On that same night—events so crowd upon each other in convulsed and distracte_imes, that more than the stirring incidents of a whole life often becom_ompressed into the compass of four-and- twenty hours—on that same night, M_aredale, having strongly bound his prisoner, with the assistance of th_exton, and forced him to mount his horse, conducted him to Chigwell; ben_pon procuring a conveyance to London from that place, and carrying him a_nce before a justice. The disturbed state of the town would be, he knew, _ufficient reason for demanding the murderer’s committal to prison befor_aybreak, as no man could answer for the security of any of the watch-house_r ordinary places of detention; and to convey a prisoner through the street_hen the mob were again abroad, would not only be a task of great danger an_azard, but would be to challenge an attempt at rescue. Directing the sexto_o lead the horse, he walked close by the murderer’s side, and in this orde_hey reached the village about the middle of the night.
The people were all awake and up, for they were fearful of being burnt i_heir beds, and sought to comfort and assure each other by watching i_ompany. A few of the stoutest-hearted were armed and gathered in a body o_he green. To these, who knew him well, Mr Haredale addressed himself, briefl_arrating what had happened, and beseeching them to aid in conveying th_riminal to London before the dawn of day.
But not a man among them dared to help him by so much as the motion of _inger. The rioters, in their passage through the village, had menaced wit_heir fiercest vengeance, any person who should aid in extinguishing the fire, or render the least assistance to him, or any Catholic whomsoever. Thei_hreats extended to their lives and all they possessed. They were assemble_or their own protection, and could not endanger themselves by lending any ai_o him. This they told him, not without hesitation and regret, as they kep_loof in the moonlight and glanced fearfully at the ghostly rider, who, wit_is head drooping on his breast and his hat slouched down upon his brow, neither moved nor spoke.
Finding it impossible to persuade them, and indeed hardly knowing how to do s_fter what they had seen of the fury of the crowd, Mr Haredale besought the_hat at least they would leave him free to act for himself, and would suffe_im to take the only chaise and pair of horses that the place afforded. Thi_as not acceded to without some difficulty, but in the end they told him to d_hat he would, and go away from them in heaven’s name.
Leaving the sexton at the horse’s bridle, he drew out the chaise with his ow_ands, and would have harnessed the horses, but that the post-boy of th_illage—a soft-hearted, good-for-nothing, vagabond kind of fellow—was moved b_is earnestness and passion, and, throwing down a pitchfork with which he wa_rmed, swore that the rioters might cut him into mincemeat if they liked, bu_e would not stand by and see an honest gentleman who had done no wrong, reduced to such extremity, without doing what he could to help him. M_aredale shook him warmly by the hand, and thanked him from his heart. In fiv_inutes’ time the chaise was ready, and this good scapegrace in his saddle.
The murderer was put inside, the blinds were drawn up, the sexton took hi_eat upon the bar, Mr Haredale mounted his horse and rode close beside th_oor; and so they started in the dead of night, and in profound silence, fo_ondon.
The consternation was so extreme that even the horses which had escaped th_lames at the Warren, could find no friends to shelter them. They passed the_n the road, browsing on the stunted grass; and the driver told them, that th_oor beasts had wandered to the village first, but had been driven away, les_hey should bring the vengeance of the crowd on any of the inhabitants.
Nor was this feeling confined to such small places, where the people wer_imid, ignorant, and unprotected. When they came near London they met, in th_rey light of morning, more than one poor Catholic family who, terrified b_he threats and warnings of their neighbours, were quitting the city on foot, and who told them they could hire no cart or horse for the removal of thei_oods, and had been compelled to leave them behind, at the mercy of the crowd.
Near Mile End they passed a house, the master of which, a Catholic gentlema_f small means, having hired a waggon to remove his furniture by midnight, ha_ad it all brought down into the street, to wait the vehicle’s arrival, an_ave time in the packing. But the man with whom he made the bargain, alarme_y the fires that night, and by the sight of the rioters passing his door, ha_efused to keep it: and the poor gentleman, with his wife and servant an_heir little children, were sitting trembling among their goods in the ope_treet, dreading the arrival of day and not knowing where to turn or what t_o.
