For Faith and Freedom

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titlepage

For Faith and Freedom


PRINTED BY
SPOTTISWOODE AND CO. LTD., NEW-STREET SQUARE
LONDON


Christopher

Every morning Sir Christopher sat in his Justice’s chair, under the helmets and coats of armour.


For Faith and Freedom

BY

WALTER BESANT

AUTHOR OF ‘DOROTHY FORSTER’ ‘CHILDREN OF GIBEON’
‘ALL SORTS AND CONDITIONS OF MEN’ ETC.

mark

A NEW EDITION

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY A. FORESTIER AND F. WADDY

LONDON
CHATTO & WINDUS
1903


The Illustrations to this Story are reproduced by kind permission of the Proprietors
of ‘The Illustrated London News’


CONTENTS

CHAPTERPAGE
I.FAREWELL SUNDAY1
II.IN THE VILLAGE13
III.THE BOYS18
IV.SIR CHRISTOPHER23
V.THE RUNAWAY27
VI.BENJAMIN, LORD CHANCELLOR32
VII.MEDICINÆ DOCTOR40
VIII.A ROYAL PROGRESS47
IX.WITH THE ELDERS54
X.LE ROY EST MORT60
XI.BEFORE THE STORM66
XII.HUMPHREY72
XIII.ONE DAY78
XIV.THE VISION OF THE BASKET85
XV.A NIGHT AND MORNING91
XVI.ON THE MARCH104
XVII.TAUNTON112
XVIII.THE MAIDS OF TAUNTON117
XIX.KING MONMOUTH AND HIS CAMP121
XX.BENJAMIN’S WARNING130
XXI.WE WAIT FOR THE END134
XXII.THE DAY AFTER THE FIGHT142
XXIII.IN HIDING149
XXIV.THE CAMP IN THE COMB154
XXV.ILMINSTER CLINK167
XXVI.SIR CHRISTOPHER174
XXVII.BEFORE THE ASSIZE180
XXVIII.BENJAMIN186
XXIX.ON WHAT CONDITIONS?192
XXX.A SLIGHT THING AT THE BEST198
XXXI.THE VISION OF CONSOLATION208
XXXII.THE MAN OF SAMARIA214
XXXIII.ON BOARD THE ‘JOLLY THATCHER’221
XXXIV.THE GOOD SAMARITAN228
XXXV.THE WHITE SLAVE235
XXXVI.THE FIRST DAY OF SERVITUDE242
XXXVII.BY THE WATERS OF BABYLON248
XXXVIII.HUMPHREY’S NARRATIVE255
XXXIX.FOR TEN YEARS261
XL.WITH THE HOE269
XLI.ON CONDITIONS274
XLII.ALICE283
XLIII.BARNABY HEARS THE NEWS286
XLIV.A SCARE291
XLV.BARNABY THE AVENGER295
XLVI.A PERILOUS VOYAGE299
XLVII.TORTUGA310
XLVIII.THE ISLAND OF PROVIDENCE313
XLIX.HOME317
L.THE GREAT LORD CHANCELLOR321
LI.THE CONFESSION325
 CHAPTER THE LAST332

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

‘Every morning Sir Christopher sat in his Justice’s chair, under the helmets and coats of armour’

 Frontispiece

‘He was seized with a mighty wrath, and, catching his son sharply by the ear, led him out of the throng’

To face p.30

‘Fair White Rose of Somerset, let me be assured by a kiss from your sweet lips’

“     ”52

‘We played together, he on the violoncello, I upon the spinnet’

“     ”56

‘And Robin was come home again, and I was lying in his arms, and he was kissing me’

“     ”68

‘Her schoolgirls were engaged in working and embroidering flags for the Duke’s army’

“     ”110

‘”Boys,” I said, “beware; if you go up higher you will certainly meet wild men”‘

“     ”164

‘I was standing at the wicket waiting for my basket to be taken in’

“     ”182

‘As I passed through the crowd, one caught me by the arm’

“     ”212

‘When I came to my senses the Captain gave me a glass of cordial’

“     ”228

‘This I did, and so stood before them all bareheaded’

“     ”236

‘Barnaby holding the pistol to the poor wretch’s head, so that he should not bellow and call for assistance’

“     ”313

FOR FAITH AND FREEDOM


CHAPTER I.

FAREWELL SUNDAY.

T

The morning of Sunday, August 23, in the year of grace 1662, should have been black and gloomy with the artillery of rolling thunder, dreadful flashes of lightning, and driving hail and wind to strip the orchards and lay low the corn. For on that day was done a thing which filled the whole country with grief, and bore bitter fruit in after years, of revenge and rebellion. And, because it was the day before that formerly named after Bartholomew, the disciple, it hath been called the Black Bartholomew of England, thus being likened unto that famous day (approved by the Pope) when the French Protestants were treacherously massacred by their King. It should rather be called ‘Farewell Sunday’ or ‘Exile Sunday,’ for on that day two thousand godly ministers preached their last sermon in the churches where they had laboured worthily and with good fruit, some during the time of the Protector, and some even longer, because among them were a few who possessed their benefices even from the time of the late King Charles the First. And, since on that day two thousand ministers left their churches and their houses, and laid down their worldly wealth for conscience’ sake, there were also, perhaps, as many wives who went with them, and, I dare say, three or four times as many innocent and helpless babes. And, further (it is said that the time was fixed by design and deliberate malice of our enemies), the ministers were called upon to make their choice only a week or two before the day of the collection of their tithes. In other words, they were sent forth to the world at the season when their purses were at the leanest; indeed, with most country clergymen, their purses shortly before the collection of tithes have become well-nigh empty. It was also unjust that their successors should be permitted to collect the tithes due to those who were ejected.

