BARXABY BUDGE 305
'They must have been fond of you,' remarked Mr. Tappertit,
looking at him sideways.
'I don't know that they was exactly fond of me,' said Dennis,
with a little hesitation, 'but they all had me near 'em when they
I come in for their wardrobes too. This very handkercher
that you see round my neck, belonged to him that I 've been speak-
ing of — him as did that likeness.'
Mr. Tappertit glanced at the article referred to and appeared to
think that the deceased's ideas of dress were of a peculiar and by
no means an expensive kind. He made no remark upon the point,
however, and suffered his mysterious companion to proceed with-
'These smalls,' said Dennis, rubbing his legs; 'these very smalls
— they belonged to a friend of mine that 's left off sich incum-
brances for ever: this coat too — I've often walked behind this
coat, in the street, and wondered whether it would ever come to me;
this pair of shoes have danced a hornpipe for another man, afore
my eyes, full half a dozen times at least: and as to my hat,' he
said, taking it off, and whirling it round upon his fist — 'Lord! I 've
seen this hat go up Holborn on the box of a hackney-coach — ab,
many and many a day!'
'You don't mean to say their old wearers are all dead, I hope?
said Mr. Tappertit, falling a little distance from him as he spoke
'Every one of 'em,' replied Dennis. 'Every man Jack!'
There was something so very ghastly in this circumstance, and
it appeared to account, in such a very strange and dismal manner,
for his faded dress — which, in this new aspect, seemed discoloured
by the earth from graves — that IMr. Tappertit abruptly found he
was going another way, and, stopping short, bade him good-night
with the utmost heartiness. As they happened to be near the Old
Bailey, and Mr. Dennis knew there were turnkeys in the lodge
with whom he could pass the night, and discuss professional sub-
jects of common interest among them before a rousing fire, and
over a social glass, he separated from his companions without any
great regret, and warmly shaking hands with Hugh, and making
an early appointment for their meeting at The Boot, left them to
pursue their road.
'That 's a strange sort of man,' said Mr. Tappertit, watching
306 BARNABY RUDGE
the hackney-coachman's hat as it went bobbing down the street.
'I don't know what to make of him. Why can't he have his smalls
made to order, or wear live clothes at any rate?'
'He 's a lucky man, captain,' cried Hugh. 'I should like to have
such friends as his.'
'I hope he don't get 'em to make their wills, and then knock 'em
on the head,' said Mr. Tappertit, musing. 'But come. The United
B.'s expect me. On! — What's the matter?'
'I quite forgot,' said Hugh, who had started at the striking of a
neighbouring clock. T have somebody to see to-night — I must turn
back directly. The drinking and singing put it out of my head. It 's
well I remembered it ! '
Mr. Tappertit looked at him as though he were about to give
utterance to some very majestic sentiments in reference to this
act of desertion, but as it was clear, from Hugh's hasty manner,
that the engagement was one of a pressing nature, he graciously
forbore, and give him his permission to depart immediately, which
Hugh acknowledged with a roar of laughter.
'Good-night, captain!' he cried. 'I am yours to the death, re-
member ! '
'Farewell!' said Mr. Tappertit, waving his hand. 'Be bold and
vigilant ! '
'No Popery, captain!' roared Hugh.
'England in blood first!' cried his desperate leader. Whereat
Hugh cheered and laughed, and ran off like a greyhound.
'That man will prove a credit to my corps,' said Simon, turning
thoughtfully upon his heel. 'And let me see. In an altered state
of society — which must ensue if we break out and are victorious —
when the locksmith's child is mine, Miggs must be got rid of some-
how, or she '11 poison the tea-kettle one evening when I 'm out. He
might marry Miggs, if he was drunk enough. It shall be done. I '11
make a note of it.'
BARNABY RUDGE 307
Little thinking of the plan for his happy settlement in life which
had suggested itself to the teeming brain of his provident com-
mander, Hugh made no pause untilSaint Dunstan's giants struck
the hour above him, when he worked the handle of a pump which
stood hard by, with great vigour, and thrusting his head under
the spout, let the water gush upon him until a little stream ran
down from every uncombed hair, and he w^as wet to the waist.
Considerably refreshed by this ablution, both in mind and body,
and almost sobered for the time, he dried himself as he best could;
then crossed the road, and plied the knocker of the Middle Temple
The night-porter looked through a small grating in the portal
with a surly eye, and cried 'Halloa I ' which greeting Hugh returned
in kind, and bade him open quickly.
