dale thrust himself forward, and was about to speak, when the fat
old gentleman interposed:
'My good sir,' said he, 'pray let me get an answer. This is the
sixth time I have been here. I was here five times yesterday. My
house is threatened with destruction. It is to be burned down to-
night, and was to have been last night, but they had other business
on their hands. Pray let me get an answer.'
'My good sir,' returned Mr. Haredale, shaking his head, 'my
house is burned to the ground. But Heaven forbid that yours
should be. Get your answer. Be brief, in mercy to me.'
'Now, you hear this, my lord?' ā said the old gentleman, calling
up the stairs, to where the skirt of a dressing-gown fluttered on the
landing-place. 'Here is a gentleman here, whose house was actually
burnt down last night.'
'Dear me, dear me,' replied a testy voice, 'I am very sorry for
it, but what am I to do? I can't build it up again. The chief magis-
trate of the city can't go and be a rebuilding of people's houses, my
good sir. Stuff and nonsense I'
'But the chief magistrate of the city can prevent people's houses
from having any need to be rebuilt, if the chief magistrate's a man,
and not a dummy ā can't he, my lord?' cried the old gentleman in
a choleric manner.
'You are disrespectable, sir,' said the Lord Mayor ā 'leastways,
disrespectful I mean.'
'Disrespectful, my lord!' returned the old gentleman. 'I was re-
spectful five times yesterday. I can't be respectful for ever. Men
474 BARNABY RUDGE
can't stand on being respectful when their houses are going to be
burnt over their heads, with them in 'em. What am I to do, my
lord? Ami to have any protection?'
'I told you yesterday, sir,' said the Lord Mayor, 'that you might
have an alderman in your house, if you could get one to come.'
'What the devil's the good of an alderman?' returned the chol-
eric old gentleman.
' ā To awe the crowd, sir,' said the Lord Mayor.
'Oh Lord ha' mercy! ' whimpered the old gentleman, as he wiped
his forehead in a state of ludicrous distress, 'to think of sending an
alderman to awe a crowd! Why, my lord, if they were even so many
babies, fed on mother's milk, what do you think they'd care for an
alderman! Will you come?'
'I!' said the Lord Mayor, most emphatically: 'Certainly not.'
'Then what,' returned the old gentleman, 'what am I to do? Am
I a citizen of England? Am I to have the benefit of the laws? Am I
to have any return for the King's taxes?'
'I don't know, I am sure/ said the Lord Mayor; 'what a pity it
is you're a Catholic! Why couldn't you be a Protestant, and then
you wouldn't have got yourself into such a mess? I'm sure I don't
know what's to be done. ā There are great people at the bottom of
these riots. ā Oh dear me, what a thing it is to be a public charac-
ter! ā You must look in again in the course of the day. ā ^Would a
javelin-man do? ā Or there's Philips the constable, ā he's disen-
gaged, ā he's not very old for a man at his time of life, except in
his legs, and if you put him up at a window he'd look quite young
by candle-light, and might frighten 'em very much. ā Oh dear! ā
well! ā we'll see about it.'
'Stop!' cried Mr. Haredale, pressing the door open as the porter
strove to shut it, and speaking rapidly, 'My Lord Mayor, I beg you
not to go away. I have a man here, who committed a murder eight-
and-twenty years ago. Half a dozen words from me, on oath, will
justify you in committing him to prison for re-examination. I only
seek, just now, to have him consigned to a place of safety. The
least delay may involve his being rescued by the rioters.'
'Oh dear me!' cried the Lord Mayor. 'God bless my soul ā and
body ā oh Lor! ā well I! ā there are great people at the bottom of
these riots, you know. ā You really mustn't.'
BARNABY RUDGE 475
'My lord/ said Mr. Haredale, 'the murdered gentleman was my
brother; I succeeded to his inheritance; there were not wanting
slanderous tongues at that time, to whisper that the guilt of this
most foul and cruel deed was mine ā mine, who loved him, as he
knows, in Heaven, dearly. The time has come, after all these years
of gloom and misery, for avenging him, and bringing to light a
crime so artful and so devilish that it has no parallel. Every sec-
ond's delay on your part loosens this man's bloody hands again,
and leads to his escape. My lord, I charge you hear me, and des-
patch this matter on the instant.'
'Oh dear me!' cried the chief magistrate; 'these an't business
hours, you know ā I wonder at you ā how ungentlemanly it is of
you ā you mustn't ā you really mustn't. ā And I suppose you are
a Catholic too?'
