Part 13 out of 15
'Why does he lie upon the ground?'
'He has had a fall, and has been drinking. The fields and trees go
round, and round, and round with him, and the ground heaves under
his feet. You know him? You remember? See!'
They had by this time returned to where he lay, and both stooped
over him to look into his face.
'I recollect the man,' his father murmured. 'Why did you bring him
'Because he would have been killed if I had left him over yonder.
They were firing guns and shedding blood. Does the sight of blood
turn you sick, father? I see it does, by your face. That's like
me--What are you looking at?'
'At nothing!' said the murderer softly, as he started back a pace
or two, and gazed with sunken jaw and staring eyes above his son's
head. 'At nothing!'
He remained in the same attitude and with the same expression on
his face for a minute or more; then glanced slowly round as if he
had lost something; and went shivering back, towards the shed.
'Shall I bring him in, father?' asked Barnaby, who had looked on,
He only answered with a suppressed groan, and lying down upon the
ground, wrapped his cloak about his head, and shrunk into the
Finding that nothing would rouse Hugh now, or make him sensible for
a moment, Barnaby dragged him along the grass, and laid him on a
little heap of refuse hay and straw which had been his own bed;
first having brought some water from a running stream hard by, and
washed his wound, and laved his hands and face. Then he lay down
himself, between the two, to pass the night; and looking at the
stars, fell fast asleep.
Awakened early in the morning, by the sunshine and the songs of
birds, and hum of insects, he left them sleeping in the hut, and
walked into the sweet and pleasant air. But he felt that on his
jaded senses, oppressed and burdened with the dreadful scenes of
last night, and many nights before, all the beauties of opening
day, which he had so often tasted, and in which he had had such
deep delight, fell heavily. He thought of the blithe mornings when
he and the dogs went bounding on together through the woods and
fields; and the recollection filled his eyes with tears. He had no
consciousness, God help him, of having done wrong, nor had he any
new perception of the merits of the cause in which he had been
engaged, or those of the men who advocated it; but he was full of
cares now, and regrets, and dismal recollections, and wishes (quite
unknown to him before) that this or that event had never happened,
and that the sorrow and suffering of so many people had been
spared. And now he began to think how happy they would be--his
father, mother, he, and Hugh--if they rambled away together, and
lived in some lonely place, where there were none of these
troubles; and that perhaps the blind man, who had talked so wisely
about gold, and told him of the great secrets he knew, could teach
them how to live without being pinched by want. As this occurred
to him, he was the more sorry that he had not seen him last night;
and he was still brooding over this regret, when his father came,
and touched him on the shoulder.
'Ah!' cried Barnaby, starting from his fit of thoughtfulness. 'Is
it only you?'
'Who should it be?'
'I almost thought,' he answered, 'it was the blind man. I must
have some talk with him, father.'
'And so must I, for without seeing him, I don't know where to fly
or what to do, and lingering here, is death. You must go to him
again, and bring him here.'
'Must I!' cried Barnaby, delighted; 'that's brave, father. That's
what I want to do.'
'But you must bring only him, and none other. And though you wait
at his door a whole day and night, still you must wait, and not
come back without him.'
'Don't you fear that,' he cried gaily. 'He shall come, he shall
'Trim off these gewgaws,' said his father, plucking the scraps of
ribbon and the feathers from his hat, 'and over your own dress wear
my cloak. Take heed how you go, and they will be too busy in the
streets to notice you. Of your coming back you need take no
account, for he'll manage that, safely.'
'To be sure!' said Barnaby. 'To be sure he will! A wise man,
father, and one who can teach us to be rich. Oh! I know him, I
He was speedily dressed, and as well disguised as he could be.
With a lighter heart he then set off upon his second journey,
leaving Hugh, who was still in a drunken stupor, stretched upon the
ground within the shed, and his father walking to and fro before it.
The murderer, full of anxious thoughts, looked after him, and paced
up and down, disquieted by every breath of air that whispered among
the boughs, and by every light shadow thrown by the passing clouds
upon the daisied ground. He was anxious for his safe return, and
yet, though his own life and safety hung upon it, felt a relief
while he was gone. In the intense selfishness which the constant
presence before him of his great crimes, and their consequences
here and hereafter, engendered, every thought of Barnaby, as his
son, was swallowed up and lost. Still, his presence was a torture
and reproach; in his wild eyes, there were terrible images of that
guilty night; with his unearthly aspect, and his half-formed mind,
he seemed to the murderer a creature who had sprung into existence
from his victim's blood. He could not bear his look, his voice,
his touch; and yet he was forced, by his own desperate condition
and his only hope of cheating the gibbet, to have him by his side,
and to know that he was inseparable from his single chance of escape.
He walked to and fro, with little rest, all day, revolving these
things in his mind; and still Hugh lay, unconscious, in the shed.
At length, when the sun was setting, Barnaby returned, leading the
blind man, and talking earnestly to him as they came along together.
The murderer advanced to meet them, and bidding his son go on and
speak to Hugh, who had just then staggered to his feet, took his
place at the blind man's elbow, and slowly followed, towards the
'Why did you send HIM?' said Stagg. 'Don't you know it was the way
to have him lost, as soon as found?'
'Would you have had me come myself?' returned the other.
'Humph! Perhaps not. I was before the jail on Tuesday night, but
missed you in the crowd. I was out last night, too. There was
good work last night--gay work--profitable work'--he added,
rattling the money in his pockets.
--'Seen your good lady? Yes.'
'Do you mean to tell me more, or not?'
'I'll tell you all,' returned the blind man, with a laugh. 'Excuse
me--but I love to see you so impatient. There's energy in it.'
'Does she consent to say the word that may save me?'
'No,' returned the blind man emphatically, as he turned his face
towards him. 'No. Thus it is. She has been at death's door since
she lost her darling--has been insensible, and I know not what. I
tracked her to a hospital, and presented myself (with your leave)
at her bedside. Our talk was not a long one, for she was weak, and
there being people near I was not quite easy. But I told her all
that you and I agreed upon, and pointed out the young gentleman's
position, in strong terms. She tried to soften me, but that, of
course (as I told her), was lost time. She cried and moaned, you
may be sure; all women do. Then, of a sudden, she found her voice
and strength, and said that Heaven would help her and her innocent
son; and that to Heaven she appealed against us--which she did; in
really very pretty language, I assure you. I advised her, as a
friend, not to count too much on assistance from any such distant
quarter--recommended her to think of it--told her where I lived--
said I knew she would send to me before noon, next day--and left
her, either in a faint or shamming.'
When he had concluded this narration, during which he had made
several pauses, for the convenience of cracking and eating nuts, of
which he seemed to have a pocketful, the blind man pulled a flask
from his pocket, took a draught himself, and offered it to his
'You won't, won't you?' he said, feeling that he pushed it from
him. 'Well! Then the gallant gentleman who's lodging with you,
will. Hallo, bully!'
'Death!' said the other, holding him back. 'Will you tell me what
I am to do!'
'Do! Nothing easier. Make a moonlight flitting in two hours' time
with the young gentleman (he's quite ready to go; I have been
giving him good advice as we came along), and get as far from
London as you can. Let me know where you are, and leave the rest
to me. She MUST come round; she can't hold out long; and as to the
chances of your being retaken in the meanwhile, why it wasn't one
man who got out of Newgate, but three hundred. Think of that, for
'We must support life. How?'
'How!' repeated the blind man. 'By eating and drinking. And how
get meat and drink, but by paying for it! Money!' he cried,
slapping his pocket. 'Is money the word? Why, the streets have
been running money. Devil send that the sport's not over yet, for
these are jolly times; golden, rare, roaring, scrambling times.
Hallo, bully! Hallo! Hallo! Drink, bully, drink. Where are ye
With such vociferations, and with a boisterous manner which bespoke
his perfect abandonment to the general licence and disorder, he
groped his way towards the shed, where Hugh and Barnaby were
sitting on the ground.
'Put it about!' he cried, handing his flask to Hugh. 'The kennels
run with wine and gold. Guineas and strong water flow from the
very pumps. About with it, don't spare it!'
Exhausted, unwashed, unshorn, begrimed with smoke and dust, his
hair clotted with blood, his voice quite gone, so that he spoke in
whispers; his skin parched up by fever, his whole body bruised and
cut, and beaten about, Hugh still took the flask, and raised it to
his lips. He was in the act of drinking, when the front of the
shed was suddenly darkened, and Dennis stood before them.
'No offence, no offence,' said that personage in a conciliatory
tone, as Hugh stopped in his draught, and eyed him, with no
pleasant look, from head to foot. 'No offence, brother. Barnaby
here too, eh? How are you, Barnaby? And two other gentlemen!
Your humble servant, gentlemen. No offence to YOU either, I hope.
Notwithstanding that he spoke in this very friendly and confident
manner, he seemed to have considerable hesitation about entering,
and remained outside the roof. He was rather better dressed than
usual: wearing the same suit of threadbare black, it is true, but
having round his neck an unwholesome-looking cravat of a yellowish
white; and, on his hands, great leather gloves, such as a gardener
might wear in following his trade. His shoes were newly greased,
and ornamented with a pair of rusty iron buckles; the packthread at
his knees had been renewed; and where he wanted buttons, he wore
pins. Altogether, he had something the look of a tipstaff, or a
bailiff's follower, desperately faded, but who had a notion of
keeping up the appearance of a professional character, and making
the best of the worst means.
'You're very snug here,' said Mr Dennis, pulling out a mouldy
pocket-handkerchief, which looked like a decomposed halter, and
wiping his forehead in a nervous manner.
'Not snug enough to prevent your finding us, it seems,' Hugh
'Why I'll tell you what, brother,' said Dennis, with a friendly
smile, 'when you don't want me to know which way you're riding, you
must wear another sort of bells on your horse. Ah! I know the
sound of them you wore last night, and have got quick ears for 'em;
that's the truth. Well, but how are you, brother?'
He had by this time approached, and now ventured to sit down by him.
'How am I?' answered Hugh. 'Where were you yesterday? Where did
you go when you left me in the jail? Why did you leave me? And
what did you mean by rolling your eyes and shaking your fist at me,
'I shake my fist!--at you, brother!' said Dennis, gently checking
Hugh's uplifted hand, which looked threatening.
'Your stick, then; it's all one.'