'We don't sell beer here,' cried the man; 'what else do you want?'
'To come in,' Hugh replied, with a kick at the door.
'Where to go?'
'Sir John Chester's.' Each of which answers, he emphasized
with another kick.
After a little growling on the other side, the gate was opened,
and he passed in: undergoing a close inspection from the porter as
he did so.
'You wanting Sir John, at this time of night!' said the man.
'Ay!' said Hugh. T! What of that?'
'Why, I must go with you and see that you do, for I don't be-
'Come along then.'
Eyeing him with suspicious looks, the man, with key and lan-
tern, walked on at his side, and attended him to Sir John Chester's
door, at which Hugh gave one knock, that echoed through the
dark staircase like a ghostly summons, and made the dull light
tremble in the drowsy lamp.
308 BARNABY RUDGE
'Do you think he wants me now?' said Hugh.
Before the man had time to answer, a footstep was heard within,
a Hght appeared, and Sir John, in his dressing-gown and slippers,
opened the door.
'I ask your pardon. Sir John,' said the porter, pulling off his hat.
'Here 's a young man says he wants to speak to you. It 's late for
strangers. I thought it best to see .that all was right.'
'Aha!' cried Sir John, raising his eyebrows. 'It's you, messen-
ger, is it? Go in. Quite right, friend, I commend your prudence
highly. Thank you. God bless you. Good-night.'
To be commended, thanked, God-blessed, and bade good-night
by one who carried 'Sir' before his name, and wrote himself M.P.
to boot, was something for a porter. He withdrew with much
humility and reverence. Sir John followed his late visitor into the
dressing-room, and sitting in his easy-chair before the fire, and
moving it so that he could see him as he stood, hat in hand, beside
the door, looked at him from head to foot.
The old face, calm and pleasant as ever; the complexion quite
juvenile in its bloom and clearness; the same smile; the wonted
precision and elegance of dress; the white, well-ordered teeth; the
delicate hands; the composed and quiet manner; everything as it
used to be: no mark of age or passion, envy, hate, or discontent: all
unruffled and serene, and quite delightful to behold.
He wrote himself M.P. — but how? Why, thus. It was a proud
family — more proud, indeed, than wealthy. He had stood in dan-
ger of arrest ; of bailiffs, and a jail — a vulgar jail, to which the com-
mon people with small incomes went. Gentlemen of ancient houses
have no privilege of exemption from such cruel laws — unless they
are of one great house, and then they have. A proud man of his
stock and kindred had the means of sending him there. He of-
fered — not indeed to pay his debts, but to let him sit for a close
borough until his own son came of age, which, if he lived, would
come to pass in twenty years. It was quite as good as an Insolvent
Act, and infinitely more genteel. So Sir John Chester was a mem-
ber of Parliament.
But how Sir John? Nothing so simple, or so easy. One touch
with a sword of state, and the transformation was effected. John
Chester, Esquire, M.P., attended court — went up with an address — •
BARNABY RUDGE 309
headed a deputation. Such elegance of manner, so many graces of
deportment, such powers of conversation, could never pass un-
noticed. Mr. was too common for such merit. A man so gentle-
manly should have been — but fortune is capricious — born a Duke:
just as some dukes should have been labourers. He caught the
fancy of the king, knelt down a grub, and rose a butterfly. John
Chester, Esquire, was knighted and became Sir John.
'I thought when you left me this evening, my esteemed ac-
quaintance,' said Sir John, after a pretty long silence, 'that you
intended to return with all despatch?'
^So I did, master.'
'And so you have?' he retorted, glancing at his watch. 'Is that
what you would say?'
Instead of replying, Hugh changed the leg on which he leant,
shuffled his cap from one hand to the other, looked at the ground,
the wall, the ceiling, and finally at Sir John himself; before whose
pleasant face he lowered his eyes again, and fixed them on the
And how have you been employing yourself in the meanwhile?'
quoth Sir John, lazily crossing his legs. 'Where have you been?
what harm have you been doing?'
'No harm at all, master,' growled Hugh, with humility. 'I have
only done as you ordered.'
As I what?' returned Sir John.
'Well then,' said Hugh uneasily, 'as you advised, or said I ought,
or said I might, or said that you would do, if you was me. Don't
be so hard upon me, master.'