'I am,' said Mr. Haredale.
'God bless my soul, I believe people turn Catholics a' purpose to
vex and worrit me,' cried the Lord ]Mayor. 'I wish you wouldn't
come here; they'll be setting the Mansion House afire next, and we
shall have you to thank for it. You must lock your prisoner up, sir
ā give him to a watchman ā and ā and call again at a proper time.
Then we'll see about it!'
Before Mr. Haredale could answer, the sharp closing of a door
and drawing of its bolts, gave notice that the Lord Mayor had re-
treated to his bedroom, and that further remonstrance would be
unavailing. The two clients retreated likewise, and the porter shut
them out into the street.
'That the way he puts me off,' said the old gentleman, 'I can get
no redress and no help. What are you going to do, sir?'
'To try elsewhere,' answered Mr. Haredale, who was by this time
T feel for you, I assure you ā and well I may, for we are in a
common cause,' said the old gentleman. 'I may not have a house to
offer you to-night; let me .tender it while I can. On second thoughts
though,' he added, putting up a pocket-book he had produced while
speaking, 'I'll not give you a card, for if it was found upon you, it
might get you into trouble. Langdale ā that's my name ā vintner
and distiller ā Holborn Hill ā you're heartily welcome, if you'U
476 BARNABY RUDGE
Mr. Haredale bowed, and rode off, close beside the chaise as be-
fore; determining to repair to the house of Sir John Fielding, who
had the reputation of being a bold and active magistrate, and fully
resolved, in case the rioters should come upon them, to do execu-
tion on the murderer with his own hands, rather than suffer him to
They arrived at the magistrate's dwelling, however, without mo-
lestation (for the mob, as we have seen, were then intent on deeper
schemes), and knocked at the door. As it had been pretty generally
rumoured that Sir John was proscribed by the rioters, a body of
thief-takers had been keeping watch in the house all night. To one
of them Mr. Haredale stated his business, which appearing to the
man of sufficient moment to warrant his arousing the justice, pro-
cured him an immediate audience.
No time was lost in committing the murderer to Newgate; then
a new building, recently completed at a vast expense, and consid-
ered to be of enormous strength. The warrant being made out, three
of the thief-takers bound him afresh (he had been struggling, it
seemed, in the chaise, and had loosened his manacles) ; gagged him
lest they should meet with any of the' mob, and he should call to
them for help; and seated themselves, along with him in the car-
riage. These men being all well armed, made a formidable escort;
but they drew up the blinds again, as though the carriage were
empty, and directed Mr. Haredale to ride forward, that he might
not attract attention by seeming to belong to it.
The wisdom of this proceeding was sufficiently obvious, 'for as
they hurried through the city they passed among several groups of
men, who, if they had not supposed the chaise to be quite empty,
would certainly have stopped it. But those within keeping quite
close, and the driver tarrying to be asked no questions, they
reached the prison without interruption, and, once there, had him
out, and safe within its gloomy walls, in a twinkling.
With eager eyes and strained attention, Mr. Haredale saw him
chained, and locked and barred up in his cell. Nay, when he had
left the jail, and stood in the free street, without, he felt the iron
plates upon the doors, with his hands, and drew them over the
stone wall, to assure himself that it was real ; and to exult in its be-
BARNABY RUDGE 477
ing so strong, and rough, and cold. It was not until he turned his
back upon the jail, and glanced along the empty street, so lifeless
and quiet in the bright morning, that he felt the weight upon his
heart; that he knew he was tortured by anxiety for those he had
left at home; and chat home itself was but another bead in the long
rosary of his regrets.
The prisoner, left to himself, sat down upon his bedstead: and
resting his elbows on his knees, and his chin upon his hands, re-
mained in that attitude for hours. It would be hard to say, of what
nature his reflections were. They had no distinctness, and, saving
for some flashes now and then, no reference to his condition or the
train of circumstances by which it had been brought about. The
cracks in the pavement of his cell, the chinks in the wall where
stone was joined to stone, the bars in the window, the iron ring
upon the floor, ā such things as these, subsiding strangely into one
another, and awakening an indescribable kind of interest and
amusement, engrossed his whole mind ; and although at the bottom
of his every thought there was an uneasy sense of guilt, and dread
of death, he felt no more than that vague consciousness of it, which
a sleeper has of pain. It pursues him through his dreams, gnaws at
the heart of all his fancied pleasures, robs the banquet of its taste,
music of its sweetness, makes happiness itself unhappy, and yet is
no bodily sensation, but a phantom without shape, or form, or vis-
ible presence; pervading everything, but having no existence; rec-
ognisable everywhere, but nowhere seen, or touched, or met with
face to face, until the sleep is past, and waking agony returns.
