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replied by a peremptory refusal; whereupon the batteries, established within pistol-shot of the walls by the besiegers, commenced a heavy fire. But the defenders, kept in a state of enthusiasm by the exhortations of twenty-five "seditious lecturers," as the Cavaliers called them, returned the fire, beat back storming parties, made daring sallies, captured three guns, spiked others, took the Prince's colours, and 125 prisoners, and in one fiery charge penetrated even to his head-quarters. Still the siege was pressed; the royalists shot " wildfire balls” to burn the town, and the inhabitants fell into great straits, for the Parliament ship, laden with stores, was betrayed, and their food and ammunition were wellnigh exhausted. Hostile ships threatened from the sea, but at times they got supplies from other vessels, and still they stood to their defences, repelling every assault, though the town was crumbling to pieces under the royalist fire. Many an anxious look was directed towards Portland, and at last, on the 23rd of May, when but two days' provisions were left, the Earl of Warwick's fleet was seen coming round the Bill, and soon 20,000 lbs. of bread were landed. There were, however, 4000 mouths to be fed; and 300 sailors having been lent from the ships to assist in keeping guard, the garrison made desperate sallies, in the hope of reopening communications with the surrounding country. The besiegers retaliated. On the 29th of May the Prince, leading on his men in solid columns, attempted to storm the town ; but though he returned
three times to the assault, he was repulsed each time with terrible slaughter. Among the 400 slain was a king's messenger, booted and spurred, ready to carry news of the capture to Charles at Oxford. At length, on the 14th of June, the royalist commanders, fearing the approach of Essex, raised the siege, and drew off with horse and foot to the interior, having lost 2000 men, while of the besieged it is said that not more than "six score” were killed.
How the townsfolk triumphed and the soldiers cheered as the enemy retired needs not to be told. They had good reason to be proud of their heroism. Women' even took part in the defence. One fired sixteen musket-shots at the besiegers. Another said, when her hand was blown away: “ Truly, I am glad with all my heart that I had a hand to lose for Jesus Christ, for whose cause I am willing and ready to lose not only my other hand, but my life also.” Right well had the town earned the thanks and the 20001. voted by Parliament, the governor his 1501., and the troops their new clothing
Charles II. also, when trying to escape after the battle of Worcester, found the neighbourhood of Lyme dangerous, and had to beat a hasty retreat from the village of Burton, when the smith who had been sent for to shoe his horse pronounced the old shoes to be of a make unknown in that part of the country. Here, too, the weak-minded Duke of Monmouth landed in 1685, and set up his standard in the market-place.
You may still see at the George Inn the carved head of the bed in which he slept.
The mean, narrow street by which you enter the town rather shocks the pleasant impression produced in the distance; but without the low, rough-cast, thatched cottages, scattered among the better houses, the tortuous, hap-hazard lines of thoroughfare, the noisy rill that skirts the footways, with little benefit to their cleanliness, Lyme would not be the quaint, old-world place which it is. As in many other towns, the westend is the best : there you will see the assembly-rooms, baths, libraries, and whatever else offers health or amusement to the visitor. Bathing-machines stand on the beach, and trim boats lie ready for trips on the water.
Then up the steep street, and between the high garden walls of the villas that border the road—those envious walls which in so many hilly neighbourhoods conceal all the best points of view as you are leaving a town. How gladly one hails the first escape from such an imprisonment! Here is a swing-gate on the left, just at the top of the hill, opening to a field-path, which brings you in a few minutes to the brow of Holme Bush, the western height of the bay. Seen from hence the three pyramidal cliffs on the opposite shore have a singular effect, perpendicular in front, from the wearing action of the sea, which a few years ago washed away the narrow lane leading from Lyme to Charmouth along the face of the nearest. If there be labour in these repeated descents and ascents, it is well repaid by the opportunity of looking at both sides of a landscape, and watching the expansion of a scene into a panorama. Your impressions, too, are rectified: that which seemed something else when viewed from the opposite side of the valley is now seen in its real form and character; and in turn the objects left behind no longer appear the same as when you passed them; they are in most instances softened and harmonised, and you perceive how, in more senses than one, distance lends enchantment. Thus, not least among the pleasures of a continuous ramble is the learning gradually to analyse a distant view, and to distinguish between that which is and that which seems.
Holme Bush is in Devonshire; and you have not to go far from it, pursuing the same path, and through a short lane, before you emerge on a scene, one of the most charming approaches to the loveliest of the southern counties that could well be imagined. The hills here rise to a height of about five hundred feet, in huge, extended masses of chalk and greensand resting on lias and red marl, a formation more than usually liable to disturbances from the weather ; for after abundant rains the two upper deposits, loosened by the percolation of water, slide away from the lower two by whole acres at a time; sinking here into hollows and pits, there a ridge leaning inwards, yonder a shelf like a great step, and all so broken up with steep banks, hummocks, and knolls, as to form a very chaos. Imagine all this, when, after the lapse of years, the perpendicular wall behind is faced with foliage; when the rugged slope reaching down to the shore is covered with copsewood; when the hillocky shelf midway is carpeted with the softest turf, its deformities beautified or concealed by a luxuriant vegetation, and you will have an idea of the undercliff that stretches nearly the whole distance of six miles from Lyme to the mouth of the Axe. The ground is further diversified by little clumps and thickets: here a single thorn, close and rounded as if clipped with shears; there a straggling group interwoven with formidable brambles, yet so sprinkled with wild roses and honeysuckle, so festooned with the slender arms of the wild clematis and other creepers, as at a short distance to resemble bowers such as we read of in fairy tale or poet's song. And here you may wander at will: up and down, and in and out among the grassy knolls and flowery thickets; now shut into a lovely nook; now taking a fresh survey from the top of some little hill; now threading your way among foxgloves so tall as to bring their “ dappled bells” to a level with your eye; now doubling a dense bed of thistles, nettles, or gorse, cumberers of the soil in other places, but here playing an effective though subordinate part in the general luxuriance. Yonder a gray, old, ivy-coated turret projects from the screen of wood on the cliff above; coming nearer, you find it to be a buttress of limestone, left standing when the chalk fell away; and beyond it are more of the gray crags