Next Friday I'll be submitting a book manuscript that has taken *far too long*, and although I have four conference papers to turn into articles by April, and a major paper for May, I am anticipating a little writing time; if only of the 500 Words Before Breakfast variety.

So it is with great pleasure that I have begun printing the notes for chapter 4: Mr. Trease's History of England.
In which Mr. Trease encourages us to consider history from below, and takes young English men and women on a grand tour of Europe. In this chapter I will consider the historical adventure books in strict chronological order of setting, in order to consider the England (and it is England), it’s history and geography, that Trease created, at a time when Englishness was clearly something to be renegotiated, and in which historical fiction for children was part of the conversation. While this chapter will touch on the influence of socialism and the new social history on his work (and vice versa), it will reserve those important issues to a later discussion and chapter in order to make space for a consideration of the more conservative aspects of Trease’s historicals, in particular, the way in which even European History is filtered through the eyes of an English child. Over the course of the chapter a sharp eye will be kept on the changing fashions of history teaching within the English and Welsh curricula and the ways in which Trease created a counter-narrative to much of what was taught in the classroom. Meek cites Dorothy Neal White, but without a ff. ‘Reading a Trease story when one is an adult is mildly confusing because, vaguely remembering one’s own childhood, one is surprised to find that the erstwhile “bad uns” have become the heroes.” (Meek, 1960: 91)
I have *finally* finished my first draft chapter about novels of the English Civil War/Three Kingdoms. It's about three months later than intended, and about eighteen thousand words too long (26k in total); the latter accounts for the former. And it's a mess, since keeping a grip on super long chapters is damned difficult (thank the goddess for Scrivener). There is also yet to be anything as exciting as secondary reading (Blair Worden) or analysis (me).

If anyone is a glutton for punishment/genuinely interested in what novels about this period are like, let me know and I'll send you the rough, but think of it as one of those basted paper dresses--a semblance of the final product, rather than a kissing cousin.

So what did I find: by the time you do the number count, and look at the nuances, these novels are far less "pro King" than initial impressions give; that far from opting for an elitist "x rides with famous man" approach, they are mostly the lives of ordinaryish people; that ideology matters a lot to anyone on the left of the story and that this means many things; and that nineteenth century writers struggled with issues of class and gender and historical veracity in these issues. Perhaps most important that the one thing many of the authors agree on was that what was at stake was what loyalty and patriotism actually meant. President Obama could do with reading a few of these books before condemning Manning and Snowden; his country's political system is, after all, mostly descended from the men who first questioned whether loyalty to country was the same as loyalty to king.
Our perceptions of the latter part of the twentieth century however have been distorted by Robert Leeson’s comments in“The Spirit of What Age,?’The interpretation of History from a Radical Standpoint”, in Children’s Literature in Education (1976) he writes that he sampled around two dozen books (check).

I find that fourteen lean towards the Royalist side, some horizontally; five are in the increasingly familiar area of ‘conflict of loyalties’, and the other four we may be said to do justice to the Parliamentary side. (176)

Because Leeson does not give his breakdown I cannot accuse him of an outright distortion but I suspect him of including earlier texts such as Children of the New Forest, which was adapted for television in 1955, 1964, and 1977 and later in a rather distorted version in 1998, but by my figures the post war result is as follows:

(I have not included the 40s but honours are even to Trease and Lane).



1970 (inc Leeson)


One of the “neutral” titles is Ronald Welch’s For the King (1969) which, if not read carefully, for all its ambivalences and disdain of the Royalists, might be classified otherwise, but it is clear that by the 1970s the trend has swung solidly towards Parliament or to neutral, and if we discount Sally Gardiner’s I, Coriander (date?) which is a fantasy and not particularly interested in historical veracity, it has stayed that way.


May. 20th, 2013 12:06 pm
As of today I have notes on 108 civil war novels, ending with the very moving Harrow and Harvest by Barbara Willard.

So far:

56 for the King
15 neutral
35 or Parliament

and a scattering of others. A more nuanced analysis to follow.
From the author of the Parliamentarian Plain Jane. This is a lovely book.

For the King, and yet produced by the Cromwell Press, It's a beautifully packaged book but I wonder if it's self published? I found myself imaging illustrations that aren't there.

When Nicholas is a teen ager and his sister Katherine barely seven, their father surrenders his house to Parliament. When the Royalists arrive, they shoot him as a traitor. Nicholas leaves to fight for the King, leaving behind a traumatised sister.