After a long time the door of his cell opened. He looked up; saw
the blind man enter; and relapsed into his former position.
Guided by his breathing, the visitor advanced to where he sat;
and stopping beside him, and stretching out his hand to assure
himself that he was right, remained, for a good space, silent.
478 BARNABY RUDGE
'This is bad, Rudge. This is bad,' he said at length.
The prisoner shuffled with his feet upon the ground in turning
his body from him, but made no other answer.
'How were you taken?' he asked. 'And where? You never told
me more than half your secret. No matter; I know it now. How was
it, and where, eh?' he asked again, coming still nearer to him.
'At Chigwell,' said the other.
'At Chigwell! How came you there?'
'Because I went there to avoid the man I stumbled on,' he an-
swered. 'Because I was chased and driven there, by him and Fate.
Because I was urged to go there, by something stronger than my
own will. When I found him watching in the house she used to live
in, night after night, I knew I never could escape him ā never! and
when I heard the Bell ā '
He shivered; muttered that it was very cold; paced quickly up
and down the narrow cell; and sitting down again, fell into his old
'You were saying,' said the blind man, after another pause, 'that
when you heard the Bell ā '
'Let it be, will you?' he retorted in a hurried voice. 'It hangs
The blind man turned a wistful and inquisitive face towards
him, but he continued to speak, without noticing him.
'I went to Chigwell, in search of the mob. I have been so hunted
and beset by this man, that I knew my only hope of safety lay in
joining them. They had gone on before; I followed them when it
'When what left off?'
'The Bell. They had quitted the place. I hoped that some of
them might be still lingering among the ruins, and was searching
for them when I heard ā ' he drew a long breath, and wiped his
forehead with his sleeve ā 'his voice.'
'No matter what. I don't know. I was then at the foot of the tur-
ret, where I did the ā '
'Ay,' said the blind man, nodding his head with perfect compo-
sure, 'I understand.'
'I climbed the stair, or so much of it as was left; meaning to hide
BARNABY RUDGE 479
till he had gone. But he heard me; and followed almost as soon as
I set foot upon the ashes.'
'You might have hidden in the wall, and thrown him down, or
stabbed him,' said the blind man.
']\Iight I? Between that man and me, was one who led him on ā
I saw it, though he did not ā and raised above his head a bloody
hand. It was in the room above that he and I stood glaring at each
other on the night of the murder, and before he fell he raised his
hand like that, and fixed his eyes on me. I knew the chase would
'You have a strong fancy,' said the blind man, with a smile.
'Strengthen yours with blood, and see what it will come to.'
He groaned, and rocked himself, and looking up, for the first
time, said, in a low, hollow voice:
'Eight-and-twenty years! Eight-and- twenty years! He has
never changed in all that time, never grown older, nor altered in
the least degree. He has been before me in the dark night, and the
broad sunny day; in the twilight, the moonlight, the sunlight, the
light of fire, and lamp, and candle; and in the deepest gloom. Al-
ways the same! In company, in solitude, on land, on shipboard:
sometimes leaving me alone for months, and sometimes always
with me. I have seen him, at sea, come gliding in the dead of night
along the bright reflection of the moon in the calm water; and I
have seen him, on quays and inarket-places, with his hand up-
lifted, towering, the centre of a busy crowd, unconscious of the
terrible form that had its silent stand among them. Fancy! Are you
real? Am I? Are these iron fetters, riveted on me by the smith's
hammer, or are they fancies I can shatter at a blow?'
The blind man listened in silence.
'Fancy! Do I fancy that I killed him? Do I fancy that as I left
the chamber where he lay, I saw the face of a man peeping from a
dark door, who plainly showed me by his fearful looks that he sus-
pected what I had done? Do I remember that I spoke fairly to him
ā that I drew nearer ā nearer yet ā with the hot knife in my sleeve?
