son, and sever their intercourse here, though it should cause her
death,' said Mr. Haredale, who had been pacing to and fro, 'I
would do it kindly and tenderly if I can. I have a trust to dis-
charge, which my nature is not formed to understand, and, for
this reason, the bare fact of there being any love between them
comes upon me to-night, almost for the first time.'
'I am more delighted than I can possibly tell you,' rejoined Mr.
Chester with the utmost blandness, 'to find my own impression so
confirmed. You see the advantage of our having met. We under-
stand each other. We quite agree. We have a most complete and
thorough explanation, and we know what course to take. Why
don't you taste your tenant's wine? It 's really very good.'
'Pray who,' said Mr. Haredale, 'have aided Emma, or your son?
Who are their go-betweens, and agents ā do you know?'
'All the good people hereabouts ā the neighbourhood in general,
I think,' returned the other, with his most affable smile. 'The mes-
senger I sent to you to-day foremost among them all.'
'The idiot? Barnaby?'
'You are surprised? I am glad of that, for I was rather so my-
96 BARNABY RUDGE
self. Yes. I wrung that from his mother ā a very decent sort of
woman ā from whom, indeed, I chiefly learnt how serious the mat-
ter had become, and so determined to ride out here to-day, and
hold a parley with you on this neutral ground. You 're stouter
than you used to be, Haredale, but you look extremely well.'
'Our business, I presume, is nearly at an end,' said Mr. Haredale,
with an expression of impatience he was at no pains to conceal.
'Trust me, Mr. Chester, my niece shall change from this time. I
will appeal,' he added in a lower tone, 'to her woman's heart, her
dignity, her pride, her duty ā '
T shall do the same by Ned,' said Mr. Chester, restoring some
errant faggots to their places in the grate with the toe of his
boot. 'If there is anything real in this world, it is those amazingly
fine feelings and those natural obligations which must subsist be-
tween father and son. I shall put it to him on every ground of moral
and religious feeling. I shall represent to him that we cannot pos-
sibly afford it ā that I have always looked forward to his marrying
well, for a genteel provision for myself in the autumn of life ā
that there are a great many clamorous dogs to pay, whose claims
are perfectly just and right, and who must be paid out of his wife's
fortune. In short, that the very highest and most honourable feel-
ings of our nature, with every consideration of filial duty and
affection, and all that sort of thing, imperatively demand that he
should run away with an heiress.'
And break her heart as speedily as possible?' said Mr. Haredale^
drawing on his glove.
'There Ned will act exactly as he pleases,' returned the other^
sipping his wine; 'that's entirely his affair. I wouldn't for the
world interfere with my son, Haredale, beyond a certain points
The relationship between father and son, you know, is positively
quite a holy kind of bond. Won't you let me persuade you to take
one glass of wine? Well! as you please, as you please,' he added,,
helping himself again.
'Chester,' said Mr. Haredale, after a short silence, during which
he had eyed his smiling face from time to time intently, 'you have-
the head and heart of an evil spirit in all matters of deception.'
'Your health!' said the other, with a nod. 'But I have inter-
rupted you ā '
BARNABY RUDGE 97
'If now,' pursued Mr. Haredale, 'we should find it difficult to
separate these young people, and break off their intercourse ā if,
for instance, you find it difficult on your side, what course do you
intend to take?'
'Nothing plainer, my good fellow, nothing easier,' returned the
other, shrugging his shoulders and stretching himself more com-
fortably before the fire. 'I shall then exert those powers on which
you flatter me so highly ā though, upon my word, I don't deserve
your compliments to their full extent ā and resort to a few little
trivial subterfuges for rousing jealousy and resentment. You see?'
'In short, justifying the means by the end, we are, as a last re-
source for tearing them asunder, to resort to treachery and ā
lying,' said Mr. Haredale.
'Oh dear no. Fie fie!' returned the other, relishing a pinch of
snuff extremely. 'Not lying. Only a little management, a little
diplomacy, a little ā intriguing, that 's the word.'
'I wish,' said Mr. Haredale, moving to and fro, and stopping,
and moving on again, like one who was ill at ease, 'that this
could have been foreseen or prevented. But as it has gone so far,
and it is necessary for us to act, it is of no use shrinking or regret-
ting. Well! I shall second your endeavours to the utmost of my
power. There is one topic in the whole wide range of human
thoughts on which we both agree. We shall act in concert, but
apart. There will be no need, I hope, for us to meet again.'
