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OLIVER VISITS A ROYALIST HOUSE
Meantime Cromwell became very ill. So ill indeed was he, that a little later he wrote, "I thought I should have died of
this sickness; but the Lord seemeth to dispose otherwise."
He did not die. But only very slowly did he get better. At last he was out again, marching back and forth, as
of old. One day, on his way
 from Glasgow, he stopped at the house of Sir Walter Stewart. Sir Walter was a Royalist, and was not at home.
Perhaps he was away fighting for the King. But his wife and his little boy were there. The lady was a Royalist
and did not love the "rebels," but she treated her visitor politely and gave him food and drink.
CROMWELL AND SIR WALTER STEWART.
The great soldier was gentle and kindly to this Royalist lady. He talked to her in a friendly way, telling her
that he too was a Stewart, for that had been his mother's name. He seemed so kind that the little boy, who was
not very strong, and who had been shy of the soldiers, now came quite near and began to play with Oliver's
sword handle. Then, perhaps thinking of his own grand-children whom he loved, Oliver laid his big brown hand
upon the boy's head, stroking his curls gently. "You are my little captain," he said.
Then, after a little more friendly talk, and having said a long grace in thanks for his refreshment, Oliver
went on his fighting way. But the lady, Royalist though she was, kept a kindly remembrance of the great rough
soldier who had such gentle ways, and was never again so bitter as she had been against the "rebels."
Again and again Oliver fell ill. For the last nine years he had lived such a hard life in camp and field,
fighting and working, that it was little wonder if at last his health broke down. Now Fairfax sent two doctors
in his own coach from
 London, and the Parliament begged him to return home and rest a little. But Cromwell would not. He wanted to
finish his work in Scotland. "My lord is not sensible that he has grown an old man," says one writer.
By July Oliver was much better, and he began in real earnest to try to draw the Scots out of their stronghold
of Stirling. But wary Leslie was again in command. He had learned the lesson of Dunbar, and he sat still.
Then, as Cromwell could not draw Leslie out of Stirling, he made up his mind to go round behind him. He had
plenty of vessels at command, so he shipped some of his army over the Forth, into Fifeshire. There was then of
course no great railway bridge across the Forth at Queensferry, and trains were then unknown. The Forth Bridge,
which was opened in 1890, is one of the engineering wonders of the world. Its spans are so high that ships can
pass underneath, and the trade of ports lying farther up the river is uninjured.
The kingdom of Fife, as the county is sometimes called, is a peninsula formed by the Firth of Forth on the
south, and the Firth of Tay on the north. It is one of the richest of Scottish counties, having both good soil
for cultivation and coal fields, and, in consequence, manufactures.
The south, through which Cromwell's army now marched, is the busy manufacturing part. Here is
 Dunfermline, now noted for its table linen, but once, with its palace and abbey, famous as the dwelling and
burial place of kings. Here too is Kirkcaldy with its linoleum factories, and many other towns.
Near Dunfermline there was a battle between the Parliamentarians and the Scots, in which the Scots were
defeated. Cromwell was not there, but watched the battle from far off. Then, having again marched in vain to
Stirling, he decided to cross the Forth himself, leaving only a few troops to guard the country south of the
After he landed in Fifeshire, Cromwell besieged Burntisland. But the stout little place held out against him,
and only yielded at last, it is said, on condition that he would pave the streets and repair the harbour.
The Parliamentarians now took complete possession of Fifeshire. One general marched along the coast seizing
ships and guns. For all round the shores of Fife are busy towns and ports, where fishing is the chief industry,
and of which Anstruther is the busiest.
Some of the troops marched to the north, where the fertile plain called the Howe of Fife stretches from St.
Andrews to the Firth of Tay. There stands the ancient palace of Falkland, famous in the days when the Stewart
kings used to go to hunt in the great forest of Falkland. While Cromwell's troops were there they set fire to
part of the
 palace and cut down many of the fine old trees of the forest. Indeed so much of this forest was wasted during
the Civil War that little of it remained.
Thus having made Fife sure, Cromwell next marched through the beautiful Glen Farg to the walls of Perth.