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CHAPTER XIII.- 1 Month of Blockade.
of us have had six or seven nights' duty without any
relief, which has sorely tried our strength. HE enemy now quartered at Tavistock and A heavy fine was obtained from one Sampson Hele, T. Plympton to refresh their men, for we soon Esq., of Fardel, who came with a message from the
found they had no intention to draw off from Prince to persuade the yielding of the town. But as us altogether; a blockade, under Sir John Digby, he came offensively “without drum or trumpet,” he
being our next experience. But we so sorely was mulcted in the sum of two thousand pounds, which needed rest that even this was welcome to us. Some proved a great boon to us, providing, as it did, for the
No. 18. MARCH, 1883.
payment and clothing of our soldiers, without which have really lacked sufficiency of nourishment, and it is difficult to imagine we could possibly have held the food we have had has been too often of a poor out so long.
quality. Mr. Tonkin dwells dismally on these facts, The enemy's word, “ The town is ours,” has proved and tells me that in this month of December when very false, while ours “God with us," has proved as twenty deaths were the average of the town, there true. The worst strait is just now, that gh the have been instead 132, and that only the number siege is raised the blockade prevents our receiving buried in the churchyard, and not all those who fell the supplies of food which we so sorely need. Prince in skirmishes. Maurice issued this order against the relief of the Lettice's letter, so fond, so kind, I read many garrison before he left, to the constables and tything times, and each time with the greater satisfaction men of Egg Buckland and St. Budeaux :
and interest. The little memorials of their love for “Forasmuch as divers persons disaffected to His me were acceptable intrinsically, and yet more from Majesty's service make their daily recourse into Ply- the true affection they manifested. And now such mouth, furnishing the rebels there with all manner cold weather set in at the turn of the year as made of provision for man and horse, contrary to his every warm thing necessary, and having taken a bad Majesty's proclamation prohibiting the same ; these cold when the extreme moist was exchanged for are therefore to signify that if any person, of what severe frost, I was glad to cover my wrists with ever degree or quality soever, presume to have any Miriam's warm cuffs, and my chest and shoulders commerce or dealing with any in the said town, or with her vest, and to betake myself to the frequent use take or carry with him any horses, oxen, kine, or of Pontefract cakes, through dear grandmother's kindsheep, or other provision for man or ļorse into the ness. I do not want to spend Lettice's money, which said town of Plymouth for the relief of the rebels is almost four pounds, unless I am necessitated. there, every such person and persons shall be pro- We soldiers of the Parliament's army are not paid ceeded against, both in person and estate, as abettors as punctually as we think we deserve to be, yet, as we of this horrid rebellion and contemners of his have but little occasion or even opportunity to spend, Majesty's proclamation, according to the limita- we feel this the less. tion of the Court of Wards in such cases provided ; I have resolved to take Lettice's letter with me the willing and requiring all mayors, justices of peace, next time I go to Mr. Woollcombe's ; I feel a desire bailiffs, constables, and all other of his Majesty's to let Lucy know as much of Lettice as she can learn officers and ministers to cause them to be forthwith from this epistle. But we are busier than ever now, published in all churches, chapels, markets, and other setting the town in a good posture of defence, not places, whereby his Majesty's loving subjects may knowing what more the future will bring to us of the better take notice thereof.-MAURICE."
fighting. The siege was only raised just in time And though I believe, spite of this, the country to prevent the ingress of the malignants. For folk would look at the money rather than it, and the very day after, part of two of the works fell willingly bring us provisions if the country were down. open, yet it will hardly pay a man to lose his head to Parties go out every day to strengthen and repair
the old fortifications and make new ones. Colonel We hear that the Cavaliers of Devon and Corn. Wardlaw's health is completely shattered by his exwall have entered into a solemn vow and protesta- posures in this siege, and the active conduct of all tion, to the utmost of their power to assist his things has devolved this long time upon Colonel Majesty's armies in reducing Plymouth.
