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The Works of Charles Dickens

In Thirty-four Volumes.





Printed from the Edition that was carefully corrected ly the Author
in 1867 and 1868.


A Tale of the Riots of 'Eighty





In Two Vols. Vol. II.








NEXT morning brought no satisfaction to the locksmith's
thoughts, nor next day, nor the next, nor many others.
Often after nightfall he entered the street, and turned his
eyes towards the well-known house ; and as surely as he did
so, there was the solitary light, still gleaming through the
crevices of the window-shutter, while all within was motion-
less, noiseless, cheerless, as a grave. Unwilling to hazard Mr.
Haredale's favour by disobeying his strict injunction, he
never ventured to knock at the door or to make his presence
known in any way. But whenever strong interest and
curiosity attracted him to the spot which was not seldom
the light was always there.

If he could have known what passed within, the knowledge
would have yielded him no clue to this mysterious vigil. At
twilight, Mr. Haredale shut himself up, and at daybreak he
came forth. He never missed a night, always came and
went alone, and never varied , his proceedings in the least

The manner of his watch was this. At dusk, he entered
the house in the same way as when the locksmith bore him
company, kindled a light, went through the rooms, and
narrowly examined them. That done, he returned to the

VOL. ir. B


chamber on the ground-floor, and laying his sword and
pistols on the table, sat by it until morning.

He usually had a book with him, and often tried to read,
but never fixed his eyes or thoughts upon it for five minutes
together. The slightest noise without doors, caught his ear ;
a step upon the pavement seemed to make his heart leap.

He was not without some refreshment during the long
lonely hours; generally carrying in his pocket a sandwich
of bread and meat, and a small flask of wine. The latter
diluted with large quantities of water, he drank in a heated,
feverish way, as though his throat were dried ; but he scarcely
ever broke his fast, by so much as a crumb of bread.

If this voluntary sacrifice of sleep and comfort had its
origin, as the locksmith on consideration was disposed to
think, in any superstitious expectation of the fulfilment of a
dream or vision connected with the event on which he had
brooded for so many years, and if he waited for some ghostly
visitor who walked abroad when men lay sleeping in their beds,
he showed no trace of fear or wavering. His stern features
expressed inflexible resolution ; his brows were puckered,
and his lips compressed, with deep and settled purpose ; and
when he started at a noise and listened, it was not with
the start of fear but hope, and catching up his sword as
though the hour had come at last, he would clutch it in his
tight-clenched hand, and listen with sparkling eyes and eager
looks, until it died away.

These disappointments were numerous, for they ensued on
almost every sound, but his constancy was not shaken. Still,
every night he was at his post, the same stern, sleepless,
sentinel ; and still night passed, and morning dawned, and
he must watch again.

This went on for weeks ; he had taken a lodging at
Yauxhall in which to pass the day and rest himself; and
from this place, when the tide served, he usually came to
London Bridge from Westminster by water, in order that he
might avoid the busy streets.


One evening, shortly before twilight, he came his accus-
tomed road upon the river's bank, intending to pass through
Westminster Hall into Palace Yard, and there take boat to
London Bridge as usual. There was a pretty large concourse
of people assembled round the Houses of Parliament, looking
at the members as they entered and departed, and giving
vent to rather noisv demonstrations of approval or dislike,
according to their known opinions. As he made his way
among the throng, he heard once or twice the No-Popery
crv, which Avas then becoming pretty familiar to the ears of
most men ; but holding it in very slight regard, and observing
that the idlers were of the lowest grade, he neither thought
nor cared about it, but made his way along, with perfect

