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Chapter 82

  • A parting glance at such of the actors in this little history as it has not,
  • in the course of its events, dismissed, will bring it to an end.
  • Mr Haredale fled that night. Before pursuit could be begun, indeed before Si_ohn was traced or missed, he had left the kingdom. Repairing straight to _eligious establishment, known throughout Europe for the rigour and severit_f its discipline, and for the merciless penitence it exacted from those wh_ought its shelter as a refuge from the world, he took the vows whic_henceforth shut him out from nature and his kind, and after a few remorsefu_ears was buried in its gloomy cloisters.
  • Two days elapsed before the body of Sir John was found. As soon as it wa_ecognised and carried home, the faithful valet, true to his master’s creed,
  • eloped with all the cash and movables he could lay his hands on, and starte_s a finished gentleman upon his own account. In this career he met with grea_uccess, and would certainly have married an heiress in the end, but for a_nlucky check which led to his premature decease. He sank under a contagiou_isorder, very prevalent at that time, and vulgarly termed the jail fever.
  • Lord George Gordon, remaining in his prison in the Tower until Monday th_ifth of February in the following year, was on that day solemnly tried a_estminster for High Treason. Of this crime he was, after a patien_nvestigation, declared Not Guilty; upon the ground that there was no proof o_is having called the multitude together with any traitorous or unlawfu_ntentions. Yet so many people were there, still, to whom those riots taugh_o lesson of reproof or moderation, that a public subscription was set on foo_n Scotland to defray the cost of his defence.
  • For seven years afterwards he remained, at the strong intercession of hi_riends, comparatively quiet; saving that he, every now and then, too_ccasion to display his zeal for the Protestant faith in some extravagan_roceeding which was the delight of its enemies; and saving, besides, that h_as formally excommunicated by the Archbishop of Canterbury, for refusing t_ppear as a witness in the Ecclesiastical Court when cited for that purpose.
  • In the year 1788 he was stimulated by some new insanity to write and publis_n injurious pamphlet, reflecting on the Queen of France, in very violen_erms. Being indicted for the libel, and (after various strange demonstration_n court) found guilty, he fled into Holland in place of appearing to receiv_entence: from whence, as the quiet burgomasters of Amsterdam had no relis_or his company, he was sent home again with all speed. Arriving in the mont_f July at Harwich, and going thence to Birmingham, he made in the latte_lace, in August, a public profession of the Jewish religion; and figure_here as a Jew until he was arrested, and brought back to London to receiv_he sentence he had evaded. By virtue of this sentence he was, in the month o_ecember, cast into Newgate for five years and ten months, and require_esides to pay a large fine, and to furnish heavy securities for his futur_ood behaviour.
  • After addressing, in the midsummer of the following year, an appeal to th_ommiseration of the National Assembly of France, which the English ministe_efused to sanction, he composed himself to undergo his full term o_unishment; and suffering his beard to grow nearly to his waist, an_onforming in all respects to the ceremonies of his new religion, he applie_imself to the study of history, and occasionally to the art of painting, i_hich, in his younger days, he had shown some skill. Deserted by his forme_riends, and treated in all respects like the worst criminal in the jail, h_ingered on, quite cheerful and resigned, until the 1st of November 1793, whe_e died in his cell, being then only three- and-forty years of age.
  • Many men with fewer sympathies for the distressed and needy, with les_bilities and harder hearts, have made a shining figure and left a brillian_ame. He had his mourners. The prisoners bemoaned his loss, and missed him;
  • for though his means were not large, his charity was great, and in bestowin_lms among them he considered the necessities of all alike, and knew n_istinction of sect or creed. There are wise men in the highways of the worl_ho may learn something, even from this poor crazy lord who died in Newgate.
  • To the last, he was truly served by bluff John Grueby. John was at his sid_efore he had been four-and-twenty hours in the Tower, and never left hi_ntil he died. He had one other constant attendant, in the person of _eautiful Jewish girl; who attached herself to him from feelings hal_eligious, half romantic, but whose virtuous and disinterested characte_ppears to have been beyond the censure even of the most censorious.
  • Gashford deserted him, of course. He subsisted for a time upon his traffic i_is master’s secrets; and, this trade failing when the stock was quit_xhausted, procured an appointment in the honourable corps of spies an_avesdroppers employed by the government. As one of these wretched underlings,
  • he did his drudgery, sometimes abroad, sometimes at home, and long endured th_arious miseries of such a station. Ten or a dozen years ago—not more—_eagre, wan old man, diseased and miserably poor, was found dead in his bed a_n obscure inn in the Borough, where he was quite unknown. He had take_oison. There was no clue to his name; but it was discovered from certai_ntries in a pocket-book he carried, that he had been secretary to Lord Georg_ordon in the time of the famous riots.
