knowing of it and not being in the ways to make no preparations
for their teas. Ho what a cutting thing it is, and yet what sweet sen-
sations is awoke within me ! '
Either in clasping her hands again, or in an ecstasy of pious joy,
Miss Miggs clinked her pattens after the manner of a pair of cym-
bals, at this juncture; and then resumed, in the softest accents:
And did my missis think — ho goodness, did she think — as her
own Miggs, which supported her under so many trials, and under-
stood her natur' when them as intended well but acted rough, went
so deep into her feelings — did she think as her own ^liggs w^ould
ever leave her? Did she think as ]Miggs, though she was but a serv-
ant, and knowed that servitudes was no inheritances, would iovgii
that she was the humble instruments as always made it comfortable
between them two when they fell out, and always told master of
the meekness and forgiveness of her blessed dispositions! Did she
think as Miggs had no attachments! Did she think that wages was
her only object!'
To none of these interrogatories, whereof every one was more
pathetically delivered than the last, did ]Mrs. Varden answer one
word: but ^liggs, not at all abashed by this circumstance, turned
to the small boy in attendance — her eldest nephew — son of her own
married sister — born in Golden Lion Court, number twenty-sivin.
and bred in the very shadow of the second bell-handle on the right-
hand door-post — and with a plentiful use of her pocket-handker-
chief, addressed herself to him: requesting that on his return home
he would console his parents for the loss of her, his aunt, by deliv-
ering to them a faithful statement of his having left her in the
628 BARNABY RUDGE
bosom of that family, with which, as his aforesaid parents well
Jinew, her best affections were incorporated ; that he would remind
them that nothing less than her imperious sense of duty, and de-
voted attachment to her old master and missis, likewise Miss Dolly
and young Mr. Joe, should ever have induced her to decline that
pressing invitation which they, his parents, had, as he could testify,
given her, to lodge and board with them, free of all cost and charge,
for evermore; lastly, that he would help her with her box upstairs,
and then repair straight home, bearing her blessing and her strong
injunctions to mingle in his prayers a supplication that he might in
course of time grow up a locksmith, or a Mr. Joe, and have Mrs.
Vardens and Miss Dollys for his relations and friends.
Having brought this admonition to an end — upon which, to say
the truth, the young gentleman for whose benefit it was designed,
bestowed little or no heed, having to all appearance his faculties
absorbed in the contemplation of the sweetmeats, — Miss Miggs
signified to the company in general that they were not to be un-
easy, for she would soon return; and, with her nephew's aid, pre-
pared to bear her wardrobe up the staircase.
'My dear,' said the locksmith to his wife. 'Do you desire this?'
'I desire it!' she answered. 'I am astonished — I am amazed — at
her audacity. Let her leave the house this moment.'
Miggs, hearing this, let her end of the box fall heavily to the
floor, gave a very loud sniff, crossed her arms, screwed down the
corners of her mouth, and cried, in an ascending scale, 'Ho, good
gracious!' three distinct times.
'You hear what your mistress says, my love,' remarked the lock-
smith. 'You had better go, I think. Stay; take this with you, for
the sake of old service.'
Miss Miggs clutched the bank-note he took from his pocket-book
and held out to her; deposited it in a small, red leather purse; put
the purse in her pocket (displaying, as she did so, a considerable
portion of some under-garment, made of flannel, and more black
cotton stocking than is commonly seen in public) ; and, tossing her
head, as she looked at Mrs. Varden, repeated — '
'Ho, good gracious! '
'I think you said that once before, my dear,' observed the lock-
BARNABY RUDGE 629
'Times is changed, is they, mim!' cried Miggs, bridling; 'you
can spare me now, can you? You can keep 'em down without me?
You're not in wants of any one to scold, or throw the blame upon,
no longer, an't you, mim? I'm glad to find you've grown so inde-
pendent. I wish you joy, I'm sure!'
