ing at him intently, still, 'that you were a part of my dream. It
was a curious one. I hope it may never come true, master.'
'What makes you shiver?'
'The — the cold, I suppose,' he growled, as he shook himself and
rose. T hardly know where I am yet.'
'Do you know me?' said Mr. Chester.
'Ay, I know you,' he answered. 'I was dreaming of you — we 're
not where I thought we were. That 's a comfort.'
BARNA13Y RUDGE 217
He looked round him as he spoke, and in particular looked
above his head, as though he half expected to be standing under
some object which had had existence in his dream. Then he rubbed
his eyes and shook himself again, and followed his conductor into
his own rooms.
]Mr. Chester lighted the candles which stood upon his dressing-
table, and wheeling an easy-chair towards the fire, which was yet
burning, stirred up a cheerful blaze, sat down before it, and bade
his uncouth visitor 'Come here,' and draw his boots off.
'You have been drinking again, my fine fellow,' he said, as
Hugh went down on one knee, and did as he was told.
'As I 'm alive, master, I 've walked the twelve long miles, and
waited here, I don't know how long, and had no drink between my
lips since dinner-time at noon.'
'And can you do nothing better, my pleasant friend, than fall
asleep, and shake the very building with your snores?' said ^Ir.
Chester. 'Can't you dream in your straw at home, dull dog as you
are, that you need come here to do it? — Reach me those slippers,
and tread softly.'
Hugh obeyed in silence.
'And hark 'ee, my dear young gentleman,' said Mr. Chester, as
he put them on, 'the next time you dream, don't let it be of me, but
of some dog or horse with whom you are better acquainted. Fill
the glass once — you '11 find it and the bottle in the same place —
and empty it to keep yourself awake.'
Hugh obeyed again — even more zealously — and having done
so, presented himself before his patron.
'Now,' said Mr. Chester, 'what do you want with me?'
'There was news to-day,' returned Hugh. 'Your son was at our
house — came down on horseback. He tried to see the young woman,
but couldn't get sight of her. He left some letter or some message
which our Joe had charge of, but he and the old one quarrelled
about it when your son had gone, and the old one wouldn't let it
be delivered. He says (that 's the old one does) that none of his
people shall interfere and get him into trouble. He 's a landlord,
he says, and lives on everybody's custom.'
'He 's a jewel,' smiled Mr. Chester, 'and the better for being a
dull one.— Well?'
218 BARNABY RUDGE
'Varden's daughter — that 's the girl I kissed — '
' — and stole the bracelet from upon the king's highway/ said
Mr. Chester, composedly. 'Yes; what of her?'
'She wrote a note at our house to the young woman, saying she
lost the letter I brought to you, and you burnt. Our Joe was to
carry it, but the old one kept him at home all next day, on pur-
pose that he shouldn't. Next morning he gave it to me to take;
and here it is.'
'You didn't deliver it then, my good friend?' said Mr. Chester,
twirling Dolly's note between his finger and thumb, and feigning
to be surprised.
'I supposed you 'd want to have it,' retorted Hugh. 'Burn one,
burn all, I thought.'
'My devil-may-care acquaintance,' said Mr. Chester — 'really if
you do not draw some nicer distinctions, your career will be cut
short with most surprising suddenness. Don't you know that the
letter you brought to me, was directed to my son who resides in
this very place? And can you descry no difference between his let-
ters and those addressed to other people?'
'If you don't want it,' said Hugh, disconcerted by this reproof,
for he had expected high praise, 'give it me back, and I '11 deliver
it. I don't know how to please you, master.'
'I shall deliver it,' returned his patron, putting it away after a
moment's consideration, 'myself. Does the young lady walk out,
on fine mornings?'
'Mostly — about noon is her usual time.'
'In the grounds before the house. — Them that the footpath
'If the weather should be fine, I may throw myself in her way
to-morrow, perhaps,' said Mr. Chester, as coolly as if she were
one of his ordinary acquaintance. 'Mr. Hugh, if I should ride up
to the Maypole door, you will do me the favour only to have seen
me once. You must suppress your gratitude, and endeavour to for-
get my forbearance in the matter of the bracelet. It is natural it
should break out, and it does you honour; but when other folks
BARNABY KUDGE 219
are by, you must, for your own sake and safety, be as like your
usual self as though you owed me no obligation whatever, and had
never stood within these walls. You comprehend me?'
