life of guilt, the face of Heaven shone bright and merciful. He
raised his head; gazed upward at the quiet sky, which seemed to
smile upon the earth in sadness, as if the night, more thoughtful
than the day, looked down in sorrow on the sufferings and evil
deeds of men; and felt its peace sink deep into his heart. He, a
poor idiot, caged in his narrow cell, was as much lifted up to God,
while gazing on the mild light, as the freest and most favoured man
in all the spacious city; and in his ill-remembered prayer, and in
the fragment of the childish hymn, with which he sung and crooned
himself asleep, there breathed as true a spirit as ever studied
homily expressed, or old cathedral arches echoed.
As his mother crossed a yard on her way out, she saw, through a
grated door which separated it from another court, her husband,
walking round and round, with his hands folded on his breast, and
his head hung down. She asked the man who conducted her, if she
might speak a word with this prisoner. Yes, but she must be quick,
for he was locking up for the night, and there was but a minute or
so to spare. Saying this, he unlocked the door, and bade her go in.
It grated harshly as it turned upon its hinges, but he was deaf
to the noise, and still walked round and round the little court,
without raising his head or changing his attitude in the least. She
spoke to him, but her voice was weak, and failed her. At length
she put herself in his track, and when he came near, stretched out
her hand and touched him.
He started backward, trembling from head to foot; but seeing
who it was, demanded why she came there. Before she could reply,
he spoke again.
Am I to live or die? Do you murder too, or spare?'
'My son ā -our son,' she answered, 4s in this prison.'
'What is that to me?' he cried, stamping impatiently on the
stone pavement. I know it. He can no more aid me than I can aid
him. If you come to talk of him, begone! '
BARNABY RUDGE 573
As he spoke he resumed his walk, and hurried round the court
as before. When he came again to where she stood, he stopped
Am I to live or die? Do you repent?'
'Oh! ā do youV she answered. 'Will you, while time remains?
Do not believe that I could save you, if I dared.'
'Say if you would,' he answered with an oath, as he tried to
disengage himself and pass on. 'Say if you would.'
'Listen to me for one moment,' she returned; 'for but a moment.
I am but newly risen from a sick-bed, from which I never hoped
to rise again. The best among us think, at such a time, of good
intentions half -per formed and duties left undone. If I have ever,
since that fatal night, omitted to pray for your repentance before
death ā if I omitted, even then, anything which might tend to urge
it on you when the horror of your crime was fresh ā if, in our later
meeting, I yielded to the dread that was upon me, and forgot to
fall upon my knees and solemnly adjure you, in the name of him
you sent to his account with Heaven, to prepare for the retribution
which must come, and which is stealing on you now ā I humbly
before you, and in the agony of supplication in which you see me,
beseech that you will let me make atonement.'
'What is the meaning of your canting words?' he answered
roughly. 'Speak so that I may understand you.'
'I will,' she answered, 'I desire to. Bear with me for a moment
more. The hand of Him who set His curse on murder, is heavy
on us now. You cannot doubt it. Our son, our innocent boy, on
whom His anger fell before his birth, is in this place in peril of his
life ā brought here by your guilt; yes, by that alone, as Heaven
sees and knows, for he has been led astray in the darkness of his
intellect, and that is the terrible consequence of your crime.'
'If you come, woman-like, to load me with reproaches ā ' he
muttered, again endeavouring to break away.
T do not. I have a different purpose. You must hear it. If not
to-night, to-morrow; if not to-morrow, at another time. You must
hear it. Husband, escape is hopeless ā impossible.'
You tell me so, do you?' he said, raising his manacled hand,
and shaking it. 'You!'
'Yes,' she said, with indescribable earnestness. 'But why?'
574 BARNABY RUDGE
'To make me easy in this jail. To make the time 'twixt this and
death, pass pleasantly. For my good ā yes, for my good, of course,'
he said, grinding his teeth, and smiling at her with a livid face.
'Not to load you with reproaches,' she replied; 'not to aggravate
the tortures and miseries of your condition, not to give you one
hard word, but to restore you to peace and hope. Husband, dear
husband, if you will but confess this dreadful crime; if you will
but implore forgiveness of Heaven and of those whom you have
wronged on earth; if you will dismiss these vain uneasy thoughts,
which never can be realised, and will rely on Penitence and on
the Truth, I promise you, in the great name of the Creator, whose
image you have defaced, that He will comfort and console you.
