صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني


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"Ah! Miss Woollcombe."

"I carried her to her home, she being unable to walk. Since then I have inquired for her health, as a gentleman is in common courtesy bound to do; and once I spent an hour or two with her and her father. I do not know whether this is what has been reported to you. There is nothing else to report." "And at Mr. Woollcombe's house you metasked Captain Wansey.

"No one."

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"You have not spoken to or in any way treated with Mr. Collins, an attorney ?"


Certainly not, sir; I do not even know there is such a man."

So he suggested that the powder-room, which was buried in Maudlyn Fort, and of which Kemborn had the key, might be blown up, to the great damage of our party, and the joy of the malignants, or King's party, as Carteret called them, who would take care to amply reward such service, and would have occupation for so skilful a gunner in their ranks, and would take care to reward him well. Our Maudlyn Work being in the direct road from their headquarters

"Nor with Mr. Pike, a vintner?"

"I know Mr. Pike by sight; I have never ex- at Widey, would have opened a way to the inner changed a word with him."

defences of the town, which would have been especially easy and convenient for them to pursue.

"You knew they were malignants?"


I have heard Mr. Pike talked of as such amongst the people of Plymouth, sir."

"There is a man in another line of life to them, called Ellis Carteret, a sailor. Do you know him?" "I do, sir; I have warned him off from amongst us, when I have seen him holding a parley with my men, as if by accident."

feel any animosity against me that I called your principles in question ?" The Captain extended his hand pleasantly towards me, and held mine as he continued in a very friendly tone: "A secret traitor is a far more deadly enemy than an open foe. I will never ask a man to betray his friends, but it behoves every honest man to make careful choice of friends at this hour."

"Why have you not reported him?" "I have threatened him that I would do so, Captain Wansey, and since then he has held himself aloof from the men of our regiment. He knows he will have no credence or sympathy from us." "You are prepared, if required, to take your oath


to all this?


There has been very sad business in regard to the seaman Ellis Carteret, concerning whom I was thus closely questioned by Captain Wansey. Late in November, Roger Kemborn, our chief gunner at Maudlyn Fort, a man deemed prudent and pious, gave himself up, as it may be termed, to Colonel Wardlaw, with every appearance of extreme distress of mind. It has been freely spoken of throughout the garrison, for a timely warning to all of us, how the Lord visited Kemborn with continual sleeplessness and wretchedness of soul, until he determined to confess his sin.

Certainly, sir."

"Let me advise you, as a friend, Ensign Holbeck, not to frequent the house of Mr. Woollcombe at present. You shall not be without knowledge of Miss Woollcombe's condition, if you are anxious on her account. But until certain matters respecting the three I have named are settled, it behoves every young officer, especially, to be guarded and careful in his conduct. That faithful servant of the Parliament, Sergeant Gurney, has vouched for your integrity, but I felt it my duty to question you. You will not

Ellis Carteret, a very plausible fellow, and one that could make his own story good, and with a rare gift for talking so as to make others listen, had some distant relationship to Kemborn through the wife of the gunner, and used this as an introduction to him. He would get with him on one pretence and another, and gradually insinuated himself so skilfully as to make Kemborn listen to treachery.

But the sincerity of Kemborn's religion has fortunately hindered such a vile piece of work for us. And Kemborn acknowledges also that God was merciful enough to his soul, to send him a true friend in the moment of his sore temptation. This friend was no other than our dauntless Ironside, Sergeant Gurney. It appeared that the gunner went about his work no longer cheerfully, but heavily, which the


"Because he openly boasts, when he is in liquor, good old sergeant perceiving, questioned him narrowly, that he is a King's man." having suspicion of some treason. And by degrees, holding, Kemborn says, the fear of God before him as a lantern that must shine into his heart, he detected the man's perplexity and drew the miserable story from him. And after the two men had engaged in prayer together over the business, Sergeant Gurney despatched him to the fort to make confession to Colonel Wardlaw, he himself taking his place and possession of the powder-room keys during his absence.

Colonel Wardlaw smiled when he heard this, and declared, rather grimly, they could not be in better hands than those of that old "bull-dog." Ellis Carteret was sent for, and easily found loitering upon the Barbican, he having no suspicion that Kemborn had told of him. But when he learned that he was wanted, and the authority of Colonel Wardlaw and the Mayor were both named to a made him, he desperate resistance, and,

How I Fared at the Siege of Plymouth.

rushing away, threw himself over the quay into the sea, but some men in a boat easily captured him, the soldiers shouting, "For God and the Parliament ! and he was brought at length, dripping wet, and dull and disconsolate enough, before his judges.

The Mayor mercifully enough ordered him some dry clothes before his trial; which Colonel Wardlaw appeared to consider an excess of charity; yet he had them nevertheless. And when the miscreant saw Roger Kemborn ready to witness against him, and others also, who had heard his proud boastful words against the Parliament, his coarse, rough face was pitiable to see, he had such a woeful countenance, so full of apprehension, and almost paralysed with fear. He attempted no defence whatever, and threw himself on the mercy of the gentlemen and officers. He was ordered to very strict imprisonment for the present, and it was more than hinted that there were others in a higher position who had aided and encouraged him in his malignancy.

