that was, that it was a pity there were not more like him, and that
because there were not, the country was going to rack and ruin
every day. He was in the commission of the peace, afid could write
his name almost legibly; but his greatest qualifications were, that
he was more severe with poachers, was a better shot, a harder
rider, had better horses, kept better dogs, could eat more solid
food, drink more strong wine, go to bed every night more drunk
and get up every morning more sober, than any man in the county.
In knowledge of horseflesh he was almost equal to a farrier, in
stable learning he surpassed his own head groom, and in gluttony
not a pig on his estate was a match for him. He had no seat in
Parliament himself, but he was extremely patriotic, and usually
drove his voters up to the poll with his own hands. He was warmly
attached to church and state, and never appointed to the living in
his gift any but a three-bottle man and a first-rate fox-hunter. He
mistrusted the honesty of all poor people who could read and write,
and had a secret jealousy of his own wife (a young lady whom he
had married for what his friends called 'the good old English rea-
son,' that her father's property adjoined his own) for possessing
those accomplishments in a greater degree than, himself. In short,
Barnaby being an idiot, and Grip a creature of mere brute instinct,
it would be very hard to say what this gentleman was.
He rode up to the door of a handsome house approached by a
great flight of steps, where a man was waiting to take his horse, and
led the way into a large hall, which, spacious as it was, was tainted
with the fumes of last night's stale debauch. Great-coats, riding-
whips, bridles, top-boots, spurs, and such gear, were strewn about
on all sides, and formed, with some huge stags' antlers, and a few
portraits of dogs and horses, its principal embellishments.
Throwing himself into a great chair (in which, by the bye, he
often snored away the night, when he had been, according to his
admirers, a finer country gentleman than usual) he bade the man
to tell his mistress to come down: and presently there appeared, a
little flurried, as it seemed, by the unwonted summons, a lady much
younger than himself, who had the appearance of being in delicate
health, and not too happy.
364< BARNABY RUDGE
'Here! Thou'st no delight in following the hounds as an Eng-
lishwoman should have/ said the gentleman. 'See to this here.
That'll please thee perhaps.'
The lady smiled, sat down at a little distance from him, and
glanced at Barnaby with a look of pity.
'He's an idiot, the woman says,' observed the gentleman, shak-
ing his head; T don't believe it.'
'Are you his mother?' asked the lady.
She answered yes.
'What's the use of asking her?' said the gentleman, thrusting his
hands into his breeches pockets. 'She'll tell thee so, of course. Most
likely he's hired, at so much a day. There. Get on. Make him do
Grip having by this time recovered his urbanity, condescended,
at Barnaby's solicitation, to repeat his various phrases of speech,
and to go through the whole of his performances with the utmost
success. The corks, and the never say die, afforded the gentleman
so much delight that he demanded the repetition of this part of the
entertainment, until Grip got into his basket, and positively re-
fused to say another word, good or bad. The lady too, was much
amused with him; and the closing point of his obstinacy so de-
lighted her husband that he burst into a roar of laughter, and de-
manded his price.
Barnaby looked as though he didn't understand his meaning.
Probably he did not.
'His price,' said the gentleman, rattling the money in his pock-
ets, 'what dost want for him? How much?'
'He's not to be sold,' replied Barnaby, shutting up the basket in
a great hurry, and throwing the strap over his shoulder. 'Mother,
'Thou seest how much of an idiot he is, book -learner,' said the
gentleman, looking scornfully at his wife. 'He can make a bargain.
What dost want for him, old woman?'
'He is my son's constant companion,' said the widow. 'He is not
to be sold, sir, indeed.'
'Not to be sold ! ' cried the gentleman, growing ten times redder,
hoarser, and louder than before. 'Not to be sold!'
BARNABY RUDGE 36o
'Imfeed no/ die answered. "We have never tiought of parting
wTtÂ±L hiniy STy I do assure you.'
He was evidently about to make a very passionate retort, when
3. few murmured words from his wife happening to catch his ear.
he turned sharply round, and said. 'Eh? What?"
"We can hardly expect them to sell the bird, against their own
desire/ she faliered. *If they prefer to keep him â '
"Prefer to keep him! ' he echoed. 'These people, who go tramping
about the country a-pEfering and vagabondising on all hands, pre-
fer to keep a bird, when a landed proprietor and a justice asks his
price! That old woman's been to school. I know she has. Don't
tell me no,' he roared to the widow, 'I say. yes.'