Hugh understood him perfectly. After a pause he muttered that
he hoped his patron would involve him in no trouble about this
last letter; for he had kept it back solely with the view of pleasing
him. He was continuing in this strain, when Mr. Chester with a
most beneficent and patronising air cut him short by saying:
'My good fellow, you have my promise, my word, my sealed
bond (for a verbal pledge with me is quite as good), that I will
always protect you so long as you deserve it. Now, do set your
mind at rest. Keep it at ease, I beg of you. When a man puts him-
self in my pow^r so thoroughly as you have done, I really feel as
though he had a kind of claim upon me. I am more disposed to
mercy and forbearance under such circumstances than I can tell
you, Hugh. Do look upon me as your protector, and rest assured, I
entreat you, that on the subject of that indiscretion, you may pre-
serve, as long as you and I are friends, the lightest heart that ever
beat within a human breast. Fill that glass once more to cheer you
on your road homewards — I am really quite ashamed to think how
far you have to go — and then God bless you for the night.'
'They think,' said Hugh; when he had tossed the liquor down,
'that I am sleeping soundly in the stable. Ha ha ha! The stable
door is shut, but the steed's gone, master.'
'You are a most convivial fellow,' returned his friend, 'and I
love your humour of all things. Good-night! Take the greatest
possible care of yourself, for my sake!'
It was remarkable that during the whole interview, each had
endeavoured to catch stolen glances of the other's face, and had
never looked full at it. They interchanged one brief and hasty
glance as Hugh went out, averted their eyes directly, and so sepa-
rated. Hugh closed the double doors behind him, carefully and
without noise: and ^Ir. Chester remained in his easy-chair, with
his gaze intently fixed upon the fire.
'Well!' he said, after meditating for a long time — and said with
a deep sigh and an uneasy shifting of his attitude, as though he
dismissed some other subject from his thoughts, and returned to
that which had held possession of them all the day — 'the plot
220 BARNABY RUDGE
thickens; I have thrown the shell; it will explode, I think, in
eight-and-forty hours, and should scatter these good folks amaz-
ingly. We shall see!'
He went to bed and fell asleep, but had not slept long when he
started up and thought that Hugh was at the outer door, calling in
a strange voice, very different from his own, to be admitted. The
delusion was so strong upon him, and was so full of that vague
terror of the night in which such visions have their being, that he
rose, and taking his sheathed sword in his hand, opened the door,
and looked out upon the staircase, and towards the spot where
Hugh had lain asleep; and even spoke to him by name. But all
was dark and quiet, and creeping back to bed again, he fell, after
an hour's uneasy watching, into a second sleep, and woke no more
The thoughts of worldly men are for ever regulated by a moral
law of gravitation, which, like the physical one, holds them down
to earth. The bright glory of day, and the silent wonders of a star-
lit night, appeal to their minds in vain. There are no signs in the
sun, or in the moon, or in the stars, for their reading. They are like
some wise men, who, learning to know each planet by its Latin
name, have quite forgotten such small heavenly constellations as
Charity, Forbearance, Universal Love, and Mercy, although they
shine by night and day so brightly that the blind may see them;
and who, looking upward at the spangled sky, see nothing there
but the reflection of their own great wisdom and book-learning.
It is curious to imagine these people of the world, busy in
thought, turning their eyes towards the countless spheres that
shine above us, and making them reflect the only images their
minds contain. The man who lives but in the breath of princes, has
nothing in his sight but stars for courtiers' breasts. The envious
man beholds his neighbour's honours even in the sky; to the
money-hoarder, and the mass of worldly folk, the whole great uni-
verse above glitters with sterling coin — fresh from the mint —
stamped with the sovereign's head coming always between them
BARNABY RUDGE 221
and heaven, turn where they may. So do the shadows of our own
desires stand between us and our better angels, and thus their
brightness is eclipsed.
Everything was fresh and gay, as though the world were but
that morning made, when ^Ir. Chester rode at a tranquil pace
along the Forest road. Though early in the season, it was warm
and genial weather; the trees were budding into leaf, the hedges
and the grass were green, the air was musical with songs of birds,
and high above them all the lark poured out her richest melody.
