Part 10 out of 15
Of a rather turbulent description, it would seem; for her nightcap
had been knocked off in the scuffle, and she was on her knees upon
the floor, making a strange revelation of blue and yellow curl-
papers, straggling locks of hair, tags of staylaces, and strings of
it's impossible to say what; panting for breath, clasping her
hands, turning her eyes upwards, shedding abundance of tears, and
exhibiting various other symptoms of the acutest mental suffering.
'I leave,' said Simon, turning to his master, with an utter
disregard of Miggs's maidenly affliction, 'a box of things
upstairs. Do what you like with 'em. I don't want 'em. I'm never
coming back here, any more. Provide yourself, sir, with a
journeyman; I'm my country's journeyman; henceforward that's MY
line of business.'
'Be what you like in two hours' time, but now go up to bed,'
returned the locksmith, planting himself in the doorway. 'Do you
hear me? Go to bed!'
'I hear you, and defy you, Varden,' rejoined Simon Tappertit.
'This night, sir, I have been in the country, planning an
expedition which shall fill your bell-hanging soul with wonder and
dismay. The plot demands my utmost energy. Let me pass!'
'I'll knock you down if you come near the door,' replied the
locksmith. 'You had better go to bed!'
Simon made no answer, but gathering himself up as straight as he
could, plunged head foremost at his old master, and the two went
driving out into the workshop together, plying their hands and feet
so briskly that they looked like half-a-dozen, while Miggs and Mrs
Varden screamed for twelve.
It would have been easy for Varden to knock his old 'prentice down,
and bind him hand and foot; but as he was loth to hurt him in his
then defenceless state, he contented himself with parrying his
blows when he could, taking them in perfect good part when he could
not, and keeping between him and the door, until a favourable
opportunity should present itself for forcing him to retreat up-
stairs, and shutting him up in his own room. But, in the goodness
of his heart, he calculated too much upon his adversary's weakness,
and forgot that drunken men who have lost the power of walking
steadily, can often run. Watching his time, Simon Tappertit made a
cunning show of falling back, staggered unexpectedly forward,
brushed past him, opened the door (he knew the trick of that lock
well), and darted down the street like a mad dog. The locksmith
paused for a moment in the excess of his astonishment, and then
It was an excellent season for a run, for at that silent hour the
streets were deserted, the air was cool, and the flying figure
before him distinctly visible at a great distance, as it sped away,
with a long gaunt shadow following at its heels. But the short-
winded locksmith had no chance against a man of Sim's youth and
spare figure, though the day had been when he could have run him
down in no time. The space between them rapidly increased, and as
the rays of the rising sun streamed upon Simon in the act of
turning a distant corner, Gabriel Varden was fain to give up, and
sit down on a doorstep to fetch his breath. Simon meanwhile,
without once stopping, fled at the same degree of swiftness to The
Boot, where, as he well knew, some of his company were lying, and
at which respectable hostelry--for he had already acquired the
distinction of being in great peril of the law--a friendly watch
had been expecting him all night, and was even now on the look-out
for his coming.
'Go thy ways, Sim, go thy ways,' said the locksmith, as soon as he
could speak. 'I have done my best for thee, poor lad, and would
have saved thee, but the rope is round thy neck, I fear.'
So saying, and shaking his head in a very sorrowful and
disconsolate manner, he turned back, and soon re-entered his own
house, where Mrs Varden and the faithful Miggs had been anxiously
expecting his return.
Now Mrs Varden (and by consequence Miss Miggs likewise) was
impressed with a secret misgiving that she had done wrong; that she
had, to the utmost of her small means, aided and abetted the growth
of disturbances, the end of which it was impossible to foresee;
that she had led remotely to the scene which had just passed; and
that the locksmith's time for triumph and reproach had now arrived
indeed. And so strongly did Mrs Varden feel this, and so
crestfallen was she in consequence, that while her husband was
pursuing their lost journeyman, she secreted under her chair the
little red-brick dwelling-house with the yellow roof, lest it
should furnish new occasion for reference to the painful theme; and
now hid the same still more, with the skirts of her dress.
But it happened that the locksmith had been thinking of this very
article on his way home, and that, coming into the room and not
seeing it, he at once demanded where it was.
Mrs Varden had no resource but to produce it, which she did with
many tears, and broken protestations that if she could have known--
'Yes, yes,' said Varden, 'of course--I know that. I don't mean to
reproach you, my dear. But recollect from this time that all good
things perverted to evil purposes, are worse than those which are
naturally bad. A thoroughly wicked woman, is wicked indeed. When
religion goes wrong, she is very wrong, for the same reason. Let
us say no more about it, my dear.'
So he dropped the red-brick dwelling-house on the floor, and
setting his heel upon it, crushed it into pieces. The halfpence,
and sixpences, and other voluntary contributions, rolled about in
all directions, but nobody offered to touch them, or to take them
'That,' said the locksmith, 'is easily disposed of, and I would to
Heaven that everything growing out of the same society could be
settled as easily.'
'It happens very fortunately, Varden,' said his wife, with her
handkerchief to her eyes, 'that in case any more disturbances
should happen--which I hope not; I sincerely hope not--'
'I hope so too, my dear.'
'--That in case any should occur, we have the piece of paper which
that poor misguided young man brought.'
'Ay, to be sure,' said the locksmith, turning quickly round.
'Where is that piece of paper?'
Mrs Varden stood aghast as he took it from her outstretched band,
tore it into fragments, and threw them under the grate.
'Not use it?' she said.
'Use it!' cried the locksmith. No! Let them come and pull the
roof about our ears; let them burn us out of house and home; I'd
neither have the protection of their leader, nor chalk their howl
upon my door, though, for not doing it, they shot me on my own
threshold. Use it! Let them come and do their worst. The first
man who crosses my doorstep on such an errand as theirs, had better
be a hundred miles away. Let him look to it. The others may have
their will. I wouldn't beg or buy them off, if, instead of every
pound of iron in the place, there was a hundred weight of gold.
Get you to bed, Martha. I shall take down the shutters and go to
'So early!' said his wife.
'Ay,' replied the locksmith cheerily, 'so early. Come when they
may, they shall not find us skulking and hiding, as if we feared to
take our portion of the light of day, and left it all to them. So
pleasant dreams to you, my dear, and cheerful sleep!'
With that he gave his wife a hearty kiss, and bade her delay no
longer, or it would be time to rise before she lay down to rest.
Mrs Varden quite amiably and meekly walked upstairs, followed by
Miggs, who, although a good deal subdued, could not refrain from
sundry stimulative coughs and sniffs by the way, or from holding up
her hands in astonishment at the daring conduct of master.
A mob is usually a creature of very mysterious existence,
particularly in a large city. Where it comes from or whither it
goes, few men can tell. Assembling and dispersing with equal
suddenness, it is as difficult to follow to its various sources as
the sea itself; nor does the parallel stop here, for the ocean is
not more fickle and uncertain, more terrible when roused, more
unreasonable, or more cruel.
The people who were boisterous at Westminster upon the Friday
morning, and were eagerly bent upon the work of devastation in Duke
Street and Warwick Street at night, were, in the mass, the same.
Allowing for the chance accessions of which any crowd is morally
sure in a town where there must always be a large number of idle
and profligate persons, one and the same mob was at both places.
Yet they spread themselves in various directions when they
dispersed in the afternoon, made no appointment for reassembling,
had no definite purpose or design, and indeed, for anything they
knew, were scattered beyond the hope of future union.
At The Boot, which, as has been shown, was in a manner the head-
quarters of the rioters, there were not, upon this Friday night, a
dozen people. Some slept in the stable and outhouses, some in the
common room, some two or three in beds. The rest were in their
usual homes or haunts. Perhaps not a score in all lay in the
adjacent fields and lanes, and under haystacks, or near the warmth
of brick-kilns, who had not their accustomed place of rest beneath
the open sky. As to the public ways within the town, they had
their ordinary nightly occupants, and no others; the usual amount
of vice and wretchedness, but no more.
The experience of one evening, however, had taught the reckless
leaders of disturbance, that they had but to show themselves in the
streets, to be immediately surrounded by materials which they could
only have kept together when their aid was not required, at great
risk, expense, and trouble. Once possessed of this secret, they
were as confident as if twenty thousand men, devoted to their will,
had been encamped about them, and assumed a confidence which could
not have been surpassed, though that had really been the case. All
day, Saturday, they remained quiet. On Sunday, they rather studied
how to keep their men within call, and in full hope, than to follow
out, by any fierce measure, their first day's proceedings.
'I hope,' said Dennis, as, with a loud yawn, he raised his body
from a heap of straw on which he had been sleeping, and supporting
his head upon his hand, appealed to Hugh on Sunday morning, 'that
Muster Gashford allows some rest? Perhaps he'd have us at work
again already, eh?'
'It's not his way to let matters drop, you may be sure of that,'
growled Hugh in answer. 'I'm in no humour to stir yet, though.
I'm as stiff as a dead body, and as full of ugly scratches as if I
had been fighting all day yesterday with wild cats.'
'You've so much enthusiasm, that's it,' said Dennis, looking with
great admiration at the uncombed head, matted beard, and torn hands
and face of the wild figure before him; 'you're such a devil of a
fellow. You hurt yourself a hundred times more than you need,
because you will be foremost in everything, and will do more than
'For the matter of that,' returned Hugh, shaking back his ragged
hair and glancing towards the door of the stable in which they lay;
'there's one yonder as good as me. What did I tell you about him?
Did I say he was worth a dozen, when you doubted him?'
Mr Dennis rolled lazily over upon his breast, and resting his chin
upon his hand in imitation of the attitude in which Hugh lay, said,
as he too looked towards the door:
'Ay, ay, you knew him, brother, you knew him. But who'd suppose to
look at that chap now, that he could be the man he is! Isn't it a
thousand cruel pities, brother, that instead of taking his nat'ral
rest and qualifying himself for further exertions in this here
honourable cause, he should be playing at soldiers like a boy? And
his cleanliness too!' said Mr Dennis, who certainly had no reason
to entertain a fellow feeling with anybody who was particular on
that score; 'what weaknesses he's guilty of; with respect to his
cleanliness! At five o'clock this morning, there he was at the
pump, though any one would think he had gone through enough, the
day before yesterday, to be pretty fast asleep at that time. But
no--when I woke for a minute or two, there he was at the pump, and
if you'd seen him sticking them peacock's feathers into his hat
when he'd done washing--ah! I'm sorry he's such a imperfect
character, but the best on us is incomplete in some pint of view or
The subject of this dialogue and of these concluding remarks, which
were uttered in a tone of philosophical meditation, was, as the
reader will have divined, no other than Barnaby, who, with his flag
in hand, stood sentry in the little patch of sunlight at the
distant door, or walked to and fro outside, singing softly to
himself; and keeping time to the music of some clear church bells.
Whether he stood still, leaning with both hands on the flagstaff,
or, bearing it upon his shoulder, paced slowly up and down, the
careful arrangement of his poor dress, and his erect and lofty
bearing, showed how high a sense he had of the great importance of
his trust, and how happy and how proud it made him. To Hugh and
his companion, who lay in a dark corner of the gloomy shed, he, and
the sunlight, and the peaceful Sabbath sound to which he made
response, seemed like a bright picture framed by the door, and set
off by the stable's blackness. The whole formed such a contrast to
themselves, as they lay wallowing, like some obscene animals, in
their squalor and wickedness on the two heaps of straw, that for a
few moments they looked on without speaking, and felt almost
'Ah!'said Hugh at length, carrying it off with a laugh: 'He's a
rare fellow is Barnaby, and can do more, with less rest, or meat,
or drink, than any of us. As to his soldiering, I put him on duty
'Then there was a object in it, and a proper good one too, I'll be
sworn,' retorted Dennis with a broad grin, and an oath of the same
quality. 'What was it, brother?'
'Why, you see,' said Hugh, crawling a little nearer to him, 'that
our noble captain yonder, came in yesterday morning rather the
worse for liquor, and was--like you and me--ditto last night.'
Dennis looked to where Simon Tappertit lay coiled upon a truss of
hay, snoring profoundly, and nodded.
'And our noble captain,' continued Hugh with another laugh, 'our
noble captain and I, have planned for to-morrow a roaring
expedition, with good profit in it.'
'Again the Papists?' asked Dennis, rubbing his hands.
'Ay, against the Papists--against one of 'em at least, that some of
us, and I for one, owe a good heavy grudge to.'
'Not Muster Gashford's friend that he spoke to us about in my
house, eh?' said Dennis, brimfull of pleasant expectation.
'The same man,' said Hugh.
'That's your sort,' cried Mr Dennis, gaily shaking hands with him,
'that's the kind of game. Let's have revenges and injuries, and
all that, and we shall get on twice as fast. Now you talk,
'Ha ha ha! The captain,' added Hugh, 'has thoughts of carrying off
a woman in the bustle, and--ha ha ha!--and so have I!'
Mr Dennis received this part of the scheme with a wry face,
observing that as a general principle he objected to women
altogether, as being unsafe and slippery persons on whom there was
no calculating with any certainty, and who were never in the same
mind for four-and-twenty hours at a stretch. He might have
expatiated on this suggestive theme at much greater length, but
that it occurred to him to ask what connection existed between the
proposed expedition and Barnaby's being posted at the stable-door
as sentry; to which Hugh cautiously replied in these words:
'Why, the people we mean to visit, were friends of his, once upon a
time, and I know that much of him to feel pretty sure that if he
thought we were going to do them any harm, he'd be no friend to our
side, but would lend a ready hand to the other. So I've persuaded
him (for I know him of old) that Lord George has picked him out to
guard this place to-morrow while we're away, and that it's a great
honour--and so he's on duty now, and as proud of it as if he was a
general. Ha ha! What do you say to me for a careful man as well
as a devil of a one?'
Mr Dennis exhausted himself in compliments, and then added,
'But about the expedition itself--'
'About that,' said Hugh, 'you shall hear all particulars from me
and the great captain conjointly and both together--for see, he's
waking up. Rouse yourself, lion-heart. Ha ha! Put a good face
upon it, and drink again. Another hair of the dog that bit you,
captain! Call for drink! There's enough of gold and silver cups
and candlesticks buried underneath my bed,' he added, rolling back
the straw, and pointing to where the ground was newly turned, 'to
pay for it, if it was a score of casks full. Drink, captain!'
Mr Tappertit received these jovial promptings with a very bad
grace, being much the worse, both in mind and body, for his two
nights of debauch, and but indifferently able to stand upon his
legs. With Hugh's assistance, however, he contrived to stagger to
the pump; and having refreshed himself with an abundant draught of
cold water, and a copious shower of the same refreshing liquid on
his head and face, he ordered some rum and milk to be served; and
upon that innocent beverage and some biscuits and cheese made a
pretty hearty meal. That done, he disposed himself in an easy
attitude on the ground beside his two companions (who were
carousing after their own tastes), and proceeded to enlighten Mr
Dennis in reference to to-morrow's project.
That their conversation was an interesting one, was rendered
manifest by its length, and by the close attention of all three.
That it was not of an oppressively grave character, but was
enlivened by various pleasantries arising out of the subject, was
clear from their loud and frequent roars of laughter, which
startled Barnaby on his post, and made him wonder at their levity.
But he was not summoned to join them, until they had eaten, and
drunk, and slept, and talked together for some hours; not, indeed,
until the twilight; when they informed him that they were about to
make a slight demonstration in the streets--just to keep the
people's hands in, as it was Sunday night, and the public might
otherwise be disappointed--and that he was free to accompany them
if he would.
Without the slightest preparation, saving that they carried clubs
and wore the blue cockade, they sallied out into the streets; and,
with no more settled design than that of doing as much mischief as
they could, paraded them at random. Their numbers rapidly
increasing, they soon divided into parties; and agreeing to meet
by-and-by, in the fields near Welbeck Street, scoured the town in
various directions. The largest body, and that which augmented
with the greatest rapidity, was the one to which Hugh and Barnaby
belonged. This took its way towards Moorfields, where there was a
rich chapel, and in which neighbourhood several Catholic families
were known to reside.
Beginning with the private houses so occupied, they broke open the
doors and windows; and while they destroyed the furniture and left
but the bare walls, made a sharp search for tools and engines of
destruction, such as hammers, pokers, axes, saws, and such like
instruments. Many of the rioters made belts of cord, of
handkerchiefs, or any material they found at hand, and wore these
weapons as openly as pioneers upon a field-day. There was not the
least disguise or concealment--indeed, on this night, very little
excitement or hurry. From the chapels, they tore down and took
away the very altars, benches, pulpits, pews, and flooring; from
the dwelling-houses, the very wainscoting and stairs. This Sunday
evening's recreation they pursued like mere workmen who had a
certain task to do, and did it. Fifty resolute men might have
turned them at any moment; a single company of soldiers could have
scattered them like dust; but no man interposed, no authority
restrained them, and, except by the terrified persons who fled from
their approach, they were as little heeded as if they were pursuing
their lawful occupations with the utmost sobriety and good
In the same manner, they marched to the place of rendezvous agreed
upon, made great fires in the fields, and reserving the most
valuable of their spoils, burnt the rest. Priestly garments,
images of saints, rich stuffs and ornaments, altar-furniture and
household goods, were cast into the flames, and shed a glare on the
whole country round; but they danced and howled, and roared about
these fires till they were tired, and were never for an instant
As the main body filed off from this scene of action, and passed
down Welbeck Street, they came upon Gashford, who had been a
witness of their proceedings, and was walking stealthily along the
pavement. Keeping up with him, and yet not seeming to speak, Hugh
muttered in his ear:
'Is this better, master?'
'No,' said Gashford. 'It is not.'
'What would you have?' said Hugh. 'Fevers are never at their
height at once. They must get on by degrees.'
'I would have you,' said Gashford, pinching his arm with such
malevolence that his nails seemed to meet in the skin; 'I would
have you put some meaning into your work. Fools! Can you make no
better bonfires than of rags and scraps? Can you burn nothing
'A little patience, master,' said Hugh. 'Wait but a few hours, and
you shall see. Look for a redness in the sky, to-morrow night.'
With that, he fell back into his place beside Barnaby; and when the
secretary looked after him, both were lost in the crowd.
The next day was ushered in by merry peals of bells, and by the
firing of the Tower guns; flags were hoisted on many of the church-
steeples; the usual demonstrations were made in honour of the
anniversary of the King's birthday; and every man went about his
pleasure or business as if the city were in perfect order, and
there were no half-smouldering embers in its secret places, which,
on the approach of night, would kindle up again and scatter ruin
and dismay abroad. The leaders of the riot, rendered still more
daring by the success of last night and by the booty they had
acquired, kept steadily together, and only thought of implicating
the mass of their followers so deeply that no hope of pardon or
reward might tempt them to betray their more notorious confederates
into the hands of justice.
Indeed, the sense of having gone too far to be forgiven, held the
timid together no less than the bold. Many who would readily have
pointed out the foremost rioters and given evidence against them,
felt that escape by that means was hopeless, when their every act
had been observed by scores of people who had taken no part in the
disturbances; who had suffered in their persons, peace, or
property, by the outrages of the mob; who would be most willing
witnesses; and whom the government would, no doubt, prefer to any
King's evidence that might be offered. Many of this class had
deserted their usual occupations on the Saturday morning; some had
been seen by their employers active in the tumult; others knew they
must be suspected, and that they would be discharged if they
returned; others had been desperate from the beginning, and
comforted themselves with the homely proverb, that, being hanged at
all, they might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb. They all
hoped and believed, in a greater or less degree, that the
government they seemed to have paralysed, would, in its terror,
come to terms with them in the end, and suffer them to make their
own conditions. The least sanguine among them reasoned with
himself that, at the worst, they were too many to be all punished,
and that he had as good a chance of escape as any other man. The
great mass never reasoned or thought at all, but were stimulated by
their own headlong passions, by poverty, by ignorance, by the love
of mischief, and the hope of plunder.
One other circumstance is worthy of remark; and that is, that from
the moment of their first outbreak at Westminster, every symptom of
order or preconcerted arrangement among them vanished. When they
divided into parties and ran to different quarters of the town, it
was on the spontaneous suggestion of the moment. Each party
swelled as it went along, like rivers as they roll towards the sea;
new leaders sprang up as they were wanted, disappeared when the
necessity was over, and reappeared at the next crisis. Each tumult
took shape and form from the circumstances of the moment; sober
workmen, going home from their day's labour, were seen to cast down
their baskets of tools and become rioters in an instant; mere boys
on errands did the like. In a word, a moral plague ran through the
city. The noise, and hurry, and excitement, had for hundreds and
hundreds an attraction they had no firmness to resist. The
contagion spread like a dread fever: an infectious madness, as yet
not near its height, seized on new victims every hour, and society
began to tremble at their ravings.
It was between two and three o'clock in the afternoon when
Gashford looked into the lair described in the last chapter, and
seeing only Barnaby and Dennis there, inquired for Hugh.
