A Tale of the Riots of 'Eighty
Based around the Gordon riots of 1780 as seen through the eyes of the simple but good-hearted Barnaby Rudge. The fanatical anti-Catholic Lord George Gordon is treated with some sympathy in the novel, which concludes with a panoramic description of the riots. One of two works that Dickens published in his short-lived weekly serial Master Humphrey's Clock, this was Dickens' first attempt at a historical novel.
all just mention; it was at the time when press warrants were issued, on the alarm about Falkland Islands. The woman's husband was pressed, their goods seized for some debts of his, and she, with two small children, turned into the streets a-begging. It is a circumstance not to be forgotten, that she was very young (under nineteen), and most remarkably handsome. She went to a linen-draper's shop, took some coarse linen off the counter, and slipped it under her cloak; the shopman saw her, and she laid it down: for this she was hanged. Her defence was (I have the trial in my pocket), "that she had lived in credit, and wanted for nothing, till a press-gang came and stole her husband from her; but since then, she had no bed to lie on; nothing to give her children to eat; and they were almost naked; and perhaps she might have done something wrong, for she hardly knew what she did." The parish officers testified the truth of this story; but it seems, there had been a good deal of shop-lifting ab