to think too meanly
o f mine enemies
I should have ridden with my
troop had I thought that there was a chance Of
fall ing in with outposts or videttes
We were upon the hill before we cut you Off
quoth Reuben
Had that pistol ball been a
thought straighter it is I that should have b een
truly the o n e c ut O ff
Zounds Micah
I was
grumbling even now that I had fall en away but
had my cheek been as round as Of Old the slug had

been through it
Where have I seen you before ? asked our
captive bending his dark eyes upon me
Aye I
have it
It w as in the inn at S alisbury where my
light headed comrade Horsford drew upon an O ld
soldi er w ho was riding with y o u Mine own name

is O gilvy Maj or O gilvy Of the Horse Guards


Blue I w as right glad that ye came O ff safely
from the hounds Some word had come Of your
errand aft er your departure s o this same Horsford
with the Mayor and o n e o r t w o other Tantivies
whose zeal methinks outran their humanity sli pped
the dogs upon your trail
I remember you well I answered
Y o u wi ll
nd Colonel Decimus Saxon my former companion
in the camp NO doubt you will be shortly ex
changed for some prisoner o f ours

396

AFFAIR NEAR KEYN S HAM

B RIDGE

Much more likely to have my throat c ut said


he with a smile
I fear that F e ve rs ha m in hi s
present temper will scarce pause to make prisoners
and Monmouth may be tempted to pay him back
in his o w n coin Yet it is the fortune Of w a r and
I should pay for my want O f a ll soldierly caution
Truth to tell my mind w a s far from battles and
ruses at the moment for it had wandered away to
aqua regia and its action upon the metals until
your appearance brought me back to soldiership
The horse are out of sight said Reuben look

ing backwards ours as well a s theirs Yet I s e e


a clump O f men over yonder at the other side of
the Avon and there o n the hillside c an you not s e e
?
the gleam Of steel
There are foot there I answered puckerin g
my eyes
I t seems to me that I c an discern four
o r ve regiments and as many colours o f horse
King M onmouth should know of this with a ll
speed
H e does know o f it said Reuben
Yonder
he stands under the trees with his council about
him S ee o n e Of them rides this way
A trooper had indeed detached himself from the
group and galloped towards us
If you are Cap
tain Clarke s i r he said with a salute the King
orders y o u to j oin his council
Then I leave the Maj or in your keeping R e u
ben I cried
See that he hath what o u r means
allow
S O saying I spurred my horse and soon
j oined the group w ho were gathered round the
King There were Grey Wade Buyse Ferguson
Saxon Holli s and a score more a ll looki ng very
grave and peering down the valley with their
glasses Monmouth himself had dismounted and
was leaning against the trunk Of a tree with hi s

397

M I C A H C LA R KE

arms folded upon his breast and a look Of whit e


despair upon his face Behind the tree a lacquey
paced up and down leading his glossy black charger
w ho pranced and tossed his lordly mane a very
king among horses
You s e e friends said Monmouth turning
lack lustre eyes from o n e leader to another Prov
idence would seem to be against us Some new
mishap i s ever at our heels
No t Providence your Maj esty but o ur o w n
negli gence cried Saxon boldly
Had we a d
v a n c e d o n B ristol last night we might have been
o n the right side Of the ramparts by n o w
But we had no thought that t he enemy s foot
w a s s o near
exclaimed Wade
I told ye what would come Of it and so did

O berst Buyse and the worthy Mayor Of Taunton


Saxon answered
However there is nought to
be gained by mourning over a broken pipkin W e
must e en piece it together as best we may
Let us advance o n Bristol and put o or trust
in the Highest quoth Ferguson
If it be His
mighty wull that w e should tak it then shall we
enter into it yea though drakes and sakers lay as
thick as co bble s t an e s in the streets
Aye ! aye ! O n to Bristol ! God with us !
cried several of the Puritans excitedl y
But it is madness dummheit utter foolish
ness Buyse broke in hotly
Y o u have the
chance and you will not take it No w the chance
is gone and y o u are all eager to go Here is an
army O f as near as I can j udge ve thousand men
o n the right side of the river
We are on the
wrong side and yet you talk o f crossing and mak
ing a beleag uering o f Bristol without breaching
p i eces or spades and with this force in o ur rear
,

398

A F FAIR

N E AR

B RIDG E

K EYN S HAM

Will the town make terms when they can s e e from


their ramparts the v a n Of the army which comes to
?
help them
O r does it assist us in ghting the
army to have a strong town beside us fro m which
horse and foot can make an outfall upon o ur ank ?
I s ay again that it is madness
What the German soldier said w as s o clearly the
truth that even the fanatics were silenced Away
in the east the long shimmering lines o f steel and
the patches o f scarlet upon the green h ill side were
arguments which the most thoughtless could not
overlook
What would y o u advise then ? asked Mon
mouth moodily tapping his j ewelled riding whip
a gainst his high boots
T o cross the river and come to handgrips with
the
t hem ere they c a n get help from the town
burly German answered bluntly
I cannot un
d e rs t a n d what we are here for if it be not to ght
If we win the town must fall If w e lose w e
have had a bold stroke for it and c a n do no more
Is that your opinion t o o Colonel Saxon ? the
King asked
Assuredly your Maj esty if w e c an ght to
advantage We c an scarce do that however by
crossing the river on a S ingle narrow bridge in the
face Of such a force I should advise that w e de
stroy this Keynsham Bridge and march down this
southern bank in the hope o f forcing a ght in a
position which w e may choose
We have not yet summoned Bath said Wade
Let us do as Colonel Saxon proposes and let us
in the meantime march in that direction and send
a trumpet to the governor
There is yet another plan quoth S i r Stephen

Timewell which is to hasten to Gloucester to


,

399

M I C AH CLARKE

cross the S evern there and S O march through


Worcestershire into Shropshire and Cheshire
Your Maj esty has many friends in those parts
Monmouth paced up and down with his hand to
his forehead like one distrait
What am I to

do he cried at last
in the midst of all this c o n
i c t i n g advice when I know that not only my o w n
success but the lives o f these poor faithful peasants

and craft smen depend upon my resolution ?


With all humbleness your Maj esty said Lord
Grey who had j ust returned with the horse I
should suggest since there are only a fe w troops
o f their cavalry o n this S ide Of the Avon that we
blow up the bridge and move onwards to Bath
whence we c an pass into Wiltshire which we know
to be friendly
S O be it ! cried the King with the reckless air
Of on e w ho accepts a plan not because it is the
best but because he feels that all are equally hope
?
less
What think y ou gentlemen
he a dded
w ith a bitter smile
I have heard news from
London this morning that my uncle has clapped
two hundred merchants and others w ho are s u s
e ct e d Of being true to their creed into the Tower
p
and the Fleet H e wi ll have o n e half O f the nation
mounting guard over the other half ere long
O r the whole your Maj esty mounting guard
over him suggested Wade
He may himself
see the Traitor s Gate some o f these mornings

Ha h a ! Think ye s o ? think ye so ? cried


Monmouth rubbing his hands and brightening into
a smile
Well mayhap you have nicked the
truth
Who knows ? Henry s cause seemed a
losing o n e until Bosworth Field settled the c ont e n
tion
We shall
T O your charges gentlemen
march in half an hour Colonel Saxon and you
,

4 00

A FF AIR

KE YN S HAM BRID GE

N EAR

Sir Stephen shall cover the rear and guard the


baggage a service O f honour with this fringe o f
horse upon o ur skirts
The council broke up forthwith every man rid
i n g off to his o w n regiment
The whole camp w a s
in a stir bugles blowing and drums rattling until
in a very short time the army w a s drawn up in
order and the forlorn Of cavalry had already started
along the road which leads t o Bath Five hundred
horse with the Devonshire militiamen were in the
A ft er them in order came the sailor regi
va n
ment the North Somerset men the rst Taunton
regiment Of b urghers the Mendip and B ag w o rt hy
miners the lace and wool workers O f Honiton
Wellington and O ttery St Mary ; the woodmen
the graziers the marshmen and the men from the
Quantock district Behind were the guns and the
baggage with o ur own brigade and four colours O f
horse as a rearguard O n our march w e could s e e
the red coats Of F e ve rs ha m keeping pace with us
upon the other side Of the Avon A large body o f
his horse and dragoons had forded the stream and
hovered upon o ur skirts but Saxon and Sir
Stephen covered the baggage so skilfully and faced
round so ercely with such a snarl Of musketry
w henever they came too nigh that they never vent
u re d t o charge home
,

'

401

M I C A H C L A R KE

XXVIII
OF

THE F I G H T I N W EL LS CAT H E D R A L

fairly tied to the chariot wheels Of history


my dear chil dren and must follow o n with
now
name and place and date whether my tale su ffer
by it o r no With such a drama as this afoot it
were impertinent to speak O f myself save in so far
as I s a w o r heard what may make these Old scenes
more Vivid to y o u It is no pleasant matter fo r me
to dwell upon yet convinced as I am that there is
no such thing as chance either in the great or the
little things Of this world I am very sure that the
sacrices O f these brave men were not thrown away
and that their strivings were not as prot le ss as
might at rst sight appear If the pe rdi o us race
o f Stuart is not now seated upon the throne an d if
reli gion in E n gland is still a thing O f free growth
w e m ay to my thinking thank these Somerset
yokels for it w ho rst showed how small a thi ng
would shake the throne o f an unpopular monarch
Monmouth s army was but the vang uard O f that
which marched three years later into London when
James and his cruel ministers were yi ng as out
casts Over the face Of the earth
O n the night Of June 2 7 or rath e r early in the
morning Of June 28 w e reached the town of Frome
very wet and miserable for the r ain had c ome on
again and a ll the roads w ere quagmires From
this n ext d ay we pushed On once more to Wells
wh ere w e spent the night and the whole Of the next
day to give the men tim e to g et their clothes dry
and to recover themselves aft er their privations
In the forenoon a parade Of our W iltshire regi
I

AM

402

THE FI GH T I N WELL S

CAT HEDRAL

ment was held in the Cathedral Close when M on


mouth praised it as it well deserved for the s ol
di e rly progress made in so short a time
As we returned to o ur quarters after dismissing
o u r men we came upon a great throng Of the rough
B ag w ort hy and O are miners who were assembled
in the open space in front of the Cathedral listen
ing to o n e of their o w n number w ho was address
ing them from a cart The wil d and frenzied gest
ures o f the man showed us that he was o n e o f
those extreme sectaries whose religion runs peri
lo u s ly near to madness
The hums and groans
which rose from the crowd proved however that
his ery words were well suited t o hi s hearers s o
we halted o n the verge Of the multitude and he ark
ened to his address A red bearded e rc e faced
man he was with tangled shagg y hair tumb ling
over his gleaming eyes and a hoarse voice which
resounded over the whole square
?
f
What shall we n ot do or the Lord
he cried ;

what shall w e not do for the Holy o f Holies ?


?
Why is it that His hand is heavy upon us
Why
is it that we have not freed this land even as Judith
freed Bethulia ? Behold we have looked for peace
but no go o d came and fo r a time o f health and
?
behold trouble
Why is this I say
Truly
brothers it is because we have slighted the Lord
because we have n ot been wholeheart ed towards
Him
Lo we have praised Him with o ur breath
but in our deeds we have been cold towards Him

n
Ye know well that Prelacy is an accursed thi g a
hissing and an abomination in the eyes o f the A l
mighty Yet what have we His servants wrought
for Him in t his matter ? Have w e not seen Prela
t i st c hurches churches of form and o f S how w here

the creat ure is confounded with the Creator h a ve


,

403

M I C AH C LAR K E

have not seen them I s ay and have we n ot


forborne to sweep them away and S O lent o ur
sanction to them ? There is the sin of a lukewarm
and backsliding generation ! There is the cause
why the Lord should look col dl y upon H is pe Ople !
L O ! at Shepton and at Frome we ha v e le ft such
churches behind us At Glastonbury too we have
spared those wicked wall s which were reared by
idolatrous hands Of O ld W o e unto ye if aft er
having put your hands to God s plough ye turn back
from the work ! S ee there ! he howled facing
round to the beautiful Cathedral what means
this great heap of stones ? I s it not an altar o f
Baal ? I s it not built fo r man worship rather than
?
God worship
I s it not there that the man Ken
tricked o ut in his foolish rochet and baubles may
preach his soull ess and lying doctrines which are
but the old dish of Popery served up under a ne w
?
?
cover
And shall w e suffer this thing
Shall we
the chosen children o f the Gre at O ne allow this
plague spot to remain ? Can we expect the A l
mighty to help us when we will not stretch o ut a
?
hand to help Him
We have left the other tem
ples O f Prelacy behind us Shall we leave this one
t o o my brothers ?
NO no
yell ed the c rowd tossing and swaying
Shall w e pluck it down then until no o n e
stone is left upon another ?
Yes yes ! they shou t ed
?
No w at once
Yes yes
Then to work ! he cried and springi ng from
the cart he rushed towards the Cathedral with t he
whole mob O f wild fanatics at his heels S ome
crowded in shouting and yelling through the Open
doors whil e others s warmed up the pill ars a nd ped
we