Something like an expression of triumph in the perfect control
he had established over this rough instrument appeared in the
knight's face for an instant; but it vanished directly, as he said — ■
paring his nails while speaking:
'When you say I ordered you, my good fellow, you imply that I
directed you to do something for me — something I wanted done —
something for my own ends and purposes— you see? Now I am
sure I needn't enlarge upon the extreme absurdity of such an idea,
however unintentional; so please — ' and here he turned his eyes
upon him — 'to be more guarded. Will you?'
310 BARNABY RUDGE
'I meant to give you no offence,' said Hugh. 'I don't know what
to say. You catch me up so very short.'
'You will be caught up much shorter, my good friend — infinitely
shorter — one of these days, depend upon it,' replied his patron
calmly. 'By the bye, instead of wondering why you have been so
long, my wonder should be why you came at all. Why did you?'
'You know, master,' said Hugh, 'that I couldn't read the bill I
found, and that supposing it to be something particular from the
way it was wrapped up, I brought it here.'
'And could you ask no one else to read it. Bruin?' said Sir John.
'No one that I could trust with secrets, master. Since Barnaby
Rudge was lost sight of for good and all — and that 's five years ago
— I haven't talked with any one but you.'
'You have done me honour I am sure.'
'I have come to and fro, master, all through that time, when there
was anything to tell, because I knew that you 'd be angry with me if
I stayed away,' said Hugh, blurting the words out, after an em-
barrassed silence; 'and because I wished to please you if I could,
and not to have you go against me. There. That 's the true reason
why I came to-night. You know that, master, I am sure.'
'You are a specious fellow,' returned Sir John, fixing his eyes
upon him, 'and carry two faces under your hood, as well as the
best. Didn't you give me in this room, this evening, any other
reason; no dislike of anybody who has slighted you lately, on all
occasions, abused you, treated you with rudeness; acted towards
you, more as if you were a mongrel dog than a man like himself?'
'To be sure I did!' cried Hugh, his passion rising, as the other
meant it should; 'and I say it all over now, again. I 'd do anything
to have some revenge on him — anything. And when you told me
that he and all the Catholics would suffer from those who joined
together under that handbill, I said I 'd make one of 'em, if their
master was the devil himself. I am one of 'em. See whether I am
as good as my word and turn out to be among the foremost, or no
I mayn't have much head, master, but I 've head enough to re-
member those that use me ill. You shall see, and so shall he, and
so shall hundreds more, how my spirit backs me when the time
comes. My bark is nothing to my bite. Some that I know had
BARNABY RUDGE 311
better have a wild lion among them than me, when I am fairly
loose — they had I '
The knight looked at him with a smile of far deeper meaning
than ordinary; and pointing to the old cupboard, followed him
with his eyes while he filled and drank a glass of liquor; and smiled
when his back was turned, with deeper meaning yet.
'You are in a blustering mood, my friend,' he said, when Hugh
confronted him again.
'Not I, master!' cried Hugh. 'I don't say half I mean. I can't.
I haven't got the gift. There are talkers enough among us; I '11 be
one of the doers.'
'Oh! you have joined those fellows then?' said Sir John, with an
air of most profound indifference.
'Yes. I went up to the house you told me of, and got put down
upon the muster. There was another man there named Dennis — '
'Dennis, eh!' cried Sir John, laughing. 'Ay, ay! a pleasant fel-
low, I believe?'
'A roaring dog, master — one after my own heart — hot upon the
matter too — red hot.'
'So I have heard,' replied Sir John, carelessly. 'You don't hap-
pen to know his trade, do you?'
'He wouldn't say,' cried Hugh. 'He keeps it secret.'
'Ha ha!' laughed Sir John. 'A strange fancy — a weakness with
some persons — you '11 know it one day, I dare swear.'
'We 're intimate already,' said Hugh.
'Quite natural! And have been drinking together, eh?' pur-
sued Sir John. 'Did you say what place you went to in company,
when you left Lord George's?'
Hugh had not said or thought of saying, but he told him; and
this inquiry being followed by a long train of questions, he related
all that had passed both in and out of doors, the kind of people he
had seen, their numbers, state of feeling, mode of conversation,
apparent expectations and intentions. His questioning was so art-
fully contrived, that he seemed even in his own eyes to volunteer all
this information rather than to have it wrested from him; and he
was brought to this state of feeling so naturally, that when Mr.
Chester yawned at length and declared himself quite wearied out,
he made a rough kind of excuse for having talked so much.