'Lord love you, brother, I meant nothing. You don't understand me
by half. I shouldn't wonder now,' he added, in the tone of a
desponding and an injured man, 'but you thought, because I wanted
them chaps left in the prison, that I was a going to desert the
Hugh told him, with an oath, that he had thought so.
'Well!' said Mr Dennis, mournfully, 'if you an't enough to make a
man mistrust his feller-creeturs, I don't know what is. Desert the
banners! Me! Ned Dennis, as was so christened by his own
father!--Is this axe your'n, brother?'
Yes, it's mine,' said Hugh, in the same sullen manner as before;
'it might have hurt you, if you had come in its way once or twice
last night. Put it down.'
'Might have hurt me!' said Mr Dennis, still keeping it in his hand,
and feeling the edge with an air of abstraction. 'Might have hurt
me! and me exerting myself all the time to the wery best advantage.
Here's a world! And you're not a-going to ask me to take a sup out
of that 'ere bottle, eh?'
Hugh passed it towards him. As he raised it to his lips, Barnaby
jumped up, and motioning them to be silent, looked eagerly out.
'What's the matter, Barnaby?' said Dennis, glancing at Hugh and
dropping the flask, but still holding the axe in his hand.
'Hush!' he answered softly. 'What do I see glittering behind the
'What!' cried the hangman, raising his voice to its highest pitch,
and laying hold of him and Hugh. 'Not SOLDIERS, surely!'
That moment, the shed was filled with armed men; and a body of
horse, galloping into the field, drew up before it.
'There!' said Dennis, who remained untouched among them when they
had seized their prisoners; 'it's them two young ones, gentlemen,
that the proclamation puts a price on. This other's an escaped
felon.--I'm sorry for it, brother,' he added, in a tone of
resignation, addressing himself to Hugh; 'but you've brought it on
yourself; you forced me to do it; you wouldn't respect the
soundest constitootional principles, you know; you went and
wiolated the wery framework of society. I had sooner have given
away a trifle in charity than done this, I would upon my soul.--If
you'll keep fast hold on 'em, gentlemen, I think I can make a shift
to tie 'em better than you can.'
But this operation was postponed for a few moments by a new
occurrence. The blind man, whose ears were quicker than most
people's sight, had been alarmed, before Barnaby, by a rustling in
the bushes, under cover of which the soldiers had advanced. He
retreated instantly--had hidden somewhere for a minute--and
probably in his confusion mistaking the point at which he had
emerged, was now seen running across the open meadow.
An officer cried directly that he had helped to plunder a house
last night. He was loudly called on, to surrender. He ran the
harder, and in a few seconds would have been out of gunshot. The
word was given, and the men fired.
There was a breathless pause and a profound silence, during which
all eyes were fixed upon him. He had been seen to start at the
discharge, as if the report had frightened him. But he neither
stopped nor slackened his pace in the least, and ran on full forty
yards further. Then, without one reel or stagger, or sign of
faintness, or quivering of any limb, he dropped.
Some of them hurried up to where he lay;--the hangman with them.
Everything had passed so quickly, that the smoke had not yet
scattered, but curled slowly off in a little cloud, which seemed
like the dead man's spirit moving solemnly away. There were a few
drops of blood upon the grass--more, when they turned him over--
that was all.
'Look here! Look here!' said the hangman, stooping one knee beside
the body, and gazing up with a disconsolate face at the officer and
men. 'Here's a pretty sight!'
'Stand out of the way,' replied the officer. 'Serjeant! see what
he had about him.'
The man turned his pockets out upon the grass, and counted, besides
some foreign coins and two rings, five-and-forty guineas in gold.
These were bundled up in a handkerchief and carried away; the body
remained there for the present, but six men and the serjeant were
left to take it to the nearest public-house.
'Now then, if you're going,' said the serjeant, clapping Dennis on
the back, and pointing after the officer who was walking towards
To which Mr Dennis only replied, 'Don't talk to me!' and then
repeated what he had said before, namely, 'Here's a pretty sight!'
'It's not one that you care for much, I should think,' observed the
'Why, who,' said Mr Dennis rising, 'should care for it, if I
'Oh! I didn't know you was so tender-hearted,' said the serjeant.
'Tender-hearted!' echoed Dennis. 'Tender-hearted! Look at this
man. Do you call THIS constitootional? Do you see him shot
through and through instead of being worked off like a Briton?
Damme, if I know which party to side with. You're as bad as the
other. What's to become of the country if the military power's to
go a superseding the ciwilians in this way? Where's this poor
feller-creetur's rights as a citizen, that he didn't have ME in
his last moments! I was here. I was willing. I was ready. These
are nice times, brother, to have the dead crying out against us in
this way, and sleep comfortably in our beds arterwards; wery
Whether he derived any material consolation from binding the
prisoners, is uncertain; most probably he did. At all events his
being summoned to that work, diverted him, for the time, from these
painful reflections, and gave his thoughts a more congenial
They were not all three carried off together, but in two parties;
Barnaby and his father, going by one road in the centre of a body
of foot; and Hugh, fast bound upon a horse, and strongly guarded by
a troop of cavalry, being taken by another.
They had no opportunity for the least communication, in the short
interval which preceded their departure; being kept strictly apart.
Hugh only observed that Barnaby walked with a drooping head among
his guard, and, without raising his eyes, that he tried to wave
his fettered hand when he passed. For himself, he buoyed up his
courage as he rode along, with the assurance that the mob would
force his jail wherever it might be, and set him at liberty. But
when they got into London, and more especially into Fleet Market,
lately the stronghold of the rioters, where the military were
rooting out the last remnant of the crowd, he saw that this hope
was gone, and felt that he was riding to his death.
Mr Dennis having despatched this piece of business without any
personal hurt or inconvenience, and having now retired into the
tranquil respectability of private life, resolved to solace himself
with half an hour or so of female society. With this amiable
purpose in his mind, he bent his steps towards the house where
Dolly and Miss Haredale were still confined, and whither Miss Miggs
had also been removed by order of Mr Simon Tappertit.
As he walked along the streets with his leather gloves clasped
behind him, and his face indicative of cheerful thought and
pleasant calculation, Mr Dennis might have been likened unto a
farmer ruminating among his crops, and enjoying by anticipation the
bountiful gifts of Providence. Look where he would, some heap of
ruins afforded him rich promise of a working off; the whole town
appeared to have been ploughed and sown, and nurtured by most
genial weather; and a goodly harvest was at hand.
Having taken up arms and resorted to deeds of violence, with the
great main object of preserving the Old Bailey in all its purity,
and the gallows in all its pristine usefulness and moral grandeur,
it would perhaps be going too far to assert that Mr Dennis had ever
distinctly contemplated and foreseen this happy state of things.
He rather looked upon it as one of those beautiful dispensations
which are inscrutably brought about for the behoof and advantage of
good men. He felt, as it were, personally referred to, in this
prosperous ripening for the gibbet; and had never considered
himself so much the pet and favourite child of Destiny, or loved
that lady so well or with such a calm and virtuous reliance, in
all his life.
As to being taken up, himself, for a rioter, and punished with the
rest, Mr Dennis dismissed that possibility from his thoughts as an
idle chimera; arguing that the line of conduct he had adopted at
Newgate, and the service he had rendered that day, would be more
than a set-off against any evidence which might identify him as a
member of the crowd. That any charge of companionship which might
be made against him by those who were themselves in danger, would
certainly go for nought. And that if any trivial indiscretion on
his part should unluckily come out, the uncommon usefulness of his
office, at present, and the great demand for the exercise of its
functions, would certainly cause it to be winked at, and passed
over. In a word, he had played his cards throughout, with great
care; had changed sides at the very nick of time; had delivered up
two of the most notorious rioters, and a distinguished felon to
boot; and was quite at his ease.
Saving--for there is a reservation; and even Mr Dennis was not
perfectly happy--saving for one circumstance; to wit, the forcible
detention of Dolly and Miss Haredale, in a house almost adjoining
his own. This was a stumbling-block; for if they were discovered
and released, they could, by the testimony they had it in their
power to give, place him in a situation of great jeopardy; and to
set them at liberty, first extorting from them an oath of secrecy
and silence, was a thing not to be thought of. It was more,
perhaps, with an eye to the danger which lurked in this quarter,
than from his abstract love of conversation with the sex, that the
hangman, quickening his steps, now hastened into their society,
cursing the amorous natures of Hugh and Mr Tappertit with great
heartiness, at every step he took.
When be entered the miserable room in which they were confined,
Dolly and Miss Haredale withdrew in silence to the remotest corner.
But Miss Miggs, who was particularly tender of her reputation,
immediately fell upon her knees and began to scream very loud,
crying, 'What will become of me!'--'Where is my Simmuns!'--'Have
mercy, good gentlemen, on my sex's weaknesses!'--with other doleful
lamentations of that nature, which she delivered with great
propriety and decorum.
'Miss, miss,' whispered Dennis, beckoning to her with his
forefinger, 'come here--I won't hurt you. Come here, my lamb, will
On hearing this tender epithet, Miss Miggs, who had left off
screaming when he opened his lips, and had listened to him
attentively, began again, crying: 'Oh I'm his lamb! He says I'm
his lamb! Oh gracious, why wasn't I born old and ugly! Why was I
ever made to be the youngest of six, and all of 'em dead and in
their blessed graves, excepting one married sister, which is
settled in Golden Lion Court, number twenty-sivin, second bell-
handle on the--!'
'Don't I say I an't a-going to hurt you?' said Dennis, pointing to
a chair. 'Why miss, what's the matter?'
'I don't know what mayn't be the matter!' cried Miss Miggs,
clasping her hands distractedly. 'Anything may be the matter!'
'But nothing is, I tell you,' said the hangman. 'First stop that
noise and come and sit down here, will you, chuckey?'
The coaxing tone in which he said these latter words might have
failed in its object, if he had not accompanied them with sundry
sharp jerks of his thumb over one shoulder, and with divers winks
and thrustings of his tongue into his cheek, from which signals the
damsel gathered that he sought to speak to her apart, concerning
Miss Haredale and Dolly. Her curiosity being very powerful, and
her jealousy by no means inactive, she arose, and with a great deal
of shivering and starting back, and much muscular action among all
the small bones in her throat, gradually approached him.
'Sit down,' said the hangman.