404

T HE FI GHT IN W ELL S
e s t a ls

CAT HEDRAL

Of the front hacking at the sculptured orna


ments and tugging at the grey O ld images which
ll ed every niche

This must be stopped said Saxon curtly


We cannot afford to insult and estray the whole
C hurch Of England to please a few hot headed
ranters The pill age o f this Cathedral would do
o ur cause more harm than a pitched battle lost
D O you bring up your company Sir Gervas and
we shall do what we can t o hold them in check
until they come
Hi Masterton cried the Baronet spying o n e
o f his under O fc e rs among the crowd who were
looking on neither assisting nor Opposing the riot

ers
D O you hasten t o the quarters and tell
Barker t o bring up the company with their matches
burning I may be o f use here
Ha here is Buyse
cried S axon j oyously as
the huge German ploughed his way through the

crowd
And Lord Grey t o o ! W e must save
the Cathedral my lord ! They would sack and
burn it

This way gentleman cried an Old grey haired


man running o ut towards us with hands outspread
and a bunch Of keys clanking at his girdle
Oh
hasten gentlemen if ye can indeed prevail over
these lawless men ! They have pulled down Saint
Peter and they will have Paul down too unless
help comes There will n ot be an apostle left The
They have brought a hogs
c as t window is broken
head Of beer and are broaching it upon the high
altar O h alas alas that such things should be in
a Christian land !
H e sobbed aloud and stamped
about in a very frenzy Of grief
It is the verger sirs said o n e Of the towns
H e h ath grown grey in the Cathedr al
folk
,

4 05

M I CAH CLARKE
This w ay to the vestry door my lords and
gentlemen cried the Old man pushing a way
strenuously through the crowd
N ow lack a day
the sainted Paul hath gone too
As he spoke a splintering crash from inside the
Cathedral announced some fresh outrage o n the
part of the zealots O ur guide hastened o n w ith
renewed speed until he came to a lo w oaken door
heavil y arched which he unlocked with much rasp
ing o f wards and creaking o f hinges Through this
we S idled as best we might and hurried aft er the
O ld man do w n a stone a
e d corridor w hich led
gg
through a wicket into the Cathedral close by the
high altar
The great building was full Of the rioters w ho
were rushing hither and thither destroying and
breaking everything which they could lay their
hands o n A good number Of these were genuine
zealots the followers o f the preacher whom we had
listened to outside O thers however were o n the
face o f them mere rogues and thieves such as gather
round every army upon the m arch
W hile the
former were tearing down images from the walls o r
hurling the b ooks o f common prayer through the
stained glass wi ndows the others were rooting up
the massive brass candlesticks and carrying away
everything which promised to be Of value O ne
ragged fell ow was in the pulpit tearing O ff the
crimson velvet and hurli ng it down among the
crowd Another had upset the reading desk and
w a s bus i ly engaged in wrenching O ff the brazen
fastenings I n the centre Of the side aisle a small
roup
had
a
rope
round
the
neck
of
Mark
the
g
Evangeli st a n d were dragging lustily upon it until
even as w e entered the statue aft er tottering fo r a
fe w moments came crashing down upon the m arble

4 06

T HE F I G H T I N WELLS

CATHEDRAL

oor The shouts which greeted every fresh o ut


rage with the S plintering o f woodwork the smash
ing O f windows and the clatter Of falling masonry
made up a most deafening uproa r which w a s i n
creased by the droning O f the organ until some of
t he rioters silenced it by slitting up the bellows
W hat more immediately concerned ourselves w a s
the scene which was being enacted j ust in front o f
us at the high altar A barrel Of beer had been
placed upon it and a dozen rufan s gathered round
it o n e O f whom with many ribald j ests had climbed
up and w as engaged in kn ocking in the top Of the
cask with a hatchet As we entered he had j ust
succeeded in broaching it and the brown ale was
foaming over while the mob with roars Of laughter
were passing up their dippers and pannikins The
German soldier rapped o ut a rough j agged oath at
this spectacle and shouldering his way through the
roisterers he sprang upon the altar The ringleader
w a s bending over his cask black j ack in hand when
the soldier s iron g rip fell upon hi s collar and in a
moment his heels were apping in the air and his
head three feet deep in the cask while the beer
S plashed and foamed in every direction With a
mighty heave Buyse picked up the barrel with the
half drowned miner inside and hurled it clattering
down the broad marble steps which led from the
body O f the church At the same time with the
aid o f a dozen Of our men who had followed u s into
the Cathedral w e drove back the fell ow s comrades
and thrust them o ut beyond the rails which divided
the choir from the nave
O ur inroad had the effect Of checking the riot
but it simply did so by turning the fury o f the zeal
o t s from the
walls and windows to ourselves
Images stone work and wood carvings were all
.

27

407

M I CAH CLARKE
abandoned and the whole swarm came rushing
up with a hoarse buzz o f rage all discip line and
order completely lost in their religious frenzy
Smite the Prelatists
they howled
Down
with the friends of Antichrist
Cut them O ff even
at the horns of the altar ! Down with them !
O n either side they massed a wild half demented
crowd some with arms and some without but
lled to a man with the very spirit of murder

This is a civil war within a civil w ar said


Lord Grey with a quiet smile
We had best
draw gentlemen and defend the gap in the rails
if we may hold it good unti l help arrives
He
ashed o ut his rapier as he spoke and took his
stand o n the top O f the steps with S axon and Sir
Gervas upon o n e side o f him Buyse Reuben and
myself upon the other There w a s only room fo r
effect s o our
s i x to wield their weapons with
scanty band Of followers scattered themselves along
the li ne O f the rails w hich were luckil y so high
and strong as to make an escalado di i c ult in the
face Of any Opposition
The riot had now changed into open mutiny
among these marshmen and miners
Pikes
scythes and knives gli mmered through the dim
light while their wild cries re echoed from the
high arched roof like the howli ng Of a pack Of
wolves
GO forward my brothers
cried the
fanatic preacher w ho had been the cause O f the
outbreak
go for w ard against them ! W hat
though they be in high places
There is O ne who
is higher than they Shall w e shrink from His
work because Of a naked sword ? Shall we su ffer
the Prelatist altar to be preserved by these sons O f
Amalek ? O n o n ! In the name o f the Lord
In the name O f the Lord ! cried the crowd
,

4 08

T HE FI GHT IN W ELL S

CATHEDRAL

with a sort o f hissing gasp like o n e w ho i s about


to plunge i nto an icy bath
I n the name of the
Lord !
From either side they came o n gather
ing S peed and volume until at last with a wild c ry
they surged right down upon o ur sword points
I ca n s ay nothing Of what took place to right or
left of me during the ru fe for indeed there were
s o many pressing upon us and the ght w a s S O
hot that it w a s a ll that each Of us could do to hold
his ow n The very number o f our assailants w a s
in o ur favour by hampering their sword arms
O ne bu rly miner cut ercely at me wi th his sc yt he
but missing me he swung half round with the force
Of the blow and I passed my sword through his
body before he could recover himself It w a s the
rst time that I had eve r slain a man in anger my
dear children and I shall never forget his white
startled face as he looked over his shoulder at me
ere he fell Another closed in with me before I
could get my weapon disengaged but I struck him
o ut with my le ft hand and then brought the at
Of my sword upon his head laying him senseless
upon the pavement Go d knows I did not wish
to take the lives Of the misguided and ign orant
zealots but o ur o w n were at stake A marshman
looki ng more like a S hagg y wi ld beast than a hu
man being darted under my weapon and caught
me round the knees while another brought a ail
down upon my head piece from which it glanced
on to my shoulder A third thrust at me with a
pike and pricked me on the thigh but I shore his
weapon I n tw o with o n e blow and S p lit his head
with the next The man with the ail gave back
at sight O f this and a ki ck freed me from the un
armed ape li ke creature at my feet s o that I found
m yself clear of my assailants and none the worse
,

,
-

4 09

M I CAH CLARKE
for my encounter save for a touch on the leg and
some stiffness O f the neck and shoulder
Looking round I found that my comrades had
also beaten O ff those who were Opposed to them
S axon was holdi n g hi s bloody rapier in his le ft
hand wh i le the blood was trickling from a S light
wound upon his right T w o miners lay across
each other in front of him but at the feet Of Sir
Gervas Jerome no fewer than four bodi es were
piled together H e had plucked out his snu ff box
as I glanced at him and was Offering it with a bo w
and a ourish to Lord Grey as unconcernedl y as
though he were back once more in hi s London co f
fee house
Buyse leaned upon his long broad
sword and looked gloomil y at a headless trunk in
front Of him w hich I recognised from the dress as
being that o f the preacher As to Reuben he was
unhurt himself but in sore di stress over my o w n
triin g scar though I assured the faithful lad that
it was a less thing than many a tear from branch
o r thorn which w e had had when blackberrying to
gether
The fanatics though driven back were not men
to be content with a single repul se They had lost
ten Of their number including their leader without
being able to break our line but the failure onl y
served to increase their fury F or a minute o r so
they gathered panting in the aisle Then with a
mad yell they dashed in once more and made a
desperate effort to cut a way through to the altar
It w a s a e rce r and more prolonged struggle than
before O ne Of our foll owers was stabbed to the
heart over the rails and fell without a groan A n
other was stunned by a mass of masonry hurled
at him by a giant cragsman Reuben w a s felled
by a club and would have been dragged o ut and
,

410

THE

FI GH T IN W ELL S

CATHEDRAL

hacked to pieces had I not stood over him and


beaten O ff his assailants Sir Gervas w a s borne O ff
his legs by the rush bu t lay li ke a wounded wild
cat striking out furiously at everything which
came within his reach Buyse and S axon back
t o back stood rm amidst the seething rushing
crowd cutting down every man within sweep o f
their swords Yet in such a struggle numbers
must in the end prevail and I confess that I for
o n e had begun to have fears for the upshot O f o ur
contest when the heavy tramp o f disciplined feet
rang thro ugh the Cathedral and the Baronet s
mu s q u e t e e rs came at a quick run up the central
aisle The fanatics did not await their charge but
darted o ff over benches and pews followed by o ur
alli es who were furious on seeing their beloved
Captain upon the g round There was a wild min
ute or t w o with confused shu fing O f feet stabs
groans and the clatter o f musket butts on the
marble oor O f the rioters some were slain but
the greater part threw down their arms and were
arrested at the command Of Lord Grey while a
strong guard was placed at the gates to prevent
any fresh outburst O f sectarian fury
When at last the Cathedral was cleared and
order restored we had time to look around us and
to reckon o ur ow n inj uries In a ll my wanderings
and the many wars in which I aft erwards fought
wars compared to which this affair o f Monmouth s
w as but the merest skirmish I have never seen a
stranger or more impressive scene In the dim
solemn li ght the pile O f bodies in front O f the rails
with their twisted li mbs and white set faces had
a most s ad and ghost like aspect The evening
light shining through one o f the fe w unbroken
stained glass windows cast great S plotches Of vivid
.

41 1

M I CAH CLARKE
crimson and O f sickly green upon the he ap O f
motionless gu res A few wounded men sat about
in the front pews o r lay upon the steps moaning
for water
O f o ur o w n small company not o n e
had escaped unscathed Three o f o ur foll owers
had been slain outright while a fourth was lying
stunned from a blow Buyse and Sir Gervas were
much bruised S axon w a s c ut o n the right arm
Reuben had been felled by a bludgeon stroke and
would certainly have been slain but fo r the ne
temper Of Sir Jacob Cla n ci ng s breastplate which
had turned a erce pike thrust As to myself it is
scarce worth the mention but my head sang fo r
some hours like a good wife s kettle and my boot
was full O f blood which may have been a blessing
in disguise for S n e cks on o ur Havant barber was
ever dinning into my ears how much the better I
should be for a phlebotomy
I n the meantime all the troops had assembled
and the mutiny been swi ft ly stamped o ut There
were doubtless many among the Puritans who had
no love for the Prelatists but none save the most
crack brained fanatics could fail to s e e that the
sacking Of the Cathedral would s e t the whole
Church Of England in arms and ruin the cause fo r
which they were ghting A s it was much dam
age had been done for whilst the gang within had
been smashing all which they could lay their hands
upon others outside had chipped O ff cornices and
gargoyles and had even dragged the lead covering
from the roof and hurled it down in great sheets to
their companions beneath This last led to some
prot for the army had no great store o f a mmun i
tion so the lead was gathered up by Monmouth s
orders and recast into bullets The prisoners were
held in custody for a time b ut it was deemed
.

