so steadily to his original account, and repeated it so often, with
such slight variations, and with such solemn asseverations of its
truth and reality, that his hearers were (with good reason) more
astonished than at first. As he took John Willet's view of the
matter in regard to the propriety of not bruiting the tale abroad,
unless the spirit should appear to him again, in which case it would
be necessary to take immediate counsel with the clergyman, it was
solemnly resolved that it should be hushed up and kept quiet. And
as most men like to have a secret to tell which may exalt their own
importance, they arrived at this conclusion with perfect unanimity.
As it was by this time growing late, and was long past their usual
hour of separating, the cronies parted for the night. Solomon
Daisy, with a fresh candle in his lantern, repaired homewards
under the escort of long Phil Parkes and ^Ir. Cobb, who were
rather more nervous than himself. Mr. Willet, after seeing them to
the door, returned to collect his thoughts with the assistance of the
boiler, and to listen to the storm of wind and rain, which had not
yet abated one jot of its fury.
BARNABY RUDGE 261
Before old John had looked at the boiler quite twenty minutes,
he got his ideas into a focus, and brought them to bear upon Solo-
mon Daisy's story. The more he thought of it the more impressed
he became with a sense of his own wisdom, and a desire that Mr.
Haredale should be impressed with it likewise. At length, to the
end that he might sustain a principal and important character in
the affair; and might have the start of Solomon and his two friends,
through whose means he knew the adventure, with a variety of
exaggerations, would be known to at least a score of people, and
most likely to ]\Ir. Haredale himself, by breakfast-time to-morrow;
he determined to repair to the Warren before going to bed.
'He 's my landlord,' thought John, as he took a candle in his
hand, and setting it down in a corner out of the wind's way, opened
a casement in the rear of the house, looking towards the stables.
'We haven't met of late years so often as we used to do — changes
are taking place in the family — it 's desirable that I should stand
as well with them, in point of dignity, as possible — the whispering
about of this here tale will anger him — it 's good to have confi-
dences with a gentleman of his natur', and set one's-self right be-
sides. Halloa there! Hugh — Hugh. Hal-loa!'
When he had repeated this shout a dozen times, and started
every pigeon from its slumbers, a door in one of the ruinous old
buildings opened, and a rough voice demanded what was amiss
now, that a man couldn't even have his sleep in quiet.
'What I Haven't you sleep enough, growler, that you 're not to
be knocked up for once?' said John.
'No,' replied the voice, as the speaker yawned and shook himself.
'Not half enough.'
'I don't know how you can sleep, with the wind a bellowsing and
roaring about you, making the tiles fly like a pack of cards,' said
John; 'but no matter for that. Wrap yourself up in something or
another, and come here, for you must go as far as the Warren with
me. And look sharp about it.'
Hugh, with much low growling and muttering, went back into
262 BARNABY RUDGE
his lair; and presently re-appeared, carrying a lantern and a cudgel,
and enveloped from head to foot in an old, frowsy, slouching horse-
cloth. Mr. Willet received this figure at the back-door, and ushered
him into the bar, while he wrapped himself in sundry great-coats
and capes, and so tied and knotted his face in shawls and handker-
chiefs, that how he breathed was a mystery.
'You don't take a man out of doors at near midnight in such
weather, without putting some heart into him, do you, master?'
'Yes I do, sir,' returned Mr. Willet. 'I put the heart (as you call
it) into him when he has brought me safe home again, and his
standing steady on his legs an't of so much consequence. So hold
that light up, if you please, and go on a step or two before, to show
Hugh obeyed with a very indifferent grace, and a longing glance
at the bottles. Old John, laying strict injunctions on his cook to
keep the doors locked in his absence, and to open to nobody but
himself on pain of dismissal, followed him into the blustering dark-
ness out of doors.
The way was wet and dismal, and the night so black, that if Mr.
Willet had been his own pilot, he would have walked into a deep
horsepond within a few hundred yards of his own house, and would
certainly have terminated his career in that ignoble sphere of
action. But Hugh, who had a sight as keen as any hawk's, and,
apart from that endowment, could have found his way blindfolded
to any place within a dozen miles, dragged old John along, quite
deaf to his remonstrances, and took his own course without the
slightest reference to, or notice of, his master. So they made head
against the wind as they best could; Hugh crushing the wet grass
beneath his heavy tread, and stalking on after his ordinary savage
fashion; John Willet following at arm's length, picking his steps,
and looking about him, now for bogs and ditches, and now for such
stray ghosts as might be wandering abroad, with looks of as much
dismay and uneasiness as his immovable face was capable of ex-
At length they stood upon the broad gravel-walk before the
Warren-house. The building was profoundly dark, and none were
moving near it save themselves. From one solitary turret-chamber.
