Grey Head takes Protector to task

The time was the period shortly after the forces of Right and Prudence had triumphed in the long battle against the Dissolution and Corruption.

With the King dead, the new Lord Protector had shunned appearing at Westminster, preferring in his impatience to meet instead with his Grand Council at Millbank and issue decrees against the baiting of bears, the hunting of foxes and dancing in public. But now he was to appear in the Chamber of the House of Commons, where all were assembled for Lord Protector's Question Time. Awaiting him sat the few, battered remnants of the Cavalier cause - hugely outnumbered by the victorious army of puritans and democrats. The chronicler, an eminent antiquarian, takes up the tale.

"Thus, to acclaime from his own side - attired in his spotted tie of office - he entered into the Chamber, taking his place next to Bulstrode Prescott and not far from Mr Secretary Strawe and Mr Chancellor Browne. And, though he loved not the bearpit, yet his face bore smiles, and he condescended to bow from the hippe most prettily.

Then called Madam Speaker Boothroyd for questioners, recommending to the Lord Protector that he first address himself to the petition made by Cynog Dafis, the Welsh Digger from Ceredigion, concerning the Earthe Summit in New York.

`Yea,' said the Protector, `for all thinges are made new, and we shall support the new forest convention, and younge people shall join Youth Task Forces and plant trees and not offend their neighbours with midnight carousal.'

Hardly had this vision of the New Jerusalem been conjured, than took place a strange occurrence that affrighted many. For who should appear but the old, dead king, his grey, hoary head tucked under his arm, and moaning thus. `Dissimulation! For had not the Protector told the House that no referendum would happen in Caledonia, save that the populace had seen the Bill beforehand? But now the Grand Council are saying that onlie the White Paper will be published. So is there not some kind of mistake?'

Those around him remarked that he spoke better with his head off than when it was attached. For now was the Lord Protector discomfited; maybe (he bethought himself) he had indeed fallen into error, though if t'were, t'were a small matter. `The position has always been clear!'

The grey head smiled, more animated than ever it had been in life, which amazed all that did see it. "The right honourable gentleman is both wriggling and waffling," it said. "So whye does he not just allow his error?"

Lusty Cavaliers were now shouting divers insultes such as "wriggler!" "more ale! and "come hither, wench!", resting their spurres on the benches and celebrating in such wise as had not been their lot this many a month. The sound of their riot drowned all other conversation.

The Lord Protector gazed upon this unseemliness with contempt, vowing (said many) to come hither less often, for all the good it did (the Lord was calling him to work upon the Nation's training and skills).

As evidence of the idleness of affairs in this place he must perforce gaze upon the dolorous countenance of William Cash, ancient and tedious knighte of Stone, who wished to offer anew the advice that he had previously given to the dead king, concerning the Europe conference in Amsterdamme.

The Lord Protector regarded him with a curious expression. `Let us hope'. quoth he, `that it does me more good than it did him'.

In the crook of an arm, the grey head smiled ruefully."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
footballHe started just four months ago
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
(L-R) Amanda Peet as Tina Morris, Melanie Lynskey as Michelle Pierson, Abby Ryder Fortson as Sophie Pierson, Mark Duplass as Brett Pierson and Steve Zissis as Alex Pappas in Togetherness
TV First US networks like HBO shook up drama - now it's comedy's turn
News
i100
Travel
Pool with a view: the mMarina Bay Sands in Singapore
travel From Haiti and Alaska to Namibia and Iceland
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect