her to remember that one of these days she would, in all probabil-
ity, have to do violence to her feelings so far as to be married ; and
that marriage as she might see every day of her life (and truly she
did), was a state requiring great fortitude and forbearance. She
represented to her in lively colours, that if she (Mrs. V.) had not,
in steering her course through this vale of tears, been supported by
a strong principle of duty which alone upheld and prevented her
from drooping, she must have been in her grave many years ago;
in which case she desired to know what would have become of that
errant spirit (meaning the locksmith), of whose eye she was the
very apple, and in whose path she was, as it were, a shining light
and guiding star?
. Miss Miggs also put in her word to the same effect. She said
that indeed and indeed Miss Dolly might take pattern by her
blessed mother, who, she always had said, and always would say,
though she were to be hanged, drawn, and quartered for it next
minute was the mildest, amiablest, forgivingest-spirited, longest-
BARNABY RUDGE 1T3
sufferingest female as ever she could have believed ; the mere nar-
ration of whose excellencies had worked such a wholesome change
in the mind of her own sister-in-law, that, whereas, before, she
and her husband lived like cat and dog, and were in the habit of
exchanging brass candlesticks, pot-lids, flat-irons, and other such
strong resentments, they were now the happiest and affectionatest
couple upon earth; as could be proved any day on application at
Golden Lion Court, number twenty-sivin, second bell-handle on
the right-hand door-post. After glancing at herself as a compara-
tively worthless vessel, but still as one of some desert, she besought
her to bear in mind that her aforesaid dear and only mother was
of a weakly constitution and excitable temperament, who had con-
stantly to sustain afflictions in domestic life, compared with which
thieves and robbers were as nothing, and yet never sunk down or
gave way to despair or wrath, but, in prize-fighting phraseology,
always came up to time with a cheerful countenance, and went in
to win as if nothing had happened. When Miggs finished her solo,
her mistress struck in again, and the two together performed a duet
to the same purpose ; the burden being, that Mrs. Varden was per-
secuted perfection, and Mr. Varden, as the representative of
mankind in that apartment, a creature of vicious and brutal habits,
utterly insensible to the blessing he enjoyed. Of so refined a char-
acter, indeed, was their talent of assault under the mask of sym-
pathy, that when Dolly, recovering, embraced her father tenderly,
as in vindication of his goodness, Mrs. Varden expressed her solemn
hope that this would be a lesson to him for the remainder of his
life, and that he would do some little justice to a woman's nature
ever afterwards â in which aspiration Miss Miggs, by divers sniffs
and coughs, more significant than the longest oration, expressed
her entire concurrence.
But the great joy of Miggs's heart was, that she not only picked
up a full account of what had happened, but had the exquisite de-
light of conveying it to Mr. Tappertit for his jealousy and torture.
For that gentleman, on account of Dolly's indisposition, had been
requested to take his supper in the workshop, and it was conveyed
thither by jNIiss Miggs's own fair hands.
'Oh Simmun! ' said the young lady, 'such goings on to-day! Oh,
gracious me, Simmun!'
174 BARNABY RUDGE
Mr. Tappertit, who was not in the best of humours, and who
disliked Miss Miggs more when she laid her hand on her heart and
panted for breath than at any other time, as her deficiency of out-
line was most apparent under such circumstances, eyed her over
in his loftiest style, and deigned to express no curiosity whatever.
'I never heard the like, nor nobody else,' pursued Miggs. 'The
idea of interfering with her. What people can see in her to make
it worth their while to do so, that 's the joke â he he he! '
Finding there was a lady in the case, Mr. Tappertit haughtily
requested his fair friend to be more explicit, and demanded to
know what she meant by 'her.'
'Why, that Dolly,' said Miggs, with an extremely sharp emphasis
on the name. 'But, oh upon my word and honour, young Joseph
IVillet is a brave one; and he do deserve her, that he do.'
'Woman!' said Mr. Tappertit, jumping off the counter on which
he was seated; 'beware!'
'My stars, Simmun!' cried Miggs, in affected astonishment. 'You
frighten me to death! What 's the matter?'
'There are strings,' said Mr. Tappertit, flourishing his bread-
and-cheese knife in the air, 'in the human heart that had better
not be vibrated. That 's what 's the matter.'
'Oh, very well â if you 're in a huff,' cried Miggs, turning away.
'Huff or no huff,' said Mr. Tappertit, detaining her by the wrist.
'What do you mean, Jezebel? What were you going to say?
Answer me ! '
Notwithstanding this uncivil exhortation, Miggs gladly did as
she was required; and told him how that their young mistress,
being alone in the meadows after dark, had been attacked by three
or four tall men, who would have certainly borne her away and
perhaps murdered her, but for the timely arrival of Joseph Willet,
who with his own single hand put them all to flight, and rescued
her; to the lasting admiration of his fellow-creatures generally, and
to the eternal love and gratitude of Dolly Varden.
'Very good,' said Mr. Tappertit, fetching a long breath when
the tale was told, and rubbing his hair up till it stood stiff and
straight on end all over his head. 'His days are numbered.'
MR. TAPPERTIT DETAINS MIGGS BY THE WRIST
BAKXABY RUDGE 175
'I tell you/ said the 'prentice, 'his days are numbered. Leave
me. Get along with you.'
jVIiggs departed at his bidding, but less because of his bidding
than because she desired to chuckle in secret. When she had given
vent to her satisfaction, she returned to the parlour ; where the lock-
smith, stimulated by quietness and Toby, had become talkative,
and was disposed to take a cheerful review of the occurrences of
the day. But Mrs. Varden, whose practical religion (as is not un-
common) was usually of the retrospective order, cut him short by
declaiming on the sinfulness of such junketings, and holding that
it was high time to go to bed. To bed therefore she withdrew, with
an aspect as grim and gloomy as that of the Maypole's own state
couch; and to bed the rest of the estabhshment soon afterwards
Twilight had given place to night some hours, and it was high
noon in those quarters of the town in which 'the world' condescend-
ed to dwell â the world being then, as now, of very limited dimen-
sions and easily lodged â when Mr. Chester reclined upon a sofa
in his dressing-room in the Temple, entertaining himself with a
He was dressing, as it seemed, by easy stages, and having per-
formed half the journey was taking a long rest. Completely attired
as to his legs and feet in the trimmest fashion of the day, he had
yet the remainder of his toilet to perform. The coat was stretched,
like a refined scare-crow, on its separate horse; the waistcoat was
displayed to the best advantage; the various ornamental articles
of dress were severally set out in most alluring order; and yet he
lay dangling his legs between the sofa and the ground, as intent
upon his book as if there were nothing but bed before him.
'Upon my honour,' he said, at length raising his eyes to (he
ceiling with the air of a man who was reflecting seriously on what
he had read; 'upon my honour, the most masterly composition, the
most delicate thoughts, the finest code of morality, and the most
176 BARNABY RUDGE
gentlemanly sentiments in the universe! Ah, Ned, Ned, if you
would but form your mind by such precepts, we should have but
one common feeling on every subject that could possibly arise be-
This apostrophe was addressed, like the rest of his remarks, to
empty air: for Edward was not present, and the father was quite
'My Lord Chesterfield,' he said, pressing his hand tenderly upon
the book as he laid it down, 'if I could but have profited by your
genius soon enough to have formed my son on the model you have
left to all wise fathers, both he and I would have been rich men.
Shakespeare was undoubtedly very fine in his v/ay; Milton good,
though prosy; Lord Bacon deep, and decidedly knowing; but the
writer who should be his country's pride, is my Lord Chesterfield.'
He became thoughtful again, and the toothpick was in requisi-
'I thought I was tolerably accomplished as a man of the world,'
he continued, 'I flattered myself that I was pretty well versed in
all those little arts and graces which distinguish men of the world
from boors and peasants, and separate their character from those
intensely vulgar sentiments which are called the national character.
Apart from any natural prepossession in my own favour, I believed
I was. Still, in every page of this enlightened writer, I find some
captivating hypocrisy which has never occurred to me before, or
some superlative piece of selfishness to which I was utterly a
stranger. I should quite blush for myself before this stupendous
creature, if, remembering his precepts, one might blush at any-
thing. An amazing man! a nobleman indeed! any King or Queen
may make a Lord, but only the devil himself â and the Graces â
can make a Chesterfield.'
Men who are thoroughly false and hollow, seldom try to hide
those vices from themselves; and yet in the very act of avowing
them, they lay claim to the virtues they feign most to despise.
Tor,' say they, 'this is honesty, this is truth. All mankind are like
us, but they have not the candour to avow it.' The more they af-
fect to deny the existence of any sincerity in the world, the more
they would be thought to possess it in its boldest shape ; and this is
BARXABY RUDGE 177
an unconscious compliment to Truth on the part of these philoso-
phers, which will turn against them to the Day of Judgment.
Mr. Chester, having extolled his favourite author, as above
recited, took up the book again in the excess of his admiration and
was composing himself for a further perusal of its sublime moral-
ity, when he was disturbed by a noise at the outer door; occa-
sioned as it seemed by the endeavours of his servant to obstruct
the entrance of some unwelcome visitor.
'A late hour for an importunate creditor,' he said, raising his
eyebrows with as indolent an expression of wonder as if the noise
were in the street, and one w^ith which he had not the smallest
possible concern. 'IMuch after their accustomed time. The usual
pretence, I suppose. No doubt a heavy payment to make up to-
morrow. Poor fellow, he loses time, and time is money as the good
proverb says â I never found it out though. Well. What now?
You know I am not at home.'
'A man, sir,' replied the servant, who was to the full as cool and
negligent in his way as his master, 'has brought home the riding-
v/hip you lost the other day. I told him you were out, but he said
he was to wait while I brought it in, and wouldn't go till I did.'
'He was quite right,' returned his master, 'and you 're a block-
head, possessing no judgment or discretion whatever. Tell him to
come in, and see that he rubs his shoes for exactly five minutes
The man laid the whip on a chair, and withdrew. The master,
who had only heard his foot upon the ground and had not taken
the trouble to turn round and look at him, shut his book, and pur-
sued the train of ideas his entrance had disturbed.
Tf time were money,' he said, handling his snuff-box, T would
compound with my creditors, and give them â let me see â how
much a day? There 's my nap after dinner â an hour â they 're
extremely welcome to that, and to make the most of it. In the
morning, between my breakfast and the paper. I could spare them
another hour; in the evening before dinner say another. Three
hours a day. They might pay themselves in calls, with interest, in
twelve months. I think I shall propose it to them. Ah, my centaur,
are you there?'
178 BARNABY RUDGE
'Here I am/ replied Hugh, striding in, followed by a dog, as
rough and sullen as himself; 'and trouble enough I 've had to get
here. What do you ask me to come for, and keep me out when I
'My good fellow,' returned the other, raising his head a little
from the cushion and carelessly surveying him from top to toe, ^I
am delighted to see you, and to have, in your being here, the very
best proof that you are not kept out. How are you?'
'I 'm well enough,' said Hugh impatiently.
'You look a perfect marvel of health. Sit down.'
'I 'd rather stand,' said Hugh.
Tlease yourself, my good fellow,' returned Mr. Chester rising,
slowly pulling off the loose robe he wore, and sitting down before
the dressing-glass. Tlease yourself by all means.'
Having said this in the politest and blandest tone possible, he
went on dressing, and took no further notice of his guest, who
stood in the same spot as uncertain what to do next, eyeing him
sulkily from time to time.
'Are you going to speak to me, master?' he said, after a long
'My worthy creature,' returned Mr. Chester, 'you are a little
ruffled and out of humour. I '11 wait till you 're quite yourself
again. I am in no hurry.'
This behaviour had its intended effect. It humbled and abashed
the man, and made him still more irresolute and uncertain. Hard
words he could have returned, violence he would have repaid with
interest; but this cool, complacent, contemptuous, self-possessed
reception, caused him to feel his inferiority more completely than
the most elaborate arguments. Everything contributed to this
effect. His own rough speech, contrasted with the soft persuasive
accents of the other; his rude bearing, and Mr. Chester's polished
manner; the disorder and negligence of his ragged dress, and the
elegant attire he saw before him; with all the unaccustomed lux-
uries and comforts of the room, and the silence that gave him
leisure to observe these things, and feel how ill at ease they made
him; all these influences, which have too often some effect on
tutored minds and become of almost resistless power when brought
to bear on such a mind as his, quelled Hugh completely. He moved
BARNABV RUDGE 179
by little and little nearer to Mr. Chester's chair, and glancing over
his shoulder at the reflection of his face in the glass, as if seeking
for some encouragement in its expression, said at length, with a
rough attempt at conciliation,
'Are you going to speak to me, master, or am I to go away?'
'Speak you,' said Mr. Chester, 'speak you, good fellow. I have
spoken, have I not? I am waiting for you.'
