Behind The Moon

Entry by: percypop

26th March 2015

He was out in the meadow when he heard the shots. Running as fast as his young legs could move, he got to the yard gate just as the soldiers galloped away. It was quiet there but a faint drift of gunsmoke still floated in the air and the pungent smell remained.
It made no sense to his infant brain since he had never had any notion of violence. Growing up in the safety of his home and surrounded by servants, his world meant joy and loving comfort.
“Hold him there Rebbecca” shouted the farm manager Relph “don’t let him in the house for God’s sake.” The young maid pulled the boy to her and wrapped her arms tightly round his shoulders.
From the main door of the great house came an armed man he knew well James the groom, rushing out to saddle up and ride out without delay.
Bewildered, Peter stood amazed by this strange activity. Where was Father? Why was Mama not here? Three years old and alert, he sensed that some great event had taken place.
Relph held his hands to his head. He cursed his Master silently. His counsel had always been to stay neutral and avoid the struggle but Sir John had sworn some stupid oath which he was obliged to keep.

Look what had happened—death and rampage by the parliamentary troops.
The maid Rebbecca led the boy to the kitchen and sat him down at the long plank table.
“Why are we here?”
“Just for a few minutes, my Sweet.” she wiped a tear from her cheek and turned away as if to brush crumbs from the surface “Just you sit there and I’ll bring you a nice treat”
Outside the servants had gathered in a silent yard. Relph stood among them and made sure his words could be heard.
“ The Master has been shot and My Lady has been hurt. The house is in disarray from the attack. We must protect ourselves and look to the future.”
Someone shouted “Where is James?”
“Gone to warn the other Royalist families, if he can reach them in time.”
Just then, a voice cut in:
“Why should we risk ourselves for them ?”
The speaker was a large man braced in a leather apron with a hammer in his hand. He growled “We have no cause to fight the Parliament” Scowling at Relph, he turned to the crowd and shouted “ T’is time to speak up if you value your lives.”

The crowd murmured and a woman from the crowd shouted
“Trouble follows you, Ben Start. What do we do, starve with no work?
Have you suffered at the hands of Sir John? No, you live well and always complain.”
The argument seemed likely to grow but the manager held up his hands.
“ Stop this. If anyone wants to leave, do so now but if not then we must defend the Manor.”
Some turned away glancing at the burly blacksmith who had shown his mind. Others set about barricading the farm gate and closing the great doors of the manor itself.
The little boy wide eyed and frightened clung to Rebbecca’s skirts. He knew some terrible thing had happened but could not grasp its meaning.
Upstairs the bustle of maids tended to the wounded lady.
“Bring me my son” said Lady Marston “Cover my wound” she indicated her shoulder where the blossoming red stain showed through her dress.
Rebbecca and Peter climbed the stairs and she knocked gently on the door.
The one thought in his mother’s mind at that moment was how to tell her son the dreadful news of the death of his father?
She sat up in bed with difficulty and Peter rushed to her arms.The maids stood back knowing the painful scene about to occur.
She related gently to the boy how bad men had come and gone from the house and all was well.
“But where is Father?” the dreaded question had to be faced
“ My Love, he has gone behind the moon to find us a place of peace.”
“When will he come back?”
“As soon as he can”
That day remained for ever in Robert Marston’s heart and he took part in the group which years later dug up the body of Oliver Cromwell and his head spiked on London Bridge.