"Take the vermin out, scoundrel," said the gentleman,
"and let me see him."
Barnaby, thus condescendingly addressed, produced his
bird, but not without much fear and trembling, and set him
down upon the ground ; which he had no sooner done than
Grip drew fifty corks at least, and then began to dance ;
at the same time eyeing the gentleman with surprising
insolence of manner, and screwing his head so much on one
side that he appeared desirous of screwing it off upon
The cork-drawing seemed to make a greater impression
on the gentleman's mind, than the raven's power of speech,
and was indeed particularly adapted to his habits and
capacity. He desired to have that done again, but despite
his being very peremptory, and notwithstanding that Barnaby
coaxed to the utmost, Grip turned a deaf ear to the request,
and preserved a dead silence.
"Bring him along," said the gentleman, pointing to the
house. But Grip, who had watched the action, anticipated
his master, by hopping on before them ; constantly flapping
his wings, and screaming " cook ! " meanwhile, as a hint
perhaps that there was company coming, and a small collation
would be acceptable.
Barnaby and his mother walked on, on either side of the
gentleman on horseback, who surveyed each of them from
time to time in a proud and coarse manner, and occasionally
thundered out some question, the tone of which alarmed
46 BARNABY RUDGE.
Barnaby so much that he could find no answer, and, as a
matter of course, could make him no reply. On one of these
occasions, when the gentleman appeared disposed to exercise
his horsewhip, the widow ventured to inform him in a low
voice and with tears in her eyes, that her son Avas of weak
" An idiot, eh ? " said the gentleman, looking at Barnaby
as he spoke. "And how long hast thou been an idiot?"
" She knows,"" was Barnaby's timid answer, pointing to
his mother " I always, I believe. 11
"From his birth," said the widow.
"I don't believe it," cried the gentleman, "not a bit of
it. It's an excuse not to work. There's nothing like flogging
to cure that disorder. I'd make a difference in him in ten
minutes, Til be bound."
"Heaven has made none in more than twice ten years,
sir," said the widow mildly.
"Then why don't you shut him up? we pay enough for
county institutions, damn 'em. But thou'd rather drag him
about to excite charity of course. Ay, I know thee."
Now, this gentleman had various endearing appellations
among his intimate friends. By some he was called "a
country gentleman of the true school," by some "a fine old
country gentleman," by some "a sporting gentleman," by
some " a thorough-bred Englishman," by some " a genuine
John Bull ; " but they all agreed in one respect, and that
was, that it was a pity there were not more like him, and
that because there were not, the country was going to rack
and ruin every day. He was in the commission of the peace,
and could write his name almost legibly ; but his greatest
qualifications were, that he was more severe with poachers,
was a better shot, a harder rider, had better horses, kept better
dogs, could eat more solid food, drink more strong wine, go
to bed every night more drunk and get up every morning
more sober, than any man in the county. In knowledge of
horseflesh he was almost equal to a farrier, in stable learning
A GENTLEMAN OF THE OLD SCHOOL. 47
he surpassed his own head groom, and in gluttony not a pig
on his estate was a match for him. He had no seat in
Parliament himself, but he was extremely patriotic, and usually
drove his voters up to the poll with his own hands. He
was warmly attached to church and state, and never appointed
to the living in his gift any but a three-bottle man and a
first-rate fox-hunter. He mistrusted the honesty of all poor
people who could read and write, and had a secret jealousy
of his own wife (a young lady whom he had married for
what his friends called "the good old English reason," that
her father's property adjoined his own) for possessing those
accomplishments in a greater degree than himself. In short,
Barnaby being an idiot, and Grip a creature of mere brute
instinct, it would be very hard to say what this gentle-
He rode up to the door of a handsome house approached
by a great flight of steps, where a man was waiting to take
his horse, and led the way into a large hall, which, spacious
as it was, was tainted with the fumes of last night's stale
debauch. Great-coats, riding-whips, bridles, top-boots, spurs,
and such gear, were strewn about on all sides, and formed,
with some huge stags' antlers, and a few portraits of dogs
and horses, its principal embellishments.
