"And by the way," said Bamaby, withdrawing his hand
from the bird, and laying it upon his mother's arm, as he
looked eagerly in her face ; " if they kill me they may : I
heard it said they would what will become of Grip when I
am dead? 11
The sound of the word, or the current of his own thoughts,
suggested to Grip his old phrase "Never say die I 11 But he
stopped short in the middle of it, drew a dismal cork, and
subsided into a faint croak, as if he lacked the heart to get
through the shortest sentence.
"Will they take his life as well as mine? 11 said Barnaby.
"I wish they would. If you and I and he could die
together, there would be none to feel sorry, or to grieve for
us. But do what they will, I don't fear them, mother ! "
" They will not harm you, 11 she said, her tears choking her
utterance. "They never will harm you, when they know all.
I am sure they never will. 11
" Oh ! Don't be too sure of that, 11 cried Barnaby, with a
strange pleasure in the belief that she was self-deceived, and
in his own sagacity. "They have marked me from the first.
I heard them say so to each other when they brought me to
this place last night ; and I believe them. Don't you cry for
me. They said that I was bold, and so I am, and so I will
be. You may think that I am silly, but I can die as well as
another. I have done no harm, have I ? v he added quickly.
" None before Heaven, 11 she answered.
" Why then, 11 said Barnaby, " let them do their worst.
You told me once you when I asked you what death
meant, that it was nothing to be feared, if we did no harm
Aha ! mother, you thought I had forgotten that ! "
His merry laugh and playful manner smote her to the
heart. She drew him closer to her, and besought him to
A DREADFUL REVELATION. 317
talk to her in whispers and to be very quiet, for it was
getting dark, and their time was short, and she would soon
have to leave him for the night.
"You will come to-morrow ? " said Barnaby.
Yes. And every day. And they would never part again.
He joyfully replied that this was well, and what he wished,
and what he had felt quite certain she would tell him ; and
then he asked her where she had been so long, and why she
had not come to see him when he had been a great soldier,
and ran through the wild schemes he had had for their being
rich and living prosperously, and with some faint notion in
his mind that she was sad and he had made her so, tried to
console and comfort her, and talked of their former life and
his old sports and freedom : little dreaming that every word
he uttered only increased her sorrow, and that her tears fell
faster at the freshened recollection of their lost tranquillity.
" Mother," said Barnaby, as they heard the man approach-
ing to close the cells for the night, " when I spoke to you
just now about my father you cried 'Hush! 1 and turned
away your head. Why did you do so? Tell me why, in a
word. You thought he was dead. You are not sorry that he
is alive and has come back to us. Where is he ? Here ? "
"Do not ask any one where he is, or speak about him," 11
she made answer.
"Why not?" said Barnaby. "Because he is a stern man,
and talks roughly ? Well ! I don't like him, or want to be
with him by myself; but why not speak about him?""
" Because I am sorry that he is alive ; sorry that he has
come back; and sorry that he and you have ever met.
Because, dear Barnaby, the endeavour of my life has been to
keep you two asunder."
" Father and son asunder ! Why ? "
" He has," she whispered in his ear, " he has shed blood.
The time has come when you must know it. He has shed
the blood of one who loved him well, and trusted him, and
never did him wrong in word or deed."
318 BARNABY RUDGE.
Barnaby recoiled in horror, and glancing at his stained
wrist for an instant, wrapped it, shuddering, in his dress.
" But, 11 she added hastily as the key turned in the lock,
"although we shun him, he is your father, dearest, and I am
his wretched wife. They seek his life, and he will lose it.
It must not be by our means ; nay, if we could win him
back to penitence, we should be bound to love him yet. Do
not seem to know him, except as one who fled with you from
the jail, and if they question you about him, do not answer
them. God be with you through the night, dear boy ! God
be with you ! "
She tore herself away, and in a few seconds Barnaby was
alone. He stood for a long time rooted to the spot, with his
face hidden in his hands ; then flung himself, sobbing, on his
But the moon came slowly up in all her gentle glory, and
the stars looked out, and through the small compass of the
grated window, as through the narrow crevice of one good
deed in a murky 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 sad-
ness, 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
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
HUSBAND AND WIFE. 319
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 our son," she answered, " is 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 vou are come to talk of him,
begone ! "
As he spoke he resumed his walk, and hurried round the
court as before. When he came again to where she stood,
he stopped, and said,
" Am I to live or die ? Do you repent ? "
" Oh ! do you ? " 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-performed and duties
left undone. If I have ever, since that fatal night, omitted
to pray for your repentance before death if I omitted, even
then, anything which might tend to urge it on you when the
horror of your crime was fresh 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
320 BARNABY RUDGE.
you sent to his account with Heaven, to prepare for the
retribution which must come, and which is stealing on you
now I humbly before you, and in the agony of supplication
in which you see me, beseech that you will let me make
" 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 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 "
he muttered, again endeavouring to break away.
