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What is the use of wearing these swords, if we mayn't cut down a few of those rascals !” growled Sir William, turning his horse towards Hull in high dudgeon, and half doubting his uncle's bravery, of which he heard so much. He had so longed to distinguish himself, that Kate might be proud of her husband.

“We should have needed our weapons, Will, if those men hadn't known something of the orders from Parliament before they deserted our cause. All they wanted was to keep us at bay while they unshipped and secured the cargo. They knew I should not contend for the empty wreck. But if they had used their pikes, as I expected they would do, we should have had some sharp fighting. You are disappointed, and so is Ralph; but believe me in this case • discretion was the better part of valour,' and when you have seen as many of your fellow-men lying stiff and cold on the battle field,

v and remembered that most of them had wives, and mothers, and little children, you will not be so eager to draw your sword, though you cannot be more vexed than I am to return home unsuccessful.” “ But, Colonel,” said Ralph,“ we have but hastened on a general

” war by abstaining from taking the lives of a few men. We know Charles can't fight until he has powder, and shot, and guns; if we had stormed the ship at first, and fired on those men who were removing the cargo, we might have prevented a dozen battles; now the King will be able to fit out his men and bring them beneath our own walls."

“What you say is quite true and reasonable, Ralph ; but our orders were very strict, and those under authority must not follow their own judgment; a soldier's first duty is to obey.”

Somewhat crest-fallen, but conscious of having done their duty to the letter, the little detachment returned to Hull; and the triumphant protectors of the Providence escorted most of her valuable supplies to the King at York. His Majesty now felt himself in a position to gain an entrance into Hull by force, after failing to do this by other means, and he began to show a spirit and energy that no one had believed him to possess. It was imperative to him that Hull should be subdued, not only on account of what she contained, which, if he could seize upon, would enable him to fit out a large army without delay, but she had despised his authority and afforded a precedent to other towns; they would feel encouraged to resist him when they knew that this northern stronghold was firm in its support of the Parliament.

The gentlemen who had flocked round Charles at York, now subscribed together to pay for the newly-armed troops, that by July had increased to three thousand foot and seven or eight hundred horse; with these the King set out to put his designs against Hull into execution. He stayed several days in Beverley, issuing procla

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mations, and hoping that the people, seeing him in earnest, might be induced to deliver up the town without further strife. The news of the King's march, of course, flew quickly through the country, and no sooner did it reach London than both Houses voted “that ap army should be immediately raised, and the command of it given to the Earl of Essex.” This was resolved on the eighth day of July.

Sir John Hotham had already dispatched three messengers in quick succession to the King, praying him not to turn his arms against the town, persisting that he and the townsfolk were all loyal subjects, and desired to remain so. Charles detained the messengers and returned no answer; and Hotham was so irritated, that a council of war was called, and it was determined to pull up the sluices and cut the banks of both the Hull and Humber. This was done that same evening, and being the time of spring tides, the next morning the whole country round for two miles was covered with a considerable depth of salt water, and thus the King's passage to the town by land was cut off. Great was the excitement within the walls, and the friends of Charles were sufficiently numerous to cause Hotham some uneasiness. The outworks were strengthened and fortified with brass guns; a battery was erected before each gate, and a breastwork was thrown up with a deep trench before it, while the Myton and Hessle gates were quite closed up with earth. But besides these precautions, the hospital of the Charter Housecalled “ La Maison Dieu," which had been founded in the 12th century by Michael de la Pole-was completely destroyed, with several other houses without the walls, lest the besiegers should use them to the disadvantage of the town.

The Royalists were considerably chagrined when they looked forth and beheld the inundation, and saw also that Hotham was securing the only weak point, which lay on the west side, too high for the waters to protect, by casting up a royal fort about four hundred

paces from the walls. It only remained for the King to prevent, if possible, all provisions and assistance from being introduced into Hull, and to divert the current of fresh water that supplied the town into the Humber. He then speedily erected two forts, one at Paul and the other at Hessle Cliff, to command the river.

In all the councils held within the walls at this time, Hotham manifested the warmest attachment to the Parliament, writing to Westminster and saying, that “neither fortune, wife, nor children should make him desert the good cause ; that he would sacrifice life rather than surrender a town of such importance to their enemies, whose design was to enslave them.” But there was no honest foundation of principle to support his good intentions, and even the steadfast manner in which he discharged his trust at the beginning of the war did not altogether allay the fears of his more discerning allies. Nor did his zeal deceive some members of the royal party with regard to his real character, only, unfortunately for themselves, they relied too much upon his treachery. There was a man in Hull just then who was in extreme disfavour with the Parliament. This was Lord Digby, who had been captured by one of the vessels that vainly pursued the Providence, and sent as a prisoner to this town disguised as a Frenchman. Digby felt that his case was desperate, and all hope of serving the King was at an end while he remained under confinement. But he possessed rare courage, and having some knowledge of Hotham he contrived to see him alone, and so awakened his fears and wrought upon his covet. ousness and ambition that, after some delay, the governor consented to set Digby free and to deliver up the town as soon as the King should appear before the walls. But on broaching the subject to his son and a few of the officers, he found them utterly opposed to a surrender ; and meanwhile the King, being over-persuaded by Digby, advanced upon Hull when still very ill-prepared to maintain a siege, hoping to enter without striking a blow. We may imagine Digby's rage at the watery reception the Royalists received, and the reproaches that neither King nor courtiers would spare. Charles has been much blamed for setting out with such inadequate resources by those who were not in the secret of the plot to corrupt Hotham; but they who will trust one proved to be a traitor, must not be astonished if they are foiled and duped and sent on fruitless expeditions.