Throwing himself into a great chair (in which, by the bye,
he often snored away the night, when he had been, according
to his admirers, a finer country gentleman than usual) he bade
the man to tell his mistress to come down : and presently
there appeared, a little flurried, as it seemed, by the un-
wonted summons, a lady much younger than himself, who
had the appearance of being in delicate health, and not too
" Here ! Thou'st no delight in following the hounds as an
Englishwoman should have, 1 ' said the gentleman. "See to
this here. That'll please thee perhaps."
The lady smiled, sat down at a little distance from him,
and glanced at Barnaby with a look of pity.
48 BARNABY RUDGE.
" He's an idiot, the woman says," observed the gentleman,
shaking his head ; " I don't believe it.""
"Are you his mother? 1 ' asked the lady.
She answered yes.
"What's the use of asking her?' 1 '' said the gentleman,
thrusting his hands into his breeches pockets. " She'll tell
thee so, of course. Most likely he's hired, at so much a
day. There. Get on. Make him do something."
Grip having by this time recovered his urbanity, con-
descended, at Barnaby's solicitation, to repeat his various
phrases of speech, and to go through the whole of his per-
formances with the utmost success. The corks, and the
never say die, afforded the gentleman so much delight that
he demanded the repetition of this part of the entertainment,
until Grip got into his basket, and positively refused to say
another word, good or bad. The lady, too, was much amused
with him ; and the closing point of his obstinacy so delighted
her husband that he burst into a roar of laughter, and
demanded his price.
Barnaby looked as though he didn't understand his meaning.
Probably he did not.
" His price," said the gentleman, rattling the money in
his pockets, " what dost want for him ? How much ? "
"He's not to be sold," replied Barnaby, shutting up the
basket in a great hurry, and throwing the strap over his
shoulder. " Mother, come away."
"Thou seest how much of an idiot he is, book-learner,"
said the gentleman, looking scornfully at his wife. " He can
make a bargain. What dost want for him, old woman ? "
" He is my son's constant companion," said the widow.
" He is not to be sold, sir, indeed."
"Not to be sold !" cried the gentleman, growing ten times
redder, hoarser, and louder than before. " Not to be sold ! "
" Indeed no," she answered. " We have never thought of
parting with him, sir, I do assure you."
He was evidently about to make a very passionate retort,
GRIP NOT TO BE SOLD! 49
when a few murmured words from his wife happening to
catch his ear, he turned sharply round, and said, " Eh ?
What ? "
"We can hardly expect them to sell the bird, against
their own desire,"" she faltered. "If they prefer to keep
" Prefer to keep him ! " he echoed. " These people, who
VOL. II. E
50 BARNABY RUDGE.
go tramping about the country a-pilfering and vagabondising
on all hands, prefer to keep a bird, when a landed proprietor
and a justice asks his price ! That old woman's been to
school. I know she has. Don't tell me no," he roared to
the widow, "I say, yes."
Barnaby's mother pleaded guilty to the accusation, and
hoped there was no harm in it.
"No harm! 1 " said the gentleman. "No. No harm. No
harm, ye old rebel, not a bit of harm. If my clerk was
here, I'd set ye in the stocks, I would, or lay ye in jail for
prowling up and down, on the look-out for petty larcenies,
ye limb of a gipsy. Here, Simon, put these pilferers out,
shove 'em into the road, out with 'em ! Ye don't want to
sell the bird, ye that come here to beg, don't ye? If they
an't out in double-quick, set the dogs upon 'em ! "
They waited for no further dismissal, but fled precipitately,
leaving the gentleman to storm away by himself (for the
poor lady had already retreated), and making a great many
vain attempts to silence Grip, who, excited by the noise,
drew corks enough for a city feast as they hurried down the
avenue, and appeared to congratulate himself beyond measure
on having been the cause of the disturbance. When they
had nearly reached the lodge, another servant, emerging
from the shrubbery, feigned to be very active in ordering
them off, but this man put a crown into the widow's hand,
and whispering that his lady sent it, thrust them gently from
This incident only suggested to the widow's mind, when
they halted at an alehouse some miles further on, and heard
the justice's character as given by his friends, that perhaps
something more than capacity of stomach and tastes for the
kennel and the stable, were required to form either a perfect
country gentleman, a thorough-bred Englishman, or a genuine
John Bull ; and that possibly the terms were sometimes mis-
appropriated, not to say disgraced. She little thought then,
that a circumstance so slight would ever influence their future
BARNABV'S INTEREST IN THE BLIND MAN. 51
fortunes ; but time and experience enlightened her in this
" Mother," said Barnabv, as they were sitting next day in
a waggon which was to take them within ten miles of the
capital, "we're going to London first, you said. Shall we
see that blind man there ?"