  • Many months after the re-establishment of peace and order, and even when i_ad ceased to be the town-talk, that every military officer, kept at fre_uarters by the City during the late alarms, had cost for his board an_odging four pounds four per day, and every private soldier two and twopenc_alfpenny; many months after even this engrossing topic was forgotten, and th_nited Bulldogs were to a man all killed, imprisoned, or transported, Mr Simo_appertit, being removed from a hospital to prison, and thence to his place o_rial, was discharged by proclamation, on two wooden legs. Shorn of hi_raceful limbs, and brought down from his high estate to circumstances o_tter destitution, and the deepest misery, he made shift to stump back to hi_ld master, and beg for some relief. By the locksmith’s advice and aid, he wa_stablished in business as a shoeblack, and opened shop under an archway nea_he Horse Guards. This being a central quarter, he quickly made a very larg_onnection; and on levee days, was sometimes known to have as many as twent_alf-pay officers waiting their turn for polishing. Indeed his trade increase_o that extent, that in course of time he entertained no less than tw_pprentices, besides taking for his wife the widow of an eminent bone and ra_ollector, formerly of MilIbank. With this lady (who assisted in the business)
  • he lived in great domestic happiness, only chequered by those little storm_hich serve to clear the atmosphere of wedlock, and brighten its horizon. I_ome of these gusts of bad weather, Mr Tappertit would, in the assertion o_is prerogative, so far forget himself, as to correct his lady with a brush,
  • or boot, or shoe; while she (but only in extreme cases) would retaliate b_aking off his legs, and leaving him exposed to the derision of those urchin_ho delight in mischief.
  • Miss Miggs, baffled in all her schemes, matrimonial and otherwise, and cas_pon a thankless, undeserving world, turned very sharp and sour; and did a_ength become so acid, and did so pinch and slap and tweak the hair and nose_f the youth of Golden Lion Court, that she was by one consent expelled tha_anctuary, and desired to bless some other spot of earth, in preference. I_hanced at that moment, that the justices of the peace for Middlese_roclaimed by public placard that they stood in need of a female turnkey fo_he County Bridewell, and appointed a day and hour for the inspection o_andidates. Miss Miggs attending at the time appointed, was instantly chose_nd selected from one hundred and twenty-four competitors, and at onc_romoted to the office; which she held until her decease, more than thirt_ears afterwards, remaining single all that time. It was observed of this lad_hat while she was inflexible and grim to all her female flock, she wa_articularly so to those who could establish any claim to beauty: and it wa_ften remarked as a proof of her indomitable virtue and severe chastity, tha_o such as had been frail she showed no mercy; always falling upon them on th_lightest occasion, or on no occasion at all, with the fullest measure of he_rath. Among other useful inventions which she practised upon this class o_ffenders and bequeathed to posterity, was the art of inflicting a_xquisitely vicious poke or dig with the wards of a key in the small of th_ack, near the spine. She likewise originated a mode of treading by accident
  • (in pattens) on such as had small feet; also very remarkable for it_ngenuity, and previously quite unknown.
  • It was not very long, you may be sure, before Joe Willet and Dolly Varden wer_ade husband and wife, and with a handsome sum in bank (for the locksmit_ould afford to give his daughter a good dowry), reopened the Maypole. It wa_ot very long, you may be sure, before a red-faced little boy was see_taggering about the Maypole passage, and kicking up his heels on the gree_efore the door. It was not very long, counting by years, before there was _ed-faced little girl, another red-faced little boy, and a whole troop o_irls and boys: so that, go to Chigwell when you would, there would surely b_een, either in the village street, or on the green, or frolicking in th_arm-yard—for it was a farm now, as well as a tavern—more small Joes and smal_ollys than could be easily counted. It was not a very long time before thes_ppearances ensued; but it was a very long time before Joe looked five year_lder, or Dolly either, or the locksmith either, or his wife either: fo_heerfulness and content are great beautifiers, and are famous preservers o_outhful looks, depend upon it.
  • It was a long time, too, before there was such a country inn as the Maypole,
  • in all England: indeed it is a great question whether there has ever been suc_nother to this hour, or ever will be. It was a long time too—for Never, a_he proverb says, is a long day— before they forgot to have an interest i_ounded soldiers at the Maypole, or before Joe omitted to refresh them, fo_he sake of his old campaign; or before the serjeant left off looking i_here, now and then; or before they fatigued themselves, or each other, b_alking on these occasions of battles and sieges, and hard weather and har_ervice, and a thousand things belonging to a soldier’s life. As to the grea_ilver snuff-box which the King sent Joe with his own hand, because of hi_onduct in the Riots, what guest ever went to the Maypole without puttin_inger and thumb into that box, and taking a great pinch, though he had neve_aken a pinch of snuff before, and almost sneezed himself into convulsion_ven then? As to the purple-faced vintner, where is the man who lived in thos_imes and never saw him at the Maypole: to all appearance as much at home i_he best room, as if he lived there? And as to the feastings and christenings,
  • and revellings at Christmas, and celebrations of birthdays, wedding-days, an_ll manner of days, both at the Maypole and the Golden Key,—if they are no_otorious, what facts are?
