MacMillan's Reading Books eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 236 pages of information about MacMillan's Reading Books.

Cromwell and Roseter, with all the enemy’s horse, followed us as far as Leicester, and killed all that they could lay hold on straggling from the body, but durst not attempt to charge us in a body.  The king expecting the enemy would come to Leicester, removes to Ashby-de-la-Zouch, where we had some time to recollect ourselves.

This was the most fatal action of the whole war; not so much for the loss of our cannon, ammunition, and baggage, of which the enemy boasted so much, but as it was impossible for the king ever to retrieve it.  The foot, the best that he was ever master of, could never be supplied; his army in the west was exposed to certain ruin; the north overrun with the Scots; in short, the case grew desperate, and the king was once upon the point of bidding us all disband, and shift for ourselves.

We lost in this fight not above two thousand slain, and the parliament near as many, but the prisoners were a great number; the whole body of foot being, as I have said, dispersed, there were four thousand five hundred prisoners, besides four hundred officers, two thousand horses, twelve pieces of cannon, forty barrels of powder; all the king’s baggage, coaches, most of his servants, and his secretary; with his cabinet of letters, of which the parliament made great improvement, and, basely enough, caused his private letters between his majesty and the queen, her majesty’s letters to the king, and a great deal of such stuff, to be printed.

DEFOE.

[Note:  The battle of Naseby, fought on June 14th, 1645.  The king’s forces were routed, and his cannon and baggage fell into the enemy’s hands.  Not only was the loss heavy, but it was made more serious by his correspondence falling into the hands of the parliamentary leaders, which exposed his dealings with the Irish Roman Catholics.  The most remarkable point about this description is the air of reality which Defoe gives to his account of an event which took place nearly twenty years before his birth.]

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THE PILGRIMS AND GIANT DESPAIR.

Now there was, not far from the place where they lay, a castle, called Doubting Castle, the owner whereof was Giant Despair, and it was in his grounds they now were sleeping; wherefore he, getting up in the morning early, and walking up and down in his fields, caught Christian and Hopeful asleep in his grounds.  Then with a grim and surly voice he bid them awake, and asked them whence they were, and what they did in his grounds.  They told him that they were pilgrims, and that they had lost their way.  Then said the giant.  You have this night trespassed on me by trampling in and lying on my grounds, and therefore you must go along with me.  So they were forced to go, because he was stronger than they.  They also had but little to say, for they knew themselves in a fault.  The giant, therefore, drove them

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MacMillan's Reading Books from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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