'Are you going?' said Mr. Chester, rising with a graceful indo-
lence. 'Let me light you down the stairs.'
'Pray keep your seat,' returned the other drily, 'I know the
way.' So, waving his hand slightly, and putting on his hat as he
turned upon his heel, he went clanking out as he had come, shut
the door behind him, and tramped down the echoing stairs.
'Pah! A very coarse animal, indeed!' said Mr. Chester, com-
posing himself in the easy-chair again. 'A rough brute. Quite a
John Willet and his friends, who had been listening intently
for the clash of swords, or firing of pistols in the great room, and
had indeed settled the order in which they should rush in when
summoned ā in which procession old John had carefully arranged
that he should bring up the rear ā were very much astonished to
98 BAHNABY RUDGE
see Mr. Haredale come down without a scratch, call for his horse,
and ride away thoughtfully at a foot-pace. After some considera-
tion, it was decided that he had left the gentleman above, for
dead, and had adopted this stratagem to divert suspicion or
As this conclusion involved the necessity of their going upstairs
forthwith, they were about to ascend in the order they had agreed
upon, when a smart ringing at the guest's bell, as if he had pulled it
vigorously, overthrew all their speculations, and involved them in
great uncertainty and doubt. At length Mr. Willet agreed to go
upstairs himself, escorted by Hugh and Barnaby, as the strongest
and stoutest fellows on the premises, who were to make their
appearance under pretence of clearing away the glasses.
Under this protection, the brave and broad-faced John boldly
entered the room, half a foot in advance, and received an order
for a boot-jack without trembling. But when it was brought, and
he leant his sturdy shoulder to the guest, Mr. Willet was ob-
served to look very hard into his boots as he pulled them off, and,
by opening his eyes much wider than usual, to appear to express
some surprise and disappointment at not finding them full of blood.
He took, occasion, too, to examine the gentleman as closely as he
could, expecting to discover sundry loopholes in his person,
pierced by his adversary's sword. Finding none, however, and
observing in course of time that his guest was as cool and un-
ruffled, both in his dress and temper, as he had been all day, old
John at last heaved a deep sigh, and began to think no duel had
been fought that night.
'And now, Willet,' said Mr. Chester, 'if the room's well aired,
I '11 try the merits of that famous bed.'
'The room, sir,' returned John, taking up a candle, and nudging
Barnaby and Hugh to accompany them, in case the gentleman
should unexpectedly drop down faint or dead from some internal
wound, 'the room 's as warm as any toast in a tankard. Barnaby,
take you that other candle, and go on before. Hugh! Follow up,
sir, with the easy-chair.'
In this order ā and still, in his earnest inspection, holding his
candle very close to the guest; now making him feel extremely
warm about the legs, now threatening to set his wig on fire, and
BARNABY RUDGE 99
constantly begging his pardon with great awkwardness and em-
barrassment ā John led the party to the best bedroom, which was
nearly as large as the chamber from which they had come, and
held, drawn out near the fire for warmth, a great old spectral
bedstead, hung with faded brocade, and ornamented, at the top
of each carved post, with a plume of feathers that had once been
white, but with dust and age had now grown hearse-like and
'Good-night, my friends,' said Mr. Chester with a sweet smile,
seating himself, when he had surveyed the room from end to end,
in the easy-chair which his attendants wheeled before the fire.
'Good-night! Barnaby, my good fellow, you say some prayers
before you go to bed, I hope?'
Barnaby nodded. 'He has some nonsense that he calls his pray-
ers, sir,' returned old John, officiously. 'I 'm afraid there an't much
good in 'em.'
'And Hugh?' said Mr. Chester, turning to him.
'Not I,' he answered. 'I know his' ā pointing to Barnaby ā
'they're well enough. He sings 'em sometimes in the straw. I
'He 's quite a animal, sir,' John whispered in his ear with
dignity. 'You '11 excuse him, I 'm sure. If he has any soul at all,
sir, it must be such a very small one that it don't signify what he
does or doesn't in that way. Good-night, sir!'
The guest rejoined 'God bless you!' with a fervour that was
quite affecting; and John, beckoning his guards to go before,
bowed himself out of the room, and left him to his rest in the May-
pole's ancient bed.