Five years later Nicholas, his friend Giles and Giles younger brother Matthew arrive, having escaped from Worcester. Nicholas is contemptous of his sister's timidity but uses her and his cousin Hester as cover for the three of them to escape. Unfortunately Hester's cousin Mistess Barfutt conspure against them, imprisoning Kathrine. Katherine escapes to the Mill where the Miller (a Royalist officer) hides her, but because Nicholas distrusts and despises Katherine her attempts to help them all come to naught/

All is complicated because Giles resembles the description of the king (tall and dark).

Eventually Parliament troops arrive, everyone is arrested, but Katherine. Giles, Nicholas and Matthew escape. Nicholas finds his sister is more couragous than he realised and he and Katherine stay behind to keep the mill working so that if the Miller (who once executed their father) survives, he will have somewhere to come back to).
Softly's Plain Jane
Welch's For the King
Sutcliff's Simon

Read more... )
A relatively late contribution from Jane Lane and one that manages to be more skeptical than her other work.

Read more... )
A very complex family saga which I will return to, pairing it with Both Sides of the Sea (also set in the Commonwealth), and also with Trumpets in the West, which, although a saga of Restoration is contemporaneous, because there are ways in which this novel is profoundly influenced by the war: the theme of factions, of the military gaining ground, of taxes, of curbs on entertainment, and of the rise of one person to immense power, are all major themes.

This is a family saga:
Read more... )
Charles, E. R. (1867 (facsimile in 2006)). The Draytons and the Davenants: a story of the Civil Wars. London, Eilbron Classics facsimile of T. Nelson and Sons. Truly excellent novel in two parts of which the second is On Both Sides of the Sea. Read more... )
I think this book is as much about the US civil war as it is about the English one. It's rather fun tho.

Christopher Ferringham is a Royalist soldier by virtue that his father was a mercenary captain in the thirty years war (a second son) and joined up with the King. Christopher simply followed him. It's now the 1650s and Christopher has been hauled out of a prison by his Puritan Uncle and despatched to New England to make good and eventually to return as Heir. Instead Christopher is a scape grace, hangs out with the local trouble makers, insults his other uncle, spends his time gambling and drinking, and gets fined a lot. In one scene even funnier now than then, he obeys the instructions to get his curls cut off by having a longstrip of hair left among the super short: ie a Mohican.

Christopher has two redeeming factors: first he is generous, kind and just and rescues others from trouble often at expense to himself. Second he is in love with his cousin. She, however, won't marry him, most of all because he swears he will be good *for her*. She does not want to be his crutch and uses that phrase.

Eventually, in what is essentially a story about growing into grace, the Uncle at home disowns him as his heir (having acquired a grandson) and Christopher runs away. He accidentally takes his cousin with him, and they end up in the rapids. He rescues her but it's over night. She still won't marry him, taking a place instead as a servant girl in Boston, telling him to return only when he can take her to her home.

He ends up in various scrapes and eventually in the South where he becomes a smith. He refuses to join a friend from England on his plantation, coming to dislike the behaviour of the Cavaliers who are settling there [a link I made in an earlier post]. Eventually tho he inherits that friend's plantation, frees the slaves, rescues his cousins from the North who have been captured by Pirates, exposes his rival in love--who also usefully dies--and is able to return, redeemed, sober and conscientious, and marry his sweetheart.



A fascinating book because Lane, although still firmly Royalist, casts as her main characters an aesthetic poet and scholar, so beloved of many Cavalier Romances, who betrays the Sealed Knot he created; and a womanising drunkard (his best friend) who rapes his sister in a fury, and proves an ineffectual spy. Broderick (the action adventure hero) is described as "He was selfish, inordinately vain, and when injured utterly remorseless" (140).


The basic premise is that Sir Richard Willis creates the Sealed Knot to raise money for an uprising, aided and abetted by his friend, the reckless and lower class yeoman, Broderick. Sick, and desperate to keep his mistress,Willis sells them out, and ends up praying that Charles does not return. The last seen is Broderick returning for his sister Diana to marry her, and sweep her into a future in which General Monck has forced open the gates of London and welcomed back the King. The book concludes, "The King was coming home, but not through the agency of this once dear society, rather despite it." (231)


Willis is a romantic, who believes, "Why, when such numbers of loyal gentlemen throughout England yearn for a restoration, did they not rise for their King?"(in 1655). (3) For him money is the answer. So he is very vulnerable when Morland "made Sir Richard see hmself as a romantic dreamer" (34) It doens't help that Hythe and Villiers see it as hopeless, or that others point to the use of foreign troops as alienating Royalist supporters.



