Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
At twilight on a wild, windy day in March, 1775, a small group of men sits in the bar parlor of the Maypole Inn, an ancient hostelry situated in Chigwell parish on the borders of Epping Forest. Two guests in particular engage the attention of John Willet, the proprietor. One is a well-dressed young gentleman who seems preoccupied. The other, a traveler, sits huddled in an old riding coat, his hat pulled forward to hide his face from the landlord’s curious gaze. After the young gentleman, Edward Chester, leaves the inn, Joe Willet, the landlord’s son, informs the others that Edward, whose horse went lame, intends to walk the twelve miles to London despite the stormy weather because he is hoping to see Emma Haredale at a masquerade she is attending in town.
The name Haredale seems to interest the stranger, and he listens intently when Solomon Daisy, the parish clerk, tells the story of a murder that shocked the neighborhood twenty-two years before to the day. Mr. Reuben Haredale, Emma’s father, was at that time owner of The Warren, a great house near the village. One morning, he was found murdered in his bedroom. His steward, a man named Rudge, and a gardener were missing. Several months later, Rudge’s body, identified by the clothing he was wearing, was recovered from a pond on the estate. There was no trace of the gardener, and the mystery remains unsolved. Since her father’s violent death, Emma lives at The Warren with Mr. Geoffrey Haredale,...
(The entire section is 1658 words.)
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Chapters 1-3 Summary
John Willet is the landlord of the Maypole, an inn on the edge of the Epping Forest a short distance from London. On a March evening, several guests gather in the Maypole. One of them is a stranger who asks about the brick house nearby. Joe Willet, John’s son, answers that the house is known as the Warren and belongs to Mr. Haredale. The stranger asks about a young lady who alighted from a carriage there; he suggests she might be Mr. Haredale’s daughter. Joe replies that Mr. Haredale is single (which, the stranger points out, never stopped some people from having a daughter). A young man leaves and Joe accompanies him to light his way to the door.
When Joe returns, he tries to add to the conversation of the other men, but his father tells him to be silent and listen to his elders. The other men agree. Solomon Daisy, the parish clerk, tells the story of the Haredales. The present Mr. Haredale had an older brother, Reuben, who owned the Warren at that time. He had one daughter, who is the young lady seen by the stranger. Reuben was murdered twenty-two years before, holding on to a bell, which Solomon Daisy had heard ringing in the night. The steward and the gardener were both missing. The body of Barnaby Rudge, the steward, was found in a ditch later. It is thus assumed that the gardener was the murderer.
The stranger leaves, though Joe recommends that he spend the night. The stranger strikes Joe with the butt of his whip and rides off. As he rides furiously down the road in the night, he almost runs into a wagon driven by Gabriel Varden, a blacksmith from London. The stranger demands a light, claiming that Gabriel’s wheel has damaged his horse. When it is determined that horse is uninjured, the stranger begins to hand back the light but throws it on the ground and crushes it when he sees Gabriel’s face. He calls him by name, threatening him, though Gabriel does not recognize the stranger. Afterward, Gabriel decides to go to the Maypole to get a light, though he had promised his wife he would not stop there.
At the Maypole, Gabriel gives his account of the stranger. Joe wishes the man would come back so he could strike him back. He blames his father for having set the example of treating him like a child. Gabriel tries to make peace between father and son, but Joe tells him that he is considering leaving the Maypole. He asks about Gabriel’s daughter, Dolly; he is clearly interested in her, though Gabriel...
(The entire section is 582 words.)
Chapters 4-7 Summary
Gabriel Varden steps out of his house in Clerkenwell the following morning. His daughter, Dolly, whispered from an upper window for him to be quiet because Mrs. Varden is still asleep, since she was kept up all night waiting for Gabriel to come home. Gabriel goes back into the shop to see his apprentice, Simon Tappertit, listening to his conversation, which he often does when Dolly speaks. Simon, or Sim, is short but believes he is at least middle height, odd-looking but inflates his idea of his own appearance, and overconfident as to his power over the ladies. Sim is an “ambitious and aspiring soul.”
Gabriel describes the events of the previous evening to Dolly (and Sim, who is listening in). He had taken the injured man, who is Edward Chester, to Barnaby Rudge’s house; he wanted to avoid upsetting his wife, who is upset easily. In fact, Mrs. Varden cannot come down to breakfast because of the state of her nerves. After depositing Mr. Chester with Mrs. Rudge, Gabriel went to deliver the news to Miss Emma, who was at a masquerade. Then he returned home. Gabriel concludes by telling Dolly about the argument between John and Joe Willet. Afterward, the workday begins.
After the day’s work is completed, Gabriel goes to check on the invalid at Mrs. Rudge’s home. She is a middle-aged woman who was once pretty but now has a subsurface of terror, due to the murder of her husband. She and her son, Barnabas, resemble one other. Edward Chester is recovering but cannot be removed from his bed until the next day.
They are interrupted by a knock on the shutter. Mrs. Rudge insists on going herself, but Gabriel soon follows when he hears Mrs. Rudge cry out. A man has entered and the widow’s face holds an expression of terror. Gabriel recognizes the man he encountered on the road the previous night. The stranger runs out with Gabriel after him, but Mrs. Rudge begs him to come back. Gabriel asks Mrs. Rudge who the man is, since she obviously knows him, but she refuses to tell him. She says only that she must keep her secret. Barnaby takes Gabriel up to visit Edward Chester. Chester tells the limited details that he knows he was followed after he left the Maypole. He is interrupted by the screeching of Barnaby’s pet crow, Grip. Edward asks what happened downstairs. Gabriel lies and says that it was a drunkard, intending to keep Mrs. Rudge’s secret.
Mrs. Varden is of an uncertain temper, being the exact...
(The entire section is 549 words.)
Chapters 8-11 Summary
Sim Tappertit sneaks through the streets of London until he comes to the door of a cellar. He calls out and is let in, being addressed as “Captain.” Within the damp cellar, the meeting of the ’Prentice Knights, a union of apprentices who have joined together to take action against their masters, comes into session. The owner of the cellar is Stagg, a blind man who nevertheless “sees” a great deal. The members discuss which masters will bear a black mark next to their names for future punishment. Sim presents an order that no member of the ’Prentice Knights shall have anything to do with Joseph Willet because Sim is jealous of his attentions to Dolly Varden. The meeting adjourns an hour before dawn, and Sim prepares to return to the locksmith’s home.
When Sim snuck out, Miggs was awake and heard him leave. At first, she convinces herself that he might be trying to sneak into her room, but then she hears him leaving out the front door. She goes down and sees that he locked the door behind him, which convinces her that has made himself a key. She plugs up the lock and waits for his return. When he comes home, he is unable to fit the key into the door and must have Miggs’s help, though she toys with him and puts him off. He pleads with her, and she lets him in, pretending to faint out of “concern” that he might have come to harm. Sim carries her upstairs and sets her outside her bedroom door, where he leaves her.
At the Maypole, a guest arrives and asks for a room. Since Joe is gone, John Willet must depend on Hugh, who is silent and slow. The guest is Sir John Chester, Edward Chester’s father. He asks for someone to take a message to the Warren. Joe is gone and Hugh is busy, so John Willet sends for Barnaby. Mr. Chester is surprised to find Barnaby there, since he had seen him the night before in London. Barnaby takes Mr. Chester by the arm and has him look out the window at the shadows below, which are simply the clothes on the line. Barnaby delivers his message and returns, and Mr. Chester gives him some money.
That evening, the Maypole is crowded because word has spread that Mr. Haredale is going to meet with Sir John Chester there. People speculate that they will fight a duel. The only ones not interested are Hugh (who is sleeping in the corner) and Barnaby. Mr. Haredale arrives and goes up to the room where Sir John is waiting.
(The entire section is 443 words.)
Chapters 12-14 Summary
Mr. Haredale enters the room to find Mr. Chester sitting before the fire. Mr. Chester tries to present a façade of friendliness, but Mr. Haredale prefers bluntness. The difference between the two men is financial as well as religious. Mr. Chester’s son, Edward, is in love with Mr. Haredale’s niece, Emma, but the two older gentlemen want them separated. Mr. Chester, due to debts and obligations, needs his son to marry a wealthy heiress; whether he is in love with her is of no consequence. Mr. Haredale requires that his niece marry a Catholic. Mr. Haredale and Mr. Chester can only find common ground in planning to keep Edward and Emma apart. Mr. Haredale tells Mr. Chester that Barnaby has acted as the primary messenger between the two. After Mr. Haredale leaves, John Willet and others begin to go upstairs to ascertain if Mr. Chester is still alive, but then Mr. Chester rings the bell for service.
March 25th is a quarter day, when bills are settled. Joe Willet is to pay the vintner’s bill in London, and he is looking forward to seeing Dolly Varden while there. His father gives him the money and charges him not to waste his time but deliver the funds, get his dinner at the Black Lion Inn, and return straight home. Joe says he plans to stop at the Vardens’ home, and he picks some flowers to take to Dolly. Before heading to London, he stops at the Warden to see if Emma Haredale has a message she would like him to deliver to Edward Chester, but she waves Joe on. At the locksmith’s, Gabriel Varden tells Joe to give the flowers to Mrs. Varden, not to Dolly. Joe is downcast but agrees. Mrs. Varden, however, says that she cannot stand to have the flowers in the room and instructs him to place them outside on the windowsill. Dolly enters, but she barely acknowledges Joe. Brokenhearted, Joe returns to the Maypole, intent on joining the army so someone will put him out of his misery.
As Joe rides toward home, he hears hoof beats behind him. He turns and sees that Edward Chester is overtaking him on his way to the Maypole and to the Warren. Joe offers to join him and hold his horse at the Warren. A servant sneaks Edward into the Warren. He and Emma embrace but are immediately separated by Mr. Haredale, who orders Edward from the house. Mr. Haredale accuses Edward of acting dishonorably by sneaking into the house and forbids him from ever coming again. Edward says that he must sneak because he is not given admittance when he...
(The entire section is 508 words.)
Chapters 15-18 Summary
Mr. Chester, having returned to his London home, sits at breakfast and looks out the window into the streets and gardens below. He spots his son, Edward, sitting motionless until he rises up and comes into the house and to his father’s chamber. Mr. Chester has an air of indifference and distance in connection with his son, though he is grateful that Edward has a pleasing appearance that fits his station in life. Edward tries to have a serious conversation with his father about why he disapproves of his relationship with Emma Haredale, but Mr. Chester is dismissive. Edward begs him to remove his restrictions against Emma, but Mr. Chester tells his son that he must marry a wealthy woman. He reveals the full extent of their financial difficulties and of the necessity of Edward’s marrying well to offset them. Edward is upset that he never knew this situation, having been raised to believe that the family fortune was considerable. Mr. Chester leaves his son to contemplate this added wrinkle to his love for Emma.
A mysterious figure wanders the streets of London and its environs at night. It is often seen in the graveyards, and one night a grave robber attempts to strike up a conversation with him, only to be met with threats of violence. It follows Mrs. Rudge in the street late one night. At the door of her home, she hears footsteps behind her and stops. She cries out, and the figure emerges. When she sees it, Mrs. Rudge faints. The figure takes her up, uses her key to open the door, and carries her inside.
When she awakens, Mrs. Rudge learns that it was he who was the robber on the road. She begs the intruder to leave. He tells her to bring him some food. She asks if he will leave and never come back if she does so, but he refuses to make any promises. When footsteps are heard approaching, the stranger hides in the closet. Barnaby comes in and wants some food. He wonders why his mother keeps looking behind him at the closet door. When he falls asleep before the fire, the stranger emerges from the closet. He tells Mrs. Rudge that he did not know about the existence of her son before this night, but he will only use it as a tool to threaten her. Mrs. Rudge prays to God for the safety of her son.
The stranger wanders the streets all night. Near daybreak, he passes the headquarters of the ’Prentice Knights just as their meeting is breaking up. The stranger approaches Stagg, the blind man, and begs for shelter for...
(The entire section is 457 words.)
Chapters 19-22 Summary
Dolly is reminiscing about the party she attended the previous night when Edward Chester shows up at the door. Mr. Varden is busy drinking from Toby (his ale mug), about which Mrs. Varden chides him. Edward says he is assuming that Dolly will be journeying to the Warren in the next day or two, and he is hoping she will deliver a letter for him. Mrs. Varden says Dolly has no plans to go to the Warren, but it is no problem to go out of their way to please Edward. After Edward leaves, Mrs. Varden becomes petulant because she wants to travel too, but she will not say so. Eventually, the three Vardens go by chaise to the Maypole. After a large dinner, Dolly slips out and goes up the path to the Warren.
Dolly is a frequent visitor to the Warren, so she is not stopped as she enters the house. She gives Emma the letter. Emma reads it several times, wiping her tears as she does so. She invites Dolly to stay for dinner, intending to answer the letter afterwards. Emma gives her reply, as well as a bracelet, to Dolly, who leaves to return to the Maypole. As she passes through the house, Mr. Haredale stops her. He asks whether she delivered a letter to Emma from Edward and whether she is now carrying a reply. Dolly answers affirmatively to both and tries to be brave as she declares she will not give up the response. Mr. Haredale finally permits her to leave, and she continues on her way.
When Dolly passes through the hedges, she hears a rustling sound as if someone were following her. She stops, and so does the noise. She proceeds and is startled when a man jumps out in front of her. She is relieved to see that it is Hugh from the Maypole but becomes worried when he acts aggressively towards her. He grabs her and calls her pet names; she begs him to let go, promising not to tell anyone about this if he will leave her alone. He threatens to hurt people she loves if she tells, then he grabs her again and she cries out for help. When he hears voices, Hugh releases her and dashes away.
Joe comes to the rescue and comforts Dolly. Dolly says she did not recognize the man who frightened her, merely that he was a beggar who threatened robbery. Joe takes her back to the Maypole, where everyone hears her story. Hugh also arrives and questions her about the man’s appearance, silently daring her to say that it was he. She does not, keeping his secret, but she soon notices that the letter from Emma to Edward and the bracelet are gone....
(The entire section is 551 words.)
Chapters 23-26 Summary
Mr. Chester is leisurely getting dressed to go out one evening and reading Lord Chesterfield’s book of advice when a visitor is announced. Mr. Chester’s first thought is that it could be a creditor coming out of normal hours to catch him. When he learns it is Hugh from the Maypole, he orders him to be shown in after he has thoroughly cleaned his shoes. Hugh enters, accompanied by his dog. He presents the letter he took from Dolly Varden. Mr. Chester accepts it and asks what else Hugh took from the girl. Hugh at first replies that he took only a kiss, but he finally admits that he also took a bracelet (which Mr. Chester had already heard was also stolen). Hugh tries to give it to him, but Mr. Chester tells him to keep it—he is not a thief. Mr. Chester reads the letter from Emma Haredale to his son and then burns it. He asks Hugh about his father, but Hugh proclaims that he never had one. His mother was hanged in front of a crowd of two thousand men when he was six. Mr. Chester dismisses him, orders the room to be fumigated, and leaves in his sedan chair.
The next morning, Mr. Chester is visited by Simon Tappertit, who comes in wearing his leather apron and carrying a large lock. Mr. Chester asks him to set the lock outside the door so as not to bring the scent of oil into the room. Sim tells Mr. Chester that Dolly is now acting as a go-between for Edward and Emma. Moreover, Joe Willet has set himself up as a sworn enemy of Mr. Chester. This is known by Mrs. Rudge and Barnaby as well as Miggs. Sim urges Mr. Chester to destroy Joe Willet.
Mrs. Rudge and Barnaby arrive in Chigwell; they go directly to the Warren to avoid the possibility of Mrs. Rudge’s meeting anyone from the time before the murder of Reuben Haredale. Mr. Haredale greets her in the garden and welcomes her back after twenty years. He hopes that she plans to come back to the Warren, but she abruptly tells him that she is rejecting the annuity he has set up for her upon her husband’s “death,” and she is moving out of her house in London. Her future location must remain a secret. She is no longer sure to what uses her money might be made, and she cannot remain where she can be found. Mr. Haredale is confused, but Mrs. Rudge refuses to tell him more. She and Barnaby leave to make their way back to London.
Mr. Haredale consults Gabriel Varden about the mystery of Mrs. Rudge. Gabriel tells Mr. Haredale of the strange visitor on the night when...
(The entire section is 530 words.)
Chapters 27-30 Summary
Mr. Chester goes to the home of Gabriel Varden. He startles Sim, who is working diligently in a corner. Sim reminds him of the name of Joe Willet and his involvement in Edward and Emma’s continuing relationship. Mr. Chester speaks to Mrs. Varden in the company of Miggs and Dolly; he flatters her by mistaking her for Dolly or Dolly’s sister. He says he is concerned about Edward’s courtship of Emma, but not because of anything amiss in Dolly. He tells Mrs. Varden that Edward is first of all insincere in his attentions to Emma but is also intended to marry someone else. He begs Mrs. Varden to help him put a stop to the relationship. Dolly keeps her distance. She clearly dislikes the man, and she knows she is the one most responsible for maintaining communication between the two lovers.
Mr. Chester returns home late at night to find Hugh asleep on the stairs. He looks at Hugh’s face closely by the light of the candle, intrigued by something he sees in it. Hugh awakens and explains that he has a letter. Dolly had written to Emma to explain that the letter Emma wrote to Edward was stolen. Dolly had given the letter to Joe to deliver, but Mr. Willet would not let Joe leave so Hugh took it to deliver. Mr. Chester chides him for thinking he would want the letter, but he takes it anyway and tells Hugh he will deliver it himself. Hugh leaves and Mr. Chester goes to bed. He is awakened when he thinks he hears Hugh calling him. He goes out to look at the spot where Hugh was sleeping, but it is empty.
Mr. Chester goes to the Warren and meets with Emma. He tells her that Edward plans to break off with her because of her poverty. Emma does not believe him, but Mr. Chester assures her that she will soon receive a letter to that purpose. Mr. Haredale arrives to find out why Mr. Chester has come to his home, and Emma departs in tears. Mr. Chester tells Mr. Haredale what he told Emma, confessing that he twisted the account to achieve their mutual purpose of separating Emma and Edward. Mr. Haredale regrets ever having anything to do with Mr. Chester, who soon leaves, very pleased with himself.
After Mr. Chester departs from the Maypole, Joe Willet is the target of his father’s continual insults. Mr. Cobb, a frequent guest, joins Mr. Willet, and soon Joe’s patience breaks. He attacks Mr. Cobb and then rushes to his room, barricading himself in. He realizes that he has ruined whatever chance he had of getting Dolly to like...
(The entire section is 466 words.)
Chapters 31-34 Summary
Joe Willet spends the night shut up in his room. When morning breaks, he climbs out the window and over the rooftops, then he walks to London. He takes a room in the Black Lion Inn, where he always stopped for dinner when he came to the city on errands for his father. He hears someone speaking loudly; the landlord says it is an army recruiter. Joe strikes up a conversation with the recruiter, and soon he decides to join the army. He puts off the recruiter until that night, telling him that there is something he has to do first. He goes to the locksmith’s shop and finds Dolly Varden alone. He pleads with her, telling her of his love for her, but she feigns indifference. Convinced that she has rejected him, Joe leaves. Dolly waits for him to return, but when he does not, she throws herself on her bed, crying. Joe signs up with the recruiter, who feeds him before they leave the inn.
Edward, dining with his father, pleads with him to change his mind concerning Emma. Mr. Chester refuses and tells Edward about his own brother; he associated with low people and was disowned by his father, then he died early. Edward does not believe his father would disown him, but Mr. Chester does and orders him out of the house.
Five years have passed, and it is the year 1780. John Willet is joined at the Maypole by his usual guests, Mr. Cobb and Mr. Parkes. John is drowsing by the fire when they hear a voice in the wind. Solomon Daisy bursts in the door with a look of terror on his face, cursing himself for leaving the house on March 19th, the anniversary of the murder of Reuben Haredale. He explains that he had forgotten to wind the church clock and went to do so. From the belfry he heard a cry from the churchyard. When he went down, he was confronted by a ghost. All the men know whose ghost it was: Reuben Haredale’s. John asks the men to keep this story secret. Cobb and Parkes walk Solomon Daisy back home, and John Willet settles down in the Maypole alone.
Soon Mr. Willet decides that Mr. Haredale should hear this tale before it is spread abroad; he knows his friends will not be able to keep silent. He takes Hugh with him and goes to the Warren, where Mr. Haredale is sitting up late. When John tells him the story, Mr. Haredale reacts even more strongly than John had thought he might. He thanks John for telling him. He gives Hugh a drink, half of which Hugh throws on the floor as a toast. As John Willet and Hugh walk back toward...
(The entire section is 475 words.)
Chapters 35-38 Summary
When confronted by the three horsemen, John Willet thinks they are highwaymen intent on robbery. When lead rider asks if this is the road to London, Hugh answers smartly; Mr. Willet warns him that this could get them killed. The leader then asks if there is an inn nearby. Mr. Willet’s fear disappears as he assumes his position as landlord and invites them to the Maypole. As they ride along, the horsemen speak together. The leader is Lord George Gordon; he is traveling with his secretary, Gashford, and another follower, John Grueby. Gordon is leading the fight against the Catholic influence in England and has acquired over forty thousand followers. His companions are solicitous of his health and feel anxious that he be soon out of the inclement weather. Mr. Willet feeds them with great deference and then shows them to the stateroom. It is cold and comfortless but is soon put in order. Gashford and Gordon discuss their recent rally among the Protestants in the area. They attract followers in opposition to Bloody Mary, the Catholic queen who caused the martyrdom of so many Protestants. Grueby is doubtful of the overall effectiveness of using Bloody Mary, but he is certain that the Protestant cause will eventually prevail.
Gashford comes back into the stateroom to find that Lord George is still awake. They speak of their numbers, which are growing, and their finances, which are not. Gashford lists some of the contributors, including the United Bull-Dogs, formerly known as the ’Prentice Knights, led by Simon Tappertit. Mrs. Varden and Miggs have also joined the cause, though Gabriel Varden has not. Lord George finally goes to sleep and Gashford leaves, placing around the inn some leaflets advertising their cause.
Lord George awakens the next morning, having dreamed that he and Gashford were Jews. Gashford tells Lord George of his placing the leaflets, which Lord George approves because it was so effective in Scotland. They return to London that morning, and Gashford interviews Dennis the hangman, who has become a loyal follower even though he has been to church only twice in his life. He is surprised to learn that Hugh, whom he found so offensive on the road the previous evening, has also come to join the cause. He presents one of the leaflets Gashford left at the Maypole. Gashford has his name added to the roll. Hugh and Dennis go off together to a tavern, where they toast Lord George Gordon, President of the Great...
(The entire section is 426 words.)
Chapters 39-42 Summary
Dennis and Hugh meet Simon Tappertit, who recognizes Hugh as belonging to the Maypole. Sim remembers meeting Hugh five years previously, when he came to ask the Vardens if they had seen Joe Willet after he ran away. Sim asks Hugh if Joe was ever found; Hugh replies that he is most likely dead, which Sim is glad to hear. Sim tells Hugh about his organization, the United Bull-Dogs, and their association with the No-Popery movement. Hugh decides he should join this group as well, and he brings in Dennis. Sim is curious about Dennis’s job, which he is vague in describing. Dennis tells Sim that every article of his clothing came from “friends” he met in association with his career, meaning that all his clothes came from men he has hanged. Hugh remembers that he is supposed to meet someone, so he leaves Dennis and Sim. Sim contemplates what a good addition Hugh will be to the United Bull-Dogs; he speculates that Hugh might even marry Miggs if he were drunk enough.
Hugh goes to see Mr. Chester, who has not only been knighted (and is now known as Sir John Chester) but has also been made a Member of Parliament. It is revealed that Hugh, who cannot read, brought the leaflet he found at the Maypole to Sir John to read; the contents interested Sir John enough that he sent Hugh to infiltrate their ranks. Hugh describes Dennis, but he does not know his profession. Sir John does, and he wryly promises that Hugh will most likely find out eventually. He tells Hugh to get rid of the leaflet because it will not do for it to be found on either of them. Hugh leaves, and Sir John thinks Hugh will indeed follow his mother to the gallows.
Gabriel Varden is half-dressed in his uniform of the Royal East London Volunteers in preparation for a parade that afternoon. He and Mrs. Varden joke about his volunteering to protect his wife and daughter, but not quite Miggs, from being carried off. Dolly arrives from the Warren, wondering about some ghost story no one is to tell her or Emma as well as where Emma’s uncle has gone, ostensibly on business. Gabriel assures her that all is well, and the conversation turns to Mrs. Varden’s and Miggs’s involvement in the No-Popery movement. Miggs bursts out crying on the pretense that Mr. Varden dislikes her and wants to separate her from Mrs. Varden by allowing her to be carried off by a pagan. Gabriel dismisses this as nonsense and puts on the rest of his uniform with Dolly’s help. He says the uniform...
(The entire section is 551 words.)
Chapters 43-46 Summary
Mr. Haredale continues to live secretly in London. He spends every night awake and watching in the Rudges’ abandoned house; he spends his days resting in a room he has rented elsewhere in London. On one occasion, as he is walking past the Houses of Parliament, he encounters a mass of people shouting at the members as they pass. He meets Sir John Chester and Gashford (the three of them had gone to school together). Sir John and Gashford provoke Mr. Haredale to the point that he strongly states his opposition to the No Popery cause, which would deprive Catholics of property and education, as the rumor has it. Lord George Gordon approaches and is introduced to Mr. Haredale. When Mr. Haredale tells Lord George of the shame he is bringing on his people, Lord George claims not to hear him. Mr. Haredale turns his attack on Gashford, whom he knows to have committed dishonorable deeds in the past. Mr. Haredale leaves to return home but is attacked by a mob throwing stones at him; one hits him in the head. John Grueby rescues him and sets him in a boat to cross the river.
Gashford is also knocked down in the riot, but he escapes and journeys to one of the many slums of London. He goes to the hut where Dennis the hangman and Hugh are staying. They discuss the riot. Dennis and Hugh had been there as well; in fact, Hugh had thrown the rock that hit Mr. Haredale in the head. Gashford tells the two men that they may continue to carry out attacks on Mr. Haredale and his property in defense of the No-Popery cause. He suggests that they should meet frequently in this secluded area and then leaves.
Mrs. Rudge and Barnaby live in a country town where they braid straw for bonnets. As they sit outside their cottage one evening, a blind man approaches. He asks Barnaby to buy him some bread for his journey. When Barnaby has gone, the blind man reveals that he is Stagg and has been searching for Mrs. Rudge and her son. He whispers the name of the man who has given him this charge, which terrifies Mrs. Rudge. Stagg tells her that the man asks for twenty pounds to keep her location a secret. He gives Mrs. Rudge a few minutes alone to contemplate this offer, though she begs him to be kind to them out of respect for their poverty.
Barnaby returns to find Stagg sitting outside. Stagg entices Barnaby with the promise of becoming rich but says he cannot stay at home. Mrs. Rudge gives Stagg six guineas, her entire savings, but he says he must...
(The entire section is 513 words.)
Chapters 47-50 Summary
Mrs. Rudge has only one guinea left from her savings. As she and Barnaby travel to London, they make money by displaying Grip, Barnaby’s pet talking raven. One “fine old country gentleman” is amused by Grip and takes Mrs. Rudge and Barnaby to his home. His wife is submissive and intimidated but sticks up for the mother and son when her husband tries to buy Grip from them. The gentleman becomes infuriated, sure that Mrs. Rudge is a beggar who is using Barnaby as a front to get money from honest people. He orders them out, and the two flee. A servant, who is supposed to chase them off the property, hands them some money. They finally reach London, where Barnaby hopes to find the blind man who promised to show him how to become rich from the city crowds. They arrive in London on June 2, 1780, the beginning of the Gordon Riots.
Mrs. Rudge and Barnaby sit by a bridge as a huge crowd comes down the street. Many of the people are wearing blue cockades in their hats. Barnaby thinks this is the crowd Stagg spoke of in which gold could be found. He wants to join, but his mother refuses out of concern for his safety. Lord George Gordon and Gashford pass by and overhear. They convince Barnaby to join them against his mother’s wishes. They give him a blue cockade for his hat and take him to find a place for him among the regiments, where Hugh greets him. The former ostler of the Maypole takes him into his care, and Barnaby is thus separated from his mother.
Barnaby and Hugh join the procession to the Houses of Parliament, marching at its head with Barnaby holding the banner. When they arrive there, intent on storming the chambers, they are met with the news that soldiers are amassing. Lord George comes out and tells them that Parliament is trying delay consideration of his petition. A riot breaks out, and Barnaby knocks one of the Horse Guards down with the pole of his banner. He, Hugh, Simon Tappertit, and Dennis escape being arrested and go to the Boot, the tavern that serves as their personal headquarters. Gashford arrives to give them the news that the cause is lost, for Parliament voted down the petition—one hundred ninety-two to six. Gashford removes the cockade from his hat and leaves. Hugh, Sim, and Barnaby rejoin the throng as they loot the Catholic churches of London.
(The entire section is 416 words.)
Chapters 51-54 Summary
Mr. and Mrs. Varden and Miggs wait up late, having heard of the renewed rioting after the defeat of Gordon’s petition. Simon Tappertit arrives home, drunk and with his clothes in tatters. He rejects all offers of help from Mr. Varden, but he brings out a notice from Lord George Gordon to the effect that the No-Popery crowd should respect this property. Mr. Varden is aghast at what Sim has done, especially when he speaks of striking members of Parliament. He suggests that they sneak Sim out of the house and down the Thames to Canterbury, where a cousin of Mrs. Varden’s might give him work. Sim rejects this proposal and announces that he is no longer an apprentice to Mr. Varden but to the cause. He runs from the house with Mr. Varden on his heels. Mr. Varden cannot keep up and returns home. He tears up the notice of protection, stating that he would be more willing to die on his doorstep than to be a part of this cause.
Dennis, Hugh, and Barnaby stay at the Boot during the riots. Simon Tappertit returns, thoroughly drunk as usual. Barnaby stands guard; he tries to maintain a level of cleanliness taught by his mother but resented by Dennis. Soon they rejoin the rioting. They vandalize the homes of Catholics and remove and burn all the furnishings, relics, and statues of Catholic churches. Gashford is not impressed and asks if they can burn a whole building instead of only bits of it. Hugh assures him that they have only begun and recommends that he watch the red skies on the following night.
On the King’s birthday, Gashford comes to discuss the riots with Barnaby and Dennis, who are soon joined by Hugh. Gashford informs them that the King in Council has offered a five-hundred-pound reward for information about anyone who has been involved in the destruction of the Catholic chapels. They are unfazed, and soon they go out to commence rioting once again. Gashford follows them, but he goes to Lord George’s house and watches the proceedings from the window. Later, he climbs out on the rooftop to see the red skies Hugh had promised.
John Willet is disgusted with Parkes, Daisy, and Cobb, who plan to go to London to see the riots for themselves. John refuses to go with them and remains at home. Not long after, John sees a mass of people marching toward the Maypole. It is the No-Popery crowd, led by Hugh; they have come to burn down the Warren. They loot the Maypole of its liquor and then tie John Willet up, though...
(The entire section is 467 words.)
Chapters 55-58 Summary
John Willet remains tied to a chair in the Maypole, listening to the cries of the mob as they march toward the Warren. A man passes the window and climbs in. He asks where the others have gone; John nods toward the direction opposite of the Warren, but the stranger knows better. He eats and drinks from the scraps left by the looters before going out again into the night. Mr. Willet hears the alarm bell ringing, causing him to panic from some past memory associated with that bell. At the Warren, the house is surrounded and the fire is set. The scene becomes a picture of hell, and two resisting burdens are carried away. The fire completely consumes the Warren, including some of its destroyers as they lie around the grounds in a drunken state. The fire slowly burns itself out.
The three friends of the Maypole continue their journey to London but are stopped by some of the rioters. To protect themselves, they wear the blue cockades and give the rioters some money. At the tollgate, a rider appears. He is Mr. Haredale, riding toward the glare behind them that is the burning of his home. He takes Solomon Daisy with him, and he rides to the Maypole to find John Willet still tied up. They release him and ask about Emma. John knows nothing, but he says he has seen a dead man. They ride on to the Warren and find nothing standing but the turret containing the alarm bell. Entering, they see a figure. Solomon Daisy screams that it is the ghost come again. Mr. Haredale thinks differently and clutches the figure by the throat. He identifies him as Barnaby Rudge, Senior, and arrests him for the double murder of his brother and the servant.
Barnaby (Junior) stands guard at the Boot’s stable, wishing that his mother could see him. He is trying to get Grip to say, “Gordon for ever!” when Lord George Gordon and John Grueby arrive at the stable. Gordon praises Barnaby for his bravery, but John Grueby thinks he is mad and warns him that he will be hanged if he is caught. Gordon takes offense at this and tells John Grueby to leave the Association, which John Grueby is very willing to do at this point. Gordon leaves, and soon soldiers surround the stable. Barnaby puts up a fight but is soon overpowered. Grip uncovers the loot from the chapels and Barnaby is marched away, under arrest, to the barracks. He is put in a cell that is guarded by a sergeant and a one-armed soldier; Barnaby feels that the soldier will be kind to him. He calls out to...
(The entire section is 491 words.)
Chapters 59-62 Summary
Hugh rejoins the other rioters, who have gathered around a carriage where Dolly Varden and Emma Haredale are being kept. Hugh climbs into the carriage, sits between them, and puts his arms around them. He threatens to kiss them every time they scream. Emma is terrified but Dolly is furious. She thinks of Joe Willet and how badly she treated him. She remembers how he rescued her from Hugh when the latter stopped her on the path back to the Maypole. The men take the women to a cottage, and Hugh carries Dolly inside. Emma has fainted. Dolly is at first overjoyed when Simon Tappertit arrives, but she soon realizes that he is in league with the rioters and she has much to fear from him as she does from Hugh. Dennis is not interested in the women. Sim promises Hugh that he may have Miggs, which causes Hugh to laugh.
Hugh and his men return to London to hear the news that soldiers have taken possession of the Boot. He asks if anyone has heard anything about Barnaby, who had been left to stand guard. Someone knocks on the door, stating that he wants to see Hugh. It is a one-armed man who looks as though he has been severely beaten; his clothes are torn and he is carrying a large stick. He tells Hugh that Barnaby was taken, but he defended himself as well as he could. He is now on his way to prison. There is a cry to attack Newgate Prison, but Hugh and Dennis block the door, telling the men that it would madness to attack without a plan. Hugh proclaims that not only Newgate but every jail in London will be burned down and the prisoners released. They plan to burn Newgate the following night.
Mr. Haredale has difficulty finding anyone in the village who will lend a carriage to a Catholic, but eventually someone does so, primarily to get rid of him. In London, the situation is the same: the Lord Mayor refuses to take charge of Barnaby Rudge, Senior, because he is the prisoner of a Catholic. Mr. Haredale goes to Sir John Fielding, another magistrate, who places Rudge in Newgate Prison.
Stagg comes to visit Rudge, who tells the blind man the account of his crime and the terror that the Bell in the tower struck his heart. Stagg suggests a plan for his release: He will convince Mrs. Rudge to say he is not her husband in order to get her son released. Rudge agrees, thinking this is his only chance. After Stagg leaves, Rudge is taken to a small yard for exercise. He is stunned when his son is also brought there. He reveals to...
(The entire section is 476 words.)
Chapters 63-66 Summary
A group of rioters, including Hugh and Sim, arrive at the locksmith’s shop and call for Gabriel Varden. They demand that he join their march to Newgate. Gabriel comes out holding a gun and tells them that he has no intention of supporting their cause. Miggs calls out from an open window above, telling them that she is locked in the attic and giving them directions for rescuing her. She also tells them that she poured beer down the muzzle of Gabriel’s gun, rendering it useless. With a shout of laughter, the crowd overpowers Gabriel. They explain that since he made the locks of the prison doors, he must come with them to pick the locks. Gabriel refuses but the rioters gather up some tools and force him to go with them. Dennis wants to hang him, but Hugh protects him from the overzealous hangman. Miggs is rescued and brought downstairs, where she throws herself into Sim’s arms; he pushes her away. The rioters proceed to Newgate Prison to release the prisoners.
The mob arrives at Newgate and calls out to the jailer, demanding that he release the rioters who have been imprisoned. The jailer refuses, saying that he is bound to keep all the prisoners inside. Gabriel Varden calls out to him and identifies himself, telling the jailer that he has been brought by force to open the locks but he still refuses to do so. Gabriel shouts to the crowd to give him his daughter, who is still missing. Dennis hits Gabriel, knocking him down, but the locksmith bounds back up. The crowd rushes forward and one man attempts to kill Gabriel with a pole ax; a one-armed man strikes the attacker down and rescues Gabriel. A fire is started at the door of the prison, eventually burning it enough so that the rioters may enter, though the entire prison is now on fire. The jailer, his family, and his officers escape.
In his cell, Rudge hears the sounds of the mob and fears that they have come specifically to punish him for the murders. Soon the rioters enter the prison and release the prisoners from their cells. Rudge is reunited with Barnaby as they are removed from the prison. Dennis stands guard over four prisoners who are to be hanged in two days. Hugh orders him to release them, but Dennis, as a hangman, wants to see them punished for their crimes as scheduled. Hugh releases them himself. The rioters leave Newgate to burn.
Mr. Haredale arrives at the Newgate, too late to make sure that Rudge did not escape. He is still unable to find...
(The entire section is 520 words.)
Chapters 67-70 Summary
Many of the released prisoners are recaptured when they foolishly come back to Newgate to rekindle the fires. Mr. Haredale and his rescuer, the vintner and distiller, watch the mobs from the roof of the vintner’s house. They see that they are moving toward the house, indiscriminately setting fires as they come. With great difficulty, the vintner persuades Mr. Haredale to climb over the roofs. They are stopped by two men, one of whom is Edward Chester. The other is the one-armed man who is now revealed to be Joe Willet. He tells Mr. Chester that the time has come for him to put aside his enmity toward Edward. The four of them escape; Joe’s authority as a soldier protects them as they go.
Barnaby’s first thought on being released from prison is to rejoin Hugh. However, he tends to his father, removing his shackles before his own. He helps Rudge through the streets until they find shelter in a shed in Finchley. Barnaby goes back to see if he can find Hugh. He is horrified by how large the mob has grown. He sees Hugh on horseback, leading the rioters. Hugh is struck off his horse, and Barnaby rushes to him. Hugh is injured, but Barnaby gets him back on his horse and takes him to the shed where Rudge is hiding.
Rudge runs away when he sees Barnaby and Hugh approach, but Barnaby follows to bring him back. Rudge accuses Barnaby of having “betrayed” him to Mrs. Rudge, but Barnaby reassures him, saying he has not seen his mother in a long time. Rudge tells Barnaby to go find the blind man (Stagg), which he does. Stagg speaks privately with Rudge to tell him that he has asked Mrs. Rudge to save her son by saying Mr. Rudge is not who he is—but she refused.
Hugh regains consciousness just as Dennis the hangman arrives. Hugh asks him why he left the prison without him on the night of the prisoners’ release. They are interrupted when soldiers surround the shed and take hold of Rudge, Barnaby, and Hugh. Dennis, however, is untouched; he led the soldiers to the shed. Stagg tries to escape but is shot and killed by the soldiers. The others are then marched off back to London and prison.
Dennis returns to his home, which is next to the place where Dolly, Emma, and Miggs are being kept. Dennis is disgusted by Hugh and Sim’s lack of self-control when it comes to women, but he decides to use this to his advantage. He sweet-talks Miggs into helping him carry out Gashford’s plan to kidnap the two women...
(The entire section is 454 words.)
Chapters 71-74 Summary
Emma, Dolly, and Miggs remained locked up. It has become clear that Sim and Hugh will be fighting over Dolly eventually. Dolly longs for peace and home; she feels how foolish she has acted in the past. Miggs speaks out against the “injustice” shown her as a servant. The women hear a moaning in the other room. A stranger comes in, pretending to come from Mr. Haredale and Mr. Varden, but he is really Gashford and is ready to transport the women overseas. He is interrupted when Edward Chester knocks him over, and Joe Willet, Mr. and Mrs. Varden, and Mr. Haredale enter the room. The girls are overjoyed at being rescued. They discover that Dennis and Sim are in the other room; Sim has been shot and crushed, and it is from him that the moans have been coming. As they leave, Joe thinks Dolly gives him a significant look.
The rescuers and the rescued arrive at the Black Lion. Emma and Dolly are fed, and Joe explains that he lost his arm fighting in America. Mr. John Willet has arrived to greet his son; he cannot get over the fact that his son has been so maimed, but he now feels very proud of him. Joe walks Dolly to her room, telling her to put the past behind her for it has had no effect on her beauty. Dolly, overcome with emotion, tells Joe that she will always pray for him with gratitude, for all that he has gone through and for what she put him through. He tells her of his old hope, when he first ran away, that he could return a rich man and marry. But now, he tells her, he hopes she will tell her future husband good things about him.
The riots are now over; more than two hundred people are dead. Mrs. Rudge has been ill but is now recovered. She visits Barnaby in prison and warns him not to acknowledge that Rudge is his father. She stops to talk to her husband in his cell, pleading with him to confess his guilt, but he refuses. Lord George Gordon is arrested. Although he had but recently led over forty thousand people, he walks to prison alone.
Dennis is arrested and taken to prison. He is terrified when he sees that his cellmate is Hugh. He fears that Hugh will take revenge on him, but Hugh assures him that all he wants to do now is die in peace. He speaks of his mother, who was hanged at Tyburn. Dennis becomes interested and wants to hear more, but Hugh ignores him and goes to sleep.
(The entire section is 442 words.)
Chapters 75-78 Summary
A month has gone by, and the trials of the rioters have concluded. Hugh, Dennis, and Barnaby are found guilty and sentenced to be hanged. Sir John Chester has followed the trials in the newspapers. He is at home when a visitor is announced. It is Gabriel Varden, and he has vital information to relate to Sir John. Dennis had asked Varden to give Sir John a message. Some twenty years previously, Dennis had hanged a gypsy woman who had been convicted of passing counterfeit money out of desperation. She told the hangman that she would like to kill the father of her child. She would not give his name, but through information derived from another prisoner years later, who had been her friend, Dennis learned that the man’s name was Chester. Gabriel begs Sir John to acknowledge Hugh as his son, especially since he has driven his legitimate son, Edward, from his door. Sir John refuses, and Gabriel leaves. Sir John is shaken by the news that he is the father of so uncouth a person, but he is sure this news will not pass the prison doors.
In the prison courtyard, Barnaby sits with his mother, who has spent every waking hour with her son. He seems to be unconscious of his fate coming the next day. Hugh is indifferent to his approaching death, but Dennis frantically tries to convince himself (and others) that he will be pardoned before the fateful hour. When the end of the day comes, Mrs. Rudge sends Barnaby to fetch a book for her, but when he leaves she becomes hysterical and must be carried out. Dennis tries to get the prison guard to let him stay in the yard for one more hour and begs him to seek the “missing” letter of his reprieve.
On the morning of their execution, Hugh, Dennis, and Barnaby wait in their cell for the coming of noon. A clergyman comes to speak with them. Hugh seems not to care. Barnaby says he is looking forward to dying, that much will be revealed to him. Dennis continues to beg for mercy. Hugh has only one regret: If he could give his life to save Barnaby, he would do so, because it is only because of Hugh that Barnaby joined the rioters. As they are led to the gallows, rioters all over London meet a similar fate.
Joe Willet tells his father that there is nothing for him in England since he lost his arm, so he is considering going with Edward Chester to the West Indies, where Edward has spent the past five years and made some success. Before Mr. Willet can respond, Dolly interrupts, throwing...
(The entire section is 473 words.)
Chapters 79-82 Summary
Edward Chester and Mr. Haredale talk together, having made their peace. Mr. Haredale gives his blessing on Emma and Edward’s marriage, announcing that he is going to the Continent to join a monastery for the last few remaining years of his life. As they speak, they hear a loud shouting from outside. They look out and see a mob coming forward, bearing Gabriel Varden and Barnaby, who has been released from prison. Mrs. Rudge has come to live with the Vardens, so mother and son are soon reunited. That night, at midnight, Edward Chester attends Hugh’s burial, having recently learned that he was his brother. He had requested to meet Hugh before his execution, but Hugh refused.
Mr. and Mrs. Varden, Dolly, and Joe talk about the past and can laugh about it now. Mrs. Varden has changed considerably; she is now happy and content. A knock on the door interrupts their festivities. When the door is opened, Miggs walks in, accompanied by her nephew, who is helping her with her trunk. Miggs announces that she has returned, having refused an offer from her married sister to live with her free of charge. As she carries her trunk up the stairs to her old room, Mr. Varden asks his wife if this is what she wants. Mrs. Varden tells him to throw Miggs out of the house immediately. Miggs is shocked, certain that the family will come to ruin without her. She insults and laughs at the Vardens, who make no response. Finally she pulls her nephew’s hair and criticizes him for not helping her with her trunk more quickly, but he refuses to accompany her any more and leaves. The Vardens help Miggs to the street.
Before he leaves for the Continent, Mr. Haredale decides to go for one last visit to the Warren. He is advised to take a sword with him because the roads have not been safe since the rioting. Mr. Haredale passes the Maypole and is glad to see that there is smoke once again rising from the chimneys. He arrives at the ruins of his home and circles the ashes. He sits under a tree to contemplate his life there, when he hears a voice address him. It is Sir John Chester, who finds it fateful that they have met once again at this place. They duel, and Mr. Haredale plunges his sword into Sir John’s heart.
Mr. Haredale escapes to the Continent and enters a monastery. Sir John Chester’s valet, upon learning of his master’s death, steals all his money and has some success before he is imprisoned and dies in jail. Lord George Gordon...
(The entire section is 618 words.)