Barnaby, armed as we have seen, continued to pace up and down before th_table-door; glad to be alone again, and heartily rejoicing in th_naccustomed silence and tranquillity. After the whirl of noise and riot i_hich the last two days had been passed, the pleasures of solitude and peac_ere enhanced a thousandfold. He felt quite happy; and as he leaned upon hi_taff and mused, a bright smile overspread his face, and none but cheerfu_isions floated into his brain.
Had he no thoughts of her, whose sole delight he was, and whom he ha_nconsciously plunged in such bitter sorrow and such deep affliction? Oh, yes.
She was at the heart of all his cheerful hopes and proud reflections. It wa_he whom all this honour and distinction were to gladden; the joy and profi_ere for her. What delight it gave her to hear of the bravery of her poor boy!
Ah! He would have known that, without Hugh’s telling him. And what a preciou_hing it was to know she lived so happily, and heard with so much pride (h_ictured to himself her look when they told her) that he was in such hig_steem: bold among the boldest, and trusted before them all! And when thes_rays were over, and the good lord had conquered his enemies, and they wer_ll at peace again, and he and she were rich, what happiness they would hav_n talking of these troubled times when he was a great soldier: and when the_at alone together in the tranquil twilight, and she had no longer reason t_e anxious for the morrow, what pleasure would he have in the reflection tha_his was his doing—his—poor foolish Barnaby’s; and in patting her on th_heek, and saying with a merry laugh, ‘Am I silly now, mother—am I silly now?’
With a lighter heart and step, and eyes the brighter for the happy tear tha_immed them for a moment, Barnaby resumed his walk; and singing gaily t_imself, kept guard upon his quiet post.
His comrade Grip, the partner of his watch, though fond of basking in th_unshine, preferred to-day to walk about the stable; having a great deal to d_n the way of scattering the straw, hiding under it such small articles as ha_een casually left about, and haunting Hugh’s bed, to which he seemed to hav_aken a particular attachment. Sometimes Barnaby looked in and called him, an_hen he came hopping out; but he merely did this as a concession to hi_aster’s weakness, and soon returned again to his own grave pursuits: peerin_nto the straw with his bill, and rapidly covering up the place, as if, Midas- like, he were whispering secrets to the earth and burying them; constantl_usying himself upon the sly; and affecting, whenever Barnaby came past, t_ook up in the clouds and have nothing whatever on his mind: in short, conducting himself, in many respects, in a more than usually thoughtful, deep, and mysterious manner.
As the day crept on, Barnaby, who had no directions forbidding him to eat an_rink upon his post, but had been, on the contrary, supplied with a bottle o_eer and a basket of provisions, determined to break his fast, which he ha_ot done since morning. To this end, he sat down on the ground before th_oor, and putting his staff across his knees in case of alarm or surprise, summoned Grip to dinner.
This call, the bird obeyed with great alacrity; crying, as he sidled up to hi_aster, ‘I’m a devil, I’m a Polly, I’m a kettle, I’m a Protestant, No Popery!’ Having learnt this latter sentiment from the gentry among whom he had lived o_ate, he delivered it with uncommon emphasis.
‘Well said, Grip!’ cried his master, as he fed him with the daintiest bits.
‘Well said, old boy!’
‘Never say die, bow wow wow, keep up your spirits, Grip Grip Grip, Holloa!
We’ll all have tea, I’m a Protestant kettle, No Popery!’ cried the raven.
‘Gordon for ever, Grip!’ cried Barnaby.
The raven, placing his head upon the ground, looked at his master sideways, a_hough he would have said, ‘Say that again!’ Perfectly understanding hi_esire, Barnaby repeated the phrase a great many times. The bird listened wit_rofound attention; sometimes repeating the popular cry in a low voice, as i_o compare the two, and try if it would at all help him to this ne_ccomplishment; sometimes flapping his wings, or barking; and sometimes in _ind of desperation drawing a multitude of corks, with extraordinar_iciousness.
Barnaby was so intent upon his favourite, that he was not at first aware o_he approach of two persons on horseback, who were riding at a foot-pace, an_oming straight towards his post. When he perceived them, however, which h_id when they were within some fifty yards of him, he jumped hastily up, an_rdering Grip within doors, stood with both hands on his staff, waiting unti_e should know whether they were friends or foes.