Gould. All the redoubts and batteries of the enemy Generals Wardlaw and Gould are sending a des- are very effectually slighted by us, and we destroyed patch to the Parliament, and they have intimated to the hedges immediately contiguous to their outthe officers from the east and north-west their mes | works. senger may also carry letters of small weight for our The country around this town is very beautiful, relations in those parts, which will be forwarded as with abundance of gentle slopes and woods, and snug opportunity arises from London. I have not been valleys nestling between. Now that the frost has able to send all my papers, as I had intended on the covered the bare trees, so that the branches of them first opportunity, but I have written a letter to my shine silvery in the sunshine, the prospect is very father, thinking there was most hope of his receiving fair indeed, while the near or distant views are geneit, and begging him to send it on to Yorkshire to my rally enlivened with the sight of the sea, on which, mother at Brier Grange.
in this slight cessation of hostilities are to be seen We have no reason whatever to hope for a long more sails of ships and divers little boats. Only this cessation of hostilities, indeed, even now that the morning we had a fall of snow, enough to powder siege is raised, Mount Stamford guns favour us daily the headlards above Fort Stamford and Mountwith some great shot; but the Lord hath not per Edgecumbe on the opposite side with whiteness, mitted their firing to do any further damage, so that which gave a new beauty to the scene ; and miles the enemy wastes his ammunition to small profit. away in the east and north the quaint tors of DartWe hear that the patience and perseverance of this moor stood up white and glistening against the sky, town are much commended by the Parliament, this the snowstorm there being much more severe than western country being so much given up to the power in this place. and authority of the malignants; some, indeed, com- Dartmoor is a region I often wish to visit, but at pare us prettily to a green oasis of truth in the midst present it is just as impossible as for me to go to of a wilderness of error. The doctors have been too Brier Grange. busy of late in this town, a thing to be much re- I was so poorly as to be excused without asking for gretted and yet not wondered at: so many of us | it from sentry work, and I availed myself of my
sell his crop.
How I Fared at the Siege of Plymouth.
freedom to go with my sister's letter to visit Lucy inclination and answered simply,“ Quite sure, Miss Woollcombe. Bridget was quite excited, for her, Woollcombe.” when I requested to see her mistress. She was sure She read the letter all through, and appeared to that Miss Woollcombe was too pleasantly engaged to grow interested as she read; after she had finished receive anyone. The family had company. She its perusal, she folded the sheet and returned it to me. so evidently expected me to go, that I actually found Thank
you; I feel to like your sister Lettice very it almost difficult to stay. Yet if I did not see Lucy much. It is a very interesting letter ; but," she now, who could say when another opportunity might added, “ I am afraid your warm things should have arise. So I told Bridget that my business was some
doctor ?" wliat particular, and slipped a silver piece into her I laughed, and assured her I could like nothing hand (a thing I had never done before), as I en better. So she rose and went to a cupboard, and took treated ber to inform her mistress of my pre- therefrom a phial bottle full of a white-looking liquid,
which she gave into my hand, saying, “ You look a A curious widening of her wooden face, a curious little feverish, Mr. Holbeck ; I think this medicine will twinkle in her greenish grey eyes, followed her recep- do you good. Will you promise me to take a doso tion of the coin, and I had just come to the flattering three times a day, the first when you go to bed toconclusion that I had done a wise thing, and pur- night? It is very useful in cases of feverish cold, and chased her willing service, when her arm was jerked often prevents more serious illnesses.” out in my direction, and her hand dropped again I thanked her, and said something about her goodinto mine the piece of money. Had I insulted her ness to me, and then, foolish as it was, being, I supby offering so small a sum ? I very much feared I pose, much weaker and more out of health than I quite had. .
knew, I broke down and sobbed for a few moments like • My services are not to be bought by an enemy to a child. But I soon felt ashamed of myself, and tried my King," said Bridget, with her curious smile, least to rise and leave her, knowing how she would despise of all when " then she stopped herself abruptly such cowardice. But her little hand was laid firmly, as if she had said too much, and thus she awakened restrainingly, upon my arm; and her sweet pitying my curiosity, as I believe she fully purposed to do, face, pure and good as the face of an angel, was near without intending to satisfy it in the least.