He was out, Barnaby told him; had gone out more than an hour ago;
and had not yet returned.
'Dennis!' said the smiling secretary, in his smoothest voice, as he
sat down cross-legged on a barrel, 'Dennis!'
The hangman struggled into a sitting posture directly, and with his
eyes wide open, looked towards him.
'How do you do, Dennis?' said Gashford, nodding. 'I hope you have
suffered no inconvenience from your late exertions, Dennis?'
'I always will say of you, Muster Gashford,' returned the hangman,
staring at him, 'that that 'ere quiet way of yours might almost
wake a dead man. It is,' he added, with a muttered oath--still
staring at him in a thoughtful manner--'so awful sly!'
'So distinct, eh Dennis?'
'Distinct!' he answered, scratching his head, and keeping his eyes
upon the secretary's face; 'I seem to hear it, Muster Gashford, in
my wery bones.'
'I am very glad your sense of hearing is so sharp, and that I
succeed in making myself so intelligible,' said Gashford, in his
unvarying, even tone. 'Where is your friend?'
Mr Dennis looked round as in expectation of beholding him asleep
upon his bed of straw; then remembering he had seen him go out,
'I can't say where he is, Muster Gashford, I expected him back
afore now. I hope it isn't time that we was busy, Muster
'Nay,' said the secretary, 'who should know that as well as you?
How can I tell you, Dennis? You are perfect master of your own
actions, you know, and accountable to nobody--except sometimes to
the law, eh?'
Dennis, who was very much baffled by the cool matter-of-course
manner of this reply, recovered his self-possession on his
professional pursuits being referred to, and pointing towards
Barnaby, shook his head and frowned.
'Hush!' cried Barnaby.
'Ah! Do hush about that, Muster Gashford,' said the hangman in a
low voice, 'pop'lar prejudices--you always forget--well, Barnaby,
my lad, what's the matter?'
'I hear him coming,' he answered: 'Hark! Do you mark that? That's
his foot! Bless you, I know his step, and his dog's too. Tramp,
tramp, pit-pat, on they come together, and, ha ha ha!--and here
they are!' he cried, joyfully welcoming Hugh with both hands, and
then patting him fondly on the back, as if instead of being the
rough companion he was, he had been one of the most prepossessing
of men. 'Here he is, and safe too! I am glad to see him back
again, old Hugh!'
'I'm a Turk if he don't give me a warmer welcome always than any
man of sense,' said Hugh, shaking hands with him with a kind of
ferocious friendship, strange enough to see. 'How are you, boy?'
'Hearty!' cried Barnaby, waving his hat. 'Ha ha ha! And merrry
too, Hugh! And ready to do anything for the good cause, and the
right, and to help the kind, mild, pale-faced gentleman--the lord
they used so ill--eh, Hugh?'
'Ay!' returned his friend, dropping his hand, and looking at
Gashford for an instant with a changed expression before he spoke
to him. 'Good day, master!'
'And good day to you,' replied the secretary, nursing his leg.
'And many good days--whole years of them, I hope. You are heated.'
'So would you have been, master,' said Hugh, wiping his face, 'if
you'd been running here as fast as I have.'
'You know the news, then? Yes, I supposed you would have heard it.'
'News! what news?'
'You don't?' cried Gashford, raising his eyebrows with an
exclamation of surprise. 'Dear me! Come; then I AM the first to
make you acquainted with your distinguished position, after all.
Do you see the King's Arms a-top?' he smilingly asked, as he took a
large paper from his pocket, unfolded it, and held it out for
'Well!' said Hugh. 'What's that to me?'
'Much. A great deal,' replied the secretary. 'Read it.'
'I told you, the first time I saw you, that I couldn't read,' said
Hugh, impatiently. 'What in the Devil's name's inside of it?'
'It is a proclamation from the King in Council,' said Gashford,
'dated to-day, and offering a reward of five hundred pounds--five
hundred pounds is a great deal of money, and a large temptation to
some people--to any one who will discover the person or persons
most active in demolishing those chapels on Saturday night.'
'Is that all?' cried Hugh, with an indifferent air. 'I knew of
'Truly I might have known you did,' said Gashford, smiling, and
folding up the document again. 'Your friend, I might have guessed--
indeed I did guess--was sure to tell you.'
'My friend!' stammered Hugh, with an unsuccessful effort to appear
surprised. 'What friend?'
'Tut tut--do you suppose I don't know where you have been?'
retorted Gashford, rubbing his hands, and beating the back of one
on the palm of the other, and looking at him with a cunning eye.
'How dull you think me! Shall I say his name?'
'No,' said Hugh, with a hasty glance towards Dennis.
'You have also heard from him, no doubt,' resumed the secretary,
after a moment's pause, 'that the rioters who have been taken (poor
fellows) are committed for trial, and that some very active
witnesses have had the temerity to appear against them. Among
others--' and here he clenched his teeth, as if he would suppress
by force some violent words that rose upon his tongue; and spoke
very slowly. 'Among others, a gentleman who saw the work going on
in Warwick Street; a Catholic gentleman; one Haredale.'
Hugh would have prevented his uttering the word, but it was out
already. Hearing the name, Barnaby turned swiftly round.
'Duty, duty, bold Barnaby!' cried Hugh, assuming his wildest and
most rapid manner, and thrusting into his hand his staff and flag
which leant against the wall. 'Mount guard without loss of time,
for we are off upon our expedition. Up, Dennis, and get ready!
Take care that no one turns the straw upon my bed, brave Barnaby;
we know what's underneath it--eh? Now, master, quick! What you
have to say, say speedily, for the little captain and a cluster of
'em are in the fields, and only waiting for us. Sharp's the word,
and strike's the action. Quick!'
Barnaby was not proof against this bustle and despatch. The look
of mingled astonishtnent and anger which had appeared in his face
when he turned towards them, faded from it as the words passed from
his memory, like breath from a polished mirror; and grasping the
weapon which Hugh forced upon him, he proudly took his station at
the door, beyond their hearing.
'You might have spoiled our plans, master,' said Hugh. 'YOU, too,
of all men!'
'Who would have supposed that HE would be so quick?' urged
'He's as quick sometimes--I don't mean with his hands, for that you
know, but with his head--as you or any man,' said Hugh. 'Dennis,
it's time we were going; they're waiting for us; I came to tell
you. Reach me my stick and belt. Here! Lend a hand, master.
Fling this over my shoulder, and buckle it behind, will you?'
'Brisk as ever!' said the secretary, adjusting it for him as he
'A man need be brisk to-day; there's brisk work a-foot.'
'There is, is there?' said Gashford. He said it with such a
provoking assumption of ignorance, that Hugh, looking over his
shoulder and angrily down upon him, replied:
'Is there! You know there is! Who knows better than you, master,
that the first great step to be taken is to make examples of these
witnesses, and frighten all men from appearing against us or any of
our body, any more?'
'There's one we know of,' returned Gashford, with an expressive
smile, 'who is at least as well informed upon that subject as you
'If we mean the same gentleman, as I suppose we do,' Hugh rejoined
softly, 'I tell you this--he's as good and quick information about
everything as--' here he paused and looked round, as if to make
sure that the person in question was not within hearing, 'as Old
Nick himself. Have you done that, master? How slow you are!'
'It's quite fast now,' said Gashford, rising. 'I say--you didn't
find that your friend disapproved of to-day's little expedition?
Ha ha ha! It is fortunate it jumps so well with the witness
policy; for, once planned, it must have been carried out. And now
you are going, eh?'
'Now we are going, master!' Hugh replied. 'Any parting words?'
'Oh dear, no,' said Gashford sweetly. 'None!'
'You're sure?' cried Hugh, nudging the grinning Dennis.
'Quite sure, eh, Muster Gashford?' chuckled the hangman.
Gashford paused a moment, struggling with his caution and his
malice; then putting himself between the two men, and laying a hand
upon the arm of each, said, in a cramped whisper:
'Do not, my good friends--I am sure you will not--forget our talk
one night--in your house, Dennis--about this person. No mercy, no
quarter, no two beams of his house to be left standing where the
builder placed them! Fire, the saying goes, is a good servant, but
a bad master. Makes it HIS master; he deserves no better. But I
am sure you will be firm, I am sure you will be very resolute, I am
sure you will remember that he thirsts for your lives, and those of
all your brave companions. If you ever acted like staunch
fellows, you will do so to-day. Won't you, Dennis--won't you,
The two looked at him, and at each other; then bursting into a roar
of laughter, brandished their staves above their heads, shook
hands, and hurried out.
When they had been gone a little time, Gashford followed. They
were yet in sight, and hastening to that part of the adjacent
fields in which their fellows had already mustered; Hugh was
looking back, and flourishing his hat to Barnaby, who, delighted
with his trust, replied in the same way, and then resumed his
pacing up and down before the stable-door, where his feet had worn
a path already. And when Gashford himself was far distant, and
looked back for the last time, he was still walking to and fro,
with the same measured tread; the most devoted and the blithest
champion that ever maintained a post, and felt his heart lifted up
with a brave sense of duty, and determination to defend it to the
Smiling at the simplicity of the poor idiot, Gashford betook
himself to Welbeck Street by a different path from that which he
knew the rioters would take, and sitting down behind a curtain in
one of the upper windows of Lord George Gordon's house, waited
impatiently for their coming. They were so long, that although he
knew it had been settled they should come that way, he had a
misgiving they must have changed their plans and taken some other
route. But at length the roar of voices was heard in the
neighbouring fields, and soon afterwards they came thronging past,
in a great body.
However, they were not all, nor nearly all, in one body, but were,
as he soon found, divided into four parties, each of which stopped
before the house to give three cheers, and then went on; the
leaders crying out in what direction they were going, and calling
on the spectators to join them. The first detachment, carrying, by
way of banners, some relics of the havoc they had made in
Moorfields, proclaimed that they were on their way to Chelsea,
whence they would return in the same order, to make of the spoil
they bore, a great bonfire, near at hand. The second gave out that
they were bound for Wapping, to destroy a chapel; the third, that
their place of destination was East Smithfield, and their object
the same. All this was done in broad, bright, summer day. Gay
carriages and chairs stopped to let them pass, or turned back to
avoid them; people on foot stood aside in doorways, or perhaps
knocked and begged permission to stand at a window, or in the hall,
until the rioters had passed: but nobody interfered with them; and
when they had gone by, everything went on as usual.
There still remained the fourth body, and for that the secretary
looked with a most intense eagerness. At last it came up. It was
numerous, and composed of picked men; for as he gazed down among
them, he recognised many upturned faces which he knew well--those
of Simon Tappertit, Hugh, and Dennis in the front, of course. They
halted and cheered, as the others had done; but when they moved
again, they did not, like them, proclaim what design they had.
