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« Nay, then, we are but just in time—you will go with us, sir, and aid us. We must have three, and know none else in whom we may so perfectly rely. You are aware that Charles is on parole not to hold secret intercourse with France—his parole broken, there is no breach of honesty or honor in seizing and perusing his dispatches. That package-open it quickly, Ireton-contains a dress like these that we now wear—the uniform of one who hath about your inches, borrowed for the nonce. It savors somewhat of tobacco-smoke and stale october, but we must not be nice. I pray you don it speedily. Nay, Ireton, you forget, where is the net to gather up his lovelocks, and the peruke? Quick !-quick !' he cried impatiently, binding up Edgar's Aowing hair, and covering it with a foxy wig, close-clipped, and cut into a hundred little peaks.
Some pigment was now laid on Edgar's whiskers, and mustaches, suiting them to the color of his false hair. A kerchief of coarse cotton next replaced his collar of fine lace, and a garb similar to that of his companions, his well-fancied habits. A clumsy broadsword was produced, with a wide leathern shoulder-belt, from under Cromwell's cloak ; and this with an old pair of his own military boots, carefully soiled for the occasion and fitted with rough iron spurs, and an un. polished headpiece, completed his attire.
“Mind now your bearing,' Cromwell said as they left the house ; smoke without ceasing, jostle a little those whom we meet with in the streets, and quote the strongest texts you may remember. When that we reach the inn, the great gate will be closed, the wicket only open. We will all enter in, and drink till half-past nine of the clock; then go forth you, as if upon some errand-loiter about the gates, until you see our man : follow in after him, and when he passeth up the yard—for he will go directly to the stables bar instantly the wicket, and advise us ! Now let us move on somewhat smartly.'....
'Abruptly entering the tap-room in which were some four or five grave-looking citizens, comforting themselves after the business of the day with poached eggs and canary, buttered ale, spiced claret, and half a dozen other drinks and dishes fashionable in those days, but long ago forgotten
"Ho! Landlord ! shouted Cromwell— bring us three cans of your best double ale-good measure, and be quick about it! Surely my flesh doth thirst for a cool drink, even as the faint spirit thirsteth for a soul-searching exposition of the mysteries that be essential to salva- • tion.'
""Such as Lieutenant Profit-by-the-Word poured forth to our great edifying yester even,' Ireton answered. Verily, good man, he was upheld most marvellously-four hours did he hold forth steadily, not waxing faint in flesh, nor weary in well-doing, but borne along in spirit with exceeding fervor, and his voice ringing like a trumpet, louder at every close. Truly a second Boanerges !
"Ay! and he touched with the true unction on that hard rock that splits all weaker vessels, the full justification of the soul by faith-the utter needlessness of works to save, when that the soul is filled, -ay, as a tankard that doth overflow its brim-(and lo! my can is out.
Ho! tapster, fill us the good black gallon jack, and fetch us more tobacco )—or as a mill-dam that doth burst its banks with the true grace of God!'
“Yea!' answered Ireton,—-yea ! verily he did ; but I bethought me somewhat, that he o'ershot the mark, when he did undertake to prove that those who have been once in grace may never relapse into sin, and that unto the pure all things are pure and holy.'.....
Just as the clock was chiming the first stroke of ten, he saw his man approaching, bearing a saddle on his head, and clad precisely as had been described. He was a tall, stout, servant-looking fellow, ruddy and fresh complexioned, but without one gleam of intellect in his broad jovial face—the last man in the world one would have taken for a spy or trusted emissary. This Edgar saw, as he passed by him near a lighted shop. He suffered him to get some dozen paces
in advance, and then with a slow sauntering gait pursued him. He saw him stoop beneath the wicket, and, without looking to the right or left, walk up the yard toward a group of hostlers, playing at odd or even on a horseblock round a dingy lanthern. Silently and unseen he dropped the bar across the wicket, and looked into the tap-room. “ Tarry,' said Cromwell,—tarry yet a while—the bird is ours !' In a few minutes the sound of a horse's hoofs were heard
upon the pavement.
"Now then,' cried Oliver. “Now !' and instantly unsheathing his long tuck, he darted through the doorway, followed immediately by Ireton and Sir Edgar, likewise with drawn swords.