Suiting the action to the word, he thrust her rather suddenly and
prematurely into a chair, and designing to reassure her by a little
harmless jocularity, such as is adapted to please and fascinate
the sex, converted his right forefinger into an ideal bradawl or
gimlet, and made as though he would screw the same into her side--
whereat Miss Miggs shrieked again, and evinced symptoms of
'Lovey, my dear,' whispered Dennis, drawing his chair close to
hers. 'When was your young man here last, eh?'
'MY young man, good gentleman!' answered Miggs in a tone of
'Ah! Simmuns, you know--him?' said Dennis.
'Mine indeed!' cried Miggs, with a burst of bitterness--and as she
said it, she glanced towards Dolly. 'MINE, good gentleman!'
This was just what Mr Dennis wanted, and expected.
'Ah!' he said, looking so soothingly, not to say amorously on
Miggs, that she sat, as she afterwards remarked, on pins and
needles of the sharpest Whitechapel kind, not knowing what
intentions might be suggesting that expression to his features:
'I was afraid of that. I saw as much myself. It's her fault. She
WILL entice 'em.'
'I wouldn't,' cried Miggs, folding her hands and looking upwards
with a kind of devout blankness, 'I wouldn't lay myself out as she
does; I wouldn't be as bold as her; I wouldn't seem to say to all
male creeturs "Come and kiss me"'--and here a shudder quite
convulsed her frame--'for any earthly crowns as might be offered.
Worlds,' Miggs added solemnly, 'should not reduce me. No. Not if
I was Wenis.'
'Well, but you ARE Wenus, you know,' said Mr Dennis,
'No, I am not, good gentleman,' answered Miggs, shaking her head
with an air of self-denial which seemed to imply that she might be
if she chose, but she hoped she knew better. 'No, I am not, good
gentleman. Don't charge me with it.'
Up to this time she had turned round, every now and then, to where
Dolly and Miss Haredale had retired and uttered a scream, or groan,
or laid her hand upon her heart and trembled excessively, with a
view of keeping up appearances, and giving them to understand that
she conversed with the visitor, under protest and on compulsion,
and at a great personal sacrifice, for their common good. But at
this point, Mr Dennis looked so very full of meaning, and gave such
a singularly expressive twitch to his face as a request to her to
come still nearer to him, that she abandoned these little arts, and
gave him her whole and undivided attention.
'When was Simmuns here, I say?' quoth Dennis, in her ear.
'Not since yesterday morning; and then only for a few minutes. Not
all day, the day before.'
'You know he meant all along to carry off that one!' said Dennis,
indicating Dolly by the slightest possible jerk of his head:--'And
to hand you over to somebody else.'
Miss Miggs, who had fallen into a terrible state of grief when the
first part of this sentence was spoken, recovered a little at the
second, and seemed by the sudden check she put upon her tears, to
intimate that possibly this arrangement might meet her views; and
that it might, perhaps, remain an open question.
'--But unfort'nately,' pursued Dennis, who observed this: 'somebody
else was fond of her too, you see; and even if he wasn't, somebody
else is took for a rioter, and it's all over with him.'
Miss Miggs relapsed.
'Now I want,' said Dennis, 'to clear this house, and to see you
righted. What if I was to get her off, out of the way, eh?'
Miss Miggs, brightening again, rejoined, with many breaks and
pauses from excess of feeling, that temptations had been Simmuns's
bane. That it was not his faults, but hers (meaning Dolly's).
That men did not see through these dreadful arts as women did, and
therefore was caged and trapped, as Simmun had been. That she had
no personal motives to serve--far from it--on the contrary, her
intentions was good towards all parties. But forasmuch as she
knowed that Simmun, if united to any designing and artful minxes
(she would name no names, for that was not her dispositions)--to
ANY designing and artful minxes--must be made miserable and unhappy
for life, she DID incline towards prewentions. Such, she added,
was her free confessions. But as this was private feelings, and
might perhaps be looked upon as wengeance, she begged the gentleman
would say no more. Whatever he said, wishing to do her duty by all
mankind, even by them as had ever been her bitterest enemies, she
would not listen to him. With that she stopped her ears, and shook
her head from side to side, to intimate to Mr Dennis that though he
talked until he had no breath left, she was as deaf as any adder.
'Lookee here, my sugar-stick,' said Mr Dennis, 'if your view's the
same as mine, and you'll only be quiet and slip away at the right
time, I can have the house clear to-morrow, and be out of this
trouble.--Stop though! there's the other.'
'Which other, sir?' asked Miggs--still with her fingers in her ears
and her head shaking obstinately.
'Why, the tallest one, yonder,' said Dennis, as he stroked his
chin, and added, in an undertone to himself, something about not
crossing Muster Gashford.
Miss Miggs replied (still being profoundly deaf) that if Miss
Haredale stood in the way at all, he might make himself quite easy
on that score; as she had gathered, from what passed between Hugh
and Mr Tappertit when they were last there, that she was to be
removed alone (not by them, but by somebody else), to-morrow night.
Mr Dennis opened his eyes very wide at this piece of information,
whistled once, considered once, and finally slapped his head once
and nodded once, as if he had got the clue to this mysterious
removal, and so dismissed it. Then he imparted his design
concerning Dolly to Miss Miggs, who was taken more deaf than
before, when he began; and so remained, all through.
The notable scheme was this. Mr Dennis was immediately to seek out
from among the rioters, some daring young fellow (and he had one in
his eye, he said), who, terrified by the threats he could hold out
to him, and alarmed by the capture of so many who were no better
and no worse than he, would gladly avail himself of any help to get
abroad, and out of harm's way, with his plunder, even though his
journey were incumbered by an unwilling companion; indeed, the
unwilling companion being a beautiful girl, would probably be an
additional inducement and temptation. Such a person found, he
proposed to bring him there on the ensuing night, when the tall one
was taken off, and Miss Miggs had purposely retired; and then that
Dolly should be gagged, muffled in a cloak, and carried in any
handy conveyance down to the river's side; where there were
abundant means of getting her smuggled snugly off in any small
craft of doubtful character, and no questions asked. With regard
to the expense of this removal, he would say, at a rough
calculation, that two or three silver tea or coffee-pots, with
something additional for drink (such as a muffineer, or toast-
rack), would more than cover it. Articles of plate of every kind
having been buried by the rioters in several lonely parts of
London, and particularly, as he knew, in St James's Square, which,
though easy of access, was little frequented after dark, and had a
convenient piece of water in the midst, the needful funds were
close at hand, and could be had upon the shortest notice. With
regard to Dolly, the gentleman would exercise his own discretion.
He would be bound to do nothing but to take her away, and keep her
away. All other arrangements and dispositions would rest entirely
If Miss Miggs had had her hearing, no doubt she would have been
greatly shocked by the indelicacy of a young female's going away
with a stranger by night (for her moral feelings, as we have said,
were of the tenderest kind); but directly Mr Dennis ceased to
speak, she reminded him that he had only wasted breath. She then
went on to say (still with her fingers in her ears) that nothing
less than a severe practical lesson would save the locksmith's
daughter from utter ruin; and that she felt it, as it were, a moral
obligation and a sacred duty to the family, to wish that some one
would devise one for her reformation. Miss Miggs remarked, and
very justly, as an abstract sentiment which happened to occur to
her at the moment, that she dared to say the locksmith and his wife
would murmur, and repine, if they were ever, by forcible abduction,
or otherwise, to lose their child; but that we seldom knew, in this
world, what was best for us: such being our sinful and imperfect
natures, that very few arrived at that clear understanding.
Having brought their conversation to this satisfactory end, they
parted: Dennis, to pursue his design, and take another walk about
his farm; Miss Miggs, to launch, when he left her, into such a
burst of mental anguish (which she gave them to understand was
occasioned by certain tender things he had had the presumption and
audacity to say), that little Dolly's heart was quite melted.
Indeed, she said and did so much to soothe the outraged feelings of
Miss Miggs, and looked so beautiful while doing so, that if that
young maid had not had ample vent for her surpassing spite, in a
knowledge of the mischief that was brewing, she must have scratched
her features, on the spot.
All next day, Emma Haredale, Dolly, and Miggs, remained cooped up
together in what had now been their prison for so many days,
without seeing any person, or hearing any sound but the murmured
conversation, in an outer room, of the men who kept watch over
them. There appeared to be more of these fellows than there had
been hitherto; and they could no longer hear the voices of women,
which they had before plainly distinguished. Some new excitement,
too, seemed to prevail among them; for there was much stealthy
going in and out, and a constant questioning of those who were
newly arrived. They had previously been quite reckless in their
behaviour; often making a great uproar; quarrelling among
themselves, fighting, dancing, and singing. They were now very
subdued and silent, conversing almost in whispers, and stealing in
and out with a soft and stealthy tread, very different from the
boisterous trampling in which their arrivals and departures had
hitherto been announced to the trembling captives.
Whether this change was occasioned by the presence among them of
some person of authority in their ranks, or by any other cause,
they were unable to decide. Sometimes they thought it was in part
attributable to there being a sick man in the chamber, for last
night there had been a shuffling of feet, as though a burden were
brought in, and afterwards a moaning noise. But they had no means
of ascertaining the truth: for any question or entreaty on their
parts only provoked a storm of execrations, or something worse; and
they were too happy to be left alone, unassailed by threats or
admiration, to risk even that comfort, by any voluntary
communication with those who held them in durance.
It was sufficiently evident, both to Emma and to the locksmith's
poor little daughter herself, that she, Dolly, was the great
object of attraction; and that so soon as they should have leisure
to indulge in the softer passion, Hugh and Mr Tappertit would
certainly fall to blows for her sake; in which latter case, it was
not very difficult to see whose prize she would become. With all
her old horror of that man revived, and deepened into a degree of
aversion and abhorrence which no language can describe; with a
thousand old recollections and regrets, and causes of distress,
anxiety, and fear, besetting her on all sides; poor Dolly Varden--
sweet, blooming, buxom Dolly--began to hang her head, and fade, and
droop, like a beautiful flower. The colour fled from her cheeks,
her courage forsook her, her gentle heart failed. Unmindful of all
her provoking caprices, forgetful of all her conquests and
inconstancy, with all her winning little vanities quite gone, she
nestled all the livelong day in Emma Haredale's bosom; and,
sometimes calling on her dear old grey-haired father, sometimes on
her mother, and sometimes even on her old home, pined slowly away,
like a poor bird in its cage.
