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Charles Dickens > Barnaby Rudge > Chapter 59

Barnaby Rudge

Chapter 59

It is necessary at this juncture to return to Hugh, who, having, as
we have seen, called to the rioters to disperse from about the
Warren, and meet again as usual, glided back into the darkness from
which he had emerged, and reappeared no more that night.

He paused in the copse which sheltered him from the observation of
his mad companions, and waited to ascertain whether they drew off
at his bidding, or still lingered and called to him to join them.
Some few, he saw, were indisposed to go away without him, and made
towards the spot where he stood concealed as though they were about
to follow in his footsteps, and urge him to come back; but these
men, being in their turn called to by their friends, and in truth
not greatly caring to venture into the dark parts of the grounds,
where they might be easily surprised and taken, if any of the
neighbours or retainers of the family were watching them from among
the trees, soon abandoned the idea, and hastily assembling such men
as they found of their mind at the moment, straggled off.

When he was satisfied that the great mass of the insurgents were
imitating this example, and that the ground was rapidly clearing,
he plunged into the thickest portion of the little wood; and,
crashing the branches as he went, made straight towards a distant
light: guided by that, and by the sullen glow of the fire behind

As he drew nearer and nearer to the twinkling beacon towards which
he bent his course, the red glare of a few torches began to reveal
itself, and the voices of men speaking together in a subdued tone
broke the silence which, save for a distant shouting now and then,
already prevailed. At length he cleared the wood, and, springing
across a ditch, stood in a dark lane, where a small body of ill-
looking vagabonds, whom he had left there some twenty minutes
before, waited his coming with impatience.

They were gathered round an old post-chaise or chariot, driven by
one of themselves, who sat postilion-wise upon the near horse. The
blinds were drawn up, and Mr Tappertit and Dennis kept guard at the
two windows. The former assumed the command of the party, for he
challenged Hugh as he advanced towards them; and when he did so,
those who were resting on the ground about the carriage rose to
their feet and clustered round him.

'Well!' said Simon, in a low voice; 'is all right?'

'Right enough,' replied Hugh, in the same tone. 'They're
dispersing now--had begun before I came away.'

'And is the coast clear?'

'Clear enough before our men, I take it,' said Hugh. 'There are
not many who, knowing of their work over yonder, will want to
meddle with 'em to-night.--Who's got some drink here?'

Everybody had some plunder from the cellar; half-a-dozen flasks and
bottles were offered directly. He selected the largest, and
putting it to his mouth, sent the wine gurgling down his throat.
Having emptied it, he threw it down, and stretched out his hand for
another, which he emptied likewise, at a draught. Another was
given him, and this he half emptied too. Reserving what remained
to finish with, he asked:

'Have you got anything to eat, any of you? I'm as ravenous as a
hungry wolf. Which of you was in the larder--come?'

'I was, brother,' said Dennis, pulling off his hat, and fumbling in
the crown. 'There's a matter of cold venison pasty somewhere or
another here, if that'll do.'

'Do!' cried Hugh, seating himself on the pathway. 'Bring it out!
Quick! Show a light here, and gather round! Let me sup in state,
my lads! Ha ha ha!'

Entering into his boisterous humour, for they all had drunk deeply,
and were as wild as he, they crowded about him, while two of their
number who had torches, held them up, one on either side of him,
that his banquet might not be despatched in the dark. Mr Dennis,
having by this time succeeded in extricating from his hat a great
mass of pasty, which had been wedged in so tightly that it was not
easily got out, put it before him; and Hugh, having borrowed a
notched and jagged knife from one of the company, fell to work upon
it vigorously.

'I should recommend you to swallow a little fire every day, about
an hour afore dinner, brother,' said Dennis, after a pause. 'It
seems to agree with you, and to stimulate your appetite.'

Hugh looked at him, and at the blackened faces by which he was
surrounded, and, stopping for a moment to flourish his knife above
his head, answered with a roar of laughter.

'Keep order, there, will you?' said Simon Tappertit.

'Why, isn't a man allowed to regale himself, noble captain,'
retorted his lieutenant, parting the men who stood between them,
with his knife, that he might see him,--'to regale himself a little
bit after such work as mine? What a hard captain! What a strict
captain! What a tyrannical captain! Ha ha ha!'

'I wish one of you fellers would hold a bottle to his mouth to keep
him quiet,' said Simon, 'unless you want the military to be down
upon us.'

'And what if they are down upon us!' retorted Hugh. 'Who cares?
Who's afraid? Let 'em come, I say, let 'em come. The more, the
merrier. Give me bold Barnaby at my side, and we two will settle
the military, without troubling any of you. Barnaby's the man for
the military. Barnaby's health!'

But as the majority of those present were by no means anxious for
a second engagement that night, being already weary and exhausted,
they sided with Mr Tappertit, and pressed him to make haste with
his supper, for they had already delayed too long. Knowing, even
in the height of his frenzy, that they incurred great danger by
lingering so near the scene of the late outrages, Hugh made an end
of his meal without more remonstrance, and rising, stepped up to Mr
Tappertit, and smote him on the back.

'Now then,' he cried, 'I'm ready. There are brave birds inside
this cage, eh? Delicate birds,--tender, loving, little doves. I
caged 'em--I caged 'em--one more peep!'

He thrust the little man aside as he spoke, and mounting on the
steps, which were half let down, pulled down the blind by force,
and stared into the chaise like an ogre into his larder.

'Ha ha ha! and did you scratch, and pinch, and struggle, pretty
mistress?' he cried, as he grasped a little hand that sought in
vain to free itself from his grip: 'you, so bright-eyed, and
cherry-lipped, and daintily made? But I love you better for it,
mistress. Ay, I do. You should stab me and welcome, so that it
pleased you, and you had to cure me afterwards. I love to see you
proud and scornful. It makes you handsomer than ever; and who so
handsome as you at any time, my pretty one!'

'Come!' said Mr Tappertit, who had waited during this speech with
considerable impatience. 'There's enough of that. Come down.'

The little hand seconded this admonition by thrusting Hugh's great
head away with all its force, and drawing up the blind, amidst his
noisy laughter, and vows that he must have another look, for the
last glimpse of that sweet face had provoked him past all bearing.
However, as the suppressed impatience of the party now broke out
into open murmurs, he abandoned this design, and taking his seat
upon the bar, contented himself with tapping at the front windows
of the carriage, and trying to steal a glance inside; Mr Tappertit,
mounting the steps and hanging on by the door, issued his
directions to the driver with a commanding voice and attitude; the
rest got up behind, or ran by the side of the carriage, as they
could; some, in imitation of Hugh, endeavoured to see the face he
had praised so highly, and were reminded of their impertinence by
hints from the cudgel of Mr Tappertit. Thus they pursued their
journey by circuitous and winding roads; preserving, except when
they halted to take breath, or to quarrel about the best way of
reaching London, pretty good order and tolerable silence.

In the mean time, Dolly--beautiful, bewitching, captivating little
Dolly--her hair dishevelled, her dress torn, her dark eyelashes wet
with tears, her bosom heaving--her face, now pale with fear, now
crimsoned with indignation--her whole self a hundred times more
beautiful in this heightened aspect than ever she had been before--
vainly strove to comfort Emma Haredale, and to impart to her the
consolation of which she stood in so much need herself. The
soldiers were sure to come; they must be rescued; it would be
impossible to convey them through the streets of London when they
set the threats of their guards at defiance, and shrieked to the
passengers for help. If they did this when they came into the more
frequented ways, she was certain--she was quite certain--they must
be released. So poor Dolly said, and so poor Dolly tried to think;
but the invariable conclusion of all such arguments was, that Dolly
burst into tears; cried, as she wrung her hands, what would they do
or think, or who would comfort them, at home, at the Golden Key;
and sobbed most piteously.

Miss Haredale, whose feelings were usually of a quieter kind than
Dolly's, and not so much upon the surface, was dreadfully
alarmed, and indeed had only just recovered from a swoon. She was
very pale, and the hand which Dolly held was quite cold; but she
bade her, nevertheless, remember that, under Providence, much must
depend upon their own discretion; that if they remained quiet and
lulled the vigilance of the ruffians into whose hands they had
fallen, the chances of their being able to procure assistance when
they reached the town, were very much increased; that unless
society were quite unhinged, a hot pursuit must be immediately
commenced; and that her uncle, she might be sure, would never rest
until he had found them out and rescued them. But as she said
these latter words, the idea that he had fallen in a general
massacre of the Catholics that night--no very wild or improbable
supposition after what they had seen and undergone--struck her
dumb; and, lost in the horrors they had witnessed, and those they
might be yet reserved for, she sat incapable of thought, or speech,
or outward show of grief: as rigid, and almost as white and cold,
as marble.

