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Title: Jack Sheppard, Vol. I (of III) - A Romance
Author: Ainsworth, William Harrison, 1805-1882
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Volume I. (of III.)

A Romance

By W. Harrison Ainsworth


     _"Upon my word, friend," said I, "you have almost made me
     long to try what a robber I should make." "There is a great
     art in it, if you did," quoth he. "Ah! but," said I,
     "there's a great deal in being hanged."_

     _Life and Actions of Guzman d'Alfarache._




Portrait of the Author to face the Title

Mr. Wood offers to adopt little Jack Sheppard

Jonathan Wild discovers Darrell in the Loft

The Murder on the Thames

The Storm

The Name on the Beam

"May I be cursed if ever I try to be honest again”

Jack Sheppard exhibits a vindictive character

Jack Sheppard accuses Thames Darrell of Theft



On the night of Friday, the 26th of November, 1703, and at the hour
of eleven, the door of a miserable habitation, situated in an obscure
quarter of the Borough of Southwark, known as the Old Mint, was
opened; and a man, with a lantern in his hand, appeared at the
threshold. This person, whose age might be about forty, was attired
in a brown double-breasted frieze coat, with very wide skirts, and a
very narrow collar; a light drugget waistcoat, with pockets reaching
to the knees; black plush breeches; grey worsted hose; and shoes with
round toes, wooden heels, and high quarters, fastened by small silver
buckles. He wore a three-cornered hat, a sandy-coloured scratch wig,
and had a thick woollen wrapper folded round his throat. His clothes
had evidently seen some service, and were plentifully begrimed with
the dust of the workshop. Still he had a decent look, and decidedly
the air of one well-to-do in the world. In stature, he was short and
stumpy; in person, corpulent; and in countenance, sleek, snub-nosed,
and demure.

Immediately behind this individual, came a pale, poverty-stricken
woman, whose forlorn aspect contrasted strongly with his plump and
comfortable physiognomy. She was dressed in a tattered black stuff
gown, discoloured by various stains, and intended, it would seem,
from the remnants of rusty crape with which it was here and there
tricked out, to represent the garb of widowhood, and held in her arms
a sleeping infant, swathed in the folds of a linsey-woolsey shawl.

Notwithstanding her emaciation, her features still retained something
of a pleasing expression, and might have been termed beautiful, had
it not been for that repulsive freshness of lip denoting the habitual
dram-drinker; a freshness in her case rendered the more shocking from
the almost livid hue of the rest of her complexion. She could not be
more than twenty; and though want and other suffering had done the
work of time, had wasted her frame, and robbed her cheek of its bloom
and roundness, they had not extinguished the lustre of her eyes, nor
thinned her raven hair. Checking an ominous cough, that, ever and
anon, convulsed her lungs, the poor woman addressed a few parting
words to her companion, who lingered at the doorway as if he had
something on his mind, which he did not very well know how to

"Well, good night, Mr. Wood," said she, in the deep, hoarse accents
of consumption; "and may God Almighty bless and reward you for your
kindness! You were always the best of masters to my poor husband; and
now you've proved the best of friends to his widow and orphan boy."

"Poh! poh! say no more about it," rejoined the man hastily. "I've
done no more than my duty, Mrs. Sheppard, and neither deserve nor
desire your thanks. 'Whoso giveth to the poor lendeth to the Lord;'
that's my comfort. And such slight relief as I can afford should have
been offered earlier, if I'd known where you'd taken refuge after
your unfortunate husband's--"

"Execution, you would say, Sir," added Mrs. Sheppard, with a deep
sigh, perceiving that her benefactor hesitated to pronounce the word.
"You show more consideration to the feelings of a hempen widow, than
there is any need to show. I'm used to insult as I am to misfortune,
and am grown callous to both; but I'm _not_ used to compassion, and
know not how to take it. My heart would speak if it could, for it
is very full. There was a time, long, long ago, when the tears would
have rushed to my eyes unbidden at the bare mention of generosity
like yours, Mr. Wood; but they never come now. I have never wept
since that day."

"And I trust you will never have occasion to weep again, my poor
soul," replied Wood, setting down his lantern, and brushing a few
drops from his eyes, "unless it be tears of joy. Pshaw!" added he,
making an effort to subdue his emotion, "I can't leave you in this
way. I must stay a minute longer, if only to see you smile."

So saying, he re-entered the house, closed the door, and, followed
by the widow, proceeded to the fire-place, where a handful of chips,
apparently just lighted, crackled within the rusty grate.

The room in which this interview took place had a sordid and
miserable look. Rotten, and covered with a thick coat of dirt, the
boards of the floor presented a very insecure footing; the bare
walls were scored all over with grotesque designs, the chief of
which represented the punishment of Nebuchadnezzar. The rest were
hieroglyphic characters, executed in red chalk and charcoal. The
ceiling had, in many places, given way; the laths had been removed;
and, where any plaster remained, it was either mapped and blistered
with damps, or festooned with dusty cobwebs. Over an old crazy
bedstead was thrown a squalid, patchwork counterpane; and upon the
counterpane lay a black hood and scarf, a pair of bodice of the
cumbrous form in vogue at the beginning of the last century, and some
other articles of female attire. On a small shelf near the foot of
the bed stood a couple of empty phials, a cracked ewer and basin, a
brown jug without a handle, a small tin coffee-pot without a spout,
a saucer of rouge, a fragment of looking-glass, and a flask, labelled
"_Rosa Solis_." Broken pipes littered the floor, if that can be said
to be littered, which, in the first instance, was a mass of squalor
and filth.

Over the chimney-piece was pasted a handbill, purporting to be "_The
last Dying Speech and Confession of_ TOM SHEPPARD, _the Notorious
Housebreaker, who suffered at Tyburn on the 25th of February, 1703._"
This placard was adorned with a rude wood-cut, representing the
unhappy malefactor at the place of execution. On one side of the
handbill a print of the reigning sovereign, Anne, had been pinned
over the portrait of William the Third, whose aquiline nose, keen
eyes, and luxuriant wig, were just visible above the diadem of the
queen. On the other a wretched engraving of the Chevalier de Saint
George, or, as he was styled in the label attached to the portrait,
James the Third, raised a suspicion that the inmate of the house was
not altogether free from some tincture of Jacobitism.

Beneath these prints, a cluster of hobnails, driven into the wall,
formed certain letters, which, if properly deciphered, produced
the words, "_Paul Groves, cobler;_" and under the name, traced in
charcoal, appeared the following record of the poor fellow's fate,
"_Hung himsel' in this rum for luv off licker;_" accompanied by
a graphic sketch of the unhappy suicide dangling from a beam. A
farthing candle, stuck in a bottle neck, shed its feeble light upon
the table, which, owing to the provident kindness of Mr. Wood, was
much better furnished with eatables than might have been expected,
and boasted a loaf, a knuckle of ham, a meat-pie, and a flask of

"You've but a sorry lodging, Mrs. Sheppard," said Wood, glancing
round the chamber, as he expanded his palms before the scanty flame.

"It's wretched enough, indeed, Sir," rejoined the widow; "but, poor
as it is, it's better than the cold stones and open streets."

"Of course--of course," returned Wood, hastily; "anything's
better than that. But take a drop of wine," urged he, filling a
drinking-horn and presenting it to her; "it's choice canary, and'll
do you good. And now, come and sit by me, my dear, and let's have
a little quiet chat together. When things are at the worst, they'll
mend. Take my word for it, your troubles are over."

"I hope they are, Sir," answered Mrs. Sheppard, with a faint smile
and a doubtful shake of the head, as Wood drew her to a seat beside
him, "for I've had my full share of misery. But I don't look for
peace on this side the grave."

"Nonsense!" cried Wood; "while there's life there's hope. Never be
down-hearted. Besides," added he, opening the shawl in which the
infant was wrapped, and throwing the light of the candle full upon
its sickly, but placid features, "it's sinful to repine while you've
a child like this to comfort you. Lord help him! he's the very image
of his father. Like carpenter, like chips."

"That likeness is the chief cause of my misery," replied the widow,
shuddering. "Were it not for that, he would indeed be a blessing and
a comfort to me. He never cries nor frets, as children generally do,
but lies at my bosom, or on my knee, as quiet and as gentle as you
see him now. But, when I look upon his innocent face, and see how
like he is to his father,--when I think of that father's shameful
ending, and recollect how free from guilt _he_ once was,--at such
times, Mr. Wood, despair will come over me; and, dear as this babe is
to me, far dearer than my own wretched life, which I would lay down
for him any minute, I have prayed to Heaven to remove him, rather
than he should grow up to be a man, and be exposed to his father's
temptations--rather than he should live as wickedly and die as
disgracefully as his father. And, when I have seen him pining
away before my eyes, getting thinner and thinner every day, I have
sometimes thought my prayers were heard."

"Marriage and hanging go by destiny," observed Wood, after a pause;
"but I trust your child is reserved for a better fate than either,
Mrs. Sheppard."

The latter part of this speech was delivered with so much
significance of manner, that a bystander might have inferred that
Mr. Wood was not particularly fortunate in his own matrimonial

"Goodness only knows what he's reserved for," rejoined the widow in a
desponding tone; "but if Mynheer Van Galgebrok, whom I met last night
at the Cross Shovels, spoke the truth, little Jack will never die in
his bed."

"Save us!" exclaimed Wood. "And who is this Van Gal--Gal--what's his
outlandish name?"

"Van Galgebrok," replied the widow. "He's the famous Dutch conjuror
who foretold King William's accident and death, last February but
one, a month before either event happened, and gave out that another
prince over the water would soon enjoy his own again; for which he
was committed to Newgate, and whipped at the cart's tail. He went by
another name then,--Rykhart Scherprechter I think he called himself.
His fellow-prisoners nicknamed him the gallows-provider, from a habit
he had of picking out all those who were destined to the gibbet. He
was never known to err, and was as much dreaded as the jail-fever
in consequence. He singled out my poor husband from a crowd of other
felons; and you know how right he was in that case, Sir."

"Ay, marry," replied Wood, with a look that seemed to say that he did
not think it required any surprising skill in the art of divination
to predict the doom of the individual in question; but whatever
opinion he might entertain, he contented himself with inquiring into
the grounds of the conjuror's evil augury respecting the infant.
"What did the old fellow judge from, eh, Joan?" asked he.

"From a black mole under the child's right ear, shaped like a coffin,
which is a bad sign; and a deep line just above the middle of the
left thumb, meeting round about in the form of a noose, which is a
worse," replied Mrs. Sheppard. "To be sure, it's not surprising
the poor little thing should be so marked; for, when I lay in the
women-felons' ward in Newgate, where he first saw the light, or at
least such light as ever finds entrance into that gloomy place, I had
nothing, whether sleeping or waking, but halters, and gibbets, and
coffins, and such like horrible visions, for ever dancing round me!
And then, you know, Sir--but, perhaps, you don't know that little
Jack was born, a month before his time, on the very day his poor
father suffered."

"Lord bless us!" ejaculated Wood, "how shocking! No, I did _not_ know

"You may see the marks on the child yourself, if you choose, Sir,"
urged the widow.

"See the devil!--not I," cried Wood impatiently. "I didn't think
you'd been so easily fooled, Joan."

"Fooled or not," returned Mrs. Sheppard mysteriously, "old Van told
me _one_ thing which has come true already."

"What's that?" asked Wood with some curiosity.

"He said, by way of comfort, I suppose, after the fright he gave
me at first, that the child would find a friend within twenty-four
hours, who would stand by him through life."

"A friend is not so soon gained as lost," replied Wood; "but how has
the prediction been fulfilled, Joan, eh?"

"I thought you would have guessed, Sir," replied the widow, timidly.
"I'm sure little Jack has but one friend beside myself, in the world,
and that's more than I would have ventured to say for him yesterday.
However, I've not told you all; for old Van _did_ say something about
the child saving his new-found friend's life at the time of meeting;
but how that's to happen, I'm sure I can't guess."

"Nor any one else in his senses," rejoined Wood, with a laugh. "It's
not very likely that a babby of nine months old will save _my_ life,
if I'm to be his friend, as you seem to say, Mrs. Sheppard. But I've
not promised to stand by him yet; nor will I, unless he turns out an
honest lad,--mind that. Of all crafts,--and it was the only craft his
poor father, who, to do him justice, was one of the best workmen that
ever handled a saw or drove a nail, could never understand,--of all
crafts, I say, to be an honest man is the master-craft. As long as
your son observes that precept I'll befriend him, but no longer."

"I don't desire it, Sir," replied Mrs. Sheppard, meekly.

"There's an old proverb," continued Wood, rising and walking towards
the fire, "which says,--'Put another man's child in your bosom, and
he'll creep out at your elbow.' But I don't value that, because I
think it applies to one who marries a widow with encumbrances; and
that's not my case, you know."

"Well, Sir," gasped Mrs. Sheppard.

"Well, my dear, I've a proposal to make in regard to this babby of
yours, which may, or may not, be agreeable. All I can say is, it's
well meant; and I may add, I'd have made it five minutes ago, if
you'd given me the opportunity."

[Illustration: 034]

"Pray come to the point, Sir," said Mrs. Sheppard, somewhat alarmed
by this preamble.

"I _am_ coming to the point, Joan. The more haste, the worse
speed--better the feet slip than the tongue. However, to cut a
long matter short, my proposal's this:--I've taken a fancy to your
bantling, and, as I've no son of my own, if it meets with your
concurrence and that of Mrs. Wood, (for I never do anything without
consulting my better half,) I'll take the boy, educate him, and bring
him up to my own business of a carpenter."

The poor widow hung her head, and pressed her child closer to her

"Well, Joan," said the benevolent mechanic, after he had looked at
her steadfastly for a few moments, "what say you?--silence gives
consent, eh?"

Mrs. Sheppard made an effort to speak, but her voice was choked by

"Shall I take the babby home with me!" persisted Wood, in a tone
between jest and earnest.

"I cannot part with him," replied the widow, bursting into tears;
"indeed, indeed, I cannot."

"So I've found out the way to move her," thought the carpenter;
"those tears will do her some good, at all events. Not part with
him!" added he aloud. "Why you wouldn't stand in the way of his
good fortune _surely_? I'll be a second father to him, I tell you.
Remember what the conjuror said."

"I _do_ remember it, Sir," replied Mrs. Sheppard, "and am most
grateful for your offer. But I dare not accept it."

"Dare not!" echoed the carpenter; "I don't understand you, Joan."

"I mean to say, Sir," answered Mrs. Sheppard in a troubled voice,
"that if I lost my child, I should lose all I have left in the world.
I have neither father, mother, brother, sister, nor husband--I have
only _him_."

"If I ask you to part with him, my good woman, it's to better his
condition, I suppose, ain't it?" rejoined Wood angrily; for, though
he had no serious intention of carrying his proposal into effect,
he was rather offended at having it declined. "It's not an offer,"
continued he, "that I'm likely to make, or you're likely to receive
every day in the year."

And muttering some remarks, which we do not care to repeat,
reflecting upon the consistency of the sex, he was preparing once
more to depart, when Mrs. Sheppard stopped him.

"Give me till to-morrow," implored she, "and if I _can_ bring myself
to part with him, you shall have him without another word."

"Take time to consider of it," replied Wood sulkily, "there's no

"Don't be angry with me, Sir," cried the widow, sobbing bitterly,
"pray don't. I know I am undeserving of your bounty; but if I were
to tell you what hardships I have undergone--to what frightful
extremities I have been reduced--and to what infamy I have submitted,
to earn a scanty subsistence for this child's sake,--if you could
feel what it is to stand alone in the world as I do, bereft of all
who have ever loved me, and shunned by all who have ever known me,
except the worthless and the wretched,--if you knew (and Heaven grant
you may be spared the knowledge!) how much affliction sharpens love,
and how much more dear to me my child has become for every sacrifice
I have made for him,--if you were told all this, you would, I am
sure, pity rather than reproach me, because I cannot at once consent
to a separation, which I feel would break my heart. But give me till
to-morrow--only till to-morrow--I may be able to part with him then."

The worthy carpenter was now far more angry with himself than he had
previously been with Mrs. Sheppard; and, as soon as he could command
his feelings, which were considerably excited by the mention of her
distresses, he squeezed her hand warmly, bestowed a hearty execration
upon his own inhumanity, and swore he would neither separate her from
her child, nor suffer any one else to separate them.

"Plague on't!" added he: "I never meant to take your babby from you.
But I'd a mind to try whether you really loved him as much as you
pretended. I was to blame to carry the matter so far. However,
confession of a fault makes half amends for it. A time _may_ come
when this little chap will need my aid, and, depend upon it, he shall
never want a friend in Owen Wood."

As he said this, the carpenter patted the cheek of the little object
of his benevolent professions, and, in so doing, unintentionally
aroused him from his slumbers. Opening a pair of large black eyes,
the child fixed them for an instant upon Wood, and then, alarmed
by the light, uttered a low and melancholy cry, which, however,
was speedily stilled by the caresses of his mother, towards whom he
extended his tiny arms, as if imploring protection.

"I don't think he would leave me, even if I could part with him,"
observed Mrs. Sheppard, smiling through her tears.

"I don't think he would," acquiesced the carpenter. "No friend like
the mother, for the babby knows no other."

"And that's true," rejoined Mrs. Sheppard; "for if I had _not_ been a
mother, I would not have survived the day on which I became a widow."

"You mustn't think of that, Mrs. Sheppard," said Wood in a soothing

"I can't help thinking of it, Sir," answered the widow. "I can
never get poor Tom's last look out of my head, as he stood in the
Stone-Hall at Newgate, after his irons had been knocked off, unless
I manage to stupify myself somehow. The dismal tolling of St.
Sepulchre's bell is for ever ringing in my ears--oh!"

"If that's the case," observed Wood, "I'm surprised you should like
to have such a frightful picture constantly in view as that over the

"I'd good reasons for placing it there, Sir; but don't question
me about them now, or you'll drive me mad," returned Mrs. Sheppard

"Well, well, we'll say no more about it," replied Wood; "and, by way
of changing the subject, let me advise you on no account to fly to
strong waters for consolation, Joan. One nail drives out another,
it's true; but the worst nail you can employ is a coffin-nail. Gin
Lane's the nearest road to the churchyard."

"It may be; but if it shortens the distance and lightens the journey,
I care not," retorted the widow, who seemed by this reproach to be
roused into sudden eloquence. "To those who, like me, have never been
able to get out of the dark and dreary paths of life, the grave is
indeed a refuge, and the sooner they reach it the better. The spirit
I drink may be poison,--it may kill me,--perhaps it _is_ killing
me:--but so would hunger, cold, misery,--so would my own thoughts. I
should have gone mad without it. Gin is the poor man's friend,--his
sole set-off against the rich man's luxury. It comforts him when
he is most forlorn. It may be treacherous, it may lay up a store of
future woe; but it insures present happiness, and that is sufficient.
When I have traversed the streets a houseless wanderer, driven with
curses from every door where I have solicited alms, and with blows
from every gateway where I have sought shelter,--when I have crept
into some deserted building, and stretched my wearied limbs upon a
bulk, in the vain hope of repose,--or, worse than all, when, frenzied
with want, I have yielded to horrible temptation, and earned a meal
in the only way I could earn one,--when I have felt, at times like
these, my heart sink within me, I have drank of this drink, and have
at once forgotten my cares, my poverty, my guilt. Old thoughts, old
feelings, old faces, and old scenes have returned to me, and I have
fancied myself happy,--as happy as I am now." And she burst into a
wild hysterical laugh.

