pockets, 'with no man as goes to London on such nonsensical
The three cronies were therefore reduced to the necessity of
shaking his elbows ; having performed that ceremony, and brought
from the house their hats, and sticks, and great-coats, they bade
him good-night and departed ; promising to bring him on the mor-
row full and true accounts of the real state of the city, and if it
were quiet, to give him the full merit of his victory.
John Willet looked after them, as they plodded along the road
in the rich glow of a summer evening; and knocking the ashes out
of his pipe, laughed inwardly at their folly, until his sides were sore.
When he had quite exhausted himself — which took some time, for
he laughed as slowly as he thought and spoke — he sat himself com-
fortably with his back to the house, put his legs upon the bench,
then his apron over his face, and fell sound asleep.
How long he slept, matters not; but it was for no brief space, for
when he awoke, the rich light had faded, the sombre hues of night
were falling fast upon the landscape, and a few bright stars were
already twinkling overhead. The birds were all at roost, the daisies
on the green had closed their fairy hoods, the honeysuckle twining
round the porch exhaled its perfume in a twofold degree, as though
it lost its coyness at that silent time and loved to shed its fragrance
on the night; the ivy scarcely stirred its deep green leaves. How
tranquil, and how beautiful it was!
Was there no sound in the air, besides the gentle rustling of the
trees and the grasshopper's merry chirp? Hark! Something very
BARNABY RUDGE 419
faint and distant, not unlike the murmuring in a sea-shell. Now it
grew louder, fainter now, and now it altogether died away. Pres-
ently, it came again, subsided, came once more, grew louder, fainter
— swelled into a roar. It was on the road, and varied with its wind-
ings. All at once it burst into a distinct sound — the voices, and the
tramping feet of many men.
It is questionable whether old John Willet, even then, would
have thought of the rioters but for the cries of his cook and house-
maid, who ran screaming upstairs and locked themselves into one
of the old garrets, — shrieking dismally when they had done so," by
way of rendering their place of refuge perfectly secret and secure.
These two females did afterwards depone that Mr. Willet in his
consternation uttered but one word, and called that up the stairs
in a stentorian voice, six distinct times. But as this word was a
monosyllable, which, however inoffensive when applied to the quad-
ruped it denotes, is highly reprehensible when used in connection
with females of unimpeachable character, many persons were in-
clined to believe that the young women laboured under some hallu-
cination caused by excessive fear; and that their ears deceived
Be this as it may, John Willet, in whom the very uttermost ex-
tent of dull-headed perplexity supplied the place of courage, sta-
tioned himself in the porch, and waited for their coming up. Once,
it dimly occurred to him that there was a kind of door to the house,
which had a lock and bolts; and at the same time some shadowy
ideas of shutters to the lower windows, flitted through his brain.
But he stood stock still, looking down the road in the direction in
which the noise was rapidly advancing, and did not so much as take
his hands out of his pockets.
He had not to wait long. A dark mass, looming through a cloud of
dust, soon became visible; the mob quickened their pace; shouting
and whooping like savages, they came rushing on pell-mell ; and in
a few seconds he was bandied from hand to hand, in the heart of a
crowd of men.
'Halloa!' cried a voice he knew, as the man who spoke came
cleaving through the throng. 'Where is he? Give him to me. Don't
hurt him. How now, old Jack! Ha ha ha! '
420 BARNABY RUDGE
Mr. Willet looked at him, and saw it was Hugh; but he said
nothing, and thought nothing.
'These lads are thirsty and must drink!' cried Hugh, thrusting
him back towards the house. 'Bustle, Jack, bustle. Show us the
best — the very best — the over-proof that you keep for your own
John faintly articulated the words, 'Who 's to pay?'
'He says "Who's to pay?" ' cried Hugh, with a roar of laughter
which was loudly echoed by the crowd. Then turning to John, he
added, 'Pay! Why, nobody.' %
John stared round at the mass of faces — some grinning, some
fierce, some lighted up by torches, some indistinct, some dusky and
shadowy: some looking at him, some at his house, some at each
other— and while he was, as he thought, in the very act of doing
so, found himself, without any consciousness of having moved, in
the bar; sitting down in an arm-chair, and watching the destruc-
tion of his property, as if it were some queer play or entertain-
ment, of an astonishing and stupefying nature, but having no
reference to himself — that he could make out — at all.