Light hearts, light hearts, that float so gaily on a smooth stream,
that are so sparkling and buoyant in the sunshine--down upon fruit,
bloom upon flowers, blush in summer air, life of the winged insect,
whose whole existence is a day--how soon ye sink in troubled water!
Poor Dolly's heart--a little, gentle, idle, fickle thing; giddy,
restless, fluttering; constant to nothing but bright looks, and
smiles and laughter--Dolly's heart was breaking.
Emma had known grief, and could bear it better. She had little
comfort to impart, but she could soothe and tend her, and she did
so; and Dolly clung to her like a child to its nurse. In
endeavouring to inspire her with some fortitude, she increased her
own; and though the nights were long, and the days dismal, and she
felt the wasting influence of watching and fatigue, and had
perhaps a more defined and clear perception of their destitute
condition and its worst dangers, she uttered no complaint. Before
the ruffians, in whose power they were, she bore herself so
calmly, and with such an appearance, in the midst of all her
terror, of a secret conviction that they dared not harm her, that
there was not a man among them but held her in some degree of
dread; and more than one believed she had a weapon hidden in her
dress, and was prepared to use it.
Such was their condition when they were joined by Miss Miggs, who
gave them to understand that she too had been taken prisoner
because of her charms, and detailed such feats of resistance she
had performed (her virtue having given her supernatural strength),
that they felt it quite a happiness to have her for a champion.
Nor was this the only comfort they derived at first from Miggs's
presence and society: for that young lady displayed such
resignation and long-suffering, and so much meek endurance, under
her trials, and breathed in all her chaste discourse a spirit of
such holy confidence and resignation, and devout belief that all
would happen for the best, that Emma felt her courage strengthened
by the bright example; never doubting but that everything she said
was true, and that she, like them, was torn from all she loved, and
agonised by doubt and apprehension. As to poor Dolly, she was
roused, at first, by seeing one who came from home; but when she
heard under what circumstances she had left it, and into whose
hands her father had fallen, she wept more bitterly than ever, and
refused all comfort.
Miss Miggs was at some trouble to reprove her for this state of
mind, and to entreat her to take example by herself, who, she
said, was now receiving back, with interest, tenfold the amount of
her subscriptions to the red-brick dwelling-house, in the articles
of peace of mind and a quiet conscience. And, while on serious
topics, Miss Miggs considered it her duty to try her hand at the
conversion of Miss Haredale; for whose improvement she launched
into a polemical address of some length, in the course whereof,
she likened herself unto a chosen missionary, and that young lady
to a cannibal in darkness. Indeed, she returned so often to these
sublects, and so frequently called upon them to take a lesson from
her,--at the same time vaunting and, as it were, rioting in, her
huge unworthiness, and abundant excess of sin,--that, in the course
of a short time, she became, in that small chamber, rather a
nuisance than a comfort, and rendered them, if possible, even more
unhappy than they had been before.
The night had now come; and for the first time (for their jailers
had been regular in bringing food and candles), they were left in
darkness. Any change in their condition in such a place inspired
new fears; and when some hours had passed, and the gloom was still
unbroken, Emma could no longer repress her alarm.
They listened attentively. There was the same murmuring in the
outer room, and now and then a moan which seemed to be wrung from a
person in great pain, who made an effort to subdue it, but could
not. Even these men seemed to be in darkness too; for no light
shone through the chinks in the door, nor were they moving, as
their custom was, but quite still: the silence being unbroken by
so much as the creaking of a board.
At first, Miss Miggs wondered greatly in her own mind who this sick
person might be; but arriving, on second thoughts, at the
conclusion that he was a part of the schemes on foot, and an artful
device soon to be employed with great success, she opined, for Miss
Haredale's comfort, that it must be some misguided Papist who had
been wounded: and this happy supposition encouraged her to say,
under her breath, 'Ally Looyer!' several times.
'Is it possible,' said Emma, with some indignation, 'that you who
have seen these men committing the outrages you have told us of,
and who have fallen into their hands, like us, can exult in their
'Personal considerations, miss,' rejoined Miggs, 'sinks into
nothing, afore a noble cause. Ally Looyer! Ally Looyer! Ally
Looyer, good gentlemen!'
It seemed from the shrill pertinacity with which Miss Miggs
repeated this form of acclamation, that she was calling the same
through the keyhole of the door; but in the profound darkness she
could not be seen.
'If the time has come--Heaven knows it may come at any moment--when
they are bent on prosecuting the designs, whatever they may be,
with which they have brought us here, can you still encourage, and
take part with them?' demanded Emma.
'I thank my goodness-gracious-blessed-stars I can, miss,' returned
Miggs, with increased energy.--'Ally Looyer, good gentlemen!'
Even Dolly, cast down and disappointed as she was, revived at this,
and bade Miggs hold her tongue directly.
'WHICH, was you pleased to observe, Miss Varden?' said Miggs, with
a strong emphasis on the irrelative pronoun.
Dolly repeated her request.
'Ho, gracious me!' cried Miggs, with hysterical derision. 'Ho,
gracious me! Yes, to be sure I will. Ho yes! I am a abject
slave, and a toiling, moiling, constant-working, always-being-
found-fault-with, never-giving-satisfactions, nor-having-no-
time-to-clean-oneself, potter's wessel--an't I, miss! Ho yes! My
situations is lowly, and my capacities is limited, and my duties is
to humble myself afore the base degenerating daughters of their
blessed mothers as is--fit to keep companies with holy saints but
is born to persecutions from wicked relations--and to demean myself
before them as is no better than Infidels--an't it, miss! Ho yes!
My only becoming occupations is to help young flaunting pagins to
brush and comb and titiwate theirselves into whitening and
suppulchres, and leave the young men to think that there an't a bit
of padding in it nor no pinching ins nor fillings out nor pomatums
nor deceits nor earthly wanities--an't it, miss! Yes, to be sure
it is--ho yes!'
Having delivered these ironical passages with a most wonderful
volubility, and with a shrillness perfectly deafening (especially
when she jerked out the interjections), Miss Miggs, from mere
habit, and not because weeping was at all appropriate to the
occasion, which was one of triumph, concluded by bursting into a
flood of tears, and calling in an impassioned manner on the name of
What Emma Haredale and Dolly would have done, or how long Miss
Miggs, now that she had hoisted her true colours, would have gone
on waving them before their astonished senses, it is impossible to
tell. Nor is it necessary to speculate on these matters, for a
startling interruption occurred at that moment, which took their
whole attention by storm.
This was a violent knocking at the door of the house, and then its
sudden bursting open; which was immediately succeeded by a scuffle
in the room without, and the clash of weapons. Transported with
the hope that rescue had at length arrived, Emma and Dolly shrieked
aloud for help; nor were their shrieks unanswered; for after a
hurried interval, a man, bearing in one hand a drawn sword, and in
the other a taper, rushed into the chamber where they were confined.
It was some check upon their transport to find in this person an
entire stranger, but they appealed to him, nevertheless, and
besought him, in impassioned language, to restore them to their
'For what other purpose am I here?' he answered, closing the door,
and standing with his back against it. 'With what object have I
made my way to this place, through difficulty and danger, but to
With a joy for which it was impossible to find adequate expression,
they embraced each other, and thanked Heaven for this most timely
aid. Their deliverer stepped forward for a moment to put the light
upon the table, and immediately returning to his former position
against the door, bared his head, and looked on smilingly.
'You have news of my uncle, sir?' said Emma, turning hastily
'And of my father and mother?' added Dolly.
'Yes,' he said. 'Good news.'
'They are alive and unhurt?' they both cried at once.
'Yes, and unhurt,' he rejoined.
'And close at hand?'
'I did not say close at hand,' he answered smoothly; 'they are at
no great distance. YOUR friends, sweet one,' he added, addressing
Dolly, 'are within a few hours' journey. You will be restored to
them, I hope, to-night.'
'My uncle, sir--' faltered Emma.
'Your uncle, dear Miss Haredale, happily--I say happily, because he
has succeeded where many of our creed have failed, and is safe--has
crossed the sea, and is out of Britain.'
'I thank God for it,' said Emma, faintly.
'You say well. You have reason to be thankful: greater reason
than it is possible for you, who have seen but one night of these
cruel outrages, to imagine.'
'Does he desire,' said Emma, 'that I should follow him?'
'Do you ask if he desires it?' cried the stranger in surprise. 'IF
he desires it! But you do not know the danger of remaining in
England, the difficulty of escape, or the price hundreds would pay
to secure the means, when you make that inquiry. Pardon me. I had
forgotten that you could not, being prisoner here.'
'I gather, sir,' said Emma, after a moment's pause, 'from what you
hint at, but fear to tell me, that I have witnessed but the
beginning, and the least, of the violence to which we are exposed,
and that it has not yet slackened in its fury?'
He shrugged his shoulders, shook his head, lifted up his hands; and
with the same smooth smile, which was not a pleasant one to see,
cast his eyes upon the ground, and remained silent.
'You may venture, sir, to speak plain,' said Emma, 'and to tell me
the worst. We have undergone some preparation for it.'
But here Dolly interposed, and entreated her not to hear the worst,
but the best; and besought the gentleman to tell them the best, and
to keep the remainder of his news until they were safe among their
'It is told in three words,' he said, glancing at the locksmith's
daughter with a look of some displeasure. 'The people have risen,
to a man, against us; the streets are filled with soldiers, who
support them and do their bidding. We have no protection but from
above, and no safety but in flight; and that is a poor resource;
for we are watched on every hand, and detained here, both by force
and fraud. Miss Haredale, I cannot bear--believe me, that I cannot
bear--by speaking of myself, or what I have done, or am prepared
to do, to seem to vaunt my services before you. But, having
powerful Protestant connections, and having my whole wealth
embarked with theirs in shipping and commerce, I happily possessed
the means of saving your uncle. I have the means of saving you;
and in redemption of my sacred promise, made to him, I am here;
pledged not to leave you until I have placed you in his arms. The
treachery or penitence of one of the men about you, led to the
discovery of your place of confinement; and that I have forced my
way here, sword in hand, you see.'
'You bring,' said Emma, faltering, 'some note or token from my
'No, he doesn't,' cried Dolly, pointing at him earnestly; 'now I am
sure he doesn't. Don't go with him for the world!'