Oh, how many, many times, in that long ride, did Dolly think of her
old lover,--poor, fond, slighted Joe! How many, many times, did
she recall that night when she ran into his arms from the very man
now projecting his hateful gaze into the darkness where she sat,
and leering through the glass in monstrous admiration! And when
she thought of Joe, and what a brave fellow he was, and how he
would have rode boldly up, and dashed in among these villains now,
yes, though they were double the number--and here she clenched her
little hand, and pressed her foot upon the ground--the pride she
felt for a moment in having won his heart, faded in a burst of
tears, and she sobbed more bitterly than ever.

As the night wore on, and they proceeded by ways which were quite
unknown to them--for they could recognise none of the objects of
which they sometimes caught a hurried glimpse--their fears
increased; nor were they without good foundation; it was not
difficult for two beautiful young women to find, in their being
borne they knew not whither by a band of daring villains who eyed
them as some among these fellows did, reasons for the worst alarm.
When they at last entered London, by a suburb with which they were
wholly unacquainted, it was past midnight, and the streets were
dark and empty. Nor was this the worst, for the carriage stopping
in a lonely spot, Hugh suddenly opened the door, jumped in, and
took his seat between them.

It was in vain they cried for help. He put his arm about the neck
of each, and swore to stifle them with kisses if they were not as
silent as the grave.

'I come here to keep you quiet,' he said, 'and that's the means I
shall take. So don't be quiet, pretty mistresses--make a noise--
do--and I shall like it all the better.'

They were proceeding at a rapid pace, and apparently with fewer
attendants than before, though it was so dark (the torches being
extinguished) that this was mere conjecture. They shrunk from his
touch, each into the farthest corner of the carriage; but shrink as
Dolly would, his arm encircled her waist, and held her fast. She
neither cried nor spoke, for terror and disgust deprived her of the
power; but she plucked at his hand as though she would die in the
effort to disengage herself; and crouching on the ground, with her
head averted and held down, repelled him with a strength she
wondered at as much as he. The carriage stopped again.

'Lift this one out,' said Hugh to the man who opened the door, as
he took Miss Haredale's hand, and felt how heavily it fell. 'She's

'So much the better,' growled Dennis--it was that amiable
gentleman. 'She's quiet. I always like 'em to faint, unless
they're very tender and composed.'

'Can you take her by yourself?' asked Hugh.

'I don't know till I try. I ought to be able to; I've lifted up a
good many in my time,' said the hangman. 'Up then! She's no small
weight, brother; none of these here fine gals are. Up again! Now
we have her.'

Having by this time hoisted the young lady into his arms, he
staggered off with his burden.

'Look ye, pretty bird,' said Hugh, drawing Dolly towards him.
'Remember what I told you--a kiss for every cry. Scream, if you
love me, darling. Scream once, mistress. Pretty mistress, only
once, if you love me.'

Thrusting his face away with all her force, and holding down her
head, Dolly submitted to be carried out of the chaise, and borne
after Miss Haredale into a miserable cottage, where Hugh, after
hugging her to his breast, set her gently down upon the floor.

Poor Dolly! Do what she would, she only looked the better for it,
and tempted them the more. When her eyes flashed angrily, and her
ripe lips slightly parted, to give her rapid breathing vent, who
could resist it? When she wept and sobbed as though her heart
would break, and bemoaned her miseries in the sweetest voice that
ever fell upon a listener's ear, who could be insensible to the
little winning pettishness which now and then displayed itself,
even in the sincerity and earnestness of her grief? When,
forgetful for a moment of herself, as she was now, she fell on her
knees beside her friend, and bent over her, and laid her cheek to
hers, and put her arms about her, what mortal eyes could have
avoided wandering to the delicate bodice, the streaming hair, the
neglected dress, the perfect abandonment and unconsciousness of the
blooming little beauty? Who could look on and see her lavish
caresses and endearments, and not desire to be in Emma Haredale's
place; to be either her or Dolly; either the hugging or the hugged?
Not Hugh. Not Dennis.

'I tell you what it is, young women,' said Mr Dennis, 'I an't much
of a lady's man myself, nor am I a party in the present business
further than lending a willing hand to my friends: but if I see
much more of this here sort of thing, I shall become a principal
instead of a accessory. I tell you candid.'