Bamaby's mother pleaded guilty to the accusation, and hoped
there was no harm in it.
*Xo harm! ' said the gentleman. 'No. Xo harm. No harm, ye old
rebel, not a bit of harm. If my clerk was here. I'd set ye in the
stocks. I would, or lay ye in jail for prowhng up and down, on the
look-out for petty larcenies, ye limb of a gipsy. Here. Simon, put
these pilferers out. shove 'em into the road, out with 'em'. Ye don't
want to sen the bird, ye that come here to beg. don't ye? If they
an't out in double-quick, set the dogs upon 'em! '
They waited for no further dismissal, but fled precipitately, leav-
ing the gentleman to storm away by himself ( for the poor lady had
already retreated ) . and making a great many vain attempts to si-
lence Grip, who. excited by the noise, drew corks enough for a city
feast as they hurried down the avenue, and appeared to congratu-
late himself beyond measure on having been the cause of the dis-
turbance. "\!\lien they had nearly reached the lodge, another serv-
ant, emerging from the shrubbery, feigned to be very active in or-
dering them off. but this man put a crown into the widows hand.
and whisrenr^ that his lady sent it. thrust them gently from the
This izi'iJicr-L only suggested to the widow's mind, when they
haked at an aieiBODse some miles further on, and heard the jus-
tice's character as givrai by his friends, that perhaps something
more tham capacity of stomach and tastes for the kennel and the
stable, were irapired to form either a penect country gFfitifmgny
366 BARNABY RUDGE
a thorough-bred Englishman, or a genuine John Bull; and that
possibly the terms were sometimes misappropriated, not to say dis-
graced. She little thought then, that a circumstance so slight would
ever influence their future fortunes; but time and experience en-
lightened her in this respect.
'Mother,' said Barnaby, as they were sitting next day in a wag-
gon which was to take them within ten miles of the capital, 'we're
going to London first, you said. Shall we see that blind man
She was about to answer 'Heaven forbid ! ' but checked herself,
and told him No, she thought not; why did he ask?
'He's a wise man,' said Barnaby, with a thoughtful countenance.
'I wish that we may meet with him again. What was it that he said
of crowds? That gold was to be found where people crowded, and
not among the trees and in such quiet places? He spoke as if he
loved it; London is a crowded place; I think we shall meet him
'But why do you desire to see him, love?' she asked.
'Because,' said Barnaby, looking wistfully at her, 'he talked to
me about gold, which is a rare thing, and say what you will, a thing
you would like to have, I know. And because he came and went
away so strangely â just as white-headed old men come sometimes
to my bed's foot in the night, and say what I can't remember when
the bright day returns. He told me he'd come back. I wonder why
he broke his word ! '
'But you never thought of being rich or gay, before, dear Barn-
aby. You have always been contented.'
He laughed and bade her say that again, then cried, Ay, ay â oh
yes,' and laughed once more. Then something passed that caught
his fancy, and the topic wandered from his mind, and was suc-
ceeded by another just as fleeting.
But it was plain from what he had said, and from his returning
to the point more than once that day, and on the next, that the
blind man's visit, and indeed his words, had taken strong posses-
sion of his mind. Whether the idea of wealth had occurred to him
for the first time on looking at the golden clouds that evening â and
images were often presented to his thoughts by outward objects
quite as remote and distant; or whether their poor and humble way
BARNABY RUDGE 367
of life had suggested it, by contrast, long ago; or whether the ac-
cident (as he would deem it) of the blind man's pursuing the cur-
rent of his own remarks, had done so at the moment; or he had
been impressed by the mere circumstance of the man being blind,
and, therefore, unlike any one with whom he had talked before; it
was impossible to tell. She tried every means to discover, but in
vain; and the probability is that Barnaby himself was equally in
It filled her with uneasiness to find him harping on this string,
but all that she could do, was to lead him quickly to some other
subject, and to dismiss it from his brain. To caution him against
their visitor, to show any fear or suspicion in reference to him,
would only be, she feared, to increase that interest with which
Barnaby regarded him, and to strengthen his desire to meet him
once again. She hoped, by plunging into the crowd, to rid herself
of her terrible pursuer, and then, by journeying to a distance and
observing increased caution, if that were possible, to live again un-
known, in secrecy and peace.
