miration), he began to screw and twist his face, and especially
those features, into such extraordinary, hideous, and unparalleled
contortions, that Gabriel, who happened to look towards him, was
stricken with amazement.
'Why, what the devil's the matter with the lad?' cried the lock-
smith. 'Is he choking?'
'Who?' demanded Sim, with some disdain.
'Who? why, you,' returned his master. 'What do you mean by
making those horrible faces over your breakfast?'
'Faces are matters of taste, sir,' said Mr. Tappertit, rather dis-
comfited; not the less so because he saw the locksmith's daughter
'Sim,' rejoined Gabriel, laughing heartily. 'Don't be a fool, for
I'd rather see you in your senses. These young fellows,' he added.
40 BARNABY RUDGE
turning to his daughter, 'are always committing some folly or an-
other. There was a quarrel between Joe Willet and old John last
night â though I can't say Joe was much in fault either. He'll be
missing one of these mornings, and will have gone away upon some
wild-goose errand, seeking his fortune. â Wh)^, what's the matter,
Doll? You are making faces now. The girls are as bad as the boys
'It's the tea,' said Dolly, turning alternately very red and very
white, which is no doubt the effect of a slight scald â 'so very hot.'
Mr. Tappertit looked immensely big at a quartern loaf on the
table, and breathed hard.
Ts that all?' returned the locksmith. Tut some more milk in it.
â Yes, I am sorry for Joe, because he is a likely young fellow, and
gains upon one every time one sees him. But he'll start off, you'll
find. Indeed he told me as much himself! '
'Indeed!' cried Dolly in a faint voice. 'In â deed!'
'Is the tea tickling your throat still, my dear?' said the lock-
But, before his daughter could make him any answer, she was
taken with a troublesome cough, and it was such a very unpleasant
cough, that, when she left off, the tears were starting in her bright
eyes. The good-natured locksmith was still patting her on the back
and applying such gentle restoratives, when a message arrived from
Mrs. Varden, making known to all whom it might concern, that she
felt too much indisposed to rise after her great agitation and anx-
iety of the previous night ; and therefore desired to be immediately
accom^modated with the little black tea-pot of strong mixed tea, a
couple of rounds of buttered toast, a middling sized dish of beef
and ham cut thin, and the Protestant Manual in two volumes post
octavo. Like some other ladies who in remote ages flourished upon
this globe, Mrs. Varden was most devout when most ill-tempered.
Whenever she and her husband were at unusual variance, then the
Protestant Manual was in high feather.
Knowing from experience what these requests portended, the
triumvirate broke up; Dolly, to see the orders executed with all
despatch; Gabriel, to some out-of-door work in his little chaise;
and Sim, to his daily duty in the workshop, to which retreat he
carried the big look, although the loaf remained behind.
BARNABY RUDGE 41
Indeed the big look increased immensely, and when he had tied
his apron on, became quite gigantic. It was not until he had several
times walked up and down with folded arms, and the longest strides
he could take, and had kicked a great many small articles out of
his way, that his lip began to curl. At length, a gloomy derision
came upon his features, and he smiled; uttering meanwhile with
supreme contempt the monosyllable 'Joe!'
'I eyed her over, while he talked about the fellow,' he said, 'and
that was of course the reason of her being confused. Joe!'
He walked up and down again much quicker than before, and if
possible with longer strides; sometimes stopping to take a glance
at his legs, and sometimes to jerk out, and cast from him, another
'Joe! ' In the course of a quarter of an hour or so he again assumed
the paper cap and tried to work. No. It could not be done.
'I '11 do nothing to-day,' said Mr. Tappertit, dashing it down
again, 'but grind. I '11 grind up all the tools. Grinding will suit my
present humour well. Joe!'
Whirr-r-r-r. The grindstone was soon in motion; the sparks
were flying off in showers. This was the occupation for his heated
'Something will come of this!' said Mr. Tappertit, pausing as if
in triumph, and wiping his heated face upon his sleeve. 'Something
will come of this. I hope it mayn't be human gore!'
As soon as the business of the day was over, the locksmith sallied
forth, alone, to visit the wounded gentleman and ascertain the
progress of his recovery. The house where he had left him was in
a by-street in Southwark, not far from London Bridge; and thither
he hied with all speed, bent upon returning with as little delay as
might be, and getting to bed betimes.