Do I fancy how he died? Did he stagger back into the angle of the
wall into which I had hemmed him, and, bleeding inwardly, stand,
not fall, a corpse before me? Did I see him, for an instant, as I see
you now, erect and on his feet ā but dead ! '
480 BARNABY RUDGE
The blind man, who knew that he had risen, motioned him to
sit down again upon his bedstead; but he took no notice of the
Tt was then I thought, for the first time, of fastening the murder
upon him. It was then I dressed him in my clothes, and dragged
him down the back-stairs to the piece of water. Do I remember lis-
tening to the bubbles that came rising up when I had rolled him
in? Do I remember wiping the water from my face, and because
the body splashed it there, in its descent, feeling as if it must be
'Did I go home when I had done? And oh, my God! how long it
took to do! Did I stand before my wife, and tell her? Did I see her
fall upon the ground; and, when I stooped to raise her, did she
thrust me back with a force that cast me off as if I had been a
child, staining the hand with which she clasped my wrist? Is that
'Did she go down upon her knees, and call on Heaven to witness
that she and her unborn child renounced me from that hour; and
did she, in words so solemn that they turned me cold ā me, fresh
from the horrors, my own hands had made ā warn me to fly while
there was time; for though she would be silent, being my wretched
wife, she would not shelter me? Did I go forth that night, abjured
of God and man, and anchored deep in hell, to wander at my
cable's length about the earth, and surely be drawn down at last?'
'Why did you return?' said the blind man.
'Why is blood red? I could no more help it, than I could live
without breath. I struggled against the impulse, but I was drawn
back, through every difficult and adverse circumstance, as by a
mighty engine. Nothing could stop me. The day and hour were
none of my choice. Sleeping and waking, I had been among the old
haunts for years ā had visited my own grave. Why did I come
back? Because this jail was gaping for me, and he stood beckoning
at the door.'
'You were not known?' said the blind man.
'I was a man who had been twenty-two years dead. No. I was
'You should have kept your secret better.'
'My secret? Mine? It was a secret, any breath of air could
BARNABY RUDGE 481
whisper at its will. The stars had it in their twinkling, the water in
its flowing, the leaves in their rustling, the seasons in their return.
It lurked in strangers' faces, and their voices. Everything had lips
on which it always trembled. ā My secret!'
'It was revealed by your own act at any rate,' said the blind
'The act was not mine. I did it, but it was not mine. I was forced
at times to wander round, and round, and round that spot. If you
had chained me up when the fit was on me, I should have broken
away, and gone there. As truly as the loadstone draws iron towards
it, so he, lying at the bottom of his grave, could draw me near him
when he would. Was that fancy? Did I like to go there, or did I
strive and wrestle with the power that forced me?'
The blind man shrugged his shoulders, and smiled incredu-
lously. The prisoner again resumed his old attitude, and for a long
time both were mute.
'I suppose then,' said his visitor, at length breaking silence,
'that you are penitent and resigned; that you desire to make peace
with everybody (in particular, with your wife who has brought you
to this) ; and that you ask no greater favour than to be carried to
Tyburn as soon as possible? That being the case, I had better take
my leave. I am not good enough to be company for you.'
'Have I not told you,' said the other fiercely, 'that I have striven
and wrestled with the power that brought me here? Has my whole
life, for eight-and-twenty years, been one perpetual struggle and
resistance, and do you think I want to lie down and die? Do all
men shrink from death ā I most of all ! '
'That's better said. That's better spoken, Rudge ā but I'll not
call you that again ā than anything you have said yet,' returned
the blind man, speaking more familiarly, and laying his hands upon
his arm. 'Lookye, ā I never killed a man myself, for I have never
been placed in a position that made it worth my while. Farther, I
am not an advocate for killing men, and I don't think I should rec-
ommend it or like it ā for it s very hazardous ā under any circum-
stances. But as you had the misfortune to get into this trouble be-
fore I made your acquaintance, and as you have been my com-
panion, and have been of use to me for a long time now, I overlook
that part of the matter, and am only anxious that you shouldn't
482 BARNABY RUDGE
die unnecessarily. Now, I do not consider that, at present, it is at
'What else is left me?' returned the prisoner. 'To eat my way
through these walls with my teeth?'
'Something easier than that,' returned his friend. 'Promise me
that you will talk no more of these fancies of yours ā idle, foolish
things, quite beneath a man ā and I'll tell you what I mean.'
'Tell me,' said the other.
'Your worthy lady, with the tender conscience; your scrupu-
lous, virtuous, punctilious, but not blindly affectionate wife ā '
'What of her?'