"Poor creature!" ejaculated Wood. "Do you call this frantic glee

"It's all the happiness I have known for years," returned the
widow, becoming suddenly calm, "and it's short-lived enough, as you
perceive. I tell you what, Mr. Wood," added she in a hollow voice,
and with a ghastly look, "gin may bring ruin; but as long as poverty,
vice, and ill-usage exist, it will be drunk."

"God forbid!" exclaimed Wood, fervently; and, as if afraid of
prolonging the interview, he added, with some precipitation, "But I
must be going: I've stayed here too long already. You shall hear from
me to-morrow."

"Stay!" said Mrs. Sheppard, again arresting his departure. "I've just
recollected that my husband left a key with me, which he charged me
to give you when I could find an opportunity."

"A key!" exclaimed Wood eagerly. "I lost a very valuable one some
time ago. What's it like, Joan?"

"It's a small key, with curiously-fashioned wards."

"It's mine, I'll be sworn," rejoined Wood. "Well, who'd have thought
of finding it in this unexpected way!"

"Don't be too sure till you see it," said the widow. "Shall I fetch
it for you, Sir?"

"By all means."

"I must trouble you to hold the child, then, for a minute, while I
run up to the garret, where I've hidden it for safety," said Mrs.
Sheppard. "I think I _may_ trust him with you, Sir," added she,
taking up the candle.

"Don't leave him, if you're at all fearful, my dear," replied Wood,
receiving the little burthen with a laugh. "Poor thing!" muttered
he, as the widow departed on her errand, "she's seen better days and
better circumstances than she'll ever see again, I'm sure. Strange, I
could never learn her history. Tom Sheppard was always a close file,
and would never tell whom he married. Of this I'm certain, however,
she was much too good for him, and was never meant to be a journeyman
carpenter's wife, still less what is she now. Her heart's in the
right place, at all events; and, since that's the case, the rest
may perhaps come round,--that is, if she gets through her present
illness. A dry cough's the trumpeter of death. If that's true, she's
not long for this world. As to this little fellow, in spite of the
Dutchman, who, in my opinion, is more of a Jacobite than a conjurer,
and more of a knave than either, he shall never mount a horse foaled
by an acorn, if I can help it."

The course of the carpenter's meditations was here interrupted by
a loud note of lamentation from the child, who, disturbed by the
transfer, and not receiving the gentle solace to which he was
ordinarily accustomed, raised his voice to the utmost, and exerted
his feeble strength to escape. For a few moments Mr. Wood dandled his
little charge to and fro, after the most approved nursery fashion,
essaying at the same time the soothing influence of an infantine
melody proper to the occasion; but, failing in his design, he soon
lost all patience, and being, as we have before hinted, rather
irritable, though extremely well-meaning, he lifted the unhappy
bantling in the air, and shook him with so much good will, that he
had well-nigh silenced him most effectually. A brief calm succeeded.
But with returning breath came returning vociferations; and the
carpenter, with a faint hope of lessening the clamour by change of
scene, took up his lantern, opened the door, and walked out.


Mrs. Sheppard's habitation terminated a row of old ruinous buildings,
called Wheeler's Rents; a dirty thoroughfare, part street, and part
lane, running from Mint Street, through a variety of turnings, and
along the brink of a deep kennel, skirted by a number of petty and
neglected gardens in the direction of Saint George's Fields. The
neighbouring houses were tenanted by the lowest order of insolvent
traders, thieves, mendicants, and other worthless and nefarious
characters, who fled thither to escape from their creditors, or to
avoid the punishment due to their different offenses; for we may
observe that the Old Mint, although it had been divested of some of
its privileges as a sanctuary by a recent statute passed in the reign
of William the Third, still presented a safe asylum to the debtor,
and even continued to do so until the middle of the reign of George
the First, when the crying nature of the evil called loudly for a
remedy, and another and more sweeping enactment entirely took away
its immunities. In consequence of the encouragement thus offered to
dishonesty, and the security afforded to crime, this quarter of the
Borough of Southwark was accounted (at the period of our narrative)
the grand receptacle of the superfluous villainy of the metropolis.
Infested by every description of vagabond and miscreant, it was,
perhaps, a few degrees worse than the rookery near Saint Giles's and
the desperate neighbourhood of Saffron Hill in our own time. And yet,
on the very site of the sordid tenements and squalid courts we
have mentioned, where the felon openly made his dwelling, and the
fraudulent debtor laughed the object of his knavery to scorn--on this
spot, not two centuries ago, stood the princely residence of Charles
Brandon, the chivalrous Duke of Suffolk, whose stout heart was a well
of honour, and whose memory breathes of loyalty and valour. Suffolk
House, as Brandon's palace was denominated, was subsequently
converted into a mint by his royal brother-in-law, Henry the Eighth;
and, after its demolition, and the removal of the place of coinage to
the Tower, the name was still continued to the district in which it
had been situated.

Old and dilapidated, the widow's domicile looked the very picture of
desolation and misery. Nothing more forlorn could be conceived.
The roof was partially untiled; the chimneys were tottering; the
side-walls bulged, and were supported by a piece of timber propped
against the opposite house; the glass in most of the windows was
broken, and its place supplied with paper; while, in some cases, the
very frames of the windows had been destroyed, and the apertures were
left free to the airs of heaven. On the groundfloor the shutters
were closed, or, to speak more correctly, altogether nailed up, and
presented a very singular appearance, being patched all over with
the soles of old shoes, rusty hobnails, and bits of iron hoops,
the ingenious device of the former occupant of the apartment, Paul
Groves, the cobbler, to whom we have before alluded.

It was owing to the untimely end of this poor fellow that Mrs.
Sheppard was enabled to take possession of the premises. In a fit of
despondency, superinduced by drunkenness, he made away with himself;
and when the body was discovered, after a lapse of some months,
such was the impression produced by the spectacle--such the alarm
occasioned by the crazy state of the building, and, above all, by
the terror inspired by strange and unearthly noises heard during
the night, which were, of course, attributed to the spirit of the
suicide, that the place speedily enjoyed the reputation of being
haunted, and was, consequently, entirely abandoned. In this state
Mrs. Sheppard found it; and, as no one opposed her, she at once took
up her abode there; nor was she long in discovering that the dreaded
sounds proceeded from the nocturnal gambols of a legion of rats.

A narrow entry, formed by two low walls, communicated with the main
thoroughfare; and in this passage, under the cover of a penthouse,
stood Wood, with his little burthen, to whom we shall now return.

As Mrs. Sheppard did not make her appearance quite so soon as
he expected, the carpenter became a little fidgetty, and, having
succeeded in tranquillizing the child, he thought proper to walk
so far down the entry as would enable him to reconnoitre the upper
windows of the house. A light was visible in the garret, feebly
struggling through the damp atmosphere, for the night was raw and
overcast. This light did not remain stationary, but could be seen at
one moment glimmering through the rents in the roof, and at another
shining through the cracks in the wall, or the broken panes of the
casement. Wood was unable to discover the figure of the widow, but he
recognised her dry, hacking cough, and was about to call her down, if
she could not find the key, as he imagined must be the case, when a
loud noise was heard, as though a chest, or some weighty substance,
had fallen upon the floor.

Before Wood had time to inquire into the cause of this sound, his
attention was diverted by a man, who rushed past the entry with the
swiftness of desperation. This individual apparently met with some
impediment to his further progress; for he had not proceeded many
steps when he turned suddenly about, and darted up the passage in
which Wood stood.

Uttering a few inarticulate ejaculations,--for he was completely
out of breath,--the fugitive placed a bundle in the arms of the
carpenter, and, regardless of the consternation he excited in the
breast of that personage, who was almost stupified with astonishment,
he began to divest himself of a heavy horseman's cloak, which he
threw over Wood's shoulder, and, drawing his sword, seemed to listen
intently for the approach of his pursuers.

The appearance of the new-comer was extremely prepossessing; and,
after his trepidation had a little subsided, Wood began to regard him
with some degree of interest. Evidently in the flower of his age,
he was scarcely less remarkable for symmetry of person than
for comeliness of feature; and, though his attire was plain and
unpretending, it was such as could be worn only by one belonging to
the higher ranks of society. His figure was tall and commanding, and
the expression of his countenance (though somewhat disturbed by his
recent exertion) was resolute and stern.

At this juncture, a cry burst from the child, who, nearly smothered
by the weight imposed upon him, only recovered the use of his lungs
as Wood altered the position of the bundle. The stranger turned his
head at the sound.

"By Heaven!" cried he in a tone of surprise, "you have an infant

"To be sure I have," replied Wood, angrily; for, finding that the
intentions of the stranger were pacific, so far as he was concerned,
he thought he might safely venture on a slight display of spirit.
"It's very well you haven't crushed the poor little thing to
death with this confounded clothes'-bag. But some people have no

"That child may be the means of saving me," muttered the stranger, as
if struck by a new idea: "I shall gain time by the expedient. Do you
live here?"

"Not exactly," answered the carpenter.

"No matter. The door is open, so it is needless to ask leave to
enter. Ha!" exclaimed the stranger, as shouts and other vociferations
resounded at no great distance along the thoroughfare, "not a moment
is to be lost. Give me that precious charge," he added, snatching the
bundle from Wood. "If I escape, I will reward you. Your name?"

"Owen Wood," replied the carpenter; "I've no reason to be ashamed of
it. And now, a fair exchange, Sir. Yours?"

The stranger hesitated. The shouts drew nearer, and lights were seen
flashing ruddily against the sides and gables of the neighbouring

"My name is Darrell," said the fugitive hastily. "But, if you
are discovered, answer no questions, as you value your life. Wrap
yourself in my cloak, and keep it. Remember! not a word!"

So saying, he huddled the mantle over Wood's shoulders, dashed
the lantern to the ground, and extinguished the light. A moment
afterwards, the door was closed and bolted, and the carpenter found
himself alone.

"Mercy on us!" cried he, as a thrill of apprehension ran through his
frame. "The Dutchman was right, after all."

This exclamation had scarcely escaped him, when the discharge of a
pistol was heard, and a bullet whizzed past his ears.

"I have him!" cried a voice in triumph.

A man, then, rushed up the entry, and, seizing the unlucky carpenter
by the collar, presented a drawn sword to his throat. This person
was speedily followed by half a dozen others, some of whom carried

"Mur--der!" roared Wood, struggling to free himself from his
assailant, by whom he was half strangled.

"Damnation!" exclaimed one of the leaders of the party in a furious
tone, snatching a torch from an attendant, and throwing its light
full upon the face of the carpenter; "this is not the villain, Sir

"So I find, Rowland," replied the other, in accents of deep
disappointment, and at the same time relinquishing his grasp. "I
could have sworn I saw him enter this passage. And how comes his
cloak on this knave's shoulders?"

"It is his cloak, of a surety," returned Rowland "Harkye, sirrah,"
continued he, haughtily interrogating Wood; "where is the person from
whom you received this mantle?"

"Throttling a man isn't the way to make him answer questions,"
replied the carpenter, doggedly. "You'll get nothing out of me, I can
promise you, unless you show a little more civility."

"We waste time with this fellow," interposed Sir Cecil, "and may lose
the object of our quest, who, beyond doubt, has taken refuge in this
building. Let us search it."

Just then, the infant began to sob piteously.

"Hist!" cried Rowland, arresting his comrade. "Do you hear that! We
are not wholly at fault. The dog-fox cannot be far off, since the cub
is found."

With these words, he tore the mantle from Wood's back, and,
perceiving the child, endeavoured to seize it. In this attempt he
was, however, foiled by the agility of the carpenter, who managed to
retreat to the door, against which he placed his back, kicking the
boards vigorously with his heel.

"Joan! Joan!" vociferated he, "open the door, for God's sake, or I
shall be murdered, and so will your babby! Open the door quickly, I

"Knock him on the head," thundered Sir Cecil, "or we shall have the
watch upon us."

"No fear of that," rejoined Rowland: "such vermin never dare to show
themselves in this privileged district. All we have to apprehend is a

The hint was not lost upon Wood. He tried to raise an outcry, but his
throat was again forcibly griped by Rowland.

"Another such attempt," said the latter, "and you are a dead man.
Yield up the babe, and I pledge my word you shall remain unmolested."

"I will yield it to no one but its mother," answered Wood.

"'Sdeath! do you trifle with me, sirrah?" cried Rowland fiercely.
"Give me the child, or--"

As he spoke the door was thrown open, and Mrs. Sheppard staggered
forward. She looked paler than ever; but her countenance, though
bewildered, did not exhibit the alarm which might naturally have been
anticipated from the strange and perplexing scene presented to her

"Take it," cried Wood, holding the infant towards her; "take it, and

Mrs. Sheppard put out her arms mechanically. But before the child
could be committed to her care, it was wrested from the carpenter by

"These people are all in league with him," cried the latter. "But
don't wait for me, Sir Cecil. Enter the house with your men. I'll
dispose of the brat."

This injunction was instantly obeyed. The knight and his followers
crossed the threshold, leaving one of the torch-bearers behind them.

"Davies," said Rowland, delivering the babe, with a meaning look, to
his attendant.

"I understand, Sir," replied Davies, drawing a little aside. And,
setting down the link, he proceeded deliberately to untie his cravat.

"My God! will you see your child strangled before your eyes, and not
so much as scream for help?" said Wood, staring at the widow with a
look of surprise and horror. "Woman, your wits are fled!"

And so it seemed; for all the answer she could make was to murmur
distractedly, "I can't find the key."

"Devil take the key!" ejaculated Wood. "They're about to murder your
child--_your_ child, I tell you! Do you comprehend what I say, Joan?"

"I've hurt my head," replied Mrs. Sheppard, pressing her hand to her

And then, for the first time, Wood noticed a small stream of blood
coursing slowly down her cheek.

At this moment, Davies, who had completed his preparations,
extinguished the torch.

"It's all over," groaned Wood, "and perhaps it's as well her senses
are gone. However, I'll make a last effort to save the poor little
creature, if it costs me my life."

And, with this generous resolve, he shouted at the top of his voice,
"Arrest! arrest! help! help!" seconding the words with a shrill
and peculiar cry, well known at the time to the inhabitants of the
quarter in which it was uttered.

In reply to this summons a horn was instantly blown at the corner of
the street.

"Arrest!" vociferated Wood. "Mint! Mint!"

"Death and hell!" cried Rowland, making a furious pass at the
carpenter, who fortunately avoided the thrust in the darkness; "will
nothing silence you?"

"Help!" ejaculated Wood, renewing his cries. "Arrest!"

"Jigger closed!" shouted a hoarse voice in reply. "All's bowman, my
covey. Fear nothing. We'll be upon the ban-dogs before they can shake
their trotters!"

And the alarm was sounded more loudly than ever.

Another horn now resounded from the further extremity of the
thoroughfare; this was answered by a third; and presently a
fourth, and more remote blast, took up the note of alarm. The whole
neighbourhood was disturbed. A garrison called to arms at dead of
night on the sudden approach of the enemy, could not have been more
expeditiously, or effectually aroused. Rattles were sprung; lanterns
lighted, and hoisted at the end of poles; windows thrown open; doors
unbarred; and, as if by magic, the street was instantaneously filled
with a crowd of persons of both sexes, armed with such weapons as
came most readily to hand, and dressed in such garments as could be
most easily slipped on. Hurrying in the direction of the supposed
arrest, they encouraged each other with shouts, and threatened the
offending parties with their vengeance.

Regardless as the gentry of the Mint usually were (for, indeed, they
had become habituated from their frequent occurrence to such scenes,)
of any outrages committed in their streets; deaf, as they had been,
to the recent scuffle before Mrs. Sheppard's door, they were always
sufficiently on the alert to maintain their privileges, and to assist
each other against the attacks of their common enemy--the sheriff's
officer. It was only by the adoption of such a course (especially
since the late act of suppression, to which we have alluded,) that
the inviolability of the asylum could be preserved. Incursions were
often made upon its territories by the functionaries of the
law; sometimes attended with success, but more frequently with
discomfiture; and it rarely happened, unless by stratagem or bribery,
that (in the language of the gentlemen of the short staff) an
important caption could be effected. In order to guard against
accidents or surprises, watchmen, or scouts, (as they were styled,)
were stationed at the three main outlets of the sanctuary ready to
give the signal in the manner just described: bars were erected,
which, in case of emergency; could be immediately stretched across
the streets: doors were attached to the alleys; and were never opened
without due precautions; gates were affixed to the courts, wickets to
the gates, and bolts to the wickets. The back windows of the
houses (where any such existed) were strongly barricaded, and kept
constantly shut; and the fortress was, furthermore, defended by
high walls and deep ditches in those quarters where it appeared most
exposed. There was also a Maze, (the name is still retained in
the district,) into which the debtor could run, and through the
intricacies of which it was impossible for an officer to follow him,
without a clue. Whoever chose to incur the risk of so doing might
enter the Mint at any hour; but no one was suffered to depart without
giving a satisfactory account of himself, or producing a pass from
the Master. In short, every contrivance that ingenuity could devise
was resorted to by this horde of reprobates to secure themselves from
danger or molestation. Whitefriars had lost its privileges; Salisbury
Court and the Savoy no longer offered places of refuge to the debtor;
and it was, therefore, doubly requisite that the Island of Bermuda
(as the Mint was termed by its occupants) should uphold its rights,
as long as it was able to do so.

Mr. Wood, meantime, had not remained idle. Aware that not a moment
was to be lost, if he meant to render any effectual assistance to the
child, he ceased shouting, and defending himself in the best way he
could from the attacks of Rowland, by whom he was closely pressed,
forced his way, in spite of all opposition, to Davies, and dealt him
a blow on the head with such good will that, had it not been for
the intervention of the wall, the ruffian must have been prostrated.
Before he could recover from the stunning effects of the blow, Wood
possessed himself of the child: and, untying the noose which had
been slipped round its throat, had the satisfaction of hearing it cry

At this juncture, Sir Cecil and his followers appeared at the

"He has escaped!" exclaimed the knight; "we have searched every
corner of the house without finding a trace of him."

"Back!" cried Rowland. "Don't you hear those shouts? Yon fellow's
clamour has brought the whole horde of jail-birds and cut-throats
that infest this place about our ears. We shall be torn in pieces if
we are discovered. Davies!" he added, calling to the attendant, who
was menacing Wood with a severe retaliation, "don't heed him; but,
if you value a whole skin, come into the house, and bring that woman
with you. She may afford us some necessary information."