BARNABY RUDGE 263
however, there shone a ray of light; and towards this speck of
comfort in the cold, cheerless, silent scene, Mr, Willet bade his
pilot lead him.
'The old room,' said John, looking timidly upward; 'Mr. Reu-
ben's own apartment, God be with us! I wonder his brother likes
to sit there, so late at night — on this night too.'
'Why, where else should he sit?' asked Hugh, holding the lantern
to his breast, to keep the candle from the wind, while he trimmed
it with his fingers. Tt 's snug enough, an't it?'
'Snug!' said John indignantly. 'You have a comfortable idea of
snugness, you have, sir. Do you know what was done in that room,
'Why, what is it the worse for that!' cried Hugh, looking into
John's fat face. 'Does it keep out the rain, and snow, and wind,
the less for that? Is it less warm or dry, because a man was killed
there? Ha, ha, ha! Never believe it, master. One man 's no such
matter as that comes to.'
Mr. Willet fixed his dull eyes on his follower, and began — by a
species of inspiration — to think it just barely possible that he was
something of a dangerous character, and that it might be advisable
to get rid of him one of these days. He was too prudent to say any-
thing, with the journey home before him; and therefore turned to
the iron gate before which this brief dialogue had passed, and
pulled the handle of the bell that hung beside it. The turret at
which the light appeared being at one corner of the building, and
only divided from the path by one of the garden-walks, upon which
this gate opened, Mr. Haredale threw up the window directly, and
demanded who was there.
'Begging pardon, sir,' said John, 'I knew you sat up late, and
made bold to come round, having a word to say to you.'
'Willet— is it not?'
'Of the Maypole — at your service, sir,'
Mr. Haredale closed the window, and withdrew. He presently
appeared at a door in the bottom of the turret, and coming across
the garden-walk, unlocked the gate and let them in.
'You are a late visitor, Willet. What is the matter?'
'Nothing to speak of, sir,' said John; 'an idle tale, I thought you
ought to know of; nothing more.'
264 BAR?^ABY RUDGE
'Let your man go forward with the lantern, and give me your
hand. The stairs are crooked and narrow. — Gently with your light,
friend. You swing it like a censer.'
Hugh, who had already reached the turret, held it more steadily,
and ascended first, turning round from time to time to shed his
light downward on the steps. Mr. Haredale following next, eyed
his lowering face with no great favour; and Hugh, looking down on
him, returned his glances with interest, as they climbed the winding
It terminated in a little ante-room adjoining that from which
they had seen the light. Mr. Haredale entered first, and led the
way through it into the latter chamber, where he seated himself at
a writing-table from which he had risen when they had rung the
'Come in,' he said, beckoning to old John, who remained bowing
at the door. 'Not you, friend,' he added hastily to Hugh, who
entered also. 'Willet, why do you bring that fellow here?'
'Why, sir,' returned John, elevating his eyebrows, and lowering
his voice to the tone in which the question had been asked him,
'he 's a good guard, you see.'
'Don't be too sure of that,' said Mr. Haredale, looking towards
him as he spoke. 'I doubt it. He has an evil eye.'
'There 's no imagination in his eye,' returned Mr. Willet, glanc-
ing over his shoulder at the organ in question, 'certainly.'
'There is no good there, be assured,' said Mr. Haredale. 'Wait
in that little room, friend, and close the door between us.'
Hugh shrugged his shoulders, and with a disdainful look, which
showed, either that he had overheard, or that he guessed the pur-
port of their whispering, did as he was told. W^hen he was shut out,
Mr. Haredale turned to John, and bade him go on with what he had
to say, but not to speak too loud, for there were quick ears yonder.
Thus cautioned, Mr. Willet, in an oily whisper, recited all that
he had heard and said that night; laying particular stress upon his
own sagacity, upon his great regard for the family, and upon his
solicitude for their peace of mind and happiness. The story moved
his auditor much more than he had expected. Mr. Haredale often
changed his attitude, rose and paced the room, returned again, de-
sired him to repeat, as nearly as he could, the very words that
BARNABY RUDGE 265
Solomon had used, and gave so many other signs of being disturbed
and ill at ease, that even ]Mr. Willet was surprised.
