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The writings of John Greenleaf Whittier, Volume 6. (ed. John Greenleaf Whittier), Old portraits and modern Sketches (search)
ter of a gentleman in the Commission of the Peace. Coming of age about the beginning of the civil wars, John and one of his young neighbors enlisted in the service of Parliament. Hearing that Cirencester had been taken by the King's forces, they obtained leave of absence to visit their friends, for whose safety they naturally felt solicitous. The following account of the reception they met with from the drunken and ferocious troopers of Charles I., the bravos of Alsatia and the pages of Whitehall, throws a ghastly light upon the horrors of civil war:— As they were passing by Cirencester, they were discovered, and pursued by two soldiers of the King's party, then in possession of the town. Seeing themselves pursued, they quitted their horses, and took to their heels; but, by reason of their accoutrements, could make little speed. They came up with my father first; and, though he begged for quarter, none they would give him, but laid on him with their swords, cutting and slashin