In shady spots, the morning dew sparkled on each young leaf and
blade of grass; and where the sun was shining, some diamond
drops yet glistened brightly, as in unwillingness to leave so fair a
world, and have such brief existence. Even the light wind, whose
rustling was as gentle to the ear as softly-falling water, had its
hope and promise; and, leaving a pleasant fragrance in its track
as it went fluttering by, whispered of its intercourse with Summer,
and of his happy coming.
The solitary rider went glancing on among the trees, from sun-
light into shade and back again, at the same even pace — looking
about him, certainly, from time to time, but with no greater
thought of the day or the scene through which he moved, than that
he was fortunate (being choicely dressed) to have such favourable
weather. He smiled very complacently at such times, but rather as
if he were satisfied with himself than with anything else: and so
went riding on, upon his chestnut cob, as pleasant to look upon as
his own horse, and probably far less sensitive to the many cheer-
ful influences by which he was surrounded.
In the course of time, the ^Maypole's massive chimneys rose upon
his view: but he quickened not his pace one jot, and with the same
cool gravity rode up to the tavern porch. John Willet, who was
toasting his red face before a great fire in the bar, and who, with
surpassing foresight and quickness of apprehension, had been
thinking, as he looked at the blue sky, that if that state of things
lasted much longer, it might ultimately become necessary to leave
off fires and throw the windows open, issued forth to hold his stir-
rup; calling lustily for Hugh.
'Oh, you're here, are you, sir?' said John, rather surprised by the
quickness with which he appeared. 'Take this here valuable animal
222 BARNABY RUDGE
into the stable, and have more than particular care of him if you
want to keep your place. A mortal lazy fellow, sir; he needs a deal
of looking after.'
'But you have a son/ returned Mr. Chester, giving his bridle to
Hugh as he disniounted, and acknowledging his salute by a care-
less motion of his hand towards his hat. 'Why don't you make him
useful ? '
'Why, the truth is, sir,' replied John, with great importance,
'that my son — what, you're a-listening are you, villain?'
'Who's listening?' returned Hugh angrily. 'A treat, indeed, to
hear you speak! Would you have me take him in till he's cool?'
'Walk him up and down further off then, sir,' cried old John,
'and when you see me and a noble gentleman entertaining ourselves
with talk, keep your distance. If you don't know your distance,
sir,' added IMr. Willet, after an enormously long pause, during
which he fixed his great dull eyes on Hugh, and waited with ex-
emplary patience for any little property in the way of ideas that
might come to him, 'we'll find a way to teach you, pretty soon.'
Hugh shrugged his shoulders scornfully, and in his reckless
swaggering way, crossed to the other side of the little green, and
there, with the bridle slung loosely over his shoulder, led the horse
to and fro, glancing at his master every now and then from under
his bushy eyebrows, with as sinister an aspect as one would desire
Mr. Chester, who, without appearing to do so, had eyed him at-
tentively during this brief dispute, stepped into the porch, and
turning abruptly to Mr. Willet, said,
'You keep strange servants, John.'
'Strange enough to look at, sir, certainly,' answered the host;
'but out of doors; for horses, dogs, and the likes of that; there
an't a better man in England than is that Maypole Hugh yonder.
He an't fit for indoors,' added ^Ir. Willet, with the confidential air
of a man who felt his own superior nature. '/ do that; but if that
chap had only a little imagination, sir — '
'He's an active fellow now, I dare swear,' said Mr. Chester, in a
musing tone, which seemed to suggest that he would have said the
same had there been nobody to hear him.
BARNABY RUDGE 223
'Active, sir,' retorted John, with quite an expression in his face;
'that chap! Hallo there! You, sir! Bring that horse here, and go
and hang my wig on the weathercock, to show this gentleman
whether you're one of the lively sort or not.'
Hugh made no answer, but throwing the bridle to his master,
and snatching his wig from his head, in a manner so unceremo-
nious and hasty that the action discomposed Mr. Willet not a little,
though performed at his own special desire, climbed nimbly to the
very summit of the maypole before the house, and hanging the wig
upon the weathercock, sent it twirling round like a roasting jack.
Having achieved this performance, he cast it on the ground, and
sliding down the pole with inconceivable rapidity, alighted on his
feet almost as soon as it had touched the earth.
'There, sir,' said John, relapsing into his usual stolid state, 'you
won't see that at many houses, besides the Maypole, where there's
good accommodation for man and beast — nor that neither, though
that with him is nothing.'