41 2

T HE

F I G H T I N WELL S

CAT HEDRAL

unwise to punish them s o that they were nall y


pardoned and dismissed from the army
A parade Of o ur whole force w a s held in the
elds outside the town upon the second day Of our
stay at Well s the weather having at last become
warm and sunny The foot was then found to
muster six regiments Of ni ne hundred men o r ve
thousand four hundred in all O f these ft een
hundred were m us q u e t e e rs two thousand were
s c t he s m e n or peasants
ikemen
and
the
rest
were
y
p
A few bodies such as
w ith ails and hammers
ou r o w n or those from Taunton might fairly lay
claim to be soldiers but the most o f them were
still labourers and craft smen with weapons in their
h ands Yet ill armed and ill drill ed as they were
they were still strong robust Englishmen full Of
n ative courage and Of religious zeal The li ght and
ckle Monmouth began t o take heart once more at
the sight Of their sturdy bearing and at the sound
Of their hearty cheers I heard him as I s at my
horse beside his staff speak exultantly to those
around him and ask whether these ne fellows
could possibly be beaten by mercenary half hearted
hirelings

?
What s ay y o u Wade
he cried
Are we
never to see a smile on that sad face Of yours ? Do
you n ot s e e a woolsack in store for you as you look
upon these brave fellows ?
Go d forbid that I should say a word to damp
your Maj esty s ardour the lawyer answered
yet
I cannot but remember that there w a s a time when
your Maj esty at the head Of these same hirelings
did drive men as brave as these in headl ong rout
from Bothwell Bridge

True true ! said the King passing his hand


o ver his forehe a d a favourite motion when he was
,

4 13

M I CA H C LARK E

worried and annoyed


They were bold men the
western Covenanters yet they could not stand
against the rush Of o ur battalions But they had
had no training whereas these can ght in line and
re a platoon as well as o n e would wish to see
If we hadna a gun n or a patronal among us

said Ferguson if we hadna s a e muckle as a sword


but j ust oor ain honds yet would the Lard gie u s

the victory if it seemed good in His a seeing een

A ll battles are but chance work your Maj esty


remarked S axon whose sword arm w a s boun d
round with his kerchief
Some lucky turn somle
slip o r chance which none c an foresee is ever likely
to turn the scale I have lost when I have looked
to win and I have w on when I have looked to los e
I t is an uncertain game and one never knows th e
nish till the last card is played

N o t till the stakes are drawn said Buyse in


his deep guttural voice
There is many a leade r
that wins what you c all the trick and yet loses the
game
The trick being the battle and the game the

campaign quoth the King with a smile


O ur
German friend is a master o f c amp re metaphors
But methinks o ur poor horses are in a sorry state
What would cousin William over at The Hague
with his spruce guards think of such a S how as
this
D uring this talk the long column O f foot h a d
tramped past still bearing the banners which they
had brought with them to the wars though much
the worse for wind and weather Monmouth s re
marks had been drawn forth by the aspect of the
ten troops of horse which followed The chargers
had been sadly worn by the continued work and
constant rain while the riders having allowed their
,

4 14

T H E F I G H T I N W ELL S

CATHEDRA L

caps and fronts t o get coated with rust appeared


to be in as bad a plight as their steeds It w a s
clear to the least experienced o f us that if w e were
to hold our own it was upon o ur foot that w e must
rely O n the tops O f the lo w hills a ll round the
fre quent shimmer o f arms glancing here and there
when the sun s rays struck upon them showed ho w
strong o ur enemies were in the very point in which
we were so weak Yet in the main this Wells
review was cheering to us as showing that the
men kept in good heart and that there w a s no i ll
feeling at the rough handling Of the zealots upon
the day before
The enemy s horse hovered about us during
these days but the foot had been delayed through
the heavy weather and the swollen streams O n
the last day Of June w e marched out of Wells and
made o ur way across at sedgy plains and over the
lo w Polden Hill s to Bridgewater where we found
some few recruits awaiting us Here M onmouth
had some thoughts Of maki ng a stand and even s e t
to work raising earthworks but it w a s pointed o ut
t o him that even could he hold the town there
w as not more than a few days provisions within it
while the country round had been alr eady swept
s o bare that little more could be expected from it
The works were therefore abandoned and fairly
driven t o bay without a loophole O f escape left we
awaited the approach O f the enemy
,

41 5

M I CAH CLARKE
XX I X
OF

AND

THE G R E AT C RY F R OM THE

LO N E L Y H O U S E

our weary marching and counter marching


came at last t o an end and w e found ourselves
with o ur backs fairly against the wall and the
whole strength O f the Government turned against
us No t a word came to us Of a rising or move
ment in o ur favour in any part Of England E v
e ry w he re the Dissenters were cast into prison and
the Church dominant From north and east and
west the m ilitia Of the counties was o n i t s march
against u s In London S ix regiments Of D utch
troops had arrived as a loan from the Prin ce O f
O range O thers were said to be on their w ay
The City had enroll ed ten thousand men Every
where there w a s mustering and marching to s ue
cour the ower Of the Engli sh army which w as
already in Somersetshire And a ll for the pur
pose O f crushing some ve o r s i x thousand clod ~
hoppers and shermen half armed and penniless
w ho were ready to throw their lives away for a
man and for an idea
But this idea my dear ch i ldren was a noble o n e
and one which a man might very well sacrice all
for and yet feel that all was well spent F o r though
these poor peasants in their dumb blundering fash
ion would have found it hard to give all their reasons
in words yet in the inmost heart Of them they knew
and felt that it w a s England s cause which they
were ghti n g for and that they were upholdi n g
their country s true self agains t those who would
alter the Old systems under which S he had led the
nat ions Three more years made all this very plain
so

41 6

THE CRY FR O M THE L O NE LY H O US E


and showed that o ur simple u nl ettered followers
had seen and j udged the signs Of the times more
truly than those who called themselves their betters
There are to my thinking stages Of human prog
re s s for which the Church O f Rome is well suited
Where the mind O f a nation is young it may be
best that it should not concern itself with spiritual
affairs but should lean upon the O ld sta ff Of custom
and authority But England had cast O ff her swad
dli n g clothes and was a nursery O f strong thinking
men who would bow to no authority save that
which their reason and conscience approved It
was hopeless useless foolish to try to drive such
men back into a creed which they had outgrown
Such an attempt w a s however being made backed
by all the weight Of a bigoted king with a powerful
and wealthy Church as his ally In three years the
nation would understand it and the King would be
ying from his angry people but at present sunk
in a torpor aft er the long civil wars and the corrupt
reign Of Charles they failed to see what was at
stake and turned against those who would warn
them as a hasty man turns o n the messenger who
is the bearer Of evil tidings I s it not strange my
dears how quickly a mere shadowy thought comes
to take living form and grow into a very tragic
?
reality
At on e end Of the chain is a king brood
ing over a point Of doctrine ; at the other are s i x
thousand desperate men chivied and chased from
shire to shire standing to bay at last amid the bleak
Bridgewater marshes with their hearts as bitter and
as hopeless as those Of hunted beasts of prey A
ki ng s theolog y is a dangerous thing for his subj ects
But if the idea fo r which these poor men fought
w as a worthy one what shall w e say o f the man
who had been chosen as the champion O f their
.

41 7

M I CAH CLARKE
cause ? Alas that such men should have had suc h
a leader ! Swinging from the heights Of condence
to the depths o f despair choosing his future counc i l
Of state one day and proposing to y from the army
o n the next he appeared from the start to be pos
sessed by the very spirit o f ckle n e s s Yet he had
borne a fair name before this enterprise In S cot
land he had w o n golden Opinions not o nl y fo r his
success but for the moderation and mercy with
which he treated the vanquished O n the C o n
t i n e n t he had commanded an English brigade in a
w a y that earned praise from Old soldiers Of Louis
and the Empire Yet now when his o w n head and
his o w n fortunes were at stake he was feeble
irresolute and cowardly I n my father s phrase

all the Virtue had gone out Of him


I declare
when I have seen him riding among hi s troops
with his head bowed upon his breast and a face like
a mute at a burying casting an a ir O f gloom and Of
despair all round him I have felt that even in case
O f success such a man could never wear the crown
Of the Tudors and the Plantagenets but that some
stronger hand were it that Of o n e Of his own gen
e ra ls would wrest it from him
I will do Monmouth the j ustice to s ay that from

the time when it w a s at last decided to g ht for


the very good reason that no other course was open
he showed up in a more soldierly and manli er
spirit For the r st fe w days in July no means
were neglected to hearten o ur troops and to nerve
them fo r the coming battle From morni n g to
night we were at work tea c hing our foot how to
form up in dense groups t o meet the charge O i
horse and ho w to depend upon each other and
look to their O i c e rs fo r orders
At night the
streets Of the little town from the Castle Field to
,

'

4 18

T HE CRY FR O M T HE L O NELY H O US E
the Parret Bridge resounded with the praying and
the preaching There was no need for the Ofcers
to quell irregularities for the troops punished them
amongst themselves O ne man w ho came o ut o n
the s treets hot with wine was well nigh hanged by
his companions w ho nally cast him o ut of the
town as being unworthy to ght in what they
looked upon as a sacred quarrel A s to their cour
age there w a s no occasion to quicken that for they
were as fearless as lions and the only danger w as
lest their ery daring should lead them into fool
hardiness Their desire was t o hurl themselves upon
the enemy like a horde o f Moslem fanatics and it
w a s n o easy matter to drill such hot headed fellows
into the steadiness and caution which war demands
Provisions ran low upon the third day Of o ur
stay in Bridgewater which was due to o ur having
exhausted that part Of the country before and also
t o the vigilance Of the Royal Horse who scoured
the district round and cut O ff o ur suppli es Lord
Grey determined therefore to send o ut t w o troops
Of horse under cover o f night to do what they could
to rell the larder The command o f the small ex
e di t i o n was given over to Maj or Martin Hooker
p
an Old L i fe gu ards ma n of rough S peech and curt
manners w ho had done good service in drilli ng the
headstrong farmers and yeomen into some sort of
order Sir Gervas Jerome and I asked leave from
Lord Grey to j oin the foraya favour which w as
readily granted since there was little stirring in the
town
It was about eleven O clock o n a moonless night
that we sallied o ut o f Bridgewater intending to ex
l
o re the country in the direction O f Boroughbridge
p
and Atheln ey We had word that there w a s no
l arge body o f the enemy in that quarter and it w as
.

41 9

M I CAH CLARKE
a fertile district where good store of suppli es might
be hoped for We took with us four empty w ag
gons to carry whatever we might have the luck to
nd O ur commander arranged that on e troop
should ride before these and o n e behind while a
small advance party under the charge Of Sir Ger
vas kept some hundreds of paces in front I n this
order we clattered out o f the town j ust as the late
bugles were blowing and swept away down the
quiet shadowy roads bringing anxious peering faces
to the e a s e m e n t s O f the wayside cottages as we
whirled past in the darkness
That ride comes very clearly before me as I thi nk
Of it The dark loom o f the club headed will ows
i tting by u s the moaning o f the breeze among
the withies the vague blurred gures o f the
troopers the dull thud Of the hoofs and the j ing
ling O f scabbard against stirrup
eye and c ar can
both conj ure up those Old time memories The
Baronet and I rode in front knee against knee and
his light hearted chatter Of life in town with his
little snatches O f verse or song from Cowley o r
Wall er were a very balm O f Gilead to my sombre
and somewhat heavy spirit

Life is in deed li fe on such a night as this


quoth he as w e breathed in the fresh country air
with the reeks Of crops and Of kine
Rabbit me
but you are to be envied Clarke for having been
born and bred in the country ! What pleasures
has the to w n to O ffer compared to the free gi ft s o f
nature provided always that there be a perruquier s
and a snu ff merchant s and a scent vendor s and
o n e o r two tolerable outtters within reach ?
With
these and a good co ffee house and a playhouse I
think I could make S hi ft t o lead a simple pastoral
life fo r some months
.

420

T HE

CRY FR O M THE L O NELY H O US E

I n the country said I laughing we have


ever the feeling that the true life Of mankind with
the growth o f k nowledge and wisdom are be ing
wrought o ut in the towns
V entre Saint Gris ! It was little knowledge
acquired there he answered
o r wisdom that I
Truth to tell I have li ved more and learned more
during these few weeks that we have been S liding
about in the rain with o ur ragged lads than ever I
did when I w a s page Of the court with the ball Of
fortune at my feet It i s a sorry thing fo r a man s
mind to have nothing higher to dwell upon than
the turning o f a compliment or the dancing Of a
Zounds lad ! I have your friend the
co rra n t o
carpenter to thank for much As he says in his
letter unless a man c an get the good that i s in him
o ut he is Of less value in the world than o n e o f
those fowls that we hear cackling for they at least
full their mission if it be only to lay eggs Ged
it is a new creed for me to be preaching
But said I when you were a wealthy man
you must have been Of service to some on e for
how could one spend so much money and yet none
be the better ?
he cried with a gay
Y o u dear bucolic Micah !
laugh
Y o u will ever speak Of my poor fortune
with bated breath and in an awestruck voice as
though it were the wealth o f the Indies Y o u can
n o t think lad how easy it is for a money bag to
take unto itself wings and y It is true that the
man w ho spends it doth not consume the money
but passes it o n t o some o n e w ho prots thereby
Yet the fault lies in the fact that it w a s to the
wrong folk that we passed our money thereby
breeding a useless and debauched class at the ex
ense
d
s s h lad ! when I
O f honest callings
O
p