If Joseph Willet, the denounced and proscribed of 'prentices, had
happened to be at home when his father's courtly guest presented
himself before the Maypole door ā that is, if it had not perversely
chanced to be one of the half-dozen days in the whole year on
which he was at liberty to absent himself for as many hours with-
out question or reproach ā he would have contrived, by hook or
100 BARNABY RUDGE
crook, to dive to the very bottom of Mr. Chester's "mystery, and
to come at his purpose with as much certainty as though he had
been his confidential adviser. In that fortunate case, the lovers
would have had quick warning of the ills that threatened them
and the aid of various timely and wise suggestions to boot ; for all
Joe's readiness of thought and action, and all his sympathies and
good wishes, were enlisted in favour of the young people, and
were staunch in devotion to their cause. Whether this disposition
arose out of his old prepossessions in favour of the young lady,
whose history had surrounded her in his mind, almost from his
cradle, with circumstances of unusual interest; or from his attach-
ment towards the young gentleman, into whose confidence he had,
through his shrewdness and alacrity, and the rendering of sundry
important services as a spy and messenger, almost imperceptibly
glided ; whether they had their origin in either of these sources, or
in the habit natural to youth, or in the constant badgering and
worrying of his venerable parent, or in any hidden little love-
affair of his own which gave him something of a fellow-feeling in
the matter, it is needless to inquire ā especially as Joe was out of
the way, and had no opportunity on that particular occasion of
testifying to his sentiments either on one side or the other.
It was, in fact, the twenty-fifth of March, which, as most people
know to their cost, is, and has been time out of mind, one of those
unpleasant epochs termed quarter-days. On this twenty-fifth of
March, it was John Willets pride annually to settle in hard cash,
his account with a certain vintner and distiller in the city of Lon-
don; to give into whose hands a canvas bag containing its exact
amount, and not a penny more or less, was the end and object of a
journey for Joe, so surely as the year and day came round.
This journey was performed upon an old grey mare, concern-
ing whom John had an indistinct set of ideas hovering about him,
to the effect that she could win a plate or cup if she tried. She
never had tried, and probably never would now, being some four-
teen or fifteen years of age, short in wind, long in body, and
rather the worse for wear in respect of her mane and tail. Not-
withstanding these slight defects, John perfectly gloried in the
animal; and when she was brought round to the door by Hugh,
BARNABY RUDGE 101
actually retired into the bar, and there, in a secret grove of
lemons, laughed with pride.
There's a bit of horseflesh, Hugh!' said John, when he had
recovered enough self-command to appear at the door again.
There 's a comely creature! There 's high mettle! There 's bone! '
There was bone enough beyond all doubt ; and so Hugh seemed
to think, as he sat sideways in the saddle, lazily doubled up with
his chin nearly touching his knees; and heedless of the dangling
stirrups and loose bridle-rein, sauntered up and down on the little
green before the door.
'Mind you take good care of her, sir,' said John, appealing from
this insensible person to his son and heir, who now appeared, fully
equipped and ready. 'Don't you ride hard.'
T should be puzzled to do that, I think, father,' Joe replied^
casting a disconsolate look at the animal.
'None of your impudence, sir, if you please,' retorted old John,
'What would you ride, sir? A wild ass or zebra would be toa
tame for you, wouldn't he, eh, sir? You'd like to ride a roaring
lion, wouldn't you, sir, eh, sir? Hold your tongue, sir.' When
Mr. Willet, in his differences with his son, had exhausted all the
questions that occurred to him, and Joe had said nothing at all
in answer, he generally wound up by bidding him hold his tongue.
And what does the boy mean,' added Mr. Willet, after he had
stared at him for a little time, in a species of stupefaction, ^by
cocking his hat, to such an extent? Are you going to kill the
'No,' said Joe, tartly; 'I 'm not. Now your mind 's at ease,,
'What a milintary air, too!' said Mr. Willet, surveying him
from top to toe; 'with a swaggering, fire-eating, biling-water
drinking sort of way with him! And what do you mean by pulling
up the crocuses and snowdrops, eh, sir?'
'It 's only a little nosegay,' said Joe, reddening. 'There 's no
harm in that, I hope?'
'You 're a boy of business, you are, sir!' said Mr. Willet, dis-
dainfully, 'to go supposing that wintners care for nosegays.'
T don't suppose anything of the kind,' returned Joe. 'Let thenr>
102 BAHNABY RUDGE
keep their red roses for bottles and tankards. These are going to
Mr. Varden's house.'