There were many little knots and groups of persons in
Westminster Hall : some few looking upward at its noble
ceiling, and at the rays of evening light, tinted by the
setting sun, which streamed in aslant through its small
windows, and growing dimmer by degrees, were quenched in
the gathering gloom below ; some, noisy passengers, mechanics
going home from work, and otherwise, who hurried quickly
through, waking the echoes with their voices, and soon
darkening the small door in the distance, as they passed into
the street beyond ; some, in busy conference together on
political or private matters, pacing slowly up and down with
eyes that sought the ground, and seeming, by their attitudes,
to listen earnestly from head to foot. Here, a dozen squab-
bling urchins made a very Babel in the air ; there, a solitary
man, half clerk, half mendicant, paced up and down with
hungry dejection in his look and gait; at his elbow passed
an errand-lad, swinging his basket round and round, and
with his shrill whistle riving the very timbers of the roof;
while a more observant schoolboy, half-way through, pocketed
his ball, and eyed the distant beadle as he came looming on.
It was that time of evening when, if you shut your eyes and
open them again, the darkness of an hour appears to have


gathered in a second. The smooth-worn pavement, dusty
with footsteps, still called upon the lofty walls to reiterate
the shuffle and the tread of feet unceasingly, save when the
closing of some heavy door resounded through the building
like a clap of thunder, and drowned all other noises in its
rolling sound.

Mr. Haredale, glancing only at such of these groups as he
passed nearest to, and then in a manner betokening that his
thoughts were elsewhere, had nearly traversed the Hall, when
two persons before him caught his attention. One of these,
a gentleman in elegant attire, carried in his hand a cane,
which he twirled in a jaunty manner as he loitered on ; the
other, an obsequious, crouching, fawning figure, listened to
what he said at times throwing in a humble word himself
and, with his shoulders shrugged up to his ears, rubbed
his hands submissively, or answered at intervals by an inclina-
tion of the head, half-way between a nod of acquiescence,
and a bow of most profound respect.

In the abstract there was nothing very remarkable in this
pair, for servility waiting on a handsome suit of clothes and
a cane not to speak of gold and silver sticks, or wands of
office is common enough. But there was that about the
well-dressed man, yes, and about the other likewise, which
struck Mr. Haredale with no pleasant feeling. He hesitated,
stopped, and would have stepped aside and turned out of his
path, but at the moment, the other two faced about quickly,
and stumbled upon him before he could avoid them.

The gentleman with the cane lifted his hat and had begun
to tender an apology, which Mr. Haredale had begun as
hastily to acknowledge and walk away, when he stopped
short and cried, " Haredale ! Gad bless me, this is strange
indeed ! "

" It is," he returned impatiently ; " yes a "

" My dear friend," cried the other, detaining him, " why
such great speed ? One minute, Haredale, for the sake of
old acquaintance. 11


" I am in haste," he said. " Neither of us has sought this
meeting. Let it be a brief one. Good night ! "

" Fie, fie ! "" replied Sir John (for it was he), " how very

churlish ! We were speaking of you. Your name was on
my lips perhaps you heard me mention it ? No ? I am
sorry for that. I am really sorry. You know our friend
here, Haredale ? This is really a most remarkable meeting ! "


The friend, plainly very ill at ease, had made bold to press
Sir John's arm, and to give him other significant hints that
he was desirous of avoiding this introduction. As it did not
suit Sir John's purpose, however, that it should be evaded,
he appeared quite unconscious of these silent remonstrances,
and inclined his hand towards him, as he spoke, to call
attention to him more particularly.

The friend, therefore, had nothing for it, but to muster
up the pleasantest smile he could, and to make a conciliatory
bow, as Mr. Haredale turned his eyes upon him. Seeing
that he was recognised, he put out his hand in an awkward
and embarrassed manner, which was not mended by its
contemptuous rejection.

" Mr. Gashford ! " said Haredale, coldly. " It is as I have
heard then. You have left the darkness for the light, sir,
and hate those whose opinions you formerly held, with all
the bitterness of a renegade. You are an honour, sir, to
any cause. I wish the one you espouse at present, much joy
of the acquisition it has made.'"

The secretary rubbed his hands and bowed, as though he
would disarm his adversary by humbling himself before him.
Sir John Chester again exclaimed, with an air of great
gaiety, "Now, really, this is a most remarkable meeting!"
and took a pinch of snuff' with his usual self-possession.

"Mr. Haredale," said Gashford, stealthily raising his eyes,
and letting them drop again when they met the other's
steady gaze, " is too conscientious, too honourable, too manly,
I am sure, to attach unworthy motives to an honest change
of opinions, even though it implies a doubt of those he holds
himself. Mr. Haredale is too just, too generous, too clear-
sighted in his moral vision, to "

"Yes, sir!' 1 he rejoined with a sarcastic smile, finding the
secretary stopped. " You were saying "

Gashford meekly shrugged his shoulders, and looking on
the ground again, was silent.

