- “The man glanced at the parish-clerk, whose air of consciousness and importance plainly betokened him to be the person referred to” is a quotation from Barnaby Rudge (Chapter 1).
- Barnaby Rudge was the fifth novel from Charles Dickens, and first appeared as a weekly serial published in Master Humphrey’s Clock, from February 1841 to November 1841. It is the first of Dickens’s two historical novels (the other being A Tale of Two Cities). Barnaby Rudge is largely set around the time of the Gordon Riots of 1780.
Description of Solomon Daisy, the parish clerk in Chigwell, Essex. In Chapter 1 of Barnaby Rudge Daisy is at the Maypole public house, recounting a story to fellow drinkers from 24-years earlier, to the very night, of the murder of Reuben Haredale, owner of The Warren, the local manor house.
‘That,’ returned the landlord, a little brought down from his dignity by the stranger’s surliness, ‘is a Maypole story, and has been any time these four-and-twenty years. That story is Solomon Daisy’s story. It belongs to the house; and nobody but Solomon Daisy has ever told it under this roof, or ever shall—that’s more.’
The man glanced at the parish-clerk, whose air of consciousness and importance plainly betokened him to be the person referred to, and, observing that he had taken his pipe from his lips, after a very long whiff to keep it alight, and was evidently about to tell his story without further solicitation, gathered his large coat about him, and shrinking further back was almost lost in the gloom of the spacious chimney-corner, except when the flame, struggling from under a great faggot, whose weight almost crushed it for the time, shot upward with a strong and sudden glare, and illumining his figure for a moment, seemed afterwards to cast it into deeper obscurity than before.
By this flickering light, which made the old room, with its heavy timbers and panelled walls, look as if it were built of polished ebony—the wind roaring and howling without, now rattling the latch and creaking the hinges of the stout oaken door, and now driving at the casement as though it would beat it in—by this light, and under circumstances so auspicious, Solomon Daisy began his tale:
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