This last remark bore reference to his vaulting on horseback, as
upon Mr. Chester's first visit, and quickly disappearing by the
'That with him is nothing,' repeated ]Mr. Willet, brushing his
wig with his wrist, and inwardly resolving to distribute a small
charge for dust and damage to that article of dress, through the
various items of his guest's bill ; 'he'll get out of a'most any winder
in the house. There never was such a chap for flinging himself
about and never hurting his bones. It's my opinion, sir, that it's
pretty nearly all owing to his not having any imagination: and if
that imagination could be (which it can't) knocked into him. he'd
never be able to do it anymore. But we was a-talking, sir. about
'True, Willet, true,' said his visitor, turning again towards the
landlord with that serenity of face. 'My good friend, what about
It has been reported that ^Ir. Willet, previously to making an-
swer, winked. But as he was never known to be guilty of such
lightness of conduct either before or afterwards, this may be looked
upon as a malicious invention of his enemies — founded, perhaps.
224 BARNABY RUDGE
upon the undisputed circumstance of his taking his guest by the
third breast button of his coat, counting downwards from the chin,
and pouring his reply into his ear:
'Sir/ whispered John, with dignity, 'I know my duty. We want
no love-making here, sir, unbeknown to parents. I respect a certain
young gentleman, taking him in the light of a young gentleman;
I respect a certain young lady, taking her in the light of a young
lady; but of the two as a couple, I have no knowledge, sir, none
whatever. My son, sir, is upon his patrole.'
'I thought I saw him looking through the corner window but
this moment,' said Mr. Chester, who naturally thought that being
on patrole, implied walking about somewhere.
'No doubt you did, sir,' returned John. 'He is upon his patrole
of honour, sir, not to leave the premises. Me and some friends of
mine that use the Maypole of an evening, sir, considered what was
best to be done with him, to prevent his doing anything unpleasant
in opposing your desires; and we've put him on his patrole. And
what's more, sir, he won't be off his patrole for a pretty long time
to come, I can tell you that.'
When he had communicated this bright idea, which had its origin
in the perusal by the village cronies of a newspaper, containing
among other matters, an account of how some officer pending the
sentence of some court-martial had been enlarged on parole, Mr.
Willet drew back from his guest's ear, and without any visible al-
teration of feature, chuckled thrice audibly. This nearest approach
to a laugh in which he ever indulged (and that but seldom and
only on extreme occasions), never even curled his lip or effected
the smallest change in — no, not so much as a slight wagging of —
his great, fat, double chin, which at these times, as at all others,
remained a perfect desert in the broad map of his face; one
changeless, dull, tremendous blank.
Lest it should be matter of surprise to any, that Mr. Willet
adopted this bold course in opposition to one whom he had often
entertained, and who had always paid his way at the Maypole gal-
lantly, it may be remarked that it was his very penetration and
sagacity in this respect, which occasioned him to indulge in those
unusual demonstrations of jocularity, just now recorded. For Mr.
Willet, after carefully balancing father and son in his mental
BARNABY RUDGE 225
scales, had arrived at the distinct conclusion that the old gentle-
man was a better sort of a customer than the young one. Throwing
his landlord into the same scale, which was already turned by this
consideration, and heaping upon him, again, his strong desires to
run counter to the unfortunate Joe, and his opposition as a gen-
eral principle to all matters of love and matrimony, it went down
to the very ground straightway, and sent the light cause of the
younger gentleman flying upwards to the ceiling. Mr. Chester was
not the kind of man to be by any means dim-sighted to Mr. Wil-
let's motives, but he thanked him as graciously as if he had been
one of the most disinterested martyrs that ever shone on earth;
and leaving him, with many complimentary reliances on his great
taste and judgment, to prepare whatever dinner he might deem
most fitting the occasion, bent his steps towards the Warren.
Dressed with more than his usual elegance; assuming a grace-
fulness of manner, which, though it was the result of long study,
sat easily upon him and became him well; composing his features
into their most serene and prepossessing expression ; and setting in
short that guard upon himself, at every point, which denoted that
he attached no slight importance to the impression he was about
to make; he entered the bounds of ]\Iiss Haredale's usual walk.
