JOURNEY TO WINDSOR
IT was on the night of the 17th of December that the King was wakened from sleep by the clanking and grinding that signified the letting down of the drawbridge, followed by the clatter of hooves over the planks--and then silence. In the morning he succeeded in ascertaining, through the agency of Herbert, that these sounds had signified the arrival at the Castle of the notorious Major Harrison,* though of the occasion of his coming no further information had been vouchsafed by the officer on duty, than that it would be known speedily. Now the King was well aware that Harrison had been leading the cry for his blood, and had been warned only recently at Newport that he intended to assassinate him, so that it was not unnatural that he should have supposed that this was what the midnight irruption had portended. He accordingly retired to his chamber and remained for the best part of an hour on his knees. Charles had shown himself in battle as he was to show himself on the scaffold capable of looking death in the face without flinching, but from brutal violence he had a sensitive man's aversion--a trait that was perhaps partly hereditary, for his father had displayed it to an obsessive degree.
"God," he said, "is my helper. I would not be surprised--this is a fit place for such a purpose."
Herbert, seeing his master thus discomposed, resumed his enquiries and was at length able to ascertain that the purpose of the Colonel's visit was to arrange for the King's removal to Windsor in two or three days' time. Charles was not only relieved, but gratified at the prospect of exchanging this grim dungeon for the loveliest of his palaces. That he was under any illusion about their real intentions with him there is no reason to assume. A man who knows himself about to die may well be pleased to pass his last days among scenes consecrated by the happiest memories of his life. " Windsor," says Herbert, "was a place he had ever delighted in."
Accordingly on the morning of the 18th, just short of three weeks from the time he had arrived at Hurst, they brought him____________________