Davies reluctantly complied. And, dragging Mrs. Sheppard, who made no
resistance, along with him, entered the house, the door of which was
instantly shut and barricaded.

A moment afterwards, the street was illumined by a blaze of
torchlight, and a tumultuous uproar, mixed with the clashing of
weapons, and the braying of horns, announced the arrival of the first
detachment of Minters.

Mr. Wood rushed instantly to meet them.

"Hurrah!" shouted he, waving his hat triumphantly over his head.

"Ay, ay, it's all bob, my covey! You're safe enough, that's certain!"
responded the Minters, baying, yelping, leaping, and howling around
him like a pack of hounds when the huntsman is beating cover; "but,
where are the lurchers?"

"Who?" asked Wood.

"The traps!" responded a bystander.

"The shoulder-clappers!" added a lady, who, in her anxiety to join
the party, had unintentionally substituted her husband's nether
habiliments for her own petticoats.

"The ban-dogs!" thundered a tall man, whose stature and former
avocations had procured him the nickname of "The long drover of the
Borough market."

"Where are they?"

"Ay, where are they?" chorussed the mob, flourishing their various
weapons, and flashing their torches in the air; "we'll starve 'em

Mr. Wood trembled. He felt he had raised a storm which it would be
very difficult, if not impossible, to allay. He knew not what to say,
or what to do; and his confusion was increased by the threatening
gestures and furious looks of the ruffians in his immediate vicinity.

"I don't understand you, gentlemen," stammered he, at length.

"What does he say?" roared the long drover.

"He says he don't understand flash," replied the lady in gentleman's

"Cease your confounded clutter!" said a young man, whose swarthy
visage, seen in the torchlight, struck Wood as being that of a
Mulatto. "You frighten the cull out of his senses. It's plain he
don't understand our lingo; as, how should he? Take pattern by me;"
and as he said this he strode up to the carpenter, and, slapping him
on the shoulder, propounded the following questions, accompanying
each interrogation with a formidable contortion of countenance.
"Curse you! Where are the bailiffs? Rot you! have you lost your
tongue? Devil seize you! you could bawl loud enough a moment ago!"

"Silence, Blueskin!" interposed an authoritative voice, immediately
behind the ruffian. "Let me have a word with the cull!"

"Ay! ay!" cried several of the bystanders, "let Jonathan kimbaw the
cove. He's got the gift of the gab."

The crowd accordingly drew aside, and the individual, in whose behalf
the movement had been made immediately stepped forward. He was a
young man of about two-and-twenty, who, without having anything
remarkable either in dress or appearance, was yet a noticeable
person, if only for the indescribable expression of cunning pervading
his countenance. His eyes were small and grey; as far apart and as
sly-looking as those of a fox. A physiognomist, indeed, would have
likened him to that crafty animal, and it must be owned the general
formation of his features favoured such a comparison. The nose was
long and sharp, the chin pointed, the forehead broad and flat, and
connected, without any intervening hollow, with the eyelid; the teeth
when displayed, seemed to reach from ear to ear. Then his beard was
of a reddish hue, and his complexion warm and sanguine. Those who had
seen him slumbering, averred that he slept with his eyes open. But
this might be merely a figurative mode of describing his customary
vigilance. Certain it was, that the slightest sound aroused him.
This astute personage was somewhat under the middle size, but
fairly proportioned, inclining rather to strength than symmetry, and
abounding more in muscle than in flesh.

It would seem, from the attention which he evidently bestowed upon
the hidden and complex machinery of the grand system of villany at
work around him, that his chief object in taking up his quarters
in the Mint, must have been to obtain some private information
respecting the habits and practices of its inhabitants, to be turned
to account hereafter.

Advancing towards Wood, Jonathan fixed his keen gray eyes upon him,
and demanded, in a stern tone whether the persons who had taken
refuge in the adjoining house, were bailiffs.

"Not that I know of," replied the carpenter, who had in some degree
recovered his confidence.

"Then I presume you've not been arrested?"

"I have not," answered Wood firmly.

"I guessed as much. Perhaps you'll next inform us why you have
occasioned this disturbance."

"Because this child's life was threatened by the persons you have
mentioned," rejoined Wood.

"An excellent reason, i' faith!" exclaimed Blueskin, with a roar of
surprise and indignation, which was echoed by the whole assemblage.
"And so we're to be summoned from our beds and snug firesides,
because a kid happens to squall, eh? By the soul of my grandmother,
but this is too good!"

"Do you intend to claim the privileges of the Mint?" said Jonathan,
calmly pursuing his interrogations amid the uproar. "Is your person
in danger?"

"Not from my creditors," replied Wood, significantly.

"Will he post the cole? Will he come down with the dues? Ask him
that?" cried Blueskin.

"You hear," pursued Jonathan; "my friend desires to know if you
are willing to pay your footing as a member of the ancient and
respectable fraternity of debtors?"

"I owe no man a farthing, and my name shall never appear in any such
rascally list," replied Wood angrily. "I don't see why I should be
obliged to pay for doing my duty. I tell you this child would have
been strangled. The noose was at its throat when I called for help.
I knew it was in vain to cry 'murder!' in the Mint, so I had recourse
to stratagem."

"Well, Sir, I must say you deserve some credit for your ingenuity, at
all events," replied Jonathan, repressing a smile; "but, before you
put out your foot so far, it would have been quite as prudent to
consider how you were to draw it back again. For my own part, I don't
see in what way it is to be accomplished, except by the payment
of our customary fees. Do not imagine you can at one moment
avail yourself of our excellent regulations (with which you seem
sufficiently well acquainted), and the next break them with impunity.
If you assume the character of a debtor for your own convenience,
you must be content to maintain it for ours. If you have not been
arrested, we have been disturbed; and it is but just and reasonable
you should pay for occasioning such disturbance. By your own showing
you are in easy circumstances,--for it is only natural to
presume that a man who owes nothing must be in a condition to pay
liberally,--and you cannot therefore feel the loss of such a trifle
as ten guineas."

However illogical and inconclusive these arguments might appear to
Mr. Wood, and however he might dissent from the latter proposition,
he did not deem it expedient to make any reply; and the orator
proceeded with his harangue amid the general applause of the

"I am perhaps exceeding my authority in demanding so slight a sum,"
continued Jonathan, modestly, "and the Master of the Mint may not be
disposed to let you off so lightly. He will be here in a moment or
so, and you will then learn his determination. In the mean time, let
me advise you as a friend not to irritate him by a refusal, which
would be as useless as vexatious. He has a very summary mode of
dealing with refractory persons, I assure you. My best endeavours
shall be used to bring you off, on the easy terms I have mentioned."

"Do you call ten guineas easy terms?" cried Wood, with a look of
dismay. "Why, I should expect to purchase the entire freehold of the
Mint for less money."

"Many a man has been glad to pay double the amount to get his head
from under the Mint pump," observed Blueskin, gruffly.

"Let the gentleman take his own course," said Jonathan, mildly. "I
should be sorry to persuade him to do anything his calmer judgment
might disapprove."

"Exactly my sentiments," rejoined Blueskin. "I wouldn't force him
for the world: but if he don't tip the stivers, may I be cursed if he
don't get a taste of the _aqua pompaginis_. Let's have a look at the
kinchen that _ought_ to have been throttled," added he, snatching the
child from Wood. "My stars! here's a pretty lullaby-cheat to make a
fuss about--ho! ho!"

"Deal with me as you think proper, gentlemen," exclaimed Wood;
"but, for mercy's sake don't harm the child! Let it be taken to its

"And who is its mother?" asked Jonathan, in an eager whisper. "Tell
me frankly, and speak under your breath. Your own safety--the child's
safety--depends upon your candour."

While Mr. Wood underwent this examination, Blueskin felt a small
and trembling hand placed upon his own, and, turning at the summons,
beheld a young female, whose features were partially concealed by a
loo, or half mask, standing beside him. Coarse as were the ruffian's
notions of feminine beauty, he could not be insensible to the
surpassing loveliness of the fair creature, who had thus solicited
his attention. Her figure was, in some measure, hidden by a large
scarf, and a deep hood drawn over the head contributed to her
disguise; still it was evident, from her lofty bearing, that she had
nothing in common, except an interest in their proceedings, with the
crew by whom she was surrounded.

Whence she came,--who she was,--and what she wanted,--were questions
which naturally suggested themselves to Blueskin, and he was about
to seek for some explanation, when his curiosity was checked by a
gesture of silence from the lady.

"Hush!" said she, in a low, but agitated voice; "would you earn this

"I've no objection," replied Blueskin, in a tone intended to be
gentle, but which sounded like the murmuring whine of a playful bear.
"How much is there in it!"

"It contains gold," replied the lady; "but I will add this ring."

"What am I to do to earn it?" asked Blueskin, with a disgusting
leer,--"cut a throat--or throw myself at your feet--eh, my dear?"

"Give me that child," returned the lady, with difficulty overcoming
the loathing inspired by the ruffian's familiarity.

"Oh! I see!" replied Blueskin, winking significantly, "Come nearer,
or they'll observe us. Don't be afraid--I won't hurt you. I'm always
agreeable to the women, bless their kind hearts! Now! slip the purse
into my hand. Bravo!--the best cly-faker of 'em all couldn't have
done it better. And now for the fawney--the ring I mean. I'm no great
judge of these articles, Ma'am; but I trust to your honour not to
palm off paste upon me."

"It is a diamond," said the lady, in an agony of distress,--"the

"A diamond! Here, take the kid," cried Blueskin, slipping the infant
adroitly under her scarf. "And so this is a diamond," added he,
contemplating the brilliant from the hollow of his hand: "it does
sparkle almost as brightly as your ogles. By the by, my dear, I
forgot to ask your name--perhaps you'll oblige me with it now? Hell
and the devil!--gone!"

He looked around in vain. The lady had disappeared.


Jonathan, meanwhile, having ascertained the parentage of the child
from Wood, proceeded to question him in an under tone, as to the
probable motives of the attempt upon its life; and, though he failed
in obtaining any information on this point, he had little difficulty
in eliciting such particulars of the mysterious transaction as have
already been recounted. When the carpenter concluded his recital,
Jonathan was for a moment lost in reflection.

"Devilish strange!" thought he, chuckling to himself; "queer
business! Capital trick of the cull in the cloak to make another
person's brat stand the brunt for his own--capital! ha! ha! Won't
do, though. He must be a sly fox to get out of the Mint without my
knowledge. I've a shrewd guess where he's taken refuge; but I'll
ferret him out. These bloods will pay well for his capture; if
not, _he'll_ pay well to get out of their hands; so I'm safe either
way--ha! ha! Blueskin," he added aloud, and motioning that worthy,
"follow me."

Upon which, he set off in the direction of the entry. His progress,
however, was checked by loud acclamations, announcing the arrival of
the Master of the Mint and his train.

Baptist Kettleby (for so was the Master named) was a "goodly portly
man, and a corpulent," whose fair round paunch bespoke the affection
he entertained for good liquor and good living. He had a quick,
shrewd, merry eye, and a look in which duplicity was agreeably veiled
by good humour. It was easy to discover that he was a knave, but
equally easy to perceive that he was a pleasant fellow; a combination
of qualities by no means of rare occurrence. So far as regards his
attire, Baptist was not seen to advantage. No great lover of state or
state costume at any time, he was generally, towards the close of
an evening, completely in dishabille, and in this condition he now
presented himself to his subjects. His shirt was unfastened, his vest
unbuttoned, his hose ungartered; his feet were stuck into a pair of
pantoufles, his arms into a greasy flannel dressing-gown, his head
into a thrum-cap, the cap into a tie-periwig, and the wig into a
gold-edged hat. A white apron was tied round his waist, and into the
apron was thrust a short thick truncheon, which looked very much like
a rolling-pin.

The Master of the Mint was accompanied by another gentleman almost
as portly as himself, and quite as deliberate in his movements.
The costume of this personage was somewhat singular, and might have
passed for a masquerading habit, had not the imperturbable gravity of
his demeanour forbidden any such supposition. It consisted of a
close jerkin of brown frieze, ornamented with a triple row of brass
buttons; loose Dutch slops, made very wide in the seat and very tight
at the knees; red stockings with black clocks, and a fur cap. The
owner of this dress had a broad weather-beaten face, small twinkling
eyes, and a bushy, grizzled beard. Though he walked by the side
of the governor, he seldom exchanged a word with him, but appeared
wholly absorbed in the contemplations inspired by a broadbowled Dutch

Behind the illustrious personages just described marched a troop of
stalwart fellows, with white badges in their hats, quarterstaves,
oaken cudgels, and links in their hands. These were the Master's

Advancing towards the Master, and claiming an audience, which was
instantly granted, Jonathan, without much circumlocution, related
the sum of the strange story he had just learnt from Wood, omitting
nothing except a few trifling particulars, which he thought it
politic to keep back; and, with this view, he said not a word of
there being any probability of capturing the fugitive, but, on the
contrary, roundly asserted that his informant had witnessed that
person's escape.

The Master listened, with becoming attention, to the narrative, and,
at its conclusion, shook his head gravely, applied his thumb to the
side of his nose, and, twirling his fingers significantly, winked at
his phlegmatic companion. The gentleman appealed to shook his head in
reply, coughed as only a Dutchman _can_ cough, and raising his hand
from the bowl of his pipe, went through precisely the same mysterious
ceremonial as the Master.

Putting his own construction upon this mute interchange of opinions,
Jonathan ventured to observe, that it certainly was a very perplexing
case, but that he thought something _might_ be made of it, and, if
left to him, he would undertake to manage the matter to the Master's
entire satisfaction.

"Ja, ja, Muntmeester," said the Dutchman, removing the pipe from his
mouth, and speaking in a deep and guttural voice, "leave the affair
to Johannes. He'll settle it bravely. And let ush go back to our
brandewyn, and hollandsche genever. Dese ere not schouts, as you
faind, but jonkers on a vrolyk; and if dey'd chanshed to keel de vrow
Sheppard's pet lamb, dey'd have done her a servish, by shaving
it from dat unpleasant complaint, de hempen fever, with which its
laatter days are threatened, and of which its poor vader died. Myn
Got! hanging runs in some families, Muntmeester. It's hereditary,
like de jigt, vat you call it--gout--haw! haw!"

"If the child _is_ destined to the gibbet, Van Galgebrok," replied
the Master, joining in the laugh, "it'll never be choked by a
footman's cravat, that's certain; but, in regard to going back
empty-handed," continued he, altering his tone, and assuming
a dignified air, "it's quite out of the question. With Baptist
Kettleby, to engage in a matter is to go through with it. Besides,
this is an affair which no one but myself can settle. Common offences
may be decided upon by deputy; but outrages perpetrated by men of
rank, as these appear to be, must be judged by the Master of the Mint
in person. These are the decrees of the Island of Bermuda, and I
will never suffer its excellent laws to be violated. Gentlemen of the
Mint," added he, pointing with his truncheon towards Mrs. Sheppard's
house, "forward!"

"Hurrah!" shouted the mob, and the whole phalanx was put in motion
in that direction. At the same moment a martial flourish, proceeding
from cow's horns, tin canisters filled with stones, bladders and
cat-gut, with other sprightly, instruments, was struck up, and,
enlivened by this harmonious accompaniment, the troop reached its
destination in the best possible spirits for an encounter.

"Let us in," said the Master, rapping his truncheon authoritatively
against the boards, "or we'll force an entrance."

But as no answer was returned to the summons, though it was again,
and more peremptorily, repeated, Baptist seized a mallet from a
bystander and burst open the door. Followed by Van Galgebrok and
others of his retinue, he then rushed into the room, where Rowland,
Sir Cecil, and their attendants, stood with drawn swords prepared to
receive them.

"Beat down their blades," cried the Master; "no bloodshed."

"Beat out their brains, you mean," rejoined Blueskin with a
tremendous imprecation; "no half measures now, Master."

"Hadn't you better hold a moment's parley with the gentlemen before
proceeding to extremities?" suggested Jonathan.

"Agreed," responded the Master. "Surely," he added, staring at
Rowland, "either I'm greatly mistaken, or it is--"

"You are not mistaken, Baptist," returned Rowland with a gesture of
silence; "it is your old friend. I'm glad to recognise you."

"And I'm glad your worship's recognition doesn't come too late,"
observed the Master. "But why didn't you make yourself known at

"I'd forgotten the office you hold in the Mint, Baptist," replied
Rowland. "But clear the room of this rabble, if you have sufficient
authority over them. I would speak with you."

"There's but one way of clearing it, your worship," said the Master,

"I understand," replied Rowland. "Give them what you please. I'll
repay you."

"It's all right, pals," cried Baptist, in a loud tone; "the gentlemen
and I have settled matters. No more scuffling."

"What's the meaning of all this?" demanded Sir Cecil. "How have you
contrived to still these troubled waters?"

"I've chanced upon an old ally in the Master of the Mint," answered
Rowland. "We may trust him," he added in a whisper; "he is a staunch
friend of the good cause."

"Blueskin, clear the room," cried the Master; "these gentlemen would
be private. They've _paid_ for their lodging. Where's Jonathan?"

Inquiries were instantly made after that individual, but he was
nowhere to be found.

"Strange!" observed the Master; "I thought he'd been at my elbow all
this time. But it don't much matter--though he's a devilish shrewd
fellow, and might have helped me out of a difficulty, had any
occurred. Hark ye, Blueskin," continued he, addressing that
personage, who, in obedience to his commands, had, with great
promptitude, driven out the rabble, and again secured the door, "a
word in your ear. What female entered the house with us?"

"Blood and thunder!" exclaimed Blueskin, afraid, if he admitted
having seen the lady, of being compelled to divide the plunder he
had obtained from her among his companions, "how should I know? D'ye
suppose I'm always thinking of the petticoats? I observed no female;
but if any one _did_ join the assault, it must have been either
Amazonian Kate, or Fighting Moll."

"The woman I mean did not join the assault," rejoined the Master,
"but rather seemed to shun observation; and, from the hasty glimpse I
caught of her, she appeared to have a child in her arms."

"Then, most probably, it was the widow Sheppard," answered Blueskin,

"Right," said the Master, "I didn't think of her. And now I've
another job for you."

"Propose it," returned Blueskin, inclining his head.

"Square accounts with the rascal who got up the sham arrest; and, if
he don't tip the cole without more ado, give him a taste of the pump,
that's all."

"He shall go through the whole course," replied Blueskin, with a
ferocious grin, "unless he comes down to the last grig. We'll lather
him with mud, shave him with a rusty razor, and drench him with
_aqua pompaginis_. Master, your humble servant.--Gentlemen, your most
obsequious trout."

Having effected his object, which was to get rid of Blueskin, Baptist
turned to Rowland and Sir Cecil, who had watched his proceedings with
much impatience, and remarked, "Now, gentlemen, the coast's clear;
we've nothing to interrupt us. I'm entirely at your service."


