quite a phenomenon to behold, and lighted up the Maypole
Porch wherein they sat together, like a monstrous carbuncle
in a fairy tale.
"Do you think, sir, 11 said Mr. Willet, looking hard at
THE MAYPOLE ORACLE. 117
Solomon Daisy for it was his custom in cases of personal
altercation to fasten upon the smallest man in the party
" do you think, sir, that Fin a born fool ? "
"No, no, Johnny," returned Solomon, looking round upon
the little circle of which he formed a part : " we all know
better than that. You're no fool, Johnny. No, no ! "
Mr. Cobb and Mr. Parkes shook their heads in unison,
muttering, " No, no, Johnny, not you ! " But as such com-
pliments had usually the effect of making Mr. Willet rather
more dogged than before, he surveyed them with a look of
deep disdain, and returned for answer :
"Then what do you mean by coming here, and telling
me that this evening you're a-going to walk up to London
together you three you and have the evidence of your
own senses ? An't," said Mr. Willet, putting his pipe in
his mouth with an air of solemn disgust, " an't the evidence
of my senses enough for you ? "
" But we haven't got it, Johnny, 11 pleaded Parkes, humbly.
"You haven't got it, sir?" repeated Mr. Willet, eyeing
him from top to toe. "You haven't got it, sir? You have
got it, sir. Don't I tell you that His blessed Majesty King
George the Third would no more stand a rioting and
rollicking in his streets, than he'd stand being crowed over
by his own Parliament?'
"Yes, Johnny, but that's your sense not your senses, 11
said the adventurous Mr. Parkes.
" How do you know ? " retorted John with great dignity.
"You're a contradicting pretty free, you are, sir. How do
you know which it is ? I'm not aware I ever told you, sir. 11
Mr. Parkes, finding himself in the position of having got
into metaphysics without exactly seeing his way out of them,
stammered forth an apology and retreated from the argument.
There then ensued a silence of some ten minutes or a quarter
of an hour, at the expiration of which period Mr. Willet
was observed to rumble and shake with laughter, and pre-
sently remarked, in reference to his late adversary, "that he
118 BARNABY RUDGE.
hoped he had tackled him enough."" Thereupon Messrs.
Cobb and Daisy laughed, and nodded, and Parkes was looked
upon as thoroughly and effectually put down.
"Do you suppose if all this was true, that Mr. Haredale
would be constantly away from home, as he is ? " said John,
after another silence. "Do you think he wouldn't be afraid
to leave his house with them two young women in it, and
only a couple of men, or so ? "
"Ay, but then you know,"" returned Solomon Daisy, "his
house is a goodish way out of London, and they do say
that the rioters won't go more than two mile, or three at
the farthest, off the stones. Besides, you know, some of the
Catholic gentlefolks have actually sent trinkets and such-like
down here for safety at least, so the story goes.""
"The story goes!" said Mr. Willet testily. "Yes, sir.
The story goes that you saw a ghost last March. But
nobody believes it.""
" Well ! " said Solomon, rising, to divert the attention of
his two friends, who tittered at this retort : " believed or
disbelieved, it's true ; and true or not, if we mean to go to
London, we must be going at once. So shake hands, Johnny,
and good night."
"I shall shake hands," returned the landlord, putting his
into his pockets, "with.no man as goes to London on such
The three cronies were therefore reduced to the necessity
of shaking his elbows ; having performed that ceremony, and
brought from the house their hats, and sticks, and great-
coats, they bade him good night and departed ; promising
to bring him on the morrow full and true accounts of the
real state of the city, and if it were quiet, to give him the
full merit of his victory.
John Willet looked after them, as they plodded along the
road in the rich glow of a summer evening; and knocking
the ashes out of his pipe, laughed inwardly at their folly,
until his sides were sore. When he had quite exhausted
AN ADVANCING HOST. 119
himself which took some time, for he laughed as slowly as
he thought and spoke he sat himself comfortably with his
back to the house, put his legs upon the bench, then his
apron over his face, and fell sound asleep.
How long he slept, matters not; but it was for no brief
space, for when he awoke, the rich light had faded, the
sombre hues of night were falling fast upon the landscape,
and a few bright stars were already twinkling overhead.