'Is now in London.'
'A curse upon her, be she where she may! '
'That's natural enough. If she had taken her annuity as usual,
you would not have been here, and we should have been better off
But that's apart from the business. She's in London. Scared, as I
suppose, and have no doubt, by my representation when I waited
upon her, that you were close at hand (which I, of course, urged
only as an inducement to compliance, knowing that she was not
pining to see you), she left that place, and travelled up to Lon-
'How do you know?'
'From my friend the noble captain ā the illustrious general ā the
bladder, Mr. Tappertit. I learnt from him the last time I saw him,
which was yesterday, that your son who is called Barnaby ā not
after his father I suppose ā '
'Death! does that matter now!'
' ā You are impatient,' said the blind man, calmly; 'it's a good
sign, and looks like life ā that your son Barnaby had been lured
away from her by one of his companions who knew him of old, at
Chigwell; and that he is now among the rioters.'
'And what is that to me? If father and son be hanged together,
what comfort shall I find in that?'
'Stay ā stay, my friend,' returned the blind man, with a cunning
look, 'you travel fast to journeys' ends. Suppose I track my lady
out, and say thus much: "You want your son, ma'am ā good. I,
knowing those who tempt him to remain among them, can restore
him to you, ma'am ā good. You must pay a price, ma'am, for his
BARNABY RUDGE 483
restoration ā good again. The price is small, and easy to be paid ā
dear ma'am, that's best of all." '
'What mockery is this?'
'Very likely, she may reply in those words. "No mockery at all,"
I answer: "Madam, a person said to be your husband (identity is
difficult of proof after the lapse of many years) is in prison, his life
in peril ā the charge against him, murder. Now, ma'am, your hus-
band has been dead a long, long time. The gentleman never can be
confounded with him, if you will have the goodness to say a few
words, on oath, as to when he died, and how; and that this person
(who I am told resembles him in some degree) is no more he than
I am. Such testimony w^ill set the question quite at rest. Pledge
yourself to me to give it, ma'am, and I will undertake to keep your
son (a fine lad) out of harm's way until you have done this trifling
service, when he shall be delivered up to you, safe and sound. On
the other hand, if you decline to do so, I fear he will be betrayed,
and handed over to the law, which will assuredly sentence him to
suffer death. It is, in fact, a choice between his life and death. If
you refuse, he swings. If you comply, the timber is not grown, nor
the hemp sown, that shall do him any harm." '
'There is a gleam of hope in this! ' cried the prisoner.
'A gleam!' returned his friend, 'a noon-blaze; a full and glorious
daylight. Hush! I hear the tread of distant feet. Rely on me.'
'When shall I hear more?'
'As soon as I do. I should hope, to-morrow. They are coming to
say that our time for talk is over. I hear the jingling of the keys.
Not another word of this just now, or they may overhear us.'
As he said these words, the lock was turned, and one of the
prison turnkeys appearing at the door, announced that it was time
for visitors to leave the jail.
'So soon!' said Stagg, meekly. 'But it can't be helped. Cheer up,
friend. This mistake will soon be set at rest, and then you are a man
again! If this charitable gentleman will lead a blind man (who has
nothing in return but prayers) to the prison-porch, and set him
with his face towards the west, he will do a worthy deed. Thank
you, good sir. I thank you very kindly.'
So saying, and pausing for an instant at the door to turn his
grinning face towards his friend, he departed.
484 BARNABY RUDGE
When the officer had seen him to the porch, he returned, and
again unlocking and unbarring the door of the cell, set it wide
open, informing its inmate that he was at liberty to walk in the
adjacent yard, if he thought proper, for an hour.
The prisoner answered with a sullen nod; and being left alone
again, sat brooding over what he had heard, and pondering upon
the hopes the recent conversation had awakened; gazing abstract-
edly, the while he did so, on the light without, and watching the
shadows thrown by one wall on another, and on the stone-paved
It was a dull, square yard, made cold and gloomy by high walls,
and seeming to chill the very sunlight. The stone, so bare, and
rough, and obdurate, filled even him with longing thoughts of
meadowland and trees; and with a burning wish to be at liberty.
As he looked, he rose, and leaning against the door-post, gazed up
at the bright blue sky, smiling even on that dreary home of crime.
He seemed, for a moment, to remember lying on his back in some
sweet-scented place, and gazing at it through moving branches,