The matter indeed looked sufficiently serious, for, coming to the
place whence the cries had proceeded, he descried the figure of a
man extended in an apparently lifeless state upon the pathway,
and, hovering round him, another person with a torch in his hand,
which he waved in the air with a wild impatience, redoubling
BARNABY RUDGE 29
meanwhile those cries for help which had brought the locksmith
to the spot.
'What's here to do?' said the old man, alighting. 'How's this ā ā
what ā Barnaby?'
The bearer of the torch shook his long loose hair back from his
eyes, and thrusting his face eagerly into that of the locksmith, fixed
upon him a look which told his history at once.
'You know me, Barnaby?' said Varden.
He nodded ā not once or twice, but a score of times, and that
with a fantastic exaggeration which would have kept his head in
motion for an hour, but that the locksmith held up his finger, and
fixing his eye sternly upon him caused him to desist ; then pointed
to the body with an inquiring look.
'There's blood upon him,' said Barnaby with a shudder. 'It
makes me sick ! '
'How came it there?' demanded Varden.
'Steel, steel, steel!' he replied fiercely, imitating with his hand
th^ thrust of a sword.
'Is he robbed?' said the locksmith.
Barnaby caught him by the arm, and nodded 'Yes'; then pointed
towards the city.
'Oh,' said the old man, bending over the body and looking round
as he spoke into Barnaby's pale face, strangely lighted up by some-
thing that was not intellect. 'The robber made off that way, did
he? Well, well, never mind that just now. Hold your torch this way
ā a little further off ā so. Now stand quiet, while I try to see what
harm is done.'
With these words, he applied himself to a closer examination of
the prostrate form, while Barnaby, holding the torch as he had
been directed, looked on in silence, fascinated by interest or cu-
riosity, but repelled nevertheless by some strong and secret horror
which convulsed him in every nerve.
As he stood, at that moment, half shrinking back and half bend-
ing forward, both his face and figure were full in the strong glare
of the link, and as distinctly revealed as though it had been broad
day. He was about three-and-twenty years old, and though rather
spare, of a fair height and strong make. His hair, of which he had
a great profusion, was red, and hanging in disorder about his face
30 BARNABY RUDGE
and shoulders, gave to his restless looks an expression quite un-
earthly ā enhanced by the paleness of his complexion, and the
glassy lustre of his large protruding eyes. Startling as his aspect
was, the features were good, and there was something even plain-
tive in his wan and haggard aspect. But, the absence of the soul is
far more terrible in a living man than in a dead one; and in this
unfortunate being its noblest powers were wanting.
His dress was of green, clumsily trimmed here and there ā ap-
parently by his own hands ā with gaudy lace; brightest where the
cloth was most worn and soiled, and poorest where it was at the
best. A pair of tawdry ruffles dangled at his wrists, while his throat
was nearly bare. He had ornamented his hat with a cluster of pea-
cock's feathers, but they were limp and broken, and now trailed
negligently down his back. Girt to his side was the steel hilt of an
old sword without blade or scabbard; and some parti-coloured
ends of ribands and poor glass toys completed the ornamental por-
tion of his attire. The fluttered and confused disposition of all the
motley scraps that formed his dress, bespoke, in a scarcely less de-
gree than his eager and unsettled manner, the disorder of his mind,
and by a grotesque contrast set off and heightened the more im-
pressive wildness of his face.
'Barnaby,' said the locksmith, after a hasty but careful inspec-
tion, 'this man is not dead, but he has a wound in his side, and is:
in a fainting-fit.'
'I know him, I know him!' cried Barnaby, clapping his hands.
'Know him?' repeated the locksmith.
'Hush!' said Barnaby, laying his fingers upon his lips. 'He went
out to-day a wooing. I wouldn't for a light guinea that he should
never go a wooing again, for, if he did, some eyes would grow dim j
that are now as bright as ā see, when I talk of eyes, the stars come
out! Whose eyes are they? If they are angels' eyes, why do they
look down here and see good men hurt, and only wink and sparkle
all the night?'
'Now Heaven help this silly fellow,' murmured the perplexed
locksmith; 'can he know this gentleman? His mother's house is
not far off; I had better see if she can tell me who he is. Barnaby,
my man, help me to put him in the chaise, and we'll ride home to-
BARNABY RUDGE 31
'I can't touch him!' cried the idiot falling back, and shuddering
as with a strong spasm; 'he's bloody!'