She was about to answer " Heaven forbid ! " but checked
herself, and told him No, she thought not ; why did he ask ?
" He's a wise man," said Barnabv, with a thoughtful
countenance. " I wish that we may meet with him again.
What was it that he said of crowds? That gold was to be
found where people crowded, and not among the trees and in
such quiet places? He spoke as if he loved it; London is a
crowded place; I think we shall meet him there."
" But why do you desire to see him, love ? " she asked.
"Because," said Barnabv, looking wistfully at her, "he
talked to me about gold, which is a rare thing, and say
what you will, a thing you would like to have, I know.
And because he came and went awav so strangely just as
white-headed old men come sometimes to my bed's foot in
the night, and say what I can't remember when the bright
day returns. He told me he'd come back. I wonder why
he broke his word ! "
" But you never thought of being rich or gay, before, dear
Barnabv. You have always been contented."
He laughed and bade her say that again, then cried, " Ay
ay oh yes," and laughed once more. Then something passed
that caught his fancy, and the topic wandered from his mind,
and was succeeded by another just as fleeting.
But it was plain from what he had said, and from his
returning to the point more than once that day, and on the
next, that the blind man's visit, and indeed his words, had
taken strong possession of his mind. Whether the idea of
wealth had occurred to him for the first time on looking at
the golden clouds that evening and images were often pre-
sented to his thoughts by outward objects quite as remote and
52 BARNABY RUDGE.
distant ; or whether their poor and humble way of life had
suggested it, by contrast, long ago ; or whether the accident
(as he would deem it) of the blind man's pursuing the
current of his own remarks, had done so at the moment ; or
he had been impressed by the mere circumstance of the man
being blind, and, therefore, unlike any one with whom he
had talked before ; it was impossible to tell. She tried every
means to discover, but in vain ; and the probability is that
Barnaby himself was equally in the dark.
It filled her with uneasiness to find him harping on this
string, but all that she could do, was to lead him quickly to
some other subject, and to dismiss it from his brain. To
caution him against their visitor, to show any fear or
suspicion in reference to him, would only be, she feared, to
increase that interest with which Barnaby regarded him, and
to strengthen his desire to meet him once again. She hoped,
by plunging into the crowd, to rid herself of her terrible
pursuer, and then, by journeying to a distance and observing
increased caution, if that were possible, to live again unknown,
in secrecy and peace.
They reached, in course of time, their halting-place within
ten miles of London, and lay there for the night, after
bargaining to be carried on for a trifle next day, in a light
van which was returning empty, and was to start at five
o'clock in the morning. The driver was punctual, the road
good save for the dust, the weather being very hot and dry
and at seven in the forenoon of Friday the second of June,
one thousand seven hundred and eighty, they alighted at the
foot of Westminster Bridge, bade their conductor farewell,
and stood alone, together, on the scorching pavement. For
the freshness which night sheds upon such busy thorough-
fares had already departed, and the sun was shining with
UNCERTAIN where to go next, and bewildered by the crowd
of people who were already astir, they sat down in one of
the recesses on the bridge, to rest. They soon became aware
that the stream of life was all pouring one way, and that
a vast throng of persons were crossing the river from the
Middlesex to the Surrey shore, in unusual haste and evident
excitement. They were, for the most part, in knots of two
or three, or sometimes half-a-dozen ; they spoke little together
many of them were quite silent ; and hurried on as if they
had one absorbing object in view, which was common to
They were surprised to see that nearly every man in this
great concourse, which still came pouring past, without
slackening in the least, wore in his hat a blue cockade; and
that the chance passengers who were not so decorated,
appeared timidly anxious to escape observation or attack,
and gave them the wall as if they would conciliate them.
This, however, was natural enough, considering their inferiority
in point of numbers ; for the proportion of those who wore
blue cockades, to those who were dressed as usual, was at
least forty or fifty to one. There was no quarrelling,
however : the blue cockades went swarming on, passing each
other when they could, and making all the speed that was
possible in such a multitude ; and exchanged nothing more
than looks, and very often not even those, with such of the
passers-by as were not of their number.