Leaving them to pursue their conference, we shall follow the
footsteps of Jonathan, who, as the Master surmised, and, as we have
intimated, had unquestionably entered the house. But at the beginning
of the affray, when he thought every one was too much occupied with
his own concerns to remark his absence, he slipped out of the room,
not for the purpose of avoiding the engagement (for cowardice was
not one of his failings), but because he had another object in view.
Creeping stealthily up stairs, unmasking a dark lantern, and glancing
into each room as he passed, he was startled in one of them by the
appearance of Mrs. Sheppard, who seemed to be crouching upon the
floor. Satisfied, however, that she did not notice him, Jonathan
glided away as noiselessly as he came, and ascended another short
flight of stairs leading to the garret. As he crossed this chamber,
his foot struck against something on the floor, which nearly threw
him down, and stooping to examine the object, he found it was a key.
"Never throw away a chance," thought Jonathan. "Who knows but this
key may open a golden lock one of these days?" And, picking it up, he
thrust it into his pocket.

Arrived beneath an aperture in the broken roof, he was preparing to
pass through it, when he observed a little heap of tiles upon the
floor, which appeared to have been recently dislodged. "He _has_
passed this way," cried Jonathan, exultingly; "I have him safe
enough." He then closed the lantern, mounted without much difficulty
upon the roof, and proceeded cautiously along the tiles.

The night was now profoundly dark. Jonathan had to feel his way. A
single false step might have precipitated him into the street; or, if
he had trodden upon an unsound part of the roof, he must have fallen
through it. He had nothing to guide him; for though the torches
were blazing ruddily below, their gleam fell only on the side of the
building. The venturous climber gazed for a moment at the assemblage
beneath, to ascertain that he was not discovered; and, having
satisfied himself in this particular, he stepped out more boldly. On
gaining a stack of chimneys at the back of the house, he came to a
pause, and again unmasked his lantern. Nothing, however, could be
discerned, except the crumbling brickwork. "Confusion!" ejaculated
Jonathan: "can he have escaped? No. The walls are too high, and
the windows too stoutly barricaded in this quarter, to admit such a
supposition. He can't be far off. I shall find him yet. Ah! I have
it," he added, after a moment's deliberation; "he's there, I'll be
sworn." And, once more enveloping himself in darkness, he pursued his

He had now reached the adjoining house, and, scaling the roof,
approached another building, which seemed to be, at least, one story
loftier than its neighbours. Apparently, Jonathan was well acquainted
with the premises; for, feeling about in the dark, he speedily
discovered a ladder, up the steps of which he hurried. Drawing a
pistol, and unclosing his lantern with the quickness of thought, he
then burst through an open trap-door into a small loft.

The light fell upon the fugitive, who stood before him in an attitude
of defence, with the child in his arms.

[Illustration: 093]

"Aha!" exclaimed Jonathan, acting upon the information he had
obtained from Wood; "I have found you at last. Your servant, Mr.

"Who are you!" demanded the fugitive, sternly.

"A friend," replied Jonathan, uncocking the pistol, and placing it in
his pocket.

"How do I know you are a friend?" asked Darrell.

"What should I do here alone if I were an enemy? But, come, don't let
us waste time in bandying words, when we might employ it so much more
profitably. Your life, and that of your child, are in my power. What
will you give me to save you from your pursuers?"

"_Can_ you do so?" asked the other, doubtfully.

"I can, and will. Now, the reward?"

"I have but an ill-furnished purse. But if I escape, my gratitude--"

"Pshaw!" interrupted Jonathan, scornfully. "Your gratitude will
vanish with your danger. Pay fools with promises. I must have
something in hand."

"You shall have all I have about me," replied Darrell.

"Well--well," grumbled Jonathan, "I suppose I must be content.
An ill-lined purse is a poor recompense for the risk I have run.
However, come along. I needn't tell you to tread carefully. You know
the danger of this breakneck road as well as I do. The light would
betray us." So saying, he closed the lantern.

"Harkye, Sir," rejoined Darrell; "one word before I move. I know not
who you are; and, as I cannot discern your face, I may be doing you
an injustice. But there is something in your voice that makes me
distrust you. If you attempt to play the traitor, you will do so at
the hazard of your life."

"I have already hazarded my life in this attempt to save you,"
returned Jonathan boldly, and with apparent frankness; "this ought
to be sufficient answer to your doubts. Your pursuers are below. What
was to hinder me, if I had been so inclined, from directing them to
your retreat?"

"Enough," replied Darrell. "Lead on!"

Followed by Darrell, Jonathan retraced his dangerous path. As
he approached the gable of Mrs. Sheppard's house, loud yells and
vociferations reached his ears; and, looking downwards, he perceived
a great stir amid the mob. The cause of this uproar was soon
manifest. Blueskin and the Minters were dragging Wood to the pump.
The unfortunate carpenter struggled violently, but ineffectually. His
hat was placed upon one pole, his wig on another. His shouts for
help were answered by roars of mockery and laughter. He continued
alternately to be tossed in the air, or rolled in the kennel until
he was borne out of sight. The spectacle seemed to afford as much
amusement to Jonathan as to the actors engaged in it. He could not
contain his satisfaction, but chuckled, and rubbed his hands with

"By Heaven!" cried Darrell, "it is the poor fellow whom I placed in
such jeopardy a short time ago. I am the cause of his ill-usage."

"To be sure you are," replied Jonathan, laughing. "But, what of that?
It'll be a lesson to him in future, and will show him the folly of
doing a good-natured action!"

But perceiving that his companion did not relish his pleasantry and
fearing that his sympathy for the carpenter's situation might betray
him into some act of imprudence, Jonathan, without further remark,
and by way of putting an end to the discussion, let himself drop
through the roof. His example was followed by Darrell. But, though
the latter was somewhat embarrassed by his burthen, he peremptorily
declined Jonathan's offer of assistance. Both, however, having safely
landed, they cautiously crossed the room, and passed down the first
flight of steps in silence. At this moment, a door was opened below;
lights gleamed on the walls; and the figures of Rowland and Sir Cecil
were distinguished at the foot of the stairs.

Darrell stopped, and drew his sword.

"You have betrayed me," said he, in a deep whisper, to his companion;
"but you shall reap the reward of your treachery."

"Be still!" returned Jonathan, in the same under tone, and with great
self-possession: "I can yet save you. And see!" he added, as the
figures drew back, and the lights disappeared; "it's a false alarm.
They have retired. However, not a moment is to be lost. Give me your

He then hurried Darrell down another short flight of steps, and
entered a small chamber at the back of the house. Closing the door,
Jonathan next produced his lantern, and, hastening towards the
window, undrew a bolt by which it was fastened. A stout wooden
shutter, opening inwardly, being removed, disclosed a grating of iron
bars. This obstacle, which appeared to preclude the possibility of
egress in that quarter, was speedily got rid of. Withdrawing another
bolt, and unhooking a chain suspended from the top of the casement,
Jonathan pushed the iron framework outwards. The bars dropped
noiselessly and slowly down, till the chain tightened at the staple.

"You are free," said he, "that grating forms a ladder, by which you
may descend in safety. I learned the trick of the place from one Paul
Groves, who used to live here, and who contrived the machine. He used
to call it his fire-escape--ha! ha! I've often used the ladder for
my own convenience, but I never expected to turn it to such good
account. And now, Sir, have I kept faith with you?"

"You have," replied Darrell. "Here is my purse; and I trust you will
let me know to whom I am indebted for this important service."

"It matters not who I am," replied Jonathan, taking the money. "As I
said before, I have little reliance upon _professions_ of gratitude."

"I know not how it is," sighed Darrell, "but I feel an unaccountable
misgiving at quitting this place. Something tells me I am rushing on
greater danger."

"You know best," replied Jonathan, sneeringly; "but if I were in your
place I would take the chance of a future and uncertain risk to avoid
a present and certain peril."

"You are right," replied Darrell; "the weakness is past. Which is the
nearest way to the river?"

"Why, it's an awkward road to direct you," returned Jonathan. "But
if you turn to the right when you reach the ground, and keep close
to the Mint wall, you'll speedily arrive at White Cross Street; White
Cross Street, if you turn again to the right, will bring you into
Queen Street; Queen Street, bearing to the left, will conduct you
to Deadman's Place; and Deadman's Place to the water-side, not fifty
yards from Saint Saviour's stairs, where you're sure to get a boat."

"The very point I aim at," said Darrell as he passed through the

"Stay!" said Jonathan, aiding his descent; "you had better take my
lantern. It may be useful to you. Perhaps you'll give me in return
some token, by which I may remind you of this occurrence, in case we
meet again. Your glove will suffice."

"There it is;" replied the other, tossing him the glove. "Are you
sure these bars touch the ground?"

"They come within a yard of it," answered Jonathan.

"Safe!" shouted Darrell, as he effected a secure landing. "Good

"So," muttered Jonathan, "having started the hare, I'll now unleash
the hounds."

With this praiseworthy determination, he was hastening down stairs,
with the utmost rapidity, when he encountered a female, whom he took,
in the darkness, to be Mrs. Sheppard. The person caught hold of his
arm, and, in spite of his efforts to disengage himself, detained him.

"Where is he?" asked she, in an agitated whisper. "I heard his voice;
but I saw them on the stairs, and durst not approach him, for fear of
giving the alarm."

"If you mean the fugitive, Darrell, he has escaped through the back
window," replied Jonathan.

"Thank Heaven!" she gasped.

"Well, you women are forgiving creatures, I must say," observed
Jonathan, sarcastically. "You thank Heaven for the escape of the man
who did his best to get your child's neck twisted."

"What do you mean?" asked the female, in astonishment.

"I mean what I say," replied Jonathan. "Perhaps you don't know that
this Darrell so contrived matters, that your child should be mistaken
for his own; by which means it had a narrow escape from a tight
cravat, I can assure you. However, the scheme answered well enough,
for Darrell has got off with his own brat."

"Then this is not my child?" exclaimed she, with increased

"If you have a child there, it certainly is not," answered Jonathan,
a little surprised; "for I left your brat in the charge of Blueskin,
who is still among the crowd in the street, unless, as is not
unlikely, he's gone to see your other friend disciplined at the

"Merciful providence!" exclaimed the female. "Whose child can this

"How the devil should I know!" replied Jonathan gruffly. "I suppose
it didn't drop through the ceiling, did it? Are you quite sure it's
flesh and blood?" asked he, playfully pinching its arm till it cried
out with pain.

"My child! my child!" exclaimed Mrs. Sheppard, rushing from the
adjoining room. "Where is it?"

"Are you the mother of this child?" inquired the person who had first
spoken, addressing Mrs. Sheppard.

"I am--I am!" cried the widow, snatching the babe, and pressing it to
her breast with rapturous delight "God be thanked, I have found it!"

"We have both good reason to be grateful," added the lady, with great

"'Sblood!" cried Jonathan, who had listened to the foregoing
conversation with angry wonder, "I've been nicely done here.
Fool that I was to part with my lantern! But I'll soon set myself
straight. What ho! lights! lights!"

And, shouting as he went, he flung himself down stairs.

"Where shall I fly?" exclaimed the lady, bewildered with terror.
"They will kill me, if they find me, as they would have killed my
husband and child. Oh God! my limbs fail me."

"Make an effort, Madam," cried Mrs. Sheppard, as a storm of furious
voices resounded from below, and torches were seen mounting the
stairs; "they are coming!--they are coming!--fly!--to the roof! to
the roof."

"No," cried the lady, "this room--I recollect--it has a back window."

"It is shut," said Mrs. Sheppard.

"It is open," replied the lady, rushing towards it, and springing
through the outlet.

"Where is she?" thundered Jonathan, who at this moment reached Mrs.

"She has flown up stairs," replied the widow.

"You lie, hussy!" replied Jonathan, rudely pushing her aside, as
she vainly endeavoured to oppose his entrance into the room; "she is
here. Hist!" cried he, as a scream was heard from without. "By G--!
she has missed her footing."

There was a momentary and terrible silence, broken only by a few
feeble groans.

Sir Cecil, who with Rowland and some others had entered the room
rushed to the window with a torch.

He held down the light, and a moment afterwards beckoned, with a
blanched cheek, to Rowland.

"Your sister is dead," said he, in a deep whisper.

"Her blood be upon her own head, then," replied Rowland, sternly.
"Why came she here?"

"She could not resist the hand of fate which drew her hither,"
replied Sir Cecil, mournfully.

"Descend and take charge of the body," said Rowland, conquering
his emotion by a great effort, "I will join you in a moment. This
accident rather confirms than checks my purpose. The stain upon our
family is only half effaced: I have sworn the death of the villain
and his bastard, and I will keep my oath. Now, Sir," he added,
turning to Jonathan, as Sir Cecil and his followers obeyed his
injunctions, "you say you know the road which the person whom we seek
has taken?"

"I do," replied Jonathan. "But I give no information gratis!"

"Speak, then," said Rowland, placing money in his hand.

"You'll find him at St. Saviours's stairs," answered Jonathan. "He's
about to cross the river. You'd better lose no time. He has got five
minutes' start of you. But I sent him the longest way about."

The words were scarcely pronounced, when Rowland disappeared.

"And now to see the end of it," said Jonathan, shortly afterwards
passing through the window. "Good night, Master."

Three persons only were left in the room. These were the Master of
the Mint, Van Galgebrok, and Mrs. Sheppard.

"A bad business this, Van," observed Baptist, with a prolonged shake
of the head.

"Ja, ja, Muntmeester," said the Hollander, shaking his head in
reply;--"very bad--very."

"But then they're staunch supporters of our friend over the water,"
continued Baptist, winking significantly; "so we must e'en hush it up
in the best way we can."

"Ja," answered Van Galgebrok. "But--sapperment!--I wish they hadn't
broken my pipe."

"JONATHAN WILD promises well," observed the Master, after a pause:
"he'll become a great man. Mind, I, Baptist Kettleby, say so."

"He'll be hanged nevertheless," replied the Hollander, giving his
collar an ugly jerk. "Mind, I, Rykhart Van Galgebrok predict it. And
now let's go back to the Shovels, and finish our brandewyn and bier,

"Alas!" cried Mrs. Sheppard, relieved by their departure, and giving
way to a passionate flood of tears; "were it not for my child, I
should wish to be in the place of that unfortunate lady."


For a short space, Mrs. Sheppard remained dissolved in tears. She
then dried her eyes, and laying her child gently upon the floor,
knelt down beside him. "Open my heart, Father of Mercy!" she
murmured, in a humble tone, and with downcast looks, "and make me
sensible of the error of my ways. I have sinned deeply; but I have
been sorely tried. Spare me yet a little while, Father! not for my
own sake, but for the sake of this poor babe." Her utterance was
here choked by sobs. "But if it is thy will to take me from him," she
continued, as soon as her emotion permitted her,--"if he must be
left an orphan amid strangers, implant, I beseech thee, a mother's
feelings in some other bosom, and raise up a friend, who shall be
to him what I would have been. Let him not bear the weight of my
punishment. Spare him!--pity me!"

With this she arose, and, taking up the infant, was about to proceed
down stairs, when she was alarmed by hearing the street-door opened,
and the sound of heavy footsteps entering the house.

"Halloa, widow!" shouted a rough voice from below, "where the devil
are you?"

Mrs. Sheppard returned no answer.

"I've got something to say to you," continued the speaker, rather
less harshly; "something to your advantage; so come out o' your
hiding-place, and let's have some supper, for I'm infernally
hungry.--D'ye hear?"

Still the widow remained silent.

"Well, if you won't come, I shall help myself, and that's
unsociable," pursued the speaker, evidently, from the noise he
made, suiting the action to the word. "Devilish nice ham you've got
here!--capital pie!--and, as I live, a flask of excellent canary.
You're in luck to-night, widow. Here's your health in a bumper, and
wishing you a better husband than your first. It'll be your own
fault if you don't soon get another and a proper young man into the
bargain. Here's his health likewise. What! mum still. You're the
first widow I ever heard of who could withstand that lure. I'll
try the effect of a jolly stave." And he struck up the following

[Illustration: 111]

[Illustration: 112]

[Illustration: 113]

[Illustration: 114]


     * At the hospital of Saint Giles for Lazars, the prisoners
     conveyed from the City of London towards Tyburn, there to be
     executed for treasons, felonies, or other trespasses, were
     presented with a Bowl of Ale, thereof to drink, as their
     last refreshing in this life.--_Strype's Stow._ Book. IX.
     ch. III.

    I. Where Saint-Giles' church stands, once a la-zar-house
    stood; And, chain'd to its gates, was a ves-sel of wood; A
    broad-bottom'd bowl, from which all the fine fellows, Who
    pass'd by that spot, on their way to the gallows, Might
    tipple strong beer, Their spirits to cheer, And drown, in a
    sea of good li-quor, all fear! For nothing the
    tran-sit to Ty-burn beguiles, So well as a
    draught from the Bowl of Saint Giles!

    II. By many a highwayman many a draught
    Of nutty-brown ale at Saint Giles's was quaft,
    Until the old lazar-house chanced to fall down,
    And the broad-bottom'd bowl was removed to the Crown.
        _Where the robber may cheer_
        _His spirit with beer,_
        _And drown in a sea of good liquor all fear!_
        _For nothing the transit to Tyburn beguiles_
        _So well as a draught from the Bowl of Saint Giles!_

    III. There MULSACK and SWIFTNECK, both prigs from their birth,
    OLD MOB and TOM COX took their last draught on earth:
    There RANDAL, and SHORTER, and WHITNEY pulled up,
    And jolly JACK JOYCE drank his finishing cup!
        _For a can of ale calms,_
        _A highwayman's qualms,_
        _And makes him sing blithely his dolorous psalms_
        _And nothing the transit to Tyburn beguiles_
        _So well as a draught from the Bowl of Saint Giles!_

"Singing's dry work," observed the stranger, pausing to take a pull
at the bottle. "And now, widow," he continued, "attend to the next
verse, for it consarns a friend o' yours."

    IV. When gallant TOM SHEPPARD to Tyburn was led,--
    "Stop the cart at the Crown--stop a moment," he said.
    He was offered the Bowl, but he left it and smiled,
    Crying, "Keep it till call'd for by JONATHAN WILD!
        "_The rascal one day,_
        "_Will pass by this way,_
        "_And drink a full measure to moisten his clay!_
        "_And never will Bowl of Saint Giles have beguiled_
        "_Such a thorough-paced scoundrel as_ JONATHAN WILD!"

    V. Should it e'er be _my_ lot to ride backwards that way,
    At the door of the Crown I will certainly stay;
    I'll summon the landlord--I'll call for the Bowl,
    And drink a deep draught to the health of my soul!
        _Whatever may hap,_
        _I'll taste of the tap,_
        _To keep up my spirits when brought to the crap!_
        _For nothing the transit to Tyburn beguiles_
        _So well as a draught from the Bowl of St. Giles!_

"Devil seize the woman!" growled the singer, as he brought his ditty
to a close; "will nothing tempt her out? Widow Sheppard, I say," he
added, rising, "don't be afraid. It's only a gentleman come to offer
you his hand. 'He that woos a maid',--fol-de-rol--(hiccupping).--I'll
soon find you out."

