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 Protestant Association, and then break out in a No-Popery Dance.