He had hardly done so, when he observed that those who advanced were _entleman and his servant; almost at the same moment he recognised Lord Georg_ordon, before whom he stood uncovered, with his eyes turned towards th_round.
‘Good day!’ said Lord George, not reining in his horse until he was clos_eside him. ‘Well!’
‘All quiet, sir, all safe!’ cried Barnaby. ‘The rest are away— they went b_hat path—that one. A grand party!’
‘Ay?’ said Lord George, looking thoughtfully at him. ‘And you?’
‘Oh! They left me here to watch—to mount guard—to keep everything secure til_hey come back. I’ll do it, sir, for your sake. You’re a good gentleman; _ind gentleman—ay, you are. There are many against you, but we’ll be a matc_or them, never fear!’
‘What’s that?’ said Lord George—pointing to the raven who was peeping out o_he stable-door—but still looking thoughtfully, and in some perplexity, i_eemed, at Barnaby.
‘Why, don’t you know!’ retorted Barnaby, with a wondering laugh. ‘Not kno_hat he is! A bird, to be sure. My bird—my friend— Grip.’
‘A devil, a kettle, a Grip, a Polly, a Protestant, no Popery!’ cried th_aven.
‘Though, indeed,’ added Barnaby, laying his hand upon the neck of Lor_eorge’s horse, and speaking softly: ‘you had good reason to ask me what h_s, for sometimes it puzzles me—and I am used to him—to think he’s only _ird. He’s my brother, Grip is—always with me—always talking—always merry—eh, Grip?’
The raven answered by an affectionate croak, and hopping on his master’s arm, which he held downward for that purpose, submitted with an air of perfec_ndifference to be fondled, and turned his restless, curious eye, now upo_ord George, and now upon his man.
Lord George, biting his nails in a discomfited manner, regarded Barnaby fo_ome time in silence; then beckoning to his servant, said:
‘Come hither, John.’
John Grueby touched his hat, and came.
‘Have you ever seen this young man before?’ his master asked in a low voice.
‘Twice, my lord,’ said John. ‘I saw him in the crowd last night and Saturday.’
‘Did—did it seem to you that his manner was at all wild or strange?’ Lor_eorge demanded, faltering.
‘Mad,’ said John, with emphatic brevity.
‘And why do you think him mad, sir?’ said his master, speaking in a peevis_one. ‘Don’t use that word too freely. Why do you think him mad?’
‘My lord,’ John Grueby answered, ‘look at his dress, look at his eyes, look a_is restless way, hear him cry “No Popery!” Mad, my lord.’
‘So because one man dresses unlike another,’ returned his angry master, glancing at himself; ‘and happens to differ from other men in his carriage an_anner, and to advocate a great cause which the corrupt and irreligiou_esert, he is to be accounted mad, is he?’
‘Stark, staring, raving, roaring mad, my lord,’ returned the unmoved John.
‘Do you say this to my face?’ cried his master, turning sharply upon him.
‘To any man, my lord, who asks me,’ answered John.
‘Mr Gashford, I find, was right,’ said Lord George; ‘I thought him prejudiced, though I ought to have known a man like him better than to have supposed i_ossible!’
‘I shall never have Mr Gashford’s good word, my lord,’ replied John, touchin_is hat respectfully, ‘and I don’t covet it.’
‘You are an ill-conditioned, most ungrateful fellow,’ said Lord George: ‘_py, for anything I know. Mr Gashford is perfectly correct, as I might hav_elt convinced he was. I have done wrong to retain you in my service. It is _acit insult to him as my choice and confidential friend to do so, rememberin_he cause you sided with, on the day he was maligned at Westminster. You wil_eave me to-night—nay, as soon as we reach home. The sooner the better.’
‘If it comes to that, I say so too, my lord. Let Mr Gashford have his will. A_o my being a spy, my lord, you know me better than to believe it, I am sure.
I don’t know much about causes. My cause is the cause of one man against tw_undred; and I hope it always will be.’
‘You have said quite enough,’ returned Lord George, motioning him to go back.
‘I desire to hear no more.’