'Why, look 'ee, sir,' returned Hugh with increased embarrass-
ment, 'am I the man that you privately left your whip with before
you rode away from the Maypole, and told to bring it back when-
ever he might want to see you on a certain subject?'
'No doubt the same, or you have a twin brother,' said Mr.
Chester, glancing at the reflection of his anxious face; 'which is
not probable, I should say.'
'Then I have come, sir,' said Hugh, 'and I have brought it back,
and something else along with it. A letter, sir, it is, that I took
from the person who had charge of it.' As he spoke, he laid upon
the dressing-table, Dolly's lost epistle. The very letter that had
cost her so much trouble.
'Did you obtain this by force, my good fellow?' said Mr. Chester,
casting his eye upon it without the least perceptible surprise or
'Not quite,' said Hugh. 'Partly.'
*Who was the messenger from whom you took it?'
'A woman. One Varden's daughter.'
'Oh indeed!' said Mr. Chester gaily. 'What else did you take
'Yes,' said the other, in a drawling manner, for he was fixing a
very small patch of sticking plaster on a very small pimple near the
corner of his mouth. 'What else?'
'Well â a kiss,' replied Hugh, after some hesitation.
â¢And what else?'
'I think,' said Mr. Chester, in the same easy tone, and smiling
twice or thrice to try if the patch adhered â 'I think there was
something else. I have heard a trifle of jewellery spoken of â a
mere trifle â a thing of such little value, indeed, that you may
180 BARNABY RUDGE
have forgotten it. Do you remember anything of the kind â such
as a bracelet now, for instance?'
Hugh with a muttered oath thrust his hand into his breast, and
drawing the bracelet forth, wrapped in a scrap of hay, was about
to lay it on the table likewise, when his patron stopped his hand
and bade him put it up again.
'You took that for yourself, my excellent friend,' he said, ^and
may keep it. I am neither a thief nor a receiver. Don't show it to
me. You had better hide it again, and lose no time. Don't let me
see where you put it either,' he added, turning away his head.
You 're not a receiver! ' said Hugh bluntly, despite the increasing
awe in which he held him. 'What do you call that, master?' striking
the letter with his heavy hand.
'I call that quite another thing,' said Mr. Chester coolly. 'I shall
prove it presently, as you will see. You are thirsty, I suppose?'
Hugh drew his sleeve across his lips, and gruffly answered yes.
'Step to that closet and bring me a bottle you will see there, and
He obeyed. His patron followed him with his eyes, and when his
back was turned, smiled as he had never done when he stood beside
the mirror. On his return he filled the glass, and bade him drink.
That dram despatched, he poured him out another, and another.
'How many can you bear?' he said, filling the glass again.
'As many as you like to give me. Pour on. Fill high. A bumper
with a bead in the middle! Give me enough of this,' he added, as
he tossed it down his hairy throat, 'and I '11 do murder if you ask
'As I don't mean to ask you, and you might possibly do it with-
out being invited if you went on much further,' said Mr. Chester
with great composure, 'we will stop, if agreeable to you, my good
friend, at the next glass. You were drinking before you came here.'
'I always am when I can get it,' cried Hugh boisterously, waving
the empty glass above his head, and throwing himself into a rude
dancing attitude. 'I always am. Why not? Ha ha ha! What 's so
good to me as this? What ever has been? What else has kept away
the cold on bitter nights, and driven hunger off in starving times?
What else has given me the strength and courage of a man, when
BARNABY RUDGE 181
men would have left me to die, a puny child? I should never have
had a man's heart but for this. I should have died in a ditch.
Where 's he who when I was a weak and sickly wretch, with
trembling legs and fading sight, bade me cheer up, as this did?
I never knew him; not I. I drink to the drink, master. Ha ha ha! '
'You are an exceedingly cheerful young man,' said Mr. Chester,
putting on his cravat with great deliberation, and slightly moving
his head from side to side to settle his chin in its proper place.
'Quite a boon companion.'
'Do you see this hand, master,' said Hugh, 'and this arm?' baring
the brawny limb to the elbow. 'It was once mere skin and bone,
and w^ould have been dust in some poor churchyard by this time,
but for the drink.'
'You may cover it,' said Mr. Chester, 'it 's sufficiently real in
'I should never have been spirited up to take a kiss from the
proud little beauty, master, but for the drink,' cried Hugh. 'Ha
ha ha! It was a good one. As sweet as honey-suckle I warrant you.