Yes. Here was the bar — the bar that the boldest never entered
without special invitation — the sanctuary, the mystery, the hal-
lowed ground: here it was, crammed with men, clubs, sticks,
torches, pistols; filled with a deafening noise, oaths, shouts,
screams, hootings; changed all at once into a beer-garden, a mad-
house, an infernal temple: men darting in and out, by door and
window, smashing the glass, turning the taps, drinking liquor out
of China punch-bowls, sitting astride of casks, smoking private and
personal pipes, cutting down the sacred grove of lemons, hacking
and hewing at the celebrated cheese, breaking open inviolable
drawers, putting things in their pockets which didn't belong to
them, dividing his own money before his own eyes, wantonly wast-
ing, breaking, pulling down and tearing up: nothing quiet, nothing
private: men everywhere — above, below, overhead, in the bed-
rooms, in the kitchen, in the yard, in the stables — clambering in
at windows when there were doors wide open; dropping out of
windows when the stairs were handy; leaping over the bannisters
into chasms of passages: new faces and figures presenting them-
selves every instant — some yelling, some singing, some fighting.
BARNABY RUDGE 421
some breaking glass and crockery, some laying the dust with the
liquor they couldn't drink, some ringing the bells till they pulled
them down, others beating them with pokers till they beat them
into fragments: more men still — more, more, more — swarming on
like insects: noise, smoke, light, darkness, frolic, anger, laughter,
groans, plunder, fear, and ruin!
Nearly all the time while John looked on at this bewildering
scene, Hugh kept near him; and though he was the loudest, wild-
est, most destructive villain there, he saved bis old master's bones
a score of times. Nay, even when Mr. Tappertit, excited by liquor,
came up, and in assertion of his prerogative politely kicked John
Willet on the shins, Hugh bade him return the compliment; and if
old John had had sufficient presence of mind to understand this
whispered direction, and to profit by it, he might no doubt, under
Hugh's protection, have done so with impunity.
At length the band began to re-assemble outside the house, and
to call to those within, to join them, for they were losing time.
These murmurs increasing, and attaining a high pitch, Hugh, and
some of those who yet lingered in the bar, and who plainly were
the leaders of the troop, took counsel together, apart, as to what
was to be done with John, to keep him quiet until their Chigwell
work was over. Some proposed to set the house on fire and leave
liim in it; others, that he should be reduced to a state of tem-
porary insensibility, by knocking on the head; others, that he
should be sworn to sit where he was until to-morrow at the same
hour; others again, that he should be gagged and taken off with
them, under a sufficient guard. All these propositions being over-
ruled, it was concluded, at last, to bind him in his chair, and the
word was passed for Dennis.
'Look 'ee here, Jack!' said Hugh, striding up to him: 'We are
going to tie you, hand and foot, but otherwise you won't be hurt.
John Willet looked at another man, as if he didn't know which
was the speaker, and muttered something about an ordinary
every Sunday at two o'clock.
'You won't be hurt I tell you, Jack — do you hear me?' roared
Hugh, impressing the assurance upon him by means of a heavy
blow on the back. 'He 's so dead scared, he 's woolgathering, I
422 BARNABY RUDGE
think. Give him a drop of something to drink here. Hand over,
one of you.'
A glass of liquor being passed forward, Hugh poured the con-
tents down old John's throat. Mr. Willet feebly smacked his lips,
thrust his hand into his pocket, and inquired what was to pay;
adding, as he looked vacantly round, that he believed there was a
trifle of broken glass —
'He 's out of his senses for the time, it 's my belief,' said Hugh,
after shaking him, without any visible effect upon his system, until
his keys rattled in his pocket. 'Where 's that Dennis?'
The word was again passed, and presently Mr. Dennis, with a
long cord bound about his middle, sometimes after the manner of
a friar, came hurrying in, attended by a bodyguard of half a dozen
of his men.
'Come! Be alive here!' cried Hugh, stamping his foot upon the
ground. 'Make haste!'
Dennis, with a wink and a nod, unwound the cord from about
his person, and raising his eyes to the ceiling, looked all over it,
and round the walls and cornice, with a curious eye; then shook
'Move, man, can't you!' cried Hugh, with another impatient
stamp of his foot. 'Are we to wait here, till the cry has gone for
ten miles round, and our work's interrupted?'