54 BARNABY RUDGE.
At first, the current of people had been confined to the
two pathways, and but a few more eager stragglers kept the
road. But after half an hour or so, the passage was com-
pletely blocked up by the great press, which, being now closely
wedged together, and impeded by the carts and coaches it
encountered, moved but slowly, and was sometimes at a stand
for five or ten minutes together.
After the lapse of nearly two hours, the numbers began to
diminish, visibly, and gradually dwindling away, by little and
little, left the bridge quite clear, save that, now and then,
some hot and dusty man, with the cockade in his hat, and
his coat thrown over his shoulder, went panting by, fearful
of being too late, or stopped to ask which way his friends
had taken, and being directed, hastened on again like one
refreshed. In this comparative solitude, which seemed quite
strange and novel after the late crowd, the widow had for
the first time an opportunity of inquiring of an old man
who came and sat beside them, what was the meaning of
that great assemblage.
" Why, where have you come from," he returned, " that
you haven't heard of Lord George Gordon's great associa-
tion? This is the day that he presents the petition against
the Catholics, God bless him ! "
" What have all these men to do with that ? " she said.
" What have they to do with it ! " the old man replied.
" Why, how you talk ! Don't you know his lordship has
declared he won't present it to the house at all, unless it is
attended to the door by forty thousand good and true men
at least ? There's a crowd for you ! "
" A crowd indeed ! " said Barnaby. " Do you hear that,
mother ! "
"And they're mustering yonder, as I am told," resumed
the old man, " nigh upon a hundred thousand strong. Ah !
Let Lord George alone. He knows his power. There'll be
a good many faces inside them three windows over there,"
and he pointed to where the House of Commons overlooked
AMONG THE COCKADES. 55
the river, "that'll turn pale when good Lord George gets
up this afternoon, and with reason too ! Ay, ay. Let his
lordship alone. Let him alone. He knows ! " And so, with
much mumbling and chuckling and shaking of his forefinger,
he rose, with the assistance of his stick, and tottered off.
" Mother ! " said Barnaby, " that's a brave crowd he talks
of. Come ! "
"Not to join it!" cried his mother.
" Yes, yes," he answered, plucking at her sleeve. " Why
" You don't know," she urged, " what mischief they may
do, where they may lead you, what their meaning is. Dear
Barnaby, for my sake "
" For your sake ! " he cried, patting her hand. " Well !
It is for your sake, mother. You remember what the blind
man said, about the gold. Here's a brave crowd ! Come !
Or wait till I come back yes, yes, wait here."
She tried with all the earnestness her fears engendered, to
turn him from his purpose, but in vain. He was stooping
down to buckle on his shoe, when a hackney-coach passed
them rather quickly, and a voice inside called to the driver
" Young man," said a voice within.
" Who's that ? " cried Barnaby, looking up.
" Do you wear this ornament ? " returned the stranger,
holding out a blue cockade.
" In Heaven's name, no. Pray do not give it him ! "
exclaimed the widow.
" Speak for yourself, woman," said the man within the
coach, coldly. " Leave the young man to his choice ; he's
old enough to make it, and to snap your apron-strings. He
knows, without your telling, whether he wears the sign of a
loyal Englishman or not."
Barnaby, trembling with impatience, cried " Yes ! yes, yes,
I do," as he had cried a dozen times already. The man
threw him a cockade, and crying " Make haste to St. George's
56 BARNABY RUDGE.
Fields," ordered the coachman to drive on fast ; and left
With hands that trembled with his eagerness to fix the
bauble in his hat, Barnaby was adjusting it as he best could,
and hurriedly replying to the tears and entreaties of his
mother, when two gentlemen passed on the opposite side of
the way. Observing them, and seeing how Barnaby was
occupied, they stopped, whispered together for an instant,
turned back, and came over to them.
" Why are you sitting here ? " said one of them, who was
dressed in a plain suit of black, wore long lank hair, and
carried a great cane. " Why have you not gone with the
" I am going, sir," replied Barnaby, finishing his task, and
putting his hat on with an air of pride. " I shall be there
"Say 'my lord,"" young man, when his lordship does you
the honour of speaking to you," said the second gentleman
mildly. " If you don't know Lord George Gordon when you
see him, it's high time you should."
