It says much for his belief in Rupert that he should have thought fit to make him the recipient of such an appeal. It says even more for his faith in his cause that he should thus unhesitatingly have assumed that life itself, and everything that makes life worth living, would be a cheap price to pay for its ultimate, but assured, triumph.
From the time he penned this letter--at the latest--we are warranted in dating the last phase of King Charles's career in which with clear consciousness of what it was bound to entail, he held to the resolution of opposing to triumphant physical force the moral force of what he himself defined, with his last breath, as a good cause and a merciful God. It is the spirit that embraces martyrdom; not blindly, but as the winning sacrifice in the greatest of all games.
But it was asking a little too much of human--and certainly of the average Cavalier--nature to expect his followers, or even Rupert, to accompany him to the end of the via dolorosa that he would have chosen for himself, had he conceived of there being any choice in the matter.
RUPERT IN ECLIPSE
HAVING penned this letter to Rupert, and sent him such reinforcements as he could spare, the King left him to hold the great fortified base that, after the collapse of the Western front, might be expected to play a part not dissimilar to that of Tobruk in the last war on the flank of the enemy drive. He does not appear to have had the least doubt of his nephew's ability to do so, though--as it appeared in the sequel--the young man's belly- aching* pessimism may have awakened some suppressed misgivings about his spirit--so ominously different from that of the old Rupert.
Charles himself, having failed to get more than a driblet of recruits from South Wales, proceeded with a mere handful of men to leave the district, which the enemy would have soon made too hot to hold him, and made another of his rapid marches in the direction of Yorkshire. Seen in retrospect his movements hence____________________