In the eyes of most of his comrades the mare he rode seemed too light for cavalry work, but she made up in spirit and quality of muscle for lack of size, and there was not another about the king to match in beauty the little black Lady. Sweet-tempered and gentle although nervous and quick, and endowed with a rare docility and a faith which supplied courage, it was clear, while nothing was known of her pedigree, both from her form and her nature, that she was of Arab descent. No feeling of unreality in his possession of her intruding to disturb his satisfaction in her, Scudamore became very fond of her. Having joined the army, however, only after the second battle of Newbury, he had no chance till the following summer of learning how she bore herself in the field.
Lady and bishop.
In the meantime a succession of events had contributed to enhance the influence of Cromwell in the parliament, and his position and power in the army. He was now, therefore, more able to put in places of trust such men as came nearest his own way of thinking, and amongst the rest Roger Heywood, whom, once brought into the active service for which modesty had made him doubt his own fitness, he would not allow to leave it again, but made colonel of one of his favourite regiments of horse, with his son as major.
Richard continued to ride Bishop, which became at length famous for courage, as he had become at once for ugliness. Fortunately they found that he had developed friendly feelings towards one of the mares of the troop, never lashing out when she happened to be behind him; so they gave her that place, and were freed from much anxiety. Still the rider on each side of him had to keep his eyes open, for every now and then a sudden fury of biting would seize him, and bring chaos in the regiment for a moment or two. When his master was made an officer, the brute’s temptations probably remained the same, but his opportunities of yielding to them became considerably fewer.
It was strange company in which Richard rode. Nearly all were of the independent party in religious polity, all holding, or imagining they held, the same or nearly the same tenets. The opinions of most of them, however, were merely the opinions of the man to whose influences they had been first and principally subjected: to say what their belief was, would be to say what they were, which is deeper judgment than a man can reach. In Roger Heywood and his son dwelt a pure love of liberty; the ardent attachment to liberty which most of the troopers professed, would have prevented few of them indeed from putting a quaker in the stocks, or perhaps whipping him, had such an obnoxious heretic as a quaker been at that time in existence. In some was the devoutest sense of personal obligation, and the strongest religious feeling; in others was nothing but talk, less injurious than