'It's in his nature I know,' muttered the locksmith, 'it's cruel to
ask him, but I must have help. Barnaby ā good Barnaby ā dear
Ba-rnaby ā if you know this gentleman, for the sake of his life and
everybody's life that loves him, help me to raise him and lay him
'Cover him then, wrap him close ā don't let me see it ā smell it
ā ^hear the word. Don't speak the word ā don't!'
'No, no, I'll not. There, you see he's covered now. Gently. Well
done, well done!'
They placed him in the carriage with great ease, for Barnaby
was strong and active, but all the time they were so occupied he
shivered from head to foot, and evidently experienced an ecstasy
This accomplished, and the wounded man being covered with
Varden's own great-coat which he took off for the purpose, they
proceeded onward at a brisk pace: Barnaby gaily counting the
stars upon his fingers, and Gabriel inwardly congratulating him-
self upon having an adventure now, which would silence Mrs. Var-
den on the subject of the Maypole, for that night, or there v/as no
faith in woman.
In the venerable suburb ā it was a suburb once ā of Clerkenwell,
towards that part of its confines which is nearest to the Charter
House, and in one of those cool, shady streets, of which a few,
widely scattered and dispersed, yet remain in such old parts of the
metropolis, ā each tenement quietly vegetating like an ancient citi-
zen who long ago retired from business, and dozing on in its in-
firmity until in course of time it tumbles down, and is replaced by
some extravagant young heir, flaunting in stucco and ornamental
work, and all the vanities of modern days, ā in this quarter, and in
a street of this description, the business of the present chapter lies.
At the time of which it treats, though only six-and-sixty years
ago, a very large part of what is London now had no existence.
32 BARNABY RUDGE
Even in the brains of the wildest speculators, there had sprung up
no long rows of streets connecting Highgate with Whitechapel, no
assemblages of palaces in the swampy levels, nor little cities in the
open fields. Although this part of town was then, as now, parcelled
out in streets, and plentifully peopled, it wore a different aspect.
There were gardens to many of the houses, and trees by the pave-
ment side; with an air of freshness breathing up and down, which
in these days would be sought in vain. Fields were nigh at hand,
through which the New River took its winding course, and where
there was merry haymaking in the summer-time. Nature was not
so far removed, or hard to get at, as in these days; and although
there were busy trades in Clerkenwell, and working jewellers by
scores, it was a purer place, with farmhouses nearer to it than many
modern Londoners would readily believe, and lovers' walks at no
great distance, which turned into squalid courts, long before the
lovers of this age were born, or, as the phrase goes, thought of.
In one of these streets, the cleanest of them all, and on the shady
side of the way ā for good housewives know that sunlight damages
their cherished furniture, and so choose the shade rather than its
intrusive glare ā there stood the house with which we have to deal.
It was a modest building, not very straight, not large, not tall; not
bold-faced, with great staring windows, but a shy blinking house,
with a conical roof going up into a peak over its garret-window of
four small panes of glass, like a cocked hat on the head of an el-
derly gentleman with one eye. It was not built of brick or lofty
stone, but of wood and plaster; it was not planned with a dull and
wearisome regard to regularity, for no one window matched the
other, or seemed to have the slightest reference to anything besides
The shop ā for it had a shop ā was, with reference to the first-
floor, where shops usually are; and there all resemblance between
it and any other shop stopped short and ceased. People who went
in and out didn't go up a flight of steps to it, or walk easily in upon
a level with the street, but dived down three steep stairs, as into a
cellar. Its floor was paved with stone and brick, as that of any
other cellar mght be; and in lieu of window framed and glazed it
had a great black wooden flap or shutter, nearly breast-high from
the ground, which turned back in the day-time, admitting as much
BARNABY RUDGE 33
cold air as light, and very often more. Behind this shop was a
wainscoted parlour, looking first into a paved yard, and beyond
that again into a little terrace garden, raised some feet above it.
Any stranger would have supposed that this wainscoted parlour,
saving for the door of communication by which he had entered,
was cut off and detached from all the world; and indeed most
strangers on their first entrance were observed to grow extremely
thoughtful, as weighing and pondering in their minds whether the
upper rooms were only approachable by ladders from without;
never suspecting that two of the most unassuming and unlikely
doors in existence, which the most ingenious mechanician on earth
must of necessity have supposed to be the doors of closets, opened
out of this room ā each without the smallest preparation, or so
much as a quarter of an inch of passage ā upon two dark winding
flights of stairs, the one upward, the other downward, which were
the sole means of communication between that chamber and the
other portions of the house.