421

M I CAH CLARKE
think o f the swarms Of needy beggars the lecherous
pimps the nose sli tting bullies the toadies and the
at t e re rs who were reared by u s I feel that in
hatching such a poisonous brood our money hath
Have I not seen
d one what no money c a n undo
them thirty deep of a morning when I have held
my lev e cringing up to my bedside
Your bedside ! I exclaimed
Aye it w a s the mode to receive in bed attired
in laced cambric shirt and periwig though aft er
wards i t was permitted to sit up in your chamber
but dressed a la n eg lig en ce in gown and slippers
The mode is a terrible tyrant Clarke though its
arm may not extend as far as Havant The i dl e
man o f the town must have some rule Of life s o he
becomes a slave to the law Of the fashions NO
man in London was more subj ect to it than myself
I was regular in my irregularities and orderly in
my disorders At eleven O clock to the stroke up
came my valet with the morning cup o f hippocras
an excellent thing for the qualms and so m e slight
refection as the breast O f an ortolan or wing O f a
widgeon Then came the lev e twenty thirty or
forty Of the class I have spoken of though n ow and
then perhaps there might be some honest case O f
want among them some needy man O f letters in
quest Of a guinea or pupil less pedant with much
ancient learning in his head and very little modern
coinage in his pocket It was not only that I had
some power Of mine ow n but I w a s kno w n to have
the ear o f my Lord Halifax Sidney Godolphin
Lawrence Hyde and others whose will might make
o r mar a man
Mark y o u those lights upon the
le ft ! Would it not be well to see if there is not
something to be had there ?
Hooker hath orders to proceed to a cert ai n
,

4 22

THE CRY FR O M T HE L O NELY H O USE

farm I answered
This w e could take upon o ur
return should we still have space We shall be
back here before morning
We must get supplies if I have to ride back
to Surrey for them said he
Rat me if I dare
look my m us q ue t e e rs in the face again u nl ess I
bring them something to toast upon the end o f
their ramrods
They had li ttle more savoury than
their o w n bullets to put in their mouths when I
le ft them
But I was speaki ng of O ld days in
London O ur time w a s well lled Should a man
Of quality incline to S port there was ever something
to attract him
He might s e e sword playing at
Hockley o r cocking at Shoe Lane o r baiting at
Southwark o r shooting at Tothill Fields Again
he might walk in the physic gardens of St J ames s
o r go do w n the river with the ebb tide to the
cherry orchards at Rotherhithe or drive to I sli ng
t o n to drink the cream o r above all walk in the
Park which is most modish fo r a gentleman w ho
dresses in the fashion You s e e Clarke that w e
were active in o ur idleness and that there w a s no
lack Of employment Then as evening came o n
there were the playhouses to draw u s Dorset Gar
dens Lincoln s I nn Drury Lane and the Queen s
among the four there was ever some amusement
to be found
There at least your time was well employed
said I ; yo u could not hearken to the grand
thoughts or lo ft y words o f Shakespeare or o f Mas
singer without feeli ng some image Of them in your
o w n soul
Sir Gervas chuckled quietly
Y o u are as fresh
said he
t o me Micah as this sweet country air
Know thou dear babe that it was not t o s e e the
play that we frequented the playhouse
,

28

423

M I CAH CLARKE
Then w hy in Heaven s name
I asked
To see each other he answered
It was the
mode I assure you for a man O f fashion to stand
with his back turned to the stage from the rise Of
the curtain to the fall o f it There were the orange
wenches to quiz plaguy sharp o f tongue the

hussies are t o o and there were the vizards Of the


pit whose little black masks did in vite inquiry and
there were the beauties o f the town and the toasts
Of the Court all fair mark for o ur quizzing glasses
Play indeed ! S b u d we had something better to
do than to listen to alexandrines o r weigh the merits
o f hexameters !
Tis true that if La Jeune were
dancing or if Mrs Bracegirdle o r M rs O ldeld
came upon the boards w e would hum and clap but
it w a s the n e woman that w e applauded rather
than the actress
And when the play was over y o u went doubt
less to supper and s o to bed
To supper certainl y Sometimes to the Rhen
ish House sometimes to P o n t a ck s in Abchurch
Lane Every o n e had hi s o w n taste in that matter
Then there were dice and cards at the Groom
Porter s or under the arches at Covent Garden
piquet passage hazard primero what you choose
A ft er that you could nd all the world at the
co ffee houses where an arri ere supper w a s O ft en
served with devill ed bones and prunes to drive the
fumes o f wine from the head Zounds Micah ! if
the Jews should relax their pressure o r if this w ar
brings us any luck you shall come to town with

me and shall s e e all these things for yourself


Truth t o tell it doth not tempt me much I
answered
Slow and solemn I am by nature and
in such scenes a s yo u have describ ed I sh ould feel
a very death s head at a banquet

424

THE CRY F R O M THE L O NELY H O US E


S ir Gervas was about to reply when Of a sudden
out o f the silence of the night there rose a long
d ra w n piercing scream which thrill ed through every
nerve O f our bodies I have never heard such a
wai l Of despair We pulled up o ur horses a s did
the troopers behind us and strained o ur ears for
some S ign as to whence the sound proceeded for
some were Of Opinion that it came from our right
and some from o ur le ft The main body with the
waggons had come up and w e all li stened intently
for any return o f the terrible cry Presently it
broke upon us again wild shrill and agonised !
the scream of a woman in mortal distress
Tis over there Maj or Hooker cried Sir Ger
vas standing up in his stirrups and peering through
the darkness
There is a house about t w o elds
I can s e e some glimmer as from a window
O ff
with the blind drawn

S hall we not make for it at once ? I asked


impatiently for our commander s at stolidly upon
his horse as though by no means sure what course
he should pursue

I am here Captain Clarke said he to c o n


v e y supplies to the army and I am by no means
j ustied in turni ng from my course to pursue other
adventures

Death man ! there is a woman in distress

cried S ir Gervas
Why Maj or you would not
?
ride past and let her call in vain fo r help
Hark
there s he i s again
As he spoke the wild scream
rang o ut once more from the lonely house
Nay I c an abide this no longer I cried my

blood boili n g in my veins ; do y o u go o n your


errand Maj or Hooker and my friend and I shall
leave y o u here We shall know how to j usti fy our
a ction to the King Come S ir Gervas
,

425

M I CAH CLARKE

M ark ye this is at mutiny Captain Cl arke


said Hooker ;
are
under
my
orders
and
ou
y

should you desert me yo u do s o at your peril

In such a case I care not a groat for thy


orders I answered hotly
Turni n g Covenant I
spurred do wn a narrow deeply rutted lane which
led towards the house followed by Sir Gervas and
two or three Of the troopers At the same moment
I heard a sharp word o f command from Hooker
and the creaking o f wheels S howing that he had
indeed abandoned us and proceeded o n his mission
H e is right quoth the Baronet as we rode
down the lane ; S axon o r any other Old soldier
would commend his discipline
There are things which are higher than disci
pline I muttered
I could not pass on and
leave this poor soul in her distress But s ee
what
?
have we here
A dark mass loomed in front o f us which proved
as we approached to be four horses fastened b y
their bri dl es to the hedge
Cavalry horses Captain Clarke ! cried on e Of
the troopers who had sprung do w n t o examine
them
They have the Government saddle and
holsters Here is a wooden gate w hich opens o n a
pathway leading to the house
We had best dismount then said Sir Gervas
j umping down and tying his horse beside the

D O you lads stay by the horses and if


others
we call for ye come to our aid Sergeant Hollo
way you can c ome w it h us Bring your pistols
with yo u
,

426

OF

T HE

S W O RDS MAN
XXX

OF

TH E S WORD S M A N W I TH THE B R OWN JA CKET

sergeant who w a s a great ra w boned west


countryman pushed the gate open and w e were
advancing up the winding pathway when a stream
Of yell ow light ooded o ut from a suddenly opened
door and w e s a w a dark squat gure dart through
it into the inside o f the house At the same
moment there rose up a babel Of sounds followed
by t w o pistol shots and a roaring gasping hubbub
with clash Of swords and storm Of oaths At this
sudden uproar w e all three ran at o ur topmost
speed up the pathway and peered in through the
Open door where w e s aw a scene such as I shall
never forget while this Old memory Of mine c an
conj ure up any picture o f the past
The room was large and loft y with long rows Of
hams and salted meats dangling from the smoke
browned raft ers as is usual in Somersetshire farm
houses A high black clock ticked in a corner
and a rude table with plates and dishes laid out as
Right in front of
fo r a meal stood in the centre
the door a great re o f wood faggots was blazing
and before this to o ur unutterable horror there
hung a man head downwards suspended by a rope
which was knotted round his an kles and which
passing over a hook in a beam had been made fast
to a ring in the oor The struggles o f this u n
happy man had caused the rope to whirl round S O
that he was spinning in front Of the bl aze l i ke a
j oint Of meat Across the threshold lay a woman
the one whose cries had attracted us but her rigid
face and twisted body showed that o ur aid had
T HE

427

MI CAH CLARKE

come too late to save her from the fate which she
had seen impending Close by her two swarthy
dragoons in the glaring red coats of the Royal
army lay stretched across each other upon the
oor dark and scowli ng even in death In the
centre Of the room t w o other dragoons were c ut
ting and stabbing with their broad swords at a
thick short heavy shouldered man clad in coarse
brow n kersey stuff w ho sprang about among the
chairs and round the table with a long basket hilted
rapier in his hand parrying or dodgin g their blows
with wonderful adroitness and every n o w and then
putting in a thrust in return Hard pressed as he
was his set resolute face rm mouth and bright
well Opened eyes spoke O f a b O ld spirit within while
the blood which dripped from the S leeve o f on e of
his Opponents proved that the contest w a s n ot s o
u nequal as it might appear
Even as we gazed he
sprang back to avoid a erce rush O f the furious
soldiers and by a quick sharp side stroke he severed
the rope by which the victim w a s hung The body
fell with a heavy thud upon the brick oor while
the little swordsman danced O ff in a moment into
another quarter of the room still stopping o r avoid
ing with the utmost ease and S ki ll the S hower Of
blo w s which rained upon him
This strange scene held us spell bound for a few
seconds but there was no time for delay for a slip
o r trip would prove fatal to the gall ant stranger
Rushing into the chamber sword in hand we fell
upon the dragoons w ho outnumbered as they
were backed into a corner and struck o ut ercely
kn owing that they need expect no mercy after the
devil s work in which they had been engaged Hol
loway our sergeant Of horse springing furiously in
laid himself Open to a thrust which stretched him
.

4 28

O F THE S W O RD SMAN
d ead

upon the ground Before the d ragoon could


disengage his weapon S ir Gervas cut him down
while at the same moment the stranger g o t past
the guard Of his antagonist and wounded him mor
tally i n the throat O f the four red coats n ot o n e
escaped ali ve while the bodies O f o u r sergeant and
o f the Old couple w ho had been the rst victims
increased the horror of the scene

Poor Holloway is gone said I placing my

W ho ever s aw such a
hand over his heart
shambles ? I feel sick and ill
Here is eau de vi e if I mistake not cried the
stranger clambering up o n a chair and reachi n g a
bottle from the shelf
Good too by the smell
Take a s up for y o u are as white as a n e w bleached
sheet
Honest warfare I ca n abide but scenes li ke
this make my blood run cold I answered taking
a gulp from the ask I was a very young soldier
then my dears but I confess that to the end of
my campaigns any form Of cruelty had the same
e ffect upon me I give you my word that when I
went to London last fall the sight o f an over
worked raw backed cart horse straining with its
load and ogged for not doing that which it could
not do gave me greater qualms than di d the eld
of Sedgemoor o r that greater day w hen ten thou
sand Of the ower Of France lay stretched before
the earthworks O f Landen
The woman i s dead said Sir Gervas and the
man is also I fear past recovery
He is not
burned but su ffers I should j udge poor devil !
from the rush Of blood t o the head
If that be all it m ay well be cured remarked
the stranger ; and taking a small knife from his
pocket he roll ed up the O ld man s sleeve and
.

429

M I CAH CLARKE

opened o n e O f his veins At rst onl y a few S lu g


gish black drops oozed from the wound but pres
ently the blood began to ow more freely and the
inj ured man showed signs Of returning sense
He will li ve said the little swordsman putting
his lancet back in hi s pocket
And now w ho
may you be to whom I o w e this interference which
shortened the affair though mayhap the result
would have been the same had you left us to settle
it amongst our selves ?
We are from Monmouth s army I answered
He lies at Bridgewater and w e are scouting and
seeking supplies
And who are you
asked S ir Gervas
And
ho w came you into this ru fe ? S bu d y o u are a
game little rooster to ght four such great cock
.

e re ls

My name is Hector Marot the man answered


cleaning o ut his empty pistols and very carefully
reloading them
A s to w ho I am it is a matter
S ufce it that I have helped
o f small moment
to lessen Ki rk s horse by four Of his rogu es
Mark their faces s o dusky and sun dried even in
death These men have learned warfare ghting
against the heathen in Africa and n o w they prae
tise on poor harmless English folk the dev il s tricks
which they have picked up amongst the savages
The Lord help Monmouth s men should they be
beaten ! These vermin are more to be feared than
hangman s cord or headsman s axe
But how did y o u chance upon the spot at the
?
very nick Of time
I asked
Why marry I w a s j ogging do wn the road on
my m are when I heard the clatter o f hoofs behind
me and conceali ng myself in a eld as a prudent
man would wh ile the country is in its present state
,

4 30

O F T HE S W O RD S MAN

I s aw these four rogues gallop past They made


their w ay up to the farmhouse here and presently
from cries and other tokens I kne w what manner o f
hell re business they had on hand O n that I left
my mare in the eld and ran up when I s aw them
through the e a se m e nt tricing the good man up in
front Of his re to make him confess where hi s
wealth lay hidden though indeed it is my o w n b e
lief that neither he n o r any other farmer in these
parts hath any wealth left to hide aft er t w o armies
have been quartered in turn upon them Finding
that his mouth remained closed they ran him up
as y o u s a w and would assuredly have toasted him
like a snipe had I n ot stepped in and winged t w o
Of them with my barkers The others s e t upon
me but I pinked o n e through the forearm and
should doubtless have given a good account of
both o f them but for your incoming

Right gall antly done ! I exclaimed


But
where have I heard your name before Mr Hector
Marot
Nay he answered with a S harp sidelong look
I cannot tell that

It is famili ar to mine ear said 1


H e S hrugged his broad shoulders and continued
to look to the pri ming Of his pistols w ith a half
deant and half uneasy expression He w a s a very
sturdy deep chested man with a stern square
j awed face and a white seam across his bronzed
forehead as from a slash with a knife He wore a
gold edged riding cap a j acket Of bro w n s a d col
o ure d stu ff much stained by the weather a pair o f
high rusty j ack boots and a small b o b w ig
Sir Gervas who had been staring very hard at
the man suddenly gave a start and slapped his
hand against his leg
.