The birds were all at roost, the daisies on the green had
closed their fairy hoods, the honeysuckle twining round the
porch exhaled its perfume in a twofold degree, as though it
lost its coyness at that silent time and loved to shed its
fragrance on the night ; the ivy scarcely stirred its deep green
leaves. How tranquil, and how beautiful it was !
Was there no sound in the air, besides the gentle rustling
of the trees and the grasshopper's merry chirp ? Hark !
Something very faint and distant, not unlike the murmuring
in a sea-shell. Now it grew louder, fainter now, and now it
altogether died away. Presently, it came again, subsided,
came once more, grew louder, fainter swelled into a roar.
It was on the road, and varied with its windings. All at
once it burst into a distinct sound the voices, and the
tramping feet of many men.
It is questionable whether old John Willet, even then,
would have thought of the rioters but for the cries of his
cook and housemaid, who ran screaming up-stairs and locked
themselves into one of the old garrets, shrieking dismally
when they had done so, by way of rendering their place of
refuge perfectly secret and secure. These two females did
afterwards depone that Mr. Willet in his consternation
uttered but one word, and called that up the stairs in a
stentorian voice, six distinct times. But as this word was
a monosyllable, which, however inoffensive when applied to
the quadruped it denotes, is highly reprehensible when used
in connection with females of unimpeachable character, many
persons were inclined to believe that the young women
120 BARNABY RUDGE.
laboured under some hallucination caused by excessive fear;
and that their ears deceived them.
Be this as it may, John Willet, in whom the very utter-
most extent of dull-headed perplexity supplied the place of
courage, stationed himself in the porch, and waited for their
coming up. Once, it dimly occurred to him that there was
a kind of door to the house, which had a lock and bolts;
and at the same time some shadowy ideas of shutters to the
lower windows, flitted through his brain. But he stood stock
still, looking down the road in the direction in which the
noise was rapidly advancing, and did not so much as take
his hands out of his pockets.
He had not to wait long. A dark mass, looming through
a cloud of dust, soon became visible; the mob quickened
their pace; shouting and whooping like savages, they came
rushing on pell-mell ; and in a few seconds he was bandied
from hand to hand, in the heart of a crowd of men.
"Halloa!" cried a voice he knew, as the man who spoke
came cleaving through the throng. "Where is he? Give
him to me. Don't hurt him. How now, old Jack ! Ha
ha ha! 11
Mr. Willet looked at him, and saw it was Hugh; but he
said nothing, and thought nothing.
" These lads are thirsty and must drink ! " cried Hugh,
thrusting him back towards the house. "Bustle, Jack,
bustle. Show us the best the very best the over-proof
that you keep for your own drinking, Jack ! "
John faintly articulated the words, "Who's to pay?"
" He says * Who's to pay ? ' " cried Hugh, with a roar of
laughter which was loudly echoed by the crowd. Then
turning to John, he added, " Pay ! Why, nobody. 1 '
John stared round at the -mass of faces some grinning,
some fierce, some lighted up by torches, some indistinct,
some dusky and shadowy : some looking at him, some at his
house, some at each other and while he was, as he thought,
in the very act of doing so, found himself, without any
SACRILEGE IN THE SANCTUARY. 121
consciousness of having moved, in the bar ; sitting down in an
arm-chair, and watching the destruction of his property, as
if it were some queer play or entertainment, of an astonishing
and stupefying nature, but having no reference to himself
that he could make out at all.
Yes. Here was the bar the bar that the boldest never
entered without special invitation the sanctuary, the mystery,
the hallowed ground : here it was, crammed with men, clubs,
sticks, torches, pistols ; filled with a deafening noise, oaths,
shouts, screams, hootings; changed all at once into a bear-
garden, a madhouse, an infernal temple : men darting in
and out, by door and window, smashing the glass, turning
the taps, drinking liquor out of China punchbowls, sitting
astride of casks, smoking private and personal pipes, cutting
down the sacred grove of lemons, hacking and hewing at
the celebrated cheese, breaking open inviolable drawers,
putting things in their pockets which didn't belong to them,
dividing his own money before his own eyes, wantonly
wasting, breaking, pulling down and tearing up : nothing
quiet, nothing private : men everywhere above, below, over-
head, in the bedrooms, in the kitchen, in the yard, in the
stables clambering in at windows when there were doors
wide open ; dropping out of windows when the stairs were
handy ; leaping over the banisters into chasms of passages :
new faces and figures presenting themselves every instant
some yelling, some singing, some fighting, some breaking
glass and crockery, some laying the dust with the liquor
they couldn't drink, some ringing the bells till they pulled
them down, others beating them with pokers till they beat
them into fragments : more men still more, more, more
swarming on like insects : noise, smoke, light, darkness, frolic,
anger, laughter, groans, plunder, fear, and ruin !