Mrs. Sheppard, whose distress at the consumption of the provisions
had been somewhat allayed by the anticipation of the intruder's
departure after he had satisfied his appetite, was now terrified in
the extreme by seeing a light approach, and hearing footsteps on the
stairs. Her first impulse was to fly to the window; and she was
about to pass through it, at the risk of sharing the fate of the
unfortunate lady, when her arm was grasped by some one in the act of
ascending the ladder from without. Uttering a faint scream, she
sank backwards, and would have fallen, if it had not been for the
interposition of Blueskin, who, at that moment, staggered into the
room with a candle in one hand, and the bottle in the other.

"Oh, you're here, are you?" said the ruffian, with an exulting laugh:
"I've been looking for you everywhere."

"Let me go," implored Mrs. Sheppard,--"pray let me go. You hurt the
child. Don't you hear how you've made it cry?"

"Throttle the kid!" rejoined Blueskin, fiercely. "If you don't stop
its squalling, I will. I hate children. And, if I'd my own way, I'd
drown 'em all like a litter o' puppies."

Well knowing the savage temper of the person she had to deal with,
and how likely he was to put his threat into execution, Mrs. Sheppard
did not dare to return any answer; but, disengaging herself from his
embrace, endeavoured meekly to comply with his request.

"And now, widow," continued the ruffian, setting down the candle, and
applying his lips to the bottle neck as he flung his heavy frame upon
a bench, "I've a piece o' good news for you."

"Good news will be news to me. What is it?"

"Guess," rejoined Blueskin, attempting to throw a gallant expression
into his forbidding countenance.

Mrs. Sheppard trembled violently; and though she understood his
meaning too well, she answered,--"I can't guess."

"Well, then," returned the ruffian, "to put you out o' suspense, as
the topsman remarked to poor Tom Sheppard, afore he turned him off,
I'm come to make you an honourable proposal o' marriage. You won't
refuse me, I'm sure; so no more need be said about the matter.
To-morrow, we'll go to the Fleet and get spliced. Don't shake so.
What I said about your brat was all stuff. I didn't mean it. It's my
way when I'm ruffled. I shall take to him as nat'ral as if he were
my own flesh and blood afore long.--I'll give him the edication of a
prig,--teach him the use of his forks betimes,--and make him, in the
end, as clever a cracksman as his father."

"Never!" shrieked Mrs. Sheppard; "never! never!"

"Halloa! what's this?" demanded Blueskin, springing to his feet. "Do
you mean to say that if I support your kid, I shan't bring him up how
I please--eh?"

"Don't question me, but leave me," replied the widow wildly; "you had

"Leave you!" echoed the ruffian, with a contemptuous laugh; "--not
just yet."

"I am not unprotected," rejoined the poor woman; "there's some one at
the window. Help! help!"

But her cries were unheeded. And Blueskin, who, for a moment, had
looked round distrustfully, concluding it was a feint, now laughed
louder than ever.

"It won't do, widow," said he, drawing near her, while she shrank
from his approach, "so you may spare your breath. Come, come, be
reasonable, and listen to me. Your kid has already brought me good
luck, and may bring me still more if his edication's attended to.
This purse," he added, chinking it in the air, "and this ring, were
given me for him just now by the lady, who made a false step on
leaving your house. If I'd been in the way, instead of Jonathan Wild,
that accident wouldn't have happened."

As he said this, a slight noise was heard without.

"What's that?" ejaculated the ruffian, glancing uneasily towards the
window. "Who's there?--Pshaw! it's only the wind."

"It's Jonathan Wild," returned the widow, endeavouring to alarm him.
"I told you I was not unprotected."

"_He_ protect _you_," retorted Blueskin, maliciously; "you haven't
a worse enemy on the face of the earth than Jonathan Wild. If you'd
read your husband's dying speech, you'd know that he laid his death
at Jonathan's door,--and with reason too, as I can testify."

"Man!" screamed Mrs. Sheppard, with a vehemence that shook even the
hardened wretch beside her, "begone, and tempt me not."

"What should I tempt you to?" asked Blueskin, in surprise.

"To--to--no matter what," returned the widow distractedly. "Go--go!"

"I see what you mean," rejoined Blueskin, tossing a large case-knife,
which he took from his pocket, in the air, and catching it
dexterously by the haft as it fell; "you owe Jonathan a grudge;--so
do I. He hanged your first husband. Just speak the word," he added,
drawing the knife significantly across his throat, "and I'll put it
out of his power to do the same by your second. But d--n him! let's
talk o' something more agreeable. Look at this ring;--it's a diamond,
and worth a mint o' money. It shall be your wedding ring. Look at it,
I say. The lady's name's engraved inside, but so small I can scarcely
read it. A-L-I-V-A--Aliva--T-R-E-N--Trencher that's it. Aliva

"Aliva Trenchard!" exclaimed Mrs. Sheppard, hastily; "is that the

"Ay, ay, now I look again it _is_ Trenchard. How came you to know it?
Have you heard the name before?"

"I think I have--long, long ago, when I was a child," replied
Mrs. Sheppard, passing her hand across her brow; "but my memory is
gone--quite gone. Where _can_ I have heard it!"

"Devil knows," rejoined Blueskin. "Let it pass. The ring's yours, and
you're mine. Here, put it on your finger."

Mrs. Sheppard snatched back her hand from his grasp, and exerted all
her force to repel his advances.

"Set down the kid," roared Blueskin, savagely.

"Mercy!" screamed Mrs. Sheppard, struggling to escape, and holding
the infant at arm's length; "have mercy on this helpless innocent!"

And the child, alarmed by the strife, added its feeble cries to its
mother's shrieks.

"Set it down, I tell you," thundered Blueskin, "or I shall do it a

"Never!" cried Mrs. Sheppard.

Uttering a terrible imprecation, Blueskin placed the knife between
his teeth, and endeavoured to seize the poor woman by the throat. In
the struggle her cap fell off. The ruffian caught hold of her hair,
and held her fast. The chamber rang with her shrieks. But her cries,
instead of moving her assailant's compassion, only added to his fury.
Planting his knee against her side, he pulled her towards him with
one hand, while with the other he sought his knife. The child was
now within reach; and, in another moment, he would have executed
his deadly purpose, if an arm from behind had not felled him to the

When Mrs. Sheppard, who had been stricken down by the blow that
prostrated her assailant, looked up, she perceived Jonathan Wild
kneeling beside the body of Blueskin. He was holding the ring to the
light, and narrowly examining the inscription.

"Trenchard," he muttered; "Aliva Trenchard--they were right, then,
as to the name. Well, if she survives the accident--as the blood, who
styles himself Sir Cecil, fancies she may do--this ring will make my
fortune by leading to the discovery of the chief parties concerned in
this strange affair."

"Is the poor lady alive?" asked Mrs. Sheppard, eagerly.

"'Sblood!" exclaimed Jonathan, hastily thrusting the ring into his
vest, and taking up a heavy horseman's pistol with which he had
felled Blueskin,--"I thought you'd been senseless."

"Is she alive?" repeated the widow.

"What's that to you?" demanded Jonathan, gruffly.

"Oh, nothing--nothing," returned Mrs. Sheppard. "But pray tell me if
her husband has escaped?"

"Her husband!" echoed Jonathan scornfully. "A _husband_ has little
to fear from his wife's kinsfolk. Her _lover_, Darrell, has embarked
upon the Thames, where, if he's not capsized by the squall, (for
it's blowing like the devil,) he stands a good chance of getting his
throat cut by his pursuers--ha! ha! I tracked 'em to the banks of the
river, and should have followed to see it out, if the watermen hadn't
refused to take me. However, as things have turned up, it's fortunate
that I came back."

"It is, indeed," replied Mrs. Sheppard; "most fortunate for me."

"For _you_!" exclaimed Jonathan; "don't flatter yourself that I'm
thinking of you. Blueskin might have butchered you and your brat
before I'd have lifted a finger to prevent him, if it hadn't suited
my purposes to do so, and _he_ hadn't incurred my displeasure. I
never forgive an injury. Your husband could have told you that."

"How had he offended you?" inquired the widow.

"I'll tell you," answered Jonathan, sternly. "He thwarted my schemes
twice. The first time, I overlooked the offence; but the second time,
when I had planned to break open the house of his master, the fellow
who visited you to-night,--Wood, the carpenter of Wych Street,--he
betrayed me. I told him I would bring him to the gallows, and I was
as good as my word."

"You were so," replied Mrs Sheppard; "and for that wicked deed you
will one day be brought to the gallows yourself."

"Not before I have conducted your child thither," retorted Jonathan,
with a withering look.

"Ah!" ejaculated Mrs. Sheppard, paralysed by the threat.

"If that sickly brat lives to be a man," continued Jonathan, rising,
"I'll hang him upon the same tree as his father."

"Pity!" shrieked the widow.

"I'll be his evil genius!" vociferated Jonathan, who seemed to enjoy
her torture.

"Begone, wretch!" cried the mother, stung beyond endurance by his
taunts; "or I will drive you hence with my curses."

"Curse on, and welcome," jeered Wild.

Mrs. Sheppard raised her hand, and the malediction trembled upon
her tongue. But ere the words could find utterance, her maternal
tenderness overcame her indignation; and, sinking upon her knees, she
extended her arms over her child.

"A mother's prayers--a mother's blessings," she cried, with the
fervour almost of inspiration, "will avail against a fiend's malice."

"We shall see," rejoined Jonathan, turning carelessly upon his heel.

And, as he quitted the room, the poor widow fell with her face upon
the floor.


As soon as he was liberated by his persecutors, Mr. Wood set off at
full speed from the Mint, and, hurrying he scarce knew whither (for
there was such a continual buzzing in his ears and dancing in his
eyes, as almost to take away the power of reflection), he held on at
a brisk pace till his strength completely failed him.

On regaining his breath, he began to consider whither chance had led
him; and, rubbing his eyes to clear his sight, he perceived a sombre
pile, with a lofty tower and broad roof, immediately in front of him.
This structure at once satisfied him as to where he stood. He knew it
to be St. Saviour's Church. As he looked up at the massive tower,
the clock tolled forth the hour of midnight. The solemn strokes were
immediately answered by a multitude of chimes, sounding across the
Thames, amongst which the deep note of Saint Paul's was plainly
distinguishable. A feeling of inexplicable awe crept over the
carpenter as the sounds died away. He trembled, not from any
superstitious dread, but from an undefined sense of approaching
danger. The peculiar appearance of the sky was not without some
influence in awakening these terrors. Over one of the pinnacles of
the tower a speck of pallid light marked the position of the moon,
then newly born and newly risen. It was still profoundly dark; but
the wind, which had begun to blow with some violence, chased the
clouds rapidly across the heavens, and dispersed the vapours hanging
nearer the earth. Sometimes the moon was totally eclipsed; at others,
it shed a wan and ghastly glimmer over the masses rolling in the
firmament. Not a star could be discerned, but, in their stead,
streaks of lurid radiance, whence proceeding it was impossible to
determine, shot ever and anon athwart the dusky vault, and added to
the ominous and threatening appearance of the night.

Alarmed by these prognostications of a storm, and feeling too much
exhausted from his late severe treatment to proceed further on foot,
Wood endeavoured to find a tavern where he might warm and otherwise
refresh himself. With this view he struck off into a narrow street on
the left, and soon entered a small alehouse, over the door of which
hung the sign of the "Welsh Trumpeter."

"Let me have a glass of brandy," said he, addressing the host.

"Too late, master," replied the landlord of the Trumpeter, in a surly
tone, for he did not much like the appearance of his customer; "just
shut up shop."

"Zounds! David Pugh, don't you know your old friend and countryman?"
exclaimed the carpenter.

"Ah! Owen Wood, is it you?" cried David in astonishment. "What the
devil makes you out so late? And what has happened to you, man,
eh?--you seem in a queer plight."

"Give me the brandy, and I'll tell you," replied Wood.

"Here, wife--hostess--fetch me that bottle from the second shelf in
the corner cupboard.--There, Mr. Wood," cried David, pouring out a
glass of the spirit, and offering it to the carpenter, "that'll warm
the cockles of your heart. Don't be afraid, man,--off with it. It's
right Nantz. I keep it for my own drinking," he added in a lower

Mr. Wood having disposed of the brandy, and pronounced himself much
better, hurried close to the fire-side, and informed his friend in a
few words of the inhospitable treatment he had experienced from
the gentlemen of the Mint; whereupon Mr. Pugh, who, as well as the
carpenter, was a descendant of Cadwallader, waxed extremely wrath;
gave utterance to a number of fierce-sounding imprecations in the
Welsh tongue; and was just beginning to express the greatest anxiety
to catch some of the rascals at the Trumpeter, when Mr. Wood cut
him short by stating his intention of crossing the river as soon as
possible in order to avoid the storm.

"A storm!" exclaimed the landlord. "Gadzooks! I thought something was
coming on; for when I looked at the weather-glass an hour ago, it had
sunk lower than I ever remember it."

"We shall have a durty night on it, to a sartinty, landlord,"
observed an old one-eyed sailor, who sat smoking his pipe by the
fire-side. "The glass never sinks in that way, d'ye see, without a
hurricane follerin', I've knowed it often do so in the West Injees.
Moreover, a souple o' porpusses came up with the tide this mornin',
and ha' bin flounderin' about i' the Thames abuv Lunnun Bridge all
day long; and them say-monsters, you know, always proves sure fore
runners of a gale."

"Then the sooner I'm off the better," cried Wood; "what's to pay,

"Don't affront me, Owen, by asking such a question," returned the
landlord; "hadn't you better stop and finish the bottle?"

"Not a drop more," replied Wood. "Enough's as good as a feast. Good

"Well, if you won't be persuaded, and must have a boat, Owen,"
observed the landlord, "there's a waterman asleep on that bench will
help you to as tidy a craft as any on the Thames. Halloa, Ben!"
cried he, shaking a broad-backed fellow, equipped in a short-skirted
doublet, and having a badge upon his arm,--"scullers wanted."

"Holloa! my hearty!" cried Ben, starting to his feet.

"This gentleman wants a pair of oars," said the landlord.

"Where to, master?" asked Ben, touching his woollen cap.

"Arundel Stairs," replied Wood, "the nearest point to Wych Street."

"Come along, master," said the waterman.

"Hark 'ee, Ben," said the old sailor, knocking the ashes from his
pipe upon the hob; "you may try, but dash my timbers if you'll ever
cross the Thames to-night."

"And why not, old saltwater?" inquired Ben, turning a quid in his

"'Cos there's a gale a-getting up as'll perwent you, young
freshwater," replied the tar.

"It must look sharp then, or I shall give it the slip," laughed Ben:
"the gale never yet blowed as could perwent my crossing the Thames.
The weather's been foul enough for the last fortnight, but I've never
turned my back upon it."

"May be not," replied the old sailor, drily; "but you'll find it too
stiff for you to-night, anyhow. Howsomdever, if you _should_ reach
t'other side, take an old feller's advice, and don't be foolhardy
enough to venter back again."

"I tell 'ee what, saltwater," said Ben, "I'll lay you my fare--and
that'll be two shillin'--I'm back in an hour."

"Done!" cried the old sailor. "But vere'll be the use o' vinnin'? you
von't live to pay me."

"Never fear," replied Ben, gravely; "dead or alive I'll pay you, if I
lose. There's my thumb upon it. Come along, master."

"I tell 'ee what, landlord," observed the old sailor, quietly
replenishing his pipe from a huge pewter tobacco-box, as the waterman
and Wood quitted the house, "you've said good-b'ye to your friend."

"Odd's me! do you think so?" cried the host of the Trumpeter. "I'll
run and bring him back. He's a Welshman, and I wouldn't for a trifle
that any accident befel him."

"Never mind," said the old sailor, taking up a piece of blazing coal
with the tongs, and applying it to his pipe; "let 'em try. They'll be
back soon enough--or not at all."

Mr. Wood and the waterman, meanwhile, proceeded in the direction of
St. Saviour's Stairs. Casting a hasty glance at the old and ruinous
prison belonging to the liberty of the Bishop of Winchester (whose
palace formerly adjoined the river), called the Clink, which gave its
name to the street, along which he walked: and noticing, with some
uneasiness, the melancholy manner in which the wind whistled through
its barred casements, the carpenter followed his companion down an
opening to the right, and presently arrived at the water-side.

Moored to the steps, several wherries were dancing in the rushing
current, as if impatient of restraint. Into one of these the
waterman jumped, and, having assisted Mr. Wood to a seat within it,
immediately pushed from land. Ben had scarcely adjusted his oars,
when the gleam of a lantern was seen moving towards the bank. A shout
was heard at a little distance, and, the next moment, a person rushed
with breathless haste to the stair-head.

"Boat there!" cried a voice, which Mr. Wood fancied he recognised.

"You'll find a waterman asleep under his tilt in one of them ere
craft, if you look about, Sir," replied Ben, backing water as he

"Can't you take me with you?" urged the voice; "I'll make it well
worth your while. I've a child here whom I wish to convey across the
water without loss of time."

"A child!" thought Wood; it must be the fugitive Darrell. "Hold
hard," cried he, addressing the waterman; "I'll give the gentleman a

"Unpossible, master," rejoined Ben; "the tide's running down like
a mill-sluice, and the wind's right in our teeth. Old saltwater was
right. We shall have a reg'lar squall afore we gets across. D'ye hear
how the wanes creaks on old Winchester House? We shall have a touch
on it ourselves presently. But I shall lose my wager if I stay a
moment longer--so here goes." Upon which, he plunged his oars deeply
into the stream, and the bark shot from the strand.

Mr. Wood's anxiety respecting the fugitive was speedily relieved by
hearing another waterman busy himself in preparation for starting;
and, shortly after, the dip of a second pair of oars sounded upon the

"Curse me, if I don't think all the world means to cross the Thames
this fine night," observed Ben. "One'd think it rained fares, as well
as blowed great guns. Why, there's another party on the stair-head
inquiring arter scullers; and, by the mass! they appear in a greater
hurry than any on us."

His attention being thus drawn to the bank, the carpenter beheld
three figures, one of whom bore a torch, leap into a wherry of a
larger size than the others, which immediately put off from shore.
Manned by a couple of watermen, who rowed with great swiftness, this
wherry dashed through the current in the track of the fugitive,
of whom it was evidently in pursuit, and upon whom it perceptibly
gained. Mr. Wood strained his eyes to catch a glimpse of the flying
skiff. But he could only discern a black and shapeless mass, floating
upon the water at a little distance, which, to his bewildered fancy,
appeared absolutely standing still. To the practised eye of the
waterman matters wore a very different air. He perceived clearly
enough, that the chase was moving quickly; and he was also aware,
from the increased rapidity with which the oars were urged, that
every exertion was made on board to get out of the reach of her
pursuers. At one moment, it seemed as if the flying bark was about to
put to shore. But this plan (probably from its danger) was instantly
abandoned; not, however, before her momentary hesitation had been
taken advantage of by her pursuers, who, redoubling their efforts at
this juncture, materially lessened the distance between them.