With that she dropped a curtsey, and keeping her head erect,
her ear towards Mrs. Varden, and her eye on the rest of the com-
pany, as she alluded to them in her remarks, proceeded:
'I'm quite delighted, I'm sure, to find sich independency, feeling
sorry though, at the same time, mim, that you should have been
forced into submissions when you couldn't help yourself — he he
he! It must be great vexations, 'specially considering how ill you
always spoke of Mr. Joe — to have him for a son-in-law at last; and
I wonder jNIiss Dolly can put up with him, either, after being off
and on for so many years with a coachmaker. But I have heerd say,
that the coachmaker thought twice about it — he he he! — and that
he told a young man as was a frind of his, that he hoped he knowed
better than to be drawed into that; though she and all the family
did pull uncommon strong ! '
Here she paused for a reply, and receiving none, went on as be-
'I have heerd say, mim, that the illnesses of some ladies was all
pretensions, and that they could faint away, stone dead, whenever
they had the inclinations so to do. Of course I never see sich cases
with my own eyes — ^ho no! He he he! Nor master neither — ho no!
He he he! I have heerd the neighbours make remark as some one
as they w^as acquainted with, was a poor good-natur'd mean-spir-
ited creetur, as went out fishing for a wife one day, and caught a
Tartar. Of course I never to my knowledge see the poor person
himself. Nor did you neither, mim — ho no. I wonder who it can be
— don't you, mim? No doubt you do, mim. Ho yes. He he he!'
Again Miggs paused for a reply; and none being offered, was so
oppressed with teeming spite and spleen, that she seemed like to
'I'm glad Miss Dolly can laugh,' cried Miggs with a feeble tit-
ter. 'I like to see folks a-laughing — so do you, mini, don't you? You
was always glad to see people in spirits, wasn't you mim? And you
always did your best to keep 'em cheerful, didn't you, mim?
d30 BARNABY RUDGE
Though there an't such a great deal to laugh at now either; is
there, mim? It an't so much of a catch, after looking out sharp ever
since she was a little chit, and costing such a deal in dress and show,
to get a poor, common soldier, with one arm, is it, mim? He he! I
wouldn't have a husband with one arm, anyways. I would have
two arms, if it was me, though instead of hands they'd only got
hooks at the end^ like our dustman! '
Miss Miggs was about to add, and had, indeed, begun to add,
that, taking them in the abstract, dustmen were far more eligible
matches than soldiers, though, to be sure, when people were past
choosing they must take the best they could get, and think them-
selves well off too; but her vexation and chagrin being of that in-
ternally bitter sort which finds no relief in words, and is aggravated
to madness by want of contradiction, she could hold out no longer,
and burst into a storm of sobs and tears.
In this extremity she fell on the unlucky nephew, tooth and nail,
and plucking a handful of hair from his head, demanded to know
how long she was to stand there to be insulted, and whether or no
he meant to help her to carry out the box again, and if he took a
pleasure in hearing his family reviled: with other inquiries of that
nature; at which disgrace and provocation, the small boy, who had
been all this time gradually lashed into rebellion by the sight of
unattainable pastry, walked off indignant, leaving his aunt and the
box to follow at their leisure. Somehow or other, by dint of push-
ing and pulling, they did attain the street at last; where Miss
Miggs, all blowzed with the exertion of getting there, and with her
sobs and tears, sat down upon her property to rest and grieve, until
she could ensnare some other youth to help her home.
'It's a thing to laugh at, Martha, not to care for,' whispered the
locksmith, as he followed his wife to the window, and good-hu-
mouredly dried her eyes. 'What does it matter? You had seen your
fault before. Come! Bring up Toby again, my dear; Dolly shall
sing us a song; and we'll be all the merrier for this interruption!'
BARNABY RUDGE 631
Another month had passed, and the end of August had nearly
come, when Mr. Haredale stood alone in the mail-coach office at
Bristol. Although but a few weeks had intervened since his conver-
sation with Edward Chester and his niece, in the locksmith's
house, and he had made no change, in the mean time, in his accus-
tomed style of dress, his appearance was greatly altered. He looked
much older, and more care-worn. Agitation and anxiety of mind
scattered wrinkles and grey hairs with no unsparing hand; but
deeper traces follow on the silent uprooting of old habits, and sev-
ering of dear, familiar ties. The affections may not be so easily
wounded as the passions, but their hurts are deeper, and more last-
ing. He was now a solitary man, and the heart within him was
dreary and lonesome.