‘If you’ll let me have another word, my lord,’ returned John Grueby, ‘I’d giv_his silly fellow a caution not to stay here by himself. The proclamation i_n a good many hands already, and it’s well known that he was concerned in th_usiness it relates to. He had better get to a place of safety if he can, poo_reature.’
‘You hear what this man says?’ cried Lord George, addressing Barnaby, who ha_ooked on and wondered while this dialogue passed. ‘He thinks you may b_fraid to remain upon your post, and are kept here perhaps against your will.
What do you say?’
‘I think, young man,’ said John, in explanation, ‘that the soldiers may tur_ut and take you; and that if they do, you will certainly be hung by the nec_ill you’re dead—dead—dead. And I think you had better go from here, as fas_s you can. That’s what I think.’
‘He’s a coward, Grip, a coward!’ cried Barnaby, putting the raven on th_round, and shouldering his staff. ‘Let them come! Gordon for ever! Let the_ome!’
‘Ay!’ said Lord George, ‘let them! Let us see who will venture to attack _ower like ours; the solemn league of a whole people. This a madman! You hav_aid well, very well. I am proud to be the leader of such men as you.’
Bamaby’s heart swelled within his bosom as he heard these words. He took Lor_eorge’s hand and carried it to his lips; patted his horse’s crest, as if th_ffection and admiration he had conceived for the man extended to the anima_e rode; then unfurling his flag, and proudly waving it, resumed his pacing u_nd down.
Lord George, with a kindling eye and glowing cheek, took off his hat, an_lourishing it above his head, bade him exultingly Farewell!—then cantered of_t a brisk pace; after glancing angrily round to see that his servan_ollowed. Honest John set spurs to his horse and rode after his master, bu_ot before he had again warned Barnaby to retreat, with many significan_estures, which indeed he continued to make, and Barnaby to resist, until th_indings of the road concealed them from each other’s view.
Left to himself again with a still higher sense of the importance of his post, and stimulated to enthusiasm by the special notice and encouragement of hi_eader, Barnaby walked to and fro in a delicious trance rather than as _aking man. The sunshine which prevailed around was in his mind. He had bu_ne desire ungratified. If she could only see him now!
The day wore on; its heat was gently giving place to the cool of evening; _ight wind sprung up, fanning his long hair, and making the banner rustl_leasantly above his head. There was a freedom and freshness in the sound an_n the time, which chimed exactly with his mood. He was happier than ever.
He was leaning on his staff looking towards the declining sun, and reflectin_ith a smile that he stood sentinel at that moment over buried gold, when tw_r three figures appeared in the distance, making towards the house at a rapi_ace, and motioning with their hands as though they urged its inmates t_etreat from some approaching danger. As they drew nearer, they became mor_arnest in their gestures; and they were no sooner within hearing, than th_oremost among them cried that the soldiers were coming up.
At these words, Barnaby furled his flag, and tied it round the pole. His hear_eat high while he did so, but he had no more fear or thought of retreatin_han the pole itself. The friendly stragglers hurried past him, after givin_im notice of his danger, and quickly passed into the house, where the utmos_onfusion immediately prevailed. As those within hastily closed the window_nd the doors, they urged him by looks and signs to fly without loss of time, and called to him many times to do so; but he only shook his head indignantl_n answer, and stood the firmer on his post. Finding that he was not to b_ersuaded, they took care of themselves; and leaving the place with only on_ld woman in it, speedily withdrew.
As yet there had been no symptom of the news having any better foundation tha_n the fears of those who brought it, but The Boot had not been deserted fiv_inutes, when there appeared, coming across the fields, a body of men who, i_as easy to see, by the glitter of their arms and ornaments in the sun, and b_heir orderly and regular mode of advancing—for they came on as one man—wer_oldiers. In a very little time, Barnaby knew that they were a stron_etachment of the Foot Guards, having along with them two gentlemen in privat_lothes, and a small party of Horse; the latter brought up the rear, and wer_ot in number more than six or eight.
They advanced steadily; neither quickening their pace as they came nearer, no_aising any cry, nor showing the least emotion or anxiety. Though this was _atter of course in the case of regular troops, even to Barnaby, there wa_omething particularly impressive and disconcerting in it to one accustomed t_he noise and tumult of an undisciplined mob. For all that, he stood hi_round not a whit the less resolutely, and looked on undismayed.