Hugh merely raised his hat upon the bludgeon he carried, and
glancing at a spectator on the opposite side of the way, was gone.
Gashford followed the direction of his glance instinctively, and
saw, standing on the pavement, and wearing the blue cockade, Sir
John Chester. He held his hat an inch or two above his head, to
propitiate the mob; and, resting gracefully on his cane, smiling
pleasantly, and displaying his dress and person to the very best
advantage, looked on in the most tranquil state imaginable. For
all that, and quick and dexterous as he was, Gashford had seen him
recognise Hugh with the air of a patron. He had no longer any eyes
for the crowd, but fixed his keen regards upon Sir John.
He stood in the same place and posture until the last man in the
concourse had turned the corner of the street; then very
deliberately took the blue cockade out of his hat; put it carefully
in his pocket, ready for the next emergency; refreshed himself with
a pinch of snuff; put up his box; and was walking slowly off, when
a passing carriage stopped, and a lady's hand let down the glass.
Sir John's hat was off again immediately. After a minute's
conversation at the carriage-window, in which it was apparent that
he was vastly entertaining on the subject of the mob, he stepped
lightly in, and was driven away.
The secretary smiled, but he had other thoughts to dwell upon, and
soon dismissed the topic. Dinner was brought him, but he sent it
down untasted; and, in restless pacings up and down the room, and
constant glances at the clock, and many futile efforts to sit down
and read, or go to sleep, or look out of the window, consumed four
weary hours. When the dial told him thus much time had crept away,
he stole upstairs to the top of the house, and coming out upon the
roof sat down, with his face towards the east.
Heedless of the fresh air that blew upon his heated brow, of the
pleasant meadows from which he turned, of the piles of roofs and
chimneys upon which he looked, of the smoke and rising mist he
vainly sought to pierce, of the shrill cries of children at their
evening sports, the distant hum and turmoil of the town, the
cheerful country breath that rustled past to meet it, and to droop,
and die; he watched, and watched, till it was dark save for the
specks of light that twinkled in the streets below and far away--
and, as the darkness deepened, strained his gaze and grew more
'Nothing but gloom in that direction, still!' he muttered
restlessly. 'Dog! where is the redness in the sky, you promised
Rumours of the prevailing disturbances had, by this time, begun to
be pretty generally circulated through the towns and villages round
London, and the tidings were everywhere received with that appetite
for the marvellous and love of the terrible which have probably
been among the natural characteristics of mankind since the
creation of the world. These accounts, however, appeared, to many
persons at that day--as they would to us at the present, but that
we know them to be matter of history--so monstrous and improbable,
that a great number of those who were resident at a distance, and
who were credulous enough on other points, were really unable to
bring their minds to believe that such things could be; and
rejected the intelligence they received on all hands, as wholly
fabulous and absurd.
Mr Willet--not so much, perhaps, on account of his having argued
and settled the matter with himself, as by reason of his
constitutional obstinacy--was one of those who positively refused
to entertain the current topic for a moment. On this very evening,
and perhaps at the very time when Gashford kept his solitary watch,
old John was so red in the face with perpetually shaking his head
in contradiction of his three ancient cronies and pot companions,
that he was quite a phenomenon to behold, and lighted up the
Maypole Porch wherein they sat together, like a monstrous carbuncle
in a fairy tale.
'Do you think, sir,' said Mr Willet, looking hard at Solomon
Daisy--for it was his custom in cases of personal altercation to
fasten upon the smallest man in the party--'do you think, sir, that
I'm a born fool?'
'No, no, Johnny,' returned Solomon, looking round upon the little
circle of which he formed a part: 'We all know better than that.
You're no fool, Johnny. No, no!'
Mr Cobb and Mr Parkes shook their heads in unison, muttering, 'No,
no, Johnny, not you!' But as such compliments had usually the
effect of making Mr Willet rather more dogged than before, he
surveyed them with a look of deep disdain, and returned for answer:
'Then what do you mean by coming here, and telling me that this
evening you're a-going to walk up to London together--you three--
you--and have the evidence of your own senses? An't,' said Mr
Willet, putting his pipe in his mouth with an air of solemn
disgust, 'an't the evidence of MY senses enough for you?'
'But we haven't got it, Johnny,' pleaded Parkes, humbly.
'You haven't got it, sir?' repeated Mr Willet, eyeing him from top
to toe. 'You haven't got it, sir? You HAVE got it, sir. Don't I
tell you that His blessed Majesty King George the Third would no
more stand a rioting and rollicking in his streets, than he'd stand
being crowed over by his own Parliament?'
'Yes, Johnny, but that's your sense--not your senses,' said the
adventurous Mr Parkes.
'How do you know? 'retorted John with great dignity. 'You're a
contradicting pretty free, you are, sir. How do YOU know which it
is? I'm not aware I ever told you, sir.'
Mr Parkes, finding himself in the position of having got into
metaphysics without exactly seeing his way out of them, stammered
forth an apology and retreated from the argument. There then
ensued a silence of some ten minutes or a quarter of an hour, at
the expiration of which period Mr Willet was observed to rumble and
shake with laughter, and presently remarked, in reference to his
late adversary, 'that he hoped he had tackled him enough.'
Thereupon Messrs Cobb and Daisy laughed, and nodded, and Parkes was
looked upon as thoroughly and effectually put down.
'Do you suppose if all this was true, that Mr Haredale would be
constantly away from home, as he is?' said John, after another
silence. 'Do you think he wouldn't be afraid to leave his house
with them two young women in it, and only a couple of men, or so?'
'Ay, but then you know,' returned Solomon Daisy, 'his house is a
goodish way out of London, and they do say that the rioters won't
go more than two miles, or three at the farthest, off the stones.
Besides, you know, some of the Catholic gentlefolks have actually
sent trinkets and suchlike down here for safety--at least, so the
'The story goes!' said Mr Willet testily. 'Yes, sir. The story
goes that you saw a ghost last March. But nobody believes it.'
'Well!' said Solomon, rising, to divert the attention of his two
friends, who tittered at this retort: 'believed or disbelieved,
it's true; and true or not, if we mean to go to London, we must be
going at once. So shake hands, Johnny, and good night.'
'I shall shake hands,' returned the landlord, putting his into his
pockets, 'with no man as goes to London on such nonsensical
The three cronies were therefore reduced to the necessity of
shaking his elbows; having performed that ceremony, and brought
from the house their hats, and sticks, and greatcoats, they bade
him good night and departed; promising to bring him on the morrow
full and true accounts of the real state of the city, and if it
were quiet, to give him the full merit of his victory.
John Willet looked after them, as they plodded along the road in
the rich glow of a summer evening; and knocking the ashes out of
his pipe, laughed inwardly at their folly, until his sides were
sore. When he had quite exhausted himself--which took some time,
for he laughed as slowly as he thought and spoke--he sat himself
comfortably with his back to the house, put his legs upon the
bench, then his apron over his face, and fell sound asleep.
How long he slept, matters not; but it was for no brief space, for
when he awoke, the rich light had faded, the sombre hues of night
were falling fast upon the landscape, and a few bright stars were
already twinkling overhead. The birds were all at roost, the
daisies on the green had closed their fairy hoods, the honeysuckle
twining round the porch exhaled its perfume in a twofold degree, as
though it lost its coyness at that silent time and loved to shed
its fragrance on the night; the ivy scarcely stirred its deep green
leaves. How tranquil, and how beautiful it was!
Was there no sound in the air, besides the gentle rustling of the
trees and the grasshopper's merry chirp? Hark! Something very
faint and distant, not unlike the murmuring in a sea-shell. Now it
grew louder, fainter now, and now it altogether died away.
Presently, it came again, subsided, came once more, grew louder,
fainter--swelled into a roar. It was on the road, and varied with
its windings. All at once it burst into a distinct sound--the
voices, and the tramping feet of many men.
It is questionable whether old John Willet, even then, would have
thought of the rioters but for the cries of his cook and housemaid,
who ran screaming upstairs and locked themselves into one of the
old garrets,--shrieking dismally when they had done so, by way of
rendering their place of refuge perfectly secret and secure. These
two females did afterwards depone that Mr Willet in his
consternation uttered but one word, and called that up the stairs
in a stentorian voice, six distinct times. But as this word was a
monosyllable, which, however inoffensive when applied to the
quadruped it denotes, is highly reprehensible when used in
connection with females of unimpeachable character, many persons
were inclined to believe that the young women laboured under some
hallucination caused by excessive fear; and that their ears
Be this as it may, John Willet, in whom the very uttermost extent
of dull-headed perplexity supplied the place of courage, stationed
himself in the porch, and waited for their coming up. Once, it
dimly occurred to him that there was a kind of door to the house,
which had a lock and bolts; and at the same time some shadowy ideas
of shutters to the lower windows, flitted through his brain. But
he stood stock still, looking down the road in the direction in
which the noise was rapidly advancing, and did not so much as take
his hands out of his pockets.
He had not to wait long. A dark mass, looming through a cloud of
dust, soon became visible; the mob quickened their pace; shouting
and whooping like savages, they came rushing on pell mell; and in a
few seconds he was bandied from hand to hand, in the heart of a
crowd of men.
'Halloa!' cried a voice he knew, as the man who spoke came cleaving
through the throng. 'Where is he? Give him to me. Don't hurt
him. How now, old Jack! Ha ha ha!'
Mr Willet looked at him, and saw it was Hugh; but he said nothing,
and thought nothing.
'These lads are thirsty and must drink!' cried Hugh, thrusting him
back towards the house. 'Bustle, Jack, bustle. Show us the best--
the very best--the over-proof that you keep for your own drinking,
John faintly articulated the words, 'Who's to pay?'
'He says "Who's to pay?"' cried Hugh, with a roar of laughter which
was loudly echoed by the crowd. Then turning to John, he added,
'Pay! Why, nobody.'
John stared round at the mass of faces--some grinning, some fierce,
some lighted up by torches, some indistinct, some dusky and
shadowy: some looking at him, some at his house, some at each
other--and while he was, as he thought, in the very act of doing
so, found himself, without any consciousness of having moved, in
the bar; sitting down in an arm-chair, and watching the destruction
of his property, as if it were some queer play or entertainment, of
an astonishing and stupefying nature, but having no reference to
himself--that he could make out--at all.
