St. George and St. Michael eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 483 pages of information about St. George and St. Michael.

Dorothy’s capacity for work was not easily satisfied, but now for a time she had plenty to do.  In the midst of the roar from the batteries, and the answering roar from towers and walls, the ladies betook themselves to their stronger quarters:  a thousand necessaries had to be carried with them, and she, as a matter of course, it seemed, had to superintend the removal.  With many hands to make light work she soon finished, however, and the family was lodged where no hostile shot could reach them, although the frequent fall of portions of its battlemented summit rendered even a peep beyond its impenetrable shell hazardous.  Dorothy would lie awake at night, where she slept in her mistress’s room, and listen—­now to the baffled bullet as it fell from the scarce indented wall, now to the roar of the artillery, sounding dull and far away through the ten-foot thickness; and ever and again the words of the ancient psalm would return upon her memory:  ’Thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.’

She tended the fire-engine if possible yet more carefully than ever, kept the cistern full, and the water lipping the edge of the moat, but let no fountain flow except that from the mouth of the white horse.  Her great fear was lest a shot should fall into the reservoir and injure its bottom, but its contriver had taken care that, even without the protection of its watery armour, it should be indestructible.

The marquis would not leave his own rooms and the supervision they gave him.  The domestics were mostly lodged within the kitchen tower, which, although in full exposure to the enemy’s fire, had as yet proved able to resist it.  But all between that and the library tower was rapidly becoming a chaos of stones and timber.  Lord Glamorgan’s secret chamber was shot through and through; but Caspar, as soon as the direction and force of the battery were known, had carried off his books and instruments.

CHAPTER L.

A sally.

Meantime Mr. Heywood had returned home to look after his affairs, and brought Richard with him.  In the hope that peace was come they had laid down their commissions.  Hardly had they reached Redware when they heard the news of the active operations at Raglan, and Richard rode off to see how things were going—­not a little anxious concerning Dorothy, and full of eagerness to protect her, but entirely without hope of favour either at her hand or her heart.  He had no inclination to take part in the siege, and had had enough of fighting for any satisfaction it had brought him.  It might be the right thing to do, and so far the only path towards the sunrise, but had he ground for hope that the day of freedom had in himself advanced beyond the dawn?  His confidence in Milton and Cromwell, with his father’s, continued unshaken, but what could man do to satisfy the hunger for freedom which grew and gnawed within him?  Neither political nor religious liberty could content him.  He might himself be a slave in a universe of freedom.  Still ready, even for the sake of mere outward freedom of action and liberty of worship, to draw the sword, he yet had begun to think he had fought enough.

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St. George and St. Michael from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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