"It 's all very fine talking, brother,' answered Dennis, stepping
towards him; 'but unless — ' and here he whispered in his ear —
unless we do it over the door, it can't be done at all in this here
What can't?' Hugh demanded.
'What can't!' retorted Dennis. 'Why, the old man can't.'
'Why, you weren't going to hang him!' cried Hugh.
'No, brother?' returned the hangman with a stare. 'What else?'
Hugh made no answer, but snatching the rope from his com-
panion's hand, proceeded to bind old John himself; but his very
first move was so bungling and unskilful, that Mr. Dennis en-
treated, almost with tears in his eyes, that he might be permitted
to perform the duty. Hugh consenting, he achieved it in a
'There,' he said, looking mournfully at John Willet, who dis-
BARNABY RUDGE 423
played no more emotion in his bonds than he had shown out of
them. That 's what I call pretty and workmanlike. He 's quite a
picter now. But, brother, just a word with you — now that he 's
ready trussed, as one may say, wouldn't it be better for all parties
if we was to work him off? It would read uncommon well in the
newspapers, it would indeed. The public would think a great deal
more on usi "
Hugh, inferring what his companion meant, rather from his ges-
tures than his technical mode of expressing himself (to which, as
he was ignorant of his calling, he wanted the clue), rejected this
proposition for the second time, and gave the word 'Forward!'
which was echoed by a hundred voices from without.
'To the Warren ! ' shouted Dennis as he ran out, followed by the
rest. A witness's house, my lads!'
A loud yell followed, and the whole throng hurried off, mad ,for
pillage and destruction. Hugh lingered behind for a few moments
to stimulate himself with more drink, and to set all the taps run-
ning, a few of which had accidentally been spared; then, glancing
round the despoiled and plundered room, through whose shat-
tered window the rioters had thrust the Maypole itself, — for even
that had been sawn down, lighted a torch, clapped the mute and
motionless John Willet on the back, and waving his light above his
head, and uttering a fierce shout, hastened after his companions.
John Willet, left alone in his dismantled bar, continued to sit
staring about him; awake as to his eyes, certainly, but with all
his powers of reason and reflection in a sound and dreamless sleep.
He looked round upon the room which had been for years, and
was within an hour ago, the pride of his heart ; and not a muscle
of his face was moved. The night, without, looked black and cold
through the dreary gaps in the casement; the precious liquids,
now nearly leaked away, dripped with a hollow sound upon the
floor; the Maypole peered ruefully in through the broken window,
424 BARNABY RUDGE
like the bowsprit of a wrecked ship ; the ground might have been
the bottom of the sea, it was so strewn with precious fragments.
Currents of air rushed in, as the old doors jarred and creaked upon
their hinges; the candles flickered and guttered down, and made
long winding-sheets; the cheery deep-red curtains flapped and
fluttered idly in the wind ; even the stout Dutch kegs, overthrown
and lying empty in dark corners, seemed the mere husks of good
fellows whose jollity had departed, and who could kindle with a
friendly glow no more. John saw this desolation, and yet saw it
not. He was perfectly contented to sit there, staring at it, and felt
no more indignation or discomfort in his bonds than if they had
been robes of honour. So far as he was personally concerned, old
Time lay snoring, and the world stood stiU.
Save for the dripping from the barrels, the rustling of such light
fra,gments of destruction as the wind affected, and the dull creak-
ing of the open doors, all was profoundly quiet; indeed, these
sounds, like the ticking of the death-watch in the night, only
made the silence they invaded deeper and more apparent. But
quiet or noisy, it was all one to John. If a train of heavy artillery
could have come up and commenced ball practice outside the win-
dow, it would have been all the same to him. He was a long way
beyond surprise. A ghost couldn't have overtaken him.
By and by he heard a footstep — a hurried, and yet cautious
footstep — coming on towards the house. It stopped, advanced
again, then seemed to go quite round it. Having done that, it came
beneath the window, and a head looked in.