And for myself,' she cried, clasping her hands, and looking upward,
'I swear before Him, as He knows my heart and reads it now, that
from that hour I will love and cherish you as I did of old, and
watch you night and day in the short interval that will remain to
us, and soothe you with my truest love and duty, and pray with
you, that one threatening judgment may be arrested, and that
our boy may be spared to bless God, in his poor way, in the free
air and light!'
He fell back and gazed at her while she poured out these words,
as though he were for a moment awed by her manner, and knew
not what to do. But anger and fear soon got the mastery of him,
and he spurned her from him.
'Begone!' he cried. 'Leave me! You plot, do you! You plot to
get speech with me, and let them know I am the man they say I
am. A curse on you and on your boy.'
'On him the curse has already fallen,' she replied, wringing her
'Let it fall heavier. Let it fall on one and all. I hate you both.
The worst has come to me. The only comfort that I seek or I can
have, will be the knowledge that it comes to you. Now go!'
She would have urged him gently, even then, but he menaced
her with his chain.
'I say go ā I say it for the last time. The gallows has me in its
grasp, and it is a black phantom that may urge me on to some-
thing more. Begone! I curse the hour that I was born, the man
I slew, and all the living world ! '
BARNABY RUDGE 575
In a paroxysm of wrath, and terror, and the fear of death, he
broke from her, and rushed into the darkness of his cell, where he
cast himself jangling down upon the stone floor, and smote it with
his iron hands. The man returned to lock the dungeon door, and
having done so, carried her away.
On that warm, balmy night in June, there were glad faces and
light hearts in all quarters of the town, and sleep, banished by the
late horrors, was doubly welcomed. On that night, families madt
merry in their houses, and greeted each other on the common,
danger they had escaped; and those who had been denounced,
ventured into the streets; and they who had been plundered, got
good shelter. Even the timorous Lord Mayor, who was summoned
that night before the Privy Council to answer for his conduct,
came back contented; observing to all his friends that he had got
off very well with a reprimand, and repeating with hugh satisfac-
tion his memorable defence before the Council, 'that such was his
temerity, he thought death would have been his portion.'
On that night, too, more of the scattered remnants of the mob
were traced to their lurking-places, and taken ; and in the hospitals,
and deep among the ruins they had made, and in the ditches, and
fields, many unshrouded wretches lay dead: envied by those who
had been active in the disturbances, and who pillowed their doom-
ed heads in the temporary jails.
And in the Tower, in a dreary room whose thick stone walls shut
out of the hum of life and made a stillness which the records left by
former prisoners with those silent witnesses seemed to deepen and
intensify; remorseful for every act that had been done by every
man among the cruel crowd; feeling for the time their guilt his
own, and their lives put in peril by himself; and finding, amidst
such reflections, little comfort in fanaticism, or in his fancied call;
sat the unhappy author of all ā Lord George Gordon.
He had been made prisoner that evening. 'If you are sure it 's
me you want,' he said to the officers, who waited outside with the
warrant for his arrest on the charge of High Treason, 'I am ready
to accompany you ā ' which he did without resistance. He was
conducted first before the Privy Council, and afterwards to the
Horse Guards, and then was taken by way of Westminster Bridge,
and back over London Bridge (for the purpose of avoiding the
576 BARNABY RUDGE
main streets), to the Tower, under the strongest guard ever known
to enter its gates with a single prisoner.
Of all his forty thousand men, not one remained to bear him
company. Friends, dependents, followers, ā none were there. His
fawning secretary had played the traitor; and he whose weakness
had been goaded and urged on by so many for their own purposes,
was desolate and alone.
Mr. Dennis having been made prisoner late in the evening, was
removed to a neighbouring round-house for that night, and carried
before a justice for examination on the next day, Saturday. The
charges against him being numerous and weighty, and it being in
particular proved, b}^ the testimony of Gabriel Varden, that he had
shown a special desire to take his life, he was committed for trial.
Moreover he was honored with the distinction of being considered
a chief among the insurgents, and received from the magistrate's
lips the complimentary assurance that he was in a position of im-
minent danger, and would do well to prepare himself for the worst.