The book is impressively snobbish, sometimes in period "In an age when the closest relation if noble was addressed as 'my lord,' this yeoman accosted his betters by their surnames only" (17) or Compton's declaration that the people of London are "a parcel of mechanics. They will talk, my lord, but they will not act." (102) which is a rather odd thing to say given the previous decade. Villiers adds, 'in lofty contempt, "I suppose," remarked Villiers in lofty contempt, "that their weapons will be tailors' bodkins and butchers' cleavers." (102) which is a very typical insult from the previous decade.


and sometimes not at all, as when Wilis enters a company of "cits", and finds "all were ostentatiously dresses and had in their behaviour that arrogance of mere wealth... The gentlemen of the company... wore breeches for all the world like petticoats, trimmed with ribbon loops not only at the waist but down over the side-seams, and some had lace frills spilling over their knees... their long hair was carefully curled and a few of the more daring had adopted this new fashion of hair-powder...

Their female companions little City misses in their teens, were quite as ornamental...Their sleeves were slashed, their young faces smeared with paint like a whore's, their shoes had enormous roses... and while some wore huge lace collars like their gallants, others had their gowns cut so low in front that half the flattened bosom was exposed." (54-54)

 Yesterday I finished up in the British Library, which means I have read about fifty books, and have another fifty English civil war books to go. Most of what I read in the BL were nineteenth and early twentieth century; most of what I have left is twentieth century.

On yesterday's count 27 books were For the King, 9 books For Parliament, with a surprising number labelled neutral. However I'd caution that my labelling at this stage is probably inconsistent and all of it will have to be checked. It's also not as clear cut as it sounds.

There is a distinct pattern emerging: early 19th century books tend to be For the King, mostly very unquestioningly, Then in the late 19th century, after Carlysle's book, and about when people are arguing about whether there should be a statue to Cromwell, we see a flurry of Pro-Parliamnent books, and some rather neutral For the King texts. Immediately after there is a small flurry of mildy Royalist texts, and then, in the 1900s, a number of texts that are "Royalist" in the sense that they are oppositional to the invasions of Ireland and Scotland by the Protectorate.

The really *strong* pro King books, don't appear until the 1930s, the point at which Geoffrey Trease started taking a hard look at historical novels for children. So my rough conclusion is that Trease was not wrong, but that his take on the situation was rather snapshot.

About 50 more books to go (moving up to the present day), but I can work at home from now on, which means I can go from four books a day to six. With luck I'll be writing this up in April. 

Anyone got a suitable conference for a Moretti-ish style analysis of children's historical novels?

A Georgette Heyer style romance set during the Commonwealth, complete with forced marriage and identical cousins, but less snobbery.

Peter Williams fell in love with the daughter of the manor when he was but the son of the blacksmith. Now a General in the New Model, when offered land and a bride, he chooses the newly widowed woman who once struck him with a whip, and from whom he forced a kiss when he laid siege to her home.

She marries him to save her brother from the scaffold.

The marriage proceeds, and he falls genuinely in love with his wife, an adult love. But as he thinks she is yielding he realises that the new footman is not all he seems and his wife is hiding something. He sees her kiss her (male cousin) and then, having been given a warrant for the footman's arrest, he discovers his wife has flown with the footman--almost certainly her not-dead husband. He chases after them, and after a confrontation, lets them go, going back to face Cromwell's wrath and the surety that he will die in Lord Killigew's place. He ends up spending 8 weeks in solitary, when he is brought out it is to be given a choice of life imprisonment or service as trooper in Jamaica. He accepts the latter, and his sergeant begs to go with (and there is a funny bit where the sergeant's wife asks to go, is told "no" and responds. 

"But I am partly Irish, Your Highness."

"Well, what of that?" Enquired the Protector, knitting his brows with a puzzled air. "Is the climate of Jamaica more suitable for the Irish?"

"I do not know, Your Highness, but I thought perhaps it might be, as I have been told your Highness is sending out there a thousand Irish girls." (283)

Cromwell protests they are "women of loose and light conduct is of benefit to this realm" and she responds, "What a pity...that there should be no virtous women amongst them, to raise up a godly and manly race to the glory of our nation."