• Cromwell had reached the man, before they overtook him, but Ardenne heard him say, “You ride forth late, my friend ; but we be placed here in the name, and by orders of the parliament, to search all goers out. But verily thou lookest like an honest lad. Thou hast, I Warrant me, nothing that thou wouldst care to hide !'
"Not I, i' faith, replied the stranger, bluntly ; search away, master soldier, if such be your orders, but I pray you delay me not, because I am in haste.'
"Lead the man's horse into the stable, Fast-and-Pray,' said Cromwell
, glancing his eye toward Ireton, “ 'twere a shame to let the dumb beast stand here in the pelting rain ; and thou, good Win-the-Fight, come in with us. Verily, friend, we will not detain thee long-but a horn of ale will not harm thee this damp night, I trow.'
"Not it--not it !' replied the fellow, what would you have Dow?'
"Oh! turn thy pockets out. Surely we will not be too hard with thee. Well! well ! this is a purse-good lack ! a heavy one ! and this a letter—to Master Styles, horse-courser, Dover ! Look sharply, that he be not too deep for thee, this John Styles—he played our colonel Whalley a deep trick with a spavined jade some two years past. He is a keen blade. Well !-this is a pipe—and this a baccabox—so ! so! in these there is no treason. Truly I said thou wert an honest fellow; and I was not deceived. Another cup of ale ? Tush! never mince the matter, 'twill warm thee more than thy plush jerkin -Upseyes ! So; down with it like lambs-wool. Well thou mayest VOL. IX.
go now, so thou wilt not tarry and have a rouse with us. Ho! Fastand-Pray, bring out the worthy fellow's horse ; he is not such as we be sent to look for, and—now I think of it our time of watch is ended!
A quick glance interchanged with his son-in-law, assured the general that the letter was secured ; so, slapping the messenger upon the back, he bade him mount and God go with him. And as he rode away, unconscious that his journey was now useless, the three companions hurried to Ardenne's house, where they might profit by their prize in safety.
A short half-hour's walk placed them before his door--so quickly, goaded to their utmost speed by anxious curiosity, did they retrace their steps. Lights were set in the library—the curtains closely drawn, the door locked—and then Ireton produced the packet. It was a small despatch, and fastened with a plain flaxen cord and ordinary seal, addressed to · Master Ephraim Mackleworth '--evidently a feigned name— at the Red Lion, Dover.' Within this was a small letter, simply directed to H.M.R.-bound with a skein of white floss silk, and fastened with the impression of a finely-cut antique upon green wax. Oliver caught it with an impatient gesture from the hand of Ireton, broke the seal, cast his eye hastily upon it, and exclaiming, • Nay, it is not in cipher !' read thus aloud :......
With a calm voice, though bitter in the extreme and scornful, Cromwell read out this document. Ireton's eyes flashed fire, and, as his father-in-law ended, he violently dashed his hand upon the table
"Whose dogs are we!' he cried in fierce and ringing tones, 'that we should be thus scandalously dealt with ? As the Lord liveth, he shall die the death !'
• But three days since,' said Cromwell — hypocrite that he is ! base knave, and liar !-he proclaimed, through me, his full acceptance of the army's terms—his last words were, and for myself henceforth I hold me bound by them! And I, fool that I was, I did rejoice and triumphed in my heart, that England should have peace !- And now - he will hang both of us ! ay, HANG !—Can there be any trust in such a man ?'
None!' answered Edgar, mournfully—there can indeed be none !-It is long since I have even dreamed there could! He is unstable as the sands of the sea-shore, and false-as fortune !'
• * Alas !-alas ! for England !' Oliver exclaimed, in deep, impressive tones— If it be thy will, mighty Lord, that this thy servant be a prey and victim to this man of Belial, truly I am prepared. But for this godly and regenerate land, for this oppressed and miserable people, in whose behalf, already many times, thou hast displayed the wonders of thy might--the miracles of thine invincible right hand - not for myself —not for myself, O Lord, poor sinner that I am, and leaky vessel, do I presume now to remonstrate—to strive earnestly—to wrestle, as did Jacob in the dark, against thy great decrees—but for this lovely isle this precious England !
"With Caiaphas - I say ! returned the fiery Ireton— With Caiaphas ! Jew though he was, unrighteous judge, and murtherer of the Lord's Anointed ! 'Ye know not '—'tis to you I say it, my friends and fellow-soldiers—nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not!".