He had not gone far, or looked about him long, when he descried
coming towards him, a female figure. A glimpse of the form and
dress as she crossed a little w^ooden bridge which lay between them,
satisfied him that he had found her whom he desired to see. He
threw himself in her way, and a very few paces brought them close
He raised his hat from his head, and yielding the path, suffered
her to pass him. Then, as if the idea had but that moment occurred
to him, he turned hastily back and said in an agitated voice:
T beg pardon — do I address Miss Haredale?'
She stopped in some confusion at being so unexpectedly accosted
by a stranger; and answered 'Yes.'
'Something told me,' he said, looking a compliment to her
beauty, 'that it could be no other. Miss Haredale, I bear a name
which is not unknown to you — which it is a pride, and yet a pain to
me to know, sounds pleasantly in your ears. I am a man advanced
in life, as you see. I am the father of him whom you honour and
226 BARNABY RUDGE
distinguish above all other men. May I for weighty reasons which
fill me with distress, beg but a minute's conversation with you
Who that was inexperienced in deceit, and had a frank and
youthful heart, could doubt the speaker's truth — could doubt it
too, when the voice that spoke, was like the faint echo of one she
knew so well, and so much loved to hear? She inclined her head,
and stopping, cast her eyes upon the ground.
'A little more apart — among these trees. It is an old man's hand.
Miss Haredale; an honest one, believe me.'
She put hers in it as he said these words, and suffered him to lead
her to a neighbouring seat.
'You alarm me, sir,' she said in a low voice. You are not the
bearer of any ill news, I hope?'
'Of none that you anticipate,' he answered, sitting down beside
her. 'Edward is well — quite well. It is of him I wish to speak, cer-
tainly; but I have no misfortune to communicate.'
She bowed her head again, and made as though she would have
begged him to proceed; but said nothing.
'I am sensible that I speak to you at a disadvantage, dear Miss
Haredale. Believe me that I am not so forgetful of the feelings of
my younger days as not to know that you are little disposed tc
view me with favour. You have heard me described as cold-heart-
ed, calculating, selfish — '
'I have never, sir,' — she interposed with an altered manner and
a firmer voice; 'I have never heard you spoken of in harsh or dis-
respectful terms. You do a great wrong to Edward's nature if you
believe him capable of any mean or base proceeding.'
'Pardon me, my sweet young lady, but your uncle — '
'Nor is it my uncle's nature either,' she replied, with a height-
ened colour in her cheek. 'It's not his nature to stab in the dark,
nor is it mine to love such deeds.'
She rose as she spoke, and would have left him; but he detained
her with a gentle hand, and besought her in such persuasive accents
to hear him but another minute, that she was easily prevailed upon
to comply, and so sat down again.
'And it is,' said Mr. Chester, looking upward, and apostrophis-
BARNABV RUDGE 227
ing the air; it is this frank, ingenuous, noble nature, Ned, that you
can wound so lightly. Shame — shame upon you, boy I'
She turned towards him quickly, and with a scornful look and
flashing eyes. There were tears in I\lr. Chester's eyes, but he dashed
them hurriedly away, as though unwilling that his weakness should
be known, and regarded her with mingled admiration and com-
'I never until now,' he said, 'believed, that the frivolous actions
of a young man could move me like these of my own son. I never
knew till now, the worth of a woman's heart, which boys so lightly
win, and lightly fling away. Trust me, dear young lady, that I
never until now did know your worth; and though an abhorrence
of deceit and falsehood has impelled me to seek you out, and would
have done so had you been the poorest and least gifted of your sex,
I should have lacked the fortitude to sustain this interview could I
have pictured you to my imagination as you really are.'
Oh! If Mrs. Varden could have seen the virtuous gentleman as
he said these words, with indignation sparkling from his eyes — if
she could have heard his broken, quavering voice — if she could
have beheld him as he stood bareheaded in the sunlight, and with
unwonted energy poured forth his eloquence!
With a haughty face, but pale and trembling too, Emma re-
garded him in silence. She neither spoke nor moved, but gazed
upon him as though she would look into his heart.
T throw off,' said Mr. Chester, 'the restraint which natural af-
fection would impose on some men, and reject all bonds but those
of truth and duty. Miss Haredale, you are deceived; you are de-
ceived by your unworthy lover and my unworthy son.'
Still she looked at him steadily, and still said not one word.
'I have ever opposed his professions of love for you ; you will do