Privet Joy is not held to this in the end, because the Killigew's turn up, but not before it also turns out that Peter has married not Lady Kiligew, who knew about her husband's survival two weeks before the marriage, but her cousin, Una Lovett who looks just like her and has fallen in love with Peter (and whose family likes him too).


All ends happily with reprieves, the sale of the land to pay Killgew's fine, and the purchase of it by Una's father (which you would have thought would have caused more resentment, not less).



 Back at work so a little sporadic but hope to get one day a week in the BL.

Over the years I have heard Charlotte M. Yonge disparaged as "pious" and "goody" many times. But because I read the <i>Little Duke</i> when I was about ten I've kept an open mind (not least because the other epithet often levelled at her, "didactic" is a word I would like to rescue).  So I opened <i>Under the Storm</i> with some expectations but unfearfully.

It is a superb, fascinating, nuanced book and if you like children's historicals go buy it immediately. I found a copy on Amazon from Tredition Classics but you can download it as well.

This is a book which sets out to tell the story of ordinary people in the English Civil War, and in the tale of a boy uninterested in the affairs of King and Parliament, but loyal unto death to the Church, it really does achieve this, despite Steadfast Kenton pausing in his daily business to assist Charles II and Jane Lane. In addition, unlike many of the 19th century authors Yonge tries very hard to conjure the period, so that she makes it clear that the life of a middle or upper class woman was still one of work and domesticity, that relationships between master and man were far more intimate (if not necessarily nicer) and that behaviour is a complex thing.

The story: when their mother dies in childbirth Patience, all of eleven, becomes the housewife. The eldest son Jephthah is a bit of a waste of space, caught up by any idea and uninterested in the farm. The second son, Steadfast, is a "clown", a "lump" but hard working, conscientious and like his sister Patience, is able to read--one of the interesting things in this book is that quickness is not automatically linked with intellgence. The two younger children are (Je)Rusha, who is about eight, and the little Benino who is a baby at the start but turns into a slight young man who ends up training as a parson. There is also Emlyn, the little daugher of a Royalist who they find and look after and who Steadfast falls in love with.

Things go even worse for the children when John Kenton, their faither, is killed by looting cavaliers. Jeph, looking for a cause, rushes off to join Parliament, leaving his siblings to fend for themselves, and turns into a canting puritan who is secure in his self justification. It is Steadfast Kenton who, with Patience, keeps the family together, paying the due for the land and holding to it even tho they are unable to live in the now burned house and survive in a hovel in the woods.

Of Jeph Yonge writes, 

"No doubt he believed in this reward himself, in his relief at finding his brothers and sisters all together and not starving, and considered their condition a specia blessing due to his own zeal, instead of to Steadfast's patient exertion." (83)

But Steadfast holds a secret, the location of the church plate, and just as all is going well, he is attacked by Royalists, alerted by Emlyn (now in service and who tries yo persuade him to sell hte plate so they can marry sooner ), who assert it is the King's plate (147) and is mortally wounded. He takes several years to die, during which time Emlyn (having been engaged to Steadfast) leaves for a match with a long lost cousin and heir, and Patience turns down an offer of marriage. He lives long enough to hand over the plate to the returned minister (and for his brother to marry in Ireland and give over the land, which Rusha and her husband inherit, p. 147) The book ends with the return of the old service and pictutes peoplestruggling to remember the responses. (187)  And then with Stead's death.Both are described beautifully,


But what is fascinating about the book is that this is very much A Plague on Both Their Houses.  Yonge has no illiusions why many people fought: "many of the country people were too ignorant to understand the difference between the sides, but only took part with their squire, or if they loved their clergyman, clung to him." (97) and is it this clinging to Church that she explores.


The children's mother was a Puritan (hence their names) but there is no instinctive siding with one or the other. Jeph, it is made clear, acts in a rush. Earlier he was seen cheering the King's men. Jeph, we see acquire the canting language of the extreme Puritan, castigating Emlyn as "The child of a Midianitish woman!" (86) but in reality not the kind of man who could throw out a child.Yonge is not interested in ideology as such but what it covers. Of Jeph she writes that he "expoudned his singular mercies, which apparently meant is achievements in kiling Cavaliers...One of these mercies was the retention of his home and land, though he kindly explained that his brothers and sisters were welcome to get their livelihood there while he was serving with the army but some day he should come home.." (87) Later, he acquires an Irish estate and a Papist wife. His Puritanism, it is made clear, is only skin deep. But this, Yonge makes clear, is not always the case. In dealing with Roundheads, Stead is "a good deal confused between the piety and good conduct of these Roundheads, in contrast with their utter contempt of the Church, and rude dealing with all he had been taught to hold sacred." (91)


And even a Puritan approved minister, as is brought in by the new Lord when the old one dies, can be a good man (113) even if he be Presbyterian. 