They reached, in course of time, their halting-place within ten
miles of London, and lay there for the night, after bargaining to be
carried on for a trifle next day, in a light van which was returning
empty, and was to start at five o'clock in the morning. The driver
was punctual, the road good â save for the dust, the weather being
very hot and dry â and at seven in the forenoon of Friday the sec-
ond of June, one thousand seven hundred and eighty, they alighted
at the foot of Westminster Bridge, bade their conductor farewell,
and stood alone, together, on the scorching pavement. For the
freshness which night sheds upon such busy thoroughfares had al-
ready departed, and the sun was shining with uncommon lustre.
Uncertain where to go next, and bewildered by the crowd of
people who were already astir, they sat down in one of the recesses
on the bridge, to rest. They soon became aware that the stream of
368 BARNABY RUDGE
life was all pouring one way, and that a vast throng of persons
were crossing the river from the Middlesex to the Surrey shore, in
unusual haste and evident excitement. They were, for the most
part, in knots of two or three, or sometimes half a dozen; they
spoke little together â many of them were quite silent ; and hurried
on as if they had one absorbing object in view, which was common
to them all.
They were surprised to see that nearly every man in this great
concourse, which still came pouring past, without slackening in the
least, wore in his hat a blue cockade ; and that the chance passen-
gers who were not so decorated, appeared timidly anxious to escape
observation or attack, and gave them the wall as if they would con-
ciliate them. This, however, was natural enough, considering their
inferiority in point of numbers; for the proportion of those who
wore blue cockades, to those who were dressed as usual, was at
least forty or fifty to one. There was no quarrelling, however: the
blue cockades went swarming on, passing each other when they
could, and making all the speed that was possible in such a multi-
tude ; and exchanged nothing more than looks, and very often not
even those, with such of the passers-by as were not of their num-
At first, the current of people had been confined to the two path-
ways, and but a few more eager stragglers kept the road. But after
half an hour or so, the passage was completely blocked up by the
great press, which, being now closely wedged together, and im-
peded by the carts and coaches it encountered, moved but slowly,
and was sometimes at a stand for five or ten minutes together.
After the lapse of nearly two hours, the numbers began to dim-
inish visibly, and gradually dwindling away, by little and little,
left the bridge quite clear, save that, now and then, some hot and
dusty man, with the cockade in his hat, and his coat thrown over
his shoulder, went panting by, fearful of being too late, or stopped
to ask which way his friends had taken, and being directed, has-
tened on again like one refreshed. In this comparative solitude,
which seemed quite strange and novel after the late crowd, the
widow had for the first time an opportunity of inquiring of an old
man who came and sat beside them, what was the meaning of that
BARNABY RUDGE 369
'Why, where have you come from,' he returned, 'that you have-
n't heard of Lord George Gordon's great association? This is the
day that he presents the petition against the Catholics, God bless
'What have all these men to do with that?' she said.
'What have they to do with it!' the old man replied. 'Why, how
you talk! Don't you know his lordship has declared he won't pre-
sent it to the House at all, unless it is attended to the door by forty
thousand good and true men at least? There's a crowd for you!'
'A crowd indeed!' said Barnaby. 'Do you hear that, mother?'
'And they're mustering yonder, as I am told,' resumed the old
man, 'nigh upon a hundred thousand strong. Ah! Let Lord George
alone. He knows his power. There'll be a good many faces inside
them three windows over there,' and he pointed to where the
House of Commons overlooked the river, 'that'll turn pale when
good Lord George gets up this afternoon, and with reason too!
Ay, ay. Let his lordship alone. Let him alone. He knows! ' And so,
with much mumbling and chuckling and shaking of his forefinger,
he rose, with the assistance of his stick, and tottered off.
'Mother!' said Barnaby, 'that's a brave crowd he talks of.
'Not to join it!' cried his mother.
*Yes, yes,' he answered, plucking at her sleeve. ''Why not?
Come ! '
'You don't know,' she urged, 'what mischief they may do, where
they may lead you, what their meaning is. Dear Barnaby, for my
sake â '
'For your sake!' he cried, patting her hand. 'Well! It is for your
sake, mother. You remember what the blind nian said, about the
gold. Here's a brave crowd! Come! Or wait till I come back â yes,
yes, wait here.'