'Hush, pretty fool--be silent,' he replied, frowning angrily upon
her. 'No, Miss Haredale, I have no letter, nor any token of any
kind; for while I sympathise with you, and such as you, on whom
misfortune so heavy and so undeserved has fallen, I value my life.
I carry, therefore, no writing which, found upon me, would lead to
its certain loss. I never thought of bringing any other token, nor
did Mr Haredale think of entrusting me with one--possibly because
he had good experience of my faith and honesty, and owed his life
There was a reproof conveyed in these words, which to a nature like
Emma Haredale's, was well addressed. But Dolly, who was
differently constituted, was by no means touched by it, and still
conjured her, in all the terms of affection and attachment she
could think of, not to be lured away.
'Time presses,' said their visitor, who, although he sought to
express the deepest interest, had something cold and even in his
speech, that grated on the ear; 'and danger surrounds us. If I
have exposed myself to it, in vain, let it be so; but if you and he
should ever meet again, do me justice. If you decide to remain (as
I think you do), remember, Miss Haredale, that I left you with a
solemn caution, and acquitting myself of all the consequences to
which you expose yourself.'
'Stay, sir!' cried Emma--one moment, I beg you. Cannot we--and she
drew Dolly closer to her--'cannot we go together?'
'The task of conveying one female in safety through such scenes as
we must encounter, to say nothing of attracting the attention of
those who crowd the streets,' he answered, 'is enough. I have said
that she will be restored to her friends to-night. If you accept
the service I tender, Miss Haredale, she shall be instantly placed
in safe conduct, and that promise redeemed. Do you decide to
remain? People of all ranks and creeds are flying from the town,
which is sacked from end to end. Let me be of use in some
quarter. Do you stay, or go?'
'Dolly,' said Emma, in a hurried manner, 'my dear girl, this is our
last hope. If we part now, it is only that we may meet again in
happiness and honour. I will trust to this gentleman.'
'No no-no!' cried Dolly, clinging to her. 'Pray, pray, do not!'
'You hear,' said Emma, 'that to-night--only to-night--within a few
hours--think of that!--you will be among those who would die of
grief to lose you, and who are now plunged in the deepest misery
for your sake. Pray for me, dear girl, as I will for you; and
never forget the many quiet hours we have passed together. Say
one "God bless you!" Say that at parting!'
But Dolly could say nothing; no, not when Emma kissed her cheek a
hundred times, and covered it with tears, could she do more than
hang upon her neck, and sob, and clasp, and hold her tight.
'We have time for no more of this,' cried the man, unclenching her
hands, and pushing her roughly off, as he drew Emma Haredale
towards the door: 'Now! Quick, outside there! are you ready?'
'Ay!' cried a loud voice, which made him start. 'Quite ready!
Stand back here, for your lives!'
And in an instant he was felled like an ox in the butcher's
shambles--struck down as though a block of marble had fallen from
the roof and crushed him--and cheerful light, and beaming faces
came pouring in--and Emma was clasped in her uncle's embrace, and
Dolly, with a shriek that pierced the air, fell into the arms of
her father and mother.
What fainting there was, what laughing, what crying, what sobbing,
what smiling, how much questioning, no answering, all talking
together, all beside themselves with joy; what kissing,
congratulating, embracing, shaking of hands, and falling into all
these raptures, over and over and over again; no language can
At length, and after a long time, the old locksmith went up and
fairly hugged two strangers, who had stood apart and left them to
themselves; and then they saw--whom? Yes, Edward Chester and
'See here!' cried the locksmith. 'See here! where would any of us
have been without these two? Oh, Mr Edward, Mr Edward--oh, Joe,
Joe, how light, and yet how full, you have made my old heart to-
'It was Mr Edward that knocked him down, sir,' said Joe: 'I longed
to do it, but I gave it up to him. Come, you brave and honest
gentleman! Get your senses together, for you haven't long to lie
He had his foot upon the breast of their sham deliverer, in the
absence of a spare arm; and gave him a gentle roll as he spoke.
Gashford, for it was no other, crouching yet malignant, raised his
scowling face, like sin subdued, and pleaded to be gently used.
'I have access to all my lord's papers, Mr Haredale,' he said, in a
submissive voice: Mr Haredale keeping his back towards him, and not
once looking round: 'there are very important documents among them.
There are a great many in secret drawers, and distributed in
various places, known only to my lord and me. I can give some very
valuable information, and render important assistance to any
inquiry. You will have to answer it, if I receive ill usage.
'Pah!' cried Joe, in deep disgust. 'Get up, man; you're waited
for, outside. Get up, do you hear?'
Gashford slowly rose; and picking up his hat, and looking with a
baffled malevolence, yet with an air of despicable humility, all
round the room, crawled out.
'And now, gentlemen,' said Joe, who seemed to be the spokesman of
the party, for all the rest were silent; 'the sooner we get back
to the Black Lion, the better, perhaps.'
Mr Haredale nodded assent, and drawing his niece's arm through his,
and taking one of her hands between his own, passed out
straightway; followed by the locksmith, Mrs Varden, and Dolly--who
would scarcely have presented a sufficient surface for all the hugs
and caresses they bestowed upon her though she had been a dozen
Dollys. Edward Chester and Joe followed.
And did Dolly never once look behind--not once? Was there not one
little fleeting glimpse of the dark eyelash, almost resting on her
flushed cheek, and of the downcast sparkling eye it shaded? Joe
thought there was--and he is not likely to have been mistaken; for
there were not many eyes like Dolly's, that's the truth.
The outer room through which they had to pass, was full of men;
among them, Mr Dennis in safe keeping; and there, had been since
yesterday, lying in hiding behind a wooden screen which was now
thrown down, Simon Tappertit, the recreant 'prentice, burnt and
bruised, and with a gun-shot wound in his body; and his legs--his
perfect legs, the pride and glory of his life, the comfort of his
existence--crushed into shapeless ugliness. Wondering no longer at
the moans they had heard, Dolly kept closer to her father, and
shuddered at the sight; but neither bruises, burns, nor gun-shot
wound, nor all the torture of his shattered limbs, sent half so
keen a pang to Simon's breast, as Dolly passing out, with Joe for
A coach was ready at the door, and Dolly found herself safe and
whole inside, between her father and mother, with Emma Haredale and
her uncle, quite real, sitting opposite. But there was no Joe, no
Edward; and they had said nothing. They had only bowed once, and
kept at a distance. Dear heart! what a long way it was to the
The Black Lion was so far off, and occupied such a length of time
in the getting at, that notwithstanding the strong presumptive
evidence she had about her of the late events being real and of
actual occurrence, Dolly could not divest herself of the belief
that she must be in a dream which was lasting all night. Nor was
she quite certain that she saw and heard with her own proper
senses, even when the coach, in the fulness of time, stopped at the
Black Lion, and the host of that tavern approached in a gush of
cheerful light to help them to dismount, and give them hearty
There too, at the coach door, one on one side, one upon the other,
were already Edward Chester and Joe Willet, who must have followed
in another coach: and this was such a strange and unaccountable
proceeding, that Dolly was the more inclined to favour the idea of
her being fast asleep. But when Mr Willet appeared--old John
himself--so heavy-headed and obstinate, and with such a double
chin as the liveliest imagination could never in its boldest
flights have conjured up in all its vast proportions--then she
stood corrected, and unwillingly admitted to herself that she was
And Joe had lost an arm--he--that well-made, handsome, gallant
fellow! As Dolly glanced towards him, and thought of the pain he
must have suffered, and the far-off places in which he had been
wandering, and wondered who had been his nurse, and hoped that
whoever it was, she had been as kind and gentle and considerate as
she would have been, the tears came rising to her bright eyes, one
by one, little by little, until she could keep them back no longer,
and so before them all, wept bitterly.
'We are all safe now, Dolly,' said her father, kindly. 'We shall
not be separated any more. Cheer up, my love, cheer up!'
The locksmith's wife knew better perhaps, than he, what ailed her
daughter. But Mrs Varden being quite an altered woman--for the
riots had done that good--added her word to his, and comforted her
with similar representations.
'Mayhap,' said Mr Willet, senior, looking round upon the company,
'she's hungry. That's what it is, depend upon it--I am, myself.'
The Black Lion, who, like old John, had been waiting supper past
all reasonable and conscionable hours, hailed this as a
philosophical discovery of the profoundest and most penetrating
kind; and the table being already spread, they sat down to supper
The conversation was not of the liveliest nature, nor were the
appetites of some among them very keen. But, in both these
respects, old John more than atoned for any deficiency on the part
of the rest, and very much distinguished himself.
It was not in point of actual conversation that Mr Willet shone so
brilliantly, for he had none of his old cronies to 'tackle,' and
was rather timorous of venturing on Joe; having certain vague
misgivings within him, that he was ready on the shortest notice,
and on receipt of the slightest offence, to fell the Black Lion to
the floor of his own parlour, and immediately to withdraw to China
or some other remote and unknown region, there to dwell for
evermore, or at least until he had got rid of his remaining arm and
both legs, and perhaps an eye or so, into the bargain. It was with
a peculiar kind of pantomime that Mr Willet filled up every pause;
and in this he was considered by the Black Lion, who had been his
familiar for some years, quite to surpass and go beyond himself,
and outrun the expectations of his most admiring friends.
The subject that worked in Mr Willet's mind, and occasioned these
demonstrations, was no other than his son's bodily disfigurement,
which he had never yet got himself thoroughly to believe, or
comprehend. Shortly after their first meeting, he had been
observed to wander, in a state of great perplexity, to the kitchen,
and to direct his gaze towards the fire, as if in search of his
usual adviser in all matters of doubt and difficulty. But there
being no boiler at the Black Lion, and the rioters having so beaten
and battered his own that it was quite unfit for further service,
he wandered out again, in a perfect bog of uncertainty and mental
confusion, and in that state took the strangest means of resolving
his doubts: such as feeling the sleeve of his son's greatcoat as
deeming it possible that his arm might be there; looking at his own
arms and those of everybody else, as if to assure himself that two
and not one was the usual allowance; sitting by the hour together
in a brown study, as if he were endeavouring to recall Joe's image
in his younger days, and to remember whether he really had in those
times one arm or a pair; and employing himself in many other
speculations of the same kind.