The evening was boisterous â scarcely better than the previous
night had been. It was not easy for a stout man like Gabriel to
keep his legs at the street-corners, or to make head against the high
42 BARNABY RUDGE
wind, which often fairly got the better of him, and drove him back
some paces, or, in defiance of all his energy, forced him to take
shelter in an arch or doorway until the fury of the gust was spent.
Occasionally a hat or wig, or both, came spinning and trundling
past him, like a mad thing; while the more serious spectacle of
falling tiles and slates, or of masses of brick and mortar or frag-
ments of stone-coping rattling upon the pavement near at hand,
and splitting into fragments, did not increase the pleasure of the
journey, or make the way less dreary.
^ A trying night for a man like me to walk in ! ' said the locksmith,
as he knocked softly at the widov/'s door. 'I 'd rather be in old
John's chimney-corner, faith!'
'Who 's there?' demanded a woman's voice from within. Being
ansv/ered, it added a hasty word of welcome, and the door was
She was about forty â perhaps two or three years older â with a
cheerful aspect, and a face that had once been pretty. It bore
traces of affliction and care, but they were of an old date, and Time
had smoothed them. Any one who had bestowed but a casual
glance on Barnaby might have known that this was his mother,
from the strong resemblance between them; but where in his face
there was wildness and vacancy, in hers there was the patient
composure of long effort and quiet resignation.
One thing about this face was very strange and startling. You
could not look upon it in its most cheerful mood without feeling
that it had some extraordinary capacity of expressing terror. It
was not on the surface. It was in no one feature that it lingered.
You could not take the eyes or mouth, or lines upon the cheek, and
say, if this or that were otherwise, it would not be so. Yet there it
always lurked â something for ever dimly seen, but ever there, and
never absent for a moment. It was the faintest, palest shadow of
some look, to which an instant of intense and unutterable horror
only could have given birth ; but indistinct and feeble as it was, it
did suggest what that look must have been, and fixed it in the mind
as if it had had existence in a dream.
More faintly imaged, and wanting force and purpose, as it were,
because of his darkened intellect, there was this same stamp upon
the son. Seen in a picture, it must have had some legend with it,
BARNABY RUDGE 43
and would have haunted those who looked upon the canvas. They
who knew the Maypole story, and could remember what the widow
was, before her husband's and his master's murder, understood it
well. They recollected how the change had come, and could call
to mind that when her son was born, upon the very day the deed
was known, ne bore upon his wrist what seemed a smear of blood
but half washed out.
'God save you, neighbour!' said the locksmith, as he followed
her, with the air of an old friend, into a little parlour where a
cheerful fire was burning.
And you,' she answered smiling. 'Your kind heart has brought
you here again. Nothing will keep you at home, I know of old, if
there are friends to serve or comfort, out of doors.'
'Tut, tut,' returned the locksmith, rubbing his hands and warm-
ing them. 'You women are such talkers. What of the patient,
'He is sleeping now. He was very restless towards daylight, and
for some hours tossed and tumbled sadly. But the fever has left
1 him, and the doctor says he will soon mend. He must not be re-
moved until to-morrow.'
'He has had visitors to-day â humph?' said Gabriel, slyly.
'Yes. Old Mr. Chester has been here ever since we sent for him,
and had not been gone many minutes when you knocked.'
'No ladies?' said Gabriel, elevating his eyebrows and looking
'A letter,' replied the widow.
'Come. That's better than nothing!' replied the locksmith.
'Who was the bearer?'
'Barnaby, of course.'
'Barnaby 's a jewel!' said Varden; 'and comes and goes with
ease where we who think ourselves much wiser would make but a
poor hand of it. He is not out wandering again, I hope?'
'Thank Heaven he is in bed; having been up all night, as you
know, and on his feet all day. He was quite tired out. Ah, neigh-
bour, if 1 could but see him oftener so â if I could but tame down
that terrible restlessness â '
'In good time,' said the locksmith, kindly, 'in good time â don't
be down-hearted. To my mind he grows wiser every day.'
44 BARNABY RUDGE
The widow shook her head. And yet, though she knew the lock-
smith sought to cheer her, and spoke from no conviction of his
own, she was glad to hear even this praise of her poor benighted
'He will be a 'cute man yet,' resumed the locksmith. 'Take care,
when we are growing old and foolish, Barnaby doesn't put us to
the blush, that 's all. But our other friend,' he added, looking un-
der the table and about the floor â 'sharpest and cunningest of all
the sharp and cunning ones â where 's he?'