'And do you suppose he minds such things as crocuses?' de-
'I don't know, and to say the truth, I don't care,' said Joe.
'Come, father, give me the money, and in the name of patience let
There it is, sir,' replied John; 'and take care of it; and mind
you don't make too much haste back, but give the mare a long
rest. ā Do you mind?'
'Ay, I mind,' returned Joe. 'She '11 need it. Heaven knows.'
'And don't you score up too much at the Black Lion,' said
John. 'Mind that too.'
'Then why don't you let me have some money of my own?'
retorted Joe, sorrowfully; 'why don't you, father? What do you
send me into London for, giving me only the right to call for my
dinner at the Black Lion, which you 're to pay for next time you
go, as if I was not to be trusted with a few shillings? Wliy do you
use me like this? It 's not right of you. You can't expect me to
be quiet under it.'
'Let him have money!' cried John, in a drowsy reverie. 'What
does he call money ā guineas? Hasn't he got money? Over and
above the tolls, hasn't he one and sixpence?'
'One and sixpence!' repeated his son contemptuously.
'Yes, sir,' returned John, 'one and sixpence. When I was your
age I had never seen so much money, in a heap. A shilling of it is in
case of accidents ā the mare casting a shoe, or the like of that. The
other sixpence is to spend in the diversions of London; and the
diversion I recommend is to go to the top of the Monument and
sitting there. There 's no temptation there, sir ā no drink ā no
young women ā no bad characters of any sort ā nothing but imag-
ination. That 's the way I enjoyed myself when I was your age,
To this, Joe made no answer, but beckoning Hugh, leaped into
the saddle and rode away; and a very stalwart, manly horseman
he looked, deserving a better charger than it was his fortune to
bestride. John stood staring after him, or rather after the grey
mare (for he had no eyes for the rider), until man and beast had
BARNABY RUDGE 103
been out of sight some twenty minutes, when he began to think
they were gone, and slowly re-entering the house, fell into a gentle
The unfortunate grey mare, who was the agony of Joe's life,
floundered along at her own will and pleasure until the Maypole
was no longer visible, and then contracting her legs into what in a
puppet would have been looked upon as a clumsy and awkward
imitation of a canter, mended her pace all at once, and did it of
her own accord. The acquaintance with her rider's usual mode of
proceeding, which suggested this improvement in hers, impelled
her likewise to turn up a by-way, leading ā not to London, but
through lanes running parallel with the road they had come, and
passing within a few hundred yards of the Maypole, which led
finally to an inclosure surrounding a large, old, red-brick man-
sion ā the same of which mention was made as the Warren in the
first chapter of this history. Coming to a dead stop in a little
copse thereabout, she suffered her rider to dismount with right
good-will, and to tie her to the trunk of a tree.
'Stay there, old girl,' said Joe, 'and let us see whether there 's
any little commission for me to-day.' So saying, he left her to
browse upon such stunted grass and weeds as happened to grow
within the length of her tether, and passing through a wicket-gate,
entered the grounds on foot.
The pathway, after a very few minutes' walking, brought him
close to the house, towards which, and especially towards one
particular window, he directed many covert glances. It was a
dreary, silent building, with echoing court-yards, desolated turret-
chambers, and whole suites of rooms shut up and mouldering to
The terrace-garden, dark with the shade of overhanging trees,
had an air of melancholy that was quite oppressive. Great iron
gates, disused for many years, and red with rust, drooping on their
hinges and overgrown with long rank grass, seemed as though
they tried to sink into the ground, and hide their fallen state
among the friendly weeds. The fantastic monsters on the walls,
green with age and damp, and covered here and there with moss,
looked grim and desolate. There was a sombre aspect even on
that part of the mansion which was inhabited and kept in good
104 BARNABY RUDGE
repair, that struck the beholder with a sense of sadness; of some-
thing forlorn and failing, whence cheerfulness was banished. It
would have been difficult to imagine a bright fire blazing in the
dull and darkened rooms, or to picture any gaiety of heart or
revelry that the frowning walls shut in. It seemed a place where
such things had been, but could be no more ā the very ghost of a
house, haunting the old spot in its old outward form, and that
Much of this decayed and sombre look was attributable, no
doubt, to the death of its former master, and the temper of its
present occupant; but remembering the tale connected with the
mansion, it seemed the very place for such a deed and one that
might have been its predestined theatre years upon years ago.