Finding himself at this supper, surrounded by faces with which he
had been so well acquainted in old times, Mr Willet recurred to the
subject with uncommon vigour; apparently resolved to understand it
now or never. Sometimes, after every two or three mouthfuls, he
laid down his knife and fork, and stared at his son with all his
might--particularly at his maimed side; then, he looked slowly
round the table until he caught some person's eye, when he shook
his head with great solemnity, patted his shoulder, winked, or as
one may say--for winking was a very slow process with him--went to
sleep with one eye for a minute or two; and so, with another solemn
shaking of his head, took up his knife and fork again, and went on
eating. Sometimes, he put his food into his mouth abstractedly,
and, with all his faculties concentrated on Joe, gazed at him in a
fit of stupefaction as he cut his meat with one hand, until he was
recalled to himself by symptoms of choking on his own part, and was
by that means restored to consciousness. At other times he
resorted to such small devices as asking him for the salt, the
pepper, the vinegar, the mustard--anything that was on his maimed
side--and watching him as he handed it. By dint of these
experiments, he did at last so satisfy and convince himself, that,
after a longer silence than he had yet maintained, he laid down his
knife and fork on either side his plate, drank a long draught from
a tankard beside him (still keeping his eyes on Joe), and leaning
backward in his chair and fetching a long breath, said, as he
looked all round the board:
'It's been took off!'
'By George!' said the Black Lion, striking the table with his hand,
'he's got it!'
'Yes, sir,' said Mr Willet, with the look of a man who felt that he
had earned a compliment, and deserved it. 'That's where it is.
It's been took off.'
'Tell him where it was done,' said the Black Lion to Joe.
'At the defence of the Savannah, father.'
'At the defence of the Salwanners,' repeated Mr Willet, softly;
again looking round the table.
'In America, where the war is,' said Joe.
'In America, where the war is,' repeated Mr Willet. 'It was took
off in the defence of the Salwanners in America where the war is.'
Continuing to repeat these words to himself in a low tone of voice
(the same information had been conveyed to him in the same terms,
at least fifty times before), Mr Willet arose from table, walked
round to Joe, felt his empty sleeve all the way up, from the cuff,
to where the stump of his arm remained; shook his hand; lighted his
pipe at the fire, took a long whiff, walked to the door, turned
round once when he had reached it, wiped his left eye with the back
of his forefinger, and said, in a faltering voice: 'My son's arm--
was took off--at the defence of the--Salwanners--in America--where
the war is'--with which words he withdrew, and returned no more
Indeed, on various pretences, they all withdrew one after another,
save Dolly, who was left sitting there alone. It was a great
relief to be alone, and she was crying to her heart's content, when
she heard Joe's voice at the end of the passage, bidding somebody
Good night! Then he was going elsewhere--to some distance,
perhaps. To what kind of home COULD he be going, now that it was
She heard him walk along the passage, and pass the door. But there
was a hesitation in his footsteps. He turned back--Dolly's heart
beat high--he looked in.
'Good night!'--he didn't say Dolly, but there was comfort in his
not saying Miss Varden.
'Good night!' sobbed Dolly.
'I am sorry you take on so much, for what is past and gone,' said
Joe kindly. 'Don't. I can't bear to see you do it. Think of it
no longer. You are safe and happy now.'
Dolly cried the more.
'You must have suffered very much within these few days--and yet
you're not changed, unless it's for the better. They said you
were, but I don't see it. You were--you were always very
beautiful,' said Joe, 'but you are more beautiful than ever, now.
You are indeed. There can be no harm in my saying so, for you must
know it. You are told so very often, I am sure.'
As a general principle, Dolly DID know it, and WAS told so, very
often. But the coachmaker had turned out, years ago, to be a
special donkey; and whether she had been afraid of making similar
discoveries in others, or had grown by dint of long custom to be
careless of compliments generally, certain it is that although she
cried so much, she was better pleased to be told so now, than ever
she had been in all her life.
'I shall bless your name,' sobbed the locksmith's little daughter,
'as long as I live. I shall never hear it spoken without feeling
as if my heart would burst. I shall remember it in my prayers,
every night and morning till I die!'
'Will you?' said Joe, eagerly. 'Will you indeed? It makes me--
well, it makes me very glad and proud to hear you say so.'
Dolly still sobbed, and held her handkerchief to her eyes. Joe
still stood, looking at her.
'Your voice,' said Joe, 'brings up old times so pleasantly, that,
for the moment, I feel as if that night--there can be no harm in
talking of that night now--had come back, and nothing had happened
in the mean time. I feel as if I hadn't suffered any hardships,
but had knocked down poor Tom Cobb only yesterday, and had come to
see you with my bundle on my shoulder before running away.--You
Remember! But she said nothing. She raised her eyes for an
instant. It was but a glance; a little, tearful, timid glance. It
kept Joe silent though, for a long time.
'Well!' he said stoutly, 'it was to be otherwise, and was. I have
been abroad, fighting all the summer and frozen up all the winter,
ever since. I have come back as poor in purse as I went, and
crippled for life besides. But, Dolly, I would rather have lost
this other arm--ay, I would rather have lost my head--than have
come back to find you dead, or anything but what I always pictured
you to myself, and what I always hoped and wished to find you.
Thank God for all!'
Oh how much, and how keenly, the little coquette of five years ago,
felt now! She had found her heart at last. Never having known its
worth till now, she had never known the worth of his. How
priceless it appeared!
'I did hope once,' said Joe, in his homely way, 'that I might come
back a rich man, and marry you. But I was a boy then, and have
long known better than that. I am a poor, maimed, discharged
soldier, and must be content to rub through life as I can. I can't
say, even now, that I shall be glad to see you married, Dolly; but
I AM glad--yes, I am, and glad to think I can say so--to know that
you are admired and courted, and can pick and choose for a happy
life. It's a comfort to me to know that you'll talk to your
husband about me; and I hope the time will come when I may be able
to like him, and to shake hands with him, and to come and see you
as a poor friend who knew you when you were a girl. God bless
His hand DID tremble; but for all that, he took it away again, and
By this Friday night--for it was on Friday in the riot week, that
Emma and Dolly were rescued, by the timely aid of Joe and Edward
Chester--the disturbances were entirely quelled, and peace and
order were restored to the affrighted city. True, after what had
happened, it was impossible for any man to say how long this better
state of things might last, or how suddenly new outrages, exceeding
even those so lately witnessed, might burst forth and fill its
streets with ruin and bloodshed; for this reason, those who had
fled from the recent tumults still kept at a distance, and many
families, hitherto unable to procure the means of flight, now
availed themselves of the calm, and withdrew into the country. The
shops, too, from Tyburn to Whitechapel, were still shut; and very
little business was transacted in any of the places of great
commercial resort. But, notwithstanding, and in spite of the
melancholy forebodings of that numerous class of society who see
with the greatest clearness into the darkest perspectives, the town
remained profoundly quiet. The strong military force disposed in
every advantageous quarter, and stationed at every commanding
point, held the scattered fragments of the mob in check; the search
after rioters was prosecuted with unrelenting vigour; and if there
were any among them so desperate and reckless as to be inclined,
after the terrible scenes they had beheld, to venture forth again,
they were so daunted by these resolute measures, that they quickly
shrunk into their hiding-places, and had no thought but for their
In a word, the crowd was utterly routed. Upwards of two hundred
had been shot dead in the streets. Two hundred and fifty more were
lying, badly wounded, in the hospitals; of whom seventy or eighty
died within a short time afterwards. A hundred were already in
custody, and more were taken every hour. How many perished in the
conflagrations, or by their own excesses, is unknown; but that
numbers found a terrible grave in the hot ashes of the flames they
had kindled, or crept into vaults and cellars to drink in secret or
to nurse their sores, and never saw the light again, is certain.
When the embers of the fires had been black and cold for many
weeks, the labourers' spades proved this, beyond a doubt.
Seventy-two private houses and four strong jails were destroyed in
the four great days of these riots. The total loss of property, as
estimated by the sufferers, was one hundred and fifty-five thousand
pounds; at the lowest and least partial estimate of disinterested
persons, it exceeded one hundred and twenty-five thousand pounds.
For this immense loss, compensation was soon afterwards made out of
the public purse, in pursuance of a vote of the House of Commons;
the sum being levied on the various wards in the city, on the
county, and the borough of Southwark. Both Lord Mansfield and Lord
Saville, however, who had been great sufferers, refused to accept
of any compensation whatever.
The House of Commons, sitting on Tuesday with locked and guarded
doors, had passed a resolution to the effect that, as soon as the
tumults subsided, it would immediately proceed to consider the
petitions presented from many of his Majesty's Protestant subjects,
and would take the same into its serious consideration. While this
question was under debate, Mr Herbert, one of the members present,
indignantly rose and called upon the House to observe that Lord
George Gordon was then sitting under the gallery with the blue
cockade, the signal of rebellion, in his hat. He was not only
obliged, by those who sat near, to take it out; but offering to go
into the street to pacify the mob with the somewhat indefinite
assurance that the House was prepared to give them 'the
satisfaction they sought,' was actually held down in his seat by
the combined force of several members. In short, the disorder and
violence which reigned triumphant out of doors, penetrated into the
senate, and there, as elsewhere, terror and alarm prevailed, and
ordinary forms were for the time forgotten.
On the Thursday, both Houses had adjourned until the following
Monday se'nnight, declaring it impossible to pursue their
deliberations with the necessary gravity and freedom, while they
were surrounded by armed troops. And now that the rioters were
dispersed, the citizens were beset with a new fear; for, finding
the public thoroughfares and all their usual places of resort
filled with soldiers entrusted with the free use of fire and sword,
they began to lend a greedy ear to the rumours which were afloat of
martial law being declared, and to dismal stories of prisoners
having been seen hanging on lamp-posts in Cheapside and Fleet
Street. These terrors being promptly dispelled by a Proclamation
declaring that all the rioters in custody would be tried by a
special commission in due course of law, a fresh alarm was
engendered by its being whispered abroad that French money had been
found on some of the rioters, and that the disturbances had been
fomented by foreign powers who sought to compass the overthrow and
ruin of England. This report, which was strengthened by the
diffusion of anonymous handbills, but which, if it had any
foundation at all, probably owed its origin to the circumstance of
some few coins which were not English money having been swept into
the pockets of the insurgents with other miscellaneous booty, and
afterwards discovered on the prisoners or the dead bodies,--caused
a great sensation; and men's minds being in that excited state
when they are most apt to catch at any shadow of apprehension, was
bruited about with much industry.