" No, but let us really," interposed Sir John at this juncture,


"let us really, for a moment, contemplate the very remarkable
character of this meeting. Haredale, my dear friend, pardon
me if I think you are not sufficiently impressed with its
singularity. Here we stand, by no previous appointment or
arrangement, three old schoolfellows, in Westminster Hall;
three old boarders in a remarkably dull and shady seminary
at Saint Omer's, where you, being Catholics and of necessity
educated out of England, were brought up ; and where I,
being a promising young Protestant at that time, was sent
to learn the French tongue from a native of Paris ! "

"Add to the singularity, Sir John," said Mr. Haredale,
" that some of you Protestants of promise are at this moment
leagued in yonder building, to prevent our having the sur-
passing and unheard-of privilege of teaching our children to
read and write here in this land, where thousands of us
enter your service every year, and to preserve the freedom
of which, we die in bloody battles abroad, in heaps : and
that others of you, to the number of some thousands as I
learn, are led on to look on all men of my creed as wolves
and beasts of prey, by this man Gashford. Add to it besides,
the bare fact that this man lives in society, walks the streets
in broad day I was about to say, holds up his head, but
that he does not and it will be strange, and very strange,
I grant you.""

" Oh ! you are hard upon our friend,"' replied Sir John,
with an engaging smile. "You are really very hard upon
our friend ! "

"Let him go on, Sir John," said Gashford, fumbling with
his ' gloves. " Let him go on. I can make allowances, Sir
John. I am honoured with your good opinion, and I can
dispense with Mr. Haredale's. Mr. Haredale is a sufferer
from the penal laws, and I can't expect his favour."

' You have so much of my favour, sir," retorted Mr.
Haredale, with a bitter glance at the third party in their con-
versation, " that I am glad to see you in such good company.
You are the essence of your great Association, in yourselves."


"Now, there you mistake,"" said Sir John, in his most
benignant way. "There which is a most remarkable cir-
cumstance for a man of your punctuality and exactness,
Haredale you fall into error. I don't belong to the body;
I have an immense respect for its members, but I don't
belong to it; although I am, it is certainly true, the con-
scientious opponent of your being relieved. I feel it my
duty to be so ; it is a most unfortunate necessity ; and cost
me a bitter struggle. Will you try this box ? If you don't
object to a trifling infusion of a very chaste scent, you'll find
its flavour exquisite."

" I ask your pardon, Sir John," said Mr. Haredale, declining
the proffer with a motion of his hand, "for having ranked
you among the humble instruments who are obvious and in
all men's sight. I should have done more justice to your
genius. Men of your capacity plot in secrecy and safety, and
leave exposed posts to the duller wits."

" Don't apologise, for the world," replied Sir John sweetly ;
" old friends like you and I may be allowed some freedoms,
or the deuce is in it."

Gashford, who had been very restless all this time, but had
not once looked up, now turned to Sir John, and ventured
to mutter something to the effect that he must go, or my
lord would perhaps be waiting.

" Don't distress yourself, good sir," said Mr. Haredale, " I'll
take my leave, and put you at your ease " which he was
about to do without ceremony, when he was stayed by a buzz
and murmur at the upper end of the hall, and, looking in
that direction, saw Lord George Gordon coming in, with a
crowd of people round him.

There was a lurking look of triumph, though very differ-
ently expressed, in the faces of his two companions, which
made it a natural impulse on Mr. Haredale's part not to give
way before this leader, but to stand there while he passed.
He drew himself up and, clasping his hands behind him,
looked on with a proud and scornful aspect, while Lord


George slowly advanced (for the press was great about him)
towards the spot where they were standing.