mine, and then she raised her soft hand, and drew But here Lucy's voice was heard calling, “Bridget! the hair caressingly, soothingly back from my burnBridget! I want you ;” and the serving woman ing temples, and laid her palm upon them. hastened away. Lucy's voice was enough to quicken " There is nothing to be ashamed of in our tears," my pulses, and it was with difficulty I controlled my she said softly, as if she perfectly divined my feelings, strong inclination to hasten to her. Presently when they arise from bodily weakness or true sources Bridget re-appeared. “You may come in for å of grief. Even to men,” she continued, with a little little while; Miss Woollcombe is alone till the gen. of that sweet playfulness which she had manifested tlemen rejoin her after their wine,” she said drily once before that evening, “ tears may be a great enough.
relief. We all know women enjoy a good cry when The gentlemen! Was it possible Lucy had an their hearts are too heavy to enjoy anything else. admirer amongst the Royalists, who had managed on But I am afraid you are seriously unwell; don't trifle the raising of the siege to get into the town? Fierce with yourself. I am not sure my medicine will be jealousy at the thought filled my mind for a few strong enough to suit you. Now I must advise you, minutes, but I speedily took comfort from her per- for your own good, to go back at once to your quarters mission to myself.
and go to bed, and if you are not better to-morrow, There was more cordiality than usual in her man- you must not rise, but seek the advice of an exner to me, though it was blended with some nervous- perienced doctor.” ness and hesitation, that gave a deeper flush to the Sweet tyrant !" I said, sadly, “will you send me soft carmine of her delicately rounded cheeks, and a from my physician ?" brighter look to her deep blue eyes.
Her face flushed deeply : “ Indeed, I must.” “You are not well, Mr. Holbeck,” she said, gently, At that moment we heard voices in the passage as she looked at me attentively, and invited me to a outside. I rose. Lucy drew herself away from my seat. Such sympathy was delightful, worth far side. One voice, a loud, noisy voice, certainly not more than all the inconvenience of the chill I had that of Mr. Woollcombe, just then uttered these words, taken.
distinctly audible. “I suppose there is no one to look after you when " Then why did you not let the Prince know your you are ilī,” she said again, after I had explained to secret, Mr. Woollcombe ?” her that my indisposition was but trifling, and thanked The voice of Lucy's father uttered some words her for her kind inquiry. From this it was easy to tell which could not be distinguished, then came the her of my letter, and to produce it and beg her to answer, in the noisy tones that had before spoken : read it, if it was not too great a trespass on her • Wasn't it worth while to sacrifice a few to thirst, time.
for the sake of our cause ? Certainly not,” and soon she held Lettice's epis- Lucy hurried to the spinnet, and began to play a tle open before her; then she added, smiling archly, lively air. “You must not hear any more, Mr. Hol“ You are quite sure there are no secrets you would beck," she said, in agitated tones; “ you have heard rather not confide to me, Mr. Holbeck ? '
too much already. You must stay and meet them The pretty playfulness of her manner almost now. Pray arrange my music for me. Go when tempted me to confessions that would have been rash they come, if you can." at that moment. With an effort I restrained my I obeyed her about the music, and nodded my
assent to the rest, for at that moment the door
CHAPTER XIV.-A Dilemma. opened and Mr. Woollcombe and a tall, coarsefeatured, sensual-looking military man entered. He
IGHTING began again on stared rudely at me, which I felt, rather than saw, for
the 26th of January. But I studiously avoided looking at him until I should be
before Iturn to the events introduced.
which then so quickly “Mr. Holbeck, I did not know we had the pleasure
succeeded each other, as of your company," said Mr. Woollcombe, extending
to keep us in a constant his hand to me with his usual grace and cordiality,
state of expectation and though I could detect some slight embarrassment in
interest and bustle, I his tone.
must not omit to record “Who is this, pray, that Miss Woollcombe is so
what made the sweetness obliging as to entertain with her music ?" inquired
of my life for several days, the new-comer, rather demanding than asking.
