Charles Dickens: Barnaby Rudge

Chapter 1 (continued)

'I was up early next morning after a restless night, and told the story to my neighbours. Some were serious and some made light of it; I don't think anybody believed it real. But, that morning, Mr Reuben Haredale was found murdered in his bedchamber; and in his hand was a piece of the cord attached to an alarm-bell outside the roof, which hung in his room and had been cut asunder, no doubt by the murderer, when he seized it.

'That was the bell I heard.

'A bureau was found opened, and a cash-box, which Mr Haredale had brought down that day, and was supposed to contain a large sum of money, was gone. The steward and gardener were both missing and both suspected for a long time, but they were never found, though hunted far and wide. And far enough they might have looked for poor Mr Rudge the steward, whose body--scarcely to be recognised by his clothes and the watch and ring he wore--was found, months afterwards, at the bottom of a piece of water in the grounds, with a deep gash in the breast where he had been stabbed with a knife. He was only partly dressed; and people all agreed that he had been sitting up reading in his own room, where there were many traces of blood, and was suddenly fallen upon and killed before his master.

Everybody now knew that the gardener must be the murderer, and though he has never been heard of from that day to this, he will be, mark my words. The crime was committed this day two-and-twenty years--on the nineteenth of March, one thousand seven hundred and fifty-three. On the nineteenth of March in some year--no matter when--I know it, I am sure of it, for we have always, in some strange way or other, been brought back to the subject on that day ever since--on the nineteenth of March in some year, sooner or later, that man will be discovered.'

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