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to him. He involuntarily recalled all this, and vague, and interlarded with reflections, remiit filled him anew with superstitious faith in niscences, predictions, and allusions. his mission.
“Gentlemen,” he replied to the deputation, A private door in the wall opened noiseless- | “I have passed the greater part of my life in ly, and the head of a man looked cautiously fire (if I may so speak), and surrounded by into the room. His face, furrowed by a thou- commotions; but all that has happened since sand small wrinkles and lines, his keen, twink- I have meddled with public affairs for the ling eyes, and the pliable attitude of the bowed general good, if it could be gathered into a frame, indicated a shrewd and adroit servant. single heap, and placed before me in one view, It was the protector's confidant.
would fail to strike me with the terror and re“Thurloe, come in,” said Cromwell. “We spect for God's will which I undergo at the are entirely alone. What do you bring to thought of this thing you now mention, and me?”
this title you offer mer But I have drawn “Glad tidings—the confidential deputation confidence and tranquillity in every crisis of of Parliament to offer you the crown, and re my past life from the conviction that the ceive your definite reply. I preceded them to heaviest burdens I have borne have been im prepare your highness for their arrival.”
posed upon me by His hand without my own “Thank you, thank you. But it is difficult participation. Often have I felt that I should for me to make up my mind. The matter is have given way under these weighty loads if fraught with many difficulties.”
it had not entered into the views, the plans, “What ! you hesitate to accept a crown?” and the great bounty of the Lord to assist me
“New misgivings have arisen in my soul. in sustaining them. If, then, I should suffer A man who spoke to me on the subject has myself to deliver you an answer on this matjust left me. I confess that his words have ter, so suddenly and unexpectedly brought unmade a deep impression upon me, although he der my consideration, without feeling that this is a half-blind enthusiast."
answer is suggested to my heart and lips by “ You refer to Milton, the secretary to the Him who has ever been my oracle and guide, Council of State ?"
I should therein exhibit to you a slender evi“I do. He is a very excellent and respect-dence of my wisdom. To accept or refuse able man, and many people in England share your offer in one word, from desires or feelings his views."
of personal interest, would savor too much of “ If you will listen to the Utopian vagaries the flesh and of human appetite. To elevate of such fanatics, you will never reach the glo myself to this height by motives of ambition rious goal beckoning to you.”
or vain-glory, would be to bring down a curse “You are right, Thurloe. Admit the com- upon myself, upon my family, and
the missioners of Parliament.”
whole empire. Better would it be that I had Cromwell received them standing. They never been born. Leave me, then, to seek were headed by Lord Broghill, who addressed counsel at my leisure of God, and my own the protector, and, after enumerating, once conscience; and I hope neither the declamamore all the arguments in favor of the resto- tions of a light and thoughtless people, nor ration of a monarchical government, urged the selfish wishes of those who expect to beCromwell to assume the royal title, after hav come great in my greatness, may influence my ing so long been invested with royal author- decision, of which I shall communicate to you ity and power. Cromwell's reply was long, I the result with as little delay as possible.”
Three hours afterward, the parliamentary | new spiritma spirit of zeal and piety; I taught committee returned to press for his answer. them to fear God. From that day forward It was in many respects confused and unintel- they were invariably victorious. To Him be ligible.
all the glory! “Royalty," he said, “is composed of two “It has ever been thus, it will ever continue matters, the title of king and the functions of to be thus, gentlemen, with the government. monarchy. These functions are so united by Zeal and piety will preserve us without a kirg. the very roots to an old form of legislation, Understand me well; I would willingly bethat all our laws would fall to nothing did we come a victim for the salvation of all ; but I not retain in their appliance a portion of the do not think—no, truly, I do not believe that kingly power. But as to the title of king, it is necessary this victim should bear the title this distinction implies not only a snpreme au- of a king." thority, but, I may venture to say, an authority With this reply Cromwell dismissed the partaking of the divine! I have assumed the committee which had offered him a crown. place I now occupy to drive away the dangers When the members had left, his private secrewhich threatened my country, and to prevent tary, Thurloe, asked him what his real opinion their recurrence. I shall not quibble between the titles of king and protector, for I am pre “A crown,” said Cromwell, plucking his pared to continue in your service as either of confidant's ear, is "a nice thing, but a clear these, or even as a simple constable, if you so conscience is still better. The Lord will settle will it, the lowest officer in the land; for, in it all to our best. Come, let us go to dinner; truth, I have often said to myself that I am, the long speech has given me a good appetite, in fact, nothing more than a constable, main even though it may have greatly puzzled the taining the order and peace of the parish. I gentlemen of the committee.". am, therefore, of opinion that it is unnecessary for you to offer, and for me to accept, the title of king, seeing that any other will equally answer the purpose.