With all these oddities, there was not a neater, more scrupu-
lously tidy, or more punctiliously ordered house, in Clerkenwell, in
London, in all England. There were not cleaner windows, or whiter
floors, or brighter stoves, or more highly shining articles of furni-
ture in old mahogany; there was not more rubbing, scrubbing,
burnishing and polishing in the whole street put together. Nor
was this excellence attained without some cost and> trouble and
great expenditure of voice, as the neighbours were frequently re-
minded v/hen the good lady of the house overlooked and assisted
in its being put to rights on cleaning days ā which were usually
from Monday morning till Saturday night, both days inclusive.
Leaning against the door-post of this, his dwelling, the lock-
smith stood early on the morning after he had met with the
wounded man, gazing disconsolately at a great wooden emblem of
a key, painted in vivid yellow to resemble gold, which dangled
from the house-front, and swung to and fro with a mournful creak-
ing noise, as if complaining that it had nothing to unlock. Some-
times, he looked over his shoulder into the shop, which was so
dark and dingy with numerous tokens of his trade, and so black-
ened by the smoke of a little forge, near which his 'prentice was at
work, that it would have been difficult for one unused to such es-
34. BARNABY RUDGE
pials to have distinguished anything but various tools of uncouth
make and shape, great bunches of rusty keys, fragments of iron,
half-finished locks, and such-like things, which garnished the walls
and hung in clusters from the ceiling.
After a long and patient contemplation of the golden key, and
many such backward glances, Gabriel stepped into the road, and
stole a look at the upper windows. One of them chanced to be
thrown open at the moment, and a roguish face met his; a face
lighted up by the loveliest pair of sparkling eyes that ever lock-
smith looked upon; the face of a pretty, laughing girl; dimpled
and fresh, and healthful ā the very impersonation of good-humour
and blooming beauty.
'Hush!' she whispered, bending forward and pointing archly to
the window underneath. 'Mother is still asleep.'
'Still, my dear,' returned the locksmith in the same tone. 'You
talk as if she had been asleep all night, instead of little more than
half an hour. But I'm very thankful. Sleep's a blessing ā no doubt
about it.' The last few words he muttered to himself.
'Kow cruel of you to keep us up so late this morning, and never
tell us where you were, or send us word!' said the girl.
'Ah, Dolly, Dolly!' returned the locksmith, shaking his head
and smiling, 'how cruel of you to run upstairs to bed! Come down
to breakfast, madcap, and come down lightly, or you'll wake your
mother. She must be tired, I am sure ā / am.'
Keeping these latter words to himself, and returning his daugh-
ter's nod, he was passing into the workshop, with the smile she had
awakened still beaming on his face, when he just caught sight of
his 'prentice's brown-paper cap ducking down to avoid observa-
tion, and shrinking from the window back to its former place,
which the wearer no sooner reached than he began to hammer
'Listening again, Simon!' said Gabriel to himself. 'That's bad.
What in the name of wonder does he expect the girl to say, that I
always catch him listening when she speaks, and never at any other
time? A bad habit, Sim, a sneaking, underhanded way. Ah! you
may hammer, but you won't beat that out of me, if you work at it
till your time's up!'
BARNABY RUDGE 35
So saying, and shaking his head gravely, he re-entered the work-
shop, and confronted the subject of these remarks.
'There's enough of that just now,' said the locksmith. 'You
needn't make any more of that confounded clatter. Breakfast's
'Sir,' said Sim, looking up with amazing politeness, and a pe-
culiar little bov7 cut short off at the neck. 'I shall attend you im-
'I suppose,' muttered Gabriel, 'that's out of the 'Prentice's Gar-
land, or the 'Prentice's Delight, or the 'Prentice's Warbler, or the
'Prentice's Guide to the Gallows, or some such improving text-
book. Now he's going to beautify himself ā here's a precious lock-
smith ! '
Quite unconscious that his master was looking on from the dark
corner by the parlour-door, Sim threw off the paper cap, sprang
from his seat, and in two extraordinary steps, something between
skating and minuet-dancing, bounded to a washing-place at the
other end of the shop, and there removed from his face and hands
all traces of his previous work ā practising the same step all the
time with the utmost gravity. This done, he drew from some con-
cealed place a little scrap of looking-glass, and with its assistance
arranged his hair, and ascertained the exact state of a little car-
buncle on his nose. Having now completed his toilet, he placed the
fragment of mirror on a low bench, and looked over his shoulder
at so much of his legs as could be reflected in that small compass,
with the greatest possible complacency and satisfaction.