He was not the less alone for having spent so many years in se-
clusion and retirement. This was no better preparation than a
round of social cheerfulness: perhaps it even increased the keen-
ness of his sensibility. He had been so dependent upon her for com-
panionship and love ; she had come to be so much a part and par-
cel of his existence; they had had so many cares and thoughts in
common, which no one else had shared; that losing her was begin-
ning life anew, and being required to summon up the hope and
elasticity of youth, amid the doubts, distrusts, and weakened ener-
gies of age.
The effort he had made to part from her with seeming cheerful-
ness and hope — and they had parted only yesterday — left him the
more depressed. With these feelings, he was about to revisit Lon-
don for the last time, and look once more upon the walls of their
old home, before turning his back upon it, for ever.
The journey was a very different one, in those days, from what
the present generation find it; but it came to an end, as the longest
journey will, and he stood again in the streets of the metropolis.
He lay at the inn where the coach stopped, and resolved, before he
went to bed, that he would make his arrival known to no one;
632 BARNABY RUDGE
would spend but another night in London ; and would spare him-
self the pang of parting even with the honest locksmith.
Such conditions of the mind as that to which he was a prey when
he lay down to rest, are favourable to the growth of disordered
fancies, and uneasy visions. He knew this, even in the horror with
which he started from his first sleep, and threw up the window to
dispel it by the presence of some object, beyond the room, which
had not been, as it were, the witness of his dream. But it was not a
new terror of the night; it had been present to him before, in many
shapes ; it had haunted him in bygone times, and visited his pillow
again and again. If it had been but an ugly object, a childish spec-
tre, haunting his sleep, its return, in its old form, might have awak-
ened a momentary sensation of fear, which, almost in the act of
waking, would have passed away. This disquiet, however, lingered
about him, and would yield to nothing. When he closed his eyes
again, he felt it hovering near; as he slowly sunk into a slumber,
he was conscious of its gathering strength and purpose, and gradu-
ally assuming its recent shape; when he sprang up from his bed,
the same phantom vanished from his heated brain, and left him
filled with a dread against which reason and waking thought were
The sun was up, before he could shake it off. He rose late, but
not refreshed, and remained within doors all that day. He had a
fancy for paying his last visit to the old spot in the evening, for he
had been accustomed to walk there at that season, and desired to
see it under the aspect that was most familiar to him. At such an
hour as would afford him time to reach it a little before sunset, he
left the inn, and turned into the busy street.
He had not gone far, and was thoughtfully making his way
among the noisy crowd, when he felt a hand upon his shoulder, and,
turning, recognised one of the waiters from the inn, who begged his
pardon, but he had left his sword behind him.
'Why have you brought it to me?' he asked, stretching out his
hand, and yet not taking it from the man, but looking at him in a
disturbed and agitated manner.
The man was sorry to have disobliged him, and would carry it
back again. The gentleman had said that he was going a little way
into the country, and that he might not return until late. The roads
BARNABY RUDGE 633
were not very safe for single travellers after dark; and, since the
riots, gentlemen had been more careful than ever, not to trust
themselves unarmed in lonely places. 'We thought you were a
stranger, sir,' he added, 'and that you might believe our roads to be
better than they are; but perhaps you know them well, and carry
fire-arms — '
He took the sword, and putting it up at his side, thanked the
man, and resumed his walk.
It was long remembered that he did this in a manner so strange,
and with such a trembling hand, that the messenger stood looking
after his retreating figure, doubtful whether he ought not to fol-
low, and watch him. It was long remembered that he had been
heard pacing his bedroom in the dead of the night; and the attend-
ants had mentioned to each other in the morning, how fevered and
how pale he looked ; and that when this man went back to the inn
he told a fellow-servant that what he had observed in this short in-
terview lay very heavy on his mind, and that he feared the gentle
man intended to destroy himself, and would never come back alive
With a half-consciousness that his manner had attracted the
man's attention (remembering the expression of his face when they
parted), Mr. Haredaie quickened his steps; and arriving at a stand
v/f coaches, bargained with the driver of the best to carry him so
far on his road as the point where the footway struck across the
fields, and to await his return at a house of entertainment which
was within a stone's-throw of that place. Arriving there in due
course, he alighted and pursued his way on foot.
