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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Atlantic Essays, A charge with Prince Rupert. (search)
t to waste; they are riding for their lives. Already the gathering parties of Roundheads are closing upon them, nearer and nearer, as they approach the most perilous point of the wild expedition,--their only return-path across the Cherwell,--Chiselhampton Bridge. Percy and O'Neal with difficulty hold the assailants in check; the case grows desperate at last, and Rupert stands at bay on Chalgrove Field. It is Sunday morning, June 18, 1643. The early church-bells are ringing over all Oxfordshire,--dying away in the soft air, among the sunny English hills, while Englishmen are drawing near one another with hatred in their hearts,--dying away, as on that other Sunday, eight months ago, when Baxter, preaching near Edgehill, heard the sounds of battle, and disturbed the rest of his saints by exclaiming, To the fight! But here are no warrior-preachers, no bishops praying in surplices on the one side, no dark-robed divines preaching on horseback on the other, no king in glittering arm