"Stead was puzzled. The minister was not like the soldiers whom he had heard raving about the reign of the saints, and abusing the church. He prayed for the King's having a good deliverance from his troubles, and for the peace of the kingdom, and he gave out that there was to be a week of fasting, preaching and preparation for the Lord's Supper.' (114) Patience admires him and feels him "lawful" tempting Stead to give up the plate to the new minister Only after he discusses it with an old Prelate in the neighbourhood, who agrees to conduct a secret Whitsuntide service "from the book" does he decide against.

When selling to the Royalists, "Whatever the country people brought into the town was eagerly bought up, and was paid for, not often in the coin of the realm, but by tokens made of tin or some such metal with odd stamps upon them, and though they could be used as money they would not go nearly as far as the sums they were held to represent--at least in anyone's hands but those of officers." (67-68) Later Jeph will assert that all market goods should be sold to the Parliametary army first, indicating both armies to be very similar in outlook, but later we are told that "Captain Venn, ... never sanctioned plunder." (108) There is also a comment which I can't find that while Roundheads were courteous to females, they showed contempt for the church, while the Royalists doffed their hats at clergy and harrassed the women of the town.

I am not at all sure however if Yonge gets all her own ironies. Frequently, Steadfast is advised, "Is not what is good enough for better men than you fit to please you?" (124) or to listen to his elders (126), from Puritan and Cavalier alike, but Steadfast reads his bible and thinks (if slowly) and goes his own way, which of course has far more in common with radical Protestantism, than it does with the "listen to the vicar" teachings of the Oxford movement which we see restored at the end of the book--althoiugh I suspect Yonge has the right of it.



 The BL is about to close and I won't be back until the 19th Jan, The following is a bit muddled as I've had to try to group stuff together but I expect I'll be writing about this one in detail for the chapter.


Lane, J. (1943). England for Sale. London, Andrew Dakers Ltd.

It's not very likely at all that Geoffrey Trease saw this book because he was in India, but England for Sale is a perfect mirror image of Trumpets in the West (although with a lot more sex), and comes, I think, from the same fear/anticipation of social upheaval. This is not a romantic book, in the way the work of Brent-Dyer or Bowen, or even Margaret Irwin is romantic, but clearly political and polemic.

Michael Hugh is the younger son of a respectable gentry family, who still maintain old feudal traditions: the servants eat in the hall, there are no enclosures, etc. etc so that once at court he thinks 

"From their conversation, it appeared that they regarded their country estates as mere refuges in time of trouble and at all other times as mere investments; he had heard them brag of how they had let out large portions of their lands to woollen merchants, and of what rich profit they derived from these transactions; it never seemd to occur to them that such measures ruined the poor countryman... The way they treated their servants, too, astonished and infuriated the feudal Michael; there was none of that interest in one's own household, and protection of it, which was an essential part of the old order, and he observed how in return the servants paid only a very surface respect to their lords, leaving their service at the first opportunity of higher wages elsewhere." (47)*

However, Michael is an outsider anyway because his forefathers held by the Old Religion and he is a Catholic in a Protestant country.* Michael is also the son who killed his mother at his birth, and his father is anxious to get him out of sight, having never forgiven him. That he is like his mother, gentle yet stubborn (she once held off a Roundhead incursion) only makes it worse. with this in mind, his father, ignoring Michael's taste for scholarship, finds him a place with the Gentlemen Pensioners, to which Catholics are being accepted.

But Michael is a scholar and idealist and in his spare time he is writing a treatise on monarchy (which is always caitalised in this book). He writes the following:

"Though the conclusion that Monarchy is the best form of Government may be strengthened by Historical and Practical arguments, its main support is philosophical reasoning as to the Essence of all human communities, our Fore-fathers discovering that there is to be found throughout animate and inanimate Nature a Monarchical form, and declaring further that the Essence of the Social Organism lies in Unity." (16)

This is not untypical and throughout the book there is a constant tension between the belief in God inspired Divine Right, and Natural Order, which are not actually compatible as philosphies when you get right down to it.