Viewed with reference to this legend, the sheet of water where the
steward's body had been found appeared to wear a black and sul-
len character, such as no other pool might own; the bell upon the
roof that had told the tale of murder to the midnight wind, be-
came a very phantom whose voice would raise the listener's hair
on end; and every leafless bough that nodded to another, had its
stealthy whispering of the crime.
Joe paced up and down the path, sometimes stopping in affected
contemplation of the building or the prospect, sometimes leaning
against a tree with an assumed air of idleness and indifference, but
always keeping an eye upon the window he had singled out at
first. After some quarter of an hour's delay, a small white hand
was waved to him for an instant from this casement, and the
young man, with a respectful bow, departed; saying under his
breath as he crossed his horse again, 'No errand for me to-day!'
But the air of smartness, the cock of the hat to which John
Willet had objected, and the spring nosegay, all betokened some
little errand of his own having a more interesting object than a
vintner or even a locksmith. So, indeed, it turned out; for when
he had settled with the vintner ā whose place of business was down
in some deep cellars hard by Thames Street, and who was as
purple-faced an old gentleman as if he had all his life supported
their arched roof on his head ā when he had settled the account,
and taken the receipt, and declined tasting more than three glasses
of old sherry, to the unbounded astonishment of the purple-faced
BARNABY BUDGE 105
vintner, who, gimlet in hand, had projected an attack upon at
least a score of dusty casks, and who stood transfixed, or morally
gimleted as it were, to his own wail ā when he had done all this,
and disposed besides of a frugal dinner at the Black Lion in
Whitechapel ; spurning the IMonument and John's advice, he turned
his steps towards the locksmith's house, attracted by the eyes of
blooming Dolly Varden.
Joe was by no means a sheepish fellow, but, for all that, when
he got to the corner of the street in which the locksmith lived, he
could by no means make up his mind to walk straight to the house.
First, he resolved to stroll up another street for five minutes, then
up another street for five minutes more, and so on until he had
lost full half an hour, when he made a bold plunge and found
himself with a red face and a beating heart in the smoky work-
'Joe Willet or his ghost?' said Varden, rising from the desk at
which he was busy with his books, and looking at him under his
spectacles. 'Which is it? Joe in the flesh, eh? That's hearty.
And how are all the Chigwell company, Joe?'
'Much as usual, sir ā they and I agree as well as ever.'
'Well, well I' said the locksmith. 'We must be patient, Joe, and
bear with old folks' foibles. How 's the mare, Joe? Does she do
the four miles an hour as easily as ever? Ha, ha, ha! Does she,
Joe? Eh? ā What have we there, Joe ā a nosegay?'
'A very poor one, sir ā I thought ^liss Dolly ā '
'Xo, no,' said Gabriel, dropping his voice, and shaking his head,
'not Dolly. Give 'em to her mother, Joe. A great deal better give
'em to her mother. Would you mind giving 'em to Mrs. Varden,
'Oh no, sir,' Joe replied, and endeavouring, but not with the
greatest possible success, to hide his disappointment. 'I shall be
very glad, I 'm sure.'
'That 's right,' said the locksmith, patting him on the back. 'It
don't matter who has 'em, Joe?'
'Not a bit, sir.' ā Dear heart, how the words stuck in his throat!
'Come in,' said Gabriel. 'I have just been called to tea. She's
in the parlour.'
'She,' thought Joe. 'Which of 'em I wonder ā Mrs. or Miss?'
106 BARNABY RUDGE
The locksmith settled the doubt as neatly as if it had been ex-
pressed aloud, by leading him to the door, and saying, 'Martha, my
dear, here 's young Mr. Willet.'
Now, Mrs. Varden, regarding the Maypole as a sort of human
mantrap, or decoy for husbands; viewing its proprietor, and all
who aided and abetted him, in the light of so many poachers among
Christian men; and believing, moreover, that the publicans coupled
with sinners in Holy Writ were veritable licensed victuallers ; was
far from being favourably disposed towards her visitor. Where-
fore she was taken faint directly; and being duly presented with
the crocuses and snowdrops, divined on further consideration
that they were the occasion of the languor which had seized upon
her spirits. 'I 'm afraid I couldn't bear the room another minute,'
said the good lady, 'if they remain here. Would you excuse my
putting them out the window?'
Joe begged she wouldn't mention it on any account, and smiled
feebly as he saw them deposited on the sill outside. If anybody
could have known the pains he had taken to make up that des-