To say that Mr. Dennis's modesty was not somewhat startled
by these honours, or that he was altogether prepared for s"o flatter-
ing a reception, would be to claim for him a greater amount of
stoical philosophy than even he possessed. Indeed this gentleman's
stoicism was of that not uncommon kind, which enables a man to
bear with exemplary fortitude the afflictions of his friends, but
renders him, by way of counterpoise, rather selfish and sensitive
in respect of any that happen to befall himself. It is therefore no
disparagement to the great officer in question to state, without dis-
guise or concealment, that he was at first very much alarmed, and
that he betrayed divers emotions of fear, until his reasoning powers
came to his relief, and set before him a more hopeful prospect.
In proportion as Mr. Dennis exercised these intellectual qual-
ities with which he was gifted, in reviewing his best chances of
BARNABY RUDGE 577
coming off handsomely and with small personal inconvenience, his
spirits rose, and his confidence increased. When he remembered
the great estimation in which his office was held, and the constant
demand for his services; when he bethought himself, how the
Statute Book regarded him as a kind of Universal Medicine applic-
able to men, women, and childrenj of every age and variety of
criminal constitutioii, and how high he stood, in his official capac-
ity, in the favour of the Crown, and both Houses of Parliament,
the Mint, the Bank of England, and the Judges of the land; when
he recollected that whatever Ministry was in or out, he remained
their peculiar pet and panacea, and that for his sake England stood
single and conspicuous among the civihsed nations of the earth:
when he called these things to mind and dwelt upon them, he felt
certain that the national gratitude must relieve him from the con-
sequences of his late proceedings, and would certainly restore him
to his old place in the happy social system.
With these crumbs, or as one may say, with these whole loaves
of comfort to regale upon, Mr. Dennis took his place among the
escort that awaited him, and repaired to jail with a manly indiffer-
ence. Arriving at Newgate, where some of the ruined cells had
been hastily fitted up for the safe keeping of rioters, he was warm-
ly received by the turnkeys, as an unusual and interesting case,
which agreeably relieved their monotonous duties. In this spirit,
he was fettered with great care, and conveyed into the interior of
'Brother,' cried the hangman, as, following an officer, he
traversed under these novel circumstances the remains of passages
with which he was well acquainted, 'am I going to be along with
'If you 'd have left more walls standing, you 'd have been alone,'
was the reply. 'As it is, we 're cramped for room, and you '11 have
'Well,' returned Dennis, 'I don't object to company, brother. I
rather like company. I was formed for society, I was.'
'That's rather a pity, an't it?' said the man.
'No,' answered Dennis, 'I 'm not aware that it is. Why should
it be a pity, brother?'
5T8 BARXABY RUDGE
'Oh! I don't know/ said the man carelessly. 'I thought that was
what you meant. Being formed for society, and being cut off in
your flower, you know ā '
'I say,' interposed the other quickly, 'what are you talking of?
'Don't. Who 's a-going to be cut off in their flowers?'
'Oh, nobody particular. I thought you was, perhaps,' said the
Mr. Dennis wiped his face, which had suddenly grown very hot,
and remarking in a tremulous voice to his conductor that he had
always been fond of his joke, followed him in silence until he
stopped at a door.
'This is my quarters, is it?' he asked facetiously.
'This is the shop, sir,' replied his friend.
He was walking in, but not with the best possible grace, when he
suddenly stopped, and started back.
'Halloa! ' said the officer. 'You 're nervous.'
'Nervous!' whispered Dennis in great alarm. 'Well I may be.
Shut the door.'
'I will, when you 're in,' returned the man.
'But I can't go in there,' whispered Dennis. 'I can't be shut up
with that man. Do you want me to be throttled, brother?'
The officer seemed to entertain no particular desire on the sub-
ject one way or other, but briefly remarking that he had his orders,
and intended to obey them, pushed him in, turned the key, and
Dennis stood trembling with his back against the door, and
involuntarily raising his arm to defend himself, stared at a man,
the only other tenant of the cell, who lay, stretched at his full
length, upon a stone bench, and who paused in his deep breathing
as if he were about to wake. But he rolled over on one side, let
his arm fall negligently down, drew a long' sigh, and murmuring
indistinctl}^, fell fast asleep again.
Relieved in some degree by this, the hangman took his eyes
for an instant from the slumbering figure, and glanced round the
cell in search of some Vantage-ground or weapon of defence. There
was nothing movable within it, but a clumsy table which could not
be displaced without noise, and a heavy chair. Stealing on tiptoe
towards this latter piece of furniture, he retired with it into the
BARNABY RUDGE 579
remotest corner, and intrenching himself behind it, watched the
enemy with the utmost vigilance and caution.