'Why have you brought us here?' said Emma. 'Are we to be

'Murdered!' cried Dennis, sitting down upon a stool, and regarding
her with great favour. 'Why, my dear, who'd murder sich
chickabiddies as you? If you was to ask me, now, whether you was
brought here to be married, there might be something in it.'

And here he exchanged a grin with Hugh, who removed his eyes from
Dolly for the purpose.

'No, no,' said Dennis, 'there'll be no murdering, my pets. Nothing
of that sort. Quite the contrairy.'

'You are an older man than your companion, sir,' said Emma,
trembling. 'Have you no pity for us? Do you not consider that we
are women?'

'I do indeed, my dear,' retorted Dennis. 'It would be very hard
not to, with two such specimens afore my eyes. Ha ha! Oh yes , I
consider that. We all consider that, miss.'

He shook his head waggishly, leered at Hugh again, and laughed very
much, as if he had said a noble thing, and rather thought he was
coming out.

'There'll be no murdering, my dear. Not a bit on it. I tell you
what though, brother,' said Dennis, cocking his hat for the
convenience of scratching his head, and looking gravely at Hugh,
'it's worthy of notice, as a proof of the amazing equalness and
dignity of our law, that it don't make no distinction between men
and women. I've heerd the judge say, sometimes, to a highwayman or
housebreaker as had tied the ladies neck and heels--you'll excuse
me making mention of it, my darlings--and put 'em in a cellar, that
he showed no consideration to women. Now, I say that there judge
didn't know his business, brother; and that if I had been that
there highwayman or housebreaker, I should have made answer: "What
are you a talking of, my lord? I showed the women as much
consideration as the law does, and what more would you have me do?"
If you was to count up in the newspapers the number of females as
have been worked off in this here city alone, in the last ten
year,' said Mr Dennis thoughtfully, 'you'd be surprised at the
total--quite amazed, you would. There's a dignified and equal
thing; a beautiful thing! But we've no security for its lasting.
Now that they've begun to favour these here Papists, I shouldn't
wonder if they went and altered even THAT, one of these days. Upon
my soul, I shouldn't.'

The subject, perhaps from being of too exclusive and professional a
nature, failed to interest Hugh as much as his friend had
anticipated. But he had no time to pursue it, for at this crisis
Mr Tappertit entered precipitately; at sight of whom Dolly uttered
a scream of joy, and fairly threw herself into his arms.

'I knew it, I was sure of it!' cried Dolly. 'My dear father's at
the door. Thank God, thank God! Bless you, Sim. Heaven bless you
for this!'

Simon Tappertit, who had at first implicitly believed that the
locksmith's daughter, unable any longer to suppress her secret
passion for himself, was about to give it full vent in its
intensity, and to declare that she was his for ever, looked
extremely foolish when she said these words;--the more so, as they
were received by Hugh and Dennis with a loud laugh, which made her
draw back, and regard him with a fixed and earnest look.

'Miss Haredale,' said Sim, after a very awkward silence, 'I hope
you're as comfortable as circumstances will permit of. Dolly
Varden, my darling--my own, my lovely one--I hope YOU'RE pretty
comfortable likewise.'

Poor little Dolly! She saw how it was; hid her face in her hands;
and sobbed more bitterly than ever.

'You meet in me, Miss V.,' said Simon, laying his hand upon his
breast, 'not a 'prentice, not a workman, not a slave, not the
wictim of your father's tyrannical behaviour, but the leader of a
great people, the captain of a noble band, in which these gentlemen
are, as I may say, corporals and serjeants. You behold in me, not
a private individual, but a public character; not a mender of
locks, but a healer of the wounds of his unhappy country. Dolly
V., sweet Dolly V., for how many years have I looked forward to
this present meeting! For how many years has it been my intention
to exalt and ennoble you! I redeem it. Behold in me, your
husband. Yes, beautiful Dolly--charmer--enslaver--S. Tappertit is
all your own!'

As he said these words he advanced towards her. Dolly retreated
till she could go no farther, and then sank down upon the floor.
Thinking it very possible that this might be maiden modesty, Simon
essayed to raise her; on which Dolly, goaded to desperation, wound
her hands in his hair, and crying out amidst her tears that he was
a dreadful little wretch, and always had been, shook, and pulled,
and beat him, until he was fain to call for help, most lustily.
Hugh had never admired her half so much as at that moment.

'She's in an excited state to-night,' said Simon, as he smoothed
his rumpled feathers, 'and don't know when she's well off. Let her
be by herself till to-morrow, and that'll bring her down a little.
Carry her into the next house!'