Yes. Here was the bar--the bar that the boldest never entered
without special invitation--the sanctuary, the mystery, the
hallowed ground: here it was, crammed with men, clubs, sticks,
torches, pistols; filled with a deafening noise, oaths, shouts,
screams, hootings; changed all at once into a bear-garden, a
madhouse, an infernal temple: men darting in and out, by door and
window, smashing the glass, turning the taps, drinking liquor out
of China punchbowls, sitting astride of casks, smoking private and
personal pipes, cutting down the sacred grove of lemons, hacking
and hewing at the celebrated cheese, breaking open inviolable
drawers, putting things in their pockets which didn't belong to
them, dividing his own money before his own eyes, wantonly wasting,
breaking, pulling down and tearing up: nothing quiet, nothing
private: men everywhere--above, below, overhead, in the bedrooms,
in the kitchen, in the yard, in the stables--clambering in at
windows when there were doors wide open; dropping out of windows
when the stairs were handy; leaping over the bannisters into chasms
of passages: new faces and figures presenting themselves every
instant--some yelling, some singing, some fighting, some breaking
glass and crockery, some laying the dust with the liquor they
couldn't drink, some ringing the bells till they pulled them down,
others beating them with pokers till they beat them into fragments:
more men still--more, more, more--swarming on like insects: noise,
smoke, light, darkness, frolic, anger, laughter, groans, plunder,
fear, and ruin!
Nearly all the time while John looked on at this bewildering scene,
Hugh kept near him; and though he was the loudest, wildest, most
destructive villain there, he saved his old master's bones a score
of times. Nay, even when Mr Tappertit, excited by liquor, came up,
and in assertion of his prerogative politely kicked John Willet on
the shins, Hugh bade him return the compliment; and if old John had
had sufficient presence of mind to understand this whispered
direction, and to profit by it, he might no doubt, under Hugh's
protection, have done so with impunity.
At length the band began to reassemble outside the house, and to
call to those within, to join them, for they were losing time.
These murmurs increasing, and attaining a high pitch, Hugh, and
some of those who yet lingered in the bar, and who plainly were the
leaders of the troop, took counsel together, apart, as to what was
to be done with John, to keep him quiet until their Chigwell work
was over. Some proposed to set the house on fire and leave him in
it; others, that he should be reduced to a state of temporary
insensibility, by knocking on the head; others, that he should be
sworn to sit where he was until to-morrow at the same hour; others
again, that he should be gagged and taken off with them, under a
sufficient guard. All these propositions being overruled, it was
concluded, at last, to bind him in his chair, and the word was
passed for Dennis.
'Look'ee here, Jack!' said Hugh, striding up to him: 'We are going
to tie you, hand and foot, but otherwise you won't be hurt. D'ye
John Willet looked at another man, as if he didn't know which was
the speaker, and muttered something about an ordinary every Sunday
at two o'clock.
'You won't be hurt I tell you, Jack--do you hear me?' roared Hugh,
impressing the assurance upon him by means of a heavy blow on the
back. 'He's so dead scared, he's woolgathering, I think. Give him
a drop of something to drink here. Hand over, one of you.'
A glass of liquor being passed forward, Hugh poured the contents
down old John's throat. Mr Willet feebly smacked his lips, thrust
his hand into his pocket, and inquired what was to pay; adding, as
he looked vacantly round, that he believed there was a trifle of
'He's out of his senses for the time, it's my belief,' said Hugh,
after shaking him, without any visible effect upon his system,
until his keys rattled in his pocket. 'Where's that Dennis?'
The word was again passed, and presently Mr Dennis, with a long
cord bound about his middle, something after the manner of a friar,
came hurrying in, attended by a body-guard of half-a-dozen of his
'Come! Be alive here!' cried Hugh, stamping his foot upon the
ground. 'Make haste!'
Dennis, with a wink and a nod, unwound the cord from about his
person, and raising his eyes to the ceiling, looked all over it,
and round the walls and cornice, with a curious eye; then shook his
'Move, man, can't you!' cried Hugh, with another impatient stamp of
his foot. 'Are we to wait here, till the cry has gone for ten
miles round, and our work's interrupted?'
'It's all very fine talking, brother,' answered Dennis, stepping
towards him; 'but unless--' and here he whispered in his ear--
'unless we do it over the door, it can't be done at all in this
'What can't?' Hugh demanded.
'What can't!' retorted Dennis. 'Why, the old man can't.'
'Why, you weren't going to hang him!' cried Hugh.
'No, brother?' returned the hangman with a stare. 'What else?'
Hugh made no answer, but snatching the rope from his companion's
hand, proceeded to bind old John himself; but his very first move
was so bungling and unskilful, that Mr Dennis entreated, almost
with tears in his eyes, that he might be permitted to perform the
duty. Hugh consenting, be achieved it in a twinkling.
'There,' he said, looking mournfully at John Willet, who displayed
no more emotion in his bonds than he had shown out of them.
'That's what I call pretty and workmanlike. He's quite a picter
now. But, brother, just a word with you--now that he's ready
trussed, as one may say, wouldn't it be better for all parties if
we was to work him off? It would read uncommon well in the
newspapers, it would indeed. The public would think a great deal
more on us!'
Hugh, inferring what his companion meant, rather from his gestures
than his technical mode of expressing himself (to which, as he was
ignorant of his calling, he wanted the clue), rejected this
proposition for the second time, and gave the word 'Forward!' which
was echoed by a hundred voices from without.
'To the Warren!' shouted Dennis as he ran out, followed by the
rest. 'A witness's house, my lads!'
A loud yell followed, and the whole throng hurried off, mad for
pillage and destruction. Hugh lingered behind for a few moments to
stimulate himself with more drink, and to set all the taps running,
a few of which had accidentally been spared; then, glancing round
the despoiled and plundered room, through whose shattered window
the rioters had thrust the Maypole itself,--for even that had been
sawn down,--lighted a torch, clapped the mute and motionless John
Willet on the back, and waving his light above his head, and
uttering a fierce shout, hastened after his companions.
John Willet, left alone in his dismantled bar, continued to sit
staring about him; awake as to his eyes, certainly, but with all
his powers of reason and reflection in a sound and dreamless
sleep. He looked round upon the room which had been for years,
and was within an hour ago, the pride of his heart; and not a
muscle of his face was moved. The night, without, looked black and
cold through the dreary gaps in the casement; the precious liquids,
now nearly leaked away, dripped with a hollow sound upon the floor;
the Maypole peered ruefully in through the broken window, like the
bowsprit of a wrecked ship; the ground might have been the bottom
of the sea, it was so strewn with precious fragments. Currents of
air rushed in, as the old doors jarred and creaked upon their
hinges; the candles flickered and guttered down, and made long
winding-sheets; the cheery deep-red curtains flapped and fluttered
idly in the wind; even the stout Dutch kegs, overthrown and lying
empty in dark corners, seemed the mere husks of good fellows whose
jollity had departed, and who could kindle with a friendly glow no
more. John saw this desolation, and yet saw it not. He was
perfectly contented to sit there, staring at it, and felt no more
indignation or discomfort in his bonds than if they had been robes
of honour. So far as he was personally concerned, old Time lay
snoring, and the world stood still.
Save for the dripping from the barrels, the rustling of such light
fragments of destruction as the wind affected, and the dull
creaking of the open doors, all was profoundly quiet: indeed,
these sounds, like the ticking of the death-watch in the night,
only made the silence they invaded deeper and more apparent. But
quiet or noisy, it was all one to John. If a train of heavy
artillery could have come up and commenced ball practice outside
the window, it would have been all the same to him. He was a long
way beyond surprise. A ghost couldn't have overtaken him.
By and by he heard a footstep--a hurried, and yet cautious
footstep--coming on towards the house. It stopped, advanced again,
then seemed to go quite round it. Having done that, it came
beneath the window, and a head looked in.
It was strongly relieved against the darkness outside by the glare
of the guttering candles. A pale, worn, withered face; the eyes--
but that was owing to its gaunt condition--unnaturally large and
bright; the hair, a grizzled black. It gave a searching glance all
round the room, and a deep voice said:
'Are you alone in this house?'
John made no sign, though the question was repeated twice, and he
heard it distinctly. After a moment's pause, the man got in at the
window. John was not at all surprised at this, either. There had
been so much getting in and out of window in the course of the last
hour or so, that he had quite forgotten the door, and seemed to
have lived among such exercises from infancy.
The man wore a large, dark, faded cloak, and a slouched hat; he
walked up close to John, and looked at him. John returned the
compliment with interest.
'How long have you been sitting thus?' said the man.
John considered, but nothing came of it.
'Which way have the party gone?'
Some wandering speculations relative to the fashion of the
stranger's boots, got into Mr Willet's mind by some accident or
other, but they got out again in a hurry, and left him in his
'You would do well to speak,' said the man; 'you may keep a whole
skin, though you have nothing else left that can be hurt. Which
way have the party gone?'
'That!' said John, finding his voice all at once, and nodding with
perfect good faith--he couldn't point; he was so tightly bound--in
exactly the opposite direction to the right one.
'You lie!' said the man angrily, and with a threatening gesture.
'I came that way. You would betray me.'
It was so evident that John's imperturbability was not assumed, but
was the result of the late proceedings under his roof, that the man
stayed his hand in the very act of striking him, and turned away.
John looked after him without so much as a twitch in a single nerve
of his face. He seized a glass, and holding it under one of the
little casks until a few drops were collected, drank them greedily
off; then throwing it down upon the floor impatiently, he took the
vessel in his hands and drained it into his throat. Some scraps of
bread and meat were scattered about, and on these he fell next;
eating them with voracity, and pausing every now and then to
listen for some fancied noise outside. When he had refreshed
himself in this manner with violent haste, and raised another
barrel to his lips, he pulled his hat upon his brow as though he
were about to leave the house, and turned to John.
'Where are your servants?'
Mr Willet indistinctly remembered to have heard the rioters calling
to them to throw the key of the room in which they were, out of
window, for their keeping. He therefore replied, 'Locked up.'
'Well for them if they remain quiet, and well for you if you do the
like,' said the man. 'Now show me the way the party went.'
This time Mr Willet indicated it correctly. The man was hurrying
to the door, when suddenly there came towards them on the wind, the
loud and rapid tolling of an alarm-bell, and then a bright and
vivid glare streamed up, which illumined, not only the whole
chamber, but all the country.