I thank the drink for it. I '11 drink to the drink again, master. Fill
me one more. Come. One more!'
'You are such a promising fellow,' said his patron, putting on his
waistcoat with great nicety, and taking no heed of this request,
'that I must caution you against having too many impulses from
the drink, and getting hung before your time. What 's your age?'
'I don't know.'
'At any rate,' said Mr. Chester, 'you are young enough to escape
what I may call a natural death for some years to come. How can
you trust yourself in my hands on so short an acquaintance, with
a halter round your neck? What a confiding nature yours must be I '
Hugh fell back a pace or two and surveyed him with a look of
mingled terror, indignation, and surprise. Regarding himself in the
glass with the same complacency as before, and speaking as smooth-
ly as if he were discussing some pleasant chit-chat of the town, his
patron went on:
'Robbery on the king's highway, my young friend, is a very
dangerous and ticklish occupation. It is pleasant, I have no doubt,
while it lasts; but like many other pleasures in this transitory
182 BARNABY RUDGE
world, it seldom lasts long. And really if, in the ingenuousness ot
youth, you open your heart so readily on the subject, I am afraid
your career will be an extremely short one.'
'Hovt^ 's this?' said Hugh. 'What do you talk of, master? Who
was it set me on?'
'Who?' said Mr. Chester, wheeling sharply round, and looking
full at him for the first time. 'I didn't hear you. Who was it?'
Hugh faltered, and muttered something which was not audible.
'Who was it? I am curious to know,' said Mr. Chester, with
surpassing affability. 'Some rustic beauty perhaps? But be cau-
tious, my good friend. They are not always to be trusted. Do take
my advice now, and be careful of yourself.' With these words he
turned to the glass again, and went on with his toilet.
Hugh would have answered him that he, the questioner himself,
had set him on, but the words stuck in his throat. The consum-
mate art with which his patron had led him to this point, and man-
aged the whole conservation, perfectly baffled him. He did not
doubt that if he had made the retort which was on his lips when
Mr. Chester turned round and questioned him so keenly, he would
straightway have given him into custody and had him dragged
before a justice with the stolen property upon him; in which case
it was as certain he would have been hung as it was that he had
been born. The ascendency which it was the purpose of the man of
the world to establish over this savage instrument, was gained from
that time. Hugh's submission was complete. He dreaded him be-
yond description; and felt that accident and artifice had spun a
web about him, which at a touch from such a .master-hand as his,
would bind him to the gallows.
With these thoughts passing through his mind, and yet wonder-
ing at the very same time how he who came there rioting in the
confidence of this man (as he thought), should be so soon and so
thoroughly subdued, Hugh stood cowering before him, regarding
him uneasily from time to time, while he finished dressing. When
he had done so, he took up the letter, broke the seal, and throwing
himself back in his chair, read it leisurely through.
'Very neatly worded upon my life! Quite a woman's letter, full
of what people call tenderness, and disinterestedness, and heart,
and all that sort of thing ! '
BARNABY RUDGE 18U
As he spoke, he twisted it up, and glancing lazily round at Hugh
as though he would say 'You see this?' held it in the flame of the
candle. When it was in a full blaze, he tossed it into the grate, and
there it smouldered away.
'It was directed to my son,' he said, turning to Hugh, 'and you
did quite right to bring it here. I opened it on my own responsibil-
ity, and you see what I have done with it. Take this, for your
Hugh stepped forward to receive the piece of money he held out
to him. As he put it in his hand, he added:
'If you should happen to find anything else of this sort, or tG
pick up any kind of information you may think I would like to
have, bring it here, will you, my good fellow?'
This was said with a smile which implied â or Hugh thought it
did â 'fail to do so at your peril!' He answered that he would.
'And don't,' said his patron, with an air of the very kindest
patronage, 'don't be at all downcast or uneasy respecting that little
rashness we have been speaking of. Your neck is as safe in my
hands, my good fellow, as though a baby's fingers clasped it, I
assure you. â Take another glass. You are quieter now.'
Hugh accepted it from his hand, and looking stealthily at his
smiling face, drank the contents in silence.
'Don't you â ha, ha I â don't you drink to the drink any more?'
said Mr. Chester, in his most winning manner.
'To you, sir,' was the sullen answer, with something approaching