Charles Dickens

He had hardly done so, when he observed that those who advanced were a gentleman and his servant; almost at the same moment he recognised Lord George Gordon, before whom he stood uncovered, with his eyes turned towards the ground.

'Good day!' said Lord George, not reining in his horse until he was close beside him. 'Well!'

'All quiet, sir, all safe!' cried Barnaby. 'The rest are away-- they went by that path--that one. A grand party!'

'Ay?' said Lord George, looking thoughtfully at him. 'And you?'

'Oh! They left me here to watch--to mount guard--to keep everything secure till they come back. I'll do it, sir, for your sake. You're a good gentleman; a kind gentleman--ay, you are. There are many against you, but we'll be a match for them, never fear!'

'What's that?' said Lord George--pointing to the raven who was peeping out of the stable-door--but still looking thoughtfully, and in some perplexity, it seemed, at Barnaby.

'Why, don't you know!' retorted Barnaby, with a wondering laugh. 'Not know what HE is! A bird, to be sure. My bird--my friend-- Grip.'

'A devil, a kettle, a Grip, a Polly, a Protestant, no Popery!' cried the raven.

'Though, indeed,' added Barnaby, laying his hand upon the neck of Lord George's horse, and speaking softly: 'you had good reason to ask me what he is, for sometimes it puzzles me--and I am used to him--to think he's only a bird. He's my brother, Grip is--always with me--always talking--always merry--eh, Grip?'

The raven answered by an affectionate croak, and hopping on his master's arm, which he held downward for that purpose, submitted with an air of perfect indifference to be fondled, and turned his restless, curious eye, now upon Lord George, and now upon his man.

Lord George, biting his nails in a discomfited manner, regarded Barnaby for some time in silence; then beckoning to his servant, said:

'Come hither, John.'

John Grueby touched his hat, and came.

'Have you ever seen this young man before?' his master asked in a low voice.

'Twice, my lord,' said John. 'I saw him in the crowd last night and Saturday.'

'Did--did it seem to you that his manner was at all wild or strange?' Lord George demanded, faltering.

'Mad,' said John, with emphatic brevity.

'And why do you think him mad, sir?' said his master, speaking in a peevish tone. 'Don't use that word too freely. Why do you think him mad?'

'My lord,' John Grueby answered, 'look at his dress, look at his eyes, look at his restless way, hear him cry "No Popery!" Mad, my lord.'

'So because one man dresses unlike another,' returned his angry master, glancing at himself; 'and happens to differ from other men in his carriage and manner, and to advocate a great cause which the corrupt and irreligious desert, he is to be accounted mad, is he?'

'Stark, staring, raving, roaring mad, my lord,' returned the unmoved John.

'Do you say this to my face?' cried his master, turning sharply upon him.

'To any man, my lord, who asks me,' answered John.

'Mr Gashford, I find, was right,' said Lord George; 'I thought him prejudiced, though I ought to have known a man like him better than to have supposed it possible!'

'I shall never have Mr Gashford's good word, my lord,' replied John, touching his hat respectfully, 'and I don't covet it.'

'You are an ill-conditioned, most ungrateful fellow,' said Lord George: 'a spy, for anything I know. Mr Gashford is perfectly correct, as I might have felt convinced he was. I have done wrong to retain you in my service. It is a tacit insult to him as my choice and confidential friend to do so, remembering the cause you sided with, on the day he was maligned at Westminster. You will leave me to-night--nay, as soon as we reach home. The sooner the better.'

'If it comes to that, I say so too, my lord. Let Mr Gashford have his will. As to my being a spy, my lord, you know me better than to believe it, I am sure. I don't know much about causes. My cause is the cause of one man against two hundred; and I hope it always will be.'

'You have said quite enough,' returned Lord George, motioning him to go back.