It was the same, they heard, with the public conveyances. The panic was s_reat that the mails and stage-coaches were afraid to carry passengers wh_rofessed the obnoxious religion. If the drivers knew them, or they admitte_hat they held that creed, they would not take them, no, though they offere_arge sums; and yesterday, people had been afraid to recognise Catholi_cquaintance in the streets, lest they should be marked by spies, and burn_ut, as it was called, in consequence. One mild old man— a priest, whos_hapel was destroyed; a very feeble, patient, inoffensive creature—who wa_rudging away, alone, designing to walk some distance from town, and then tr_is fortune with the coaches, told Mr Haredale that he feared he might no_ind a magistrate who would have the hardihood to commit a prisoner to jail, on his complaint. But notwithstanding these discouraging accounts they wen_n, and reached the Mansion House soon after sunrise.
Mr Haredale threw himself from his horse, but he had no need to knock at th_oor, for it was already open, and there stood upon the step a portly old man, with a very red, or rather purple face, who with an anxious expression o_ountenance, was remonstrating with some unseen personage upstairs, while th_orter essayed to close the door by degrees and get rid of him. With th_ntense impatience and excitement natural to one in his condition, Mr Haredal_hrust himself forward and was about to speak, when the fat old gentlema_nterposed:
‘My good sir,’ said he, ‘pray let me get an answer. This is the sixth time _ave been here. I was here five times yesterday. My house is threatened wit_estruction. It is to be burned down to- night, and was to have been las_ight, but they had other business on their hands. Pray let me get an answer.’
‘My good sir,’ returned Mr Haredale, shaking his head, ‘my house is burned t_he ground. But heaven forbid that yours should be. Get your answer. Be brief, in mercy to me.’
‘Now, you hear this, my lord?’—said the old gentleman, calling up the stairs, to where the skirt of a dressing-gown fluttered on the landing-place. ‘Here i_ gentleman here, whose house was actually burnt down last night.’
‘Dear me, dear me,’ replied a testy voice, ‘I am very sorry for it, but wha_m I to do? I can’t build it up again. The chief magistrate of the city can’_o and be a rebuilding of people’s houses, my good sir. Stuff and nonsense!’
‘But the chief magistrate of the city can prevent people’s houses from havin_ny need to be rebuilt, if the chief magistrate’s a man, and not a dummy—can’_e, my lord?’ cried the old gentleman in a choleric manner.
‘You are disrespectable, sir,’ said the Lord Mayor—‘leastways, disrespectful _ean.’
‘Disrespectful, my lord!’ returned the old gentleman. ‘I was respectful fiv_imes yesterday. I can’t be respectful for ever. Men can’t stand on bein_espectful when their houses are going to be burnt over their heads, with the_n ’em. What am I to do, my lord? Am I to have any protection!’
‘I told you yesterday, sir,’ said the Lord Mayor, ‘that you might have a_lderman in your house, if you could get one to come.’
‘What the devil’s the good of an alderman?’ returned the choleric ol_entleman.
‘—To awe the crowd, sir,’ said the Lord Mayor.
‘Oh Lord ha’ mercy!’ whimpered the old gentleman, as he wiped his forehead i_ state of ludicrous distress, ‘to think of sending an alderman to awe _rowd! Why, my lord, if they were even so many babies, fed on mother’s milk, what do you think they’d care for an alderman! Will you come?’
‘I!’ said the Lord Mayor, most emphatically: ‘Certainly not.’
‘Then what,’ returned the old gentleman, ‘what am I to do? Am I a citizen o_ngland? Am I to have the benefit of the laws? Am I to have any return for th_ing’s taxes?’
‘I don’t know, I am sure,’ said the Lord Mayor; ‘what a pity it is you’re _atholic! Why couldn’t you be a Protestant, and then you wouldn’t have go_ourself into such a mess? I’m sure I don’t know what’s to be done.—There ar_reat people at the bottom of these riots.—Oh dear me, what a thing it is t_e a public character!— You must look in again in the course of the day.—Woul_ javelin- man do?—Or there’s Philips the constable,—HE’S disengaged,—he’s no_ery old for a man at his time of life, except in his legs, and if you put hi_p at a window he’d look quite young by candle- light, and might frighten ’e_ery much.—Oh dear!—well!—we’ll see about it.’
‘Stop!’ cried Mr Haredale, pressing the door open as the porter strove to shu_t, and speaking rapidly, ‘My Lord Mayor, I beg you not to go away. I have _an here, who committed a murder eight- and-twenty years ago. Half-a-doze_ords from me, on oath, will justify you in committing him to prison for re- examination. I only seek, just now, to have him consigned to a place o_afety. The least delay may involve his being rescued by the rioters.’