CHAPTER VI. “ Allow me,” he added, " to lay open my heart bere, aloud, and in your presence. At
LADY CLAYPOLE—"KILLING NO MURDER." the moment when I was called to this great CROMWELL dined to-day with his favorite work, and preferred by God to so many daughter, Lady Claypole, who exercised an others more worthy than myself, what was I? extraordinary influence over her father. She Nothing more than a simple captain of dra was a lady of rare delicacy of feeling, endowed goons in a regiment of militia. My command- with accomplishments and understanding, ing officer was a dear friend, who possessed a faithful to her friends, magnanimous toward noble nature, and whose memory I know you her enemies, and fondly attached to her father, cherish as warmly as I do myself. This was of whom she always thought only with pride Mr. Hampden. The first time I found myself and solicitude. When Cromwell was under fire with him, I saw that our troops, hausted by his public labors, and full of care newly levied, without discipline, and com and anxiety, he joyously sought relief and posed of men who loved not God, were beaten tranquillity in the society of a heart holding in every encounter. With the permission of aloof from the ambitious struggles and violent Mr. Hampden, I introduced among them a | deeds with which his life abounded. The very
contrast in their two characters added to their true, it is only a book, a sort of political romutual love, Lady Claypole was in secret an mance, but its loss grieves me exceedingly." adherent of the proscribed Stuarts and the Lady Claypole smiled at the double entendre. Episcopal Church, while her sister, the wife " I will speak to my father about it; he shall of Major-General Fleetwood, shared the re- restore your child to you.” publican principles of her husband. Thus the “Accept my thanks beforehand. I shall protector often met with resistance in the dedicate the work to the protector, and prebosom of his own family, where were represent the first copy to you, my lady.” sented all the parties with which he had to The poet withdrew, and Lady Claypole went struggle in public ' life. Many a supplicant to meet her father, who arrived a few moments applied to Lady Claypole, whose influence over afterward. her father was generally known.
“My lord protector," said the amiable lady, The poet Harrington was now waiting in after tenderly embracing him, “permit me to her room for a similar purpose. Cromwell intercede in behalf of a poor child which you had caused the manuscript of his “Oceana,” have stolen from its father. Do you know which abounded with Utopian ideas, to be Harrington, the poet ? seized at the printing-office and conveyed to “I do, my daughter." Whitehall. In vain were the efforts of the “I have promised him that you would give poet to recover his work. His last hope was him back his manuscript." the intercession of Lady Claypole. Her maid Cromwell frowned, but his daughter stroked came in, accompanied by the little daughter his forehead with her delicate hands, until it of the lady, a sweet child three years old, with became smooth again. blond ringlets. Harrington took the little “ You are not afraid of a book, father?' girl in his arms, and played with her until Lady "I am not afraid either of the book or of Claypole came in.
the author, who would like to deprive me of “My lady,” said the poet, putting down the my power and put his chimeras in my place; child, “it is fortunate that you have come, for but no attack with a little paper-gun shall take I was about to steal your sweet little daughter." from me what I have gained by the sword. I
“Steal my daughter, and why? " asked the must assume the office of lord high constable mother, pressing her darling to her heart. to reëstablish peace between the hostile par
“She will certainly make more brilliant ties; for they cannot agree on any form of conquests one day, but I will confess to you, government, and use their power only to ruin my lady, that revenge, and not love, prompted themselves. For your sake I will let him print me to steal her."
the book, and even accept its dedication." “And what have I done to provoke your re At dinner Cromwell, as usual when he was sentment?" she asked, wonderingly.
at his daughter's house, was in very good “Nothing, my lady. I only wished to re- spirits, and to-day his gayety was so great as taliate upon you, as your father bas stolen to excite her surprise. from me a child of which I am as fond as you Something very agreeable must have hapare of yours.”
pened to you to-day,” she said, sympathetically. “Oh, my father incapable of doing any "The Parliament to-day offered me the thing of the kind. The protector is severe, crown for the third time. I believe I shall but just."
have to accept it, even if it were only to pro. “And yet he took my child from me. It is cure for you the title of royal highness.”
Lady Claypole turned pale and heaved a | he left her peaceful company than he plunged deep sigh. Her uneasiness and paleness made anew into the whirlpool of intrigues and affairs, a profound impression on the protector. steadily keeping his goal in view. But he had
“My child, reassure yourself,” he exclaimed, to contend in his family not alone with the deeply moved. “I have not yet made up my pious and tender objections of his daughter. mind. You will gradually accustom yourself His brother-in-law Desborough and his son-into this idea."
law Fleetwood, an ardent republican, opposed “Never!” replied his daughter, resolutely. his plan in the most determined manner. When “The crown on your head would only be a he conversed with them in his usual playful misfortune for our whole house. Like my poor manner on the subject, and repeated his favorgrandmother, I should be unable to sleep ite phrase that the royal title would be only a calmly for a minute; for I should always see plume on his hat, and that he could not but the assassin's dagger raised against you. Oh, wonder at men refusing to let children rejoice father, listen to me quietly, and do not be in their playthings, they remained grave and angry with me. I am only a feeble woman, persisted in their convictions. and am unable to appreciate your lofty plans ; “This matter," said Major-General Desbut, if you
you feel only the slight-borough, “is far more important than you est tenderness for me, then content yourself seem willing to admit. Those who are urging with the greatness which you have already you to take this step are not the enemies of achieved, and do not aspire to a title which, as Charles Stuart; and if you comply with their you say yourself, has no greater value than the wishes, you will irretrievably ruin yourself and plume on your bat. I feel that your accession your friends." to the throne would cause my death."
