the part he had played but that it would be more than he dared to change sides now.
This not too magnanimous aristocrat had been one of four Peers who, horrified at the turn things were taking, had recently approached Fairfax, in what the Royalist agent mentioned above represents as a very lick-spittle manner, apparently with the idea of mediating in some way between the army and the King, and got well jeered at by the officers for their pains. Denbigh, he says, held Fairfax's stirrup--whether literally or metaphorically is not quite clear.* If the latter, it was Cromwell who vaulted into the saddle.
Such was the man who went down to Windsor bearing what was in effect Cromwell's final offer to the King, that Charles must have known well to be his last chance of saving his life. Whether if the King had stood out for a bargain Cromwell would in any way have consented to meet him, will never be known. It will never be known because the King, on being informed of Denbigh's arrival at Windsor, would not condescend to receive him, either in his individual capacity or that of ambassador from Cromwell. He had taken the measure of both men; he had no desire for the mediation of the one, and rather than buy his life on such conditions as the other was likely to offer--even supposing he could be trusted to fulfil them--he would prefer to die.
CONSPIRACY TO MURDER
ONE would give much for an authentic account of Cromwell's first reactions, when Denbigh returned from Windsor looking-- as he must have--somewhat foolish. Cromwell was a man of wrath, explosive and devastating. He who could ride single- handed into a regiment of mutinous Ironsides and compel them to shoot their own ringleader, was not one to be defied with impunity. And the King had worse than defied--he had ignored him.
What was Cromwell going to do about it? What indeed, must he do? For the King's refusal to treat had left him more hopelessly____________________