He had left the House of Commons but that moment, and
had come straight down into the Hall, bringing with him, as
his custom was, intelligence of what had been said that night
in reference to the Papists, and what petitions had been
presented in their favour, and who had supported them, and
when the bill was to be brought in, and when it would be
advisable to present their own Great Protestant petition. All
this he told the persons about him in a loud voice, and with
great abundance of ungainly gesture. Those who were
nearest him made comments to each other, and vented threats
and murmurings ; those who were outside the crowd cried,
"Silence,"" and "Stand back," or closed in upon the rest,
endeavouring to make a forcible exchange of places : and so
they came driving on in a very disorderly and irregular way,
as it is the manner of a crowd to do.

When they were very near to where the secretary, Sir
John, and Mr. Haredale stood, Lord George turned round
and, making a few remarks of a sufficiently violent and
incoherent kind, concluded with the usual sentiment, and
called for three cheers to back it. While these were in the
act of being given with great energy, he extricated himself
from the press, and stepped up to Gashford's side. Both he
and Sir John being well known to the populace, they fell
ba/L'k a little, and left the four standing together.

"Mr. Haredale, Lord George,"" said Sir John Chester,
seeing that the nobleman regarded him with an inquisitive
look. " A Catholic gentleman unfortunately most un-
happily a Catholic but an esteemed acquaintance of mine,
and once of Mr. Gashford's. My dear Haredale, this is Lord
George Gordon. 1 '

"I should have known that, had I been ignorant of his
lordship's person," said Mr. Haredale. "I hope there is but
one gentleman in England who, addressing an ignorant and
excited throng, would speak of a large body of his fellow-


subjects in such injurious language as I heard this moment.
For shame, my lord, for shame ! "

" I cannot talk to you, sir," replied Lord George in a loud
voice, and waving his hand in a disturbed and agitated
manner ; " we have nothing in common."

"We have much in common many things all that the
Almighty gave us," said Mr. Haredale; "and common
charity, not to say common sense and common decency,
should teach you to refrain from these proceedings. If every
one of those men had arms in their hands at this moment, as
they have them in their heads, I would not leave this place
without telling you that you disgrace your station. 1 "

" I don't hear you, sir, he replied in the same manner as
before; "I can't hear you. It is indifferent to me what you
say. Don't retort, Gashford," for the secretary had made a

show of wishing to do so : f< I can hold no communion with

the worshippers of idols."

As he said this, he glanced at Sir John, who lifted his
hands and eyebrows, as if deploring the intemperate conduct
of Mr. Haredale, and smiled in admiration of the crowd and
of their leader.

" He retort ! " cried Haredale. " Look you here, my lord.
Do you know this man ? "

Lord George replied by laying his hand upon the shoulder
of his cringing secretary, and viewing him with a smile of

"This man," said Mr. Haredale, eyeing him from top to
toe, " who in his boyhood was a thief, and has been from that
time to this, a servile, false, and truckling knave : this man,
who has crawled and crept through life, wounding the hands
he licked, and biting those he fawned upon : this sycophant,
who never knew what honour, truth, or courage meant ; who
robbed his benefactor's daughter of her virtue, and married
her to break her heart, and did it, with stripes and cruelty :
this creature, who has whined at kitchen windows for the
broken food, and begged for halfpence at our chapel doors :


this apostle of the faith, whose tender conscience cannot bear
the altars where his vicious life was publicly denounced Do
you know this man?"

" Oh, really you are very, very hard upon our friend ! "
exclaimed Sir John.

" Let Mr. Haredale go on," 1 said Gashford, upon whose
unwholesome face the perspiration had broken out during
this speech, in blotches of wet ; " I don't mind him, Sir
John ; it's quite as indifferent to me what he says, as it is to
my lord. If he reviles my lord, as you have heard, Sir John,
how can / hope to escape ? "

"It is not enough, my lord," Mr. Haredale continued,
" that I, as good a gentleman as you, must hold my property,
such as it is, by a trick at which the state connives because
of these hard laws ; and that we may not teach our youth in
schools the common principles of right and wrong ; but must
we be denounced and ridden by such men as this ! Here is a
man to head your No-Popery cry ! For shame ! For shame ! M

The infatuated nobleman had glanced more than once at
Sir John Chester, as if to inquire whether there was any
truth in these statements concerning Gashford, and Sir John
had as often plainly answered by a shrug or look, " Oh dear
me ! no." He now said, in the same loud key, and in the
same strange manner as before :

" I have nothing to say, sir, in reply, and no desire to
hear anything more. I beg you won't obtrude your con-
versation, or these personal attacks, upon me. I shall not
be deterred from doing my duty to my country and my
countrymen, by any such attempts, whether they proceed
from emissaries of the Pope or not, I assure you. Come,
Gashford ! "

They had walked on a few paces while speaking, and were
now at the Hall-door, through which they passed together.
Mr. Haredale, without any leave-taking, turned away to
the river stairs, which were close at hand, and hailed the
only boatman who remained there.


