None, Mr Akerman. Youll do your duty, and Ill do mine. Once again, you robbers and cut-throats, said the locksmith, turning round upon them, I refuse. Ah! Howl till youre hoarse. I refuse.
Staystay! said the jailer, hastily. Mr Varden, I know you for a worthy man, and one who would do no unlawful act except upon compulsion
Upon compulsion, sir, interposed the locksmith, who felt that the tone in which this was said, conveyed the speakers impression that he had ample excuse for yielding to the furious multitude who beset and hemmed him in, on every side, and among whom he stood, an old man, quite alone; upon compulsion, sir, Ill do nothing.
Where is that man, said the keeper, anxiously, who spoke to me just now?
Here! Hugh replied.
Do you know what the guilt of murder is, and that by keeping that honest tradesman at your side you endanger his life!
We know it very well, he answered, for what else did we bring him here? Lets have our friends, master, and you shall have your friend. Is that fair, lads?
The mob replied to him with a loud Hurrah!
You see how it is, sir? cried Varden. Keep em out, in King Georges name. Remember what I have said. Good night!
There was no more parley. A shower of stones and other missiles compelled the keeper of the jail to retire; and the mob, pressing on, and swarming round the walls, forced Gabriel Varden close up to the door.
In vain the basket of tools was laid upon the ground before him, and he was urged in turn by promises, by blows, by offers of reward, and threats of instant death, to do the office for which they had brought him there. No, cried the sturdy locksmith, I will not!
He had never loved his life so well as then, but nothing could move him. The savage faces that glared upon him, look where he would; the cries of those who thirsted, like wild animals, for his blood; the sight of men pressing forward, and trampling down their fellows, as they strove to reach him, and struck at him above the heads of other men, with axes and with iron bars; all failed to daunt him. He looked from man to man, and face to face, and still, with quickened breath and lessening colour, cried firmly, I will not!
Dennis dealt him a blow upon the face which felled him to the ground. He sprung up again like a man in the prime of life, and with blood upon his forehead, caught him by the throat.
You cowardly dog! he said: Give me my daughter. Give me my daughter.
They struggled together. Some cried Kill him, and some (but they were not near enough) strove to trample him to death. Tug as he would at the old mans wrists, the hangman could not force him to unclench his hands.
Is this all the return you make me, you ungrateful monster? he articulated with great difficulty, and with many oaths.
Give me my daughter! cried the locksmith, who was now as fierce as those who gathered round him: Give me my daughter!
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