It was strongly relieved against the darkness outside by the
glare of the guttering candles. A pale, worn, withered face; the
eyes — but that was owing to its gaunt condition — unnaturally large
and bright; the hair, a grizzled black. It gave a searching glance
all round the room, and a deep voice said:
Are you alone in this house?'
John made no sign, though the question was repeated twice,
and he heard it distinctly. After a moment's pause, the man got
in at the window. John was not at all surprised at this, either.
There had been so much getting in and out of window in the
course of the last hour or so, that he had quite forgotten the door,
and seemed to have liVed among such exercises from infancy.
BARNABY RUDGE 425
The man wore a large, dark, faded cloak, and a slouched hat;
he walked up close to John, and looked at him. John returned
the compliment with interest.
'How long have you been sitting thus?' said the man.
John considered, but nothing came of it.
"Which way have the party gone?'
Some wandering speculations relative to the fashion of the
stranger's boots, got into Mr. Willet's mind by some accident or
other, but they got out again in a hurry, and left him in his former
'You would do well to speak,' said the man: 'you may keep a
whole skin, though you have nothing else left that can be hurt.
Which way have the party gone?'
'That ! ' said John, finding his voice all at once, and nodding with
perfect good faith — he couldn't point; he was so tightly bound —
in exactly the opposite direction to the right one.
'You lie!' said the man angrily, and with a threatening gesture.
'I came that way. You would betray me.'
It was so evident that John's imperturbability was not assumed,
but was the result of the late proceedings under his roof, that
the man stayed his hand in the very act of striking him, and
John looked after him without so much as a twitch in a single
nerve of his face. He seized a glass, and holding it under one of
the little casks until a few drops were collected, drank them greed-
ily off; then throwing it down upon the floor impatiently, he took
the vessel in his hands and drained it into his throat. Some scraps
of bread and meat were scattered about, and on these he fell next;
eating them with voracity, and pausing every now and then to
listen for some fancied noise outside. When he had refreshed
himself in this manner with violent haste, and raised another bar-
rel to his lips, he pulled his hat upon his brow as though he were
about to leave the house, and turned to John.
'Where are your servants?'
Mr. Willet indistinctly remembered to have heard the rioters
calling to them to throw the key of the room in which they were,
out of the window, for their keeping. He therefore replied, 'Locked
426 BARNABY RUDGE
'Well for them if they remain quiet, and well for you if you do
the like,' said the man. 'Now show me the way the party went.'
This time Mr. Willet indicated it correctly. The man was
hurrying to the door, when suddenly there came towards them on
the wind, the loud and rapid tolling of an alarm-bell, and then a
bright and vivid glare streamed up, which illumined, not only the
whole chamber, but all the country.
It was not the sudden change from darkness to this dreadful
light, it was not the sound of distant shrieks and shouts of triumph,
it was not this dread invasion of the serenity and peace of night,
that drove the man back as though a thunderbolt had struck him.
It was the Bell. If the ghastliest shape the human mind has ever
pictured in its wildest dream had risen up before him, he could
not have staggered backward from its touch, as he did from the
first sound of that loud iron voice. With eyes that started from
his head, his limbs convulsed, his face most horrible to see, he raised
one arm high up into the air, and holding something visionary back
and down, with his other hand, drove at it as though he held a
knife and stabbed it to the heart. He clutched his hair, and
stopped his ears, and travelled madly round and round; then gave a
frightful cry, and with it rushed away: still, still, the Bell tolled
on and seemed to follow him — louder and louder, hotter and hot-
ter yet. The glare grew brighter, the roar of voices deeper; the
crash of heavy bodies falling, shook the air; bright streams of
sparks rose up into the sky; but louder than them all — rising
faster far, to Heaven — a million times more fierce and furious — ■
pouring forth dreadful secrets after its long silence — speaking the
language of the dead — the Bell — the Bell!
What hunt of spectres could surpass that dread pursuit and
flight! Had there been a legion of them on his track, he could
have better borne it. They would have had a beginning and an
end, but here all space was full. The one pursuing voice was
everywhere: it sounded in the earth, the air; shook the long grass,
and howled among the trembling trees. The echoes caught it up,
the owls hooted as it flew upon the breeze, the nightingale was
silent and hid herself among the thickest boughs: it seemed to
goad and urge the angry fire, and lash it into madness; every-
thing was steeped in one prevailing red ; the glow was everywhere ;
BARNABY RUDGE 427
nature was drenched in blood : still the remorseless crying of that
awful voice — the Bell, the Bell!