The sleeping man was Hugh ; and perhaps it was not unnatural
for Dennis to feel in a state of very uncomfortable suspense, and
to wish wdth his whole soul that he might never awake again.
Tired of standing, he crouched down in his corner after some
time, and rested on the cold pavement; but although Hugh's
breathing still proclaimed that he was sleeping soundly, he could
not trust him out of his sight for an instant. He was so afraid of
him, and of some sudden onslaught, that he was not content to
see his closed eyes through the chair-back, but ever}^ now and
then, rose stealthily to his feet, and peered at him with outstretched
neck, to assure himself that he really was still asleep, and was not
about to spring upon him when he w^as off his guard.
He slept so long and so soundly, that Air. Dennis began to
think he might sleep on until the turnkey visited them. He was
congratulating himself upon these promising appearances, and
blessing his stars with much fervour, when one or two unpleasant
symptoms manifested themselves: such as another motion of the
arm, another sigh, a restless tossing of the head. Then, just as it
seemed that he was about to fall heavily to the ground from his
narrow bed, Hugh's eyes opened.
It happened that his face was turned directly towards his un-
expected visitor. He looked lazily at him for some half-dozen
seconds without any aspect of surprise or recognition; then sud-
denly jumped up, and with a great oath pronounced his name.
'Keep off, brother, keep off!' cried Dennis, dodging behind the
chair. 'Don't do me a mischief. I 'm a prisoner like you. I haven't
the free use of my limbs I 'm quite an old man. Don't hurt mel '
He whined out the last three words in such piteous accents, that
Hugh, who had dragged away the chair, and aimed a blow at him
with it, checked himself, and bade him get up.
'I '11 get up 'certainly, brother,' cried Dennis, anxious to pro-
pitiate him by any means in his power. T '11 comply with any
request of yours, I 'm sure. There ā I 'm up now. What can I do
for you? Only say the word, and I '11 do it.'
'What can you do for me!' cried Hugh, clutching him by the
collar with both hands^ and shaking him as though he were bent
580 BARNABY RUDGE
on stopping his breath by that means. 'What have you done for
'The best. The best that could be done,' returned the hangman.
Hugh made him no answer, but shaking him in his strong gripe
until his teeth chattered in his head, cast him down upon the floor,
and flung himself on the bench again.
'If it wasn't for the comfort it is to me, to see you here,' he
muttered, T 'd have crushed your head against it; I v^ould.'
It was some time before Dennis had breath enough to speak,
but as soon as he could resume his propitiatory strain, he did so.
'I did the best that could be done, brother,' he whined; 'I did
indeed. I was forced with two bayonets and I don't know how
many bullets on each side of me, to point you out. If you hadn't
been taken, you 'd have been shot ; and what a sight that would
have been ā a fine young man like you ! '
'Will it be a better sight now?' asked Hugh, raising his head,
with such a fierce expression, that the other durst not answer him
'A deal better,' said Dennis meekly, after a pause. 'First, there 's
all the chances of the law, and they 're five hundred strong. We
may get off scot-free. Unlikelier things than that have come to
pass. Even if we shouldn't, and the chances fail, we can but be
worked off once: and when it 's well done, it 's so neat, so skilful,
so captiwating, if that don't seem too strong a word, that you 'd
hardly believe it could be brought to sich perfection. Kill one's
fellow-creeturs off, with muskets! ā Pah!' and his nature so re-
volted at the bare idea, that he spat upon the dungeon pavement.
His warming on this topic, which to one unacquainted with his
pursuits and tastes appeared like courage ; together with his artful
suppression of his own secret hopes, and mention of himself as
being in the same condition with Hugh; did more to soothe that
ruffian than the most elaborate arguments could have done, or the
most abject submission. He rested his arms upon* his knees, and
stooping forward, looked from beneath his shaggy hair at Dennis,
with something of a smile upon his face.
'The fact is, brother,' said the hangman, in a tone of greater
confidence, 'that you have got into bad company. The man that
BARNABY RUDGE 581
was with you was looked after more than you, and it was him I
wanted. As to me, what have I got by it? Here we are, in one and
the same plight.'