Ben watched these manoeuvres with great interest, and strained every
sinew in his frame to keep ahead of the other boats.

"Them's catchpoles, I s'pose, Sir, arter the gemman with a writ?" he

"Something worse, I fear," Wood replied.

"Why, you don't think as how they're crimps, do you?" Ben inquired.

"I don't know what I think," Wood answered sulkily; and he bent his
eyes upon the water, as if he wished to avert his attention forcibly
from the scene.

There is something that inspires a feeling of inexpressible
melancholy in sailing on a dark night upon the Thames. The sounds
that reach the ear, and the objects that meet the eye, are all
calculated to awaken a train of sad and serious contemplation. The
ripple of the water against the boat, as its keel cleaves through
the stream--the darkling current hurrying by--the indistinctly-seen
craft, of all forms and all sizes, hovering around, and making their
way in ghost-like silence, or warning each other of their approach
by cries, that, heard from afar, have something doleful in their
note--the solemn shadows cast by the bridges--the deeper gloom of
the echoing arches--the lights glimmering from the banks--the red
reflection thrown upon the waves by a fire kindled on some stationary
barge--the tall and fantastic shapes of the houses, as discerned
through the obscurity;--these, and other sights and sounds of the
same character, give a sombre colour to the thoughts of one who may
choose to indulge in meditation at such a time and in such a place.

But it was otherwise with the carpenter. This was no night for the
indulgence of dreamy musing. It was a night of storm and terror,
which promised each moment to become more stormy and more terrible.
Not a bark could be discerned on the river, except those already
mentioned. The darkness was almost palpable; and the wind which,
hitherto, had been blowing in gusts, was suddenly lulled. It was a
dead calm. But this calm was more awful than the previous roaring of
the blast.

Amid this portentous hush, the report of a pistol reached the
carpenter's ears; and, raising his head at the sound, he beheld a
sight which filled him with fresh apprehensions.

By the light of a torch borne at the stern of the hostile wherry, he
saw that the pursuers had approached within a short distance of the
object of their quest. The shot had taken effect upon the waterman
who rowed the chase. He had abandoned his oars, and the boat
was drifting with the stream towards the enemy. Escape was now
impossible. Darrell stood erect in the bark, with his drawn sword in
hand, prepared to repel the attack of his assailants, who, in their
turn, seemed to await with impatience the moment which should deliver
him into their power.

They had not to tarry long. In another instant, the collision took
place. The watermen, who manned the larger wherry, immediately
shipped their oars, grappled with the drifting skiff, and held it
fast. Wood, then, beheld two persons, one of whom he recognised as
Rowland, spring on board the chase. A fierce struggle ensued. There
was a shrill cry, instantly succeeded by a deep splash.

"Put about, waterman, for God's sake!" cried Wood, whose humanity got
the better of every personal consideration; "some one is overboard.
Give way, and let us render what assistance we can to the poor

"It's all over with him by this time, master," replied Ben, turning
the head of his boat, and rowing swiftly towards the scene of strife;
"but d--n him, he was the chap as hit poor Bill Thomson just now, and
I don't much care if he should be food for fishes."

As Ben spoke, they drew near the opposing parties. The contest was
now carried on between Rowland and Darrell. The latter had delivered
himself from one of his assailants, the attendant, Davies. Hurled
over the sides of the skiff, the ruffian speedily found a watery
grave. It was a spring-tide at half ebb; and the current, which was
running fast and furiously, bore him instantly away. While the strife
raged between the principals, the watermen in the larger wherry were
occupied in stemming the force of the torrent, and endeavouring to
keep the boats, they had lashed together, stationary. Owing to this
circumstance, Mr. Wood's boat, impelled alike by oar and tide, shot
past the mark at which it aimed; and before it could be again brought
about, the struggle had terminated. For a few minutes, Darrell seemed
to have the advantage in the conflict. Neither combatant could use
his sword; and in strength the fugitive was evidently superior to his
antagonist. The boat rocked violently with the struggle. Had it not
been lashed to the adjoining wherry, it must have been upset, and
have precipitated the opponents into the water. Rowland felt himself
sinking beneath the powerful grasp of his enemy. He called to the
other attendant, who held the torch. Understanding the appeal, the
man snatched his master's sword from his grasp, and passed it
through Darrell's body. The next moment, a heavy plunge told that the
fugitive had been consigned to the waves.

Darrell, however, rose again instantly; and though mortally wounded,
made a desperate effort to regain the boat.

"My child!" he groaned faintly.

"Well reminded," answered Rowland, who had witnessed his struggles
with a smile of gratified vengeance; "I had forgotten the accursed
imp in this confusion. Take it," he cried, lifting the babe from the
bottom of the boat, and flinging it towards its unfortunate father.

The child fell within a short distance of Darrell, who, hearing the
splash, struck out in that direction, and caught it before it
sank. At this juncture, the sound of oars reached his ears, and he
perceived Mr. Wood's boat bearing up towards him.

"Here he is, waterman," exclaimed the benevolent carpenter. "I see
him!--row for your life!"

"That's the way to miss him, master," replied Ben coolly. "We must
keep still. The tide'll bring him to us fast enough."

Ben judged correctly. Borne along by the current, Darrell was
instantly at the boat's side.

"Seize this oar," vociferated the waterman.

"First take the child," cried Darrell, holding up the infant, and
clinging to the oar with a dying effort.

"Give it me," returned the carpenter; "all's safe. Now lend me your
own hand."

"My strength fails me," gasped the fugitive. "I cannot climb the
boat. Take my child to--it is--oh God!--I am sinking--take it--take

"Where?" shouted Wood.

Darrell attempted to reply. But he could only utter an inarticulate
exclamation. The next moment his grasp relaxed, and he sank to rise
no more.

Rowland, meantime, alarmed by the voices, snatched a torch from his
attendant, and holding it over the side of the wherry, witnessed the
incident just described.

[Illustration: 145]

"Confusion!" cried he; "there is another boat in our wake. They
have rescued the child. Loose the wherry, and stand to your

These commands were promptly obeyed. The boat was set free, and the
men resumed their seats. Rowland's purposes were, however, defeated
in a manner as unexpected as appalling.

During the foregoing occurrences a dead calm prevailed. But as
Rowland sprang to the helm, and gave the signal for pursuit, a roar
like a volley of ordnance was heard aloft, and the wind again burst
its bondage. A moment before, the surface of the stream was black
as ink. It was now whitening, hissing, and seething like an enormous
cauldron. The blast once more swept over the agitated river: whirled
off the sheets of foam, scattered them far and wide in rain-drops,
and left the raging torrent blacker than before. The gale had become
a hurricane: that hurricane was the most terrible that ever laid
waste our city. Destruction everywhere marked its course. Steeples
toppled, and towers reeled beneath its fury. Trees were torn up
by the roots; many houses were levelled to the ground; others were
unroofed; the leads on the churches were ripped off, and "shrivelled
up like scrolls of parchment." Nothing on land or water was spared
by the remorseless gale. Most of the vessels lying in the river were
driven from their moorings, dashed tumultuously against each other,
or blown ashore. All was darkness, horror, confusion, ruin. Men fled
from their tottering habitations, and returned to them scared by
greater dangers. The end of the world seemed at hand.

At this time of universal havoc and despair,--when all London quaked
at the voice of the storm,--the carpenter, who was exposed to its
utmost fury, fared better than might have been anticipated. The boat
in which he rode was not overset. Fortunately, her course had
been shifted immediately after the rescue of the child; and, in
consequence of this movement, she received the first shock of the
hurricane, which blew from the southwest, upon her stern. Her head
dipped deeply into the current, and she narrowly escaped being
swamped. Righting, however, instantly afterwards, she scudded with
the greatest rapidity over the boiling waves, to whose mercy she was
now entirely abandoned. On this fresh outburst of the storm, Wood
threw himself instinctively into the bottom of the boat, and clasping
the little orphan to his breast, endeavoured to prepare himself to
meet his fate.

While he was thus occupied, he felt a rough grasp upon his arm, and
presently afterwards Ben's lips approached close to his ear. The
waterman sheltered his mouth with his hand while he spoke, or his
voice would have been carried away by the violence of the blast.

"It's all up, master," groaned Ben, "nothin' short of a merracle
can save us. The boat's sure to run foul o' the bridge; and if
she 'scapes stavin' above, she'll be swamped to a sartainty below.
There'll be a fall of above twelve foot o' water, and think o' that
on a night as 'ud blow a whole fleet to the devil."

Mr. Wood _did_ think of it, and groaned aloud.

"Heaven help us!" he exclaimed; "we were mad to neglect the old
sailor's advice."

"That's what troubles me," rejoined Ben. "I tell 'ee what, master,
if you're more fortinate nor I am, and get ashore, give old saltwater
your fare. I pledged my thumb that, dead or alive, I'd pay the wager
if I lost; and I should like to be as good as my word."

"I will--I will," replied Wood hastily. "Was that thunder?" he
faltered, as a terrible clap was heard overhead.

"No; it's only a fresh gale," Ben returned: "hark! now it comes."

"Lord have mercy upon us, miserable sinners!" ejaculated Wood, as a
fearful gust dashed the water over the side of the boat, deluging him
with spray.

The hurricane had now reached its climax. The blast shrieked, as if
exulting in its wrathful mission. Stunning and continuous, the din
seemed almost to take away the power of hearing. He, who had faced
the gale, would have been instantly stifled. Piercing through
every crevice in the clothes, it, in some cases, tore them from the
wearer's limbs, or from his grasp. It penetrated the skin; benumbed
the flesh; paralysed the faculties. The intense darkness added to the
terror of the storm. The destroying angel hurried by, shrouded in his
gloomiest apparel. None saw, though all felt, his presence, and heard
the thunder of his voice. Imagination, coloured by the obscurity,
peopled the air with phantoms. Ten thousand steeds appeared to be
trampling aloft, charged with the work of devastation. Awful shapes
seemed to flit by, borne on the wings of the tempest, animating and
directing its fury. The actual danger was lost sight of in these wild
apprehensions; and many timorous beings were scared beyond reason's
verge by the excess of their fears.

This had well nigh been the case with the carpenter. He was roused
from the stupor of despair into which he had sunk by the voice of
Ben, who roared in his ear, "The bridge!--the bridge!"


London, at the period of this history, boasted only a single bridge.
But that bridge was more remarkable than any the metropolis now
possesses. Covered with houses, from one end to the other, this
reverend and picturesque structure presented the appearance of a
street across the Thames. It was as if Grace-church Street, with all
its shops, its magazines, and ceaseless throng of passengers, were
stretched from the Middlesex to the Surrey shore. The houses were
older, the shops gloomier, and the thoroughfare narrower, it is true;
but the bustle, the crowd, the street-like air was the same. Then the
bridge had arched gateways, bristling with spikes, and garnished
(as all ancient gateways ought to be) with the heads of traitors. In
olden days it boasted a chapel, dedicated to Saint Thomas; beneath
which there was a crypt curiously constructed amid the arches, where
"was sepultured Peter the Chaplain of Colechurch, who began the Stone
Bridge at London:" and it still boasted an edifice (though now in
rather a tumbledown condition) which had once vied with a palace,--we
mean Nonesuch House. The other buildings stood close together in
rows; and so valuable was every inch of room accounted, that, in many
cases, cellars, and even habitable apartments, were constructed in
the solid masonry of the piers.

Old London Bridge (the grandsire of the present erection) was
supported on nineteen arches, each of which

    Would a Rialto make for depth and height!

The arches stood upon enormous piers; the piers on starlings, or
jetties, built far out into the river to break the force of the tide.

Roused by Ben's warning, the carpenter looked up and could just
perceive the dusky outline of the bridge looming through the
darkness, and rendered indistinctly visible by the many lights that
twinkled from the windows of the lofty houses. As he gazed at these
lights, they suddenly seemed to disappear, and a tremendous shock was
felt throughout the frame of the boat. Wood started to his feet. He
found that the skiff had been dashed against one of the buttresses of
the bridge.

"Jump!" cried Ben, in a voice of thunder.

Wood obeyed. His fears supplied him with unwonted vigour. Though
the starling was more than two feet above the level of the water, he
alighted with his little charge--which he had never for an instant
quitted--in safety upon it. Poor Ben was not so fortunate. Just as he
was preparing to follow, the wherry containing Rowland and his men,
which had drifted in their wake, was dashed against his boat. The
violence of the collision nearly threw him backwards, and caused
him to swerve as he sprang. His foot touched the rounded edge of the
starling, and glanced off, precipitating him into the water. As
he fell, he caught at the projecting masonry. But the stone was
slippery; and the tide, which here began to feel the influence of the
fall, was running with frightful velocity. He could not make good
his hold. But, uttering a loud cry, he was swept away by the headlong

Mr. Wood heard the cry. But his own situation was too perilous to
admit of his rendering any assistance to the ill-fated waterman. He
fancied, indeed, that he beheld a figure spring upon the starling at
the moment when the boats came in contact; but, as he could perceive
no one near him, he concluded he must have been mistaken.

[Illustration: 155]

In order to make Mr. Wood's present position, and subsequent
proceedings fully intelligible, it may be necessary to give some
notion of the shape and structure of the platform on which he had
taken refuge. It has been said, that the pier of each arch, or lock
of Old London Bridge, was defended from the force of the tide by a
huge projecting spur called a starling. These starlings varied in
width, according to the bulk of the pier they surrounded. But they
were all pretty nearly of the same length, and built somewhat after
the model of a boat, having extremities as sharp and pointed as
the keel of a canoe. Cased and ribbed with stone, and braced with
horizontal beams of timber, the piles, which formed the foundation of
these jetties, had resisted the strong encroachments of the current
for centuries. Some of them are now buried at the bottom of the
Thames. The starling, on which the carpenter stood, was the fourth
from the Surrey shore. It might be three yards in width, and a few
more in length; but it was covered with ooze and slime, and the waves
continually broke over it. The transverse spars before mentioned
were as slippery as ice; and the hollows between them were filled
ankle-deep with water.

The carpenter threw himself flat upon the starling to avoid the fury
of the wind. But in this posture he fared worse than ever. If he
ran less risk of being blown over, he stood a much greater chance
of being washed off, or stifled. As he lay on his back, he fancied
himself gradually slipping off the platform. Springing to his feet
in an ecstasy of terror, he stumbled, and had well nigh realized
his worst apprehensions. He, next, tried to clamber up the flying
buttresses and soffits of the pier, in the hope of reaching some
of the windows and other apertures with which, as a man-of-war is
studded with port-holes, the sides of the bridge were pierced. But
this wild scheme was speedily abandoned; and, nerved by despair, the
carpenter resolved to hazard an attempt, from the execution, almost
from the contemplation, of which he had hitherto shrunk. This was to
pass under the arch, along the narrow ledge of the starling, and,
if possible, attain the eastern platform, where, protected by the
bridge, he would suffer less from the excessive violence of the gale.

Assured, if he remained much longer where he was, he would inevitably
perish, Wood recommended himself to the protection of Heaven, and
began his perilous course. Carefully sustaining the child which, even
in that terrible extremity, he had not the heart to abandon, he
fell upon his knees, and, guiding himself with his right hand, crept
slowly on. He had scarcely entered the arch, when the indraught was
so violent, and the noise of the wind so dreadful and astounding,
that he almost determined to relinquish the undertaking. But the love
of life prevailed over his fears. He went on.

The ledge, along which he crawled, was about a foot wide. In length
the arch exceeded seventy feet. To the poor carpenter it seemed an
endless distance. When, by slow and toilsome efforts, he had arrived
midway, something obstructed his further progress. It was a huge
stone placed there by some workmen occupied in repairing the
structure. Cold drops stood upon Wood's brow, as he encountered
this obstacle. To return was impossible,--to raise himself certain
destruction. He glanced downwards at the impetuous torrent, which
he could perceive shooting past him with lightning swiftness in the
gloom. He listened to the thunder of the fall now mingling with the
roar of the blast; and, driven almost frantic by what he heard
and saw, he pushed with all his force against the stone. To his
astonishment and delight it yielded to the pressure, toppled over the
ledge, and sank. Such was the hubbub and tumult around him, that
the carpenter could not hear its plunge into the flood. His course,
however, was no longer interrupted, and he crept on.

After encountering other dangers, and being twice, compelled to fling
himself flat upon his face to avoid slipping from the wet and slimy
pathway, he was at length about to emerge from the lock, when, to his
inexpressible horror, he found he had lost the child!

All the blood in his veins rushed to his heart, and he shook in every
limb as he made this discovery. A species of vertigo seized him.
His brain reeled. He fancied that the whole fabric of the bridge was
cracking over head,--that the arch was tumbling upon him,--that the
torrent was swelling around him, whirling him off, and about to bury
him in the deafening abyss. He shrieked with agony, and clung with
desperate tenacity to the roughened stones. But calmer thoughts
quickly succeeded. On taxing his recollection, the whole circumstance
rushed to mind with painful distinctness. He remembered that, before
he attempted to dislodge the stone, he had placed the child in a
cavity of the pier, which the granite mass had been intended to fill.
This obstacle being removed, in his eagerness to proceed, he had
forgotten to take his little charge with him. It was still possible
the child might be in safety. And so bitterly did the carpenter
reproach himself with his neglect, that he resolved, at all risks,
to go back in search of it. Acting upon this humane determination, he
impelled himself slowly backwards,--for he did not dare to face the
blast,--and with incredible labour and fatigue reached the crevice.
His perseverance was amply rewarded. The child was still safe. It lay
undisturbed in the remotest corner of the recess.

So overjoyed was the carpenter with the successful issue of his
undertaking, that he scarcely paused a moment to recruit himself;
but, securing the child, set out upon his return. Retracing his
steps, he arrived, without further accident, at the eastern platform
of the starling. As he anticipated, he was here comparatively
screened from the fury of the wind; and when he gazed upon the
roaring fall beneath him, visible through the darkness in a
glistening sheet of foam, his heart overflowed with gratitude for his
providential deliverance.

As he moved about upon the starling, Mr. Wood became sensible that he
was not alone. Some one was standing beside him. This, then, must be
the person whom he had seen spring upon the western platform at the
time of the collision between the boats. The carpenter well knew from
the obstacle which had interfered with his own progress, that the
unknown could not have passed through the same lock as himself. But
he might have crept along the left side of the pier, and beneath the
further arch; whereas, Wood, as we have seen, took his course upon
the right. The darkness prevented the carpenter from discerning the
features or figure of the stranger; and the ceaseless din precluded
the possibility of holding any communication by words with him. Wood,
however, made known his presence to the individual by laying his hand
upon his shoulder. The stranger started at the touch, and spoke. But
his words were borne away by the driving wind.