All remaining quiet, however, during the whole of this Friday, and
on this Friday night, and no new discoveries being made, confidence
began to be restored, and the most timid and desponding breathed
again. In Southwark, no fewer than three thousand of the
inhabitants formed themselves into a watch, and patrolled the
streets every hour. Nor were the citizens slow to follow so good
an example: and it being the manner of peaceful men to be very bold
when the danger is over, they were abundantly fierce and daring;
not scrupling to question the stoutest passenger with great
severity, and carrying it with a very high hand over all errand-
boys, servant-girls, and 'prentices.
As day deepened into evening, and darkness crept into the nooks and
corners of the town as if it were mustering in secret and gathering
strength to venture into the open ways, Barnaby sat in his dungeon,
wondering at the silence, and listening in vain for the noise and
outcry which had ushered in the night of late. Beside him, with
his hand in hers, sat one in whose companionship he felt at peace.
She was worn, and altered, full of grief, and heavy-hearted; but
the same to him.
'Mother,' he said, after a long silence: 'how long,--how many days
and nights,--shall I be kept here?'
'Not many, dear. I hope not many.'
'You hope! Ay, but your hoping will not undo these chains. I
hope, but they don't mind that. Grip hopes, but who cares for
The raven gave a short, dull, melancholy croak. It said 'Nobody,'
as plainly as a croak could speak.
'Who cares for Grip, except you and me?' said Barnaby, smoothing
the bird's rumpled feathers with his hand. 'He never speaks in
this place; he never says a word in jail; he sits and mopes all day
in his dark corner, dozing sometimes, and sometimes looking at the
light that creeps in through the bars, and shines in his bright eye
as if a spark from those great fires had fallen into the room and
was burning yet. But who cares for Grip?'
The raven croaked again--Nobody.
'And by the way,' said Barnaby, withdrawing his hand from the bird,
and laying it upon his mother's arm, as he looked eagerly in her
face; 'if they kill me--they may: I heard it said they would--what
will become of Grip when I am dead?'
The sound of the word, or the current of his own thoughts,
suggested to Grip his old phrase 'Never say die!' But he stopped
short in the middle of it, drew a dismal cork, and subsided into a
faint croak, as if he lacked the heart to get through the shortest
'Will they take HIS life as well as mine?' said Barnaby. 'I wish
they would. If you and I and he could die together, there would be
none to feel sorry, or to grieve for us. But do what they will, I
don't fear them, mother!'
'They will not harm you,' she said, her tears choking her
utterance. 'They never will harm you, when they know all. I am
sure they never will.'
'Oh! Don't be too sure of that,' cried Barnaby, with a strange
pleasure in the belief that she was self-deceived, and in his own
sagacity. 'They have marked me from the first. I heard them say
so to each other when they brought me to this place last night; and
I believe them. Don't you cry for me. They said that I was bold,
and so I am, and so I will be. You may think that I am silly, but
I can die as well as another.--I have done no harm, have I?' he
'None before Heaven,' she answered.
'Why then,' said Barnaby, 'let them do their worst. You told me
once--you--when I asked you what death meant, that it was nothing
to be feared, if we did no harm--Aha! mother, you thought I had
His merry laugh and playful manner smote her to the heart. She
drew him closer to her, and besought him to talk to her in whispers
and to be very quiet, for it was getting dark, and their time was
short, and she would soon have to leave him for the night.
'You will come to-morrow?' said Barnaby.
Yes. And every day. And they would never part again.
He joyfully replied that this was well, and what he wished, and
what he had felt quite certain she would tell him; and then he
asked her where she had been so long, and why she had not come to
see him when he had been a great soldier, and ran through the wild
schemes he had had for their being rich and living prosperously,
and with some faint notion in his mind that she was sad and he had
made her so, tried to console and comfort her, and talked of their
former life and his old sports and freedom: little dreaming that
every word he uttered only increased her sorrow, and that her tears
fell faster at the freshened recollection of their lost
'Mother,' said Barnaby, as they heard the man approaching to close
the cells for the night,' when I spoke to you just now about my
father you cried "Hush!" and turned away your head. Why did you do
so? Tell me why, in a word. You thought HE was dead. You are not
sorry that he is alive and has come back to us. Where is he?
'Do not ask any one where he is, or speak about him,' she made
'Why not?' said Barnaby. 'Because he is a stern man, and talks
roughly? Well! I don't like him, or want to be with him by
myself; but why not speak about him?'
'Because I am sorry that he is alive; sorry that he has come back;
and sorry that he and you have ever met. Because, dear Barnaby,
the endeavour of my life has been to keep you two asunder.'
'Father and son asunder! Why?'
'He has,' she whispered in his ear, 'he has shed blood. The time
has come when you must know it. He has shed the blood of one who
loved him well, and trusted him, and never did him wrong in word or
Barnaby recoiled in horror, and glancing at his stained wrist for
an instant, wrapped it, shuddering, in his dress.
'But,' she added hastily as the key turned in the lock, 'although
we shun him, he is your father, dearest, and I am his wretched
wife. They seek his life, and he will lose it. It must not be by
our means; nay, if we could win him back to penitence, we should be
bound to love him yet. Do not seem to know him, except as one who
fled with you from the jail, and if they question you about him, do
not answer them. God be with you through the night, dear boy! God
be with you!'
She tore herself away, and in a few seconds Barnaby was alone. He
stood for a long time rooted to the spot, with his face hidden in
his hands; then flung himself, sobbing, on his miserable bed.
But the moon came slowly up in all her gentle glory, and the stars
looked out, and through the small compass of the grated window, as
through the narrow crevice of one good deed in a murky life of
guilt, the face of Heaven shone bright and merciful. He raised his
head; gazed upward at the quiet sky, which seemed to smile upon the
earth in sadness, as if the night, more thoughtful than the day,
looked down in sorrow on the sufferings and evil deeds of men; and
felt its peace sink deep into his heart. He, a poor idiot, caged
in his narrow cell, was as much lifted up to God, while gazing on
the mild light, as the freest and most favoured man in all the
spacious city; and in his ill-remembered prayer, and in the
fragment of the childish hymn, with which he sung and crooned
himself asleep, there breathed as true a spirit as ever studied
homily expressed, or old cathedral arches echoed.
As his mother crossed a yard on her way out, she saw, through a
grated door which separated it from another court, her husband,
walking round and round, with his hands folded on his breast, and
his head hung down. She asked the man who conducted her, if she
might speak a word with this prisoner. Yes, but she must be quick
for he was locking up for the night, and there was but a minute or
so to spare. Saying this, he unlocked the door, and bade her go
It grated harshly as it turned upon its hinges, but he was deaf to
the noise, and still walked round and round the little court,
without raising his head or changing his attitude in the least.
She spoke to him, but her voice was weak, and failed her. At
length she put herself in his track, and when he came near,
stretched out her hand and touched him.
He started backward, trembling from head to foot; but seeing who it
was, demanded why she came there. Before she could reply, he spoke
'Am I to live or die? Do you murder too, or spare?'
'My son--our son,' she answered, 'is in this prison.'
'What is that to me?' he cried, stamping impatiently on the stone
pavement. 'I know it. He can no more aid me than I can aid him.
If you are come to talk of him, begone!'
As he spoke he resumed his walk, and hurried round the court as
before. When he came again to where she stood, he stopped, and
'Am I to live or die? Do you repent?'
'Oh!--do YOU?' she answered. 'Will you, while time remains? Do
not believe that I could save you, if I dared.'
'Say if you would,' he answered with an oath, as he tried to
disengage himself and pass on. 'Say if you would.'
'Listen to me for one moment,' she returned; 'for but a moment. I
am but newly risen from a sick-bed, from which I never hoped to
rise again. The best among us think, at such a time, of good
intentions half-performed and duties left undone. If I have ever,
since that fatal night, omitted to pray for your repentance before
death--if I omitted, even then, anything which might tend to urge
it on you when the horror of your crime was fresh--if, in our later
meeting, I yielded to the dread that was upon me, and forgot to
fall upon my knees and solemnly adjure you, in the name of him you
sent to his account with Heaven, to prepare for the retribution
which must come, and which is stealing on you now--I humbly before
you, and in the agony of supplication in which you see me, beseech
that you will let me make atonement.'
'What is the meaning of your canting words?' he answered roughly.
'Speak so that I may understand you.'
'I will,' she answered, 'I desire to. Bear with me for a moment
more. The hand of Him who set His curse on murder, is heavy on us
now. You cannot doubt it. Our son, our innocent boy, on whom His
anger fell before his birth, is in this place in peril of his life--
brought here by your guilt; yes, by that alone, as Heaven sees and
knows, for he has been led astray in the darkness of his intellect,
and that is the terrible consequence of your crime.'
'If you come, woman-like, to load me with reproaches--' he
muttered, again endeavouring to break away.
'I do not. I have a different purpose. You must hear it. If not
to-night, to-morrow; if not to-morrow, at another time. You MUST
hear it. Husband, escape is hopeless--impossible.'
'You tell me so, do you?' he said, raising his manacled hand, and
shaking it. 'You!'
'Yes,' she said, with indescribable earnestness. 'But why?'
'To make me easy in this jail. To make the time 'twixt this and
death, pass pleasantly. For my good--yes, for my good, of
course,' he said, grinding his teeth, and smiling at her with a
'Not to load you with reproaches,' she replied; 'not to aggravate
the tortures and miseries of your condition, not to give you one
hard word, but to restore you to peace and hope. Husband, dear
husband, if you will but confess this dreadful crime; if you will
but implore forgiveness of Heaven and of those whom you have
wronged on earth; if you will dismiss these vain uneasy thoughts,
which never can be realised, and will rely on Penitence and on the
Truth, I promise you, in the great name of the Creator, whose image
you have defaced, that He will comfort and console you. And for
myself,' she cried, clasping her hands, and looking upward, 'I
swear before Him, as He knows my heart and reads it now, that from
that hour I will love and cherish you as I did of old, and watch
you night and day in the short interval that will remain to us, and
soothe you with my truest love and duty, and pray with you, that
one threatening judgment may be arrested, and that our boy may be
spared to bless God, in his poor way, in the free air and light!'