Sim, as he was called in the locksmith's family, or Mr. Simon
Tappertit, as he called himself, and required all men to style him
out of doors, on holidays, and Sundays out, ā was an old-fashioned,
thin-faced, sleek-haired, sharp-nosed, small-eyed little fellow, very
little more than five feet high, and thoroughly convinced in his own
mind that he was above the middle size; rather tall, in fact, than
otherv/ise. Of his figure, which was well enough formed, though
somewhat of the leanest, he entertained the highest admiration;
and with his legs, which, in knee-breeches, were perfect curiosities
of littleness, he was enraptured to a degree amounting to enthu-
siasm. He also had some majestic, shadowy ideas, which had never
36 BARNABY BUDGE
been quite fathomed by his intimate friends, concerning the power
of his eye. Indeed he had been known to go so far as to boast that
he could utterly quell and subdue the haughtiest beauty by a
simple process, which he termed 'eyeing her over'; but it must be
added, that neither of this faculty, nor of the power he claimed to
have, through the same gift, of vanquishing and heaving down
dumb anim^als, even in a rabid state, had he ever furnished evi-
dence which could be deemed quite satisfactory and conclusive.
It may be inferred from these premises, that in the small body of
Mr. Tappertit there was locked up an ambitious and aspiring soul.
As certain liquors, confined in casks too cramped in their dimen-
sions, will ferment, and fret, and chafe in their imprisonment, so
the spiritual essence or soul of Mr. Tappertit would sometimes
fume within that precious cask, his body, until, with great foam
and froth and splutter, it would force a vent, and carry all before
it. It was his custom to remark, in reference to any one of these
occasions, that his soul had got into his head; and in this novel
kind of intoxication many scrapes and mishaps befel him which he
had frequently concealed with no small difficulty from his worthy
Sim Tappertit, among the other fancies upon which his before-
mentioned soul was for ever feasting and regaling itself (and which
fancies, like the liver of Prometheus, grew as they were fed upon),
had a mighty notion of his order ; and had been heard by the serv-
ant-maid openly expressing his regret that the 'prentices no longer
carried clubs wherewith to mace the citizens: that was his strong
expression. He was likewise reported to have said that in former
times a stigma had been cast upon the body by the execution of
George Barnwell, to which they should not have basely submitted,
but should have demanded him of the legislature ā temperately
at first; then by an appeal to arms, if necessary ā to be dealt with
as they in their wisdom might think fit. These thoughts always led
him to consider what a glorious engine the 'prentices might yet be-
come if they had but a master-spirit at their head; and then he
would darkly, and to the terror of his hearers, hint at certain reck-
less fellows that he knew of, and at a certain Lion Heart ready to
become their captain, who, once afoot, would make the Lord
Mayor tremble on his throne.
BARNABY RUDGE 37
In respect of dress and personal decoration, Sim Tappertit was
no less of an adventurous and enterprising character. He had been
seen, beyond dispute, to pull off ruffles of the finest quality at the
corner of the street on Sunday nights, and to put them carefully in
his pocket before returning home; and it was quite notorious that
on all great holiday occasions it was his habit to exchange his plain
steel knee-buckles for a pair of glittering paste, under cover of a
friendly post, planted most conveniently in that same spot. Add
to this that he was in years just twenty, in his looks much older,
and in conceit at least two hundred; that he had no objection to
be jested with, touching his admiration of his master's daughter;
and had even, when called upon at a certain obscure tavern to
pledge the lady whom he honoured with his love, toasted, with
many winks and leers, a fair creature whose Christian name, he
said, began with a D ā ; ā and as much is known of Sim Tapper-
tit, v/ho has by this time followed the locksmith in to breakfast, as
is necessary to be known in making his acquaintance.
