The man that 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."
" Lookee, 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 once more.
After looking at him in silence for some moments, Dennis^
who was greatly relieved to find him in this mood, drew the
chair towards his rough couch and sat down near him
HUGH'S RELATIONS! 331
taking the precaution, however, to keep out of the range of
his brawny arm.
" Well said, brother ; nothing could be better said," he
ventured to observe. "We'll 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. 11
"Ay," said Hugh, coiling himself into a new position.
"Where is it?"
"Why, they took mine from me at the lodge, 11 said Mr.
Dennis ; " but mine's a peculiar case. 11
" Is it ? They took mine too. 11
" Why then, I tell you what, brother, 11 Dennis began. " You
must look up your friends "
" My friends ! 11 cried Hugh, starting up and resting on his
hands. " Where are my friends ? "
" Your relations then, 11 said Dennis.
" Ha ha ha ! " laughed Hugh, waving one arm above his
head. " He talks of friends to me talks of relations to a
man whose mother died the death in store for her son, and
left him, a hungry brat, without a face he knew in all the
world ! He talks of this to me ! "
"Brother," cried the hangman, whose features underwent
a sudden change, " you don't mean to say "
"I mean to say, 11 Hugh interposed, "that they hung her
up at Tyburn. What was good enough for her, is good
enough for me. Let them do the like by me as soon as they
please the sooner the better. Say no more to me. Fm
going to sleep. 11
" But I want to speak to you ; I want to hear more about
that, 11 said Dennis, changing colour.
" If you're a wise man, 11 growled Hugh, raising his head
to look at him with a frown, "you'll hold your tongue.
I tell you I'm going to sleep."
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 alternative but
to sit as patiently as he could : waiting his further pleasure.
A MONTH has elapsed, and we stand in the bed-chamber
of Sir John Chester. Through the half-opened window, the
Temple Garden 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
Sir John was breakfasting in bed. His chocolate and
toast stood upon a little table at his elbow ; books and news-
papers lay ready to his hand, upon the coverlet ; and, some-
times pausing to glance with an air of tranquil satisfaction
round the well-ordered room, and sometimes to gaze indolently
334 BARNABY RUDGE.
at the summer sky, he ate, and drank, and read the news
The cheerful influence of the morning seemed to have some
effect, 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 resigned himself to a train of charm-
ing 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-easy young madman of Chigwell ! I am
quite rejoiced. It's the very best thing that could possibly
happen to him. 1 ' 1
After delivering himself of these remarks, he fell again into
his smiling train of reflection ; from which he roused himself
at length to finish his chocolate, which was getting cold, and
ring the bell for more.
The new supply arriving, he took the cup from his servant's
hand ; and saying, with a charming affability, " I am obliged
to you, Peak,' 1 dismissed him.
" It is a remarkable circumstance," he mused, dallying
lazily with the teaspoon, " that my friend the madman should
have been within an ace of escaping, on his trial ; and it was
a good stroke of chance (or, as the world would say, a provi-
dential occurrence) that the brother of my Lord Mayor should
have been in court, with other country justices, into whose
very dense heads curiosity had penetrated. For though the
brother of my Lord Mayor was decidedly wrong ; and estab-
lished his near relationship to that amusing person beyond
all doubt, in stating that my friend was sane, and had, to
his knowledge, wandered about the country with a vagabond
parent, avowing revolutionary and rebellious sentiments ; I am
not the less obliged to him for volunteering that evidence.
These insane creatures make such very odd and embarrassing
A VISITOR TO SIR JOHN CHESTER. 335
remarks, that they really ought to be hanged for the comfort
The country justice had indeed turned the wavering scale
against poor Barnaby, and solved the doubt that trembled
in his favour. Grip little thought how much he had to
" They will be a singular party," said Sir John, leaning his
head upon his hand, and sipping his chocolate ; " a very
curious party. The hangman himself; the centaur; and the
madman. The centaur would make a very handsome prepara-
tion in Surgeons' 1 Hall, and would benefit science extremely.
I hope they have taken care to bespeak him. Peak, I am
not at home, of course, to anybody but the hair-dresser."
This reminder to his servant was called forth by a knock
at the door, which the man hastened to open. After a pro-
longed murmur of question and answer, he returned ; and as
he cautiously closed the room-door behind him, a man was
heard to cough in the passage.
"Now, it is of no use, Peak," said Sir John, raising his
hand in deprecation of his delivering any message ; " I am
not at home. I cannot possibly hear you. I told you I was
not at home, and my word is sacred. Will you never do as
you are desired ? "
Having nothing to oppose to this reproof, the man was
about to withdraw, when the visitor who had given occasion
to it, probably rendered impatient by delay, knocked with his
knuckles at the chamber-door, and called out that he had
urgent business with Sir John Chester, which admitted of
" Let him in," said Sir John. " My good fellow," he added,
when the door was opened, "how come you to intrude your-
self in this extraordinary manner upon the privacy of a
gentleman? How can you be so wholly destitute of self-
respect as to be guilty of such remarkable ill- breeding?"