Nearly all the time while John looked on at this bewilder-
ing scene, Hugh kept near him ; and though he was the
loudest, wildest, most destructive villain there, he saved his
old master's bones a score of times. Nay, even when Mr.
Tappertit, excited by liquor, came up, and in assertion of
his prerogative politely kicked John Willet on the shins,
Hugh bade him return the compliment ; and if old John had
had sufficient presence of mind to understand this whispered
direction, and to profit by it, he might no doubt, under
Hugh's protection, have done so with impunity.
BINDING OF JOHN WILLET. 123
At length the band began to re-assemble outside the house,
and to call to those within, to join them, for they were
losing time. These murmurs increasing, and attaining a
high pitch, Hugh, and some of those who yet lingered in
the bar, and who plainly were the leaders of the troop, took
counsel together, apart, as to what was to be done with
John, to keep him quiet until their Chigwell work was over.
Some proposed to set the house on fire and leave him in it;
others, that he should be reduced to a state of temporary
insensibility, by knocking on the head ; others, that he
should be sworn to sit where he was until to-morrow at the
same hour ; others again, that he should be gagged and
taken oft' with them, under a sufficient guard. All these
propositions being overruled, it was concluded, at last, to
bind him in his chair, and the word was passed for Dennis.
" Look'ee here, Jack ! " said Hugh, striding up to him :
" We are going to tie you, hand and foot, but otherwise you
won't be hurt. D'ye hear?""
John Willet looked at another man, as if he didn't know
which was the speaker, and muttered something about an
ordinary every Sunday at two o'clock.
"You won't be hurt I tell you, Jack do you hear me? 11
roared Hugh, impressing the assurance upon him by means
of a heavy blow on the back. "He's so dead scared, he's
woolgathering, I think. Give him a drop of something to
drink here. Hand over, one of you."
A glass of liquor being passed forward, Hugh poured the
contents down old John's throat. Mr. Willet feebly smacked
his lips, thrust his hand into his pocket, and inquired what
was to pay; adding, as he looked vacantly round, that he
believed there was a trifle of broken glass
" He's out of his senses for the time, it's my belief," said
Hugh, after shaking him, without any visible effect upon his
system, until his keys rattled in his pocket.
" Where's that Dennis?"
The word was again passed, and presently Mr. Dennis,
with a long cord bound about his middle, something after
the manner of a friar, came hurrying in, attended by a
body-guard of half-a-dozen of his men.
" Come ! Be alive here ! " cried Hugh, stamping his foot
upon the ground. " Make haste ! "
Dennis, with a wink and a nod, unwound the cord from
about his person, and raising his eyes to the ceiling, looked
all over it, and round the walls and cornice, with a curious
eye; then shook his head.
" Move, man, can't you ! " cried Hugh, with another im-
patient stamp of his foot. "Are we to wait here, till the
cry has gone for ten miles round, and our work's inter-
"It's all very fine talking, brother, 11 answered Dennis,
stepping towards him ; " but unless " and here he whispered
in his ear "unless we do it over the door, it can't be done
at all in this here room. 11
"What can't?" Hugh demanded.
"What can't I 1 ' retorted Dennis. "Why, the old man can't."
" Why, you weren't going to hang him ! " cried Hugh.
"No, brother?" returned the hangman with a stare.
Hugh made no answer, but snatching the rope from his
companion's hand, proceeded to bind old John himself; but
his very first move was so bungling and unskilful, that Mr.
Dennis entreated, almost with tears in his eyes, that he
might be permitted to perform the duty. Hugh consenting,
he achieved it in a twinkling.
"There," he said, looking mournfully at John Willet, who
displayed no more emotion in his bonds than he had shown
out of them. "That's what I call pretty and workmanlike.