  • Mr Willet the elder, having been by some extraordinary means possessed wit_he idea that Joe wanted to be married, and that it would be well for him, hi_ather, to retire into private life, and enable him to live in comfort, too_p his abode in a small cottage at Chigwell; where they widened and enlarge_he fireplace for him, hung up the boiler, and furthermore planted in th_ittle garden outside the front-door, a fictitious Maypole; so that he wa_uite at home directly. To this, his new habitation, Tom Cobb, Phil Parkes,
  • and Solomon Daisy went regularly every night: and in the chimney-corner, the_ll four quaffed, and smoked, and prosed, and dozed, as they had done of old.
  • It being accidentally discovered after a short time that Mr Willet stil_ppeared to consider himself a landlord by profession, Joe provided him with _late, upon which the old man regularly scored up vast accounts for meat,
  • drink, and tobacco. As he grew older this passion increased upon him; and i_ecame his delight to chalk against the name of each of his cronies a sum o_normous magnitude, and impossible to be paid: and such was his secret joy i_hese entries, that he would be perpetually seen going behind the door to loo_t them, and coming forth again, suffused with the liveliest satisfaction.
  • He never recovered the surprise the Rioters had given him, and remained in th_ame mental condition down to the last moment of his life. It was like to hav_een brought to a speedy termination by the first sight of his firs_randchild, which appeared to fill him with the belief that some alarmin_iracle had happened to Joe. Being promptly blooded, however, by a skilfu_urgeon, he rallied; and although the doctors all agreed, on his bein_ttacked with symptoms of apoplexy six months afterwards, that he ought t_ie, and took it very ill that he did not, he remained alive—possibly o_ccount of his constitutional slowness— for nearly seven years more, when h_as one morning found speechless in his bed. He lay in this state, free fro_ll tokens of uneasiness, for a whole week, when he was suddenly restored t_onsciousness by hearing the nurse whisper in his son’s ear that he was going.
  • ‘I’m a-going, Joseph,’ said Mr Willet, turning round upon the instant, ‘to th_alwanners’—and immediately gave up the ghost.
  • He left a large sum of money behind him; even more than he was supposed t_ave been worth, although the neighbours, according to the custom of mankin_n calculating the wealth that other people ought to have saved, had estimate_is property in good round numbers. Joe inherited the whole; so that he becam_ man of great consequence in those parts, and was perfectly independent.
  • Some time elapsed before Barnaby got the better of the shock he had sustained,
  • or regained his old health and gaiety. But he recovered by degrees: an_lthough he could never separate his condemnation and escape from the idea o_ terrific dream, he became, in other respects, more rational. Dating from th_ime of his recovery, he had a better memory and greater steadiness o_urpose; but a dark cloud overhung his whole previous existence, and neve_leared away.
  • He was not the less happy for this, for his love of freedom and interest i_ll that moved or grew, or had its being in the elements, remained to hi_nimpaired. He lived with his mother on the Maypole farm, tending the poultr_nd the cattle, working in a garden of his own, and helping everywhere. He wa_nown to every bird and beast about the place, and had a name for every one.
  • Never was there a lighter-hearted husbandman, a creature more popular wit_oung and old, a blither or more happy soul than Barnaby; and though he wa_ree to ramble where he would, he never quitted Her, but was for evermore he_tay and comfort.
  • It was remarkable that although he had that dim sense of the past, he sough_ut Hugh’s dog, and took him under his care; and that he never could b_empted into London. When the Riots were many years old, and Edward and hi_ife came back to England with a family almost as numerous as Dolly’s, and on_ay appeared at the Maypole porch, he knew them instantly, and wept and leape_or joy. But neither to visit them, nor on any other pretence, no matter ho_ull of promise and enjoyment, could he be persuaded to set foot in th_treets: nor did he ever conquer this repugnance or look upon the town again.
  • Grip soon recovered his looks, and became as glossy and sleek as ever. But h_as profoundly silent. Whether he had forgotten the art of Polite Conversatio_n Newgate, or had made a vow in those troubled times to forego, for a period,
  • the display of his accomplishments, is matter of uncertainty; but certain i_s that for a whole year he never indulged in any other sound than a grave,
  • decorous croak. At the expiration of that term, the morning being very brigh_nd sunny, he was heard to address himself to the horses in the stable, upo_he subject of the Kettle, so often mentioned in these pages; and before th_itness who overheard him could run into the house with the intelligence, an_dd to it upon his solemn affirmation the statement that he had heard hi_augh, the bird himself advanced with fantastic steps to the very door of th_ar, and there cried, ‘I’m a devil, I’m a devil, I’m a devil!’ wit_xtraordinary rapture.
  • From that period (although he was supposed to be much affected by the death o_r Willet senior), he constantly practised and improved himself in the vulga_ongue; and, as he was a mere infant for a raven when Barnaby was grey, he ha_ery probably gone on talking to the present time.