Barnaby Rudge
  • There are strings in the human heart that had better not be vibrated” is a quotation from Barnaby Rudge (Chapter 22).


Quotation said by the character Simon Tappertit.


Taken from the following passage in Chapter 22 of Barnaby Rudge:

Mr Tappertit, who was not in the best of humours, and who disliked Miss Miggs more when she laid her hand on her heart and panted for breath than at any other time, as her deficiency of outline was most apparent under such circumstances, eyed her over in his loftiest style, and deigned to express no curiosity whatever.

‘I never heard the like, nor nobody else,’ pursued Miggs. ‘The idea of interfering with HER. What people can see in her to make it worth their while to do so, that’s the joke—he he he!’

Finding there was a lady in the case, Mr Tappertit haughtily requested his fair friend to be more explicit, and demanded to know what she meant by ‘her.’

‘Why, that Dolly,’ said Miggs, with an extremely sharp emphasis on the name. ‘But, oh upon my word and honour, young Joseph Willet is a brave one; and he do deserve her, that he do.’

‘Woman!’ said Mr Tappertit, jumping off the counter on which he was seated; ‘beware!’

‘My stars, Simmun!’ cried Miggs, in affected astonishment. ‘You frighten me to death! What’s the matter?’

There are strings,’ said Mr Tappertit, flourishing his bread-and-cheese knife in the air, ‘in the human heart that had better not be wibrated. That’s what’s the matter.’

‘Oh, very well—if you’re in a huff,’ cried Miggs, turning away.

‘Huff or no huff,’ said Mr Tappertit, detaining her by the wrist. ‘What do you mean, Jezebel? What were you going to say? Answer me!’

Notwithstanding this uncivil exhortation, Miggs gladly did as she was required; and told him how that their young mistress, being alone in the meadows after dark, had been attacked by three or four tall men, who would have certainly borne her away and perhaps murdered her, but for the timely arrival of Joseph Willet, who with his own single hand put them all to flight, and rescued her; to the lasting admiration of his fellow-creatures generally, and to the eternal love and gratitude of Dolly Varden.

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