312 BARNABY RUDGE
'There^get you gone,' said Sir John, holding the door open in
his hand. 'You have made a pretty evening's work. I told you not
to do this. You may get into trouble. You '11 have an opportunity
of revenging yourself on your proud friend Haredale, though, and
for that, you 'd hazard anything I suppose?'
'I would,' retorted Hugh, stopping in his passage out and look-
ing back; 'but what do / risk! What do I stand a chance of losing,
master? Friends, home? A fig for 'em all; I have none; they are
nothing to me. Give me a good scuffle; let me pay off old scores in
a bold riot where there are men to stand by me; and then use mc
as you like — it don't matter much to me what the end is! '
'What have you done with that paper?' said Sir John.
'I have it here, master.'
'Drop it again as you go along; it's as well not to keep such
things about you.'
Hugh nodded, and touching his cap with an air of as much re-
spect as he could summon up, departed.
Sir John, fastening the doors behind him, went back to his
dressing-room, and sat down once again before the fire, at which
he gazed for a long time, in earnest meditation.
'This happens fortunately,' he said, breaking into a smile, 'and
promises well. Let me see. My relative and I, who are the most
Protestant fellows in the world, give our worst wishes to the
Roman Catholic cause; and to Saville, who introduces their bill, I
have a personal objection besides; but as each of us has himself for
the first article in his creed, we cannot commit ourselves by join-
ing with a very extravagant madman, such as this Gordon most
undoubtedly is. Now really, to foment his disturbances in secret,
through the medium of such a very apt instrument as my savage
friend here, may further our real ends; and to express at all be-
coming seasons, in moderate and polite terms, a disapprobation of
his proceedings, though we agree with him in principle, will cer-
tainly be to gain a character for honesty and uprightness of pur-
pose, which cannot fail to do us infinite service, and to raise us into
some importance. Good! So much for public grounds. As to
private considerations, I confess that if these vagabonds would
make some riotous demonstration (which does not appear impos-
sible), and would inflict some little chastisement on Haredale as a
BARNABY RUDGE 313
not inactive man among his sect, it would be extremely agreeable
to my feelings, and would amuse me beyond measure. Good
again! Perhaps better!'
When he came to this point, he took a pinch of snuff; then be-
ginning slowly to undress, he resumed his meditations, by saying
with a smile:
'I fear, I do fear exceedingly, that my friend is following fast in
the footsteps of his mother. His intimacy with Mr. Dennis is very
ominous. But I have no doubt he must have come to that end any
way. If I lend him a helping hand, the only difference is, that he
may, upon the whole, possibly drink a few gallons, or puncheons,
or hogsheads, less in this life than he otherwise would. It 's no
business of mine. It's a matter of very small importance!'
So he took another pinch of snuff, and went to bed.
From the workshop of the Golden Key, there issued forth a tink-
ling sound, so merry and good-humoured, that it suggested the
idea of some one working blithely, and made quite pleasant music.
No man who hammered on at a dull monotonous duty, could have
brought such cheerful notes from steel and iron; none but a
chirping, healthy, honest-hearted fellow, who made the best of
everything, and felt kindly towards everybody, could have done it
for an instant. He might have been a coppersmith, and still been
musical. If he had sat in a jolting waggon, full of rods of iron, it
seemed as if he would have brought some harmony out of it.
Tink, tink, tink — clear as a silver bell, and audible at every
pause of the streets' harsher noises, as though it said, 'I don't care;
nothing puts me out; I am resolved to be happy.' Women scolded,
children squalled, heavy carts went rumbling by, horrible cries
proceeded from the lungs of hawkers; still it struck in again, no
higher, no lower, no louder, no softer; not thrusting itself on
people's notice a bit the more for having been outdone by louder
sounds — tink, tink, tink, tink, tink.
It was a perfect embodiment of the still small voice, free from
314 BARNABY RUDGE
all cold, hoarseness, huskiness, or unhealthiness of any kind; foot-
passengers slackened their pace, and were disposed to linger near
it; neighbours who had got up splenetic that morning, felt good-
humour stealing on them as they heard it, and by degrees became
quite sprightly; mothers danced their babies to its ringing; still
the same magical tink, tink, tink, came gaily from the workshop
of the Golden Key.