431

M I CA H CLARK E
O f course

he cried
Sink me if I could
remember where I had seen your face but now it
comes back to me very C learly
The man glanced doggedly from under his bent
brows at each Of us in turn
It seems that I ha ve
fallen among acquaintances he said g rufy ; yet
I have no memory o f ye Methinks yo ung sirs
that your fancy doth play ye false
Not a whit the Baronet answered quietly and
bending forward he whispered a fe w words into
the man s ear which caused him to S pring from his
seat and take a couple Of quick strides forward as
though to escape from the house
Nay nay cried Sir Gervas springing between
him and the door y o u shall not run away from
us Pshaw man never lay your hand upon
your sword We have had bloody work enough
for one night Besides we would not harm you
What mean ye then ? What would ye have ?
he asked glancing about like some erce wild beast
in a trap
I have a most kindly feeling to you man aft er
this night s work cried Sir Gervas
What is it
to me ho w ye pick up a living as long as you are a
true man at heart ? Let me perish if I ever forget
a face which I have once seen and your bonne
mine with the trade mark upon your forehead is
especially hard to overlook
Suppose I be the same ? What then ? the
man asked sullenly

There is no suppose in the matter I could


swear to you But I would n o t lad
not if I
caught you red handed Yo u must know Clarke
since there is none t o overhear us that in the Old
days I w a s a Justice of the Peace in S urrey and
that our friend here was brought up before me on

432

O F T HE SW O RD SMAN

a charge Of riding somewhat late 0 night and Of


being plaguy short with travellers You wi ll un
de rst a n d me
He w as referred to assizes but got
away in the meanwhile and s o saved hi s neck
Right glad I am Of it for you will agree with me
that he is too proper a man to give a tight rope
dance at Tyburn

And I remember well now where I have heard


your name said I
Were y o u not a captive in
the Duke of Beaufort s prison at Badminton and
di d you not succeed in escaping from the Old
Boteler dungeon ?
Nay gentlemen he replied seating himself o n
the edge Of the table and carelessly swinging his
legs since y e know S O much it would be fo ll y fo r
me to attempt t o deceive ye I am indeed the same
Hector M arot w ho hath made hi s name a terror o n
the great Western road and w ho hath seen the i n
side O f more prisons than any man in the south
With truth however I c an s a y that though I have
been ten years upon the roads I have never yet
taken a groat from the poor o r inj ured any man
who did not wish to i nj ure me O n the contrary
I have O ft en risked life and limb to save those w ho
were in trouble
We can bear y o u out in that I answered for
if these four red coat devils have paid the price o f
their crimes it is your doing rather than ours

N ay I can take little credit for that our n e w


acquaintance answered
Indeed I had other
scores to settle with Colonel Kirke s horse and w a s
but too glad to have this breather with them
Whilst w e were talking the men whom w e had
left with the horses had come up together W i th
some Of the neighbouring farmers and cottagers
who were aghast at the scene of slaughter and

4 33

CLA R K E

M I CAH

much troubled in their minds over the vengeance


which might be exacted by the Royal troops next
daK
F or Christ s zake zur cried on e Of them an
move the bodies 0
O ld ruddy faced countryman
these soldi er rogues into the road and let it zeem as
ho w they have perished in a chance ght w i your
Should it be known as they
o w n troopers loike
have met their end within a v armho u s e there will
n ot be a thatch le ft unli ghted over t whole country
side ; as i t is us c an scarce keep these murthering
Tangiers devils from o o r throats
His request is in reason said the highwayman
bluntly
We have no right to have o ur fun and
then go our way leaving others to pay the score
Well hark ye said S ir Gervas turning to the
group O f frightened rustics
I ll strike a bargain
with ye over the matter We have come out for
li
su
e s a n d c a n scarce go back empty handed
I
f
pp
ye will among ye provide us with a cart lli ng it
w ith such breadstu ffs and greens as ye may with a
dozen bullocks as well w e S hall not onl y screen ye
in this matter but I shall promise payment at fair
market rates if ye w i ll come to the Protestant
camp for the money
I ll spare the bullocks
quoth the Old man
whom w e had rescued w ho was now su fciently
recovered to sit up
Zi n ce my poor dame is
foull y murthered it matters little to me what be
comes 0 the stock I S hall zee her laid in Durston
graveyard and S hall then V O llo w you t o t camp
where I shall die happy if I c an but rid the earth
0 o n e more 0 these incarnate devils
You s ay well gaffer
c ried Hector Marot ;
you S how the true spirit Methinks I s e e an O ld
birdi ng piece o n yonder hooks which with a brace

4 34

O F THE S W O RD S MAN

Of slugs in it and a bold man behind it might bring


down one o f these ne birds for a ll thei r gay
feathers
Her s been a true mate to me for more n thirty
year said the Old man the tears coursing down
his wrinkled cheeks
Thirty zeed t o i me s and
thirty harvests we ve worked together But this is
a zeed t o i me which shall have a harvest 0 blood if
my right hand can compass it
If you go to t wars Gaffer Swain we ll look
to your homestead said the farmer who had
spoken before
As to t green stu ffs as thi s gen
t le ma n asks for he shall have not o n e w a i n lo a d but
three if he will but g i us half an hour to ll them
up If he does not tak them t others will S O we
had ra it her that they go to the good cause Here
Miles do you wak the labourers and zee that they
throw the potato store w i the spinach and the
dried meats into the waggons w i a ll speed
Then we had best s e t about our part O f the con
tract said Hector Marot With the aid o f our
troopers he carried o ut the four dragoons and o ur
dead sergeant and laid them o n the ground some
way down the lane leading the horses all round
and between their bodies s o as to trample the
earth and bear o ut the idea o f a cavalry S kirmish
While this was doing some o f the labourers had
washed do w n the brick oor Of the kitchen and re
moved all traces of the tragedy The murdered
woman had been carried up t o her o w n chamber
s o that nothing was le ft to recall w hat had o c
curred save the unhappy farmer who s at moodil y
in the same place with his chin resting upon his
stringy work worn hands staring o ut in front o f
him with a stony empty gaze unconscious appar
ently of all that w as going on around him
,

435

M I CAH CLARKE
The loading Of the waggons had been quickly
accomplished and the little drove of oxen gathered
from a neighbouring eld We were j ust starting
upon our return j ourney when a young country
man rode up with the news that a troop Of the
Royal Horse were between the camp and o ur
selves This was grave tidings for we were but
seven all told and o ur pace was necessarily slow
whilst w e were hampered with the supplies
?
How about Hooker
I suggested
Should
we not send aft er him and give him warning ?
I ll goo at once said the countryman
Im
bound to zee him if he be o n the Athelney road
S O saying he s e t spurs t o his horse and galloped
O ff through the darkness
Wh ile we have such volunteer scouts a s this I
remarked it is easy to s e e which side the country
folk have in their hearts Hooker hath still the
better part Of two troops with him s o surely he
can hold his o w n But how are w e to make o ur
way back
Zounds Clarke let u s extemporise a fortress
suggested Sir Gervas
We could hold this farm
house against all comers until Hooker returns and
then j oin o ur forces to his N o w would o ur re
doubtable Colonel be in his glory t o have a chance
Of devising cross re s and an ki ng re s with all
the other renements O f a well conducted leaguer
Nay I answered aft er leaving Maj or Hooker
in a somewhat cavalier fashion it would be a bitter
thing to have to ask his help n o w that there is
danger
cried the Baronet
It does n ot
H O ho !
take a very deep lead line to come to the bottom
Of your stoical philosophy friend Micah F o r all
your cold blooded stolidity yo u are keen enough
,

4 36

T HE

OF
w here pride

S W O RDSMAN

honour i s concerned
Shall w e
?
then ride onwards and chance it
I ll lay a n even
c rown that we never so much as s e e a red coat
If y o u will take my advice gentlemen said
the highwayman trotting up upon a beautiful bay
mare I should s ay that your best course is to
allow me to a ct as g uide to you a s far as the camp
It will be strange if I cannot nd roads which shall
b a l e these blundering soldiers
A very wise and seasonable proposition cried
Sir Gervas
Master Marot a pinch from my
snu ff box which is ever a covenant Of friendship
with its owner A ds li diki n s man though our a c
quaintance at present is limited to my having nearly
hanged you o n o n e occasion yet I have a kindly
feeling towards you though I wish yo u had some
more savoury trade
Marot an
S O do many who ride 0 night
But we had best start
s w e re d with a chuckl e
for the east is whitening and it will be dayli ght ere
we come t o Bridgewater
Leaving the ill omened farmhouse behind us we
set O ff with all military precautions Marot riding
with me some distance in front while t w o Of the
troopers covered the rear It was still very dark
though a thin grey li ne on the horizon showed that
the dawn was n o t far O ff In spite O f the gloom
however o ur new acquaintance guided us without a
moment s halt o r hesitation through a network Of
lanes and bypaths across elds and over bogs
where the waggons were sometimes up to their
axles in mud and sometimes were groaning and
straining over rocks and stones So frequent were
o ur turnings and s o O ft en did w e change the di re c
tion o f o ur advance that I feared more than once
that o ur guide was at fault ; yet when at last the
or

437

M I CAH CLARKE
r st

rays Of the s u n brightened the landscape w e


saw the steeple o f Bridgewater parish church S hoot
i n g up right in front o f us
Zounds man yo u must have something O f the
cat in yo u to pick yo ur way S O in the dark cried

S ir Gervas riding up to u s
I am right glad
to see the town for my poor waggons have been
creakin g and straining until my ears are w eary with
li stening for the snap Of the axle bar
Mast er
Marot we o w e yo u something for this
Is this your o w n particular district ? I asked
o r have you a like kn owledge O f every part Of the
south
My range said he lighting his S hort black

pipe
is from Kent to Cornwall though never
north Of the Thames o r Bristol Channel Through
that district there is no road which is not famili ar
to me nor as much as a break in the hedge which
I could not n d in blackest midni ght It is my
calli ng But the trade is not what it w a s If
I had a s on I should not bring him up to it It
hath been S poiled by the armed guards to the mail
coaches and by the accursed goldsmiths w ho have
Opened their banks and s o taken the hard money
into their strong boxes giving out instead slips Of
paper which are as useless t o u s as an Old news
letter I give ye my word that only a week gone
last Friday I stopped a grazier coming from Bland
ford fair and I took seven hundred guineas O ff him
in these paper cheques as they call them enough
had it been in gold to have lasted me for a three
month rouse Truly the country is coming to a
pretty pass when such trash as that is allowed to
take the place Of the Ki ng s coinage
Why should you persevere in such a trade ?
s aid I
Your o w n knowledge must tell y ou th at
.

438

O F T HE S W O RD S MAN

it can only lead to ruin and the gallows Have


you ever known o n e w ho has thriven at it

That have I he answered readily


There
was Kingston Jones who worked Hounslow fo r
many a year He took ten thousand yellow boys
o n one
o b and like a wise man he vowed never
j
to risk his neck again H e went into Cheshire
with some tale o f having newly arrived from the
Indies bought an estate and is now a ourishing
country gentleman Of good repute and a Justice o f
the Peace into the bargain Zounds man ! to s e e
him o n the bench condemning some poor devil fo r
stealing a dozen eggs is as good as a comedy in the

playhouse
Nay but I persisted y o u are a man j udg
ing from what we have seen o f your courage and
s kill i n the use o f your weapons w ho would gain
speedy preferment in any army S urely it were
better to use your gift s to the gaining o f honour
and credit than to make them a stepping stone to
?
disgrace and the gallows
F o r the gallows I care not a clipped S hilling
the highwayman answered sending up thick blue
curls o f smoke into the mornin g air
We have
all to pay nature s debt and whether I do it in my
boots or o n a feather bed in one year o r in ten
matters as little to me as to any soldier among y o u
As to di sgrace it is a matter O f opinion I s e e no
shame myself in taking a toll upon the wealth O f
the rich S ince I freely expose my o w n skin in the
doing Of it

There is a right and there is a wrong I an


which no words can do away with and it
s w e re d
is a dangerous and unprotable trick to juggle with
them
Besides even if what y o u have said were true
.