It is fitting to begin this history with the Black Bartholomew, because all the troubles and adventures which afterwards befell us were surely caused by that accursed day. One know not certainly, what other rubs might have been ordained for us by a wise Providence (always with the merciful design of keeping before our eyes the vanity of worldly things, the instability of fortune, the uncertainty of life, and the wisdom of looking for a hereafter which shall be lasting, stable, and satisfying to the soul). Still, it must be confessed, such trials as were appointed unto us were, in severity and continuance, far beyond those appointed to the ordinary sort, so that I cannot but feel at times uplifted (I hope not sinfully) at having been called upon to endure so much. Let me not, however, be proud. Had it not been for this day, for certain, our boys would not have been tempted to strike a blow—vain and useless as it proved—for the Protestant religion and for liberty of conscience: while perhaps I should now be forbidden to relate our sufferings, were it not for the glorious Revolution which has restored toleration, secured the Protestant ascendancy, and driven into banishment a Prince, concerning whom all honest men pray that he and his son (if he have, indeed, a son of his own) may never again have authority over this realm.

This Sunday, I say, should have wept tears of rain over the havoc which it witnessed; yet it was fine and clear, the sun riding in splendour, and a warm summer air blowing among the orchards and over the hills and around the village of Bradford Orcas, in the shire of Somerset. The wheat (for the season was late) stood gold-coloured in the fields, ready at last for the reaper; the light breeze bent down the ears so that they showed like waves over which the passing clouds make light and shade; the apples in the orchards were red and yellow, and nearly ripe for the press; in the gardens of the Manor House, hard by the church, the sunflowers and the hollyhocks were at their tallest and their best; the yellow roses on the wall were still in clusters; the sweet-peas hung with tangles of vine and flower upon their stalks; the bachelors’ buttons, the sweet mignonette, the nasturtium, the gillyflowers and stocks, the sweet-williams and the pansies, offered their late summer blossoms to the hot sun among the lavender, thyme, parsley, sage, feverfew, and vervain of my Lady’s garden. Oh! I know how it all looked, though I was then as yet unborn. How many times have I stood in the churchyard and watched the same scene at the same sweet season! On a week-day one hears the thumping and the groaning of the mill below the church; there are the voices of the men at work—the yo-hoing of the boys who drive; and the lumbering of the carts. You can even hear the spinning-wheels at work in the cottages. On Sunday morning everything is still, save for the warbling of the winged tribe in the wood, the cooing of the doves in the cote, the clucking of the hens, the grunting of the pigs, and the droning of the bees. These things disturb not the meditations of one who is accustomed to them.

At eight o’clock in the morning, the Sexton, an ancient man and rheumatic, hobbled slowly through the village, key in hand, and opened the church-door. Then he went into the tower and rang the first bell. I suppose this bell is designed to hurry housewives with their morning work, and to admonish the men that they incline their hearts to a spiritual disposition. This done, the Sexton set open the doors of the pews, swept out the Squire’s and the Rector’s in the chancel, dusted the cushions of the pulpit (the reading-desk at this time was not used), opened the clasps of the great Bible, and swept down the aisle: as he had done Sunday after Sunday for fifty years. When he had thus made the church ready for the day’s service, he went into the vestry, which had only been used since the establishment of the Commonwealth for the registers of birth, death, and marriage.

At one side of the vestry stood an ancient, black oak coffer, the sides curiously graven, and a great rusty key in the lock. The Sexton turned the key with difficulty, threw open the lid and looked in.

‘Ay,’ he said, chuckling, ‘the old surplice and the old Book of Common Prayer. Ye have had a long rest; ’tis time for both to come out again. When the surplice is out, the book will stay no longer locked up. These two go in and out together. I mind me, now’——Here he sat down, and his thoughts wandered for a space; perhaps he saw himself once more a boy running in the fields, or a young man courting a maid. Presently he returned to the task before him, and drew forth an old and yellow roll which he shook out. It was the surplice which had once been white. ‘Here you be,’ he said. ‘Put you away for a matter of twelve year and more and you bide your time; you know you will come back again; you are not in any hurry. Even the Sexton dies; but you die not, you bide your time. Everything comes again. The old woman shall give you a taste o’ the suds and the hot iron. Thus we go up and thus we go down.’ He put back the surplice and took out the great Book of Common Prayer—musty and damp after twelve years’ imprisonment. ‘Fie!’ he said, ‘thy leather is parting from the boards, and thy leaves they do stick together. Shalt have a pot of paste, and then lie in the sun before thou goest back to the desk. Whether ’tis Mass or Common Prayer, whether ’tis Independent or Presbyterian, folk mun still die and be buried—ay, and married and born—whatever they do say. Parson goes and Preacher comes; Preacher goes and Parson comes; but Sexton stays’——He chuckled again, put back the surplice and the book, and locked the coffer.

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