'Look 'ee, rascal,' said Hugh, contracting his brows, 'I 'm not
altogether such a shallow blade but I know you expected to get
something by it, or you wouldn't have done it. But it 's done, and
you 're here, and it will soon be all over with you and me; and I 'd
as soon die as live, or live as die. Why should I trouble myself to
have revenge on you? To eat, and drink, and go to sleep, as long
as I stay here, is all I care for. If there was but a little more sun
to bask in, than can find its way into this cursed place, I 'd lie in
it all day, and not trouble myself to sit or stand up once. That "s
all the care I have for myself. Why should I care for you}'
Finishing this speech with a growl like the yawn of a wild beast,
he stretched himself upon the bench again, and closed his eyes
After looking at him in silence for some moments, Dennis, who
was greatly relieved to find him in this mood, drew the chair to-
wards his rough couch and sat down near him ā taking the pre-
caution, however, to keep out of the range of his brawny arm,
'Well said, brother; nothing could be better said,' he ventured
to observe. 'We '11 eat and drink of the best, and sleep our best,
and make the best of it every way. Anything can be got for money.
Let 's spend it merrily.'
'Ay,' said Hugh, coiling himself into a new position. ā 'Where is
'Why, they took mine from me at the lodge,' said Mr. Dennis;
'but mine 's a peculiar case.'
Ts it? They took mine too.'
'Why then, I tell you what, brother,' Dennis began. 'You must
look up your friends ā '
'My friends!' cried Hugh, starting up and resting on his hands.
'Where are my friends?'
'Your relations then,' said Dennis.
'Ha ha ha! ' laughed Hugh, waving one arm above his head. 'He
talks of friends to me ā talks of relations to a man whose mother
died the death in store for her son, and left him, a hungry brat,
582 BARNABY RUDGE
without a face he knew in all the world! He talks of this to me!'
'Brother/ cried the hangman, whose features underwent a sud-
den change, 'you don't mean to say ā '
'I mean to say,' Hugh interposed, 'that they hung her up at Ty-
burn. What was good enough for her, is good enough for me. Let
them do the like by me as soon as they please ā the sooner the bet-
ter. Say no more to me. I 'm going to sleep.'
'But I want to speak to you; I want to hear more about that,'
said Dennis, changing colour.
'If you 're a wise man,' growled Hugh, raising his head to look
at him with a frown, 'you '11 hold your tongue. I tell you I 'm going
Dennis venturing to say something more in spite of this caution,
the desperate fellow struck at him with all his force, and missing
him, lay down again with many muttered oaths and imprecations,
and turned his face towards the wall. After two or three ineffectual
twitches at his dress, which he was hardy enough to venture upon,
notwithstanding his dangerous humour, Mr. Dennis, who burnt,
for reasons of his own, to pursue the conversation, had no alter-
native but to sit as patiently as he could : waiting his further pleas-
A MONTH has elapsed, ā and we stand in the bed-chamber of Sir
John Chester. Through the half-opened window, the Temple Gar-
den looks green and pleasant; the placid river, gay with boat and
barge, and dimpled with the plash of many an oar, sparkles in
the distance ; the sky is blue and clear ; and the summer air steals
gently in, filling the room with perfume. The very town, the smoky
town, is radiant. High roofs and steeple tops, wont to look black
and sullen, smile a cheerful grey; every old gilded vane, and ball,
and cross, glitters anew in the bright morning sun; and, high
among them all, St. Paul's towers up, showing its lofty crest in
BARNABY RUDGE 583
Sir John was breakfasting in bed. His chocolate and toast stood
upon a little table at his elbow; books and newspapers lay ready
to his hand, upon the coverlet; and, sometimes. pausing to glance
with an air of tranquil satisfaction round the well-ordered room,
and sometimes to gaze indolently at the summer sky, he ate, and
drank, and read the news luxuriously.
The cheerful influence of the morning seemed to have some ef-
fect, even upon his equable temper. His manner was unusually
gay; his smile more placid and agreeable than usual; his voice
more clear and pleasant. He laid down the newspaper he had been
reading; leaned back upon his pillow with the air of one who re-
signed himself to a train of charming recollections; and after a
pause, soliloquised as follows:
And my friend the centaur, goes the way of his mamma! I am
not surprised. And his mysterious friend Mr. Dennis, likewise. I
am not surprised. And my old postman, the exceedingly free-and-