'In Barnaby 's room,' rejoined the widow, with a faint smile.
'Ah! He 's a knowing blade!' said Varden, shaking his head. 'I
should be sorry to talk secrets before him. Oh! He 's a deep cus-
tomer. I 've no doubt he can read, and write, and cast accounts,
if he chooses. What was that? Him tapping at the door?'
'No,' returned the widow. 'It was in the street, I think. Hark!
Yes. There again! 'Tis some one knocking softly at the shutter.
Who can it be?'
They had been speaking in a low tone, for the invalid lay over-
head, and the walls and ceilings being thin and poorly built, the
sound of their voices might otherwise have disturbed his slumber.
The party without, whoever it was, could have stood close to the
shutter without hearing anything spoken; and, seeing the light
through the chinks and finding all so quiet, might have been per-
suaded that only one person was there.
'Some thief or ruffian maybe,' said the locksmith. 'Give me the
'No, no,' she returned hastily. 'Such visitors have never come to
this poor dwelling. Do you stay here. You 're within call, at the
worst. I would rather go myself â alone.'
'Why?' said the locksmith, unwillingly relinquishing the candle
he had caught up from the table.
'Because â I don't know why â because the wish is so strong up-
on me,' she rejoined. 'There again â do not detain me, I beg of
Gabriel looked at her, in great surprise to see one who was
usually so mild and quiet thus agitated, and with so little cause.
She left the room and closed the door behind her. She stood for a
moment as if hesitating, with her hand upon the lock. In this short
BARNABY RUDGE 45
interval the knocking came again, and a voice close to the window
â a voice the locksmith seemed to recollect, and to have some dis-
agreeable association with â whispered 'Make haste.'
The words were uttered in that low distinct voice which finds its
way so readily to sleepers' ears, and wakes them in a fright. For a
moment it startled even the locksmith; who involuntarily drew
back from the window, and listened.
The wind rumbling in the chimney made it difficult to hear what
passed, but he could tell that the door was opened, that there was
the tread of a man upon the creaking boards, and then a moment's
silence â broken by a suppressed something which was not a shriek,
or groan, or cry for help, and yet might have been either or all
three; and the words 'My God!' uttered in a voice it chilled him
He rushed out upon the instant. There, at last, was that dread-
ful look â the very one he seemed to know so well and yet had never
seen before â upon her face. There she stood, frozen to the ground,
gazing with starting eyes, and livid cheeks, and every feature fixed
and ghastly, upon the man he had encountered in the dark last
night. His eyes met those of the locksmith. It was but a flash, an
instant, a breath upon the polished glass, and he was gone.
The locksmith was upon him â had the skirts of his streaming
garment almost in his grasp â when his arms were tightly clutched,
and the widow flung herself upon the ground before him.
'The other way â the other way,' she cried. 'He went the othet
â way. Turn â turn ! '
'The other way I I see him now,' rejoined the locksmith, point-
ing â 'yonder â there â there is his shadow passing by that light.
What â who is this? Let me go.'
'Come back, come back!' exclaimed the woman, clasping him.
'Do not touch him on your life. I charge you, come back. He
â carries other lives besides his own. Come back!'
'What does this mean?' cried the locksmith.
'Xo matter what it means, don't ask, don't speak, don't think
about it. He is not to be followed, checked, or stopped. Come
The old man looked at her in wonder, as she writhed and clung
about him; and borne down by her passion, suffered her to drag
46 BARNABY RUDGE
him into the house. It was not until she had chained and double-
locked the door, fastened every bolt and bar with the heat and
fury of a maniac, and drawn him back into the room, that she
turned upon him, once again, that stony look of horror, and, sink-
ing down into a chair, covered her face, and shuddered, as though
the hand of death were on her.
Beyond all measure astonished by the strange occurrences which
had passed with so much violence and rapidity, the locksmith gazed
upon the shuddering figure in the chair like one half stupefied, and
would have gazed much longer, had not his tongue been loosened
by compassion and humanity.
'You are ill,' said Gabriel. 'Let me call some neighbour in.'
'Not for the world,' she rejoined, motioning to him with her
trembling hand, and holding her face averted. 'It is enough that
you have been by, to see this.'
'Nay, more than enough â or less,' said Gabriel.