She tried with all the earnestness her fears engendered, to turn
him from his purpose, but in vain. He was stooping down to buckle
on his shoe, when a hackney-coach passed them rather quickly,
and a voice inside called to the driver to stop.
'Young man,' said a voice within.
'Who's that?' cried Barnaby, looking up.
370 BARNABY RUDGE
'Do you wear this ornament?' returned the stranger, holding
out a blue cockade.
'In Heaven's name, no. Pray do not give it him!' exclaimed the
'Speak for yourself, woman,' said the man within the coach,
coldly. 'Leave the young man to his choice; he's old enough to
make it, and to snap your apron-strings. He knows, without your
telling, whether he wears the sign of a loyal Englishman or not.'
Barnaby, trembling with impatience, cried 'Yes! yes, yes, I do,^
as he had cried a dozen times already. The man threw him a cock-
ade, and crying 'Make haste to St. George's Fields,' ordered the
coachman to drive on fast; and left them.
With hands that trembled with his eagerness to fix the bauble in
his hat, Barnaby was adjusting it as he best could, and hurriedly
replying to the tears and entreaties of his mother, who two gentle-
men passed on the opposite side of the way. Observing them, and
seeing how Barnaby was occupied, they stopped, whispered to-
gether for an instant, turned back, and came over to them.
'Why are you sitting here?' said one of them, who was dressed in
a plain suit of black, wore long lank hair, and carried a great cane.
'Why have you not gone with the rest?'
'I am going, sir,' replied Barnaby, finishing his task, and putting
his hat on with an air of pride. 'I shall be there directly.'
'Say "my lord," young man, when his lordship does you the
honour of speaking to you,' said the second gentleman mildly. 'If
you don't know Lord George Gordon when you see him, it's high
time you should.'
'Nay, Gashford,' said Lord George, as Barnaby pulled off his
hat again and made him a low bow, 'it's no great matter on a day
like this, which every Englishman will remember with delight and
pride. Put on your hat, friend, and follow us, for you lag behind
and are late. It's past ten now. Didn't you know that the hour for
assembling was ten o'clock?'
Barnaby shook his head and looked vacantly from one to the
'You might have known it, friend,' said Gashford, 'it was per-
fectly understood. How came you to be so ill informed?'
'He cannot tell you, sir,' the widow interposed. 'It's of no use to
BARNABY RUDGE 371
ask him. We are but this morning come from a long distance in
the country, and know nothing of these matters.'
'The cause has taken a deep root, and has spread its branches
far and wide,' said Lord George to his secretary. 'This is a pleas-
ant hearing. I thank Heaven for it!'
'Amen I' cried Gashford with a solemn face.
'You do not understand me, my lord/ said the widow. 'Pardon
me, but you cruelly mistake my meaning. We know nothing of
these matters. We have no desire or right to join in what you are
about to do. This is my son, my poor afflicted son, dearer to me
than my own life. In mercy's name, my lord, go your way alone,
and do not tempt him into danger!'
'My good woman,' said Gashford, 'how can you! â Dear me! â
What do you mean by tempting, and by danger? Do you think his
lordship is a roaring lion, going about and seeking whom he may
devour? God bless me!'
'No, no, my lord, forgive me,' implored the widow, laying both
her hands upon his breast, and scarcely knowing what she did, or
said, in the earnestness of her supplication, 'but there are reasons
why you should hear my earnest, mother's prayer, and leave my
son with me. Oh do. He is not in his right senses, he is not, in-
'It is a bad sign of the wickedness of these times,' said Lord
George, evading her touch, and colouring deeply, 'that those who
cling to the truth and support the right cause, are set down as mad.
Have you the heart to say this of your own son, unnatural mother! '
'I am astonished at you!' said Gashford, with a kind of meek
severity. 'This is a very sad picture of female depravity.'
'He has surely no appearance,' said Lord George, glancing at
Barnaby, and whispering in his secretary's ear, 'of being deranged?
And even if he had, we must not construe any trifling peculiarity
into madness. Which of us' â and here he turned red again â
'would be safe, if that were made the law!'