"My business, Sir John, is not of a common kind, I do
assure you,"" returned the person he addressed. "If I have
336 BARNABY RUDGE.
taken any uncommon course to get admission to you, I hope
I shall be pardoned on that account."
" Well ! we shall see ; we shall see ! " returned Sir John,
whose face cleared up when he saw who it was, and whose
prepossessing smile was now restored. "I am sure we have
met before," he added in his winning tone, " but really I
forget your name ? "
"My name is Gabriel Varden, sir."
"Varden, of course, Varden," returned Sir John, tapping
his forehead. "Dear me, how very defective my memory
becomes ! Varden to be sure Mr. Varden the locksmith.
You have a charming wife, Mr. Varden, and a most beauti-
ful daughter. They are well ? "
Gabriel thanked him, and said they were.
"I rejoice to hear it," said Sir John. "Commend me to
them when you return, and say that I wished I were fortu-
nate enough to convey, myself, the salute which I entrust
you to deliver. And what," he asked very sweetly, after a
moment's pause, " can I do for you ? You may command
" I thank you, Sir John," said Gabriel, with some pride in
his manner, "but I have come to ask no favour of you,
though I come on business. Private," he added, with a glance
at the man who stood looking on, "and very pressing
"I cannot say you are the more welcome for being inde-
pendent, and having nothing to ask of me," returned Sir
John, graciously, "for I should have been happy to render
you a service; still, you are welcome on any terms. Oblige
me with some more chocolate, Peak, and don't wait."
The man retired, and left them alone.
" Sir John," said Gabriel, " I am a working-man, and have
been so, all my life. If I don't prepare you enough for what
I have to tell ; if I come to the point too abruptly ; and give
you a shock, which a gentleman could have spared you, or at
all events lessened very much ; I hope you will give me credit
VERY PRESSING BUSINESS. 337
for moaning well. I wish to be careful and considerate, and
I trust that in a straightforward person like me, you'll take
the will for the deed."
" Mr. Varden," returned the other, perfectly composed under
this exordium ; " I beg you'll take a chair. Chocolate, per-
haps, you don't relish ? Well ! it is an acquired taste, no
" Sir John," said Gabriel, who had acknowledged with a
bow the invitation to be seated, but had not availed himself
of it ; " Sir John " he dropped his voice and drew nearer to
the bed " I am just now come from Newgate "
" Good Gad ! " cried Sir John, hastily sitting up in bed ;
" from Newgate, Mr. Varden ! How could you be so very
imprudent as to come from Newgate ! Newgate, where there
are jail-fevers, and ragged people, and bare-footed men and
women, and a thousand horrors ! Peak, bring the camphor,
quick ! Heaven and earth, Mr. Varden, my dear, good soul,
how could you come from Newgate ? "
Gabriel returned no answer, but looked on in silence while
Peak (who had entered with the hot chocolate) ran to a
drawer, and returning with a bottle, sprinkled his master's
dressing-gown and the bedding ; and besides moistening the
locksmith himself, plentifully, described a circle round about
him on the carpet. When he had done this, he again re-
tired ; and Sir John, reclining in an easy attitude upon his
pillow, once more turned a smiling face towards his visitor.
" You will forgive me, Mr. Varden, I am sure, for being at
first a little sensitive both on your account and my own. I
confess I was startled, notwithstanding your delicate exordium.
Might I ask you to do me the favour not to approach any
nearer ? You have really come from Newgate ! "
The locksmith inclined his head.
" In-deed ! And now, Mr. Varden, all exaggeration and
embellishment apart," said Sir John Chester, confidentially, as
he sipped his chocolate, " what kind of place is Newgate ? "
"A strange place, Sir. John," returned the locksmith, "of
VOL. II. Z
338 BARNABY RUDGE.
a sad and doleful kind. A strange place, where many strange
things are heard and seen ; but few more strange than that I
come to tell you of. The case is urgent. I am sent here."
"Not no, no not from the jail?"
" Yes, Sir John ; from the jail."
"And my good, credulous, open-hearted friend," said Sir
John, setting down his cup, and laughing, " by whom ? "
"By a man called Dennis for many years the hangman,
and to-morrow morning the hanged," returned the locksmith.
Sir John had expected had been quite certain from the
first that he would say he had come from Hugh, and was
prepared to meet him on that point. But this answer
occasioned him a degree of astonishment, which, for the
moment, he could not, with all his command of feature,
prevent his face from expressing. He quickly subdued it,
however, and said in the same light tone :
"And what does the gentleman require of me? My
memory may be at fault again, but I don't recollect that I
ever had the pleasure of an introduction to him, or that I
ever numbered him among my personal friends, I do assure
you, Mr. Varden."