Michael falls in with his Lieutenant, Sir Noel Tredennis. a committed aetheist  and experiment, who is, yet, a firm supporter of James II and the Divine Right. Through him, he spies on his own brother, reports conspiracies to the King--and is dismissed as a scandal mongerer--and eventually is forced to watch while the King is abandoned and Michael's warnings come true. All the time Michael is convinced that if the King appealed to the people, rather than to the aristocracy, they would rise for him. In the end however, he ends up accompanying the King to the coast. His mentor leaves for the continent, and Michael stays behind, rejecting his One True Love (who had been promised to Michael's now dead brother--poisoned, Michael is initially accused of the crime, but Hugh has been a catspaw in others' plots--p. 193) and instead shacking up (and there is no other phrase for it) with his mentor's ex-mistress, who eventually refused to emigrate with him, as she has refused to emigrate with Sir Noel.

Michael struggles at court. He cannot accept the corruption and bribery to which his older brother attempts to introduce him (p 22). His brother is borrowing heavily, and we see how bad things are, because he thanks Cromwell for bringing back the Jews to act as bankers. (22-23)

We see him get caught in an anti-Catholic riot on November 5 (p, 60), although later he will be taught by Sir Noel that this is not real anti-Catholicism but drummed up hatred that the King could over come.

Sir Noel is a classic Heinlein grand old man, although an atheist (And proponent of sex outside marriage) he acts as teacher to MIchael. When he sees Michael's defense of Monarchy getting stuck in the Lancastrian period (he regards the "Lancastrian Usurpation" as "a blow aimed at the whole structure of Monarchy" (79) he roars at him to start paying attention:

"The Restoration of 1660, Michael, far from establishing Monarchy for ever, was a mere armistice..." (80) and convinces him that William of Orange is plotting to displace the King, up to and including supporting Monmouth (he provides "evidence" that Monmouth's weapons were provided by the Dutch, which is unlikely--why would William support a rival claimant?)

On p. 82 we get a long lecture on the attack on the Divine Prerogative: "in inviting Charles II back the new aristocracy took care to hang on like grim death to the priviliges they had filched; thus had you, all through the last reign, continual opposition to the check from the Throne, continual encroachments on the Prerogative." (82)

Sir Noel is politically alert (and very likeable) and notes that "when Orange comes, if he comes, he will not come in the guise of an invader. Oh dear me, no! He will come as a liberator, to free the nation from arbitrary power and from the menace of Popery." (148) He is also keen to point out that even honest Peers fear that a papist KIng will demand the return of Church lands (148)

Eventually Hugh, the elder brother, realises he has been seduced (by wine, money, and even women in the form of the woman he loves--but who loves Michael), confesses all and puts it all down to William of Orange's plotting. (171) Just before he heads home, already suspicious that the wine his borther served him--that was a gift from someone else--is drugged, he declares.

"They're selling England, those bastards; selling her, I tell you, like a horse at a fair. England's for sale..'(174)  

One problem for Lane of course, is that James I is still a Bloody Fool (tm) and in this book we are shown him ignoring warning after warning (declaring the warnings about John Churchill "a lie, a filthy lie!" (237) and refusing to stand his ground when Michael thinks he should  "There is a limit to what a man can endure, and I will not remain to be handed over the counter to the Prince of Orange in return for dukedoms and offices." (245) When Michael offers his service, the King responds, "Mr. Montague, I have asked you to be my guide upon this journey, not because I have faith in your loyalty, for I can have faith in no man from henceforth, but because you know the road." (245) a response which would have destroyed a less blind loyalty.

Lane gives Michael these thoughts:

"If he stayed, we could make a fight for it at least; if he goes, many among the loyal ones will lose heart and throw in their hand. It will take a very high degree of courage for any among the great ones to hold out for him if he quits the kingdom... But he beat down his emotion; he was acting under orders, he was a puppet and must obey the master's string." (246) 

Later, he begs the King not to go.

"For the love of God, do not abandon us to the mercy of greedy traitors. With all respect I say to you that, though so many of your subjects have failed in their duty towards Your Majesty, your duty to your people remains. Theirs is to obey and serve you, yours is to protect them and their liberties." (271)

The King responds (and I wonder if this is a quote from a letter?): 

"I can no longer afford protection to my people. since certain among them have so far failed in their duty towards me as to admit a foreign army into England. Protection and subjection fo hand-in-hand, and you cannot have one without the other. When the governed seek to govern they must accept the full consequences of their desire; as when a child throws off the authority of its father it can no longer look to him to defend it." (271) which sounds rather oddly like the social contract.