when I could not see Lucy, “ He is a gentleman, sir,” said Lucy, with much
and could only thank. spirit, “ to whom we are obliged for many favours in
fully remember her kindthese troublous times, and to be grateful is the last
ness to me. Tom, to thing that I shall forget, I trust."
whom, ever since our dear “Very pretty, very pretty, my fair hostess,"said the
old sergeant's death, I Cavalier, who had the air and manners and swagger
had taken a special liking of a soldier of fortune, “but we must not show too
-he had been so fond of many favours to the enemy. Any man may be glad
that good man, and so to win such gratitude as this."
affected by his sudden end—came to me the morning “Sir” cried Lucy, rising from the spinnet, drawing after I had met the Cavalier at the house of Mr. her small form to its full height, and speaking with Woollcombe, and said gravely, but with a queer look such authority and dignity that the other seemed as on his face : much surprised at her as I must own I was myself, “ If you please, sir, there's & grown Dutch doll though he had no reason to share my delight, “ sir, wants to speak to you.” do you mean to insult me in my father's house and
I was in bed, following my gentle doctor's advice, presence ? How dare you? You ! ”
and could not rise to speak to any visitor.
But the He fairly cowed at her manner, and took a seat absurd description made me recognise at once the beside her father at some distance from us. She told person of Bridget, and I was very unwilling to let her me by her eyes, rather than her words, not to go quite go away without knowing her errand ; indeed, it yet, and consulted with me aloud as to the music she was not to be thought of. should play. When this piece was ended, she said, “ Tom, don't speak disrespectfully of my friends, “ Thank you, Mr. Holbeck; I have already detained if you please ;” I said, somewhat sharply, though I you somewhat, I fear; good-night."
could not but laugh inwardly at the lad's smartness. She laid her hand in mine confidingly. Mr. “Mistress Bridget is a person of authority. The Woollcombe rose and escorted me to the door ; 1 Lord has not given to all of us handsome forms and bowed stiffy to the new-comer as I passed him. countenances. Lucy glided out after us, and ran, singing softly, Tom looked abashed, as I meant him to, for his up-stairs; I thought it was to show to him and to own face is homely-featured, though extremely pleame the annoyance she felt towards him.
sant, with a bright quick eye, and a merry smile, My disease gave way to my fair physician's and he is immensely popular in our garrison. "I remedy. I took the prescribed dose on my return to must see Mistress Bridget;" I added; "for her quarters, fell into a profuse perspiration, and slept business is peculiar ; bring me something to make soundly. I kept in bed late the next morning, and myself presentable to her, and then show her in. But was free from my worst symptoms when I arose.
you tell her my
sickness confines me to bed, The rest of our month of blockade I did my fair so that if she would rather not enter, she may go share of work, being by no means desirous to spare away.' myself, but far more anxious for sweet Lucy's sake Tom obeyed me promptly. He threw over my to be promoted to a lieutenancy, though there was shoulders a new rug, which had not been used for little chance of this, save by some exploit of unusual any horse yet, and set the room straight. bravery in active service.
went back to the “grown Dutch doll,” as he had I did not reflect then, as I have done very often saucily yet not inaptly called Bridget, and presently since, that the positions into which this unnatural civil he ushered her in. war placed men, was often extremely incongruous. Bridget stood at “attention" just within my room My own feelings in regard to the promotion I door, and eyed me scrutinisingly. desired, is an instance of this. I anticipated with “ You be ill, then, sir ?" she said, curtly enough. pleasure the opportunity of gaining an advantage “I am very much better, thank you, Bridget
. over Lucy's friends, in order that I might become Will you be good enough to say to Miss Woollcombe of greater moment in her eyes.
that her medicine has done me a great deal of good, If, indeed, she regarded me with even the faintest and that, thanks to her, I hope in a few hours to be shadow of that intense love which I now freely well again ?" acknowledged to myself I felt for her, she must “ You stay in bed to get well, sir ?” she derejoice in my advancement, and yet, rejoicing in that, manded. did she not wrong her party?
“ Just to make sure," I answered, smiling.