CROMWELL TAKES CHARGE
THE King had no fear of the death that he had courted and foreseen. But as he listened to these shameful and--as it must have seemed to him--shameless imputations, a horror of worse than death would seem to have fallen upon him. Perhaps he had never realized till then the lengths to which these men were prepared to go, who now held his country and his people in a grip of steel. We to-day, who have experienced the Totalitarian phenomenon, can understand something of the feelings of civilized--let alone of Christian men--on discovering themselves in the presence of a power that is as impervious as a machine to justice or human feelings. Those who listened to that memorable broadcast on the 3rd of September, 1939, and marked the horror-struck dis- illusionment in the voice of the peace-loving statesman who was leading his country into war:
"It is evil things that we shall be fighting against, brute force, bad faith, injustice, oppression, persecution. ..."
Such of them at least as had banked, like him, to the last on the hope of reason and decency prevailing, can understand something of the feelings of King Charles as the significance of Bradshaw's words penetrated his brain.
"Will you hear me a word, Sir?" was his first instinctive reaction.
This was luxury indeed to Bradshaw. He must have felt all the pride of a Tamburlaine, whip in hand, with a king harnessed to his chariot. He had his Sovereign at his mercy now, and at least by his own reckoning, the law on his side. With brusque insolence he informed Charles that he was not to be heard after sentence, and to an incredulous exclamation of protest retorted with an order to the guard to remove their prisoner. For a moment horror and indignation got the better even of the dignity that the King had hitherto maintained: he gasped out some broken sentences of protest as Axtell's guards closed on him. Then, recovering himself, he turned to leave the court, but not before he had spoken his last word on the trial:
"I am not suffered to speak! Expect what justice other people will have."
He had need of all his constancy now, for he was in the hands of