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PAGE 3

Oliver Cromwell
by [?]

* * * * *

How much legal lore Cromwell acquired in London is a matter of dim and dusty doubt. That his vocabulary was slightly extended there is quite probable, for later he uses the word “law-wolf,” thus supplying Alfred Henry Lewis with a phrase that was to be sent clattering down the corridors of time. That Alfred Henry may have been absolutely innocent of the truth that he was using a classicism and not a Kansas mouth-filler is quite probable. In London, Oliver took unto himself a wife, he being twenty-one and three weeks over. The lady was the daughter of a client of the firm for which Oliver Cromwell was a process-server. That he successfully served papers on the young lady is undeniable, for he led her captive to Saint Giles’ Church, Cripplegate, and they were there married August, Sixteen Hundred Twenty, the clerk being so overcome (doubtless by the presence of Oliver Cromwell, the coming Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland) that he neglected to put in the day of the month. In the same church sleeps one John Milton, who was much respected and beloved by our Oliver, and who proved that a Puritan could write poetry.

The father of Oliver having died, as before truthfully stated, first prophesying that his son would grow up a ne’er-do-well, this son took his new-found wife up to the Fen Country to live with his mother and sister. That he would be Lord Protector of the Farm seems quite the proper thing to say, but that he was dutiful, modest, teachable, is a fact.

Here he lived, with babies coming along one a year, hard-working, simple, earnest, for seven years escaping the censorious eye of Clio, weaver of history. Happy lives make dull biographies. Also, we can truthfully say that nothing tames a man like marriage. Take marriage, business, responsibility, and a dash of poverty, mix, and we get an ideal condition. These things make for a noble discontent and the industry and unrest that unlimber progress.

Then comes that peculiar psychic experience which is often the lot of men born to make epochs, who also have souls fit to assert themselves. We find our Oliver consumed with a strange despair, biting world- sorrow, Tophet pouring black smoke into the universe of his being– temptations in the wilderness!

Men of neutral quality do not make good Christians-militant. Our Oliver was not neutral. Out of the black night of unrest and through the thick darkness, he gradually saw the eternal ways and got good reckonings by aid of the celestial guiding stars.

So Oliver emerged at twenty-seven, alive with cosmic consciousness–a God-intoxicated man. That Deity spoke through him, he never doubted. Thereafter he was to be religious, not only on Sundays and Wednesday evenings, but always and forever.

Suddenly and without warning appears in history, Oliver Cromwell, taking his seat in the House of Commons on Monday, March Seventeenth, Sixteen Hundred Twenty-seven, making then a speech of five minutes, accusing one Reverend Doctor Alablaster of flat popery; and goes back into the silence, pulling the silence in after him, to remain twelve years.

Then comes he forth again as member of Cambridge. He was a country squire, bronze-faced, callous-handed, clothes plainly made by a woman, dyed brown with walnut-juice. The man was much in earnest, although seemingly having little to say. He was not especially conspicuous, because it was largely a Parliament of Puritans. As members, there sat in it John Hampden, Selden, Stratford, Prynne, and with these, the rising tide had carried Oliver Cromwell. In a seat near him sat Sir Edward Coke, known to posterity because he wrote a book on Lyttleton, and Lyttleton is known to us for one sole reason only, and that is because Coke used him for literary flux.