Davis, Lindsey by pchant

Davis, Lindsey by pchant

Author:pchant [pchant]
Format: epub
Published: 2010-05-06T05:49:30.740000+00:00


‘A stalwart of Rainborough’s regiment. One of us,’ said Gideon, where ‘one of us’ had particular resonance. ‘True unto death.’ The code-words brought them back to the reason for his visit.

He and his colleague reported their regiment’s eagerness to be involved. Although Colonel Rainborough was still in London, Sexby seemed to have some private information that he would support the soldiers. If Rainborough holds extreme radical views, thought Gideon, he is the only senior officer who does . . . He saw that it left the colonel dangerously exposed.

They were given a letter to the regiment, a letter that Sexby rapidly prepared, explaining it to them carefully before it was sealed. ‘There are those who would prevent us - Colonel Jackson, who is in the Presbyterians’ pocket, may interfere; we are seeking a way to banish him from his regiment. ..’

‘If we are captured,’ said Gideon, almost the light-hearted bridegroom again, ‘do we eat the instruction?’

Edward Sexby looked sour. He had passion and energy, but little sense of humour. ‘Don’t get captured. Keep the terms clear: your boys are invited by the Agitators to join with other regiments.’

His fellow-soldier from Portsmouth dug Gideon in the ribs. ‘We understand, sir.’ Sir? Though he had the manner of an officer, Sexby was in fact a trooper still.

‘We do understand,’ Gideon reinforced it, close to an apology though he saw no reason to fawn on Sexby.

Sexby leaned back in his chair. ‘You are a printer.’

‘Was, before I came to the army’

‘Do you write?’

‘Not for the public’

‘We are seeking able pen-men . . . We need a press,’ Sexby growled fretfully. ‘If a press is not got into the army, we are handicapped.’

While Sexby drummed his fingers in frustration, Gideon saw the point. ‘We must be able to print documents speedily and safely. It needs a trusted printer, with his own press. That press must always travel with the army, so we can react fast to whatever happens. There are many loyal printers in London, but distance is a hindrance. Dangerous too - Parliament can, and will, shut down a press, then throw the printer into prison.’

‘Walwyn’s group have the means,’ grumbled Sexby, ‘but they are constantly under suspicion. Lilburne and Overton are stuck in the Tower -’ He seemed to know a lot about the Levellers.

‘Walwyn has issued a great petition, calling for their release.’

Sexby started, surprised that Gideon knew. Gideon let him wonder.

He considered suggesting Robert Allibone as the army printer. Robert behaved discreetly, but he was not entirely invisible from the authorities; besides, Robert was a stay-at-home. Gideon had a brainwave: ‘I know of a press, now silent and ripe to be claimed. We would not need to bring it from London.’

Sexby became fully alert: ‘Where?’

‘Oxford.’

‘Can we get it?’

‘I will find it.’ Smiling, Gideon gestured to the letter he and his colleague were taking back to Portsmouth. Sexby watched him, gangling and apparently so easy-going that he seemed slow-witted - yet, Sexby saw, this blond sergeant was deceptively sharp. ‘Taking your invitation, our regiment will march to Oxford, Sexby.



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