Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

by the crowd. No change of feature proclaimed a consciousness on her part of this disgraceful treatment, until the tall man before mentioned approached the carriage, and thrust his head insolently into the window.

“ Good day, duchess,” he said, touching his hat, and leering impudently—“ you wont refuse us a few crowns to drink Doctor Sacheverell's health, and the downfall of the Whigs, eh ?" '

“ Back, ruffian,” she cried; “ drive on, coachman.” “ Not so quick, duchess,” replied the fellow, with a coarse laugh.

And turning to two men near him, almost as ill-looking and stalwart as himself, he added, “here, Dan Dammaree, and you, Frank Willis,—to the horses' heads-quick !"

The command was so promptly obeyed, that before Brumby could apply the whip, the horses were checked.

“ You see how it is, duchess,” pursued the fellow, with a detestable grin, “we must have what we ask, or we shall be compelled to escort you back to Marlborough House.”

This speech was received with cheers and laughter by the by-standers, and several voices exclaimed, “ Ay-ay, George Purchase is right. We must have wherewithal to drink the doctor's deliverance, or the carriage shall go back.”

Purchase was about to renew his demand, and in yet more insolent terms, when a strong grasp was placed on his collar, and he was hurled forcibly backwards, among the crowd.

On recovering himself, he saw that he had been displaced by a tall man in a serjeant's uniform, who now stood before the carriage window, and regarded him and his friends menacingly.

“Down with him!" roared Purchase ; "he's a Whig-a dissenter-down with him !”

“ Ay, down with him !” echoed a hundred voices.

And the threat would no doubt have been carried into execution, if at this juncture, a body of the horse-guards had not ridden up, their captain having perceived that the Duchess of Marlborough was molested in her progress. The men then quitted their hold of the horses' heads, and Brumby putting the carriage in motion, the serjeant sprang up behind it among the footmen, and was borne away.

A few minutes after this disturbance, loud and prolonged cheering proclaimed the approach of the idol of the mob. Sacheverell was attended, as before, by a vast retinue of admirers, who carried their hats, decorated with oak-leaves, at the end of truncheons, which they waved as they marched along.

As the chariot advanced, the beholders instantly uncovered to the doctor, and those who refused this mark of respect had their hats knocked off. Sacheverell was accompanied by Doctors Atterbury, and Smallridge, who were occupied in examining certain packets which had been flung into the carriage by different ladies, as it passed along, and the contents of most of which proved to be valuable.

When the carriage reached Whitehall, the shouts were almost deafening, and hundreds pressed round the doctor, invoking blessings on his head, and praying for his benediction in return. This was readily accorded by Sacheverell, who, rising in the carriage, extended his hands over the multitude, crying out, with great apparent fervour-" Heaven bless you, my brethren! and preserve you from the snares of

your enemies !” “ And you too, doctor," cried the rough voice of Purchase, who was standing near him. “ We'll let your persecutors see to-night what they may expect from us, if they dare to find you guilty."

“Ay, that we will,” responded others.

We'll begin by burnin' down the meetin’-houses,” shouted Daniel Dammaree. “ The Whigs shall have a bonfire to warm their choppy fingers at.”

“Say the word, doctor, and we'll pull down the Bishop o' Salisbury's house," roared Frank Willis.

“ Or the lord chancellor's," cried Purchase.

“Or Jack Dolben's,—he who moved for your reverence's impeachment;" cried Daniel Dammaree.

At the inention of Mr. Dolben's name, a deep groan broke from the crowd.

“ Shall we set fire to Mr. Hoadley's church, Saint Peter's Poor, eh, doctor?” said Purchase.

“On no account, my friends—my worthy friends,” replied Sacheverell. “Abstain from all acts of violence, I implore of you. Otherwise, you will injure the cause you profess to serve."

“But, doctor, we can't come out for nothing,” urged Purchase. “No, no, we must earn a livelihood,” said Willis.

“ I charge you to be peaceable,” rejoined the doctor, sitting down hastily in the carriage.

“Notwithstanding what he says, we'll pull down Doctor Burgess's meetin' house in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, to-night, cried Dammaree, as the carriage was driven forward.

“Right," cried a little man, with his hat pulled over his brows, it will convince the enemies of the high church that we're in earnest. The doctor may talk as he pleases, but I know a tumult will be agreeable, as well as serviceable to him.”

“Say you so," cried Purchase; “then we'll do it. We meet at seven in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, comrades."

Agreed,” cried a hundred voices. “And don't forget to bring your clubs with you, comrades, cried Frank Willis

“That we wont,” replied the others.

“I must keep them up to it,” said the short man, with the hat pulled over his brows, to himself. “ This will be pleasing intelligence to Mr. Harley.”

The proceedings at Westminster Hall were opened by Sir Joseph Jekyll, who, addressing himself to the first article of the impeachment, was followed by the attorney-general, Sir John Holland, Mr. Walpole, and General Stanhope, the latter of whom, in a spirited speech, declared that if "that insignificant tool of a party, Doctor Sacheverell, had delivered his sermon in a conventicle of disaffected persons, maintained by some deluded women, no notice should have been taken of so nonsensical a discourse; but as he had preached it where it might do great mischief, his offence deserved the severest animadversion."

At these scornful remarks, the doctor, who had maintained an unconcerned demeanour during the speeches of the other managers, turned very pale, and with difficulty refrained from giving utterance to his

angry

emotion. Soon after this, Mr. Dolben spoke, and, in the heat of his discourse, glancing at Atterbury and Smallridge, who were standing at the bar behind Sacheverell, he cried—“When I see before me these false brethren--"

The words were scarcely uttered, when Lord Haversham rose, and interrupted him.