It was not the sudden change from darkness to this dreadful light,
it was not the sound of distant shrieks and shouts of triumph, it
was not this dread invasion of the serenity and peace of night,
that drove the man back as though a thunderbolt had struck him. It
was the Bell. If the ghastliest shape the human mind has ever
pictured in its wildest dreams had risen up before him, he could
not have staggered backward from its touch, as he did from the
first sound of that loud iron voice. With eyes that started from
his head, his limbs convulsed, his face most horrible to see, he
raised one arm high up into the air, and holding something
visionary back and down, with his other hand, drove at it as though
he held a knife and stabbed it to the heart. He clutched his hair,
and stopped his ears, and travelled madly round and round; then
gave a frightful cry, and with it rushed away: still, still, the
Bell tolled on and seemed to follow him--louder and louder, hotter
and hotter yet. The glare grew brighter, the roar of voices
deeper; the crash of heavy bodies falling, shook the air; bright
streams of sparks rose up into the sky; but louder than them all--
rising faster far, to Heaven--a million times more fierce and
furious--pouring forth dreadful secrets after its long silence--
speaking the language of the dead--the Bell--the Bell!
What hunt of spectres could surpass that dread pursuit and flight!
Had there been a legion of them on his track, he could have better
borne it. They would have had a beginning and an end, but here all
space was full. The one pursuing voice was everywhere: it sounded
in the earth, the air; shook the long grass, and howled among the
trembling trees. The echoes caught it up, the owls hooted as it
flew upon the breeze, the nightingale was silent and hid herself
among the thickest boughs: it seemed to goad and urge the angry
fire, and lash it into madness; everything was steeped in one
prevailing red; the glow was everywhere; nature was drenched in
blood: still the remorseless crying of that awful voice--the Bell,
It ceased; but not in his ears. The knell was at his heart. No
work of man had ever voice like that which sounded there, and
warned him that it cried unceasingly to Heaven. Who could hear
that hell, and not know what it said! There was murder in its
every note--cruel, relentless, savage murder--the murder of a
confiding man, by one who held his every trust. Its ringing
summoned phantoms from their graves. What face was that, in which
a friendly smile changed to a look of half incredulous horror,
which stiffened for a moment into one of pain, then changed again
into an imploring glance at Heaven, and so fell idly down with
upturned eyes, like the dead stags' he had often peeped at when a
little child: shrinking and shuddering--there was a dreadful thing
to think of now!--and clinging to an apron as he looked! He sank
upon the ground, and grovelling down as if he would dig himself a
place to hide in, covered his face and ears: but no, no, no,--a
hundred walls and roofs of brass would not shut out that bell, for
in it spoke the wrathful voice of God, and from that voice, the
whole wide universe could not afford a refuge!
While he rushed up and down, not knowing where to turn, and while
he lay crouching there, the work went briskly on indeed. When
they left the Maypole, the rioters formed into a solid body, and
advanced at a quick pace towards the Warren. Rumour of their
approach having gone before, they found the garden-doors fast
closed, the windows made secure, and the house profoundly dark: not
a light being visible in any portion of the building. After some
fruitless ringing at the bells, and beating at the iron gates, they
drew off a few paces to reconnoitre, and confer upon the course it
would be best to take.
Very little conference was needed, when all were bent upon one
desperate purpose, infuriated with liquor, and flushed with
successful riot. The word being given to surround the house, some
climbed the gates, or dropped into the shallow trench and scaled
the garden wall, while others pulled down the solid iron fence, and
while they made a breach to enter by, made deadly weapons of the
bars. The house being completely encircled, a small number of men
were despatched to break open a tool-shed in the garden; and during
their absence on this errand, the remainder contented themselves
with knocking violently at the doors, and calling to those within,
to come down and open them on peril of their lives.
No answer being returned to this repeated summons, and the
detachment who had been sent away, coming back with an accession of
pickaxes, spades, and hoes, they,--together with those who had such
arms already, or carried (as many did) axes, poles, and crowbars,--
struggled into the foremost rank, ready to beset the doors and
windows. They had not at this time more than a dozen lighted
torches among them; but when these preparations were completed,
flaming links were distributed and passed from hand to hand with
such rapidity, that, in a minute's time, at least two-thirds of the
whole roaring mass bore, each man in his hand, a blazing brand.
Whirling these about their heads they raised a loud shout, and fell
to work upon the doors and windows.
Amidst the clattering of heavy blows, the rattling of broken glass,
the cries and execrations of the mob, and all the din and turmoil
of the scene, Hugh and his friends kept together at the turret-door
where Mr Haredale had last admitted him and old John Willet; and
spent their united force on that. It was a strong old oaken door,
guarded by good bolts and a heavy bar, but it soon went crashing in
upon the narrow stairs behind, and made, as it were, a platform to
facilitate their tearing up into the rooms above. Almost at the
same moment, a dozen other points were forced, and at every one the
crowd poured in like water.
A few armed servant-men were posted in the hall, and when the
rioters forced an entrance there, they fired some half-a-dozen
shots. But these taking no effect, and the concourse coming on
like an army of devils, they only thought of consulting their own
safety, and retreated, echoing their assailants' cries, and hoping
in the confusion to be taken for rioters themselves; in which
stratagem they succeeded, with the exception of one old man who was
never heard of again, and was said to have had his brains beaten
out with an iron bar (one of his fellows reported that he had seen
the old man fall), and to have been afterwards burnt in the flames.
The besiegers being now in complete possession of the house, spread
themselves over it from garret to cellar, and plied their demon
labours fiercely. While some small parties kindled bonfires
underneath the windows, others broke up the furniture and cast the
fragments down to feed the flames below; where the apertures in
the wall (windows no longer) were large enough, they threw out
tables, chests of drawers, beds, mirrors, pictures, and flung them
whole into the fire; while every fresh addition to the blazing
masses was received with shouts, and howls, and yells, which added
new and dismal terrors to the conflagration. Those who had axes
and had spent their fury on the movables, chopped and tore down the
doors and window frames, broke up the flooring, hewed away the
rafters, and buried men who lingered in the upper rooms, in heaps
of ruins. Some searched the drawers, the chests, the boxes,
writing-desks, and closets, for jewels, plate, and money; while
others, less mindful of gain and more mad for destruction, cast
their whole contents into the courtyard without examination, and
called to those below, to heap them on the blaze. Men who had
been into the cellars, and had staved the casks, rushed to and fro
stark mad, setting fire to all they saw--often to the dresses of
their own friends--and kindling the building in so many parts that
some had no time for escape, and were seen, with drooping hands and
blackened faces, hanging senseless on the window-sills to which
they had crawled, until they were sucked and drawn into the
burning gulf. The more the fire crackled and raged, the wilder and
more cruel the men grew; as though moving in that element they
became fiends, and changed their earthly nature for the qualities
that give delight in hell.
The burning pile, revealing rooms and passages red hot, through
gaps made in the crumbling walls; the tributary fires that licked
the outer bricks and stones, with their long forked tongues, and
ran up to meet the glowing mass within; the shining of the flames
upon the villains who looked on and fed them; the roaring of the
angry blaze, so bright and high that it seemed in its rapacity to
have swallowed up the very smoke; the living flakes the wind bore
rapidly away and hurried on with, like a storm of fiery snow; the
noiseless breaking of great beams of wood, which fell like feathers
on the heap of ashes, and crumbled in the very act to sparks and
powder; the lurid tinge that overspread the sky, and the darkness,
very deep by contrast, which prevailed around; the exposure to the
coarse, common gaze, of every little nook which usages of home had
made a sacred place, and the destruction by rude hands of every
little household favourite which old associations made a dear and
precious thing: all this taking place--not among pitying looks and
friendly murmurs of compassion, but brutal shouts and exultations,
which seemed to make the very rats who stood by the old house too
long, creatures with some claim upon the pity and regard of those
its roof had sheltered:--combined to form a scene never to be
forgotten by those who saw it and were not actors in the work, so
long as life endured.
And who were they? The alarm-bell rang--and it was pulled by no
faint or hesitating hands--for a long time; but not a soul was
seen. Some of the insurgents said that when it ceased, they heard
the shrieks of women, and saw some garments fluttering in the air,
as a party of men bore away no unresisting burdens. No one could
say that this was true or false, in such an uproar; but where was
Hugh? Who among them had seen him, since the forcing of the doors?
The cry spread through the body. Where was Hugh!
'Here!' he hoarsely cried, appearing from the darkness; out of
breath, and blackened with the smoke. 'We have done all we can;
the fire is burning itself out; and even the corners where it
hasn't spread, are nothing but heaps of ruins. Disperse, my lads,
while the coast's clear; get back by different ways; and meet as
usual!' With that, he disappeared again,--contrary to his wont,
for he was always first to advance, and last to go away,--leaving
them to follow homewards as they would.
It was not an easy task to draw off such a throng. If Bedlam gates
had been flung wide open, there would not have issued forth such
maniacs as the frenzy of that night had made. There were men
there, who danced and trampled on the beds of flowers as though
they trod down human enemies, and wrenched them from the stalks,
like savages who twisted human necks. There were men who cast
their lighted torches in the air, and suffered them to fall upon
their heads and faces, blistering the skin with deep unseemly
burns. There were men who rushed up to the fire, and paddled in it
with their hands as if in water; and others who were restrained by
force from plunging in, to gratify their deadly longing. On the
skull of one drunken lad--not twenty, by his looks--who lay upon
the ground with a bottle to his mouth, the lead from the roof came
streaming down in a shower of liquid fire, white hot; melting his
head like wax. When the scattered parties were collected, men--
living yet, but singed as with hot irons--were plucked out of the
cellars, and carried off upon the shoulders of others, who strove
to wake them as they went along, with ribald jokes, and left them,
dead, in the passages of hospitals. But of all the howling throng
not one learnt mercy from, or sickened at, these sights; nor was
the fierce, besotted, senseless rage of one man glutted.
Slowly, and in small clusters, with hoarse hurrahs and repetitions
of their usual cry, the assembly dropped away. The last few red-
eyed stragglers reeled after those who had gone before; the distant
noise of men calling to each other, and whistling for others whom
they missed, grew fainter and fainter; at length even these sounds
died away, and silence reigned alone.
Silence indeed! The glare of the flames had sunk into a fitful,
flashing light; and the gentle stars, invisible till now, looked
down upon the blackening heap. A dull smoke hung upon the ruin, as
though to hide it from those eyes of Heaven; and the wind forbore
to move it. Bare walls, roof open to the sky--chambers, where the
beloved dead had, many and many a fair day, risen to new life and
energy; where so many dear ones had been sad and merry; which were
connected with so many thoughts and hopes, regrets and changes--all
gone. Nothing left but a dull and dreary blank--a smouldering heap
of dust and ashes--the silence and solitude of utter desolation.