He goes on to add "Without the authority of the monarch to curb the desures of the greedy and the insolence of the wealthy, there is no liberty for honest men, but unless such authority can be accepted it becomes mere tyranny, and neither king nor people can be free." (271)

So the King goes, and Sir Noel goes, with the parting shot that "I do believe that the people of England have common sense at bottom; I do believe that monarchy is the best form of government" (275) which is odd because this is a usurpation, not a revolution. They will still have a king.

Michael responds: "I know that though the cause of King James the Second may be lost, the cause of true Monarchy can never be lost, for it is the natural form of goverment." (275)

There is a nice bit on p. 276 where Sir Noel condmens the rituals of loyalty, such as the prayers for the royal family, the wearing of the oak leaves etc. as rank hypocrisy, and identifies the fatal mistake in the restoration of Charles through the "time-server" Monck rather than Charles II's loyal followers. (276)

pp. 281-285 Michael calls in on his One True Love, Eve. She is waiting for him, offering him first to find a place at court once the fuss has died down, and then telling him she will live with him in poverty. But Michael has a Cause! 

"This our native land is faced with spiritual if not material ruin!... the rule of a king is substituted from this day forward the rule of a class, of a clique, of moneyed interests.."(284)

Eve has no interest in politics "what doth it matter whether James or William rules this kingdom, if only we have each other? Are you mad that you would refuse the substance of my love for the shadow of a defeated ideal?" (284)

She dares him to leave, never to see her again. He does.

Ironically to find pleasure in the arms of Sir Noel's ex mistress, the lively Moll, who calls William of Orange "a pervert, and such men like nothing better than to shut up brothels and persecute poor honest whores". (289) Until such a time as he decides to leave for his home estate, thinking as he does, "he could find happiness in an impersonal love...he regretted nothing save that he had not served more faithfully, had not given more of himself, had not poured into every minutist actionthe full measure of his devotion." (324)

His father welcomes him, gives him a speech about how he now realises Michael's claims of a plot (reported on a trip home) were true, and has prepared for battle.  (334) Michael has to explain that there will be no battle (338) because "How can you protect them, sir, when your own protector is already dispossessed?" (338)

Sir Noel writes from the continent of the wonders of Versailles. Michael writes back of the introduction of (tax free) Dutch Gin and its affect on Londoners (293/295) along with a summary of the political changes and the debate over the crown. One of the annecdotes he relates is of his old landlady, Mrs. Fluggins who is shocked by a character, "this weren't no woman that was 'anging outer that there winder, though by its painted face and mincing air you would 'ave took it for such at first sight. It were a man, but so pinked out and coquettish it could 'ave come straight from Madame Snelgrove's in Drury Lane; it turned my stomach, it did indeed..." This turns out to be Mr. William Bentinck, William of Orange's best friend.** See wikipedia. Lane is clearly not averse to a bit of homophobia to drive her point home.

I am left with the impression of someone whose politics would have aligned pretty well with the contemporary Spanish monarchist movement. Is the phrase Ultra Montaine?

*There are strong overtones of Protestant = ruthless capitalism, in this book. Also concern for the inter-war servant problem?

**See here:,_1st_Earl_of_Portland The man had several children and  two wives.


This is an apologia for Cromwell and Ireland and is throughly bizarre. One of the side characters is a Scoutmaster who's wife and child were killed by the Irish in a massacre and he is the touch stone for barbarity throughout (his wife and child are placed on a ship which is sunk. The civilians of Drogheda, it is implied, had a better death).

John Marmaduke is posted to Ireland, meets and despoils the land of the lovely Catherine, is partially responsible for the death of her father (in battle) and while her brother dies defending her honour against another. She falls in love with him, marries him--thoiugh the last Irish priest in the area has been hung--and defies her aunt who is, unsurprisingly, appalled that her daughter married an invader.