Who but the locksmith could have made such music! A gleam of
sun shining through the unsashed window, and chequering the
dark workshop with a broad patch of light, fell full upon him, as
though attracted by his sunny heart. There he stood working at his
anvil, his face all radiant with exercise and gladness, his sleeves
turned up, his wig pushed off his shining forehead — the easiest,
freest, happiest man in all the world. Beside him sat a sleek cat,
purring and winking in the light, and falling every now and then
into an idle doze, as from excess of comfort. Toby looked on from
a tall bench hard by; one beaming smile, from his broad nut-
brown face down to the slack-baked buckles in his shoes. The
very locks that hung around had something jovial in their rust,
and seemed like gouty gentlemen of hearty natures, disposed to
joke on their infirmities. There was nothing surly or severe in the
whole scene. It seemed impossible that any one of the innumer-
able keys could fit a churlish strong-box or a prison-door. Cellars
of beer and wine, rooms where there were fires, books, gossip, and
cheering laughter — these were their proper sphere of action. Places
of distrust and cruelty, and restraint, they would have left quad-
ruple-locked for ever.
Tink, tink, tink. The locksmith paused at last, and wiped his
brow. The silence roused the cat, who, jumping softly down, crept
to the door, and watched with tiger eyes a bird-cage in an oppo-
site window. Gabriel lifted Toby to his mouth, and took a hearty
Then, as he stood upright, with his head flung back and his
portly chest thrown out, you would have seen that Gabriel's lower
man was clothed in military gear. Glancing at the wall beyond,
there might have been espied, hanging on their several pegs, a cap
and feather, broad-sword, sash, and coat of scarlet; which any
man learned in such matters would have known from their make
BARNABY RUDGE 315
and pattern to be the uniform of a serjeant in the Royal East
As the locksmith put his mug down, empty, on the bench whence
it had smiled on him before, he glanced at these articles with a
laughing eye, and looking at them with his head a little on one side,
as though he would get them all into a focus, said, leaning on his
'Time was, now, I remember, when I was like to run mad with
the desire to wear a coat of that colour. If any one (except my
father) had called me a fool for my pains, how I should have fired
and fumed! But what a fool I must have been, sure-ly!'
'Ah!' sighed Mrs. Varden who had entered unobserved. 'A fool
indeed. A man at your time of life, Varden, should know better
'Why, what a ridiculous woman you are, Martha,' said the lock-
smith, turning round with a smile.
'Certainly,' replied Mrs. V. with great demureness. 'Of course I
am. I know that, Varden. Thank you.'
1 mean — ' began the locksmith.
'Yes,' said his wife, 'I know what you mean. You speak quite
plain enough to be understood, Varden. It 's very kind of you to
adapt yourself to my capacity, I am sure.'
'Tut, tut, IMartha,' rejoined the locksmith; 'don't take offence
at nothing. I mean, how strange it is of you to run down volun-
teering, when it 's done to defend you and all the other women, and
our own fireside and everybody else's, in case of need.'
'It 's unchristian,' cried Mrs. Varden, shaking her head.
'Unchristian!' said the locksmith. 'Why, what the devil — '
Mrs. Varden looked at the ceiling, as in expectation that the
consequence of this profanity would be the immediate descent of
the four-post bedstead on the second floor, together with the
best sitting-room on the first; but no visible judgment occurring,
she heaved a deep sigh, and begged her husband, in a tone of
resignation, to go on, and by all means to blaspheme as much as
possible, because he knew she liked it.
The locksmith did for a moment seem disposed to gratify her,
but he gave a great gulp, and mildly rejoined:
'I was going to say, what on earth do you call it unchristian
318 BARNABY RUDGE
back the dark hair from her sparkUng eyes, 'to have you at home.
Give me a kiss.'
If there had been anybody of the male kind there to see her do
it — but there was not — it was a mercy.
'I don't like your being at the Warren/ said the locksmith, ^I
can't bear to have you out of my sight. And what is the news over
'What news there is, I think you know already,' replied his
daughter. 'I am sure you do though.'
'Ay?' cried the locksmith. 'What's that?'
'Come, come,' said Dolly, 'you know very well. I want you to
tell me why Mr. Haredale — oh, how gruff he is again, to be sure! —
has been away from home for some days past, and why he is trav-
elling about (we know he is travelling, because of his letters) with-
out telling his own niece why or wherefore.'
'Miss Emma doesn't want to know, I'll swear,' returned the lock-
'I don't know that,' said Dolly; 'but / do, at any rate. Do tell
me. Why is he so seceret, and what is this ghost story, which no-
body is to tell Miss Emma, and which seems to be mixed up with
his going away? Now I see you know by your colouring so.'