Presently, they marched into the yard, and halted. The commanding-office_espatched a messenger to the horsemen, one of whom came riding back. Som_ords passed between them, and they glanced at Barnaby; who well remembere_he man he had unhorsed at Westminster, and saw him now before his eyes. Th_an being speedily dismissed, saluted, and rode back to his comrades, who wer_rawn up apart at a short distance.
The officer then gave the word to prime and load. The heavy ringing of th_usket-stocks upon the ground, and the sharp and rapid rattling of the ramrod_n their barrels, were a kind of relief to Batnahy, deadly though he knew th_urport of such sounds to be. When this was done, other commands were given, and the soldiers instantaneously formed in single file all round the house an_tables; completely encircling them in every part, at a distance, perhaps, o_ome half-dozen yards; at least that seemed in Barnaby’s eyes to be about th_pace left between himself and those who confronted him. The horsemen remaine_rawn up by themselves as before.
The two gentlemen in private clothes who had kept aloof, now rode forward, on_n either side the officer. The proclamation having been produced and read b_ne of them, the officer called on Barnaby to surrender.
He made no answer, but stepping within the door, before which he had kep_uard, held his pole crosswise to protect it. In the midst of a profoun_ilence, he was again called upon to yield.
Still he offered no reply. Indeed he had enough to do, to run his eye backwar_nd forward along the half-dozen men who immediately fronted him, and settl_urriedly within himself at which of them he would strike first, when the_ressed on him. He caught the eye of one in the centre, and resolved to he_hat fellow down, though he died for it.
Again there was a dead silence, and again the same voice called upon him t_eliver himself up.
Next moment he was back in the stable, dealing blows about him like a madman.
Two of the men lay stretched at his feet: the one he had marked, droppe_irst—he had a thought for that, even in the hot blood and hurry of th_truggle. Another blow—another! Down, mastered, wounded in the breast by _eavy blow from the butt-end of a gun (he saw the weapon in the act o_alling)—breathless—and a prisoner.
An exclamation of surprise from the officer recalled him, in some degree, t_imself. He looked round. Grip, after working in secret all the afternoon, an_ith redoubled vigour while everybody’s attention was distracted, had plucke_way the straw from Hugh’s bed, and turned up the loose ground with his iro_ill. The hole had been recklessly filled to the brim, and was merel_prinkled with earth. Golden cups, spoons, candlesticks, coined guineas—al_he riches were revealed.
They brought spades and a sack; dug up everything that was hidden there; an_arried away more than two men could lift. They handcuffed him and bound hi_rms, searched him, and took away all he had. Nobody questioned or reproache_im, or seemed to have much curiosity about him. The two men he had stunned, were carried off by their companions in the same business-like way in whic_verything else was done. Finally, he was left under a guard of four soldier_ith fixed bayonets, while the officer directed in person the search of th_ouse and the other buildings connected with it.
This was soon completed. The soldiers formed again in the yard; he was marche_ut, with his guard about him; and ordered to fall in, where a space was left.
The others closed up all round, and so they moved away, with the prisoner i_he centre.
When they came into the streets, he felt he was a sight; and looking up a_hey passed quickly along, could see people running to the windows a littl_oo late, and throwing up the sashes to look after him. Sometimes he met _taring face beyond the heads about him, or under the arms of his conductors, or peering down upon him from a waggon-top or coach-box; but this was all h_aw, being surrounded by so many men. The very noises of the streets seeme_uffled and subdued; and the air came stale and hot upon him, like the sickl_reath of an oven.
Tramp, tramp. Tramp, tramp. Heads erect, shoulders square, every man steppin_n exact time—all so orderly and regular—nobody looking at him—nobody seemin_onscious of his presence,—he could hardly believe he was a Prisoner. But a_he word, though only thought, not spoken, he felt the handcuffs galling hi_rists, the cord pressing his arms to his sides: the loaded guns levelled a_is head; and those cold, bright, sharp, shining points turned towards him: the mere looking down at which, now that he was bound and helpless, made th_arm current of his life run cold.