When Cromwell relieved Marmaduke of his command on hearing he has married a Catholic, Catherine (who has a penchant for dressing as a man, has several times acted the Irish spy, and also run Marmaduke through with a sword) travels with him. He is forgiven by Cromwell in time to take part in the siege of Drogheda. When she is told her husband's troop were some of the most zealous, she insists it is impossible (p. 303) "And whether he be gultiy of wanton cruelty or not, he is still my wedded husband, and I refuse to leave him." (303)

When the sack of the town is over, Cromwell gives a speech in which he declares:

"We have repaid her for her massacres and piracies... Men are already calling this campaign the Curse of Cromwell. We shall have much abuse on that score. The day may come when academic statesmen in England will refer to this policy as a blunder and a crime. But the Lord commanded His captains of old to smite His enemies and to slay whole nations..." (313)

Marmaduke is rather less than horrified. In the concluding chapter he he notes "while there was much hardship and much anguish inflicted on the native inhabitants through the enforcement of this ordinance [transplantation], it was but the eternal result of invasion and war...

Despair and indolence drove many Irishmen to join the tories and the wild hordes of human beings in the mountain fasteness increased until they menaced the public order nd safety as perilously as the very wolves.

Several thousand Irishmen sought service in the wars on the continent, where they made good soldiers. Some of these men marched away behind their native pipers who played the mountain air, "Ha til, Ha til, Ha til, mi tulidh! (We return, we return, we return no more.) But most of them, having a fortitude which alwyas begets lightness of heart, chose to leave their native shores to the very lively tune of "Garryowen". (325-6)

Really this has very little to do with anything that I am writing about, but I enjoyed it greatly; Roxhythe is an intimate of Charles II. For him, he acts as a go between. All is well until he acquires a young man, Christopher Dart, to serve as travelling companion and steward. Christopher, whose brother serves William of Orange, is an innocent and an idealist, and he is destroyed by the discovery of his part in Charles I's machinations.

Frankly, the book is a love story. Written in a more innocent time--perhaps--Christopher declares unabashedly that he loves Roxhythe. Roxhythe never admits of feelings for Christopher but is in turn personally devoted to Charles II. As neither man is married--although Roxhythe has the reputation of a philanderer--I would tentatively suggest that this is a knowing and sympathetic portrayal of the love between two men. There is a gentle nod to the role of Bentink, William of Orange's friend (Jane Lane in England for Sale will describe him as a pretty creaturem and accuse William of being "a pervert" but there is none of that here) and that William is not a particularly affectionate husband.

One way to read this book is that Christopher is caught in a love triangle; Christopher, Roxhythe (whose first name is David) and Charles.  But the other, which is fascinating, is about loyalty: Christopher's tragedy is that while he loves and is loyal to Roxhythe, his wider loyalty is to his country, he is a "patriot" and he cannot compromise that. But Roxhythe has no loyalty to country, only to person. While Heyer does not come out and say this, this is one of the fundamental divisions that lay behind the Civil War, a shift from a personal direct loyalty -- that Charles I simply expected--to a wider one.

At the end, Roxhythe plots the downfall of Monmouth for Charles, and is at Charles' deathbed. Beyond it, he is momentarily persecuted by James, who knows that as Roxhythe's is a personal loyalty, it will not transfer. Roxhythe is assassinated and dies talking of Charles and Christopher, his two great loves.  It's pretty moving.





This is from the conclusion of an article on Victorian children's historicals which just happens to look at three English Civil War novels.

"an analysis of the treatment of history in Victorian and Edwardian children's books has shown how British history was constructed as a "grand narrative" or fictional romance in a way which can certainly be considered to be characteristic of the Victorian historical and cultural consciousness in general. Young readers are invited to be proud of their national heritage and of the age of their nations institutions... The fairy tale "emplotment" given to history, however, also encourages tolerance and respect for differeing systems of values, and thus undercuts the imperialist discourse present in other texts of the age."

-first, I have no idea how you can come to these conclusions from three texts.
-second, I don't think explaining how the King *lost* is actually a terribly easy route to national pride when your narrator is For the King.
-third, actually, most of the texts I've found have placed the "grand narrative" at the service of the personal
I have read more than 50 novels of the English Civil War/War of the Three Kingdoms now. 21 of them are "For the King". All but three of those describe King Charles as "weak", all but six (these three plus three set in Ireland) have nice things to say about Cromwell. 19th century novels not very keen on Charles II either. With friends like these....

Death of LJ

Jan. 2nd, 2013 09:10 pm
Looks like LJ is dead and gone. I'll start posting here tomorrow, but if I can't migrate old posts, there is no big deal as it's all intended for a book eventually. Once LJ is up I'll begin cross posting again.
Page generated Sep. 22nd, 2017 07:58 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios