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Barnaby Rudge > BR, Chp. 71-76

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Tristram Shandy | 4365 comments Mod
Dear Curiosities,

Before plunging into this week’s events I want to say thanks to Kim, who stepped in for me when I was enjoying a family holiday at the seaside. Taking the holiday was perfect timing because we had wonderful weather, on the whole, whereas now my sister, who is still there with her family, tells me that there is nothing but rain for most days. Kim would probably like it there now, but I am writing this today with the window open and more than 30° C outside. That’s what I call weekend weather! It seems that a visit to the Biergarten would definitely not be out of place later.

But first let’s take a look at the things happening in Chapter 71. I’m going to put things in a nutshell first and then dwell on two or three details that struck, impressed or jarred on me.

After Dennis’s talk with Miggs, the three female captives remain confined to their room but from sounds, whisperings, muffled talks outside this room they notice that something must be afoot. It seems to them that the exuberance of the mob has gone and that there must even be a sick or injured person next door because they also hear sound betraying pain. All this while, it has become clearer and clearer to Dolly (as well as to Emma) that their lot would be threatening and most terrible: Dolly is sure that it will be either Hugh or Simon who will claim her as their “prize”, and she knows very well that in case they will fall to blows with each other, Hugh will be the victor. Consequently, these days of confinement have changed Dolly a lot: All her old coquetry and light-heartedness is gone, she clings to Emma for emotional support and for protection, and she ”pined slowly away, like a poor bird in its cage.” Have we had a lot of birds so far in this book, apart from Grip? Emma, unlike Dolly, seems to be able to cope far better with this situation, and she also keeps a kind of silent dignity that even appears to intimidate their captors and keep them from doing harm to the two young women. Our narrator explains Emma’s strength in the following way: ”Emma had known grief, and could bear it better.”

While they are thus being locked in, they finally see the true colours of Miggs – in case they have been colour-blind so far – when that lady, in a conversation with Emma, lets out that for all the violence their captors are perpetrating, their cause is still a just one. This statement of Miggs causes the two other young women to withdraw from her.

Then there follows some commotion outside, and suddenly a man forces his way into the room where the three hostages are kept. He tells the ladies that he is a friend of Mr. Haredale’s, whom he has helped flee to France, and that he is here at her uncle’s behest to save Emma. As to Dolly, whom the man does not seem to regard with much kindness, he tells her to wait there since her family is already on their way to rescue her; he cannot be encumbered with a second woman on his way out of the house. Dolly senses that there must be something wrong with this kind of champion – and the narrator makes us share her opinion by making certain observations on the man’s behaviour and facial expression – and so she entreats Emma not to trust that man but to stay with her. This may partly be due to her own fear for herself, but probably also out of concern for Emma. That young lady, however, is ready to trust the man, even though he has no credentials, but before she can join him, there is another interruption, and the dubious champion – who is none other but Gashfield – is felled by a mighty blow from one of the three men entering now: They are Gabriel Varden, young Willet and Edward Chester, and they seem to have arrived like the cavalry in a western movie: both in the nick of time, and out of the blue. After some short explanations, they take Emma and Dolly out of the room, and in passing, they can see that Dennis is in fetters, whereas Simon is lying wounded, having received several shots and with both his legs ”crushed into shapeless ugliness”.

You can imagine what jarred on me, can’t you: How come that Gabriel and the two young men were able to arrive at the eleventh hour to prevent much harm? Who informed them of the whereabouts of the captive ladies? Did I miss something, or is this not explained? Is it, maybe, one of Dickens’s authorial coincidences?

I was wondering as well what makes Miggs such a spiteful, hateful individual. And then I came across the following passage from her conversation with the two other women:

”’Ho, gracious me! Yes, to be sure I will. Ho yes! I am a abject slave, and a toiling, moiling, constant-working, always-being- found-fault-with, never-giving-satisfactions, nor-having-no- time-to-clean-oneself, potter’s wessel—an’t I, miss! Ho yes! My situations is lowly, and my capacities is limited, and my duties is to humble myself afore the base degenerating daughters of their blessed mothers as is—fit to keep companies with holy saints but is born to persecutions from wicked relations—and to demean myself before them as is no better than Infidels—an’t it, miss! Ho yes! My only becoming occupations is to help young flaunting pagins to brush and comb and titiwate theirselves into whitening and suppulchres, and leave the young men to think that there an’t a bit of padding in it nor no pinching ins nor fillings out nor pomatums nor deceits nor earthly wanities—an’t it, miss! Yes, to be sure it is—ho yes!’”


What do you make out of this? I find it rather conclusive, and in a way it shows a certain similarity between Miggs and Simon.

I was also asking myself why Emma would finally have gone with Gashfield, whose performance as a rescuer was not wholly convincing. Would she really have left Dolly alone? After all, there is a big danger of Dolly’s and also herself being raped or otherwise assaulted by her captors, most of all by Hugh. So was she not naïve in trusting that, according to the words of the stranger, help was underway for Dolly?


Tristram Shandy | 4365 comments Mod
Chapter 72 takes the action and our friends to the Black Lion, where they rejoin Mr. Willet, senior, and Mrs. Varden. Mr. Willet has quite some difficulty realizing that his son has lost an arm – as indeed he has during one of his campaigns as a soldier, in the War of Independence – and the narrator bases some of the humour of this “filler” chapter on old Willet’s repeated attempts at coming to grips, both intellectually and emotionally with this new situation. He has also adopted quite a different attitude towards his son, being more respectful and tentative, out of fear that any careless word might make his son once again attack another person and go straight off to America again.

After the dinner our friends have at the Black Lion, Dolly and Joe find an opportunity to have a talk with each other, and it becomes clear that Joe plans again on seeking his luck and his future elsewhere as he thinks that a man without his left arm cannot be useful to his father in keeping an inn and neither be attractive as a husband and father of a family. This time, Dolly is aware of her true feelings, and so, Joe’s renunciation of any claim on her – if one can say that – must vex her quite a lot.

A bit earlier, I somewhat irreverently called this chapter a “filler”. What I mean is that it does not really propel the action but give us the chance to see people in a reconciliation scene. These reconciliations are important in a plot that can be characterized as “comedy”, e.g. when old authorities come to see that they have overexerted their power. Here a tyrannical father, on finding his son again, becomes meeker and more peaceful, and a fitful and spoilt wife is brought back to her original sense in the wake of a serious catastrophe.

Did you enjoy this chapter? Did you think it was necessary to give so much room to the reconciliation between parents and children? Interestingly, the chapter gives far more attention to Joe and Joseph, whereas Mrs. Varden’s change is rather briefly dealt with in the following words: ”But Mrs Varden being quite an altered woman—for the riots had done that good—added her word to his, and comforted her with similar representations.”

Why might our narrator have found it more interesting to concentrate on Willet rather than on Mrs. Varden?


Tristram Shandy | 4365 comments Mod
Chapter 73 begins of a short account of how order and lawfulness are being restored in the City, and of how quickly the seemingly powerful mob disintegrates at the signs of powerful and concerted resistance. We also learn that Lord George is taken into custody.

Another prisoner who is still waiting in his cell for his execution is Barnaby Rudge, whose mother has finally rejoined him. They talk about who is going to take care for Grip in case Barnaby is really going to be hanged, and Grip, who is listening to them, very aptly says, at this point, “Never say die!” Can we see this as dramatic irony, the kind of cruelty coincidence puts into the words of a bird whose understanding of what it says must be very limited, or is this to be taken as a beam of hope? The widow tries to comfort her son and to make him realize that before heaven, even though he has joined the mob, he is not guilty although a worldly court may condemn him. Barnaby says that he knows how to die like any other man. The two also talk about Barnaby’s father, and although Barnaby confesses that he does not feel any love for him, he wants to know why it was his mother’s striving to keep the two asunder for so many years and at so high a cost. It is now that the widow divulges to her son something of his father’s crime, and at the sound of the word “murder” Barnaby is absolutely horrified. She concludes her revelation by saying,

”‘But […] although we shun him, he is your father, dearest, and I am his wretched wife. They seek his life, and he will lose it. It must not be by our means; nay, if we could win him back to penitence, we should be bound to love him yet. Do not seem to know him, except as one who fled with you from the jail, and if they question you about him, do not answer them. God be with you through the night, dear boy! God be with you!’”


What do you think of Mrs. Rudge’s attitude? Has she not, all these years, sheltered a murderer from being taken within the reach of the law, and is she not, indirectly, responsible for any suspicions that have, not least through Mr. Chester’s machinations, adhered to the name of Mr. Haredale? Is loyalty to her husband, even in such circumstances, really to go before her duty to see that justice is done and the name of her former employer, who has looked after her and her son so carefully, is cleared? What are your opinions?

After leaving Barnaby’s cell, the widow makes another visit in the prison: She goes to see her husband, who is anything but pleased at seeing her since he suspects her of wanting to turn in evidence against him or make commit himself in order to achieve a more lenient judgment for her son. The mother, however, does not allow her husband to shake her off so easily, and she states her claim in words like the following:

”‘I will […] I desire to. Bear with me for a moment more. The hand of Him who set His curse on murder, is heavy on us now. You cannot doubt it. Our son, our innocent boy, on whom His anger fell before his birth, is in this place in peril of his life— brought here by your guilt; yes, by that alone, as Heaven sees and knows, for he has been led astray in the darkness of his intellect, and that is the terrible consequence of your crime.’”


Do you see, as she implies, any connection between the father’s crime and the son’s mental illness? Mrs. Rudge apparently believes that Barnaby’s condition is a visitation by Divine Judgment, but maybe the stress and anxiety she had to go through when she was pregnant and the crime was committed might have done something to her son. What do you think?

She continues by saying:

”‘Not to load you with reproaches […] not to aggravate the tortures and miseries of your condition, not to give you one hard word, but to restore you to peace and hope. Husband, dear husband, if you will but confess this dreadful crime; if you will but implore forgiveness of Heaven and of those whom you have wronged on earth; if you will dismiss these vain uneasy thoughts, which never can be realised, and will rely on Penitence and on the Truth, I promise you, in the great name of the Creator, whose image you have defaced, that He will comfort and console you. And for myself,’ she cried, clasping her hands, and looking upward, ‘I swear before Him, as He knows my heart and reads it now, that from that hour I will love and cherish you as I did of old, and watch you night and day in the short interval that will remain to us, and soothe you with my truest love and duty, and pray with you, that one threatening judgment may be arrested, and that our boy may be spared to bless God, in his poor way, in the free air and light!’”


Why might the widow be so keen on seeing her husband not die impenitent and without a confession? Why might she think that this will change Barnaby’s fate for the better? Is it not clear that to a man like Mr. Rudge, her words must be like water off a duck’s back?

After all, Mr. Rudge only heaps curses upon his family, upon his victim and upon himself in answer to his wife’s pleadings. He might be right in the last instance, but certainly not in the first two. The chapter closes with a bitter resume of Lord George’s cause, saying,

”Of all his forty thousand men, not one remained to bear him company. Friends, dependents, followers – none were there.”


In a way, Gordon’s situation is quite similar to that of the phantom stranger a.k.a. Mr. Rudge, isn’t it?


Tristram Shandy | 4365 comments Mod
Chapter 74 treats us to a moment we might all have been awaiting for quite some time, namely the moment when Dennis, after his treason, is forced to share a cell with Hugh. However, the situation evolves in a way quite different from what we may have expected.

The narrator tells us that Dennis, facing charges of having taken part in the uprisings, is turned into quite a pitiful, abject wretch, and explains this in the following way:

”To say that Mr Dennis’s modesty was not somewhat startled by these honours, or that he was altogether prepared for so flattering a reception, would be to claim for him a greater amount of stoical philosophy than even he possessed. Indeed this gentleman’s stoicism was of that not uncommon kind, which enables a man to bear with exemplary fortitude the afflictions of his friends, but renders him, by way of counterpoise, rather selfish and sensitive in respect of any that happen to befall himself.”


He still derives some hope from telling himself that he as the hangman is too important a man to be sacrificed to the letter of the law:

”When he remembered the great estimation in which his office was held, and the constant demand for his services; when he bethought himself, how the Statute Book regarded him as a kind of Universal Medicine applicable to men, women, and children, of every age and variety of criminal constitution; and how high he stood, in his official capacity, in the favour of the Crown, and both Houses of Parliament, the Mint, the Bank of England, and the Judges of the land; when he recollected that whatever Ministry was in or out, he remained their peculiar pet and panacea, and that for his sake England stood single and conspicuous among the civilised nations of the earth: when he called these things to mind and dwelt upon them, he felt certain that the national gratitude must relieve him from the consequences of his late proceedings, and would certainly restore him to his old place in the happy social system.”


What do you think is the narrator’s intention here beyond arousing the reader’s disgust at Dennis? By the way, my Penguin edition tells me in the annotations that the real Edward Dennis also took part in the riots, and that when he was imprisoned and later sentenced to death, he fell to his knees and asked for mercy. He was, indeed, reprieved and later had the opportunity to hang his fellow-rioters, quite a reformed and improved man.

When Dennis is thrown into the cell where Hugh is lying asleep, he is, of course, fearful and expects the worse, even hiding himself behind a chair. As soon as his fellow-prisoner awakes, however, it becomes obvious that Hugh has no interest in having it out with the hangman, and so Dennis grows more and more propitiating and relieved. From what Hugh tells about his mother, who was hanged at Tyburn, by none other than Dennis, the hangman makes a mental connection with something he has up to now forgotten, and he suddenly becomes very communicative on the subject of Hugh’s mother. Albeit, the young man has no interest in pursuing the topic but rather wants to sleep, and Dennis has, willy-nilly, to wait for a better opportunity to impart his knowledge, which is therefore also denied to us readers at this stage.

This is certainly a Hugh chapter, and it surprised me in that Hugh shows no inclination to have his revenge on Dennis but prefers spending the last hours of his life with sleep and food. Why might this be so, and what does it tell us about Hugh?

Hugh bitterly asks Dennis where his, Hugh’s, friends and relations are when the hangman tries to instil hopes of escape into him by saying that he must look up to his friends:

”’He talks of friends to me—talks of relations to a man whose mother died the death in store for her son, and left him, a hungry brat, without a face he knew in all the world! He talks of this to me!’

‘Brother,’ cried the hangman, whose features underwent a sudden change, ‘you don’t mean to say—’

‘I mean to say,’ Hugh interposed, ‘that they hung her up at Tyburn. What was good enough for her, is good enough for me. Let them do the like by me as soon as they please—the sooner the better. Say no more to me. I’m going to sleep.’”


What do you make of Hugh’s sentence ”What was good enough for her, is good enough for me”? Does it help cast some light on Hugh’s motivations and feelings? We will get some more information on Hugh a little later, but now we must let him sleep.


Tristram Shandy | 4365 comments Mod
Chapter 75, whose action sets in one month later, is partly a filler and partly delivers some background story on Hugh. I’d call it a filler because it starts with some elaborate setting of Mr. Chester’s morning rituals. It will not surprise you to learn that Mr. Chester, having carefully avoided giving open support to Lord George’s cause and incriminating himself, has survived the legal aftermath of the riots without any damage and is now engaged in his morning preparations. While undergoing these, he muses on the fates of Hugh, Barnaby and Mr. Dennis, thinking of their premature demise with gentlemanly equanimity. He even says to himself that to be executed is the best thing that could happen to Barnaby.

In short, here is Mr. Chester in all his ugliness, and I wonder why our narrator once again takes so much time describing something that we already know and the dwelling on which will probably not delight us very much. Mr. Chester’s morning routine is interrupted by a visit of Mr. Varden’s, who claims to have important news for the gentleman. To cut a long story short, the locksmith tells Mr. Chester that Dennis has found out, from comparing certain memories of his own with the scarce information he got from Hugh, that Hugh’s mother must have been a certain gypsy woman he hanged one day, and that this gypsy woman had a lover whose child – Hugh – she bore. This lover is obviously none other than Mr. Chester.

If you ask me, my dear Curiosities, the whole chain of evidence looks rather weak and constrained to me, and I have the feeling that Dickens did the best he could here, basing what we are expected to see as proof on the memories of the hangman, memories which are not so extraordinary as to help them be kept in mind for so long. Still, I remember that in one of the interviews Chester had with Hugh, the elder was disturbed by something in Hugh’s face, and he took a good look at that face while Hugh was asleep. Could it be that Mr. Chester at that time thought he had discovered a likeness in those features with a woman he had an affair with?

Mr. Chester would not be himself, however, if it took him more than a fragment of a second to dispel any impression the locksmith’s revelation could make on him in order to look like his usual glib self. Of course, he dismisses Gabriel’s advice to go to the prison and see his son before the young man is executed. In his heart of hearts, he is relieved to find that Hugh’s mother had been true to her word of not revealing the father of the boy, and he thinks that by telling Hugh that one day we would be hanged, which now proves to be true, he has done more by his son than many another father ever had. I wonder whom Mr. Chester is taking as a reference here.

Side note: We also learn that the uncouth country judge who wanted to buy Grip from Barnaby was the person tipping the scales against the young man because at first it looked as though Barnaby would be released as the judges were convinced that he was not fully responsible for his actions. It was that coarse country gentleman, however, who made them believe that Barnaby’s mental deficiency was a fake. – Why might the narrator have put in this little extra detail into the story, which might just as well have been left out?


Tristram Shandy | 4365 comments Mod
Chapter 76 shows us how various characters react to the impending executions. Mr. Haredale, for instance, wants to be present at the hanging of Rudge, which takes place at an earlier date, in order to satisfy himself with his own eyes as to the knowledge that justice is done. He also says that he cannot do anything for Hugh except recommending him to God’s mercy. As to Barnaby, he seems less resigned but even in this case, as he knows, his hands are tied. He is determined, however, to look after Mary Rudge and make sure that she will never suffer any deprivations. Gabriel Varden petitions the right places again and again but to no avail.

The eve of the execution is finally come.

”Barnaby was to die. There was no hope. It is not the least evil attendant upon the frequent exhibition of this last dread punishment, of Death, that it hardens the minds of those who deal it out, and makes them, though they be amiable men in other respects, indifferent to, or unconscious of, their great responsibility. The word had gone forth that Barnaby was to die. It went forth, every month, for lighter crimes. It was a thing so common, that very few were startled by the awful sentence, or cared to question its propriety. Just then, too, when the law had been so flagrantly outraged, its dignity must be asserted. The symbol of its dignity, – stamped upon every page of the criminal statute-book, – was the gallows; and Barnaby was to die.”


Again, I think, we can hear the author himself voicing his disgust with the death penalty behind these lines. Can you think of any other instances in this chapter, where Dickens voices his own criticism as an intrusive narrator?

As to Hugh and Dennis, the attitudes they have shown before in jail, are intensifying with every passing hour: The former hangman himself is growing more and more anxious, trying to deal with his captors and urging them to make sure that the reprieve that is to be expected in his case be delivered in time. Hugh, on the other hand, remains careless and even callous to what is going on around him. When Dennis tells him that the fear is driving him mad, he replies that it is better to be mad than to be sane in a place like this, anyway. When he meets Barnaby, Hugh encourages him in the following way,

”‘Ha ha ha! Courage, bold Barnaby, what care we? Your hand! They do well to put us out of the world, for if we got loose a second time, we wouldn’t let them off so easy, eh? Another shake! A man can die but once. If you wake in the night, sing that out lustily, and fall asleep again. Ha ha ha!’”


What do you think about these words? Will they be of help to poor Barnaby? They surely won’t to his mother. And what do they tell us about Hugh’s relationship to his friend and companion of yore?


Mary Lou | 2238 comments Tristram wrote: "Chapter 71..."

What of Miggs? Dolly and Emma are rescued, but Miggs is not mentioned. Did I miss something, or was this an oversight on the part of the author? Are we just to assume that she tagged along to the Black Lion quietly and meekly? Seems unlikely.

The timely arrival of our heroes was a bit hard for me to swallow without a word of explanation. Filling in the blanks for myself, I decided that Joe, who has infiltrated the rioters before, worked undercover to discover the ladies' location. But it would have been nice to have a sentence or two confirming such a theory.

We are obviously entering the conclusion stage of our novel, home to unexplained occurrences and unlikely coincidences. I'd hoped Dickens wouldn't rush through this ending as he has with other novels, but this chapter doesn't bode well.


message 8: by Mary Lou (last edited Sep 01, 2019 08:37AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mary Lou | 2238 comments Tristram wrote: "Chapter 72 the chapter gives far more attention to Joe and Joseph, whereas Mrs. Varden’s change is rather briefly dealt with in the following words: 'But Mrs Varden being quite an altered woman—for the riots had done that good—added her word to his, and comforted her with similar representations.' ..."

I felt short-changed here. Mrs. Varden has been irritating me through so much of this novel, that I needed to witness her "come to Jesus" moment. I think Willet's transformation would have been much easier to come to on my own than Martha's. What parent wouldn't be changed when the boy who left returns years later as a man who's been wounded in battle? Martha, on the other hand, seemingly changed overnight with no explanation. We've been cheated!

#WhereIsMiggs?


message 9: by Mary Lou (last edited Sep 01, 2019 07:11AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mary Lou | 2238 comments Tristram wrote: "Chapter 73 begins of a short account of how order and lawfulness are being restored in the City, and of how quickly the seemingly powerful mob disintegrates at the signs of powerful and concerted r..."

I was quite moved by this rear view account of the riots, much more than I was while in the midst of them, so to speak. The enumeration of the death and destruction was a revelation. I imagine those who have been hiding away from the riots behind shuttered windows, now rising with the morning sun and stepping outside to see the devastation for the first time, and the overwhelming feeling they get from knowing the tasks that now face them, much like those coming out of a bomb shelter after an air raid, or coming out from a storm cellar following a tornado or hurricane. If I were to bet, I'd say that the rioters managed to achieve the exact opposite of their supposed goal, and probably did more to engender compassion and sympathy towards Catholics than most Protestants had had in their hearts before.

Re: Mary Rudge, Tristram wrote: "Has she not, all these years, sheltered a murderer from being taken within the reach of the law..."

Has she? I was under the impression that she, like others, had assumed her husband to be the murder victim until he resurfaced in the early chapters of our story. Her shock and need to come to grips with this new information, as well as fear of Rudge's threats, and her own self-preservation at possibly being accused of protecting him would surely have caused her to keep his resurrection a secret until she could think things through. Was something said to indicate that she knew he was alive for all these years? I can't see her living of the Haredale's charity if that were (was? I'll never figure that out :-( ) the case.

So, apparently Mary fell ill after being separated from Barnaby, and was in some undisclosed location convalescing. Another expedient, unexplained, quick fix. Harrumph.

I have no answer to the questions raised about Rudge and Mary. Are we ever to learn the catalyst for the original murders? Was Rudge a good man caught up in something? I feel as if he must have been, or why on earth would Mary choose him over Varden? Maybe he was like I imagine Hugh -- the sexy bad boy. I hope some light will be shed on this history.


Mary Lou | 2238 comments Tristram wrote: "Chapter 74 ... the real Edward Dennis also took part in the riots, and ... when he was imprisoned and later sentenced to death, he fell to his knees and asked for mercy. He was, indeed, reprieved and later had the opportunity to hang his fellow-rioters, quite a reformed and improved man...."

That just sickens me.

As for the Hugh portion, this was a chapter that would have fit in well earlier in the novel -- a bit of foreshadowing that might even be considered a cliff-hanger. Close as it falls to the end of the novel, though, I'm not thrilled with the way it was teased here, and then revealed in the next chapter.


Mary Lou | 2238 comments Tristram wrote: "Chapter 75 Why might the narrator have put in this little extra detail into the story, which might just as well have been left out? ..."

Indeed. In fact, barring any upcoming revelations, I wonder if this entire chapter wasn't filled with details that could have been left out. Does this late bombshell that Hugh is Chester's son add anything to the story, or change our opinions of either character?

I had forgotten that this week's schedule included chapter 76, so I'm off to read it now. If, in that chapter, Ned learns he has a brother and has a poignant scene with Hugh as the gallows loom, I may reconsider my opinion that all of chapter 75 was irrelevant.


Jantine (eccentriclady) | 554 comments Mary Lou wrote: "Was something said to indicate that she knew he was alive for all these years? I can't see her living of the Haredale's charity if that were (was? I'll never figure that out :-( ) the case. "

Yes, in the part where she and Rudge talk I believe (or was it Stagg telling about how she was?), they also talk about that night and how he came home all bloodied telling her how he murdered the late Haredale and the gardener. She even helped him escape, because she felt it was her duty as his wife.

I also wonder how she could have lived off of Haredale's money after that to be honest. It would probably have been a huge factor in stopping that when Rudge resurfaced.

Perhaps she remembered the times before that, and perhaps she hoped that if Rudge would plead forgiveness and such, they would meet again in the afterlife, but then she and Rudge like he had been in her mind. A bit of the happy family-fairytale Barnaby longed for too.

I missed Miggs too! Just like Dennis, she is one of those people I wouldn't mind hearing about being punished for what she did. Even if it had 'only' been that she was immediately dismissed without any references.


Mary Lou | 2238 comments Tristram wrote: "Chapter 76 shows us how various characters react to the impending executions...."

Dennis disgusts me. When Barnaby returns to find his mother has been carried off (did she faint? die?) Dennis interrupts and ignores Barnaby's (and our) distress with his continued selfish pleas for affirmation. Had I been the guard, I would have told him his pardon was on the way just to shut him up.

#WhereIsTappertit?


Mary Lou | 2238 comments Jantine wrote: "...they also talk about that night and how he came home all bloodied telling her how he murdered the late Haredale and the gardener. She even helped him escape, because she felt it was her duty as his wife...."

Dang. How did I miss that? Thanks, Jantine! I think much less of Mary Rudge knowing that. :-(


Jantine (eccentriclady) | 554 comments Mary Lou wrote: "Tristram wrote: "Chapter 76 shows us how various characters react to the impending executions...."

Dennis disgusts me. When Barnaby returns to find his mother has been carried off (did she faint? ..."

I think I'd like to have told him that whiners never get the pardon, as he should know. Dennis is, indeed, the most disgusting character in the entire novel.


Bobbie | 279 comments Mary Lou wrote: "Tristram wrote: "Chapter 71..."

What of Miggs? Dolly and Emma are rescued, but Miggs is not mentioned. Did I miss something, or was this an oversight on the part of the author? Are we just to assu..."


Yes, that is exactly what I have been wondering. Where is Miggs? Shouldn't something have been mentioned about what happened to her. And, what has happened to Tappertit? I think we will get the answers to these questions but it certainly seems that things are coming out of sequence.

As for Dennis, he is in fact disgusting after all the hangings he has done himself. As for Hugh, at least he is "taking it like a man" and we are again seeing how he could have been a very different man if his mother had not been executed and made to leave him with no one to care for him.

And Chester is again seen as the worthless man and father that he is. Edward has approached him on several occasions and been turned away.


Peter | 2947 comments Mod
Tristram wrote: "Dear Curiosities,

Before plunging into this week’s events I want to say thanks to Kim, who stepped in for me when I was enjoying a family holiday at the seaside. Taking the holiday was perfect tim..."


Hi Tristram

Yes. This is a central chapter for the further revelation of Dolly and Emma’s character. Emma’s long- suffering life seems to have made her stronger whereas Dolly's more exuberant character seems muted in the present serious situation in this chapter.

There are several mentions to birds besides Grip and I am, of course, very pleased to see you bring them to the attention of the Curiosities. We have read how birds in cages were mentioned earlier as victims of the fires of the Riots. Could those birds in any way have foreshadowed the confinement of Emma and Dolly by senior members of the Riots? I certainly think it possible.

Joe Willet and Edward Chester arrive with Varden in the nick of time. The perfect Victorian melodramatic appearance. Their earlier appearance to save Varden from the mob at Newgate was equally well-timed melodrama, and, of course, Joe Willet’s appearance in the jail when Barnaby only noticed the one-armed man from the back all are delightful, if frustratingly illogical and unexplained coincidences.


Bobbie | 279 comments Dickens does love his coincidences, thinking back on Oliver Twist.


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Tristram wrote: "Chapter 72 takes the action and our friends to the Black Lion, where they rejoin Mr. Willet, senior, and Mrs. Varden. Mr. Willet has quite some difficulty realizing that his son has lost an arm – a..."

Tristram

One could simply see Mrs Varden’s major change of character as being less worthy of focus than John Willet’s simply because John is a male character. More likely, I think, is that John is tied to the plot line of the destroyed Maypole, his son is a young hero who has returned for the purpose of valiant rescues of damsels and Mr Varden. Also, Mr Varden has been a more fully developed character than Mrs Varden throughout the entire novel.

With the timely return of Edward Chester and especially Joe Willet I see some light touches and suggestions of the established code of knightly chivalry. Like a chivalrous knight Joe loves Dolly, his fair damsel. He will go on a quest to prove his love - in the case of the novel he runs away - and he returns wounded, maimed, but still capable of saving not only his beloved princess but her saintly father as well. With this task complete, he is prepared to depart again, still in love with his fair maiden, and fully committed to do future great deeds for her. In this story, of course, Dolly recognizes her chivalrous champion. We must wait until the final chapters to see if this chivalrous side story unfolds more.


Peter | 2947 comments Mod
Bobbie wrote: "Dickens does love his coincidences, thinking back on Oliver Twist."

Indeed he does Bobbie.


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Tristram wrote: "What do you think of Mrs. Rudge’s attitude? Has she not, all these years, sheltered a murderer from being taken within the reach of the law"

Yes, she has and I'm not sure why.

Is loyalty to her husband, even in such circumstances, really to go before her duty to see that justice is done

No, it isn't.


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A Joyful Meeting

Chapter 71

Phiz

Text Illustrated:

‘We have time for no more of this,’ cried the man, unclenching her hands, and pushing her roughly off, as he drew Emma Haredale towards the door: ‘Now! Quick, outside there! are you ready?’

‘Ay!’ cried a loud voice, which made him start. ‘Quite ready! Stand back here, for your lives!’

And in an instant he was felled like an ox in the butcher’s shambles—struck down as though a block of marble had fallen from the roof and crushed him—and cheerful light, and beaming faces came pouring in—and Emma was clasped in her uncle’s embrace, and Dolly, with a shriek that pierced the air, fell into the arms of her father and mother.

What fainting there was, what laughing, what crying, what sobbing, what smiling, how much questioning, no answering, all talking together, all beside themselves with joy; what kissing, congratulating, embracing, shaking of hands, and falling into all these raptures, over and over and over again; no language can describe.

At length, and after a long time, the old locksmith went up and fairly hugged two strangers, who had stood apart and left them to themselves; and then they saw—whom? Yes, Edward Chester and Joseph Willet.

‘See here!’ cried the locksmith. ‘See here! where would any of us have been without these two? Oh, Mr Edward, Mr Edward—oh, Joe, Joe, how light, and yet how full, you have made my old heart to-night!’

‘It was Mr Edward that knocked him down, sir,’ said Joe: ‘I longed to do it, but I gave it up to him. Come, you brave and honest gentleman! Get your senses together, for you haven’t long to lie here.’

He had his foot upon the breast of their sham deliverer, in the absence of a spare arm; and gave him a gentle roll as he spoke. Gashford, for it was no other, crouching yet malignant, raised his scowling face, like sin subdued, and pleaded to be gently used.

‘I have access to all my lord’s papers, Mr Haredale,’ he said, in a submissive voice: Mr Haredale keeping his back towards him, and not once looking round: ‘there are very important documents among them. There are a great many in secret drawers, and distributed in various places, known only to my lord and me. I can give some very valuable information, and render important assistance to any inquiry. You will have to answer it, if I receive ill usage.

‘Pah!’ cried Joe, in deep disgust. ‘Get up, man; you’re waited for, outside. Get up, do you hear?’

Gashford slowly rose; and picking up his hat, and looking with a baffled malevolence, yet with an air of despicable humility, all round the room, crawled out.



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"I shall bless your name," sobbed the locksmith's little daughter

Chapter 72

Fred Barnard

Text Illustrated:

She heard him walk along the passage, and pass the door. But there was a hesitation in his footsteps. He turned back—Dolly’s heart beat high—he looked in.

‘Good night!’—he didn’t say Dolly, but there was comfort in his not saying Miss Varden.

‘Good night!’ sobbed Dolly.

‘I am sorry you take on so much, for what is past and gone,’ said Joe kindly. ‘Don’t. I can’t bear to see you do it. Think of it no longer. You are safe and happy now.’

Dolly cried the more.

‘You must have suffered very much within these few days—and yet you’re not changed, unless it’s for the better. They said you were, but I don’t see it. You were—you were always very beautiful,’ said Joe, ‘but you are more beautiful than ever, now. You are indeed. There can be no harm in my saying so, for you must know it. You are told so very often, I am sure.’

As a general principle, Dolly DID know it, and WAS told so, very often. But the coachmaker had turned out, years ago, to be a special donkey; and whether she had been afraid of making similar discoveries in others, or had grown by dint of long custom to be careless of compliments generally, certain it is that although she cried so much, she was better pleased to be told so now, than ever she had been in all her life.

‘I shall bless your name,’ sobbed the locksmith’s little daughter, ‘as long as I live. I shall never hear it spoken without feeling as if my heart would burst. I shall remember it in my prayers, every night and morning till I die!’

‘Will you?’ said Joe, eagerly. ‘Will you indeed? It makes me—well, it makes me very glad and proud to hear you say so.’

Dolly still sobbed, and held her handkerchief to her eyes. Joe still stood, looking at her.

‘Your voice,’ said Joe, ‘brings up old times so pleasantly, that, for the moment, I feel as if that night—there can be no harm in talking of that night now—had come back, and nothing had happened in the mean time. I feel as if I hadn’t suffered any hardships, but had knocked down poor Tom Cobb only yesterday, and had come to see you with my bundle on my shoulder before running away.—You remember?’

Remember! But she said nothing. She raised her eyes for an instant. It was but a glance; a little, tearful, timid glance. It kept Joe silent though, for a long time.

‘Well!’ he said stoutly, ‘it was to be otherwise, and was. I have been abroad, fighting all the summer and frozen up all the winter, ever since. I have come back as poor in purse as I went, and crippled for life besides. But, Dolly, I would rather have lost this other arm—ay, I would rather have lost my head—than have come back to find you dead, or anything but what I always pictured you to myself, and what I always hoped and wished to find you. Thank God for all!’

Oh how much, and how keenly, the little coquette of five years ago, felt now! She had found her heart at last. Never having known its worth till now, she had never known the worth of his. How priceless it appeared!

‘I did hope once,’ said Joe, in his homely way, ‘that I might come back a rich man, and marry you. But I was a boy then, and have long known better than that. I am a poor, maimed, discharged soldier, and must be content to rub through life as I can. I can’t say, even now, that I shall be glad to see you married, Dolly; but I AM glad—yes, I am, and glad to think I can say so—to know that you are admired and courted, and can pick and choose for a happy life. It’s a comfort to me to know that you’ll talk to your husband about me; and I hope the time will come when I may be able to like him, and to shake hands with him, and to come and see you as a poor friend who knew you when you were a girl. God bless you!’

His hand DID tremble; but for all that, he took it away again, and left her.



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Sat the unhappy author of all - Lord George Gordon

Chapter 73

Fred Barnard

Text Illustrated:

And in the Tower, in a dreary room whose thick stone walls shut out the hum of life, and made a stillness which the records left by former prisoners with those silent witnesses seemed to deepen and intensify; remorseful for every act that had been done by every man among the cruel crowd; feeling for the time their guilt his own, and their lives put in peril by himself; and finding, amidst such reflections, little comfort in fanaticism, or in his fancied call; sat the unhappy author of all—Lord George Gordon.

He had been made prisoner that evening. ‘If you are sure it’s me you want,’ he said to the officers, who waited outside with the warrant for his arrest on a charge of High Treason, ‘I am ready to accompany you—’ which he did without resistance. He was conducted first before the Privy Council, and afterwards to the Horse Guards, and then was taken by way of Westminster Bridge, and back over London Bridge (for the purpose of avoiding the main streets), to the Tower, under the strongest guard ever known to enter its gates with a single prisoner.

Of all his forty thousand men, not one remained to bear him company. Friends, dependents, followers,—none were there. His fawning secretary had played the traitor; and he whose weakness had been goaded and urged on by so many for their own purposes, was desolate and alone.



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Lord George Gordon in the Tower

Chapter 73

George Cattermole

Text Illustrated:

On that warm, balmy night in June, there were glad faces and light hearts in all quarters of the town, and sleep, banished by the late horrors, was doubly welcomed. On that night, families made merry in their houses, and greeted each other on the common danger they had escaped; and those who had been denounced, ventured into the streets; and they who had been plundered, got good shelter. Even the timorous Lord Mayor, who was summoned that night before the Privy Council to answer for his conduct, came back contented; observing to all his friends that he had got off very well with a reprimand, and repeating with huge satisfaction his memorable defence before the Council, ‘that such was his temerity, he thought death would have been his portion.’

On that night, too, more of the scattered remnants of the mob were traced to their lurking-places, and taken; and in the hospitals, and deep among the ruins they had made, and in the ditches, and fields, many unshrouded wretches lay dead: envied by those who had been active in the disturbances, and who pillowed their doomed heads in the temporary jails.

And in the Tower, in a dreary room whose thick stone walls shut out the hum of life, and made a stillness which the records left by former prisoners with those silent witnesses seemed to deepen and intensify; remorseful for every act that had been done by every man among the cruel crowd; feeling for the time their guilt his own, and their lives put in peril by himself; and finding, amidst such reflections, little comfort in fanaticism, or in his fancied call; sat the unhappy author of all—Lord George Gordon.

He had been made prisoner that evening. ‘If you are sure it’s me you want,’ he said to the officers, who waited outside with the warrant for his arrest on a charge of High Treason, ‘I am ready to accompany you—’ which he did without resistance. He was conducted first before the Privy Council, and afterwards to the Horse Guards, and then was taken by way of Westminster Bridge, and back over London Bridge (for the purpose of avoiding the main streets), to the Tower, under the strongest guard ever known to enter its gates with a single prisoner.

Of all his forty thousand men, not one remained to bear him company. Friends, dependents, followers,—none were there. His fawning secretary had played the traitor; and he whose weakness had been goaded and urged on by so many for their own purposes, was desolate and alone.


Commentary:

George Cattermole, who was born in Dickleburgh on 10 August 1800, the youngest son of a Norfolk squire, was a dozen years older than the brilliant young writer who would become his relative by marriage — Charles Dickens. In his early teens, Cattermole trained as a draghtsman for John Britton (1771-1857), a York mediaevalist and antiquarian publisher whose illustrated books on Britain's mediaeval architecture (1807-36) brought the young artist early fame. A prominent member of the highly exclusive Society of Painters in Water Colours, Cattermole by the mid-1830s was already regarded as "England's foremost painter of scenes commemorating bygone times". One of the most significant moments in the artist's life was his introduction to the young and upcoming writer "Boz" at some time in 1836 at the Gore House (London) salon of Countess of Blessington. The twenty-four-year-old Dickens was much impressed with the dashing, fun-loving, stagecoach-driving thirty-six-year-old bachelor whose rooms in The Albany had once been occupied by Lord Byron (who apparently had left some of his furniture behind). Perhaps because he was already a well-established artist when Boz was still a struggling writer of sketches, and perhaps because in 1839 he had declined a knighthood for his oils and watercolours on mediaeval subjects, Charles Dickens was always slightly in awe of Cattermole, who on 20 August 1839 married Clarissa Elderton, a distant relative of Dickens's mother (Elizabeth neé Barrow), at St. Marylebone, London.

From 1837 to 1841 Dickens and Cattermole often celebrated 'convivial occasions' together at their homes, and with members of the Shakespeare Club (until it disbanded in December 1839) and the Portwiners (a group, including Forster, Thackeray, Bulwer-Lytton, Charles and Edwin Landseer, Macready, Lemon, and Maclise, who assembled in Cattermoles' drawing-room). Cattermole gave sumptuous dinners in the elaborately decorated rooms of the house on Clapham Rise into which he and his bride had moved, and, though increasingly reclusive and nervous [as the 1840s drew to a close], he could host such occasions splendidly. . . . [Despite Cattermole's deteriorating health and spirits, there was a brief flare-up of conviviality when Cattermole consented to play Wellbred in Dickens's 1845 amateur theatrical production of Ben Jonson's Every Man in His Humour.

Since Cattermole had already illustrated Architectural Antiquities of Great Britain (1821-23), Leitch Ritchie's analysis of the works of Sir Walter Scott (Scott and Scotland, 1833), and the earlier "period" novels of Sir Edward G. D. Bulwer-Lytton, Dickens felt that sentimental and tender-hearted "Kittenmoles" (to use Boz's 1841 nickname for him) would be the ideal companion-illustrator for Phiz (Hablot Knight Browne), who was perfectly suited to the execution of the numerous rascals, rogues, and scape-graces of the story. Responding to the sentiments thereby aroused rather than to the designs themselves, Dickens constantly praised Cattermole's contributions to The Old Curiosity Shop, and, despite the artist's occasional tardiness in delivering the required designs for the weekly serialisation, always treated him with deference. After the conclusion of The Old Curiosity Shop, Cattermole contributed highly effective interior and architectural scenes for its successor, the historical romance Barnaby Rudge. "Cattermole drew with a painter's hand and an antiquarian's fancy", so that two of his finest paintings he executed are the watercolours which Dickens commissioned after the novel's conclusion, of Nell's grave and the Old Curiosity Shop's interior, the latter reflecting the fascinating jumble of mediaeval tapestries, armour, and weapons in the artist's Bedford Terrace studio. Although, as Jane Rabb Cohen has remarked, his Gothic buildings are so distinct and lifelike that they acquire the status of characters, Cattermole's uninspired mob scenes in the second Clock novel, Barnaby Rudge, are less effective, perhaps reflecting the fact that Cattermole was frequently ill during the later stages of the book, and perhaps also reflecting his chafing under Dickens's micro-managing of his illustrations.

In the 1850s Cattermole turned exclusively to oil painting, but his efforts were generally poorly received. His abandoning of book illustration (to which it appears he was never whole-heartedly committed) placed his family under financial constraints that Dickens, mindful of their former friendship, sought to alleviate by petitioning both the Royal Academy and the government for pensions. Depressed by the deaths of two of his five children some five years earlier, Cattermole died in London on 24 July 1868, just two years ahead of his famous relative the novelist. In those final years of his life, Dickens tried in vain to raise private funds for the support of Cattermole's widow and surviving children. Ironically, Cattermole's enduring legacy has little to do with his largely now-forgotten mediaeval pictures; according to Jane Rabb Cohen, Dickens was thinking of Cattermole's humorous imitation of the Cockney patter of the alcoholic London-Clapham omnibus driver (whom the artist nicknamed "Sloppy") when the thirty-year-old writer created the memorable character of Sairey Gamp in the transatlantic novel Martin Chuzzlewit.


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The hangman in difficulties

Chapter 74

Phiz

Text Illustrated:

‘This is my quarters, is it?’ he asked facetiously.

‘This is the shop, sir,’ replied his friend.

He was walking in, but not with the best possible grace, when he suddenly stopped, and started back.

‘Halloa!’ said the officer. ‘You’re nervous.’

‘Nervous!’ whispered Dennis in great alarm. ‘Well I may be. Shut the door.’

‘I will, when you’re in,’ returned the man.

‘But I can’t go in there,’ whispered Dennis. ‘I can’t be shut up with that man. Do you want me to be throttled, brother?’

The officer seemed to entertain no particular desire on the subject one way or other, but briefly remarking that he had his orders, and intended to obey them, pushed him in, turned the key, and retired.

Dennis stood trembling with his back against the door, and involuntarily raising his arm to defend himself, stared at a man, the only other tenant of the cell, who lay, stretched at his full length, upon a stone bench, and who paused in his deep breathing as if he were about to wake. But he rolled over on one side, let his arm fall negligently down, drew a long sigh, and murmuring indistinctly, fell fast asleep again.

Relieved in some degree by this, the hangman took his eyes for an instant from the slumbering figure, and glanced round the cell in search of some ‘vantage-ground or weapon of defence. There was nothing moveable within it, but a clumsy table which could not be displaced without noise, and a heavy chair. Stealing on tiptoe towards this latter piece of furniture, he retired with it into the remotest corner, and intrenching himself behind it, watched the enemy with the utmost vigilance and caution.

The sleeping man was Hugh; and perhaps it was not unnatural for Dennis to feel in a state of very uncomfortable suspense, and to wish with his whole soul that he might never wake again. Tired of standing, he crouched down in his corner after some time, and rested on the cold pavement; but although Hugh’s breathing still proclaimed that he was sleeping soundly, he could not trust him out of his sight for an instant. He was so afraid of him, and of some sudden onslaught, that he was not content to see his closed eyes through the chair-back, but every now and then, rose stealthily to his feet, and peered at him with outstretched neck, to assure himself that he really was still asleep, and was not about to spring upon him when he was off his guard.

He slept so long and so soundly, that Mr Dennis began to think he might sleep on until the turnkey visited them. He was congratulating himself upon these promising appearances, and blessing his stars with much fervour, when one or two unpleasant symptoms manifested themselves: such as another motion of the arm, another sigh, a restless tossing of the head. Then, just as it seemed that he was about to fall heavily to the ground from his narrow bed, Hugh’s eyes opened.

It happened that his face was turned directly towards his unexpected visitor. He looked lazily at him for some half-dozen seconds without any aspect of surprise or recognition; then suddenly jumped up, and with a great oath pronounced his name.

‘Keep off, brother, keep off!’ cried Dennis, dodging behind the chair. ‘Don’t do me a mischief. I’m a prisoner like you. I haven’t the free use of my limbs. I’m quite an old man. Don’t hurt me!’



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Intruding upon the privacy of a gentleman

Chapter 75

Phiz

Text Illustrated:

The knight finished his cup of chocolate with an appearance of infinite relish, and carefully wiped his lips upon his handkerchief.

‘Sir John,’ said the locksmith, ‘this is all that has been told to me; but since these two men have been left for death, they have conferred together closely. See them, and hear what they can add. See this Dennis, and learn from him what he has not trusted to me. If you, who hold the clue to all, want corroboration (which you do not), the means are easy.’

‘And to what,’ said Sir John Chester, rising on his elbow, after smoothing the pillow for its reception; ‘my dear, good-natured, estimable Mr Varden—with whom I cannot be angry if I would—to what does all this tend?’

‘I take you for a man, Sir John, and I suppose it tends to some pleading of natural affection in your breast,’ returned the locksmith. ‘I suppose to the straining of every nerve, and the exertion of all the influence you have, or can make, in behalf of your miserable son, and the man who has disclosed his existence to you. At the worst, I suppose to your seeing your son, and awakening him to a sense of his crime and danger. He has no such sense now. Think what his life must have been, when he said in my hearing, that if I moved you to anything, it would be to hastening his death, and ensuring his silence, if you had it in your power!’

‘And have you, my good Mr Varden,’ said Sir John in a tone of mild reproof, ‘have you really lived to your present age, and remained so very simple and credulous, as to approach a gentleman of established character with such credentials as these, from desperate men in their last extremity, catching at any straw? Oh dear! Oh fie, fie!’

The locksmith was going to interpose, but he stopped him:

‘On any other subject, Mr Varden, I shall be delighted—I shall be charmed—to converse with you, but I owe it to my own character not to pursue this topic for another moment.’

‘Think better of it, sir, when I am gone,’ returned the locksmith; ‘think better of it, sir. Although you have, thrice within as many weeks, turned your lawful son, Mr Edward, from your door, you may have time, you may have years to make your peace with HIM, Sir John: but that twelve o’clock will soon be here, and soon be past for ever.’

‘I thank you very much,’ returned the knight, kissing his delicate hand to the locksmith, ‘for your guileless advice; and I only wish, my good soul, although your simplicity is quite captivating, that you had a little more worldly wisdom. I never so much regretted the arrival of my hairdresser as I do at this moment. God bless you! Good morning! You’ll not forget my message to the ladies, Mr Varden? Peak, show Mr Varden to the door.’



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He rose from his bed with a heavy sign

Chapter 75

Fred Barnard

Text Illustrated:

Gabriel said no more, but gave the knight a parting look, and left him. As he quitted the room, Sir John’s face changed; and the smile gave place to a haggard and anxious expression, like that of a weary actor jaded by the performance of a difficult part. He rose from his bed with a heavy sigh, and wrapped himself in his morning-gown.

‘So she kept her word,’ he said, ‘and was constant to her threat! I would I had never seen that dark face of hers,—I might have read these consequences in it, from the first. This affair would make a noise abroad, if it rested on better evidence; but, as it is, and by not joining the scattered links of the chain, I can afford to slight it.—Extremely distressing to be the parent of such an uncouth creature! Still, I gave him very good advice. I told him he would certainly be hanged. I could have done no more if I had known of our relationship; and there are a great many fathers who have never done as much for THEIR natural children.—The hairdresser may come in, Peak!’

The hairdresser came in; and saw in Sir John Chester (whose accommodating conscience was soon quieted by the numerous precedents that occurred to him in support of his last observation), the same imperturbable, fascinating, elegant gentleman he had seen yesterday, and many yesterdays before.



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In the condemned cell

Chapter 76

Phiz

Text Illustrated:

There were not many in the great city who thought of Barnaby that day, otherwise than as an actor in a show which was to take place to-morrow. But if the whole population had had him in their minds, and had wished his life to be spared, not one among them could have done so with a purer zeal or greater singleness of heart than the good locksmith.

Barnaby was to die. There was no hope. It is not the least evil attendant upon the frequent exhibition of this last dread punishment, of Death, that it hardens the minds of those who deal it out, and makes them, though they be amiable men in other respects, indifferent to, or unconscious of, their great responsibility. The word had gone forth that Barnaby was to die. It went forth, every month, for lighter crimes. It was a thing so common, that very few were startled by the awful sentence, or cared to question its propriety. Just then, too, when the law had been so flagrantly outraged, its dignity must be asserted. The symbol of its dignity,—stamped upon every page of the criminal statute-book,—was the gallows; and Barnaby was to die.

They had tried to save him. The locksmith had carried petitions and memorials to the fountain-head, with his own hands. But the well was not one of mercy, and Barnaby was to die.

From the first his mother had never left him, save at night; and with her beside him, he was as usual contented. On this last day, he was more elated and more proud than he had been yet; and when she dropped the book she had been reading to him aloud, and fell upon his neck, he stopped in his busy task of folding a piece of crape about his hat, and wondered at her anguish. Grip uttered a feeble croak, half in encouragement, it seemed, and half in remonstrance, but he wanted heart to sustain it, and lapsed abruptly into silence.

With them who stood upon the brink of the great gulf which none can see beyond, Time, so soon to lose itself in vast Eternity, rolled on like a mighty river, swollen and rapid as it nears the sea. It was morning but now; they had sat and talked together in a dream; and here was evening. The dreadful hour of separation, which even yesterday had seemed so distant, was at hand.



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When she dropped the book she had been reading to him aloud, and fell upon his neck . .

Felix O. C. Darley

1862

Text Illustrated:

Barnaby was to die. There was no hope. It is not the least evil attendant upon the frequent exhibition of this last dread punishment, of Death, that it hardens the minds of those who deal it out, and makes them, though they be amiable men in other respects, indifferent to, or unconscious of, their great responsibility. The word had gone forth that Barnaby was to die. It went forth, every month, for lighter crimes. It was a thing so common, that very few were startled by the awful sentence, or cared to question its propriety. Just then, too, when the law had been so flagrantly outraged, its dignity must be asserted. The symbol of its dignity, — stamped upon every page of the criminal statute-book, — was the gallows; and Barnaby was to die.

They had tried to save him. The locksmith had carried petitions and memorials to the fountain-head, with his own hands. But the well was not one of mercy, and Barnaby was to die.

From the first his mother had never left him, save at night; and with her beside him, he was as usual contented. On this last day, he was more elated and more proud than he had been yet; and when she dropped the book she had been reading to him aloud, and fell upon his neck, he stopped in his busy task of folding a piece of crape about his hat, and wondered at her anguish. Grip uttered a feeble croak, half in encouragement, it seemed, and half in remonstrance, but he wanted heart to sustain it, and lapsed abruptly into silence.

With them who stood upon the brink of the great gulf which none can see beyond, Time, so soon to lose itself in vast Eternity, rolled on like a mighty river, swollen and rapid as it nears the sea. It was morning but now; they had sat and talked together in a dream; and here was evening. The dreadful hour of separation, which even yesterday had seemed so distant, was at hand. — chapter 76
.

Commentary:

Dickens's original illustrators for part-publication, H. K. Browne and George Cattermole, realized several scenes involving the eponymous character and his pet raven, a subject to which Darley reverted three decades later in Character Sketches from Dickens.

In chapter seventy-sixof the third volume, the eponymous character, the good-hearted,mentally challenged Barnaby, is sentenced for his part in the Gordon Riots, despite the fact that he was only swept up by the rioters and was in no way a leader of the insurrection. In the original weekly serial in Master Humphrey's Clock, Hablot Knight Browne had provided Darley with a possible model for this 1862 illustration in a scene containing Barnaby, Grip the raven, and Barnaby's mother in a Newgate Prison cell, In the Condemned Cell (Chapter 76, Part 39, 6 November 1841). Perhaps because he does not fully comprehend his circumstances, Barnaby is calm while the other two awaiting their deaths exhibit disturbed mental states: Hugh remains angry and defiant; Dennis, terrified, keeps hoping for a last-minute reprieve. Only Barnaby faces the ordeal with friends and family, for, as his mother keeps him company through the day, reading to him, the locksmith, Gabriel Varden, is attempting to arrange for a pardon. Since his death would hardly serve the Victorians' notions of Divine Providence and poetic justice, Barnaby is ultimately reprieved, and lives out the remainder of life in bucolic tranquility on Maypole Farm.

An examination of Phiz's parallel illustration reveals not only the degree of Darley's indebtedness, but also his unique qualities as an illustrator. For example, although Phiz makes of the feathers in Barnaby's hat, Darley specifies peacock feathers — something of an extravagance for one from so humble a social station which nevertheless provide visual and textural appeal. More significantly, Darley reveals the face of the sleeping Mrs. Rudge and dresses her in a pious fashion. Since Phiz's raven is obviously too small compared to his representations in previous Phiz illustrations, Darley both enlarges the bird and moves him considerably closer to his owner (right). Darley replaces two barred windows with a single one, making the sign of the cross, and shows much more clearly such background details as the straw, the open book, the bucket, the bench, and the noble pitcher. Finally, and most significantly, whereas Phiz's Barnaby is focussing on the task of wrapping his hat with funereal cloth, in the Darley illustration Barnaby's gaze is not so much upon his hat as upon the viewer, as if he is engaging with the reader. Moreover, Darley's figures occupy more of the picture, so that Darley does not lose his figures in the composition and develops Barnaby's character subtly in realising the following passage (given as a caption for the picture, without reference to either chapter or page) in this masterful photogravure: “When she dropped the book she had been reading to him aloud, and fell upon his neck, he stopped in his busy task of folding a piece of crape about his hat.” [F. O. C. Darley fecit.] — Ch. 76


message 31: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim | 5523 comments Mod


"You ought to be the best instead of the worst," said Hugh

Chapter 76

Fred Barnard

Text Illustrated:

They walked out into the courtyard, clinging to each other, but not speaking. Barnaby knew that the jail was a dull, sad, miserable place, and looked forward to to-morrow, as to a passage from it to something bright and beautiful. He had a vague impression too, that he was expected to be brave—that he was a man of great consequence, and that the prison people would be glad to make him weep. He trod the ground more firmly as he thought of this, and bade her take heart and cry no more, and feel how steady his hand was. ‘They call me silly, mother. They shall see to-morrow!’

Dennis and Hugh were in the courtyard. Hugh came forth from his cell as they did, stretching himself as though he had been sleeping. Dennis sat upon a bench in a corner, with his knees and chin huddled together, and rocked himself to and fro like a person in severe pain.

The mother and son remained on one side of the court, and these two men upon the other. Hugh strode up and down, glancing fiercely every now and then at the bright summer sky, and looking round, when he had done so, at the walls.

‘No reprieve, no reprieve! Nobody comes near us. There’s only the night left now!’ moaned Dennis faintly, as he wrung his hands. ‘Do you think they’ll reprieve me in the night, brother? I’ve known reprieves come in the night, afore now. I’ve known ‘em come as late as five, six, and seven o’clock in the morning. Don’t you think there’s a good chance yet,—don’t you? Say you do. Say you do, young man,’ whined the miserable creature, with an imploring gesture towards Barnaby, ‘or I shall go mad!’

‘Better be mad than sane, here,’ said Hugh. ‘GO mad.’

‘But tell me what you think. Somebody tell me what he thinks!’ cried the wretched object,—so mean, and wretched, and despicable, that even Pity’s self might have turned away, at sight of such a being in the likeness of a man—‘isn’t there a chance for me,—isn’t there a good chance for me? Isn’t it likely they may be doing this to frighten me? Don’t you think it is? Oh!’ he almost shrieked, as he wrung his hands, ‘won’t anybody give me comfort!’

‘You ought to be the best, instead of the worst,’ said Hugh, stopping before him. ‘Ha, ha, ha! See the hangman, when it comes home to him!’

‘You don’t know what it is,’ cried Dennis, actually writhing as he spoke: ‘I do. That I should come to be worked off! I! I! That I should come!’

‘And why not?’ said Hugh, as he thrust back his matted hair to get a better view of his late associate. ‘How often, before I knew your trade, did I hear you talking of this as if it was a treat?’

‘I an’t unconsistent,’ screamed the miserable creature; ‘I’d talk so again, if I was hangman. Some other man has got my old opinions at this minute. That makes it worse. Somebody’s longing to work me off. I know by myself that somebody must be!’

‘He’ll soon have his longing,’ said Hugh, resuming his walk. ‘Think of that, and be quiet.’

Although one of these men displayed, in his speech and bearing, the most reckless hardihood; and the other, in his every word and action, testified such an extreme of abject cowardice that it was humiliating to see him; it would be difficult to say which of them would most have repelled and shocked an observer. Hugh’s was the dogged desperation of a savage at the stake; the hangman was reduced to a condition little better, if any, than that of a hound with the halter round his neck. Yet, as Mr Dennis knew and could have told them, these were the two commonest states of mind in persons brought to their pass. Such was the wholesome growth of the seed sown by the law, that this kind of harvest was usually looked for, as a matter of course.



Tristram Shandy | 4365 comments Mod
Peter wrote: "Bobbie wrote: "Dickens does love his coincidences, thinking back on Oliver Twist."

Indeed he does Bobbie."


Yes, Dickens's writing is full of coincidence, and we all seem to agree that in these last few chapters of Barnaby Rudge some events could do with a little bit more background-explaining. I felt quite cheated when all the good guys suddenly appeared in the place where Dolly and Emma were kept as captives, just in the nick of time, i.e. when Gashford has nearly convinced Emma of going with him. Not only was the moment propitious but also the fact that from all the houses in London the one they choose to break into was the one hiding the two women. What a lucky guess! Or is it just the author trying to resolve the entanglements of his plot at the eleventh hour?

Dickens, however, was not the only one to revel in coincidence: I have just finished reading The Mayor of Casterbridge and find this one, too, full of coincidences, mere whims of fate. The same can also be said of Tess, as far as I remember. But then, Hardy's coincidences often prove ill-omened and destructive, whereas Dickens's are helpful, felicitous and good. That's why I am more inclined to accept Hardy's use of coincidence as more life-like.


message 33: by Tristram (last edited Sep 06, 2019 06:00AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tristram Shandy | 4365 comments Mod
Kim,

Thank you for those great illustrations! I like comparing the two pictures of Lord George in prison, and once again - as last week -, Barnard has got one over on Cattermole for me. Probably, Cattermole's idea of Lord George is more to the point, though, because it shows a very pensive, maybe slightly morose person - and as we have a lot of backdrop in that picture, the figure seems very lonely in the gloomy cell. Barnard's prisoner looks more frightened, quite frightened out of his wits, if you ask me, perfectly on the brink of losing his mind. There is panic but also a loss of understanding in his eyes, and as the figure is nearly in the centre of the picture, with not much around him except a chair, the desk and the quill (which looks like a hypnotizing flame, in a way), one gets the impression of claustrophobia.

I like that illustration by Barnard very much. In fact when I first looked at the one by Cattermole and did not have any text to go by, I took the man in the picture to be Mr. Haredale in one of his brown studies.


message 34: by Peter (last edited Sep 06, 2019 08:43AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Peter | 2947 comments Mod
Kim wrote: "A Joyful Meeting

Chapter 71

Phiz

Text Illustrated:

‘We have time for no more of this,’ cried the man, unclenching her hands, and pushing her roughly off, as he drew Emma Haredale towards the do..."



Kim

As always, great illustrations. I love this one. As Emma and Dolly are reunited with their protector/parents, we have Joe with his foot on the dastardly Gashford. Take that!

I also like how Phiz has captured the glance that Edward gives Emma.

To me, this illustration indicates a point of transition. Dolly is portrayed as being in the welcoming arms of her parents and Emma is in the embrace of her uncle and guardian. Browne has strategically placed in the illustration the young men into whose arms the young women will finally find themselves. With Joe astride Gashford the indication is clear. The forces of evil are in the process of finally being subdued. Order is now in the process of supplanting the forces of evil. The young lovers will soon be reunited.


Peter | 2947 comments Mod
Kim wrote: "When she dropped the book she had been reading to him aloud, and fell upon his neck . .

Felix O. C. Darley

1862

Text Illustrated:

Barnaby was to die. There was no hope. It is not the least evil..."


Thanks to Kim we get to see the original illustration by Phiz and a later one by F O C Darley that represent Barnaby in jail with his mother visiting him. Poignant and emblematic. I really enjoyed the commentary.

When we link this illustration with the ones that show Gordon in his jail cell clear impressions are made. The reader feels and sees the fortress nature of the jail, the austerity of the jail cell, but the contrast between Gordon who is alone and Barnaby who has his mother’s love beside him, accentuate their individual lives.


message 36: by Julie (new)

Julie Kelleher | 1118 comments Jantine wrote: "I missed Miggs too!..."


As did I. She was so forgotten I went back and skimmed over the chapter again, trying to figure out where she disappeared. I'd say poor Miggs, neglected again, but it's clear we're all better off without her.


message 37: by Julie (new)

Julie Kelleher | 1118 comments Tristram wrote: "If you ask me, my dear Curiosities, the whole chain of evidence looks rather weak and constrained to me, and I have the feeling that Dickens did the best he could here, basing what we are expected to see as proof on the memories of the hangman, memories which are not so extraordinary as to help them be kept in mind for so long. Still, I remember that in one of the interviews Chester had with Hugh, the elder was disturbed by something in Hugh’s face, and he took a good look at that face while Hugh was asleep. Could it be that Mr. Chester at that time thought he had discovered a likeness in those features with a woman he had an affair with?"


I've read Barnaby Rudge before, long enough ago that I'd forgotten most of the story, except that Joe comes back with a missing arm and Hugh is somebody's son, but I couldn't remember whose son. So I've been reading all the way through thinking, is it him? is it him? I had finally come around to thinking it had to be Chester because I remembered it was somebody awful and the other options were eliminating themselves from the plot, but other than that, it really doesn't make a lot of sense to me, nor was it well foreshadowed at all. Chester examining Hugh's face could have meant he saw the traces of anyone in it, not just himself or his former spurned lover.

But I'll give it a go now: here are my two possible rationales:

1. I find Chester and Hugh the most interesting characters in the book (except maybe Varden), so that's a fit. :)

2. We've been looking for father-son parallels with the riots all the way through. This might be the best one. I noticed Chester is repeatedly referred to as "the knight" in the chapter with the big reveal that he is Hugh's biological father, so he's being invested with as much authority as he's going to get in the book. And Hugh rushing around indomitable on his horse is something of a personification of the riots. Chester is asked to take some responsibility toward Hugh and he refuses, just as the government won't crack down on the rioters. The only thing missing in this as a parallel to blame government negligence for the riots is that the rioters have such a bad reason for rioting: it's easier to feel sympathy for neglected and abused Hugh with the hung mother than for rioters who hate... Catholics? authority generally? The rioters aren't given the sad backstory that Hugh gets, so I'm coming around to thinking the parallel doesn't work so well.

Dickens was obviously fascinated by mobs but justified the rioters so much better in A Tale of Two Cities. I'm starting to think of Barnaby Rudge as his first shot at a story that he'd tell better in a later book.


message 38: by Julie (new)

Julie Kelleher | 1118 comments Kim wrote: "Tristram wrote: "Is loyalty to her husband, even in such circumstances, really to go before her duty to see that justice is done

No, it isn't."



Yeah, she strikes me as a mess of a character whose purpose is to prolong the plot by keeping the not-very-mysterious stranger unknown and uncaught for a lot longer than he would be otherwise.

Although, Dickens also loves the duty-martyred women of the bad boys--see Nancy and Nell, who also refuse to give up on their hopeless causes.


message 39: by Julie (new)

Julie Kelleher | 1118 comments Tristram wrote: "He still derives some hope from telling himself that he as the hangman is too important a man to be sacrificed to the letter of the law:

”When he remembered the great estimation in which his office was held, and the constant demand for his services; when he bethought himself, how the Statute Book regarded him as a kind of Universal Medicine applicable to men, women, and children, of every age and variety of criminal constitution; and how high he stood, in his official capacity, in the favour of the Crown, and both Houses of Parliament, the Mint, the Bank of England, and the Judges of the land; when he recollected that whatever Ministry was in or out, he remained their peculiar pet and panacea, and that for his sake England stood single and conspicuous among the civilised nations of the earth: when he called these things to mind and dwelt upon them, he felt certain that the national gratitude must relieve him from the consequences of his late proceedings, and would certainly restore him to his old place in the happy social system.”"



I really do love this kind of sentence.


message 40: by Tristram (last edited Sep 08, 2019 04:36AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tristram Shandy | 4365 comments Mod
Julie wrote: "2. We've been looking for father-son parallels with the riots all the way through. This might be the best one. I noticed Chester is repeatedly referred to as "the knight" in the chapter with the big reveal that he is Hugh's biological father, so he's being invested with as much authority as he's going to get in the book. And Hugh rushing around indomitable on his horse is something of a personification of the riots. Chester is asked to take some responsibility toward Hugh and he refuses, just as the government won't crack down on the rioters. The only thing missing in this as a parallel to blame government negligence for the riots is that the rioters have such a bad reason for rioting: it's easier to feel sympathy for neglected and abused Hugh with the hung mother than for rioters who hate... Catholics? authority generally? The rioters aren't given the sad backstory that Hugh gets, so I'm coming around to thinking the parallel doesn't work so well."

Julie, I find these thoughts very fascinating even though you are right in saying that the narrator does not provide very good reasons for the rioters, while he invests Hugh with a sad and moving background story. Maybe, one can assume that there are a lot more among the rioters who could tell similar stories of injustice, poverty and a lack of education, and that is why they turn their blind rage against Catholics as a scapegoat because it happens to be Lord George whose mad fancy leads them against Catholics. Had Lord George's madness been of another nature, he might have led them against bankers or people with wooden legs. Their frustration would probably have jumped at any outlet :-)


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