The Maypole cronies, little drearning of the change so soon to come
upon their favourite haunt, struck through the Forest path upon
their way to London; and avoiding the main road, which was hot and
dusty, kept to the by-paths and the fields. As they drew nearer to
their destination, they began to make inquiries of the people whom
they passed, concerning the riots, and the truth or falsehood of
the stories they had heard. The answers went far beyond any
intelligence that had spread to quiet Chigwell. One man told them
that that afternoon the Guards, conveying to Newgate some rioters
who had been re-examined, had been set upon by the mob and
compelled to retreat; another, that the houses of two witnesses
near Clare Market were about to be pulled down when he came away;
another, that Sir George Saville's house in Leicester Fields was to
be burned that night, and that it would go hard with Sir George if
he fell into the people's hands, as it was he who had brought in
the Catholic bill. All accounts agreed that the mob were out, in
stronger numbers and more numerous parties than had yet appeared;
that the streets were unsafe; that no man's house or life was worth
an hour's purchase; that the public consternation was increasing
every moment; and that many families had already fled the city.
One fellow who wore the popular colour, damned them for not having
cockades in their hats, and bade them set a good watch to-morrow
night upon their prison doors, for the locks would have a
straining; another asked if they were fire-proof, that they
walked abroad without the distinguishing mark of all good and true
men;--and a third who rode on horseback, and was quite alone,
ordered them to throw each man a shilling, in his hat, towards the
support of the rioters. Although they were afraid to refuse
compliance with this demand, and were much alarmed by these
reports, they agreed, having come so far, to go forward, and see
the real state of things with their own eyes. So they pushed on
quicker, as men do who are excited by portentous news; and
ruminating on what they had heard, spoke little to each other.
It was now night, and as they came nearer to the city they had
dismal confirmation of this intelligence in three great fires, all
close together, which burnt fiercely and were gloomily reflected in
the sky. Arriving in the immediate suburbs, they found that almost
every house had chalked upon its door in large characters 'No
Popery,' that the shops were shut, and that alarm and anxiety were
depicted in every face they passed.
Noting these things with a degree of apprehension which neither of
the three cared to impart, in its full extent, to his companions,
they came to a turnpike-gate, which was shut. They were passing
through the turnstile on the path, when a horseman rode up from
London at a hard gallop, and called to the toll-keeper in a voice
of great agitation, to open quickly in the name of God.
The adjuration was so earnest and vehement, that the man, with a
lantern in his hand, came running out--toll-keeper though he was--
and was about to throw the gate open, when happening to look behind
him, he exclaimed, 'Good Heaven, what's that! Another fire!'
At this, the three turned their heads, and saw in the distance--
straight in the direction whence they had come--a broad sheet of
flame, casting a threatening light upon the clouds, which glimmered
as though the conflagration were behind them, and showed like a
'My mind misgives me,' said the horseman, 'or I know from what far
building those flames come. Don't stand aghast, my good fellow.
Open the gate!'
'Sir,' cried the man, laying his hand upon his horse's bridle as he
let him through: 'I know you now, sir; be advised by me; do not go
on. I saw them pass, and know what kind of men they are. You will
'So be it!' said the horseman, looking intently towards the fire,
and not at him who spoke.
'But sir--sir,' cried the man, grasping at his rein more tightly
yet, 'if you do go on, wear the blue riband. Here, sir,' he added,
taking one from his own hat, 'it's necessity, not choice, that
makes me wear it; it's love of life and home, sir. Wear it for
this one night, sir; only for this one night.'
'Do!' cried the three friends, pressing round his horse. 'Mr
Haredale--worthy sir--good gentleman--pray be persuaded.'
'Who's that?' cried Mr Haredale, stooping down to look. 'Did I
hear Daisy's voice?'
'You did, sir,' cried the little man. 'Do be persuaded, sir. This
gentleman says very true. Your life may hang upon it.'
'Are you,' said Mr Haredale abruptly, 'afraid to come with me?'
'Put that riband in your hat. If we meet the rioters, swear that I
took you prisoner for wearing it. I will tell them so with my own
lips; for as I hope for mercy when I die, I will take no quarter
from them, nor shall they have quarter from me, if we come hand to
hand to-night. Up here--behind me--quick! Clasp me tight round
the body, and fear nothing.'
In an instant they were riding away, at full gallop, in a dense
cloud of dust, and speeding on, like hunters in a dream.
It was well the good horse knew the road he traversed, for never
once--no, never once in all the journey--did Mr Haredale cast his
eyes upon the ground, or turn them, for an instant, from the light
towards which they sped so madly. Once he said in a low voice, 'It
is my house,' but that was the only time he spoke. When they came
to dark and doubtful places, he never forgot to put his hand upon
the little man to hold him more securely in his seat, but he kept
his head erect and his eyes fixed on the fire, then, and always.
The road was dangerous enough, for they went the nearest way--
headlong--far from the highway--by lonely lanes and paths, where
waggon-wheels had worn deep ruts; where hedge and ditch hemmed in
the narrow strip of ground; and tall trees, arching overhead, made
it profoundly dark. But on, on, on, with neither stop nor stumble,
till they reached the Maypole door, and could plainly see that the
fire began to fade, as if for want of fuel.
'Down--for one moment--for but one moment,' said Mr Haredale,
helping Daisy to the ground, and following himself. 'Willet--
Willet--where are my niece and servants--Willet!'
Crying to him distractedly, he rushed into the bar.--The landlord
bound and fastened to his chair; the place dismantled, stripped,
and pulled about his ears;--nobody could have taken shelter here.
He was a strong man, accustomed to restrain himself, and suppress
his strong emotions; but this preparation for what was to follow--
though he had seen that fire burning, and knew that his house must
be razed to the ground--was more than he could bear. He covered
his face with his hands for a moment, and turned away his head.
'Johnny, Johnny,' said Solomon--and the simple-hearted fellow
cried outright, and wrung his hands--'Oh dear old Johnny, here's a
change! That the Maypole bar should come to this, and we should
live to see it! The old Warren too, Johnny--Mr Haredale--oh,
Johnny, what a piteous sight this is!'
Pointing to Mr Haredale as he said these words, little Solomon
Daisy put his elbows on the back of Mr Willet's chair, and fairly
blubbered on his shoulder.
While Solomon was speaking, old John sat, mute as a stock-fish,
staring at him with an unearthly glare, and displaying, by every
possible symptom, entire and complete unconsciousness. But when
Solomon was silent again, John followed,with his great round eyes,
the direction of his looks, and did appear to have some dawning
distant notion that somebody had come to see him.
'You know us, don't you, Johnny?' said the little clerk, rapping
himself on the breast. 'Daisy, you know--Chigwell Church--bell-
ringer--little desk on Sundays--eh, Johnny?'
Mr Willet reflected for a few moments, and then muttered, as it
were mechanically: 'Let us sing to the praise and glory of--'
'Yes, to be sure,' cried the little man, hastily; 'that's it--
that's me, Johnny. You're all right now, an't you? Say you're all
'All right?' pondered Mr Willet, as if that were a matter entirely
between himself and his conscience. 'All right? Ah!'
'They haven't been misusing you with sticks, or pokers, or any
other blunt instruments--have they, Johnny?' asked Solomon, with a
very anxious glance at Mr Willet's head. 'They didn't beat you,
John knitted his brow; looked downwards, as if he were mentally
engaged in some arithmetical calculation; then upwards, as if the
total would not come at his call; then at Solomon Daisy, from his
eyebrow to his shoe-buckle; then very slowly round the bar. And
then a great, round, leaden-looking, and not at all transparent
tear, came rolling out of each eye, and he said, as he shook his
'If they'd only had the goodness to murder me, I'd have thanked 'em
'No, no, no, don't say that, Johnny,' whimpered his little friend.
'It's very, very bad, but not quite so bad as that. No, no!'
'Look'ee here, sir!' cried John, turning his rueful eyes on Mr
Haredale, who had dropped on one knee, and was hastily beginning to
untie his bonds. 'Look'ee here, sir! The very Maypole--the old
dumb Maypole--stares in at the winder, as if it said, "John Willet,
John Willet, let's go and pitch ourselves in the nighest pool of
water as is deep enough to hold us; for our day is over!"'
'Don't, Johnny, don't,' cried his friend: no less affected with
this mournful effort of Mr Willet's imagination, than by the
sepulchral tone in which he had spoken of the Maypole. 'Please
'Your loss is great, and your misfortune a heavy one,' said Mr
Haredale, looking restlessly towards the door: 'and this is not a
time to comfort you. If it were, I am in no condition to do so.
Before I leave you, tell me one thing, and try to tell me plainly,
I implore you. Have you seen, or heard of Emma?'
'No!' said Mr Willet.
'Nor any one but these bloodhounds?'
'They rode away, I trust in Heaven, before these dreadful scenes
began,' said Mr Haredale, who, between his agitation, his eagerness
to mount his horse again, and the dexterity with which the cords
were tied, had scarcely yet undone one knot. 'A knife, Daisy!'
'You didn't,' said John, looking about, as though he had lost his
pocket-handkerchief, or some such slight article--'either of you
gentlemen--see a--a coffin anywheres, did you?'
'Willet!' cried Mr Haredale. Solomon dropped the knife, and
instantly becoming limp from head to foot, exclaimed 'Good
'--Because,' said John, not at all regarding them, 'a dead man
called a little time ago, on his way yonder. I could have told you
what name was on the plate, if he had brought his coffin with him,
and left it behind. If he didn't, it don't signify.'
His landlord, who had listened to these words with breathless
attention, started that moment to his feet; and, without a word,
drew Solomon Daisy to the door, mounted his horse, took him up
behind again, and flew rather than galloped towards the pile of
ruins, which that day's sun had shone upon, a stately house. Mr
Willet stared after them, listened, looked down upon himself to
make quite sure that he was still unbound, and, without any
manifestation of impatience, disappointment, or surprise, gently
relapsed into the condition from which he had so imperfectly
Mr Haredale tied his horse to the trunk of a tree, and grasping his
companion's arm, stole softly along the footpath, and into what had
been the garden of his house. He stopped for an instant to look
upon its smoking walls, and at the stars that shone through roof
and floor upon the heap of crumbling ashes. Solomon glanced
timidly in his face, but his lips were tightly pressed together, a
resolute and stern expression sat upon his brow, and not a tear, a
look, or gesture indicating grief, escaped him.
He drew his sword; felt for a moment in his breast, as though he
carried other arms about him; then grasping Solomon by the wrist
again, went with a cautious step all round the house. He looked
into every doorway and gap in the wall; retraced his steps at every
rustling of the air among the leaves; and searched in every
shadowed nook with outstretched hands. Thus they made the circuit
of the building: but they returned to the spot from which they had
set out, without encountering any human being, or finding the least
trace of any concealed straggler.
