Barnaby Rudge (Penguin Classics) by Charles Dickens

By Charles Dickens

Set opposed to the backdrop of the Gordon Riots of 1780, Barnaby Rudge is a narrative of poser and suspense which starts off with an unsolved double homicide and is going directly to contain conspiracy, blackmail, abduction and retribution. in the course of the process the radical fathers and sons turn into adversarial, apprentices plot opposed to their masters and Protestants conflict with Catholics at the streets. And, as London erupts into rebellion, Barnaby Rudge himself struggles to flee the curse of his personal prior. With its dramatic descriptions of public violence and personal horror, its unusual secrets and techniques and ghostly doublings, Barnaby Rudge is a robust, demanding mixture of old realism and Gothic melodrama.

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Example text

The words of living people will be preserved by me. I want you to hear their voices, just as if you were riding with us. ’ I have another request to make. I hope you will forgive me if I do not introduce people precisely in their order of rank. Put it down to my general stupidity. Well. Enough of this rambling. Our HOST gave us all good cheer, and set down a tasty supper for us on the table. ’ He served us good fish and flesh; the wine was strong and potable. We all agreed, after our leather cups were filled, that the landlord was an attractive man.

Her cloak was well made and finely embroidered, and about her arm she carried a rosary of coral with green beads. That was not her only decoration. She sported a bracelet of gold that was surmounted by the letter ‘A’ and then, beneath, the legend ‘Amor vincit omnia’. Love conquers everything. I presume that she was referring to divine love. I did not ask her about that, either. In fact she seemed a little cautious of me, and I would sometimes catch her staring at me with a perplexed expression.

I had studied there, for a short time, and we exchanged anecdotes about the wild apprentices of law. I soon discovered his acumen, however, in the buying of stores and provisions. He told me that cash or credit was good enough, as long as the purchaser looked ahead and waited for the right moment. ’ I thought this was an excellent saying. I must remember it. Is it not an example of God’s grace that such an unlearned man should outpace the wisdom of all the learned pates in the Inner Temple? He had thirty masters above him, all of them skilled in matters of law.

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