He fell back and gazed at her while she poured out these words, as
though he were for a moment awed by her manner, and knew not what
to do. But anger and fear soon got the mastery of him, and he
spurned her from him.
'Begone!' he cried. 'Leave me! You plot, do you! You plot to
get speech with me, and let them know I am the man they say I am.
A curse on you and on your boy.'
'On him the curse has already fallen,' she replied, wringing her
'Let it fall heavier. Let it fall on one and all. I hate you
both. The worst has come to me. The only comfort that I seek or I
can have, will be the knowledge that it comes to you. Now go!'
She would have urged him gently, even then, but he menaced her with
'I say go--I say it for the last time. The gallows has me in its
grasp, and it is a black phantom that may urge me on to something
more. Begone! I curse the hour that I was born, the man I slew,
and all the living world!'
In a paroxysm of wrath, and terror, and the fear of death, he broke
from her, and rushed into the darkness of his cell, where he cast
himself jangling down upon the stone floor, and smote it with his
ironed hands. The man returned to lock the dungeon door, and
having done so, carried her away.
On that warm, balmy night in June, there were glad faces and light
hearts in all quarters of the town, and sleep, banished by the late
horrors, was doubly welcomed. On that night, families made merry
in their houses, and greeted each other on the common danger they
had escaped; and those who had been denounced, ventured into the
streets; and they who had been plundered, got good shelter. Even
the timorous Lord Mayor, who was summoned that night before the
Privy Council to answer for his conduct, came back contented;
observing to all his friends that he had got off very well with a
reprimand, and repeating with huge satisfaction his memorable
defence before the Council, 'that such was his temerity, he thought
death would have been his portion.'
On that night, too, more of the scattered remnants of the mob were
traced to their lurking-places, and taken; and in the hospitals,
and deep among the ruins they had made, and in the ditches, and
fields, many unshrouded wretches lay dead: envied by those who had
been active in the disturbances, and who pillowed their doomed
heads in the temporary jails.
And in the Tower, in a dreary room whose thick stone walls shut out
the hum of life, and made a stillness which the records left by
former prisoners with those silent witnesses seemed to deepen and
intensify; remorseful for every act that had been done by every man
among the cruel crowd; feeling for the time their guilt his own,
and their lives put in peril by himself; and finding, amidst such
reflections, little comfort in fanaticism, or in his fancied call;
sat the unhappy author of all--Lord George Gordon.
He had been made prisoner that evening. 'If you are sure it's me
you want,' he said to the officers, who waited outside with the
warrant for his arrest on a charge of High Treason, 'I am ready to
accompany you--' which he did without resistance. He was conducted
first before the Privy Council, and afterwards to the Horse
Guards, and then was taken by way of Westminster Bridge, and back
over London Bridge (for the purpose of avoiding the main streets),
to the Tower, under the strongest guard ever known to enter its
gates with a single prisoner.
Of all his forty thousand men, not one remained to bear him
company. Friends, dependents, followers,--none were there. His
fawning secretary had played the traitor; and he whose weakness had
been goaded and urged on by so many for their own purposes, was
desolate and alone.
Me Dennis, having been made prisoner late in the evening, was
removed to a neighbouring round-house for that night, and carried
before a justice for examination on the next day, Saturday. The
charges against him being numerous and weighty, and it being in
particular proved, by the testimony of Gabriel Varden, that he had
shown a special desire to take his life, he was committed for
trial. Moreover he was honoured with the distinction of being
considered a chief among the insurgents, and received from the
magistrate's lips the complimentary assurance that he was in a
position of imminent danger, and would do well to prepare himself
for the worst.
To say that Mr Dennis's modesty was not somewhat startled by these
honours, or that he was altogether prepared for so flattering a
reception, would be to claim for him a greater amount of stoical
philosophy than even he possessed. Indeed this gentleman's
stoicism was of that not uncommon kind, which enables a man to bear
with exemplary fortitude the afflictions of his friends, but
renders him, by way of counterpoise, rather selfish and sensitive
in respect of any that happen to befall himself. It is therefore
no disparagement to the great officer in question to state, without
disguise or concealment, that he was at first very much alarmed,
and that he betrayed divers emotions of fear, until his reasoning
powers came to his relief, and set before him a more hopeful
In proportion as Mr Dennis exercised these intellectual qualities
with which he was gifted, in reviewing his best chances of coming
off handsomely and with small personal inconvenience, his spirits
rose, and his confidence increased. When he remembered the great
estimation in which his office was held, and the constant demand
for his services; when he bethought himself, how the Statute Book
regarded him as a kind of Universal Medicine applicable to men,
women, and children, of every age and variety of criminal
constitution; and how high he stood, in his official capacity, in
the favour of the Crown, and both Houses of Parliament, the Mint,
the Bank of England, and the Judges of the land; when he
recollected that whatever Ministry was in or out, he remained their
peculiar pet and panacea, and that for his sake England stood
single and conspicuous among the civilised nations of the earth:
when he called these things to mind and dwelt upon them, he felt
certain that the national gratitude MUST relieve him from the
consequences of his late proceedings, and would certainly restore
him to his old place in the happy social system.
With these crumbs, or as one may say, with these whole loaves of
comfort to regale upon, Mr Dennis took his place among the escort
that awaited him, and repaired to jail with a manly indifference.
Arriving at Newgate, where some of the ruined cells had been
hastily fitted up for the safe keeping of rioters, he was warmly
received by the turnkeys, as an unusual and interesting case, which
agreeably relieved their monotonous duties. In this spirit, he was
fettered with great care, and conveyed into the interior of the
'Brother,' cried the hangman, as, following an officer, he
traversed under these novel circumstances the remains of passages
with which he was well acquainted, 'am I going to be along with
'If you'd have left more walls standing, you'd have been alone,'
was the reply. 'As it is, we're cramped for room, and you'll have
'Well,' returned Dennis, 'I don't object to company, brother. I
rather like company. I was formed for society, I was.'
'That's rather a pity, an't it?' said the man.
'No,' answered Dennis, 'I'm not aware that it is. Why should it be
a pity, brother?'
'Oh! I don't know,' said the man carelessly. 'I thought that was
what you meant. Being formed for society, and being cut off in
your flower, you know--'
'I say,' interposed the other quickly, 'what are you talking of?
Don't. Who's a-going to be cut off in their flowers?'
'Oh, nobody particular. I thought you was, perhaps,' said the man.
Mr Dennis wiped his face, which had suddenly grown very hot, and
remarking in a tremulous voice to his conductor that he had always
been fond of his joke, followed him in silence until he stopped at
'This is my quarters, is it?' he asked facetiously.
'This is the shop, sir,' replied his friend.
He was walking in, but not with the best possible grace, when he
suddenly stopped, and started back.
'Halloa!' said the officer. 'You're nervous.'
'Nervous!' whispered Dennis in great alarm. 'Well I may be. Shut
'I will, when you're in,' returned the man.
'But I can't go in there,' whispered Dennis. 'I can't be shut up
with that man. Do you want me to be throttled, brother?'
The officer seemed to entertain no particular desire on the subject
one way or other, but briefly remarking that he had his orders, and
intended to obey them, pushed him in, turned the key, and retired.
Dennis stood trembling with his back against the door, and
involuntarily raising his arm to defend himself, stared at a man,
the only other tenant of the cell, who lay, stretched at his fall
length, upon a stone bench, and who paused in his deep breathing as
if he were about to wake. But he rolled over on one side, let his
arm fall negligently down, drew a long sigh, and murmuring
indistinctly, fell fast asleep again.
Relieved in some degree by this, the hangman took his eyes for an
instant from the slumbering figure, and glanced round the cell in
search of some 'vantage-ground or weapon of defence. There was
nothing moveable within it, but a clumsy table which could not be
displaced without noise, and a heavy chair. Stealing on tiptoe
towards this latter piece of furniture, he retired with it into the
remotest corner, and intrenching himself behind it, watched the
enemy with the utmost vigilance and caution.
The sleeping man was Hugh; and perhaps it was not unnatural for
Dennis to feel in a state of very uncomfortable suspense, and to
wish with his whole soul that he might never wake again. Tired of
standing, he crouched down in his corner after some time, and
rested on the cold pavement; but although Hugh's breathing still
proclaimed that he was sleeping soundly, he could not trust him out
of his sight for an instant. He was so afraid of him, and of some
sudden onslaught, that he was not content to see his closed eyes
through the chair-back, but every now and then, rose stealthily to
his feet, and peered at him with outstretched neck, to assure
himself that he really was still asleep, and was not about to
spring upon him when he was off his guard.
He slept so long and so soundly, that Mr Dennis began to think he
might sleep on until the turnkey visited them. He was
congratulating himself upon these promising appearances, and
blessing his stars with much fervour, when one or two unpleasant
symptoms manifested themselves: such as another motion of the arm,
another sigh, a restless tossing of the head. Then, just as it
seemed that he was about to fall heavily to the ground from his
narrow bed, Hugh's eyes opened.
It happened that his face was turned directly towards his
unexpected visitor. He looked lazily at him for some half-dozen
seconds without any aspect of surprise or recognition; then
suddenly jumped up, and with a great oath pronounced his name.
'Keep off, brother, keep off!' cried Dennis, dodging behind the
chair. 'Don't do me a mischief. I'm a prisoner like you. I
haven't the free use of my limbs. I'm quite an old man. Don't
He whined out the last three words in such piteous accents, that
Hugh, who had dragged away the chair, and aimed a blow at him with
it, checked himself, and bade him get up.
'I'll get up certainly, brother,' cried Dennis, anxious to
propitiate him by any means in his power. 'I'll comply with any
request of yours, I'm sure. There--I'm up now. What can I do for
you? Only say the word, and I'll do it.'
'What can you do for me!' cried Hugh, clutching him by the collar
with both hands, and shaking him as though he were bent on stopping
his breath by that means. 'What have you done for me?'
'The best. The best that could be done,' returned the hangman.
Hugh made him no answer, but shaking him in his strong grip until
his teeth chattered in his head, cast him down upon the floor, and
flung himself on the bench again.
'If it wasn't for the comfort it is to me, to see you here,' he
muttered, 'I'd have crushed your head against it; I would.'
It was some time before Dennis had breath enough to speak, but as
soon as he could resume his propitiatory strain, he did so.
'I did the best that could be done, brother,' he whined; 'I did
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