After a short pause, Mr Haredale shouted twice or thrice. Then
cried aloud, 'Is there any one in hiding here, who knows my voice!
There is nothing to fear now. If any of my people are near, I
entreat them to answer!' He called them all by name; his voice was
echoed in many mournful tones; then all was silent as before.
They were standing near the foot of the turret, where the alarm-
bell hung. The fire had raged there, and the floors had been sawn,
and hewn, and beaten down, besides. It was open to the night; but
a part of the staircase still remained, winding upward from a great
mound of dust and cinders. Fragments of the jagged and broken
steps offered an insecure and giddy footing here and there, and
then were lost again, behind protruding angles of the wall, or in
the deep shadows cast upon it by other portions of the ruin; for by
this time the moon had risen, and shone brightly.
As they stood here, listening to the echoes as they died away, and
hoping in vain to hear a voice they knew, some of the ashes in this
turret slipped and rolled down. Startled by the least noise in
that melancholy place, Solomon looked up in his companion's face,
and saw that he had turned towards the spot, and that he watched
and listened keenly.
He covered the little man's mouth with his hand, and looked again.
Instantly, with kindling eyes, he bade him on his life keep still,
and neither speak nor move. Then holding his breath, and stooping
down, he stole into the turret, with his drawn sword in his hand,
Terrified to be left there by himself, under such desolate
circumstances, and after all he had seen and heard that night,
Solomon would have followed, but there had been something in Mr
Haredale's manner and his look, the recollection of which held him
spellbound. He stood rooted to the spot; and scarcely venturing to
breathe, looked up with mingled fear and wonder.
Again the ashes slipped and rolled--very, very softly--again--and
then again, as though they crumbled underneath the tread of a
stealthy foot. And now a figure was dimly visible; climbing very
softly; and often stopping to look down; now it pursued its
difficult way; and now it was hidden from the view again.
It emerged once more, into the shadowy and uncertain light--higher
now, but not much, for the way was steep and toilsome, and its
progress very slow. What phantom of the brain did he pursue; and
why did he look down so constantly? He knew he was alone. Surely
his mind was not affected by that night's loss and agony. He was
not about to throw himself headlong from the summit of the
tottering wall. Solomon turned sick, and clasped his hands. His
limbs trembled beneath him, and a cold sweat broke out upon his
If he complied with Mr Haredale's last injunction now, it was
because he had not the power to speak or move. He strained his
gaze, and fixed it on a patch of moonlight, into which, if he
continued to ascend, he must soon emerge. When he appeared there,
he would try to call to him.
Again the ashes slipped and crumbled; some stones rolled down, and
fell with a dull, heavy sound upon the ground below. He kept his
eyes upon the piece of moonlight. The figure was coming on, for
its shadow was already thrown upon the wall. Now it appeared--and
now looked round at him--and now--
The horror-stricken clerk uttered a scream that pierced the air,
and cried, 'The ghost! The ghost!'
Long before the echo of his cry had died away, another form rushed
out into the light, flung itself upon the foremost one, knelt down
upon its breast, and clutched its throat with both hands.
'Villain!' cried Mr Haredale, in a terrible voice--for it was he.
'Dead and buried, as all men supposed through your infernal arts,
but reserved by Heaven for this--at last--at last I have you. You,
whose hands are red with my brother's blood, and that of his
faithful servant, shed to conceal your own atrocious guilt--You,
Rudge, double murderer and monster, I arrest you in the name of
God, who has delivered you into my hands. No. Though you had the
strength of twenty men,' he added, as the murderer writhed and
struggled, you could not escape me or loosen my grasp to-night!'
Barnaby, armed as we have seen, continued to pace up and down
before the stable-door; glad to be alone again, and heartily
rejoicing in the unaccustomed silence and tranquillity. After the
whirl of noise and riot in which the last two days had been passed,
the pleasures of solitude and peace were enhanced a thousandfold.
He felt quite happy; and as he leaned upon his staff and mused, a
bright smile overspread his face, and none but cheerful visions
floated into his brain.
Had he no thoughts of her, whose sole delight he was, and whom he
had unconsciously plunged in such bitter sorrow and such deep
affliction? Oh, yes. She was at the heart of all his cheerful
hopes and proud reflections. It was she whom all this honour and
distinction were to gladden; the joy and profit were for her. What
delight it gave her to hear of the bravery of her poor boy! Ah!
He would have known that, without Hugh's telling him. And what a
precious thing it was to know she lived so happily, and heard with
so much pride (he pictured to himself her look when they told her)
that he was in such high esteem: bold among the boldest, and
trusted before them all! And when these frays were over, and the
good lord had conquered his enemies, and they were all at peace
again, and he and she were rich, what happiness they would have in
talking of these troubled times when he was a great soldier: and
when they sat alone together in the tranquil twilight, and she had
no longer reason to be anxious for the morrow, what pleasure would
he have in the reflection that this was his doing--his--poor
foolish Barnaby's; and in patting her on the cheek, and saying with
a merry laugh, 'Am I silly now, mother--am I silly now?'
With a lighter heart and step, and eyes the brighter for the happy
tear that dimmed them for a moment, Barnaby resumed his walk; and
singing gaily to himself, kept guard upon his quiet post.
His comrade Grip, the partner of his watch, though fond of basking
in the sunshine, preferred to-day to walk about the stable; having
a great deal to do in the way of scattering the straw, hiding under
it such small articles as had been casually left about, and
haunting Hugh's bed, to which he seemed to have taken a particular
attachment. Sometimes Barnaby looked in and called him, and then
he came hopping out; but he merely did this as a concession to his
master's weakness, and soon returned again to his own grave
pursuits: peering into the straw with his bill, and rapidly
covering up the place, as if, Midas-like, he were whispering
secrets to the earth and burying them; constantly busying himself
upon the sly; and affecting, whenever Barnaby came past, to look up
in the clouds and have nothing whatever on his mind: in short,
conducting himself, in many respects, in a more than usually
thoughtful, deep, and mysterious manner.
As the day crept on, Barnaby, who had no directions forbidding him
to eat and drink upon his post, but had been, on the contrary,
supplied with a bottle of beer and a basket of provisions,
determined to break his fast, which he had not done since morning.
To this end, he sat down on the ground before the door, and putting
his staff across his knees in case of alarm or surprise, summoned
Grip to dinner.
This call, the bird obeyed with great alacrity; crying, as he
sidled up to his master, 'I'm a devil, I'm a Polly, I'm a kettle,
I'm a Protestant, No Popery!' Having learnt this latter sentiment
from the gentry among whom he had lived of late, he delivered it
with uncommon emphasis.
'Well said, Grip!' cried his master, as he fed him with the
daintiest bits. 'Well said, old boy!'
'Never say die, bow wow wow, keep up your spirits, Grip Grip Grip,
Holloa! We'll all have tea, I'm a Protestant kettle, No Popery!'
cried the raven.
'Gordon for ever, Grip!' cried Barnaby.
The raven, placing his head upon the ground, looked at his master
sideways, as though he would have said, 'Say that again!'
Perfectly understanding his desire, Barnaby repeated the phrase a
great many times. The bird listened with profound attention;
sometimes repeating the popular cry in a low voice, as if to
compare the two, and try if it would at all help him to this new
accomplishment; sometimes flapping his wings, or barking; and
sometimes in a kind of desperation drawing a multitude of corks,
with extraordinary viciousness.
Barnaby was so intent upon his favourite, that he was not at first
aware of the approach of two persons on horseback, who were riding
at a foot-pace, and coming straight towards his post. When he
perceived them, however, which he did when they were within some
fifty yards of him, he jumped hastily up, and ordering Grip within
doors, stood with both hands on his staff, waiting until he should
know whether they were friends or foes.
He had hardly done so, when he observed that those who advanced
were a gentleman and his servant; almost at the same moment he
recognised Lord George Gordon, before whom he stood uncovered, with
his eyes turned towards the ground.
'Good day!' said Lord George, not reining in his horse until he was
close beside him. 'Well!'
'All quiet, sir, all safe!' cried Barnaby. 'The rest are away--
they went by that path--that one. A grand party!'
'Ay?' said Lord George, looking thoughtfully at him. 'And you?'
'Oh! They left me here to watch--to mount guard--to keep
everything secure till they come back. I'll do it, sir, for your
sake. You're a good gentleman; a kind gentleman--ay, you are.
There are many against you, but we'll be a match for them, never
'What's that?' said Lord George--pointing to the raven who was
peeping out of the stable-door--but still looking thoughtfully, and
in some perplexity, it seemed, at Barnaby.
'Why, don't you know!' retorted Barnaby, with a wondering laugh.
'Not know what HE is! A bird, to be sure. My bird--my friend--
'A devil, a kettle, a Grip, a Polly, a Protestant, no Popery!'
cried the raven.
'Though, indeed,' added Barnaby, laying his hand upon the neck of
Lord George's horse, and speaking softly: 'you had good reason to
ask me what he is, for sometimes it puzzles me--and I am used to
him--to think he's only a bird. He's my brother, Grip is--always
with me--always talking--always merry--eh, Grip?'
The raven answered by an affectionate croak, and hopping on his
master's arm, which he held downward for that purpose, submitted
with an air of perfect indifference to be fondled, and turned his
restless, curious eye, now upon Lord George, and now upon his man.
Lord George, biting his nails in a discomfited manner, regarded
Barnaby for some time in silence; then beckoning to his servant,
'Come hither, John.'
John Grueby touched his hat, and came.
'Have you ever seen this young man before?' his master asked in a
'Twice, my lord,' said John. 'I saw him in the crowd last night
'Did--did it seem to you that his manner was at all wild or
strange?' Lord George demanded, faltering.
'Mad,' said John, with emphatic brevity.
'And why do you think him mad, sir?' said his master, speaking in a
peevish tone. 'Don't use that word too freely. Why do you think
'My lord,' John Grueby answered, 'look at his dress, look at his
eyes, look at his restless way, hear him cry "No Popery!" Mad, my
'So because one man dresses unlike another,' returned his angry
master, glancing at himself; 'and happens to differ from other men
in his carriage and manner, and to advocate a great cause which the
corrupt and irreligious desert, he is to be accounted mad, is he?'
'Stark, staring, raving, roaring mad, my lord,' returned the
'Do you say this to my face?' cried his master, turning sharply
'To any man, my lord, who asks me,' answered John.
'Mr Gashford, I find, was right,' said Lord George; 'I thought him
prejudiced, though I ought to have known a man like him better than
to have supposed it possible!'
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