He's quite a picter now. But, brother, just a word with
you now that he's ready trussed, as one may say, wouldn't
it be better for all parties if we was to work him off? It
would read uncommon well in the newspapers, it would
indeed. The public would think a great deal more on us ! "
AWAY TO THE WARREN. 125
Hugh, inferring what his companion meant, rather from
his gestures than his technical mode of expressing himself (to
which, as he was ignorant of his calling, he wanted the clue),
rejected this proposition for the second time, and gave the
word " Forward ! " which was echoed by a hundred voices
" To the Warren ! " shouted Dennis as he ran out, followed
by the rest. " A witnesses house, my lads ! "
A loud yell followed, and the whole throng hurried off",
mad for pillage and destruction. Hugh lingered behind for
a few moments to stimulate himself with more drink, and to
set all the taps running, a few of which had accidentally
been spared ; then, glancing round the despoiled and plundered
room, through whose shattered window the rioters had thrust
the Maypole itself, for even that had been sawn down,
lighted a torch, clapped the mute and motionless John Willet
oo the back, and waving his light above his head, and uttering
a fierce shout, hastened after his companions.
JOHN WILLET, left alone in his dismantled bar, continued to
sit staring about him ; awake as to his eyes, certainly, but
with all his powers of reason and reflection in a sound and
dreamless sleep. He looked round upon the room which
had been for years, and was within an hour ago, the pride
of his heart ; and not a muscle of his face was moved. The
night, without, looked black and cold through the dreary
gaps in the casement ; the precious liquids, now nearly leaked
away, dripped with a hollow sound upon the floor; the
Maypole peered ruefully in through the broken window, like
the bowsprit of a wrecked ship ; the ground might have been
the bottom of the sea, it was so strewn with precious frag-
ments. Currents of air rushed in, as the old doors jarred
and creaked upon their hinges; the candles flickered and
guttered down, and made long winding-sheets; the cheery
deep-red curtains flapped and fluttered idly in the wind ;
even the stout Dutch kegs, overthrown and lying empty in
dark corners, seemed the mere husks of good fellows whose
jollity had departed, and who could kindle with a friendly
glow no more. John saw this desolation, and yet saw it not.
He was perfectly contented to sit there, staring at it, and
felt no more indignation or discomfort in his bonds than if
they had been robes of honour. So far as he was personally
concerned, old Time lay snoring, and the world stood still.
Save for the dripping from the barrels, the rustling of such
light fragments of destruction as the wind affected, and the
THE STRANGER AND JOHN WILLET. 127
dull creaking of the open doors, all was profoundly quiet :
indeed, these sounds, like the ticking of the death-watch in
the night, only made the silence they invaded deeper and
more apparent. But quiet or noisy, it was all one to John.
If a train of heavy artillery could have come up and com-
menced ball practice outside the window, it would have been
all the same to him. He was a long way beyond surprise.
A ghost couldn't have overtaken him.
By and by he heard a footstep a hurried, and yet cautious
footstep coming on towards the house. It stopped, advanced
again, then seemed to go quite round it. Having done that,
it came beneath the window, and a head looked in.
It was strongly relieved against the darkness outside by
the glare of the guttering candles. A pale, worn, withered
face ; the eyes but that was owing to its gaunt condition
unnaturally large and bright ; the hair, a grizzled black. It
gave a searching glance all round the room, and a deep
voice said :
" Are you alone in this house ? v
John made no sign, though the question was repeated twice,
and he heard it distinctly. After a moment's pause, the
man got in at the window. John was not at all surprised
at this, either. There had been so much getting in and out
of window in the course of the last hour or so, that he had
quite forgotten the door, and seemed to have lived among
such exercises from infancy.
The man wore a large, dark, faded cloak, and a slouched
hat; he walked up close to John, and looked at him. John
returned the compliment with interest.
" How long have you been sitting thus ? " said the man.
John considered, but nothing came of it.
"Which way have the party gone?"
Some wandering speculations relative to the fashion of the
stranger's boots, got into Mr. Willefs mind by some accident
or other, but they got out again in a hurry, and left him in
his former state.
128 BARNABY RUDGE.
" You would do well to speak," said the man : " you may
keep a whole skin, though you have nothing else left that
can be hurt. Which way have the party gone ? "
" That ! " said John, finding his voice all at once, and
nodding with perfect good faith he couldn't point; he was
so tightly bound in exactly the opposite direction to the
THE ALARM-BELL. 129
" You lie ! " said the man angrily, and with a threatening
gesture. "I came that way. You would betray me/'
It was so evident that John's imperturbability was not
assumed, but was the result of the late proceedings under his
roof, that the man stayed his hand in the very act of striking
him, and turned away.