Messengers went backwards and forwards between Charles and the two Houses ; his subjects would not now accept the terms that would have satisfied them some months ago. The Kiog had shown himself perfectly indifferent to laws of the country-ready to defy them at the first opportunity; and he showed, too, how unchanged bis mind was, by still insisting that the six members should be given up to him. Parliament felt that the country must be taken out of the power of a man who had not the remotest respect for justice or truth, or it would be inevitably ruined ; and thus the nation was compelled to offer terms to their King which it would have scorned to offer to a monarch it could trust and honour.

CHAPTER XXII.—THE FIRST SIEGE OF HULL. On the morning of the fifteenth of July, in this same year of 1642, there was a special service held at the little meeting-house in Dagger Lane. The congregation was chiefly composed of officers and men from the barracks, though there was a spriukling of women and a few civilians present. And these soldiers, who had been working night and day to fortify the town, had met together to pray for peace-not for peace at the expense of liberty, but for an amicable and lasting settlement of the national grievances. If this were impossible, then they were willing to fight till every Englishman's rights and privileges were restored.

An air of deep seriousness marked the little assembly this morning; for the future looked ominous enough to all, and to some the prospect of a civil war was exceedingly bitter, knowing that family ties would be rent asunder, and breaches made that could never be quite healed up in this world. Young Dame Lister's eyes were red with weeping, for only a few hours ago she had learned that her brother Henry was in Beverley, having command of a brigade of horse, that the King had promoted him, and placed him near his person. She had borne the gradual estrangement of Henry's affection and interest, comforted by Ralph's devotion ; but the terrible thought of her brothers being in open enmity, in arms against one another, distressed her extremely. Poor Kate! she did not understand much about prayer. Until lately her path had been so free from care that she had not wanted help from Heaven; but now the dark days had come, the earth beneath was not so firm, and she began to sigh inwardly for something better and stronger than she could find in herself—something more even than her husband's love could supply. “Am I not better to thee than ten brothers ? " Will had asked, as he wiped away her tears. Yes, truly, and her sorrow would have been tenfold had Ralph been alienated from her; but though she dried her tears, and tried to smile, the want was still unsatisfied.

If Kate felt her lot a hard one, Lieutenant Fawkes must have found his portion still more trying ; his domestic peace was entirely destroyed, for his wife was constantly trying to do some injury to the cause her husband had espoused. Her mischievous father was at liberty and in communication with her; so the unfortunate lieutenant was compelled either to put her under restraint or to watch her with the utmost vigilance. With a proud, sullen face she sat beside him at the meeting, proclaiming by her manner her unwillingness to be there, and taking no care to hide the scorn she felt for her husband and his friends. Even Mr. Nye did not escape her railing

That is a pretty parson," she exclaimed, as they left the meeting. “I wonder at thy taking up every strange fellow that thinks he has a gift for holding forth. Who knows what sort of a life. this one led in Holland ? I don't believe in men that have to fly. like thieves from their own country.”

"Hold thy peace, woman,” groaned the lieutenant; “isn't it enough to cast mire on thy husband, without miscalling a godly

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minister. We know well how Philip Nye lived in Holland ; and they were thieves who so stripped him of his rights, that he had to find refuge in a foreign land.”

“Well, this is the last time thou wilt drag me to a conventicle ; 30 I give thee fair warning."

“I hear thee; it is needless to tell all the world that thou art determined to disobey and defy me.”

“All the town knows that we have quarrelled, and all the town shall know that Mistress Fawkes doesn't threaten in vain."

Such, however, was the lieutenant's diligence that his wife never found an opportunity for gratifying her ill-will.

The state of affairs within the walls, and the King's position in Beverley, were certainly not conducive to any " amicable" arrangements being made. Captain Hotham showed great ingenuity in keeping up the people's animosity against the King, and he was assisted by receiving about this time some copies of a curious pamphlet that had been printed in London by order of the Parliament. The pamphlet was the substance of letters sent from a gentleman in York to a friend in London, and was entitled,

“HORRIBLE NEWS FROM YORK, HULL, AND NEWCASTLE, CONCERNING THE King's MAJESTY'S INTENT TO TAKE UP ARMS

AGAINST THE PARLIAMENT." The information it contained was tolerably correct; but it was followed by others plainly manufactured to spread terror and distrust, yet equally alarming to the besieged.

And now the inhabitants from the neighbouring towns and villages lying around applied almost daily for admission at the gates of Hull. Some were refused, some admitted on the security of respectable townsfolk, and others, well known as lovers of freedom, were hailed with pleasure. These latter were accommodated, and kindly entertained in private dwellings, for the inns and every place that could be made available for lodgings were already occupied by the troops, who far outnumbered the ordinary popula:ion. Amongst those who sought refuge were Lady Wharton and the fair Johanna, with three or four maidservants. Sir Clifford and his son Lawrence remained at home, determining to defend themselves as best they might if assaulted by the Royal party. On the King's arrival at Beverley he had summoned them to attend upon him and to join his standard, and the old baronet had replied, “Tell bis Majesty that Sir Clifford Wharton has too much respect for the laws of his CO try to take up arms for their overthrow, even at the bidding of • his King.” Of course Charles proclaimed him a traitor, and would bave tumbled his ancient mansion about his ears; but it was so well protected that the Royalists, having no ammunition or force to lose in so small an adventure, left Sir Clifford unmolested.

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