Orders were given for Moses Collins, the attorney, and Henry Pike, the vintner, to be sent for to the Court. But it was discovered they had fled immediately the news concerning Carteret was brought to them, and though their houses were searched most thoroughly (which I can vouch for, as I was sent with a small detachment of men to bring them), we could only find the female relatives of both, in any of the rooms of the house, and a few workmen and serving men at Mr. Pike's.

But I saw a sight that troubled me, for while we were making this necessary but disagreeable investigation, I found in the room with Mrs. Collins and her daughters the lovely Lucy Woollcombe. It was not a time for interchange of pleasant courtesies, I could but attempt a grave respectful recognition, and her smile though sweet, was rather sad, and, as it seemed to me, reproachful. I never abhor this war so much as when it seems so widely to separate those who might fitly otherwise be dear friends, and even, as I sometimes think and hope, far nearer even than that. I hope Mr. Woollcombe will keep himself from all malignant practices.

On the 3rd of December, which was the Lord's Day, we had reason to accuse Messrs. Collins and Pike of even further treachery. Three hours before daybreak they guided some officers with four hundred musqueteers to Laira Point, and surprised our guard there, and took them and three pieces of ordnance. This guard is placed there only to give the alarm if the enemy should approach the Point over the sands when the tide is out. The enemy skilfully approached from behind, coming under Lipson Work, which, by reason of its steepness, was a good screen for them, and especially in the darkness of a winter night.

But directly the news reached the town, even by break of day, 150 horse and 300 musqueteers of our troops were ready to fall upon the enemy that had possessed themselves of our work; which intention on our part was perceived by those of the malignants stationed at Mount Stamford on the height, who warned their whole army by a signal, and caused Prince Maurice and all the gallantry of his forces to advance, with five regiments of horse and four of foot. All these approached, as I say, under the protection of their own ordnance and a hedge where we used to have our sentries, but which we abandoned since we

had the work under Lipson. Just here was a fierce conflict. We fell on the first advance, hoping to beat them off before their seconds came up, and fell resolutely on them, but met with strong opposition. Our gallant Captain Wansey, he who showed himself to me so kind a friend as well as commander, charged at a gap which he knew to be open formerly. This gap the enemy had filled. Here, shouting, God with us!" in a loud clear voice, he fell, slain-a brave ending to a brave life. Seeing him, their bold leader, fall, discouraged our horse, and caused a rout through three fields of both horse and foot. Some of the enemy's horse came after us, within pistol-shot of the walls, mixing themselves with us, and were killed or taken. Then we made a stand on the height of the hill above Lipson Work, determined to make a better finish of the business. Our men drew fresh courage in that place; Sergeant Gurney was to be seen everywhere, rallying, exhorting, encouraging, cheering on to victory.

My brave lad," he called out, as he ran past me, "do a deed of valour worth dying for before thou diest! Think of thy father and of thy God!"

This heartened me above mere animal courage, and I held my ground with my men, as others did, with theirs, till fresh reinforcements from several guards came up. But our ships at Laira Point entertained a parley with the enemy, instead of aiding us, and so stood neuter till we had done the work and beaten the enemy to a retreat. And for this behaviour some are, as they deserve to be, in danger of losing their lives, more certainly than in bold fight. The enemy, confident of success, sent a trumpet to Lipson Work to summon it, which we answered with a cannon, being quite otherwise minded.

Just at this time, I heard my name called, and looking round, I saw, to my great surprise, and with some anxiety, Lieutenant Dick Tonkin, my dear friend, riding at the head of a small body of men, and accompanied by two of his brothers, who had come to offer their services as soldiers, or in any capacity in which they could serve the Parliament. Dick's courage had fired theirs; he could not rest at home, knowing there was work to be done, so declared he would fight till his left hand was as weak as his right, and they had on their parts decided he should not go alone.

So now, having sent away the trumpet from Freedom Field with scorn, we planted a small drake (it is fit to call a cannon a drake, methinks) in the crossway, and opened fire on the enemy's horse with good execution. The drummers were instructed to give a sign when our several commanded places should fall on, and the malignants, by no means expecting such behaviour on our part, began to give ground. Then two hundred of the town's train-bands came marching out to our aid, and a party of sixty musqueteers were directed to play on the backs of the enemy. All this soon induced him to command a retreat, which we took care to follow closely, so that it became little better than a hasty flight. They foolishly began to retreat over the Laira, instead of the way they came.

This Laira is a marsh when the tide is out, but wholly swept over by the sea when the tide is in ; and we forced their rear guard of horse, about one hundred in number, into the mud between Lipson and Laira Point. These were taken or drowned, when the sea came in, as it did swiftly; some of the riders

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