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.