'Not one,' replied the secretary; 'in that case, the greater the
zeal, the truth, and talent; the more direct the call from above; the
clearer would be the madness. With regard to this young man, my
lord,' he added, with a lip that slightly curled as he looked at
Barnaby, who stood twirling his hat, and stealthily beckoning them
372 BARNABY RUDGE
to come away, 'he is as sensible and self-possessed as any one I
'And you desire to make one of this great body?' said Lord
George, addressing him; 'and intended to make one, did you?'
'Yes â yes,' said Barnaby, with sparkling eyes. 'To be sure I
did! I told her so myself.'
'I see,' replied Lord George, with a reproachful glance at the un-
happy mother. 'I thought so. Follow me and this gentleman, and
you shall have your wish.'
Barnaby kissed his mother tenderly on the cheek, and bidding
her be of good cheer, for their fortunes were both made now, did as
he was desired. She, poor woman, followed too â with how much
fear and grief it would be hard to tell.
They passed quickly through the Bridge Road, where the shops
were all shut up (for the passage of the great crowd and the ex-
pectation of their return had alarmed the tradesmen for their goods
and windows), and where, in the upper stories, all the inhabitants
were congregated, looking down into the street below, with faces
variously expressive of alarm, of interest, expectancy, and indig-
nation. Some of these applauded, and some hissed; but regardless
of these interruptions â for the noise of a vast congregation of
people at a little distance, sounded in his ears, like the roaring of
the sea â Lord George Gordon quickened his pace, and presently
arrived before St. George's Fields.
They were really fields at that time, and of considerable extent.
Here an immense multitude was collected, bearing flags of various
kinds and sizes, but all of the same colour â blue, like the cockades
â some sections marching to and fro in military array, and others
drawn up in circles, squares, and lines. A large portion, both of the
bodies which paraded the ground, and of those which remained
stationary, were occupied in singing hymns or psalms. With
whomsoever this originated, it was well done; for the sound of so
many thousand voices in the air must have stirred the heart of any
man within him, and could not fail to have a wonderful effect upon
enthusiasts, however mistaken.
Scouts had been posted in advance of the great body, to give
notice of their leader's coming. These falling back, the word was
quickly passed through the whole host, and for a short interval
BARNABY RUDGE 373
there ensued a profound and deathlike silence, during which the
mass was so still and quiet, that the fluttering of a banner caught
the eye, and became a circumstance of note. Then they burst into
a tremendous shout, into another, and another ; and the air seemed
rent and shaken, as if by the discharge of cannon.
'GashfordI' cried Lord George, pressing his secretary's arm tight
within his own, and speaking with as much emotion in his voice, as
in his altered face, 'I am called indeed, now. I feel and know it. I
am the leader of a host. If they summoned me at this moment with
one voice to lead them on to death, I'd do it â Yes, and fall first
Tt is a proud sight,' said the secretary. 'It is a noble day for
England, and for the great cause throughout the world. Such
homage, my lord, as I, an humble but devoted man, can render â '
'What are you doing?' cried his master, catching him by both
hands; for he had made a show of kneeling at his feet. 'Do not
unfit me, dear Gashford, for the solemn duty of this glorious day
â ' the tears stood in the eyes of the poor gentleman as he said the
words â 'Let us go among them; we have to find a place in some
division for this new recruit â give me your hand.'
Gashford slid his cold insidious palm into his master's grasp,
and so, hand in hand, and followed still by Barnaby and by his
mother too, they mingled with the concourse.
They had by this time taken to their singing again, and as their
leader passed between their ranks, they raised their voices to their
utmost. Many of those who were banded together to support the
religion of their country, even unto death, had never heard a hymn
or psalm in all their lives. But these fellows having for the most
part strong lungs, and being naturally fond of singing, chanted any
ribaldry or nonsense that occurred to them, feeling pretty certain
that it would not be detected in the general chorus, and not caring
much if it were. Many of these voluntaries were sung under the
very nose of Lord George Gordon, who, quite unconscious of their
burden, passed on with his usual stiff and solemn deportment, very
much edified and delighted by the pious conduct of his followers.
So they went on and on, up this line, down that, round the exte-
rior of this circle, and on every side of that hollow square; and still
there were lines, and squares, and circles out of number to review.
374 BARNABY RUDGE
The day being now intensely hot, and the sun striking down his
fiercest rays upon the field, those who carried heavy banners began
to grow faint and weary ; most of the number assembled were fain