*This bold speech, for that night, ended the debate. Cromwell was silent, though the remarkable and resolute compression of his own mouth, and the deep frown that furrowed his high forehead, and the determined gleam of his hard eye, showed that his silence was produced by anything rather than doubt or fear.'-Vol. iii. pp. 58—72.
The evidence thus obtained of the king's duplicity decided the wavering resolution of Cromwell. To persist in braving the dangers of his position after such a discovery of the king's faithlessness would have been to evidence an infatuation equal to that of the monarch. Finding that we were not likely,' said Cromwell, when giving an account of this transaction, 'to • have any favorable terms from the king, we immediately from • that time resolved his ruin.' The execution of the king afforded ample scope for the display of Cromwell's ambition. His star was now in the ascendant, and the baneful influences of prosperity were soon visible in his conduct. The purity of his patriotism had, it is probable, already suffered somewhat from the rude encounter of other and base passions, but now that he stood the acknowledged master of three kingdoms, with an invincible army at his command, and the multifarious sects which had risen during the civil war looking to him as the minister and vicegerent of heaven, it is no wonder that his integrity failed, and that some elements of selfishness were permitted to divert his magnanimous soul from its sworn object, and thus to shade the lustre of a course which would otherwise have been beyond all precedent. It is a vulgar error to suspect the sincerity of Cromwell's past professions, or to attribute his services in the popular cause to the instigations of personal ambition. This was an after theory, adopted by his opponents in utter neglect of the history of his early life, in order to give the coloring of truth to their perverse and falsified statements. It is without a tittle of evidence, and is wholly unnecessary in order to account for the false position in which he subsequently suffered himself to be found. It happened to him as, alas for human nature, it has happened to most others in similar circumstances, that his moral greatness was unequal to his fortunes. In a perilous hour he yielded himself to the temptations with which prosperity is fraught, and became in consequence involved in a series of inconsistencies which have served to render his history a warning rather than an example to posterity. It must in candor be admitted, that the difficulties of his position were exceedingly great, but no ingenuity can reconcile his breaking up of the Long Parliament in 1653, just at the moment when they were completing a measure for their peaceable dissolution, with the sincerity of his own professions, or with the purity of the patriotism which he continued to avow. The Declaration, which was published in the name of himself and his council of officers, afforded a triumphant vindication of the Long Parliament from the charges which he had so wantonly preferred against it. By this instrument he took on himself the functions of the whole constituency, and proceeded to organize a system of military despotism more obviously subversive of public freedom than the tyranny which he had so nobly contributed to overthrow. The plea of necessity ordinarily urged in his defence, is clearly without avail, as that necessity was for the most part of his own creating. One act of despotism necessitated others, but can never be admitted to extenuate or defend them. Having passed the line which separates patriotism from tyranny, he was reduced to the miserable alternative of sacrificing himself or of completing a despotism too vigilant and powerful to be successfully resisted. This appears to be the truth of history, and we painfully record it. It is some alleviation to know that the military usurper retained to the last some of the noble qualities which in happier days had won the confidence and admiration of his countrymen. His ambition was always of a high-minded and magnanimous order. The glory of his country was identified with his personal aggrandisement, and never did England stand so proudly among the nations of Europe as during his protectorate.
Cromwell paid dearly for his apostasy from the public cause, and there were moments, it is probable, in the closing period of his life when he would gladly have exchanged his residence at Whitehall, with all its flattering distinctions, for his former post as colonel of the Ironsides and member for Cambridge. His last days were embittered by mistrust and apprehension. He had lost his self-respect, and with that his proud reliance on the fidelity and gratitude of the nation. Å thousand heads were plotting his ruin, and many a bold blade, wielded by royalist or republican hands, was ready to send him to an untimely and unpitied grave. Cromwell knew all this, and could not now fall back, as he had done in happier times, on the proud consciousness of having hazarded such dangers in a singlehearted pursuit of the liberties of his country. The publication of Colonel Titus, entitled Killing no Murder, is known to have racked his mind to the last point of endurance. Our author has powerfully described the mental agitations of the Protector at this period, but we have already exceeded our limits, and must not venture on further extract.
We have said enough to inform the reader of our estimate of