'

29

439

M I CAH CLAR K E

as to property Sir Gervas remarked


it would
n o t hold y o u excused for that recklessness o f human
life which your trade begets
Nay ! it i s but hunting save that your quarry
may at any time turn round upon you and become
in turn the hunter It i s as you s ay a dangerous
game but t w o can play at it and each has an equal
chance There is no loading o f the dice or throw
ing Of fulhams Now it was but a fe w days back
that riding down the high road I perceived three
j olly farmers at full gallop across the elds w ith a
leash o f dogs yelping in front O f them and all in
pursuit o f o n e little harmless bunny It was a
bare and unpeopled country side on the border Of
Exmoor so I bethought me that I could not em
ploy my leisure better than by chasin g the C hasers
O dd s w o u n s ! it w a s a proper hunt Away went
my gentlemen whooping li ke madmen with their
coat skirts apping in the breeze chivying o n the
dogs and having a rare morning s sport They
never marked the quiet horseman who rode behind
them and who without a yoick o r hark a way
w a s relishing his chase with the loudest O f them
It needed but a posse O f peace O fcers at my heels
to make up a brave string o f us catch who catch
c an
like the game the lads play o n the vill age
green
?
O
And what came f it
I asked for our new
acquaintance was laughing silently to himself
Well my three friends ran do w n their hare
and pu lled out their asks as men who had done a
good stroke of work They were still hobnobbing
and laughing over the slaughtered bunny and o n e
had dismounted to c ut O ff its ears as the prize O f
their chase when I came up at a hand gallop

Good morrow gentlemen said I w e h ave had


,

4 40

O F THE S W O RD S M A N

rare sport
They looked at me blankly enough I
promise y o u and o n e Of them asked me what the
devil I did there and how I dared to j oin in a pri
vate sport
N a y I was not chasing your hare
gentlemen said I
What then fell ow ? asked
o n e o f them
Why marry I w a s chasing you I
answered and a better run I have not had for
years
W ith that I lugged o u t my persuaders
and made the thing clear in a few words and I ll
warrant you would have laughed could you have
seen their faces as they slowly dragged the fat
leather purses from their fobs S eventy o n e pounds
w a s my prize that morning which was better worth
ri di ng for than a hare s ears
Did they not raise the country o n your track ?
I asked
Nay ! When Brown Alice is gi ven her head
Rumour spreads
S he i es faster than the news
quick but the good mare s stride is quicker still
And here we are withi n o ur o w n outposts

quoth Sir Gervas


Now mine honest friend for
honest you have been to us whatever others may

say o f you will y o u not come with us and strike


in for a good cause ? Zounds man ! y o u have
many an ill deed to atone for I ll warrant Why
not add one good one to your account by risking
your life for the reformed faith ?

N ot I the highwayman answered reining up


his horse
My own skin is nothing but w hy
?
should I risk my mare in such a fool s quarrel
Sho ul d s he come to harm in the ru fe where could
I get such another ? Besides it matters nothing
to her whether Papist o r Protestant sits o n the
?

throne Of England does it my beauty


But you might chance to gain preferment I
said
O ur Colonel D ecimus S axon is one w ho

441

M I CAH C LARKE

loves a good swordsman and his word hath po w er


w ith Kin g Monmouth and the council
N ay nay ! cried Hector Marot g ruf y
Let
every man stick to his o w n trade Kirke s Horse
I am ever ready to have a brush with for a party
o f them hung Old blind Jim Houston Of Milverton
who w a s a friend of m i ne I have sent seven of
the red handed rogues t o their last account for it
and might work through the whole regiment had
I time But I will n ot ght against King James
nor will I risk the mare so let me hear no more Of
it And n o w I must leave ye for I have much to
do Farewell to y o u
Farewell farewell
we cried pressin g his
brown horny hands ; o ur thanks to y o u for your
guidance
Rais i ng his hat he shook his bridle
and gall oped O ff down the road in a rolling cloud
Of dust
Rat me if I ever say a word against the thieves

again ! said Sir Gervas


I never saw a man
wield sword more de ft ly in my life and he must
be a rare hand with a pistol to bring those two tall
fellows do w n with tw o shots
But look over
there Clarke ! Can y ou not s e e bodi es Of red
?
coats
S urely I can I answered gazing o ut over the
broad reedy dead coloured plain which extended
from the other side of the winding Parret to the
di stant Polden Hi lls
I c a n s e e them over y o n
der in the direction of Westonz oyland as bright as
the poppies among corn

There are more upon the left near Chedzoy


quoth S ir Gervas
O ne t w o three and one
yonder and two others behinds i x regiments O f
foot in all Methin ks I s e e the breastplates Of
horse over there and some Sign o f ordnance t oo
,

442

O F THE SW O RD SMAN

Faith ! Monmouth must ght n o w if he ever


hopes to feel the gold rim upon his temples The
whole O f King James s army hath closed upon him

We must get back to our command then I


answered
If I mistake n o t I s e e the utter of
our standards in the market place
We spurred
o ur weary steeds forward and made our way with
o ur little party and the supplies which we had c o l
le c t e d until we found ourselves back in o ur quar
ters where we were hailed by the lusty cheers O f
o u r hungry comrades
Before noon the drove o f
bullocks had been changed into j oints and steaks
while our green stuff and other victuals had helped to
furn ish the last dinner which many of our men were
ever destined t o eat Maj or Hooker came in shortly
aft er with a good store Of provisions but in no very
good case fo r he had had a skirmish with the dra
goons and had lost eight or ten Of his men H e
bore a complaint straightway to the council co n
cerning the manner in which we had deserted him
but great events were coming fast upon us n o w
and there was small time to inquire into petty
matters of discipline F or myself I freely confess
looking back o n it that as a soldier he w a s entir ely
in the right and that o ur conduct was not to be
excused Yet I trust my dears even n o w when
years have weighed me down that the scream Of a
woman in distress would be a S ignal which would
draw me to her aid while these Old limbs could
he ar me
F o r the duty which we o w e to the weak
overrides all other duties and is superior to all c i r
c ums t a n ce s and I for one cannot s e e why the coat
Of a soldier should harden the heart o f the man
,

443

M I C A H CLA R K E

XXX I
OF TH E

MAI D

OF

THE M A R S H AND T H E B U BB L E W H I C H
R OS E F R O M THE B OG

AL L

Bridgewater w as i n a ferment as we rode i n


for King J ames s forces were within four miles on
the S edgemoor Plain and it was li kely that they
would push o n at once and storm the town S ome
rude works had been thrown up o n the Eastover
side behin d which t w o brigades were draw n up in
arms wh ile the rest Of the army was held in re
serve in the market place and Castle Field T o w
ards aft ernoon however parties of o ur horse and
peasants from the fen country came in w ith the
news that there w a s no fear of an assault being at
tempted The Royal troops had quartered them
selves snugly i n the little vill ages O f the neighbour
hood and having levied contributions o f cider and
Of beer from the farmers they showed no S ign Of
any wish to advance
The to w n w a s fu ll O f women the wives mothers
and sisters o f our peasants w ho had come in o m
far and near to s e e their loved ones once more
Fleet Street or Cheapside upon a busy day are not
more crowded than were the narrow streets and
lanes Of the Somersetshire town
Jack booted
bu ff coated troopers ; scarlet m ili tiamen ; brown
stern faced T a un t o ni a n s serge clad pikemen wil d
ragged miners ; s m o ckfro cke d yokels ; reckl ess
weather tanned seamen ; gaunt cragsmen from the
northern coast all pushed a nd j ostled each other
in a thick many coloured crowd
E verywhere
among them were the country women straw
bon
n e t e d and loud tongued
weep i ng embracing and
,

4 44

O F T HE M AI D O F T HE MARS H

exhorting Here and there amid the motley dresses


and gleam of arms moved the dark sombre gure
O f a Puritan minister with sweeping s a d coloured
mantle and penthouse hat scattering abroad sho rt
ery ej aculations and stem pithy texts o f the o ld
ghting order which warmed the men s blood like
liquor Ever and anon a S harp erce shout would
rise from the people like the yelp o f a high spirited
hound which is straining at i t s leash and hot to be
at the throat o f its enemy
O ur regiment had been taken O ff duty whenever
it w as clear that F e ve rs ha m did n o t mean to a d
vance and they were now busy upon the victuals
which o ur night foray had furnished It w a s a
S unday fresh and warm with a clear unclouded
and
a
gentle
breeze
sweet
with
the
smack
of
sk
y
the country All day the bell s O f the neighbour
ing villages rang o ut their alarm pealing their
music over the sunlit country side The upper
windows and red tiled roofs o f the houses were
crowded with pale faced women and children w ho
peered o ut to eastward where the splotches o f
crimson upon the dun coloured moor marked the
position o f o ur enemies
At four O clock Monmouth held a last council o f
w ar upon the square tower o ut O f which springs the
steeple Of Bridgewater parish church whence a
good View can be Obtained Of all the country roun d
Since my ride to Beaufort I had always been hon
o ure d with a summons t o attend in spite o f my
humble rank in the army There were some thirty
councillors in all as many as the space would hold
soldiers and courtiers Cavaliers and Puritans a ll
drawn together n o w by the bond o f a common
danger Indeed the Tn e a r approach o f a crisis in
their fortunes had broken down much of the dis
.

44 5

M I C AH C LARKE

tinction Of manner which had served to separate


them The sectary had lost something Of his aus
t e ri t y and become ushed and eager at the pros
peet o f battle while the giddy man Of fashion was
hushed into unwonted gravity as he considered the
danger O f his position Their O ld feuds were for
gotten as they gathered O n the parapet and gazed
with s e t faces at the thick columns Of smoke which
rose along the sky line
King Monmouth stood among his chiefs pale
and haggard with the dishevelled unkempt look Of
a man whose distress O f mind has made him forget
ful Of the care Of his person H e held a pair o f
ivory glasses and as he raised them to his eyes his
thin white hands shook and twitched until it w as
grievous t o watch him Lord Grey handed his
o w n glasses to Saxon who leaned his elbows upon
the rough stone breastwork and stared long and
earnestly at the enemy
They are the very men I have myself led said
Monmouth at last in a low voice as though utter
ing his thoughts aloud
O ver yonder at the right
I s e e D umbart o n s foot I know these men well
They will ght Had we them w ith us all would
be w ell
N ay your Maj esty Lord Grey answered with

spirit y o u do your brave foll owers a n inj ustice


They t o o will ght to the last drop Of their blood
in your quarrel

Look down at them ! said M onmouth s ad


ly pointing at the swarming streets beneath us
Braver hearts never beat in English breasts yet
do but mark how they brab ble and clamour like
clowns o n a Saturday night Compare them with
the stern orderly array of the trained battalions
Alas ! that I S hould have dragged these honest
.

44 6

O F THE MAID O F THE MAR S H

souls from their little homes to ght S O hopeless a


battle !

Hark at that ! cried Wade


They do not
think it hopeless nor do we
As he spoke a wil d
shout rose from the dense crowd beneath w ho
w ere listening t o a preacher who w a s holding fort h
from a window

It is worthy Doctor Ferguson said S ir Stephen


Timewell w ho had j ust come up
He i s as o n e
inspired powerfully borne onwards in his discourse
V erily he is even as o n e Of the prophets Of Old
He has chosen for his text The Lord God o f gods
he knoweth and I srael he shall know If it be in
rebellion or if in transgression against the Lord
save us not this day
Amen amen ! cried several Of the Puritan
soldiers devoutly while another hoarse burst o f
shouting from below with the clashing Of scythe
blades and the clatter of arms showed how deeply
the people were moved by the burning words o f
the fanatic
They do indeed seem t o be hot for battle said
Monmouth with a more sprightly look
It may
b e that o n e who has commanded regular troops as
I have done is prone t o lay too much weight upon
the di fference which discipli ne and training make
These brave lads seem high o f heart What think
?
o u Of the enemy s dispositions Colonel Saxon
y
By my faith I think very little o f them your
Maj esty Saxon answered bluntly
I have seen
arm ies drawn up in array in many di fferent parts
Of the world and under many commanders I
have likewise read the section which treats Of the

matter in the De re militari Of Pe t ri n us Bellus


and in the works o f a Fleming Of repute yet I
have neither seen n o r heard anything which c an

44 7

M I CA H
t he

comme nd
us

CLARKE

arrangements which we

b efore

see

call you the hamlet o n the left that with


the square ivy clad church tower ? asked Mon
mouth turning to the Mayor Of Bridgewater a
small anxious faced man w ho w a s evidently far
from easy at the prominence which his O fce had
brought upon him
Westonzoyland your Honourthat i s your
GraceI mean your Maj esty he stammered
The other two m i les farther O ff is Middlezoy
and away to the le ft j ust o n the far S ide Of the
rhine is Chedzoy

The rhine sir ! What do you mean ? asked


the King starting Violently and turning s o e rce
ly upon the timid burgher that he lost the li ttle
balance Of wits which was left to him
Why the rhine your Grace your Maj esty he
quavered
The rhine which as your Maj esty s
Grace cannot but perceive is what the country
folk call the rhine
It is a name your Maj esty fo r the deep and
broad ditches which drain o f the water from the
reat
morass
Of
S
edgemoor
said
Sir
Stephen
g
T imewell
Monmouth turned white to his very li ps and
several O f the council exchanged signicant glances
recalling the strange prophetic j ingle which I had
been the means Of bringing to the camp The
S ilence w as broken however by an O ld Crom
w e lli a n Maj or named Hollis w ho had been draw
ing upon paper the position of the villages in which
the enemy was quartered
If it please your Maj esty there is something in
their order which recalls to my mind that of the
a rmy o f the S cots upon the occasion o f the batt le
.