Hugh had her in his arms directly. It might be that Mr Tappertit's
heart was really softened by her distress, or it might be that he
felt it in some degree indecorous that his intended bride should be
struggling in the grasp of another man. He commanded him, on
second thoughts, to put her down again, and looked moodily on as
she flew to Miss Haredale's side, and clinging to her dress, hid
her flushed face in its folds.

'They shall remain here together till to-morrow,' said Simon, who
had now quite recovered his dignity--'till to-morrow. Come away!'

'Ay!' cried Hugh. 'Come away, captain. Ha ha ha!'

'What are you laughing at?' demanded Simon sternly.

'Nothing, captain, nothing,' Hugh rejoined; and as he spoke, and
clapped his hand upon the shoulder of the little man, he laughed
again, for some unknown reason, with tenfold violence.

Mr Tappertit surveyed him from head to foot with lofty scorn (this
only made him laugh the more), and turning to the prisoners, said:

'You'll take notice, ladies, that this place is well watched on
every side, and that the least noise is certain to be attended with
unpleasant consequences. You'll hear--both of you--more of our
intentions to-morrow. In the mean time, don't show yourselves at
the window, or appeal to any of the people you may see pass it; for
if you do, it'll be known directly that you come from a Catholic
house, and all the exertions our men can make, may not be able to
save your lives.'

With this last caution, which was true enough, he turned to the
door, followed by Hugh and Dennis. They paused for a moment, going
out, to look at them clasped in each other's arms, and then left
the cottage; fastening the door, and setting a good watch upon it,
and indeed all round the house.

'I say,' growled Dennis, as they walked away in company, 'that's a
dainty pair. Muster Gashford's one is as handsome as the other,

'Hush!' said Hugh, hastily. 'Don't you mention names. It's a bad

'I wouldn't like to be HIM, then (as you don't like names), when he
breaks it out to her; that's all,' said Dennis. 'She's one of them
fine, black-eyed, proud gals, as I wouldn't trust at such times
with a knife too near 'em. I've seen some of that sort, afore now.
I recollect one that was worked off, many year ago--and there was a
gentleman in that case too--that says to me, with her lip a
trembling, but her hand as steady as ever I see one: "Dennis, I'm
near my end, but if I had a dagger in these fingers, and he was
within my reach, I'd strike him dead afore me;"--ah, she did--and
she'd have done it too!'

Strike who dead?' demanded Hugh.

'How should I know, brother?' answered Dennis. 'SHE never said;
not she.'

Hugh looked, for a moment, as though he would have made some
further inquiry into this incoherent recollection; but Simon
Tappertit, who had been meditating deeply, gave his thoughts a new

'Hugh!' said Sim. 'You have done well to-day. You shall be
rewarded. So have you, Dennis.--There's no young woman YOU want to
carry off, is there?'

'N--no,' returned that gentleman, stroking his grizzly beard, which
was some two inches long. 'None in partickler, I think.'

'Very good,' said Sim; 'then we'll find some other way of making it
up to you. As to you, old boy'--he turned to Hugh--'you shall have
Miggs (her that I promised you, you know) within three days. Mind.
I pass my word for it.'

Hugh thanked him heartily; and as he did so, his laughing fit
returned with such violence that he was obliged to hold his side
with one hand, and to lean with the other on the shoulder of his
small captain, without whose support he would certainly have rolled
upon the ground.

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Index Index

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28
Chapter 29
Chapter 30
Chapter 31
Chapter 32
Chapter 33
Chapter 34
Chapter 35
Chapter 36
Chapter 37
Chapter 38
Chapter 39
Chapter 40
Chapter 41
Chapter 42
Chapter 43
Chapter 44
Chapter 45
Chapter 46
Chapter 47
Chapter 48
Chapter 49
Chapter 50
Chapter 51
Chapter 52
Chapter 53
Chapter 54
Chapter 55
Chapter 56
Chapter 57
Chapter 58
Chapter 59
Chapter 60
Chapter 61
Chapter 62
Chapter 63
Chapter 64
Chapter 65
Chapter 66
Chapter 67
Chapter 68
Chapter 69
Chapter 70
Chapter 71
Chapter 72
Chapter 73
Chapter 74
Chapter 75
Chapter 76
Chapter 77
Chapter 78
Chapter 79
Chapter 80
Chapter 81
Chapter 82

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