They walked out into the courtyard, clinging to each other, but not speaking. Barnaby knew that the jail was a dull, sad, miserable place, and looked forward to tomorrow, as to a passage from it to something bright and beautiful. He had a vague impression too, that he was expected to be brave—that he was a man of great consequence, and that the prison people would be glad to make him weep. He trod the ground more firmly as he thought of this, and bade her take heart and cry no more, and feel how steady his hand was. ‘They call me silly, mother. They shall see to-morrow!’

Dennis and Hugh were in the courtyard. Hugh came forth from his cell as they did, stretching himself as though he had been sleeping. Dennis sat upon a bench in a corner, with his knees and chin huddled together, and rocked himself to and fro like a person in severe pain.

The mother and son remained on one side of the court, and these two men upon the other. Hugh strode up and down, glancing fiercely every now and then at the bright summer sky, and looking round, when he had done so, at the walls.

‘No reprieve, no reprieve! Nobody comes near us. There’s only the night left now!’ moaned Dennis faintly, as he wrung his hands. ‘Do you think they’ll reprieve me in the night, brother? I’ve known reprieves come in the night, afore now. I’ve known ’em come as late as five, six, and seven o’clock in the morning. Don’t you think there’s a good chance yet,—don’t you? Say you do. Say you do, young man,’ whined the miserable creature, with an imploring gesture towards Barnaby, ‘or I shall go mad!’

‘Better be mad than sane, here,’ said Hugh. ‘GO mad.’

‘But tell me what you think. Somebody tell me what he thinks!’ cried the wretched object,—so mean, and wretched, and despicable, that even Pity’s self might have turned away, at sight of such a being in the likeness of a man—’isn’t there a chance for me,— isn’t there a good chance for me? Isn’t it likely they may be doing this to frighten me? Don’t you think it is? Oh!’ he almost shrieked, as he wrung his hands, ‘won’t anybody give me comfort!’

‘You ought to be the best, instead of the worst,’ said Hugh, stopping before him. ‘Ha, ha, ha! See the hangman, when it comes home to him!’

‘You don’t know what it is,’ cried Dennis, actually writhing as he spoke: ‘I do. That I should come to be worked off! I! I! That I should come!’

‘And why not?’ said Hugh, as he thrust back his matted hair to get a better view of his late associate. ‘How often, before I knew your trade, did I hear you talking of this as if it was a treat?’

‘I an’t unconsistent,’ screamed the miserable creature; ‘I’d talk so again, if I was hangman. Some other man has got my old opinions at this minute. That makes it worse. Somebody’s longing to work me off. I know by myself that somebody must be!’

‘He’ll soon have his longing,’ said Hugh, resuming his walk. ‘Think of that, and be quiet.’

Although one of these men displayed, in his speech and bearing, the most reckless hardihood; and the other, in his every word and action, testified such an extreme of abject cowardice that it was humiliating to see him; it would be difficult to say which of them would most have repelled and shocked an observer. Hugh’s was the dogged desperation of a savage at the stake; the hangman was reduced to a condition little better, if any, than that of a hound with the halter round his neck. Yet, as Mr Dennis knew and could have told them, these were the two commonest states of mind in persons brought to their pass. Such was the wholesome growth of the seed sown by the law, that this kind of harvest was usually looked for, as a matter of course.

In one respect they all agreed. The wandering and uncontrollable train of thought, suggesting sudden recollections of things distant and long forgotten and remote from each other—the vague restless craving

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