"Sir John," returned the locksmith, gravely, "I will tell
you, as nearly as I can, in the words he used to me, what he
desires that you should know, and what you ought to know
without a moment's loss of time."
Sir John Chester settled himself in a position of greater
repose, and looked at his visitor with an expression of face
which seemed to say, " This is an amusing fellow ! I'll hear
"You may have seen in the newspapers, sir," said Gabriel,
pointing to the one which lay by his side, "that I was a
witness against this man upon his trial some days since; and
that it was not his fault I was alive, and able to speak to
what I knew."
" May have seen ! " cried Sir John. " My dear Mr. Varden,
you are quite a public character, and live in all men's thoughts
A MESSAGE FROM NEWGATE. 339
most deservedly. Nothing can exceed the interest with which
I read your testimony, and remembered that I had the
pleasure of a slight acquaintance with you. I hope we shall
have your portrait published?"
"This morning, sir," said the locksmith, taking no notice
of these compliments, " early this morning, a message was
brought to me from Newgate, at this man's request, desiring
that I would go and see him, for he had something particular
to communicate. I needn't tell you that he is no friend of
mine, and that I had never seen him, until the rioters beset
Sir John fanned himself gently with the newspaper, and
" I knew, however, from the general report," resumed
Gabriel, " that the order for his execution to-morrow, went
down to the prison last night; and looking upon him as a
dying man, I complied with his request."
" You are quite a Christian, Mr. Varden," said Sir John ;
"and in that amiable capacity, you increase my desire that
you should take a chair."
" He said," continued Gabriel, looking steadily at the
knight, "that he had sent to me, because he had no friend
or companion in the whole world (being the common hang-
man), and because he believed, from the way in which I had
given my evidence, that I was an honest man, and would act
truly by him. He said that, being shunned by every one
who knew his calling, even by people of the lowest and most
wretched grade, and finding, when he joined the rioters,
that the men he acted with had no suspicion of it (which
I believe is tine enough, for a poor fool of an old ""prentice
of mine was one of them), he had kept his own counsel,
up to the time of his being taken and put in jail."
"Very discreet of Mr. Dennis," observed Sir John with a
slight yawn, though still with the utmost affability, "but
except for your admirable and lucid manner of telling it,
which is perfect not very interesting to me."
340 BARNABY RUDGE.
" When, 11 pursued the locksmith, quite unabashed and
wholly regardless of these interruptions, " when he was taken
to the jail, he found that his fellow-prisoner, in the same
room, was a young man, Hugh by name, a leader in the
riots, who had been betrayed and given up by himself.
From something which fell from this unhappy creature in
the course of the angry words they had at meeting, he
discovered that his mother had suffered the death to which
they both are now condemned. The time is very short,
The knight laid down his paper fan, replaced his cup upon
the table at his side, and, saving for the smile that lurked
about his mouth, looked at the locksmith with as much
steadiness as the locksmith looked at him.
"They have been in prison now, a month. One conversa-
tion led to many more ; and the hangman soon found, from
a comparison of time, and place, and dates, that he had
executed the sentence of the law upon this woman, himself.
She had been tempted by want as so many people are into
the easy crime of passing forged notes. She was young and
handsome ; and the traders who employ men, women, and
children in this traffic, looked upon her as one who was well
adapted for their business, and who would probably go on
without suspicion for a long time. But they were mistaken ;
for she was stopped in the commission of her very first offence,
and died for it. She was of gipsy blood, Sir John "
It might have been the effect of a passing cloud which
obscured the sun, and cast a shadow on his face ; but the
knight turned deadly pale. Still he met the locksmith's eye,
" She was of gipsy blood, Sir John, 11 repeated Gabriel, " and
had a high, free spirit. This, and her good looks, and her
lofty manner, interested some gentlemen who were easily
moved by dark eyes; and efforts were made to save her.
They might have been successful, if she would have given
them any clue to her history. But she never would, or did.
A STRANGE HISTORY.
There was reason to suspect that she would make an attempt
upon her life. A watch was set upon her night and day ;
and from that time she never spoke again "
Sir John stretched out his hand towards his cup. The
locksmith going on, arrested it half-way.
" Until she had but a minute to live. Then she broke
silence, and said, in a low firm voice which no one heard but
this executioner, for all other living creatures had retired
and left her to her fate, 'If I had a dagger within these
fingers and he was within my reach, I would strike him dead
before me, even now ! ' The man asked ' Who ? ' She said,
'The father of her boy/ 11
Sir John drew back his outstretched hand, and seeing that
the locksmith paused, signed to him with easy politeness and
without any new appearance of emotion, to proceed.
"It was the first word she had ever spoken, from which
it could be understood that she had any relative on earth.
