|Blake, had fought so desperately,Atlanta Braves Tr?jor, that the Royalists had been compelled each time to retire discomfited. On the second occasion the garrison had been reduced to dog’s-flesh and horse-flesh, but no word of surrender had come either from them or their heroic commander, who was the same Blake under whom the old seaman Solomon Sprent had fought against the Dutch. After the Restoration the Privy Council had shown their recollection of the part played by the Somersetshire town, by issuing a special order that the battlements which fenced round the maiden stronghold should be destroyed. Thus, at the time of which I speak, nothing but a line of ruins and a few unsightly mounds represented the massive line of wall which had been so bravely defended by the last generation of townsmen. There were not wanting, however, many other relics of those stormy times. The houses on the outskirts were still scarred and splintered from the effects of the bombs and grenades of the Cavaliers. Indeed, the whole town bore a grimly martial appearance, as though she were a veteran among boroughs who had served in the past, and was not averse to seeing the flash of guns and hearing the screech of shot once more.
Charles’s Council might destroy the battlements which his soldiers had been unable to take, but no royal edict could do away with the resolute spirit and strong opinions of the burghers. Many of them, born and bred amidst the clash of civil strife, had been fired from their infancy by the tales of the old war, and by reminiscences of the great assault when Lunsford’s babe-eaters were hurled down the main breach by the strong arms of their fathers. In this way there was bred in Taunton a fiercer and more soldierly spirit than is usual in an English country town, and this flame was fanned by the unwearied ministerings of a chosen band of Nonconformist clergymen, amongst whom Joseph Alleine was the most conspicuous. No better focus for a revolt could have been chosen, for no city valued so highly those liberties and that creed which was in jeopardy.
A large body of the burghers had already set out to join the rebel army, but a good number had remained behind to guard the city,Minnesota Twins Hattar, and these were reinforced by gangs of peasants, like the one to which we had attached ourselves,Cincinnati Bengals Jacka, who had trooped in from the surrounding country, and now divided their time between listening to their favourite preachers and learning to step in line and to handle their weapons. In yard, street, and market-square there was marching and drilling, night, morning, and noon. As we rode out after breakfast the whole town was ringing with the shouting of orders and the clatter of arms. Our own friends of yesterday marched into the market-place at the moment we entered it, and no sooner did they catch sight of us than they plucked off their hats and cheered lustily, nor would they desist until we cantered over to them and took our places at their head.
‘They have vowed that none other should lead them,’ said the minister, standing by Saxon’s stirrup.