'You did quite right,' he said at the end of a long conversation,
'to bid them keep this story secret. It is* a foolish fancy on the
part of this weak-brained man, bred in his fears and superstition.
But ]Miss Haredale, though she would know it to be so, would be
disturbed by it if it reached her ears; it is too nearly connected with
a subject very painful to us all, to be heard with indifference. You
were most prudent, and have laid me under a great obligation. I
thank you very much.'
This was equal to John's most sanguine expectations; but he
would have preferred Mr. Haredale's looking at him when he
spoke, as if he really did thank him, to his walking up and down,
speaking by fits and starts, often stopping with his eyes fixed on
the ground, moving hurriedly on again, like one distracted, and
seeming almost unconscious of what he said or did.
This, however, was his manner; and it was so embarrassing to
John that he sat quite passive for a long time, not knowing what
to do. At length he rose. Mr. Haredale stared at him for a mo-
ment as though he had quite forgotten his being present, then shook
hands v/ith him, and opened the door. Hugh, who was, or feigned
to be, fast asleep on the ante-chamber floor, sprang up on their
entrance, and throwing his cloak about him, grasped his stick and
lantern, and prepared to descend the stairs.
'Stay,' said Mr. Haredale. 'Will this man drink?'
'Drink! He 'd drink the Thames up, if it was strong enough,
sir,' replied John Willet. 'He '11 have something when he gets home.
He 's better without it, now, sir.'
'Nay. Half the distance is done,' said Hugh. 'What a hard
master you are! I shall go home the better for one glassful, half-
As John made no reply, Mr. Haredale brought out a glass of
liquor, and gave it to Hugh, who as he took it in his hand, threw
part of it upon the floor.
'What do you mean by splashing your drink about a gentleman's
house, sir?' said John.
T 'm drinking a toast,' Hugh rejoined, holding the glass above
his head, and fixing his eyes on Mr. Haredale's face; 'a toast to this
266 BARNABY RUDGE
house and its master.' With that he muttered something to himself,
and drank the rest, and setting down the glass, preceded them
without another word.
John was a good deal scandalised by this observance, but seeing
that Mr. Haredale took little heed of what Hugh said or did, and
that his thoughts were otherwise employed, he offered no apology,
and went in silence down the stairs, across the walk, and through
the garden gate. They stopped upon the outer side for Hugh to
hold the light while Mr. Haredale locked it on the inner; and then
John saw with wonder (as he often afterwards related), that he
was very pale, and that his face had changed so much and grown
so haggard since their entrance, that he almost seemed another
They were in the open road again, and John Willet was walking
on behind his escort, as he had come, thinking very steadily of
what he had just now seen, when Hugh drew him suddenly aside,
and almost at the same instant three horsemen swept past — the
nearest brushed his shoulder even then — who, checking their steeds
as suddenly as they could, stood still, and waited for their coming
When John Willet saw that the horsemen wheeled smartly round,
and drew up three abreast in the narrow road, waiting for him and
his man to join them, it occurred to him with unusual precipitation
that they must be highwaymen ; and had Hugh been armed with a
blunderbuss, in place of his stout cudgel, he would certainly have
ordered him to fire it off at a venture, and would, while the word
of command was obeyed, have consulted his own personal safety
in immediate flight. Under the circumstances of disadvantage,
however, in which he and his guard were placed, he deemed it
prudent to adopt a different style of generalship, and therefore
whispered his attendant to address them in the most peaceable and
courteous terms. By way of acting up to the spirit and letter of
this instruction, Hugh stepped forward, and flourishing the staff
BARNABY RUDGE 267
before the very eyes of the rider nearest to him, demanded roughly
what he and his fellows meant by so nearly galloping over them,
and why they scoured the king's highway at that late hour of
The man whom he addressed was beginning an angry reply in
the same strain, when he was checked by the horseman in the
centre, who, interposing with an air of authority, inquired in a
somewhat loud but not harsh or unpleasant voice:
Tray, is this the London road?'
'If you follow it right, it is,' replied Hugh roughly.
'Nay, brother,' said the same person, 'you 're but a churlish
Englishman, if Englishman you be — which I should much doubt
but for your tongue. Your companion, I am sure, will answer me
more civilly. How say you, friend?'