Finding all attempts at conversation with his companion in misfortune
in vain, Wood, in order to distract his thoughts, looked up at the
gigantic structure standing, like a wall of solid darkness, before
him. What was his transport on perceiving that a few yards above him
a light was burning. The carpenter did not hesitate a moment. He took
a handful of the gravelly mud, with which the platform was covered,
and threw the small pebbles, one by one, towards the gleam. A pane
of glass was shivered by each stone. The signal of distress was
evidently understood. The light disappeared. The window was shortly
after opened, and a rope ladder, with a lighted horn lantern attached
to it, let down.

Wood grasped his companion's arm to attract his attention to this
unexpected means of escape. The ladder was now within reach. Both
advanced towards it, when, by the light of the lantern, Wood beheld,
in the countenance of the stranger, the well-remembered and stern
features of Rowland.

The carpenter trembled; for he perceived Rowland's gaze fixed first
upon the infant, and then on himself.

"It _is_ her child!" shrieked Rowland, in a voice heard above the
howling of the tempest, "risen from this roaring abyss to torment me.
Its parents have perished. And shall their wretched offspring live to
blight my hopes, and blast my fame? Never!" And, with these words, he
grasped Wood by the throat, and, despite his resistance, dragged him
to the very verge of the platform.

All this juncture, a thundering crash was heard against the side of
the bridge. A stack of chimneys, on the house above them, had yielded
to the storm, and descended in a shower of bricks and stones.

When the carpenter a moment afterwards stretched out his hand,
scarcely knowing whether he was alive or dead, he found himself
alone. The fatal shower, from which he and his little charge escaped
uninjured, had stricken his assailant and precipitated him into the
boiling gulf.

"It's an ill wind that blows nobody good," thought the carpenter,
turning his attention to the child, whose feeble struggles and
cries proclaimed that, as yet, life had not been extinguished by
the hardships it had undergone. "Poor little creature!" he muttered,
pressing it tenderly to his breast, as he grasped the rope and
clambered up to the window: "if thou hast, indeed, lost both thy
parents, as that terrible man said just now, thou art not wholly
friendless and deserted, for I myself will be a father to thee! And
in memory of this dreadful night, and the death from which I have,
been the means of preserving thee, thou shalt bear the name of THAMES

No sooner had Wood crept through the window, than nature gave way,
and he fainted. On coming to himself, he found he had been wrapped in
a blanket and put to bed with a couple of hot bricks to his feet. His
first inquiries were concerning the child, and he was delighted to
find that it still lived and was doing well. Every care had been
taken of it, as well as of himself, by the humane inmates of the
house in which he had sought shelter.

About noon, next day, he was able to move; and the gale having
abated, he set out homewards with his little charge.

The city presented a terrible picture of devastation. London Bridge
had suffered a degree less than most places. But it was almost
choked up with fallen stacks of chimneys, broken beams of timber,
and shattered tiles. The houses overhung in a frightful manner, and
looked as if the next gust would precipitate them into the river.
With great difficulty, Wood forced a path through the ruins. It was a
work of no slight danger, for every instant a wall, or fragment of
a building, came crashing to the ground. Thames Street was wholly
impassable. Men were going hither and thither with barrows, and
ladders and ropes, removing the rubbish, and trying to support the
tottering habitations. Grace-church Street was entirely deserted,
except by a few stragglers, whose curiosity got the better of their
fears; or who, like the carpenter, were compelled to proceed along
it. The tiles lay a foot thick in the road. In some cases they were
ground almost to powder; in others, driven deeply into the earth, as
if discharged from a piece of ordnance. The roofs and gables of many
of the houses had been torn off. The signs of the shops were carried
to incredible distances. Here and there, a building might be seen
with the doors and windows driven in, and all access to it prevented
by the heaps of bricks and tilesherds.

Through this confusion the carpenter struggled on;--now ascending,
now descending the different mountains of rubbish that beset his
path, at the imminent peril of his life and limbs, until he arrived
in Fleet Street. The hurricane appeared to have raged in this quarter
with tenfold fury. Mr. Wood scarcely knew where he was. The old
aspect of the place was gone. In lieu of the substantial habitations
which he had gazed on overnight, he beheld a row of falling
scaffoldings, for such they seemed.

It was a dismal and depressing sight to see a great city thus
suddenly overthrown; and the carpenter was deeply moved by the
spectacle. As usual, however, on the occasion of any great calamity,
a crowd was scouring the streets, whose sole object was plunder.
While involved in this crowd, near Temple Bar,--where the
thoroughfare was most dangerous from the masses of ruin that impeded
it,--an individual, whose swarthy features recalled to the carpenter
one of his tormentors of the previous night, collared him, and, with
bitter imprecations accused him of stealing his child. In vain Wood
protested his innocence. The ruffian's companions took his part. And
the infant, in all probability, would have been snatched from its
preserver, if a posse of the watch (sent out to maintain order and
protect property) had not opportunely arrived, and by a vigorous
application of their halberts dispersed his persecutors, and set him
at liberty.

Mr. Wood then took to his heels, and never once looked behind him
till he reached his own dwelling in Wych Street. His wife met him at
the door, and into her hands he delivered his little charge.




Twelve years! How many events have occurred during that long
interval! how many changes have taken place! The whole aspect of
things is altered. The child has sprung into a youth; the youth has
become a man; the man has already begun to feel the advances of
age. Beauty has bloomed and faded. Fresh flowers of loveliness
have budded, expanded, died. The fashions of the day have become
antiquated. New customs have prevailed over the old. Parties,
politics, and popular opinions have changed. The crown has passed
from the brow of one monarch to that of another. Habits and tastes
are no longer the same. We, ourselves, are scarcely the same we were
twelve years ago.

Twelve years ago! It is an awful retrospect. Dare we look back upon
the darkened vista, and, in imagination retrace the path we have
trod? With how many vain hopes is it shaded! with how many good
resolutions, never fulfilled, is it paved! Where are the dreams
of ambition in which, twelve years ago, we indulged? Where are the
aspirations that fired us--the passions that consumed us then? Has
our success in life been commensurate with our own desires--with
the anticipations formed of us by others? Or, are we not blighted in
heart, as in ambition? Has not the loved one been estranged by doubt,
or snatched from us by the cold hand of death? Is not the goal,
towards which we pressed, further off than ever--the prospect before
us cheerless as the blank behind?--Enough of this. Let us proceed
with our tale.

Twelve years, then, have elapsed since the date of the occurrences
detailed in the preceding division of this history. At that time, we
were beneath the sway of Anne: we are now at the commencement of the
reign of George the First. Passing at a glance over the whole of the
intervening period; leaving in the words of the poet,

    --The growth untried
    Of that wide gap--

we shall resume our narrative at the beginning of June, 1715.

One Friday afternoon, in this pleasant month, it chanced that Mr.
Wood, who had been absent on business during the greater part of the
day, returned (perhaps not altogether undesignedly) at an earlier
hour than was expected, to his dwelling in Wych Street, Drury Lane;
and was about to enter his workshop, when, not hearing any sound of
labour issue from within, he began to suspect that an apprentice, of
whose habits of industry he entertained some doubt, was neglecting
his employment. Impressed with this idea, he paused for a moment to
listen. But finding all continue silent, he cautiously lifted the
latch, and crept into the room, resolved to punish the offender in
case his suspicions should prove correct.

The chamber, into which he stole, like all carpenters' workshops,
was crowded with the implements and materials of that ancient and
honourable art. Saws, hammers, planes, axes, augers, adzes, chisels,
gimblets, and an endless variety of tools were ranged, like a stand
of martial weapons at an armoury, in racks against the walls.
Over these hung levels, bevels, squares, and other instruments of
measurement. Amid a litter of nails without heads, screws without
worms, and locks without wards, lay a glue-pot and an oilstone, two
articles which their owner was wont to term "his right hand and his
left." On a shelf was placed a row of paint-jars; the contents of
which had been daubed in rainbow streaks upon the adjacent closet and
window sill. Divers plans and figures were chalked upon the walls;
and the spaces between them were filled up with an almanack for the
year; a godly ballad, adorned with a rude wood-cut, purporting to be
"_The History of Chaste Susannah_;" an old print of the Seven Golden
Candlesticks; an abstract of the various Acts of Parliament against
drinking, swearing, and all manner of profaneness; and a view of the
interior of Doctor Daniel Burgess's Presbyterian meeting-house in
Russell Court, with portraits of the reverend gentleman and the
principal members of his flock. The floor was thickly strewn with
sawdust and shavings; and across the room ran a long and wide bench,
furnished at one end with a powerful vice; next to which three nails
driven into the boards served, it would appear from the lump of
unconsumed tallow left in their custody, as a substitute for a
candlestick. On the bench was set a quartern measure of gin, a crust
of bread, and a slice of cheese. Attracted by the odour of the latter
dainty, a hungry cat had contrived to scratch open the paper in
which it was wrapped, displaying the following words in large
THE GALLOWS." And, as if to make the moral more obvious, a dirty pack
of cards was scattered, underneath, upon the sawdust. Near the door
stood a pile of deal planks, behind which the carpenter ensconced
himself in order to reconnoitre, unobserved, the proceedings of his
idle apprentice.

[Illustration: 179]

Standing on tiptoe, on a joint-stool, placed upon the bench, with
his back to the door, and a clasp-knife in his hand, this youngster,
instead of executing his appointed task, was occupied in carving his
name upon a beam, overhead. Boys, at the time of which we write, were
attired like men of their own day, or certain charity-children
of ours; and the stripling in question was dressed in black plush
breeches, and a gray drugget waistcoat, with immoderately long
pockets, both of which were evidently the cast-off clothes of some
one considerably his senior. Coat, on the present occasion, he had
none, it being more convenient, as well as agreeable to him, to
pursue his avocations in his shirtsleeves; but, when fully equipped,
he wore a large-cuffed, long-skirted garment, which had once been the
property of his master.

In concealing himself behind the timber, Mr. Wood could not avoid
making a slight shuffling sound. The noise startled the apprentice,
who instantly suspended his labour, and gazed anxiously in the
direction whence he supposed it proceeded. His face was that of a
quick, intelligent-looking boy, with fine hazel eyes, and a clear
olive complexion. His figure was uncommonly slim even for his age,
which could not be more than thirteen; and the looseness of his garb
made him appear thinner than he was in reality. But if his frame was
immature, his looks were not so. He seemed to possess a penetration
and cunning beyond his years--to hide a man's judgment under a
boy's mask. The glance, which he threw at the door, was singularly
expressive of his character: it was a mixture of alarm, effrontery,
and resolution. In the end, resolution triumphed, as it was sure to
do, over the weaker emotions, and he laughed at his fears. The only
part of his otherwise-interesting countenance, to which one could
decidedly object, was the mouth; a feature that, more than any other,
is conceived to betray the animal propensities of the possessor. If
this is true, it must be owned that the boy's mouth showed a strong
tendency on his part to coarse indulgence. The eyes, too, though
large and bright, and shaded by long lashes, seemed to betoken,
as hazel eyes generally do in men, a faithless and uncertain
disposition. The cheek-bones were prominent: the nose slightly
depressed, with rather wide nostrils; the chin narrow, but
well-formed; the forehead broad and lofty; and he possessed such an
extraordinary flexibility of muscle in this region, that he could
elevate his eye-brows at pleasure up to the very verge of his sleek
and shining black hair, which, being closely cropped, to admit of his
occasionally wearing a wig, gave a singular bullet-shape to his head.
Taken altogether, his physiognomy resembled one of those vagabond
heads which Murillo delighted to paint, and for which Guzman
d'Alfarache, Lazarillo de Tormes, or Estevanillo Gonzalez might have
sat:--faces that almost make one in love with roguery, they seem so
full of vivacity and enjoyment. There was all the knavery, and more
than all the drollery of a Spanish picaroon in the laughing eyes of
the English apprentice; and, with a little more warmth and sunniness
of skin on the side of the latter, the resemblance between them would
have been complete.

Satisfied, as he thought, that he had nothing to apprehend, the boy
resumed his task, chanting, as he plied his knife with redoubled
assiduity, the following--not inappropriate strains:--


    When Claude Du Val was in Newgate thrown,
    He carved his name on the dungeon stone;
    Quoth a dubsman, who gazed on the shattered wall,
    "You have carved your epitaph, Claude Du Val,
        _With your chisel so fine, tra la_!"

"This S wants a little deepening," mused the apprentice, retouching
the letter in question; "ay, that's better."

    Du Val was hang'd, and the next who came
    On the selfsame stone inscribed his name:
    "Aha!" quoth the dubsman, with devilish glee,
    "Tom Waters _your_ doom is the triple tree!
        _With your chisel so fine, tra la_!"

"Tut, tut, tut," he cried, "what a fool I am to be sure! I ought
to have cut John, not Jack. However, it don't signify. Nobody ever
called me John, that I recollect. So I dare say I was christened
Jack. Deuce take it! I was very near spelling my name with one P.

    Within that dungeon lay Captain Bew,
    Rumbold and Whitney--a jolly crew!
    All carved their names on the stone, and all
    Share the fate of the brave Du Val!
        _With their chisels so fine, tra la_!

"Save us!" continued the apprentice, "I hope this beam doesn't
resemble the Newgate stone; or I may chance, like the great men the
song speaks of, to swing on the Tyburn tree for my pains. No fear
o' that.--Though if my name should become as famous as theirs, it
wouldn't much matter. The prospect of the gallows would never deter
me from taking to the road, if I were so inclined.

    Full twenty highwaymen blithe and bold,
    Rattled their chains in that dungeon old;
    Of all that number there 'scaped not one
    Who carved his name on the Newgate Stone.
        _With his chisel so fine, tra la_!

"There!" cried the boy, leaping from the stool, and drawing back
a few paces on the bench to examine his performance,--"that'll do.
Claude du Val himself couldn't have carved it better--ha! ha!"

The name inscribed upon the beam (of which, as it has been carefully
preserved by the subsequent owners of Mr. Wood's habitation in Wych
Street, we are luckily enabled to furnish a facsimile) was

[Illustration: Jack Sheppard (signature)]

"I've half a mind to give old Wood the slip, and turn highwayman,"
cried Jack, as he closed the knife, and put it in his pocket.

"The devil you have!" thundered a voice from behind, that filled the
apprentice with dismay. "Come down, sirrah, and I'll teach you how to
deface my walls in future. Come down, I say, instantly, or I'll make
you." Upon which, Mr. Wood caught hold of Jack's leg, and dragged him
off the bench.

"And so you'll turn highwayman, will you, you young dog?" continued
the carpenter, cuffing him soundly,--"rob the mails, like Jack Hall,
I suppose."

"Yes, I will," replied Jack sullenly, "if you beat me in that way."

Amazed at the boy's assurance, Wood left off boxing his ears for a
moment, and, looking at him steadfastly, said in a grave tone, "Jack,
Jack, you'll come to be hanged!"

"Better be hanged than hen-pecked," retorted the lad with a malicious

"What do you mean by that, sirrah?" cried Wood, reddening with anger.
"Do you dare to insinuate that Mrs. Wood governs me?"

"It's plain you can't govern yourself, at all events," replied Jack
coolly; "but, be that as it may, I won't be struck for nothing."

"Nothing," echoed Wood furiously. "Do you call neglecting your work,
and singing flash songs nothing? Zounds! you incorrigible rascal,
many a master would have taken you before a magistrate, and prayed
for your solitary confinement in Bridewell for the least of these
offences. But I'll be more lenient, and content myself with merely
chastising you, on condition--"

"You may do as you please, master," interrupted Jack, thrusting his
hand into his pocket, as if in search of the knife; "but I wouldn't
advise you to lay hands on me again."

Mr. Wood glanced at the hardy offender, and not liking the expression
of his countenance, thought it advisable to postpone the execution of
his threats to a more favourable opportunity. So, by way of gaining
time, he resolved to question him further.

"Where did you learn the song I heard just now?" he demanded, in an
authoritative tone.

"At the Black Lion in our street," replied Jack, without hesitation.

"The worst house in the neighbourhood--the constant haunt of
reprobates and thieves," groaned Wood. "And who taught it you--the
landlord, Joe Hind?"

"No; one Blueskin, a fellow who frequents the Lion," answered Jack,
with a degree of candour that astonished his master nearly as much as
his confidence. "It was that song that put it into my head to cut my
name on the beam."

"A white wall is a fool's paper, Jack,--remember that," rejoined
Wood. "Pretty company for an apprentice to keep!--pretty houses for
an apprentice to frequent! Why, the rascal you mention is a notorious
house-breaker. He was tried at the last Old Bailey sessions; and
only escaped the gallows by impeaching his accomplices. Jonathan Wild
brought him off."

"Do you happen to know Jonathan Wild, master?" inquired Jack,
altering his tone, and assuming a more respectful demeanour.

"I've seen him some years ago, I believe," answered Wood; "and,
though he must be much changed by this time, I dare say I should know
him again."

"A short man, isn't he, about your height, Sir,--with a yellow beard,
and a face as sly as a fox's?"

"Hem!" replied Wood, coughing slightly to conceal a smile; "the
description's not amiss. But why do you ask?"

"Because--" stammered the boy.

"Speak out--don't be alarmed," said Wood, in a kind and encouraging
tone. "If you've done wrong, confess it, and I'll forgive you!"

"I don't deserve to be forgiven!" returned Jack, bursting into tears;
"for I'm afraid I've done very wrong. Do you know this, Sir?" he
added, taking a key from his pocket.

"Where did you find it!" asked Wood.

"It was given me by a man who was drinking t'other night with
Blueskin at the Lion! and who, though he slouched his hat over his
eyes, and muffled his chin in a handkerchief, must have been Jonathan

"Where did _he_ get it?" inquired Wood, in surprise.

"That I can't say. But he promised to give me a couple of guineas if
I'd ascertain whether it fitted your locks."

"Zounds!" exclaimed Wood; "it's my old master-key. This key," he
added, taking it from the boy, "was purloined from me by your father,
Jack. What he intended to do with it is of little consequence now.
But before he suffered at Tyburn, he charged your mother to restore
it. She lost it in the Mint. Jonathan Wild must have stolen it from

"He must," exclaimed Jack, hastily; "but only let me have it till
to-morrow, and if I don't entrap him in a snare from which, with all
his cunning, he shall find it difficult to escape, my name's not Jack

"I see through your design, Jack," returned the carpenter, gravely;
"but I don't like under-hand work. Even when you've a knave to deal
with, let your actions be plain, and above-board. That's my maxim;
and it's the maxim of every honest man. It would be a great matter,
I must own, to bring Jonathan Wild to justice. But I can't consent
to the course you would pursue--at least, not till I've given it
due consideration. In regard to yourself, you've had a very narrow
escape. Wild's intention, doubtless, was to use you as far as he
found necessary, and then to sell you. Let this be a caution to
you in future--with whom, and about what you deal. We're told, that
'Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul.' Avoid taverns
and bad company, and you may yet do well. You promise to become
a first-rate workman. But you want one quality, without which
all others are valueless. You want industry--you want steadiness.
Idleness is the key of beggary, Jack. If you don't conquer this
disgraceful propensity in time, you'll soon come to want; and then
nothing can save you. Be warned by your father's fate. As you brew so
must you drink. I've engaged to watch over you as a son, and I _will_
do so as far as I'm able; but if you neglect my advice, what chance
have I of benefitting you? On one point I've made up my mind--you
shall either obey me, or leave me. Please yourself. Here are your
indentures, if you choose to seek another master."