‘Oh dear me!’ cried the Lord Mayor. ‘God bless my soul—and body— oh Lor!—wel_!—there are great people at the bottom of these riots, you know.—You reall_ustn’t.’
‘My lord,’ said Mr Haredale, ‘the murdered gentleman was my brother; _ucceeded to his inheritance; there were not wanting slanderous tongues a_hat time, to whisper that the guilt of this most foul and cruel deed wa_ine—mine, who loved him, as he knows, in Heaven, dearly. The time has come, after all these years of gloom and misery, for avenging him, and bringing t_ight a crime so artful and so devilish that it has no parallel. Ever_econd’s delay on your part loosens this man’s bloody hands again, and lead_o his escape. My lord, I charge you hear me, and despatch this matter on th_nstant.’
‘Oh dear me!’ cried the chief magistrate; ‘these an’t business hours, yo_now—I wonder at you—how ungentlemanly it is of you— you mustn’t—you reall_ustn’t.—And I suppose you are a Catholic too?’
‘I am,’ said Mr Haredale.
‘God bless my soul, I believe people turn Catholics a’purpose to vex an_orrit me,’ cried the Lord Mayor. ‘I wish you wouldn’t come here; they’ll b_etting the Mansion House afire next, and we shall have you to thank for it.
You must lock your prisoner up, sir—give him to a watchman—and—call again at _roper time. Then we’ll see about it!’
Before Mr Haredale could answer, the sharp closing of a door and drawing o_ts bolts, gave notice that the Lord Mayor had retreated to his bedroom, an_hat further remonstrance would be unavailing. The two clients retreate_ikewise, and the porter shut them out into the street.
‘That’s the way he puts me off,’ said the old gentleman, ‘I can get no redres_nd no help. What are you going to do, sir?’
‘To try elsewhere,’ answered Mr Haredale, who was by this time on horseback.
‘I feel for you, I assure you—and well I may, for we are in a common cause,’ said the old gentleman. ‘I may not have a house to offer you to-night; let m_ender it while I can. On second thoughts though,’ he added, putting up _ocket-book he had produced while speaking, ‘I’ll not give you a card, for i_t was found upon you, it might get you into trouble. Langdale—that’s m_ame—vintner and distiller—Holborn Hill—you’re heartily welcome, if you’l_ome.’
Mr Haredale bowed, and rode off, close beside the chaise as before; determining to repair to the house of Sir John Fielding, who had th_eputation of being a bold and active magistrate, and fully resolved, in cas_he rioters should come upon them, to do execution on the murderer with hi_wn hands, rather than suffer him to be released.
They arrived at the magistrate’s dwelling, however, without molestation (fo_he mob, as we have seen, were then intent on deeper schemes), and knocked a_he door. As it had been pretty generally rumoured that Sir John wa_roscribed by the rioters, a body of thief-takers had been keeping watch i_he house all night. To one of them Mr Haredale stated his business, whic_ppearing to the man of sufficient moment to warrant his arousing the justice, procured him an immediate audience.
No time was lost in committing the murderer to Newgate; then a new building, recently completed at a vast expense, and considered to be of enormou_trength. The warrant being made out, three of the thief-takers bound hi_fresh (he had been struggling, it seemed, in the chaise, and had loosened hi_anacles); gagged him lest they should meet with any of the mob, and he shoul_all to them for help; and seated themselves, along with him, in the carriage.
These men being all well armed, made a formidable escort; but they drew up th_linds again, as though the carriage were empty, and directed Mr Haredale t_ide forward, that he might not attract attention by seeming to belong to it.
The wisdom of this proceeding was sufficiently obvious, for as they hurrie_hrough the city they passed among several groups of men, who, if they had no_upposed the chaise to be quite empty, would certainly have stopped it. Bu_hose within keeping quite close, and the driver tarrying to be asked n_uestions, they reached the prison without interruption, and, once there, ha_im out, and safe within its gloomy walls, in a twinkling.
With eager eyes and strained attention, Mr Haredale saw him chained, an_ocked and barred up in his cell. Nay, when he had left the jail, and stood i_he free street, without, he felt the iron plates upon the doors, with hi_ands, and drew them over the stone wall, to assure himself that it was real; and to exult in its being so strong, and rough, and cold. It was not until h_urned his back upon the jail, and glanced along the empty streets, s_ifeless and quiet in the bright morning, that he felt the weight upon hi_eart; that he knew he was tortured by anxiety for those he had left at home; and that home itself was but another bead in the long rosary of his regrets.