It was a substantial meal; for, over and above the ordinary tea
equipage, the board creaked beneath the weight of a jolly round
of beef, a ham of the first magnitude, and sundry towers of but-
tered Yorkshire cake, piled slice upon slice in most alluring order.
There was also a goodly jug of well-browned clay, fashioned into
the form of an old gentleman, not by any means unlike the lock-
smith, atop of whose bald head was a fine white froth answering
to his wig, indicative, beyond dispute, of sparkling home-brewed
ale. But, better far than fair home-brewed, or Yorkshire cake, or
ham, or beef, or anything to eat or drink that earth or air or water
can supply, there sat, presiding over all, the locksmith's rosy
daughter, before whose dark eyes even beef grew insignificant, and
malt became as nothing.
Fathers should never kiss their daughters when young men are
by. It's too much. There are bounds to human endurance. So
thought Sim Tappertit when Gabriel drew those rosy lips to his ā
those lips within Sim's reach from day to day, and yet so far off.
He had a respect for his m.aster, but he wished the Yorkshire cake
might choke him.
'Father,' said the locksmith's daughter, when this salute was
38 BARNABY RUDGE
over, and they took their seats at table, 'what is this I hear about
All true, my dear; true as the Gospel, Doll.'
'Young Mr. Chester robbed, and lying wounded in the road,
when you came up ! '
Ay ā Mr. Edward. And beside him, Barnaby, calling for help
with all his might. It was well it happened as it did ; for the road's
a lonely one, the hour was late, and, the night being cold, and poor
Barnaby even less sensible than usual from surprise and fright, the
young gentleman might have met his death in a very short time.'
'I dread to think of iti ' cried his daughter with a shudder. 'How
did you know him?'
'Know him!' returned the locksmith. 'I didn't know him ā how
could I? I had never seen him, often as I had heard and spoken of
him. I took him to IMrs. Rudge's; and she no sooner saw him than
the truth came out.'
'Miss Emma, father ā If this news should reach her, enlarged
upon as it is sure to be, she will go distracted.'
'Why, lookye there again, how a man suffers for being good-
natured,' said the locksmith. 'Miss Emma was with her uncle at
the masquerade at Carlisle House, where she had gone, as the
people at the Warren told m.e. sorely against her will. What does
your blockhead father when he and Mrs. Rudge have laid their
heads together, but goes there when he ought to be abed, makes
interest with his friend the doorkeeper, slips him on a mask and
domino, and mixes with the masquers.'
'And like himself to do so!' cried the girl, putting her fair arm
round his neck, and giving him a most enthusiastic kiss.
'Like himself!' repeated Gabriel, affecting to grumble, but evi-
dently delighted with the part he had taken, and with her praise.
'Very like himself ā so your mother said. However, he mingled with
the crowd, and prettily worried and badgered he was, I warrant
you, with people squeaking, "Don't you knov/ me?" and "I've
found you out," and all that kind of nonsense in his ears. He
might have wandered on till now, but in a little room there was a
young lady who had taken off her mask, on account of the place :
being very warm, and v,'as sitting there alone.'
'And that was she?' said his daughter hastily.
BARNABY RUDGE 39
And that was she/ replied the locksmith; ^and I no sooner whis-
pered to her what the matter was ā as softly, Doll, and with nearly
as much art as you could have used yourself ā than she gives a kind
of scream and faints away.'
'What did you do ā what happened next?' asked his daughter.
'Why, the masks came flocking round, with a general noise and
hubbub, and I thought myself in luck to get clear off, that's all,'
rejoined the locksmith. 'What happened when I reached home you
may guess, if you didn't hear it. Ah! Well, it's a poor heart that
never rejoices. ā Put Toby this way, my dear.'
This Toby was the brown jug of which previous mention has
been made. Applying his lips to the worthy old gentleman's benev-
olent forehead, the locksmith, who had all this time been ravaging
among the eatables, kept them there so long, at the same time
raising the vessel slowly in the air, that at length Toby stood on
his head upon his nose, when he smacked his lips, and set him on
the table again with fond reluctance.
Although Sim Tappertit had taken no share in this conversation,
no part of it being addressed to him, he had not been wanting in
such silent manifestations of astonishment, as he deemed most
compatible with the favourable display of his eyes. Regarding the
pause which now ensued, as a particularly advantageous opportu-
nity for doing great execution with them upon the locksmith's
daughter (who he had no doubt was looking at him in mute ad-