“I cannot allow such an expression to pass without reproof, sir," cried his lordship. “ You have passed a reflection upon the whole body of the clergy. I move, my lords, that the honourable gentleman explain.”

“ Ay, ay, explain,” cried several voices from the benches of the lords.

“What mean you by the expression you have used, sir ?” demanded the chancellor.

“ Nothing, my lord,” replied Mr. Dolben. “ It was a mere inadvertence. I should have said false brother, for I referred only to the prisoner at the bar."

“The explanation is scarcely satisfactory,” replied Lord Haversham ; “ and I must admonish the honourable gentleman to be more guarded in what he says in future. Such slips of the tongue are liable to misconstruction.”

Slight as this occurrence was, it was turned to great advantage by Sacheverell's partisans, who construed it into a complete betrayal of the intentions of their opponents to attack the whole church in his person.

When Mr. Dolben concluded his speech, the court adjourned, and the doctor was conducted to his lodgings in the same triumphant manner as before.

CHAPTER THE SIXTH.

HOW THE MEETING-HOUSES WERE DESTROYED BY THE MOB.

As evening drew in, the peaceable inhabitants of Lincoln'sInn-Fields were terrified by the appearance of several hundred persons, armed with bludgeons, muskets, and swords, and headed by three tall men with faces blackened with soot, who, after parading their wild retinue about the square for a quarter of an hour, during which its numbers were greatly increased, paused beneath a lamp-post, when the tallest of the trio, clambering up it, took upon him to address a few words to the mob. As he ceased, shouts were raised of “Well said, George Purchase. Down with the meeting-houses! Down with the meeting-houses !"

“Ay, down with them !” rejoined Purchase. Let's begin with Doctor Burgess's ; it's the nearest at hand. Come on, lads. We'll have all the meeting-houses down before morning. Come on, I say. High church and Sacheverell for ever-huzza!”

With this, he leaped down, and brandishing a naked hanger which he held in his grasp, ran towards the corner of the square, and entered a little court, at the end of which stood the doomed meeting-house. Several of the mob who followed him bore links, so that a wild, unsteady light was thrown upon

the scene.

The court was quickly crowded to excess, and an attack was made upon the door, which proved strong enough to resist the combined efforts of Purchase and Dammaree.

While these ruffians were hurling themselves against it, and calling for implements to burst it open, a window was unfastened, and a venerable face appeared at it.

“What do you want, my friends?” asked the person, in a mild voice.

" It's Doctor Burgess himself,” cried several voices. And a most terrific yell was raised, which seemed to find an echo from the furthest part of the square.

“We want to get in, old Poundtext,” replied Purchase; “SO unlock the door, and look quick about it, or it'll be worse for

“ Your errand is wrongful,” cried Doctor Burgess. “I beseech you to retire, and take away those you have brought with you. I shall resist your violence as long as I can; nor shall you enter this sacred place except over my body."

“ Your blood be upon your own head then,” rejoined Purchase, fiercely. “ Curse ye!” he added to those behind him. there nothing to break open the door ?"

“ Here's a sledge-hammer,” cried a swarthy-visaged knave, with his shirt sleeves turned up above the elbow, and a leathern apron tied round his waist, forcing his way towards him. Purchase snatched the hammer from him, raised it, and dashed it against the door, which flew open with a tremendous crash.

you."

- Is 6 let us

But the entrance of the intruders was opposed by Doctor Burgess, who planted himself in their way, and raising his arm menacingly, cried, “ Get hence, sacrilegious villains, or dread the anger of Heaven !”

“ We are the servants of the church, and therefore under the special protection of Heaven,” cried Purchase, derisively;

pass,

I say, or I'll cut you down.” “ You shall never pass while I can hinder you,” rejoined Doctor Burgess. “ I have not much force of body; but such as I have I will oppose to you, violent man." “ Since

you wont be warned, you hoary-headed dotard, take your fate," cried Purchase, seizing him by the throat, and dashing him backwards so forcibly, that his head came in contact with the edge of a pew, and he lay senseless and bleeding on the ground.

As the doctor fell, a young man, who had not been hitherto noticed, rushed forward, crying, in a voice of agony and grief, “ Wretches, you have killed him."

“Maybe we have,” rejoined Dammaree, with a terrible imprecation ; " and we'll kill you, too, if you give us any nonsense.”

“ You are he who did it,” cried the young man, attempte ing to seize Purchase. “You are my prisoner.'

" Leave go, fool,” rejoined the other, “ or I'll send you to hell to join your pastor."

But the young man closed with him, and nerved by desperation, succeeded, notwithstanding the other's superior strength, in wresting the hanger from him.

“ Halloa, Dan,” cried Purchase, “just give this madcap a crack on the sconce, will you ?"

Dammaree replied with a blow from a hatchet which he held in his hand. The young man instantly dropped, and the crowd rushing over him, trampled him beneath their feet.

In another minute, the chapel was filled by the rioters, and the work of destruction commenced. The pews were broken to pieces; the benches torn up; the curtains plucked from the windows; the lamps and sconces pulled down; the casements and wainscots destroyed; the cushions, hassocks, and carpets, taken up; and Bibles and hymn-books torn in pieces, and iheir leaves scattered about.

By this time, Doctor Burgess, who had only been stunned, having recovered his senses, he rushed amidst the crowd, exclaiming—“Sacrilegious villains-robbers-murderers, what have you done with my nephew? Where is he?"

“Silence, old man. We have had trouble enough with you already,” rejoined Frank Willis, gruffly.

“Make him mount the pulpit, and cry, 'Sacheverell for ever!” said Dammaree.

“I will perish rather,” cried Doctor Burgess.

66

« EdellinenJatka »