"I 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 im-
" You tell me so, do you ? " he said, raising his manacled
hand, and shaking it. " You ! "
"Yes," she said, with indescribable earnestness. "But
" To make me easy in this jail. To make the time ""twixt
this and death, pass pleasantly. For my good 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
THE MURDERER'S CURSE. 321
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, wring-
ing her hands.
"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 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 something more. Begone ! I curse the hour that I
was born, the man I slew, and all the living world ! "
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
VOL. II. Y
322 BARNABY RUDGE.
and light hearts in all quarters of the town, and sleep,
banished by the late horrors, was doubly welcomed. On that
night, families made merry in their houses, and greeted each
other on the common danger they had escaped ; and those
Avho 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 huge satis-
faction his memorable defence before the Council, "that such
was his temerity, he thought death would have been his
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 doomed heads in the temporary jails.
And in the Tower, in a dreary room whose thick stone
walls shut out 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 com-
fort in fanaticism, or in his fancied call ; sat the unhappy
author of all 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 a charge of High Treason,
"I am ready to accompany you" 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 main streets), to the Tower,
LORD GEORGE GORDON IN 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, 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.
MK. 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, by the testimony
of Gabriel Varden, that he had shown a special desire to take
his life, he was committed for trial. Moreover he was
honoured with the distinction of being considered a chief
among the insurgents, and received from the magistrate^ lips
the complimentary assurance that he was in a position of
imminent danger, and would do well to prepare himself for
To say that Mr. Dennis's modesty was not somewhat
startled by these honours, or that he was altogether prepared
for so flattering 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 disparage-
ment to the great officer in question to state, without disguise
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
IT IS COMING HOME TO THE HANGMAN. 325
In proportion as Mr. Dennis exercised these intellectual
qualities with which he was gifted, in reviewing his best
chances of 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 applicable to men, women, and
children, of every age and variety of criminal constitution ;
and how high he stood, in his official capacity, 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 civilised 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 consequences of his late proceedings, and
would certainly restore him to his old place in the happy
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 indifference. Arriving at Newgate, where some of
the ruined cells had been hastily fitted up for the safe keep-
ing of rioters, he was warmly 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 the prison.
" 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 anybody ? "
" 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'll have company.' 1
326 BARNABY RUDGE.
" Well,"" returned Dennis, " I don't object to company,
brother. I rather like company. I was formed for society,
" That's rather a pity, an't it ? " said the man.
" No, 1 ' answered Dennis, " I'm not aware that it is. Why
should it be a pity, brother?"
" 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 "
" 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 man.
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 J 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,
The officer seemed to entertain no particular desire on the
subject one way or other, but briefly remarking that he had
his orders, and intended to obey them, pushed him in, turned
the key, and retired.
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
THE HANGMAN'S COMPANION. 327
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 indistinctly, 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 moveable 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 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 un-
natural for Dennis to feel in a state of very uncomfortable
suspense, and to wish with his whole soul that he might
never wake 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 every 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 was off his guard.
He slept so long and so soundly, that Mr. Dennis began
to think he might sleep on until the turnkey visited them.
He was congratulating himself upon these promising appear-
ances, 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
It happened that his face was turned directly towards
his unexpected visitor. He looked lazily at him for some
half-dozen seconds without any aspect of surprise or recog-
nition ; then suddenly 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 me ! "
THE HANGMAN JUSTIFIES HIMSELF. 329
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.
'Til get up certainly, brother," cried Dennis, anxious to
propitiate him by any means in his power. " 111 comply
with any request of yours, Fin sure. There I'm up now.
What can I do for you ? Only say the word, and I'll 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 on stopping his breath by that means. " What
have you done for me ? "
"The best. The best that could be done." returned the
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, " I'd have crushed your head against it ; I
It was some time before Dennis had breath enough to speak,
but as soon as he could resume his propitiatory strain, he
" 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 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 just then.
'* 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
380 BARNABY RUDGE.
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 ! Pah ! " and his nature so revolted 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.