Some months before the battle of Naseby, which was fought in June early, that is, in the year 1645, the plans of the king having now ripened, he gave a secret commission for Ireland to the earl of Glamorgan, with immense powers, among the rest that of coining money, in order that he might be in a position to make proposals towards certain arrangements with the Irish catholics, which, in view of the prejudices of the king’s protestant council, it was of vital importance to keep secret. Glamorgan therefore took a long leave of his wife and family, and in the month of March set out for Dublin. At Caernarvon, they got on board a small barque, laden with corn, but, in rough weather that followed, were cast ashore on the coast of Lancashire. A second attempt failed also, for, pursued by a parliament vessel, they were again compelled to land on the same coast. It was the middle of summer before they reached Dublin.
During this period there was of course great anxiety in Raglan, the chief part of which was lady Glamorgan’s. At times she felt that but for the sympathy of Dorothy, often silent but always ministrant, she would have broken down quite under the burden of ignorance and its attendant anxiety.
In the prolonged absence of her husband, and the irregularity of tidings, for they came at uncertain as well as wide intervals, her yearnings after her vanished Molly, which had become more patient, returned with all their early vehemence, and she began to brood on the meeting beyond the grave of which her religion waked her hope. Nor was this all: her religion itself grew more real; for although there is nothing essentially religious in thinking of the future, although there is more of the heart of religion in the taking of strength from the love of God to do the commonest duty, than in all the longing for a blessed hereafter of which the soul is capable, yet the love of a little child is very close to the love of the great Father; and the loss that sets any affection aching and longing, heaves, as on a wave from the very heart of the human ocean, the labouring spirit up towards the source of life and restoration. In like manner, from their common love to the child, and their common sense of loss in her death, the hearts of the two women drew closer to each other, and protestant mistress Dorothy was able to speak words of comfort to catholic lady Glamorgan, which the hearer found would lie on the shelf of her creed none the less quietly that the giver had lifted them from the shelf of hers.
One evening, while yet lady Glamorgan had had no news of her husband’s arrival in Ireland, and the bright June weather continued clouded with uncertainty and fear, lady Broughton came panting into her parlour with the tidings that a courier had just arrived at the main entrance, himself pale with fatigue, and his horse white with foam.