Fairfax: Yes, and the second line.
Cromwell: Good—can I have two of the best regiments down here behind me?
Fairfax: Yes. Staines, let Spilsby see to that.
Cromwell: Spilsby is good.
Staines: If I might say it, would you choose him for that, sir? It is a great responsibility, and he has been indiscreet. I thought not to use him to-day.
Staines: In his utterances, sir. His belief is in some question.
Cromwell: Surely you are not well advised to turn off one so faithful to the cause, and so able to serve you as this man is. He is indiscreet, you say. It may be so in some things; we all have human infirmities. Sir, the state, in choosing men to serve it, takes no notice of their opinions. If men be willing faithfully to serve it, that satisfies. Let it be Spilsby.
Staines: Yes, sir.
Cromwell: Is the army well rested, sir?
Fairfax: They are resting now. Till ten o’clock. We moved up at three.
Cromwell: Three hours for my men. It is enough. The order to advance at eleven?
Fairfax: At eleven.
Cromwell: Is the word for the day chosen?
Fairfax: Not yet.
Cromwell: Let it be, “God our strength.” Gentlemen.
(They all rise, and, bareheaded, together they repeat, “God our strength.”)
The same tent. Night—with torches and candles. An aide stands at the tent opening. The sentries pass to and fro. It is after the action. IRETON, severely wounded, is on a couch, surgeons attending him. CROMWELL, himself battered and with a slight head wound, stands by the couch.
Cromwell: It is not mortal. You are sure of that?
The Surgeon: He is hurt, grievously, but he will live now.
Cromwell: The danger is gone?
The Surgeon: Yes. But it will be slow.
Ireton: Whalley—there—in God’s name, man. Tell Spilsby to beat down under General Cromwell. There’s not a minute to lose. Whalley—that’s good—come—no man—left—left—now, once more. God is our strength.
Cromwell: There, my son. Brave, brave. It is well.
Ireton (himself): How is it—out there?
Cromwell: They are scattered.
Ireton: Scattered. Write to Bridget.
Cromwell: Yes—it is done.
(reading a letter from the table):
My dearest daughter,—
This in all haste. We have fought to-day at Naseby. The field at
all points is ours. They are destroyed beyond mending. Henry is hurt,
but he is well attended, and the surgeons have no fear. He shall be
brought to you by the first means. He has great honour to-day for
himself and for us all.