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KING CHARLES THE FIRST-HIS CHAMBERS.
Christian patience and equanimity, and endeavoured as much as possible to keep his mind employed. He had always had serious impressions of religion,
and these were neither shaken nor diminished, but strengthened and confirined, by the harassing restraint under which he was now placed. Devotion, meditation, and reading the scriptures, were his greatest consolations. The few books which he had brought into the castle with him, were chiefly on religious subjects, or of a serious cast. Among these was Hooker’s Ecclesiastical Polity—a book which it is probable he had studied with great attention, as it related much to the national question so much agitated at that time, and in which no man was better versed. In his slender catalogue, we find also two books of amusement, Tasso's “ Jerusalem," and Spensers “Faëry Queen.” His freedom, however, was more and more abridged. He was an excellent horseman, and fond of that exercise; but as this indulgence was denied, he spent two or three hours every morning in walking on the castle ramparts. There he enjoyed at least fresh air and an extensive prospect; although every object he beheld—the “flocks straying carelessly on one side, and the ships sailing freely on the other”—brought painfully to remembrance that liberty and enjoyment of life of which he was so cruelly deprived. Thus circumstanced, he became regardless of his dress; he allowed his beard to grow, lost much of his cheerfulness; and in the expression of his countenance betrayed the inward feelings of a patient but unhappy captive.
During his imprisonment in this castle, three several attempts appear to
have been made, and chiefly by the gentlemen of the neighbourhood, for his enlargement. These are severally mentioned by Clarendon, Gilpin, and the writers of the Worsley Papers, from which it appears, that by a correspondence privately settled with some gentlemen of the island, it was agreed that the king should let himself down from A window of his apartment; a swift horse with a guide was to wait for
him at the bottom of the ramparts, while a vessel in the offing was to be ready to convey him wherever he pleased. The chief difficulty was, how the King should get through the iron bars of his window: but Charles assured them that he had already made experiment of the passage, and had every reason to believe that it was sufficiently large to admit his person. All being ready—the night dark, the fortress quiet, and not a whisper of sus
picion of what was going ou—everything promised a successful issue. The signal was then made. Charles appeared at the window, and seeing his friends in attendance, signified his readiness to make the attempt at once. But what was his disappointment and the mortification of his friends, who stood watching him with unspeakable anxiety, when he found that, in his eagerness to lay hold of any rational means of escape, he had miscalculated the width of the aperture! Having protruded his head and shoulders, he could get no further; and what was worse, he could not draw himself back. His friends at the bottom of the wall heard him groan in distress, but durst neither relieve him by word nor act, without alarming the sentinels, and thus sacrificing their own lives. It was a moment of agonizing suspense. At length, after repeated exertions, the king succeeded in extricating himself from his perilous situation, and, waving his hand before the light as a signal, retired mournfully to his couch, there to brood over this fresh blow to his hopes, and the defeated loyalty of his friends.
In the next plan laid for his escape, from the same window, implements having been secretly conveyed to him for that purpose, Charles contrived, by night-work and with “wonderful trouble,” to saw the massive iron bar asunder, which had proved the great obstacle in his last attempt. But all these schemes were alike unsuccessful; and, until the treaty of Newport-of which some interesting particulars are related by Sir Richard Worsley—the king remained a close prisoner in the Castle of Carisbrooke. He was then seized by the army, and carried a prisoner to Hurst Castle. “Just at the break of day,” says Worsley—in an extract from Colonel Cooke's "Narrative'—" the king, hearing a loud knocking at his outer door, sent the
IMPRISONMENT OF THE KING.
Duke of Richmond to learn the cause, who found there a person who said his name was Mildmay—a brother of Sir Henry Mildmay, and one of the servants placed by the Parliament about the king's person. On the duke's inquiring his business, he answered that there were several gentlemen from the army, who were very desirous to speak with the king. The duke carried in this message ; but the knocking still increasing, the king gave orders for their admission. The doors were no sooner opened, than those officers rushed into the bed-chamber before the king could rise from his bed, and abruptly told him that they had orders for his removal. "From whom?' inquired the king. "From the army,' they replied. “And to what place ?' inquired the king. "To the castle,' said they. "To what castle ?' demanded the king. They again answered, “To the castle. The castle,' said the king, 'is no castle;' but added, that he was well enough prepared for any castle, and therefore required them to name it; when, after a short whisper together, they said "Hurst Castle.' _ 'Indeed !' replied the king, you could hardly have named a worse.' .... The Duke of Richmond then ordered the king's breakfast to be hastened, presuming that there was little provision made for him in that desolate fortress; but before his majesty was well ready, the horses being come, they hurried him away, only permitting the duke to attend him for about two miles, and then telling him he must go no further. He therefore took a sad farewell of the king, being scarcely permitted to kiss his hand. The king's last words to the duke were, 'Remember me to my Lord Lindsay and Colonel Cooke; and command Cooke from me, never to forget the passages of this night!”” He then proceeded a prisoner to Hurst Castle, “which at that time,” says Warwick, "contained only a few dog-lodgings for soldiers.”—In his way to that dismal receptacle, he accidentally met Mr. Worsley, one of the gentlemen who had so generously risked their lives for him in the above-mentioned attempts to escape. Charles wrung his hand with affection; and pulling the watch out of his pocket gave it to him, with these words—“Keep this in remembrance of me: it is all my gratitude has to give.” This watch is still preserved in the Worsley family; it is of “silver, large and clumsy in its form; neatly ornamented in the case with filagree work; but the movements are of very ordinary workmanship, and are wound up with cat-gut.” On his arrival within its walls, the “ solitude and dreariness of the castle struck like a death-damp to the heart of Charles !” Never till this moment had he thought himself in danger : but now suspicions of secret assassination haunted his mind; and as he looked around him, and compared Hurst Castle with that which he had left—“Here,” said he to himself, “ were the place for
such a deed!”—But the events which followed the king's departure from the Isle of Wight require no further notice in this place.
With these brief notices of Carisbrooke Castle, and the chief personages and events with which it is connected, we close this portion of our subject; and for many interesting facts and persons which our limits will not permit us to detail, we refer, with every due acknowledgment, to the Authorities here annexed--particularly to that of the late Sir Richard Worsley.
EXPLANATION OF Plan.-A A. Governor's apartments; B. The parts of it demolished; C. Well of the Garrison ; D. The Gunner's House; E. Formerly a Guard House; F. Buildings demolished; G. Parish Church; H. Coach House; I. Powder Magazine; K. Store House; L. Stables, formerly Barracks; M. S.-East Platform; N. S.-West Ditto; 0. Now a Garden; P. Gateway, with two Round Towers for Prisons ; Q. Out Guard; R. Tower of Keep, with a Well 36 fathoms; S. Stone Wall, with its Parapet; T. Place of Arms.
AUTHORITIES :-Order. Vital. De Gul. Primo.
- Dugd. Bar. and Monast.-Will. Malmsb.—Matt.
Monstrelet, vol. ï. 458. -Col. Cooke's Narrativa, MSS. Harleian Collect.— Hist. of England, Civil and Milit. Transact., p. 298; for the event here noticed, see Monstrelet, vol. i. p. 32.–For Waltheof v. Ingulph. Selecta Monumento, p. 254. Note.See also Aypend. to Orig. Extracts to this Volume.