“Both of you are too timid,” replied Crom“No, no,” cried Cromwell, in dismay; "you well, laughing. “I cannot do any thing with shall not, must not die. What would your old you.” father do? Nothing would remain for him “If you assume the royal title, I shall conbut to follow you immediately."
sider your cause and your family as hopelessly Tears moistened his cheeks, and the man to lost; and although I shall never do any thing whom all England bowed, and who annihilated against you, I shall henceforth no longer do his enemies without mercy or compassion, any thing for you.” trembled at the mere thought of such a loss. They parted, angry and irritated. Cromwell, His paternal love drowned the voice of ambi- however, thought he might still overcome the tion, and those projects which the most influ- resistance of his family; nor was be the man ential and powerful men vainly sought to shake to drop so soon a resolution which he had gave way, at least for the time, before the once taken. Desborough, a prominent officer glance and the words of a feeble woman. But in the army, profited by his position, and Cromwell was unable to give up every thing caused his most distinguished comrades to sign so abruptly. It is true, bis feelings had over a petition against the protector's assuming the powered him, but his understanding and his royal title. This last step dashed the cup from inflamed passions stirred up his ambition again. Cromwell's lips; already so near the goal, he The prize beckoning to him was too tempting. was hurled back from it, as he could maintain So long as he was with his daughter, he forgot himself on the throne only by the assistance of his ambitious schemes ; in her presence be was the army. He therefore declined with an air nothing but a loving father; but no sooner had of pious indifference the crown offered to him
by the Parliament. He remained, as hereto- | memory blows which you will no longer fore, Lord Protector of England. Nevertheless, feel." the numbers of his enemies and opponents were Cromwell was as indignant as he was dumconstantly on the increase. Innumerable con- founded at this pamphlet, and instructed all spiracies against his life were discovered by his his spies to strain every nerve in order to fernumerous spies, among whom Billy Green acted ret out its author and circulators. Billy Green again a prominent part.
was fortunate enough to catch and arrest a A pamphlet, entitled “Killing No Murder,” woman who was engaged in circulating the was mysteriously circulated in the streets of dangerous pamphlet. The prisoner was waitLondon; it went from hand to hand; it spreading in the anteroom of the protector, who everywhere like wildfire; it penetrated under deemed the matter so important as to declare various addresses into all houses, now con that he would himself examine her. He was cealed in a box, now in the shape of a letter. resolved to treat her with extreme rigor, and Women and children were engaged in circulat- nothing short of death seemed to him a pening it. This pamphlet recommended the as- alty adequate to such a crime. He was pasassination of the protector, and commenced cing his cabinet with a rapid step ; his fore with an address to his highness, Oliver Crom- head was covered with threatening furrows, well. The unknown author wrote to him as and his whole face was flushed with anger and follows: “I intend to procure for your bigh- determination. ness that justice wbich no one as yet has been “Bring in the woman,” he said to the officer willing to let you have, and to show to the of the day. people how great an injury it would inflict upon The prisoner came in; she bore calmly and itself and you if it should delay complying with composedly the threatening glance of the pro
To your highness belongs the tector, which caused the most courageous men honor of dying for the people, and the thought to tremble. of the benefit which your death will confer on “You have committed a capital crime," he England cannot but comfort you in your last said, stepping close up to her. moments. Not until then, my lord, will you “I know it, and am not afraid of death," really have a right to the titles which you now she replied with a proud smile. arrogate to yourself; you will hen really be “But before dying, you will give me the the liberator of your people, and deliver it from names of your accomplices. Who gave you a yoke hardly less oppressive than that from this pamphlet ?” which Moses freed bis people. Then you will “ That is my secret, and no one will be able really be the reformer that you now try to to wrest it from me.” seem; for then religion will be reëstablished, “But suppose I should pardon you on this liberty will be restored, and the Parliament condition ? " will regain the rights for which it struggled so “Life and liberty have no longer any value manfully. All this we hope to obtain by the for me.” speedy death of your highness. To bring about “You are young yet,” replied Cromwell, this blessing as soon as possible, I have written struck by her firmness. “How comes it that this pamphlet, and if it has the effect which I life and liberty have no longer value for you? expect from it, your highness will soon be be “Because sentence of death has been passed yond the reach of human malice, and your upon' my husband, who is to be executed toenemies will only be able to level against your | morrow."