"Tender-hearted!" echoed Dennis. "Tender-hearted! Look at this man. Do you call this constitootional? Do you see him shot through and through instead of being worked off like a Briton? Damme, if I know which party to side with." by Fred Barnard. 1874. 3 ⅝ x 5 ⅜ inches (9.9 cm by 13.6 cm), framed. Dickens's Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of 'Eighty, Chapter LXX, 272.

Context of the Illustration: Dennis laments not getting to hang Stagg for vandalism

Some of them hurried up to where he lay;—the hangman with them. Everything had passed so quickly, that the smoke had not yet scattered, but curled slowly off in a little cloud, which seemed like the dead man’s spirit moving solemnly away. There were a few drops of blood upon the grass—more, when they turned him over — that was all.

"Look here! Look here!" said the hangman, stooping one knee beside the body, and gazing up with a disconsolate face at the officer and men. ‘Here’s a pretty sight!"

"Stand out of the way," replied the officer. "Sergeant! see what he had about him."

The man turned his pockets out upon the grass, and counted, besides some foreign coins and two rings, five-and-forty guineas in gold. These were bundled up in a handkerchief and carried away; the body remained there for the present, but six men and the serjeant were left to take it to the nearest public-house.

"Now then, if you’re going," said the serjeant, clapping Dennis on the back, and pointing after the officer who was walking towards the shed.

To which Mr. Dennis only replied, "Don’t talk to me!" and then repeated what he had said before, namely, "Here’s a pretty sight!"

"It’s not one that you care for much, I should think," observed the sergeant coolly.

"Why, who," said Mr Dennis rising, "should care for it, if I don’t?"

"Oh! I didn’t know you was so tender-hearted," said the sergeant. "That’s all!"

"Tender-hearted!" echoed Dennis. "Tender-hearted! Look at this man. Do you call this constitootional? Do you see him shot through and through instead of being worked off like a Briton? Damme, if I know which party to side with. You’re as bad as the other. What’s to become of the country if the military power’s to go a superseding the ciwilians in this way? Where’s this poor feller-creetur’s rights as a citizen, that he didn’t have ME in his last moments! I was here. I was willing. I was ready. These are nice times, brother, to have the dead crying out against us in this way, and sleep comfortably in our beds arterwards; wery nice!" [Chapter LXIX, 270]


The public hangman, Ned Dennis, now back in the government camp after working with the leaders of the rebellion, laments the fact that he will not get to "work off" or hang Stagg for looting. Dickens uses the hangman for macabre comedy as he insists upon a British subject's rights under the Constitution to be tried in court before he is executed; but, of course, jolly Ned is really defending his position as the government's agent of capital punishment, and has no concern whatsoever about a possible violation of the offender's civil rights.

Related Material including Other Illustrated Editions of Barnaby Rudge

Scanned image, colour correction, sizing, caption, and commentary by Philip V. Allingham. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose, as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned the image, and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.] Click on the image to enlarge it.


Dickens, Charles. Barnaby Rudge in Master Humphrey's Clock. Illustrated by Phiz and George Cattermole. 3 vols. London: Chapman and Hall, 1841.

_______. Barnaby Rudge. Illustrated by Sol Eytinge, Jr. The Diamond Edition. 16 vols. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1867.

________. Barnaby Rudge — A Tale of the Riots of 'Eighty. Illustrated by Fred Barnard. The Household Edition. 22 vols. London: Chapman and Hall, 1874. VII.

________. The Dickens Souvenir Book. London: Chapman & Hall, 1912.

Hammerton, J. A. "Ch. XIV. Barnaby Rudge." The Dickens Picture-Book. The Charles Dickens Library Edition, illustrated by Harry Furniss. London: Educational Book Co., 1910. 213-55.

Last modified 20 October 2020