John looked after him without so much as a twitch in a
single nerve of his face. He seized a glass, and holding it
under one of the little casks until a few drops were collected,
drank them greedily off; then throwing it down upon the
floor impatiently, he took the vessel in his hands and drained
it into his throat. Some scraps of bread and meat were
scattered about, and on these he fell next ; eating them with
voracity, and pausing every now and then to listen for some
fancied noise outside. When he had refreshed himself in
this manner with violent haste, and raised another barrel to
his lips, he pulled his hat upon his brow as though he were
about to leave the house, and turned to John.
" Where are your servants ? "
Mr. Willet indistinctly remembered to have heard the
rioters calling to them to throw the key of the room in
which they were, out of window, for their keeping. He
therefore replied, " Locked up."
"Well for them if they remain quiet, and well for you if
you do the like," said the man. "Now show me the way
the party went."
This time Mr. Willet indicated it correctly. The man
was" hurrying to the door, when suddenly there came
towards them on the wind, the loud and rapid tolling of
an alarm-bell, and then a bright and vivid glare streamed
up, which illumined, not only the whole chamber, but all
It was not the sudden change from darkness to this dread-
ful light, it was not the sound of distant shrieks and shouts
of triumph, it was not this dread invasion of the serenity
and peace of night, that drove the man back as though a
VOL. II. K
130 BARNABY RUDGE
thunderbolt had struck him. It was the Bell. If the ghast-
liest shape the human mind has ever pictured in its wildest
dreams had risen up before him, he could not have staggered
backward from its touch, as he did from the first sound of
that loud iron voice. With eyes that started from his head,
his limbs convulsed, his face most horrible to see, he raised
one arm high up into the air, and holding something visionary
back and down, with his other hand, drove at it as though
he held a knife and stabbed it to the heart. He clutched
his hair, and stopped his ears, and travelled madly round
and round ; then gave a frightful cry, and with it rushed
away : still, still, the Bell tolled on and seemed to follow
him louder and louder, hotter and hotter yet. The glare
grew brighter, the roar of voices deeper; the crash of heavy
bodies falling, shook the air; bright streams of sparks rose
up into the sky ; but louder than them all rising faster far,
to Heaven a million times more fierce and furious pouring
forth dreadful secrets after its long silence speaking the
language of the dead the Bell the Bell !
What hunt of spectres could surpass that dread pursuit
and flight ! Had there been a legion of them on his track,
he could have better borne it. They would have had a
beginning and an end, but here all space was full. The one
pursuing voice was everywhere : it sounded in the earth, the
air; shook the long grass, and howled among the trembling
trees. The echoes caught it up, the owls hooted as it flew
upon the breeze, the nightingale was silent and hid herself
among the thickest boughs : it seemed to goad and urge the
angry fire, and lash it into madness; everything was steeped
in one prevailing red ; the glow was everywhere ; nature was
drenched in blood : still the remorseless crying of that awful
voice the Bell, the Bell !
It ceased ; but not in his ears. The knell was at his heart.
No work of man had ever voice like that which sounded
there, and warned him that it cried unceasingly to Heaven.
Who could hear that bell, and not know what it said!
THE RIOTERS AT WORK. 131
There was murder in its every note cruel, relentless, savage
murder the murder of a confiding man, by one who held
his every trust. Its ringing summoned phantoms from their
graves. What face was that, in which a friendly smile
changed to a look of half incredulous horror, which stiffened
for a moment into one of pain, then changed again into an
imploring glance at Heaven, and so fell idly down with
upturned eyes, like the dead stags' he had often peeped at
when a little child : shrinking and shuddering there was a
dreadful thing to think of now ! and clinging to an apron
as he looked ! He sank upon the ground, and grovelling
down as if he would dig himself a place to hide in, covered
his face and ears; but no, no, no, a hundred walls and
roofs of brass would not shut out that bell, for in it spoke
the wrathful voice of God, and from that voice, the whole
wide universe could not afford a refuge !
While he rushed up and down, not knowing where to
turn, and while he lay crouching there, the work went briskly
on indeed. When they left the Maypole, the rioters formed
into a solid body, and advanced at a quick pace towards the
Warren. Rumour of their approach having gone before,
they found the garden-doors fast closed, the windows made