Barnaby Rudge HTML version

Chapter 2
'A strange story!' said the man who had been the cause of the narration.--'Stranger still
if it comes about as you predict. Is that all?'
A question so unexpected, nettled Solomon Daisy not a little. By dint of relating the
story very often, and ornamenting it (according to village report) with a few flourishes
suggested by the various hearers from time to time, he had come by degrees to tell it
with great effect; and 'Is that all?' after the climax, was not what he was accustomed to.
'Is that all?' he repeated, 'yes, that's all, sir. And enough too, I think.'
'I think so too. My horse, young man! He is but a hack hired from a roadside posting
house, but he must carry me to London to- night.'
'To-night!' said Joe.
'To-night,' returned the other. 'What do you stare at? This tavern would seem to be a
house of call for all the gaping idlers of the neighbourhood!'
At this remark, which evidently had reference to the scrutiny he had undergone, as
mentioned in the foregoing chapter, the eyes of John Willet and his friends were
diverted with marvellous rapidity to the copper boiler again. Not so with Joe, who, being
a mettlesome fellow, returned the stranger's angry glance with a steady look, and
'It is not a very bold thing to wonder at your going on to-night. Surely you have been
asked such a harmless question in an inn before, and in better weather than this. I
thought you mightn't know the way, as you seem strange to this part.'
'The way--' repeated the other, irritably.
'Yes. DO you know it?'
'I'll--humph!--I'll find it,' replied the nian, waving his hand and turning on his heel.
'Landlord, take the reckoning here.'
John Willet did as he was desired; for on that point he was seldom slow, except in the
particulars of giving change, and testing the goodness of any piece of coin that was
proffered to him, by the application of his teeth or his tongue, or some other test, or in
doubtful cases, by a long series of tests terminating in its rejection. The guest then
wrapped his garments about him so as to shelter himself as effectually as he could from
the rough weather, and without any word or sign of farewell betook himself to the
stableyard. Here Joe (who had left the room on the conclusion of their short dialogue)