He passed so near the Maypole, that he could see its smoke ris-
ing from among the trees, while a flock of pigeons — some of its old
inhabitants, doubtless — sailed gaily home to roost, between him
and the unclouded sky. 'The old house will brighten up now,' he
said, as he looked towards it, 'and there will be a merry fireside be-
neath its ivied roof. It is some comfort to know that everything
will not be blighted hereabouts. I shall be glad to have one picture
of life and cheerfulness to turn to, in my mind!'
He resumed his walk, and bent his steps towards the Warren. It
was a clear, calm, silent evening, with hardly a breath of wind to
stir the leaves, or any sound to break the stillness of the time, but
drowsy sheep-bells tinkling in the distance, and, at intervals, the
634 BARNABY RUDGE
far-off lowing of cattle, or bark of village dogs. The sky was ra-
diant with the softened glory of sunset; and on the earth, and in
the air, a deep repose prevailed. At such an hour, he arrived at the
deserted mansion which had been his home so long, and looked for
the last time upon its blackened walls.
The ashes of the commonest fire are melancholy things, for in
them there is an image of death and ruin, — of something that has
been bright, and is but dull, cold, dreary dust, — with which our
nature forces us to sympathise. How much more sad the crumbled
embers of a home: the casting down of that great altar, where the
worst among us sometimes perform the worship of the heart; and
where the best have offered up such sacrifices, and done such deeds
of heroism, as, chronicled, would put the proudest temples of old
Time, with all their vaunting annals, to the blush !
He roused himself from a long train of meditation, and walked
slowly round the house. It was by this time almost dark.
He had nearly made the circuit of the building, when he uttered
a half-suppressed exclamation, started, and stood still. Reclining,
in an easy attitude, with his back against a tree, and contemplating
the ruin with an expression of pleasure, — a pleasure so keen that it
overcame his habitual indolence and command of feature, and dis-
played itself utterly free from all restraint or reserve, — before him,
on his own ground, and triumphing then, as he had triumphed in
every misfortune and disappointment of his life, stood the man
whose presence, of all mankind, in any place, and least of all in
that, he could the least endure.
Although his blood so rose against this man, and his wrath so
stirred within him, that he could have struck him dead, he put such
fierce constraint upon himself that he passed him without a word
or look. Yes, and he would have gone on, and not turned, though
to resist the Devil who poured such hot temptation in his brain, re-
quired an effort scarcely to be achieved, if this man had not himself
summoned him to stop: and that, with an assumed compassion in
his voice which drove him well-nigh mad, and in an instant routed
all the self-command it had been anguish — acute, poignant anguish
— to sustain.
All consideration, reflection, mercy, forbearance; everything by
BARNABY RUDGE 635
which a goaded man can curb his rage and passion ; fled from him
as he turned back. And yet he said, slowly and quite calmly — far
more calmly than he had ever spoken to him before:
'Why have you called to me?'
'To remark,' said Sir John Chester with his wonted composure,
Vhat an odd chance it is, that we should meet here!'
'It is a strange chance.'
'Strange? The most remarkable and singular thing in the world.
I never ride in the evening; I have not done so for years. The whim
seized me, quite unaccountably, in the middle of last night. — How
very picturesque this is!' — He pointed, as he spoke, to the dis-
mantled house, and raised his glass to his eye.
'You praise your own work very freely.'
Sir John let fall his glass; inclined his face towards him with an
air of the most courteous inquiry; and slightly shook his head as
though he were remarking to himself, 'I fear this animal is going
'I say you praise your own work very freely,' repeated Mr. Hare-
'Work!' echoed Sir John, looking smilingly round. 'Mine! — I
beg your pardon, I really beg your pardon — '
'Why, you see,' said Mr. Haredale, 'those walls. You see those
tottering gables. You see on every side where fire and smoke have
raged. You see the destruction that has been wanton here. Do you
'My good friend,' returned the knight, gently checking his im-
patience with his hand, 'of course I do. I see everything you speak
of, when you stand aside, and do not interpose yourself between
the view and me. I am very sorry for you. If I had not had the
pleasure to meet you here, I think I should have written to tell you
so. But you don't bear it as well as I had expected — excuse me —
no, you don't indeed.'
He pulled out his snuff-box, and addressing him with the supe-
rior air of a man who, by reason of his higher nature, has a right
to read a moral lesson to another, continued:
'For you are a philosopher, you know — one of that stern and
rigid school who are far above the weaknesses of mankind in gen-
636 BARNABY RUDGE
eral. You are removed, a long way, from the frailties of the crowd.
