Page:Court Royal.djvu/87

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.


were all participators in the pyre, had subscribed coin, or contributed fuel for its erection.

After she had locked up the house, Joanna retired to a window of the first floor, whence she could follow the proceedings. The Barbican was alive with people, and heads were protruded from all the windows. The evening was fine, no rain fell, no fog hung over the water and wharf. Joanna was girl enough to enjoy a blaze; though old beyond her years in her views of life and of men, she had not lost childlike pleasure in what is beautiful and what is exciting.

Presently Joanna heard the bray of a horn, and the hubbub of voices mingled with jeers, laughter, and whoops. A moment after a crowd of boys, young men, and girls poured down the narrow street that debouches on the quay, carrying in their midst, supported on their shoulders, seated on a chair above their heads, the Guy Fawkes. Torches were borne and waved about the figure, and on its reaching the open space a Bengal light blazed up.

Joanna saw at a glance whom the effigy was designed to represent, and why the celebration had evoked so much interest on this occasion.

The figure was that of Mr. Lazarus. There could be no mistaking it. His peculiarities of costume and attitude had been hit off with real genius. A mask had been made or obtained with a sausage nose, like his, and a smirk on the thick lips, like his. His old fur cap, with flaps to cover the ears, which he wore in the shop, was faithfully reproduced; so also his long-tailed greatcoat; his black tie, which would turn with the knot under the ear, without a vestige of linen collar. The effigy was represented holding a ham-bone, which it was gnawing.

The crowd flowed from the street, and spread over the Barbican open space. The figure was planted in front of the Golden Balls, and three groans were given for Lazarus the Jew.

Joanna withdrew from the window that the people might not have the satisfaction of seeing that they were observed. Her face flamed with indignation and desire of revenge. She ascended a chest of drawers in the store chamber nearest the face of the house, whence she could watch proceedings unobserved. After the groans for Lazarus, a silence fell on the mob, and expectant looks were cast at his door. They supposed that the Jew, frenzied with rage, would rush forth,