'Be it so,' she returned. 'As you like. Ask me no questions, I
'Neighbour,' said the locksmith after a pause. 'Is this fair, or
reasonable, or just to yourself? Is it like you, who have known me
so long and sought my advice in all matters â like you, who from a
girl have had a strong mind and a staunch heart?'
'I have need of them,' she replied. 'I am growing old, both in
years and care. Perhaps that, and too much trial, have made them
weaker than they used to be. Do not speak to me.'
'How can I see what I have seen, and hold miy peace?' returned
the locksmith. 'Who was that man, and why has his coming made
this change in you?'
She was silent, but held to the chair as though to save herself
from falling on the ground.
'I take the licence of an old acquaintance, Mary,' said the lock-
smith, 'who has ever had a warm regard for you, and maybe has
tried to prove it when he could. Who is this ill-favoured man, and
BARNABY RUDGE 47
what has he to do with you? Who is this ghost, that is only seen in
the black nights and bad weather? How does he know, and why
does he haunt, this house, whispering through chinks and crevices,
as if there was that between him and you, which neither durst so
much as speak aloud of? Who is he?'
'You do well to say he haunts this house,' returned the widow^
faintly. 'His shadow has been upon it and me, in light and dark-
ness, at noonday and midnight. And now, at last, he has come in
'But he wouldn't have gone in the body,' returned the locksmith
with some irritation, 'if you had left my arms and. legs at liberty.
What riddle is it?'
'It is one,' she answered, rising as she spoke, 'that must remain
for ever as it is. I dare not say more than that.'
'Dare not I' repeated the wondering locksmith.
'Do not press me,' she replied. 'I am sick and faint, and every
faculty of life seems dead within me. â No! â Do not touch me,
Gabriel, who had stepped forward to render her assistance, fell
back as she made this hasty exclamation, and regarded her in silent
'Let me go my way alone,' she said in a low voice, 'and let the
hands of no honest man touch mine to-night.' When she had
tottered to the door, she turned, and added with a stronger effort,
'This is a secret, which, of necessity, I trust to you. You are a true
man. As you have ever been good and kind to me, â keep it. If any
noise was heard above, make some excuse â say anything but what
you really saw, and never let a word or look between us, recall this
circumstance. I trust to you. Mind, I trust you. How much I
trust, you never can conceive.'
Casting her eyes upon him for an instant, she withdrew, and
left him there alone.
Gabriel, not knowing what to think, stood staring at the door
with a countenance full of surprise and dismay. The more he pon-
dered on what had passed, the less able he was to give it any
favourable interpretation. To find this widow woman, whose life
for so many years had been supposed to be one of solitude and
retirement, and who, in her quiet suffering character, had gained
48 BARNABY RUDGE
the good opinion and respect of all who knew her â to find her
linked mysteriously with an ill-omened man, alarmed at his ap-
pearance, and yet favouring his escape, was a discovery that pained
as much as startled him. Her reliance on his secrecy, and his tacit
acquiescence, increased his distress of mind. If he had spoken
boldly, persisted in questioning her, detained her when she rose to
leave the room, made any kind of protest, instead of silently com-
promising himself, as he felt he had done, he would have been more
'Why did I let her say it was a secret, and she trusted it to me?'
said Gabriel, putting his wig on one side to scratch his head with
greater ease, and looking ruefully at the fire. 'I have no more readi-
ness than old John himself. Why didn't I say firmly, "You have
no right to such secrets, and I demand of you to tell me what this
means," instead of standing gaping at her, like an old mooncalf as
I am? But there 's my weakness. I can be obstinate enough with
men if need be, but women may twist me round their fingers at
He took his wig off outright as he made this reflection, and,
warming his handkerchief at the fire began to rub and polish his
bald head with it, until it glistened again.
And yet,' said the locksmith, softening under this soothing pro-
cess, and stopping to smile, 'it may be nothing. Any drunken
brawler trying to make his way into the house, would have alarmed
a quiet soul like her. But then' â and here was the vexation â 'how
came it to be that man; how comes he to have this influence over
her; how came she to favour his getting away from me; and, more
than all, how came she not to say it was a sudden fright, and noth-
ing more? It 's a sad thing to have, in one minute, reason to mis-
trust a person I have known so long, and an old sweetheart into the
bargain; but what else can I do, with all this upon my mind? â Is
that Barnaby outside there?'