'I say it is the London road, sir,' answered John. 'And I wish,'
he added in a subdued voice, as he turned to Hugh, 'that you was
in any other road, you vagabond. Are you tired of your life, sir,
that you go a-trying to provoke three great neck-or-nothing chaps,
that could keep on running over us, back'ards and for'ards, till we
was dead, and then take our bodies up behind 'em, and drown us
ten miles off?'
'How far is it to London?' inquired the same speaker.
'Why, from here, sir,' answered John, persuasively, 'it 's thirteen
very easy mile.'
The adjective was thrown in, as an inducement to the travellers
to ride away with all speed; but instead of having the desired
effect, it elicited from the same person, the remark, 'Thirteen miles I
That 's a long distance ! ' which was followed by a short pause ov
'Pray,' said the gentleman, 'are there any inns hereabouts?'
At the word 'inns,' John plucked up his spirit in a surprising
manner; his fears rolled off like smoke; all the landlord stirred
'There are no inns,' rejoined Mr. Willet, with a strong emphasis
on the plural number; 'but there 's a Inn — one Inn — the Maypole
Inn. That 's a Inn indeed. You won't see the like of that Inn
268 BARNABY RUDGE
'You keep it, perhaps?' said the horseman, smiUng.
'I do, sir,' replied John, greatly wondering how he had found this
'And how far is the Maypole from here?'
About a mile' — John was going to add that it was the easiest
mile in all the world, when the third rider, who had hitherto kept
a little in the rear, suddenly interposed:
'And have you one excellent bed, landlord? Hem! A bed that
you can recommend — a bed that you are sure is well aired — a bed
that has been slept in by some perfectly respectable and unexcep-
'We don't take in no tagrag and bobtail at our house, sir,' an-
swered John. 'And as to the bed itself — '
'Say, as to three beds,' interposed the gentleman who had spoken
before; 'for we shall want three if we stay, though my friend only
speaks of one.'
'No, no, my lord; you are too good, you are too kind; but your
life is of far too much importance to the nation in these portentous
times, to be placed upon a level with one so useless and so poor as
mine. A great cause, my lord, a mighty cause, depends on you.
You are its leader and its champion, its advanced guard and its van.
It is the cause of our altars and our homes, our country and our
faith. Let me sleep on a chair — the carpet — anywhere. No one will
repine if / take cold or fever. Let John Grueby pass the night be-
neath the open sky — no one will pine for hhn. But forty thousand
men of this our island in the wave (exclusive of women and chil-
dren) rivet their eyes and thoughts on Lord George Gordon; and
every day, from the rising up of the sun to the going down of the
same, pray for his health and vigour. My lord,' said the speaker,
rising in his stirrups, 'it is a glorious cause, and must not be for-
gotten. My lord, it is a mighty cause and must not be endangered.
My lord, it is a holy cause, and must not be deserted.'
'It is a holy cause,' exclaimed his lordship, lifting up his hat with
great solemnity. 'Amen.'
'John Grueby,' said the long-winded gentleman, in a tone of
mild reproof, 'his lordship said Amen.'
'I heard my lord, sir,' said the man, sitting like a statue on his
BARXABY RUDGE 269
^•\nd do not you say Amen, likewise?'
To which John Grueby made no reply at all, but sat looking
straight before him.
'You surprise me, Grueby,' said the gentleman. 'At a crisis like
the present, when Queen Elizabeth, that maiden monarch, weeps
within her tomb, and Bloody IMary, with a brow of gloom and
shadow, stalks triumphant — '
'Oh, sir/ cried the man, gruffly, 'where 's the use of talking of
Bloody Mary, under such circumstances as the present, when my
lord's wet through, and tired with hard riding? Let's either go
on to London, sir, or put up at once; or that unfort'nate Bloody
Mary will have more to answ^er for — and she 's done a deal more
harm in her grave than she ever did in her lifetime, I believe.'
By this time 'Mx. Willet, W'ho had never heard so many words
spoken together at one time, or delivered with such volubility and
emphasis as by the long-winded gentleman; and w^hose brain, being
w^holly unable to sustain or compass them, had quite given itself
up for lost; recovered so far as to observe that there was ample
accommodation at the ^Maypole for all the party: good beds; neat
wines; excellent entertainment for man and beast; private rooms
for large and small parties; dinners dressed upon the shortest
notice; choice stabling, and a lock-up coach-house; and, in short,
to run over such recommendatory scraps of language as were paint-
ed up on various portions of the building, and which in the course
of some forty years he had learnt to repeat with tolerable correct-
ness. He was considering w'hether it was at all possible to insert any
novel sentences to the same purpose, when the gentleman who had
spoken first, turning to him of the long wind, exclaimed, 'What say
you, Gashford? Shall we tarry at this house he speaks of, or press
forward? You shall decide.'