"Nay, Gashford," said Lord George, as Barnaby pulled
off his hat again and made him a low bow, " it's no great
matter on a day like this, which every Englishman will
remember with delight and pride. Put on your hat, friend,
and follow us, for you lag behind and are late. It's past
ten now. Didn't you know that the hour for assembling
was ten o'clock ? "
Barnaby shook his head and looked vacantly from one to
" You might have known it, friend," said Gashford, " it
was perfectly understood. How came you to be so ill
informed ? "
" He cannot tell you, sir," the widow interposed. " It's
of no use to ask him. We are but this morning come from
a long distance in the country, and know nothing of these
THE WIDOW'S APPEAL.
"The cause has taken a deep root, and has spread its
branches far and wide," said Lord George to his secretary.
" This is a pleasant hearing. I thank Heaven for it ! "
"Amen!" cried Gashford with a solemn face.
"You do not understand me, my lord," said the widow.
"Pardon me, but you cruelly mistake my meaning. We
know nothing of these matters. We have no desire or right
58 BARNABY RUDGE.
to join in what you are about to do. This is my son, my
poor afflicted son, dearer to me than my own life. In mercy's
name, my lord, go your way alone, and do not tempt him
into danger ! "
" My good woman,"" said Gashford, " how can you ! Dear
me ! What do you mean by tempting, and by danger ? Do
you think his lordship is a roaring lion, going about and
seeking whom he may devour ? God bless me ! "
" No, no, my lord, forgive me," implored the widow, laying
both her hands upon his breast, and scarcely knowing what
she did, or said, in the earnestness of her supplication, " but
there are reasons why you should hear my earnest, mother's
prayer, and leave my son Avith me. Oh do. He is not in
his right senses, he is not, indeed ! "
"It is a bad sign of the wickedness of these times,"" said
Lord George, evading her touch, and colouring deeply, " that
those who cling to the truth and support the right cause,
are set down as mad. Have you the heart to say this of
your own son, unnatural mother ! "
" I am astonished at you ! " said Gashford, with a kind of
meek severity. "This is a very sad picture of female
" He has surely no appearance," said Lord George, glancing
at Barnaby, and whispering in his secretary's ear, " of being
deranged ? And even if he had, we must not construe any
trifling peculiarity into madness. Which of us" and here
he turned red again "would be safe, if that were made
" Not one," replied the secretary ; " in that case, the greater
the zeal, the truth, and talent ; the more direct the call from
above; the clearer would be the madness. With regard to
this young man, my lord," he added, with a lip that slightly
curled as he looked at Barnaby, who stood twirling his hat,
and stealthily beckoning them to come away, "he is as
sensible and self-possessed as any one I ever saw."
"And you desire to make one of this great body?" said
BARNABY ENROLLED. 59
Lord George, addressing him ; " and intended to make one,
did you? 11
" Yes yes, 11 said Barnaby, with sparkling eyes. " To be
sure I did ! I told her so myself. 11
" I see, 11 replied Lord George, with a reproachful glance at
the unhappy mother. " I thought so. Follow me and this
gentleman, and you shall have your wish. 11
Barnaby kissed his mother tenderly on the cheek, and
bidding her be of good cheer, for their fortunes were both
made now, did as he was desired. She, poor woman, followed
too with how much fear and grief it would be hard to tell.
They passed quickly through the Bridge-road, where the
shops were all shut up (for the passage of the great crowd
and the expectation of their return had alarmed the tradesmen
for their goods and windows), and where, in the upper stories,
all the inhabitants were congregated, looking down into
the street below, with faces variously expressive of alarm,
of interest, expectancy, and indignation. Some of these
applauded, and some hissed ; but regardless of these inter-
ruptions for the noise of a vast congregation of people at
a little distance, sounded in his ears, like the roaring of the
sea Lord George Gordon quickened his pace, and presently
arrived before St. George's Fields.
They were really fields at that time, and of considerable
extent. Here an immense multitude was collected, bearing
flags of various kinds and sizes, but all of the same colour
blue, like the cockades some sections marching to and fro
in- military array, and others drawn up in circles, squares,
and lines. A large portion, both of the bodies which paraded
the ground, and of those which remained stationary, were
occupied in singing hymns or psalms. With whomsoever
this originated, it was well done ; for the sound of so many
thousand voices in the air must have stirred the heart of any