'Was the child alive?' he asked. 'Yes.' He asked her
where it was, its name, and whether she had any wish respect-
ing it. She had but one, she said. It was that the boy
might live and grow, in utter ignorance of his father, so that
no arts might teach him to be gentle and forgiving. When
he became a man she trusted to the God of their tribe to
bring the father and the son together, and revenge her
through her child. He asked her other questions, but she
spoke no more. Indeed, he says, she scarcely said this much
to him, but stood with her face turned upwards to the sky,
and never looked towards him once."
Sir John took a pinch of snuff; glanced approvingly at
an elegant little sketch, entitled " Nature," on the wall ;
and raising his eyes to the locksmith's face again, said, with
an air of courtesy and patronage, " You were observing, Mr.
" That she never," returned the locksmith, who was not to
be diverted by any artifice from his firm manner, and his steady
gaze, "that she never looked towards him once, Sir John;
342 BAHNABY RUDGE.
and so she died, and he forgot her. But, some years after-
wards, a man was sentenced to die the same death, who was
a gipsy too ; a sunburnt, swarthy fellow, almost a wild man ;
and while he lay in prison, under sentence, he, who had seen
the hangman more than once while he was free, cut an image
of him on his stick, by way of braving death, and showing
those who attended on him, how little he cared or thought
about it. He gave this stick into his hands at Tyburn, and
told him then, that the woman I had spoken of had left her
own people to join a fine gentleman, and that, being deserted
by him, and cast off by her old friends, she had sworn within
her own proud breast, that whatever her misery might be,
she would ask no help of any human being. He told him
that she had kept her word to the last ; and that, meeting
even him in the streets he had been fond of her once, it
seems she had slipped from him by a trick, and he never
saw her again, until, being in one of the frequent crowds at
Tyburn, with some of his rough companions, he had been
driven almost mad by seeing, in the criminal under another
name, whose death he had come to witness, herself. Standing
in the same place in Avhich she had stood, he told the hang-
man this, and told him, too, her real name, which only her
own people and the gentleman for whose sake she had left
them, knew. That name he will tell again, Sir John, to none
" To none but me ! " exclaimed the knight, pausing in the
act of raising his cup to his lips with a perfectly steady hand,
and curling up his little finger for the better display of a
brilliant ring with which it was ornamented : " but me ! My
dear Mr. Varden, how very preposterous, to select me for
his confidence ! With you at his elbow, too, who are so
perfectly trustworthy ! "
" Sir John, Sir John," returned the locksmith, " at twelve
to-morrow, these men die. Hear the words I have to add,
and do not hope to deceive me; for though I am a plain
man of humble station, and you are a gentleman of rank
THE LOCKSMITH SPEAKS PLAINLY. 343
and learning, the truth raises me to your level, and I KNOW
that you anticipate the disclosure with which I am about
to end, and that you believe this doomed man, Hugh, to be
"Nay," said Sir John, bantering him with a gay air;
"the wild gentleman, who died so suddenly, scarcely went as
far as that, I think?"
" He did not," returned the locksmith, " for she had bound
him by some pledge, known only to these people, and which
the worst among them respect, not to tell your name : but,
in a fantastic pattern on the stick, he had carved some letters,
and when the hangman asked it, he bade him, especially if
he should ever meet with her son in after life, remember that
The knight finished his cup of chocolate with an appear-
ance of infinite relish, and carefully wiped his lips upon his
"Sir John," said the locksmith, "this is all that has been
told to me ; but since these two men have been left for death,
they have conferred together closely. See them, and hear
what they can add. See this Dennis, and learn from him
what he has not trusted to me. If you, who hold the clue
to all, want corroboration (which you do not), the means
" And to what," said Sir John Chester, rising on his elbow,
after smoothing the pillow for its reception ; " my dear, good-
natured, estimable Mr. Varden with whom I cannot be angry
if I would to what does all this tend ? "
" I take you for a man, Sir John, and I suppose it tends to
some pleading of natural affection in your breast," returned
the locksmith. " I suppose to the straining of every nerve,
and the exertion of all the influence you have, or can make,
in behalf of your miserable son, and the man who has dis-
closed his existence to you. At the worst, I suppose to your
344 BARNABY RUDGE.
seeing your son, and awakening him to a sense of his crime
and danger. He has no such sense now. Think what his
life must have been, when he said in my hearing, that if I
moved you to anything, it would be to hastening his death,
and ensuring his silence, if you had it in your power ! "
" And have you, my good Mr. Varden," said Sir John in
a tone of mild reproof, " have you really lived to your
present age, and remained so very simple and credulous, as
to approach a gentleman of established character with such
credentials as these, from desperate men in their last ex-
tremity, catching at any straw ? Oh dear ! Oh fie, fie ! "
The locksmith was going to interpose, but he stopped him :
" On any other subject, Mr. Varden, I shall be delighted