'I would submit, my lord, then,' returned the person he ap-
pealed to, in a silky tone, 'that your health and spirits — so im-
portant, under Providence, to our great cause, our pure and truth-
ful cause' — here his lordship pulled off his hat again, though it was
raining hard — 'require refreshment and repose.'
'Go on before, landlord, and show the way,' said Lord George
Gordon; 'w^e will follow at a footpace.'
'If you '11 give me leave, my lord,' said John Grueby, in a low
270 BARNABY RUDGE
voice, 'I 'II change my proper place, and ride before you. The
looks of the landlord's friend are not over honest, and it may be as
well to be cautious with him.'
'John Grueby is quite right,' interposed Mr. Gashford, falling
back hastily. 'My lord, a life so precious as yours must not be put
in peril. Go forward, John, by all means. If you have any reason
to suspect the fellow, blow his brains out.'
John made no answer, but looking straight before him, as his
custom seemed to be when the secretary spoke, bade Hugh push
on, and followed close behind him. Then came his lordship, with
Mr. Willet at his bridle rein; and, last of all, his lordship's secre-
tary — for that, it seemed, was Gashford's office.
Hugh .strode briskly on, often looking back at the servant,
whose horse was close upon his heels, and glancing with a leer at
his holster case of pistols, by which he seemed to set great store.
He was a square-built, strong-made, bull-necked fellow, of the true
English breed; and as Hugh measured him with his eye, he meas-
ured Hugh, regarding him meanwhile with a look of bluff disdain.
He was much older than the Maypole man, being to all appearance
five-and-forty; but was one of those self-possessed, hard-headed,
imperturable fellows, who, if they are ever beaten at fistycuffs, or
other kind of warfare, never know it, and go on coolly till they win.
'If I led you wrong now,' said Hugh, tauntingly, 'you 'd — ha ha
ha! — you 'd shoot me through the head, I suppose.'
John Grueby took no more notice of this remark than if he had
been deaf and Hugh dumb; but kept riding on quite comfortably,
with his eyes fixed on the horizon.
'Did you ever try a fall with a man when you were young, mas-
ter?' said Hugh. 'Can you make any play at single-stick?-'
John Grueby looked at him sideways with the same contented
air, but deigned not a word in answer.
' — Like this?' said Hugh, giving his cudgel one of those skilful
flourishes, in which the rustic of that time delighted. 'Whoop!'
' — Or that,' returned John Grueby, beating down his guard with
his whip, and striking him on the head with its butt end. 'Yes, I
played a little once. You wear your hair too long; I should have
cracked your crown if it had been a little shorter.'
BARNABY RUDGE 271
It was a pretty smart loud-sounding rap, as it was, and evidently
istonished Hugh; who, for the moment, seemed disposed to drag
/lis new acquaintance fi*om his saddle. But his face betokened
aeither malice, triumph, rage, nor any lingering idea that he had
(given him offence; his eyes gazing steadily in the old direction,
and his manner being as careless and composed as if he had
merely brushed away a fly; Hugh was so puzzled, and so disposed
to look upon him as a customer of almost supernatural toughness,
that he merely laughed, and cried 'Well done!' then, sheering off
a little, led the way in silence.
Before the lapse of many minutes the party halted at the May-
pole door. Lord George and his secretary quickly dismounting,
gave their horses to their servant, who under the guidance of
Hugh, repaired to the stables. Right glad to escape from the in-
clemency of the night, they followed Mr. Willet into the common
room, and stood warming themselves and drying their clothes be-
fore the cheerful fire, while he busied himself with such orders and
preparations as his guest's high quality required.
As he hustled in and out of the room intent on these arrange-
ments, he had an opportunity of observing the two travellers, of
whom, as yet, he knew nothing but the voice. The lord, the great
personage who did the Maypole so much honour, was about the
middle height, of a slender make, and sallow complexion, with an
aquiline nose, and long hair of a reddish brown, combed perfectly
straight and smooth about his ears, and slightly powdered, but