'Ay!' he cried, looking in and nodding. 'Sure enough it 's Barn-
aby â how did you guess?'
'By your shadow,' said the locksmith.
'Oho! ' cried Barnaby, glancing over his shoulder. 'He 's a merry
fellow, that shadow, and keeps close to me, though I am silly. We
have such pranks, such walks, such runs, such gambols on the
BARNABY RUDGE 49
grass! Sometimes he'll be half as tall as a church-steeple, and
sometimes no bigger than a dwarf. Now, he goes on before, and
now behind, and anon he '11 be stealing on, on this side, or on that,
stopping whenever I stop, and thinking I can't see him, though I
have my eye on him sharp enough. Oh! he 's a merry fellow. Tell
me â is he silly too? I think he is.'
'Why?' said Gabriel.
'Because he never tires of mocking me, but does it all day long.
â Why don't you come?'
'Upstairs. He wants you. Stay â where 's his shadow? Come.
You 're a wise man; tell me that.'
'Beside him, Barnaby; beside him, I suppose,' returned the
'No!' he replied, shaking his head. 'Guess again.'
'Gone out a walking, maybe?'
'He has changed shadows with a woman,' the idiot whispered in
his ear, and then fell back with a look of triumph. 'Her shadow 's
always with him, and his with her. That 's sport I think, eh?'
'Barnaby,' said the locksmith, with a grave look; 'come hither,
'I know what you want to say. I know!' he replied, keeping
away from him. 'But I 'm cunning, I 'm silent. I only say so much
to 3^ou â are you ready?' As he spoke, he caught up the light, and
waved it with a wild laugh above his head.
'Softly â gently,' said the locksmith, exerting all his influence to
keep him calm and quiet. T thought you had been asleep.'
'So I have been asleep,' he rejoined, with widely-opened eyes.
'There have been great faces coming and going â close to my face,
and then a mile away â low places to creep through, whether I
would or no â high churches to fall down from â strange creatures
crowded up together neck and heels, to sit upon the bed â that 's
'Dreams, Barnaby, dreams,' said the locksmith.
'Dreams!' he echoed softly, drawing closer to him. 'Those are
'What are,' replied the locksmith, 'if they are not?'
'I dreamed,' said Barnaby, passing his arm through Varden's,
50 BARNABY RUDGE
and peering close into his face as he answered in a whisper, 'I
dreamed just now that something â it was in the shape of a man â
followed me â came softly after me â wouldn't let me be â but was
always hiding and crouching, like a cat in dark corners, waiting till
I should pass; when it crept out and came softly after me. â Did
you ever see me run?'
^Many a time, you know.'
'You never saw me run as I did in this dream. Still it came
creeping on to worry me. Nearer, nearer, nearer â I ran faster â
leaped â sprung out of bed, and to the window â and there, in the
street below â but he is waiting for us. Are you coming?'
'What in the street below, Barnaby?' said Varden, imagining
that he traced some connection between this vision and what had
Barnaby looked into his face, muttered incoherently, waving the
light above his head again, laughed, and drawing the locksmith's
arm more tightly through his own, led him up the stairs in silence.
They entered a homely bedchamber, garnished in a scanty way
with chairs, whose spindle-shanks bespoke their age, and other fur-
niture of very little worth; but clean and neatly kept. Reclining in
an easy-chair before the fire, pale and weak from waste of blood,
was Edward Chester, the young gentleman who had been the first
to quit the Maypole on the previous night, and who, extending his
hand to the locksmith, welcomed him as his preserver and friend.
'Say no more, sir, say no more,' said Gabriel. 'I hope I would
have done at least as much for any man in such a strait, and most
of all for you, sir. A certain young lady,' he added, with some
hesitation, 'has done us many a kind turn, and we naturally feel â
I hope I give you no offence in saying this, sir?'
The young man smiled and shook nis head; at the same time
moving in his chair as if in pain.
'It 's no great matter,' he said, in answer to the locksmith's 83011-
pathising look, 'a mere uneasiness arising at least as much from
being cooped up here, as from the slight wound I have, or from the
loss of blood. Be seated, Mr. Varden.'
'If I may make so bold, Mr. Edward, as to lean upon your chair,'
returned the locksmith, accommodating his action to his speech,
BARNABY RUDGE 51
and bending over him, 'I '11 stand here for the convenience of speak-
ing low. Barnaby is not in his quietest humour to-night, and at such