H ow

4 48

O F THE MAI D O F TH E MAR S H

of Dunbar Cromwell lay in Dunbar even as w e


li e in Bridgewater
The ground around which
was boggy and treacherous was held by the enemy
There w a s not a man in the army w ho wo ul d not
own that had Old Leslie held hi s position w e
should as far as human wisdom could s e e have had
to betake u s to our ships leave o ur stores and o rd
nance and s o make the best Of o ur w ay t o N e w
castle H e moved however through the blessing
Of Providence in such a manner that a quagmire
intervened between his right wing and the rest o f
his army o n which Cromwell fell upon that wing
in the early dawn and dashed it to pieces with
such effect that the whole army ed and w e ha d
the execution o f them to the very gates Of Leith
Seven thousand S cots lost their lives but not more
than a hundred o r s o Of the honest folk N o w
your Maj esty will s e e thro ugh your glass that a
mile O f bogland intervenes between these villages
and that the nearest o n e Chedzoy as I think they
call it might be approached without ourselves e n
tering the morass V ery sure I am that were the
Lord General with us now he would counsel us to
venture some such attack
It is a bold thing with raw peasants t o attack
Old soldiers quoth Sir Stephen Timewell
Yet
if it is to be done I know well that there is not a
man born within sound Of the bells O f St Mary
Magdalene who will inch from it

Y o u say well Sir Stephen said Monmouth

At Dunbar Cromwell had veterans at hi s back


and was Opposed to troops w ho had small e xpe ri
ence o f war

Yet there is much good sense in what Maj or


Holli s has said remarked Lord Grey
We must
either fall o n or be gradually girt round and starved
.

M I CAH CLARKE
That being so why not take advantage at
once Of the chance which F e ve rsham s ignorance o r
?
carelessness hath gi ven us T O morrow if Church
hill can prevail over his chi ef I have little dou bt
that w e shall nd their camp rearranged and s o

have cause to regret o ur lost opportunity


Their horse lie at Westonzoyland said Wade
The s un is s o erce now that w e c an scarce s e e
for its glare and the haze which rises up from the
marshes Yet a li ttle while ago I could make o ut
through my glasses the long lines O f horses picketed
Behind in Mid
o n the moor beyond the vill age
dle z o y are two thousand m ili tia wh i le in Chedzoy
where o ur attack would fall there are ve regi
ments Of regular foot
I f we could break those all would b e w ell
cried Monmouth
What is your advice Colonel
Buyse
My advice is ever the same the German a n
W e are here to ght a nd the sooner we
s w e re d
get to work at it the better
And yours Colonel S axon ? D O you ag ree
with the Opinion Of your friend
I think with Maj or Holli s your Maj esty that
F e ve rs ha m by his dispositions hath laid himself
open to attack and that w e S hould take advantage
Yet considering that trained men
o f it forthwith
and a numerous horse have great advantage by
daylight I should be i n favour Of a camisado o r
night onfall
The same thought was in my mind said Grey
O ur friends here know every inch O f the ground
and could guide us to Chedzoy as surely in the
darkness as in the day

I have heard said S axon


that much beer
and cider with wine and strong waters have found
o ut

45 0

O F THE MAI D O F THE MARS H

their way into their camp If this be s o w e may


give them a rouse while their heads are still buzzing
with the liquor when they shall scarce know
whether it is ourselves or the blue devi ls which
have come upon them
A general chorus Of approval from the whole
council showed that the prospect O f at last coming
to an engagement was welcome aft er the weary
ma rc hi n g s and delays Of the last few weeks
Has any cavalier anything to s ay against this
plan ? asked the King
We all looked from o n e to the other but though
many faces were doubtful o r despondi ng none had
a word to say against the night attack fo r it was
clear that our action in any case must be hazardous
and this had at least the merit Of promising a better
chance O f success than any other Yet my dears
I dare s ay the boldest Of us felt a sinking at the
heart as we looked at our downcast s a d faced
leader and asked ourselves whether this was a
likely man to bring so desperate an enterprise to a
success

If all are agreed s aid he let o ur word he


S O hO and let u s come upon them as soon aft er
midnight as may be What remains to be settled
as to the order Of battle may be left for the mean
time Y o u will n o w gentlemen return to your
regi ments and yo u will remember that be the up
shot Of this what it may whether Monmouth be
the crown ed King o f England o r a hunted fugitive
his heart while it c a n still he at will ever bear in
memory the brave friends w ho stood at hi s side in
the hour Of his trouble
At this simple and kindly speech a ush Of devo
tion mingled in my o w n case at least with a heart
w hole pity for the poor weak gentleman swept
.

45 1

M I CAH C LARKE

over us We pressed round him with o ur hands


upon the hilts Of our swords swearing that we
would stand by him though all the world stood
between him and his rights Even the rigid and
impassive Puritans were moved to a S how of loy
alty ; while the courtiers carried away by zeal
drew their rapiers and shouted until the crowd
beneath caught the enthusiasm and the air was full
Of the cheering The light returned to M o n m o ut h s
eye and the colour to his c he c k as he listened to
the clamour For a moment at least he looked
like the King which he aspired t o be
My thanks to ye dear friends and subj ects he

cried
The issue rests with the Almighty but
what men c a n do wi ll I know well be done by
you this ni ght If Monmouth cannot have all
England six feet Of her shall at least be his
Meanwhil e to your regiments and may God de
fend the right
May God defend the right
cried the council
solemnly and separated leaving the King with
Grey to make the nal dispositions for the attack
These popinj ays o f the Court are ready enough
to wave their rapiers and S hout when there are four
good mil es between them and the foe said Saxon
as we made o u r way through the crowd
I fear
that they will scarce be as forward when there is
a li ne of m u s q ue t e e rs to be faced and a brigade
Of horse perhaps charging down upon their ank
But here comes friend L o cka rby with news writ
ten upon his face

I have a report t o make Colonel said Reu

Y o u may
ben hurrying breathlessly up to us
remembe r that I and my company were plac ed O n
guard this day at the eastern gates ?
Saxon nodded
.

45 2

OF

T HE

MAI D O F THE MARS H

Being desirous of seeing all that I could o f the


enemy I clambered up a lo ft y tree which stands
j ust without the town
From this post by the
aid of a glass I w a s able to make out their lines
and camp
Whilst I was gazing I chanced to
Observe a man slinki ng along under cover Of the
birch trees half w a y between their lines and the
town Watching him I found that he w a s indeed
moving in o ur direction
Presently he came s o

w
a
s
near that I
able to distinguish who it w as for
it was o n e whom I knowbut instead of entering
the town by my gate he walked round under cover
o f the peat cuttings and s o made his w a y doubtless
to some other entrance He is a man however
who I have reason to believe has no true love fo r
the cause and it is my belief that he hath been to
the Royal camp with news o f o ur doings and hath
n o w come back for further information
Aye said Saxon raising his eyebrows
And
w hat is the man s name ?
His name is Derrick o n e time chief apprentice
to Master Timewell at Taunton and now an O f
cer in the Taunton foot

What the young springald who had his eye


upon pretty Mistress Ruth ! N o w o ut o n love
if it is to turn a true man into a traitor ! But me
thought he was one O f t he elect ? I have heard
H o w comes it
him hold forth to the pikemen
that one Of his kidney should lend help to the Pre l
a t i s t cause ?

Love again quoth I


This same love i s a
pretty ower when it grows unchecked but it may
be a sorry weed if thwarted
H e hath an ill feeling towards many in the
camp said Reuben and he would ruin the army
t o a v enge himself o n them a s a rogue might sink
,

45 3

M I CA H C LARKE
a ship in the hope of dro wning on e enemy Sir
Stephen himself hath incurred his hatred for refus
in g to force his daughter into accepting his suit
He has now returned into the camp and I have
reported the matter to y o u that y o u may j udge
whether it would not be well to send a l e o f pike
men and lay him by the heels lest he play the spy
once more
Perhaps it would be best s o S axon answered
full Of thought
and yet no doubt the fellow
would have some tale prepared which would o ut
weigh our mere suspicions
Could w e n ot take
?
him in the very act
A thought slipped into my head I had Observed
from the tower that there was a S ingle lonely c ot
tage about a third Of the way to the enemy s camp
standing by the road at a place where there w ere
marshes o n either side Any one j ourneying that
way must pass it I f Derrick tried to carry our
plans to F e ve rsha m he might be c ut O ff at this
point by a party placed to lie in wait for him
Most excellent
Saxon exclaimed when I
had explained the proj ect
M y learned Fleming
himself could not have devised a better rus u s bel li
D O ye convey as many les as ye may think t
to this point and I shall se e that Master D errick
is primed up with some fresh new s for my Lord
.

F e ve rs ham

Nay a body Of troops marching out would set

tongues wagging said Reuben


Why should
not Micah and I go ourselves ?
That would indeed be better Saxon answered
But ye must pledge your words come what may
to be back at sundown for your companies must
stand to arms an hour before the advance
W e both gladly gave the desired promise ; and
,

454

O F THE MAI D O F THE MARS H

having learned for certain that Derrick had indeed


returned t o the camp Saxon undertook to let drop
in hi s presence some words as to the plans for the
night while we s e t O ff at once for o u r post O ur
horses we le ft behind and slipping o ut through the
eastern gate we made o ur way over bog and moor
conceali n g ourselves as best we could until w e
came out upon the lonely roadway and found o u r
selves in front o f the house
It was a plain whitewashed thatch roofed c o t
tage with a small board above the door whereon
w a s w ri t t e n a notice that the occupier sold milk
and butter NO smoke reeked up from the chim
ney and the shutters o f the window were closed
from which we gathered that the folk w ho own ed
it had ed away from their perilous position O n
either side the marsh extended reedy and shallow
at the edge but deeper at a distance with a bright
green scum which covered i t s treacherous surface
We knocked at the weather blotched door but re
c e i vi n
as
we
expected
no
reply
I
presently
put
g
my shoulder against it and forced the staple from
its fastenings
There was but a single chamber within with a
straight ladder in the corner leading through a
square hole in the ceili ng to the sleeping chamber
under the roof Three o r four chairs and stools
were scattered over the earthen oor and at the
side a deal table with the broad brown milk ba
sins upon it Green blotches upon the wall and
a sinking in O f o n e side Of the cottage showed the
e ffect o f its damp marsh girt position
T O our surprise it had still o n e inmate with i n I t s
wall s I n the centre Of the room facing the door
as we entered stood a little bright golden haired
maid ve or s i x years Of age She w as clad in a
,

30

45 5

M I CA H CLARKE
clean w hite smock with trim leather belt and shin
T w o plump little
ing buckle about her waist
legs with socks and leathern boots peeped o ut from
under the dress stoutly planted with right foot in
advance as o n e who was bent upon holding her
ground Her tiny head w a s thrown back and her
large blue eyes were fu ll Of mingled wonder and
deance As we entered the little witch appe d
her kerchief at u s and shooed as though we were
t w o Of the intrusive fowl whom s he w a s wont to
C hevy o ut Of the house Reuben and I stood on
the threshold uncertain and awkward like a pair
Of overgrown school lads looking down at this
fairy queen whose realms we had invaded in two
minds whether to beat a retreat or to appease her
wrath by so ft and coaxing words
GO way !
S he cried still waving her hands
and shaking her kerchief
Granny
GO way !
told me to tell any o n e that came to g o way !
But if they would not go away little mistress
asked Reuben what were you to do then ?
I was to drive them way s he answered a d
va n c in
boldly
against
us
with
many
aps
You
g
s he
bad man
continued ashing out at me
o u have broken granny s bolt
y
Nay I ll mend it again I answered penitently
and catching up a stone I soon fastened the inj ured
staple
There mistress your granddam will
ne ver tell the di fference
Ye must go way a ll the same s he persisted
this is granny s house not yours
What were we to do with this resolute little
dame Of the marshes ? That w e should stay in the
house w a s a crying need for there w a s no other
cover or shelter among the dreary bogs where w e
could hide ourselves
Yet s he was bent U pon
,

45 6

O F T HE MAID O F T HE MARS H

driving us out with a decision and fearlessness


which might have put Monmouth to shame
Y o u sell milk
said Reuben
We are tired
and thirsty SO we have come to have a horn O f it
Nay s he cried breaking into smiles will ye
pay me j ust as the folk pay granny ? O h heart
alive ! but that will be n e !
S he skipped up o n
to a stool and lled a pair o f deep mugs from the

basins upon the table


A penny please
said
.

s he

I t was strange to see the little wife hide the coin

away in her smock with pride and j oy in her inn o


cent face at this rare stroke of business which s he
had done for her absent granny We bore o ur
milk away to the window and having loosed the
shutters we seated ourselves S O as to have an ou t
look down the road
whispered
F o r the Lord s sake dr in k slow !
Reuben under his breath
We must keep o n
swilli ng milk o r s he will want to turn us o ut
We have paid toll now I answered ; surely
s he will let us bide
If you have done you must go way said s he
rmly
Were ever two men at arms s o tyranni sed over
by a little do lly li ke this said I laughing Nay
little o n e we shall compound with y o u by paying
you this shilling which wi ll buy all your milk
We can stay here and drink it at our c a se
J i n n y the c o w is j ust across the marsh quoth
S he
It is nigh milking time and I S hall fetch
her round if ye wish more
cried Reuben
It wi ll
N o w God forbid
end in our having to buy the c ow Where is your
?
granny little maid
She hath gone into the to wn the ch il d an
,

45 7

M I CA H CLARKE
s w e re d

There are bad men with red coats and


guns coming to steal and to ght but granny will
soon make them go way Grann y has gone to s e t
it all right
We are ghting against the men with the red

coats my chuck said I ; we shall take c are o f


your house with you and let no one steal any
thing
Nay then ye may stay quoth S he climbing
up upon my knee as grave as a sparrow upon a
bow
What a great boy y o u are
And why not a man ? I asked
Because you have no beard upon your face
Why granny hath more hair upon her chin than
you Besides only boys drink milk Men drink
cider
Then if I am a boy I shall be your s w eetheart

said I
Methinks I see the man for whom we
wait comin g down under the shadow O f yonder
line of pollard willows
It is he sure enough cried Reuben peeping
through the diamond paned window
Then li ttle o n e you must s it here said I
raising her up from my knee and placing her on a
Y o u must be a brave lass and
chair in a corner
sit still whatever may chance Will y o u do s o
She pursed up her rosy lips and nodded he r
head
H e comes o n apace Micah quoth my com
Is
rade w ho was still standing by the casement
he not like some treacherous fox o r other beas t o f
prey ?
There was indeed somethi ng in his lean black
clothed gure and swi ft furtive movements wh i ch
He stole
w a s like some cruel and cunning animal
along under S hado w of the stunted trees and withies
.