You contemplate them from a height, and rail at them with a most
impressive bitterness. I have heard you.'
— And shall again,' said Mr. Haredale.
'Thank you,' returned the other. 'Shall we walk as we talk? The
damp falls rather heavily. Well, — as you please. But I grieve to
say that I can spare you only a very few moments.'
'I would,' said Mr. Haredale, 'you had spared me none. I would,
with all my soul, you had been in Paradise (if such a monstrous lie
could be enacted), rather than here to-night.'
'Nay,' returned the other — 'really — you do yourself injustice.
You are a rough companion, but I would not go so far to avoid
'Listen to me,' said Mr. Haredale. 'Listen to me.'
'While you rail?' inquired Sir John.
'While I deliver your infamy. You urged and stimulated to do
your work a fit agent, but one who in his nature — in the very es-
sence of his being — is a traitor, and who has been false to you
(despite the sympathy you two should have together) as he has
been to all others. With hints, and looks, and crafty words, which
told again are nothing, you set on Gashford to this work — this
work before us now. With these same hints, and looks, and crafty
words, which told again are nothing, you urged him on to gratify
the deadly hate he owes me — I have earned it, I thank Heaven —
by the abduction and dishonour of my niece. You did. I see denial
in your looks,' he cried, abruptly pointing in his face, and stepping
back, 'and denial is a lie!'
He had his hand upon his sword; but the knight, with a con-
temptuous smile, replied to him as coldly as before.
'You will take notice, sir — if you can discriminate sufficiently —
that I l)ave taken the trouble to deny nothing. Your discernment is
hardly fine enough for the perusal of faces, not of a kind as coarse
as your speech; nor has it ever been, that I remember; or, in one
face that I could name, you would have read indifference, not to
say disgust, somewhat sooner than you did. I speak of a long time
ago, — but you understand me.'
'Disguise it as you will, you mean denial. Denial explicit or re-
BARXABY RUDGE 637
served, expressed or left to be inferred, is still a lie. You say you
don't deny. Do you admit?'
•You yourself/' returned Sir John, suffering the current of his
speech to flow as smoothly as if it had been stemmed by no one
word of interruption, 'publicly proclaimed the character of the
gentleman in question (I think it was in Westminster Hall) in
terms which relieve me from the necessity of making any further
allusion to him. You may have been warranted; you may not have
been: I can't say. Assuming the gentleman to be what you de-
scribed, and to have made to you or any other person any state-
ments that may have happened to suggest themselves to him, for
the sake of his own security, or for the sake of money, br for his
own amusement, or for any other consideration, — I have nothing
to say of him, except that his extremely degrading situation ap-
pears to me to be shared with his employers. You are so very plain
yourself, that you will excuse a little freedom in me, I am sure.'
'Attend to me again, Sir John — but once,' cried ^Ir. Haredale:
'in your every look, and word, and gesture, you tell me this was not
your act. I tell you that it was, and that you tampered with the
man I speak of, and with your wretched son (whom God forgive! )
to do this deed. You talk of degradation and character. You told
me once that you had purchased the absence of the poor idiot and
his mother, when (as I have discovered since, and then suspected)
you had gone to tempt them, and had found them flown. To you I
traced the insinuation that I alone reaped any harvest from my
brother's death; and all the foul attacks and whispered calumnies
that followed in its train. In every action of my life, from the first
hope which you converted into grief and desolation, you have
stood, like an adverse fate, between me and peace. In all, you have
ever been the same cold-blooded, hollow, false, unworthy villain.
For the second time, and for the last, I cast these charges in your
teeth, and spurn you from me as I would a faithless dog I'
With that he raised his arm, and struck him on the breast so that
he staggered. Sir John, the instant he recovered, drew his sword,
threw away the scabbard and his hat. and running on his adver-
sary made a desperate lunge at his heart, which, but that his guard
was quick and true, would have stretched him dead upon the grass.
638 BARNABY RUDGE
In the act of striking him, the torrent of his opponent's rage had
reached a stop. He parried his rapid thrusts, without returning
them, and called to him, with a frantic kind of terror in his face, to
'Not to-night! not to-night!' he cried. 'In God's name, not to-