But the throng of people the foremost of whom had
heard every word that Lord George Gordon said, and among
all of whom the rumour had been rapidly dispersed that
the stranger was a Papist who was bearding him for his
advocacy of the popular cause came pouring out pell-mell,
and, forcing the nobleman, his secretary, and Sir John Chester
on before them, so that they appeared to be at their head,
crowded to the top of the stairs where Mr. Haredale waited
until the boat was ready, and there stood still, leaving him
on a little clear space by himself.

They were not silent, however, though inactive. At first
some indistinct mutterings arose among them, which were
followed by a hiss or two, and these swelled by degrees into
a perfect storm. Then one voice said, " Down with the
Papists ! " and there was a pretty general cheer, but nothing
more. After a lull of a few moments, one man cried out,
"Stone him;" another, "Duck him; 1 " another, in a stentorian
voice, " No Popery ! " This favourite cry the rest re-echoed,
and the mob, which might have been two hundred strong,
joined in a general shout.

Mr. Haredale had stood calmly on the brink of the steps,
until they made this demonstration, when he looked round
contemptuously, and walked at a slow pace down the stairs.
He was pretty near the boat, when Gashford, as if without
intention, turned about, and directly afterwards a great stone
was thrown by some hand, in the crowd, which struck him
on the head, and made him stagger like a drunken man.

The blood sprung freely from the wound, and trickled
down his coat. He turned directly, and rushing up the
steps with a boldness and passion which made them all fall
back, demanded :

" Who did that ? Show me the man who hit me."

Not a soul moved ; except some in the rear who slunk off,
and, escaping to the other side of the way, looked on like
indifferent spectators.

" Who did that ? " he repeated. " Show me the man who


did it. Dog, was it you ? It was your deed, if not your
hand I know you. 11

He threw himself on Gashford as he said the words, and
hurled him to the ground. There was a sudden motion in
the crowd, and some laid hands upon him, but his sword
was out, and they fell off again.

" My lord Sir John, 11 he cried, " draw, one of you you
are responsible for this outrage, and I look to you. Draw,
if you are gentlemen."" With that he struck Sir John upon
the breast with the flat of his weapon, and with a burning
face and flashing eyes stood upon his guard ; alone, before
them all.

For an instant, for the briefest space of time the mind
can readily conceive, there was a change in Sir John's smooth
face, such an so man ever saw there. The next moment, he
stepped forward, and laid one hand on Mr. Haredale^ arm,
while with the other he endeavoured to appease the crowd.

" My dear friend, my good Haredale, you are blinded with
passion it's very natural, extremely natural but you don't
know friends from foes. 11

"I know them all, sir, I can distinguish well 11 he
retorted, almost mad with rage. " Sir John, Lord George
do you hear me? Are you cowards? 11

"Never mind, sir, 11 said a man, forcing his way between
and pushing him towards the stairs with friendly violence,
" never mind asking that. For God's sake, get away. What
can you do against this number? And there are as many
more in the next street, who'll be round directly, 11 indeed
they ' began to pour in as he said the words " you'd be
giddy from that cut, in the first heat of a scuffle. Now do
retire, sir, or take my word for it you'll be worse used than
you would be if every man in the crowd was a woman, and
that woman Bloody Mary. Come, sir, make haste as quick
as you can. 11

Mr. Haredale, who began to turn faint and sick, felt how
sensible this advice was, and descended the steps with his



unknown friend's assistance. John Grueby (for John it was)
helped him into the boat, and giving her a shove off, which

Online LibraryCharles DickensThe works of Charles Dickens (Volume 13) → online text (page 1 of 30)