45 8

OF

THE

MAI D

O F T H E MAR S H

w ith b ent body and gliding gait

that from Bri dge


water i t would be no easy matter for the most
keen sighted to s e e him Indeed he w a s s o far
from the town that he might safely have come out
from his concealment and struck across the moor
but the deep morass on either side prevented him
from leaving the road until he had passed the c o t
t ag e
As he came abreast Of o ur ambush w e both
sprang o ut from the open door and barred his w ay
I have heard the Independent minister at Ems
w orth give an account O f Satan s appearance but
if the worthy man had been with us that day he
need not have drawn upon his fancy The man s
dark face whitened into a sic kly and mottled pallor
while he drew back with a long sharp i n t aki ng O f
the breath and a venomous ash from his black
eyes glancing swift ly from right to left for some
means o f escape F o r an instant hi s hand shot
towards his sword hilt but his reason told him that
he could scarce expect to ght his w ay past u s
Then he glanced round but any retreat would lead
him back to the men whom he had betrayed S O
he stood sullen and stolid with heavy downcast
face and shi ft ing restless eye the very type and
symbol Of treachery
We have waited some time for you Master

John Derrick said I


You must now return
with us to the to wn
O n what grounds do you arrest me ? he asked
?
in hoarse broken tones
Where is your warranty
Who hath given y o u a commission to molest trav
ellers upon the King s highway ?
I have my Colonel s commission I answered
shortly
You have been once already to Fever
sham s camp this morning
,

so

45 9

M I CAH CLARKE

It is a lie he snarled ercely


I do but take
a stroll to enj oy the air
It is the truth said Reuben
I saw you m y
self ou your return Let us see that paper which
peeps from your doublet
We all know why you should s e t this trap for
Y o u have s e t evil
me D errick cried bitterly
reports aoat against me lest I stand in your light
with the Mayor s daughter What are y o u that
?
you should dare to raise your eyes to her A mere
vagrant and masterless man coming none know
whence Why should you aspire to pluck the
ower which has grown up amongst us ? What
?
had y o u to do with her or with us
Answer
me !
It is not a matter which I shall discuss save at
a more tting time and place Reuben answered
quietly
D O y o u give over your sword and come
back with us F o r my part I promise to do what
I can to save your li fe Should w e win this night
your poor efforts can do little to harm us S hould
w e lose there may be few Of us le ft to harm
I thank y o u fo r your ki ndly protection he re
pli ed in the same white cold bitter manner n u
buckli ng his sword as he spoke and walking slowly
up to my companion
You c an take this as a
gift to Mistress Ruth he said presenting the
weapon in his le ft hand and this
he added
plucking a knife from his belt and burying it in my
poor friend s side

I t w a s done in an instant so suddenly that I


had neither time to spring between n o r t o grasp
his intention before the wounded man sank gaspi n g
the ground and the knife tinkled upon the
on
pathway at my feet The vi ll ain set up a shrill cry
Of triumph and bounding back in time to avoid
.

4 60

O F T HE MAID O F THE MARS H

the savage sword thrust which I made at him he


turned and ed down the road at the top of his speed
He w a s a far lighter man than I and more scantily
clad yet I had from my long wind and length o f
limb been the best runner Of my district and he
soon learned by the sound Of my feet that he had
no chance Of shaking me O ff Twice he doubled as
a hare does when the hound is upon him and twice
my sword passed within a foot Of him for in very
truth I had no more thought Of mercy than if he
had been a poisonous snake w ho ha d fastened his
fangs into my friend before my eyes I never
dreamed Of giving nor did he Of claiming it At
last hearing my steps close upon him and my
breathing at his very shoulder he sprang wil dly
through the reeds and dashed into the treacherous
morass Ankle deep knee deep thigh deep waist
deep we struggled and staggered I sti ll gaining
upon him until I was within arm s reach o f hi m
and had whirled up my sword to strike It had
been ordained however my dear children that he
should die n ot the death O f a m an but that Of the
reptile which he was for even as I closed upon him
he sank Of a sudden with a gurgling sound and the
green marsh scum met above his head N O ripple
It w a s
w a s there and no splash to mark the S pot
sudden and silent as though some strange monster
o f the marshes had seized him a n d dragged him
down in to the depths A S I stood with upraised
sword still gazing upon the spot one single great
bubble rose and burst upon the surface and then
a ll w a s still once more and the dreary fens lay
stretched before me the very home O f death and
Of desolation I know not whether he had indeed
come upon some sudden pit which had engulfed
him or whether in his despair he had cast himself
,

461

M I CAH C LAR K E

do w n of s e t purpose I do but know that t here in


the great Sedgemoor morass are buried the bones
Of the traitor and the spy
I made my way as best I could through the oozy
clinging mud to the margin and hastened back to
where Reuben was lying Bending over him I
found that the knife had pierced through the side
leather which connected his back and front plates
and that the blood w a s n ot only pouring o ut o f the
wound but w a s trickling from the corner of his
mouth With trembli ng ngers I undid the straps
and buckles loosened the armour and pressed my
kerchief to his side to staunch the ow
I trust that you have not slain him Micah he
said o f a sudden opening his eyes

A higher power than ours h a s j udged him


Reuben I answered
Poor devil ! He has had much to embitter
him he murmured and straightway fainted again
A S I knelt over him marking the lad s w hite face
and laboured breathing and bethought me O f his
simple kindly nature and Of the affection which I
had done s o little to deserve I am not ashamed to
say my dears albeit I am a man somewhat back
ward i n my emotions that my tears were min gled
with his blood
As it chanced Decimus S axon had found time
to ascend the church tower fo r the purpose o f
watching us through his glass and seeing how w e
fared Noting that there w a s something amiss he
had hurried down for a skilled chirurgeon whom he
brought out to us under an escort o f s cyt he s m e n
I was still kneeling by my senseless friend doing
w hat an ignorant man might to assist him when
the party arrived and helped me to bear him into
the cottage o ut O f the glare o f the s un The min
.

4 62

O F THE MA ID O F THE MARS H

utes were as hours while the man Of physic with a


grave face examined and probed the wound
It wi ll scarce prove fatal he said at last and
I could have embraced him fo r the words
The
blade has glanced o n a rib tho ugh the lung is
slightly torn We shall he ar him back with us to
the town

Y o u hear what he says said S axon kindly


He is a man whose Opinion is Of weight
.

A s k i lful leach i s b etter far


T han half a h undred m e n o f w ar
,

Cheer up man ! Y o u are as white as though it


were your blood and not his which w a s drained
away Where is Derrick ?
Drowned in the marshes I answered

Tis well ! It will save us s i x feet o f good


But our position here is somewhat exposed
h emp
since the Royal Horse might make a dash at us
W ho is this li ttle maid who sits s o white and still
in the corner
Tis the guardian Of the house Her granny
has left her here
Y o u had better come with us
There may be
rough work here ere all is over

Nay I must wait for granny s he answered


w ith the tears running down her cheeks

But ho w if I take y o u to granny little one


said I
We cannot leave you here
I held o ut
my arms and the child S prang into them and
nestled up against my bosom sobbing as though
her heart would break
Take me away s he
I s e frightened
cried
I soothed the little trembling thing as best I
might and bore her o ff with me upon my shoulder
The s cyt he s me n had passed the handl es o f their
,

,
.

463

M I CA H CLARKE
long weapons through the S leeves Of their j erkin s in
such a w ay as to form a couch o r litter upon which
poor Reuben w a s laid A slight dash Of colour had
come back to his cheeks in answer to some cordial
given him by the chirurgeon and he nodded and
smiled at S axon Thus pacing slowly w e returned
to Bridgewater where Reuben w a s carried to o ur
quarters and I bore the little maid O f the marshes
to kind townsfolk who promised to restore her to
her home w hen the troubles were over
,

XXX II
OF

THE

N F A LL AT S E D GEM OOR

H O W E VE R

pressing our o wn private griefs and


needs we had little time n o w to dwell upon them
fo r the moment was at hand which was to decide
for the time not onl y o u r o w n fates but that o f the
Protestant cause in E n gland None Of us made
N othing less than a miracle
li ght O f the danger
could preserve us from defeat and most o f us were
Of Opinion that the days o f the miracles were past
O thers however thought otherwise I beli eve that
many of o ur Puritans had they seen the heavens
Open that night and the armies o f the S eraphim
and the Cherubim descending to o ur aid would
have looked upon it as by no means a wonderful or
unexpected occurrence
The whole town w as loud with the preachin g
Every troop o r company had its o w n chosen orator
and sometimes more than one w ho held fort h and
expounded
From barrels from waggons from
windows and even from housetops they addressed
,

4 64

O F THE O NFALL AT SEDGEM O O R

the crowds beneath n o r w a s their eloquence in vain


Hoarse erce shouts rose up from the streets with
broken prayers and ej aculations Men were drunk
with reli gion as with wine
Their faces were
ushed their speech thick their gestures wild Sir
Stephen and S axon smiled at each other as they
watched them for they knew as O ld soldiers that
o f all causes which make a man valiant in deed and
careless Of li fe this religious t is the strongest and
the most endurin g
I n the evening I found time to look in upon my
wounded friend and found him propped up with
cushions upon his couch breathing with some pain
but as bright and merry as ever O ur prisoner
Maj or O gilvy who had conceived a warm affection
for us s at by his side and read aloud to him o ut Of
an Old book O f plays

This wound hath come at an evil moment


I s it not t oo much
said Reuben impatiently
that a little prick like this should send my men
c a t a i n le s s into battle a ft er all our marching and
p
dr illing ? I have been present at the grace and am
cut O ff from the dinner

Your company hath been j oined to mine I


answered though indeed the honest fell ows are
cast do w n at n o t having their o w n captain H as
the physician been t o see you ?
He has left even now said Maj or O gilvy
He pronounces our friend to be doing right
well but hath warned me against a llowing him
to talk
Hark to that lad ! said I shaking my nger
at him
I f I hear a word from you I go Y o u
will escape a rough waking this night Maj or
What thin k y o u Of o ur chance
I have thought little Of your chance from the
.

4 65

M I CAH C L AR K E

r st he replied frankl y
Monmouth is like a
ruined gamester w ho is n ow putting his last piece
upon the board He cannot w i n much and he
may lose all

Nay that is a hard saying said I


A suc
cess might set the whole Of the Midl ands i n arms
England is n o t ripe for it the Maj or answered
with a shake o f his head
It is true that it has no
fancy either for Papistry o r for a Papist King but
we know that it is but a passing evil since the
next in succession the Prince O f O range is a Prot e s
tant Why then should we risk so many evils to
bring that about which time and patience must
perforce accomplish between them ? Besides the
man whom ye support has S hown that he is un
worthy Of condence Did he not in his declara
tion promise to leave the choice Of a monarch t o
?
the Commons
And yet in less than a week he
proclaimed himself at Taunton Market Cross !
W ho could b eli eve on e w ho has so little regard for
truth
Treason Maj or rank treason I answered
laughing
Yet if we could order a leader as o n e
does a coat we might perchance have chosen o n e
O f a stronger texture
We are in arms not for him
but for the Old liberties and rights o f Englishmen
Have you seen S ir Gervas
Maj or O gilvy and even Reuben burst out laugh
ing
You will nd him in the room above said
Never did a famous toast prepare
o u r prisoner
herself for a court ball as he is preparing for his
battle If the King s troops take him they w ill
assuredly think that they have the Duke H e
hath been in here t o consult us as to his patches
hosen and I know not what beside You had best
go up to him
,

46 6

O F TH E O N FALL AT S EDGEM O O R

Adieu then Reuben I said grasping his hand


in mine

Adieu Micah ! God shield y o u from har