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...

(The entire section is 549 words.)