This explosion from the heart of the wild Irishwoman sounded dreadful in the ears of the king-worshipper. But he whom she thus accused the king of wronging, had been scarcely less revered of her, even while the idol with the feet of clay yet stood, and had certainly been loved greatly more, than the king himself. Hence, notwithstanding her struggle to keep her heart to its allegiance, such a rapid change took place in her feelings, that ere long she began to confess to herself that if the puritans could have known what the king was, their conduct would not have been so unintelligible—not that she thought they had an atom of right on their side, or in the least feared she might ever be brought to think in the matter as they did; she confessed only that she could then have understood them.
The whole aspect and atmosphere of Raglan continued changed. The marquis was still very gloomy; lord Charles often frowned and bit his lip; and the flush that so frequently overspread the face of lady Glamorgan as she sat silent at her embroidery, showed that she was thinking in anger of the wrong done to her husband. In this feeling all in the castle shared, for the matter had now come to be a little understood, and as they loved the earl more than the king, they took the earl’s part.
Meantime he for whose sake the fortress was troubled, having been released on large bail, was away, with free heart, to Kilkenny, busy as ever on behalf of the king, full of projects, and eager in action. Not a trace of resentment did he manifest—only regret that his majesty’s treatment of him, in destroying his credit with the catholics as the king’s commissioner, had put it out of his power to be so useful as he might otherwise have been. His brain was ever contriving how to remedy things, but parties were complicated, and none quite trusted him now that he was disowned of his master.
Things began to look threatening. Raglan’s brooding disappointment and apprehension was like the electric overcharge of the earth, awaiting and drawing to it the hovering cloud: the lightning and thunder of the war began at length to stoop upon the Yellow Tower of Gwent. When the month of May arrived once more with its moonlight and apple-blossoms, the cloud came with it. The doings of the earl of Glamorgan in Ireland had probably hastened the vengeance of the parliament.
There was no longer any royal army. Most of the king’s friends had accepted the terms offered them; and only a few of his garrisons, amongst the rest that of Raglan, held out—no longer, however, in such trim for defence as at first. The walls, it is true, were rather stronger than before, the quantity of provisions was large, and the garrison was sufficient; but their horses were now comparatively few, and, which was worse, the fodder in store was, in prospect of a long siege, scanty. But the worst of all, indeed the only weak and therefore miserable fact, was, that the spirit, I do not mean the courage, of the castle was gone; its enthusiasm had grown sere; its inhabitants no longer loved the king as they had loved him, and even stern-faced general Duty cannot bring up his men to a hand-to-hand conflict with the same elans as queen love.