victory. This man, who among other foibles was notoriously insubordinate, decided for reasons of his own to abandon the post precipitately on the approach of the enemy, and without even notifying the King or his commander-in-chief, Lord Forth, of his intention. It was in vain that Charles, the moment he got word of it, sent a galloper post haste with orders to Wilmot to hold his ground till His Majesty could come in person. Before the messenger could return to report, Wilmot's forces had begun to trail into Oxford. It was no wonder that before the summer was out even the King's patience with Wilmot and his ways had become exhausted, and he had him summarily and ignominiously arrested in front of his own men on a charge of treason.
Waller, for his part, signalized his occupation of the ancient monastic town by piously demolishing its two-pillared medieval cross which must have been one of the most beautiful in England; "an act so barbarous," says the Cavalier, Sir Edward Walker, "no people that ever served a God (but such a one as they have fancied to themselves) would ever have done."
Waller, no doubt, would have replied that he was merely interpreting with Puritan consistency the mandate of an Old Testament Jehovah equated with God Almighty.
A NIGHT MARCH
GREAT was the consternation at Oxford--which up to now had been the setting of so gay and carefree a court lift--when it was realized that the fall of Abingdon had brought the enemy within striking distance of the city, and that two armies between them mustering at least three times the number that the King could put into the field against them were now hovering on the outskirts. Had Essex and Waller been capable of co-operating, there was nothing to prevent them from forming the siege at once and starving the King into surrender before Rupert, even if he succeeded in relieving York, could get back to his aid.
Luckily for the King, the two Roundhead commanders proved incapable of either vigorous or combined action. No sooner were their forces joined in the neighbourhood of Abingdon, than they
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Publication information: Book title: King Charles the Martyr, 1643-1649. Contributors: Esmé Wingfield-Stratford - Author. Publisher: Hollis & Carter. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 1950. Page number: 25.
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