It ceased; but not in his ears. The knell was at his heart. No
work of man had ever voice like that which sounded there, and
svarned him that it cried unceasingly to Heaven. Who could hear
that bell, and not know what it said! There was murder in its
every note — cruel, relentless, savage murder — the murder of a
confiding man, by one who held his every trust. Its ring sum-
moned phantoms from their graves. What face was that, in which
a friendly smile changed to a look of half incredulous horror,
which stiffened for a moment into one of pain, then changed again
into an imploring glance at Heaven, and so fell idly down with
upturned eyes, like the dead stags' he had often peeped at when
a little child: shrinking and shuddering — there was a dreadful
thing to think of now! — and clinging to an apron as he looked! He
sank upon the ground, and grovelling down as if he would dig him-
self a place to hide in, covered his face and ears: but no, no, no, —
a hundred walls and roofs of brass would not shut out that bell,
for in it spoke the wrathful voice of God, and from that voice, the
whole wide universe could not afford a refuge!
While he rushed up and down, not knowing where to turn, and
while he lay crouching there, the work went briskly on indeed.
When they left the Maypole, the rioters formed into a solid body,
and advanced at a quick pace towards the Warren. Rumour of
their approach having gone before, they found the garden-doors
fast closed, the windows made secure, and the house profoundly
dark: not a light being visible in any portion of the building.
After some fruitless ringing at the bells, and beating at the iron
gates, they drew off a few paces to reconnoitre, and confer upon
the course it would* be best to take.
Very little conference was needed, when all were bent upon one
desperate purpose infuriated with liquor, and flushed with suc-
cessful riot. The word being given to surround the house, some
climbed the gates, or dropped into the shallow trench and scaled
the garden wall, while others pulled down the solid iron fence, and
while they made a breach to enter by, made deadly weapons of
the bars. The house being completely encircled, a small number
of men were despatched to break open a tool-shed in the garden ;
428 BARNABY RUDGE
and during their absence on this errand, the remainder contented
themselves with knocking violently at the doors, and calling to
those within, to come down and open them on peril of their lives.
No answer being returned to this repeated summons, and the
detachment who had been sent away, coming back with an acces-
sion of pickaxes, spades, and hoes, they, — together with those who
had such arms already, or carried (as many did) axes, poles, and
crow-bars, — struggled into the foremost rank, ready to beset the
doors and windows. They had not at this time more than a dozen
lighted torches among them; but when these preparations were
completed, flaming links were distributed and passed from hand
to hand with such rapidity, that, in a minute's time, at least two-
thirds of the whole roaring mass bore, each man in his hand, a
blazing brand. Whirling these about their heads they raised a loud
shout, and fell to work upon the doors and windows.
Amidst the clattering of heavy blows, the rattling of broken
glass, the cries and execrations of the mob, and all the din and
turmoil of the scene, Hugh and his friends kept together at the
turret-door where Mr. Haredale had last admitted him and old
John Willet; and spent their united force on that. It was a strong
old oaken door, guarded by good bolts and a heavy bar, but it soon
went crashing in upon the narrow stairs behind, and made, as it
were, a platform to facilitate their tearing up into the rooms above.
Almost at the same moment, a dozen other points were forced;
and at every one the crowd poured in like water.
A few armed servant-men were posted in the hall, and when the
rioters forced an entrance there, they fired some half a dozen
shots. But these taking no effect, and the concourse coming on
like an army of devils, they only thought of consulting their own
safety, and retreated, echoing their assailants' cries, and hoping
in the confusion to be taken for rioters themselves; in which strata-
gem they succeeded, with the exception of one old man who was
never heard of again, and was said to have had his brains beaten out
with an iron bar (one of his fellows reported that he had seen the
old man fall), and to have been afterwards burnt in the flames.
The besiegers being now in complete possession of the house,
spread themselves over it from garret to cellar, and plied their de-
mon labours fiercely. While some small parties kindled bonfires
BARNABY RUDGE 429
underneath the windows, others broke up the furniture and cast the
fragments down to feed the flames below; where the apertures in
the wall (windows no longer) were large enough, they threw out