"I _will_ obey you, master,--indeed I will!" implored Jack, seriously
alarmed at the carpenter's calm displeasure.

"We shall see. Good words, without deeds, are rushes and reeds. And
now take away those cards, and never let me see them again. Drive
away the cat; throw that measure of gin through the window; and
tell me why you've not so much as touched the packing-case for Lady
Trafford, which I particularly desired you to complete against
my return. It must be sent home this evening. She leaves town

"It shall be ready in two hours," answered Jack, seizing a piece of
wood and a plane; "it isn't more than four o'clock. I'll engage to
get the job done by six. I didn't expect you home before that hour,

"Ah, Jack," said Wood, shaking his head, "where there's a will
there's a way. You can do anything you please. I wish I could get you
to imitate Thames Darrell."

"I'm sure I understand the business of a carpenter much better than
he does," replied Jack, adroitly adjusting the board, and using the
plane with the greatest rapidity.

"Perhaps," replied Wood, doubtfully.

"Thames was always your favourite," observed Jack, as he fastened
another piece of wood on the teeth of the iron stopper.

"I've made no distinction between you, hitherto," answered Wood; "nor
shall I do so, unless I'm compelled."

"I've had the hard work to do, at all events," rejoined Jack, "But I
won't complain. I'd do anything for Thames Darrell."

"And Thames Darrell would do anything for you, Jack," replied a
blithe voice. "What's the matter, father!" continued the new-comer,
addressing Wood. "Has Jack displeased you? If so, overlook his fault
this once. I'm sure he'll do his best to content you. Won't you,

"That I will," answered Sheppard, eagerly.

"When it thunders, the thief becomes honest," muttered Wood.

"Can I help you, Jack?" asked Thames, taking up a plane.

"No, no, let him alone," interposed Wood. "He has undertaken to
finish this job by six o'clock, and I wish to see whether he'll be as
good as his word."

"He'll have hard work to do it by that time, father," remonstrated
Thames; "you'd better let me help him."

"On no account," rejoined Wood peremptorily. "A little extra exertion
will teach him the advantage of diligence at the proper season. Lost
ground must be regained. I need scarcely ask whether you've executed
your appointed task, my dear? You're never behindhand."

Thames turned away at the question, which he felt might be construed
into a reproach. But Sheppard answered for him.

"Darrell's job was done early this morning," he said; "and if I'd
attended to his advice, the packing-case would have been finished at
the same time."

"You trusted too much to your own skill, Jack," rejoined Thames. "If
I could work as fast as you, I might afford to be as idle. See how he
gets on, father," he added, appealing to Wood: "the box seems to grow
under his hands."

"You're a noble-hearted little fellow, Thames," rejoined Wood,
casting a look of pride and affection at his adopted son, whose head
he gently patted; "and give promise of a glorious manhood."

Thames Darrell was, indeed, a youth of whom a person of far greater
worldly consequence than the worthy carpenter might have been justly
proud. Though a few months younger than his companion Jack Sheppard,
he was half a head taller, and much more robustly formed. The two
friends contrasted strikingly with each other. In Darrell's open
features, frankness and honour were written in legible characters;
while, in Jack's physiognomy, cunning and knavery were as strongly
imprinted. In all other respects they differed as materially. Jack
could hardly be accounted good-looking: Thames, on the contrary, was
one of the handsomest boys possible. Jack's complexion was that of
a gipsy; Darrell's as fresh and bright as a rose. Jack's mouth was
coarse and large; Darrell's small and exquisitely carved, with the
short, proud upper lip, which belongs to the highest order of beauty.
Jack's nose was broad and flat; Darrell's straight and fine as that
of Antinous. The expression pervading the countenance of the one
was vulgarity; of the other, that which is rarely found, except in
persons of high birth. Darrell's eyes were of that clear gray which
it is difficult to distinguish from blue by day and black at night;
and his rich brown hair, which he could not consent to part with,
even on the promise of a new and modish peruke from his adoptive
father, fell in thick glossy ringlets upon his shoulders; whereas
Jack's close black crop imparted the peculiar bullet-shape we have
noticed, to his head.

While Thames modestly expressed a hope that he might not belie the
carpenter's favourable prediction, Jack Sheppard thought fit to
mount a small ladder placed against the wall, and, springing with the
agility of an ape upon a sort of frame, contrived to sustain short
spars and blocks of timber, began to search about for a piece of wood
required in the work on which he was engaged. Being in a great hurry,
he took little heed where he set his feet; and a board giving way, he
must have fallen, if he had not grasped a large plank laid upon the
transverse beam immediately over his head.

"Take care, Jack," shouted Thames, who witnessed the occurrence;
"that plank isn't properly balanced. You'll have it down."

But the caution came too late. Sheppard's weight had destroyed the
equilibrium of the plank: it swerved, and slowly descended. Losing
his presence of mind, Jack quitted his hold, and dropped upon the
frame. The plank hung over his head. A moment more and he would have
been crushed beneath the ponderous board, when a slight but strong
arm arrested its descent.

"Get from under it, Jack!" vociferated Thames. "I can't hold it much
longer--it'll break my wrist. Down we come!" he exclaimed, letting go
the plank, which fell with a crash, and leaping after Sheppard, who
had rolled off the frame.

All this was the work of a minute.

"No bones broken, I hope," said Thames, laughing at Jack, who limped
towards the bench, rubbing his shins as he went.

"All right," replied Sheppard, with affected indifference.

"It's a mercy you both escaped!" ejaculated Wood, only just finding
his tongue. "I declare I'm all in a cold sweat. How came you, Sir,"
he continued, addressing Sheppard, "to venture upon that frame. I
always told you some accident would happen."

"Don't scold him, father," interposed Thames; "he's been frightened
enough already."

"Well, well, since you desire it, I'll say no more," returned Wood.
"You hay'n't hurt your arm, I trust, my dear?" he added, anxiously.

"Only sprained it a little, that's all," answered Thames; "the pain
will go off presently."

"Then you _are_ hurt," cried the carpenter in alarm. "Come down
stairs directly, and let your mother look at your wrist. She has an
excellent remedy for a sprain. And do you, Jack, attend to your work,
and mind you don't get into further mischief."

"Hadn't Jack better go with us?" said Thames. "His shin may need

"By no means," rejoined Wood, hastily. "A little suffering will do
him good. I meant to give him a drubbing. That bruise will answer the
same purpose."

"Thames," said Sheppard in a low voice, as he threw a vindictive
glance at the carpenter, "I shan't forget this. You've saved my

"Pshaw! you'd do as much for me any day, and think no more about it.
It'll be your turn to save mine next."

"True, and I shan't be easy till my turn arrives."

"I tell you what, Jack," whispered Thames, who had noticed Sheppard's
menacing glance, and dreaded some further indiscretion on his part,
"if you really wish to oblige me, you'll get that packing-case
finished by six o'clock. You _can_ do it, if you will."

"And I _will_, if I can, depend upon it," answered Sheppard, with a

So saying, he manfully resumed his work; while Wood and Thames
quitted the room, and went down stairs.


Thames Darrell's arm having been submitted to the scrutiny of Mrs.
Wood, was pronounced by that lady to be very much sprained; and she,
forthwith, proceeded to bathe it with a reddish-coloured lotion.
During this operation, the carpenter underwent a severe catechism
as to the cause of the accident; and, on learning that the mischance
originated with Jack Sheppard, the indignation of his helpmate knew
no bounds; and she was with difficulty prevented from flying to the
workshop to inflict summary punishment on the offender.

"I knew how it would be," she cried, in the shrill voice peculiar to
a shrew, "when you brought that worthless hussy's worthless brat
into the house. I told you no good would come of it. And every day's
experience proves that I was right. But, like all your overbearing
sex, you must have your own way. You'll never be guided by

"Indeed, my love, you're entirely mistaken," returned the carpenter,
endeavouring to deprecate his wife's rising resentment by the softest
looks, and the meekest deportment.

So far, however, was this submission from producing the desired
effect, that it seemed only to lend additional fuel to her
displeasure. Forgetting her occupation in her anger, she left off
bathing Darrell's wrist; and, squeezing his arm so tightly that the
boy winced with pain, she clapped her right hand upon her hip, and
turned, with flashing eyes and an inflamed countenance, towards her
crest-fallen spouse.

"What!" she exclaimed, almost choked with passion,--"_I_ advised you
to burthen yourself with that idle and good-for-nothing pauper, who'm
you ought rather to send to the workhouse than maintain at your own
expense, did I! _I_ advised you to take him as an apprentice; and, so
far from getting the regular fee with him, to give him a salary?
_I_ advised you to feed him, and clothe him, and treat him like his
betters; to put up with his insolence, and wink at his faults? _I_
counselled all this, I suppose. You'll tell me next, I dare say, that
I recommended you to go and visit his mother so frequently under
the plea of charity; to give her wine, and provisions, and money; to
remove her from the only fit quarters for such people--the Mint; and
to place her in a cottage at Willesden, of which you must needs pay
the rent? Marry, come up! charity should begin at home. A discreet
husband would leave the dispensation of his bounty, where women
are concerned, to his wife. And for my part, if I were inclined to
exercise my benevolence at all, it should be in favour of some more
deserving object than that whining, hypocritical Magdalene."

"It was the knowledge of this feeling on your part, my love, that
made me act without your express sanction. I did all for the best,
I'm sure. Mrs. Sheppard is--"

"I know what Mrs. Sheppard is, without your information, Sir. I
haven't forgotten her previous history. You've your own reasons, no
doubt, for bringing up her son--perhaps, I ought rather to say _your_
son, Mr. Wood."

"Really, my love, these accusations are most groundless--this
violence is most unnecessary."

"I can't endure the odious baggage. I hope I may never come near

"I hope you never may, my love," humbly acquiesced the carpenter.

"Is my house to be made a receptacle for all your natural children,
Sir? Answer me that."

"Winny," said Thames, whose glowing cheek attested the effect
produced upon him by the insinuation; "Winny," said he, addressing
a pretty little damsel of some twelve years of age, who stood by his
side holding the bottle of embrocation, "help me on with my coat,
please. This is no place for me."

"Sit down, my dear, sit down," interposed Mrs. Wood, softening her
asperity. "What I said about natural children doesn't apply to _you_.
Don't suppose," she added, with a scornful glance at her helpmate,
"that I would pay him the compliment of thinking he could possibly be
the father of such a boy as you."

Mr. Wood lifted up his hands in mute despair.

"Owen, Owen," pursued Mrs. Wood, sinking into a chair, and fanning
herself violently,--"what a fluster you have put me into with your
violence, to be sure! And at the very time, too, when you know I'm
expecting a visit from Mr. Kneebone, on his return from Manchester.
I wouldn't have him see me in this state for the world. He'd never
forgive you."

"Poh, poh, my dear! Mr. Kneebone invariably takes part with me, when
any trifling misunderstanding arises between us. I only wish he was
not a Papist and a Jacobite."

"Jacobite!" echoed Mrs. Wood. "Marry, come up! Mightn't he just as
reasonably complain of your being a Hanoverian and a Presbyterian?
It's all matter of opinion. And now, my love," she added, with a
relenting look, "I'm content to make up our quarrel. But you must
promise me not to go near that abandoned hussy at Willesden. One
can't help being jealous, you know, even of an unworthy object."

Glad to make peace on any terms, Mr. Wood gave the required promise,
though he could not help thinking that if either of them had cause to
be jealous he was the party.

And here, we may be permitted to offer an observation upon the
peculiar and unaccountable influence which ladies of a shrewish
turn so frequently exercise over--we can scarcely, in this case,
say--their lords and masters; an influence which seems not merely to
extend to the will of the husband, but even to his inclinations. We
do not remember to have met with a single individual, reported to be
under petticoat government, who was not content with his lot,--nay,
who so far from repining, did not exult in his servitude; and we see
no way of accounting for this apparently inexplicable conduct--for
which, among other phenomena of married life, various reasons have
been assigned, though none entirely satisfactory to us--except
upon the ground that these domineering dames possess some charm
sufficiently strong to counteract the irritating effect of their
tempers; some secret and attractive quality of which the world at
large is in ignorance, and with which their husbands alone can be
supposed to be acquainted. An influence of this description appeared
to be exerted on the present occasion. The worthy carpenter was
restored to instant good humour by a glance from his helpmate; and,
notwithstanding the infliction he had just endured, he would have
quarrelled with any one who had endeavoured to persuade him that he
was not the happiest of men, and Mrs. Wood the best of wives.

"Women must have their wills while they live, since they can make
none when they die," observed Wood, as he imprinted a kiss of
reconciliation on the plump hand of his consort;--a sentiment to
the correctness of which the party chiefly interested graciously
vouchsafed her assent.

Lest the carpenter should be taxed with too much uxoriousness, it
behoves us to ascertain whether the personal attractions of his
helpmate would, in any degree, justify the devotion he displayed. In
the first place, Mrs. Wood had the advantage of her husband in point
of years, being on the sunny side of forty,--a period pronounced by
competent judges to be the most fascinating, and, at the same time,
most critical epoch of woman's existence,--whereas, he was on the
shady side of fifty,--a term of life not generally conceived to have
any special recommendation in female eyes. In the next place, she
really had some pretensions to beauty. Accounted extremely pretty
in her youth, her features and person expanded as she grew older,
without much detriment to their original comeliness. Hers was beauty
on a large scale no doubt; but it was beauty, nevertheless: and the
carpenter thought her eyes as bright, her complexion as blooming, and
her figure (if a little more buxom) quite as captivating as when he
led her to the altar some twenty years ago.

On the present occasion, in anticipation of Mr. Kneebone's visit,
Mrs. Wood was dressed with more than ordinary care, and in more than
ordinary finery. A dove-coloured kincob gown, embroidered with large
trees, and made very low in front, displayed to the greatest
possible advantage, the rounded proportions of her figure; while a
high-heeled, red-leather shoe did not detract from the symmetry of
a very neat ankle, and a very small foot. A stomacher, fastened by
imitation-diamond buckles, girded that part of her person, which
should have been a waist; a coral necklace encircled her throat, and
a few black patches, or mouches, as they were termed, served as a
foil to the bloom of her cheek and chin. Upon a table, where they had
been hastily deposited, on the intelligence of Darrell's accident,
lay a pair of pink kid gloves, bordered with lace, and an enormous
fan; the latter, when opened, represented the metamorphosis and
death of Actæon. From her stomacher, to which it was attached by
a multitude of glittering steel chains, depended an immense
turnip-shaped watch, in a pinchbeck case. Her hair was gathered up
behind, in a sort of pad, according to the then prevailing mode; and
she wore a muslin cap, and pinners with crow-foot edging. A black
silk fur-belowed scarf covered her shoulders; and over the kincob
gown hung a yellow satin apron, trimmed with white Persian.

But, in spite of her attractions, we shall address ourselves to the
younger, and more interesting couple.

"I could almost find in my heart to quarrel with Jack Sheppard for
occasioning you so much pain," observed little Winifred Wood, as,
having completed her ministration to the best of her ability, she
helped Thames on with his coat.

"I don't think you could find in your heart to quarrel with any one,
Winny; much less with a person whom I like so much as Jack Sheppard.
My arm's nearly well again. And I've already told you the accident
was not Jack's fault. So, let's think no more about it."

"It's strange you should like Jack so much dear Thames. He doesn't
resemble you at all."

"The very reason why I like him, Winny. If he _did_ resemble me, I
shouldn't care about him. And, whatever you may think, I assure you,
Jack's a downright good-natured fellow."

Good-natured fellows are always especial favourites with boys. And,
in applying the term to his friend, Thames meant to pay him a high
compliment. And so Winifred understood him.

"Well," she said, in reply, "I may have done Jack an injustice. I'll
try to think better of him in future."

"And, if you want an additional inducement to do so, I can tell you
there's no one--not even his mother--whom he loves so well as you."

"Loves!" echoed Winifred, slightly colouring.

"Yes, loves, Winny. Poor fellow! he sometimes indulges the hope of
marrying you, when he grows old enough."


"Have I said anything to offend you?"

"Oh! no. But if you wouldn't have me positively dislike Jack
Sheppard, you'll never mention such a subject again. Besides," she
added, blushing yet more deeply, "it isn't a proper one to talk

"Well then, to change it," replied Thames, gravely, "suppose I should
be obliged to leave you."

Winifred looked as if she could not indulge such a supposition for a
single moment.

"Surely," she said, after a pause, "you don't attach any importance
to what my mother has just said. _She_ has already forgotten it."

"But _I_ never can forget it, Winny. I will no longer be a burthen to
those upon whom I have no claim, but compassion."

As he said this, in a low and mournful, but firm voice, the tears
gathered thickly in Winifred's dark eyelashes.

"If you are in earnest, Thames," she replied, with a look of gentle
reproach, "you are very foolish; and, if in jest, very cruel. My
mother, I'm sure, didn't intend to hurt your feelings. She loves
you too well for that. And I'll answer for it, she'll never say a
syllable to annoy you again."

Thames tried to answer her, but his voice failed him.

"Come! I see the storm has blown over," cried Winifred, brightening

"You're mistaken, Winny. Nothing can alter my determination. I shall
quit this roof to-morrow."

The little girl's countenance fell.

"Do nothing without consulting my father--_your_ father, Thames," she
implored. "Promise me that."

"Willingly. And what's more, I promise to abide by his decision."

"Then, I'm quite easy," cried Winifred, joyfully.

"I'm sure he won't attempt to prevent me," rejoined Thames.

The slight smile that played upon Winifred's lips seemed to say that
_she_ was not quite so sure. But she made no answer.

"In case he should consent--"

"He never will," interrupted Winifred.

"In case he _should_, I say," continued Thames, "will _you_ promise
to let Jack Sheppard take my place in your affections, Winny?"

"Never!" replied the little damsel, "I can never love any one so much
as you."

"Excepting your father."

Winifred was going to say "No," but she checked herself; and, with
cheeks mantling with blushes, murmured, "I wish you wouldn't tease me
about Jack Sheppard."

The foregoing conversation, having been conducted throughout in a low
tone, and apart, had not reached the ears of Mr. and Mrs. Wood, who
were, furthermore, engaged in a little conjugal _tête-à-tête_ of
their own. The last observation, however, caught the attention of the
carpenter's wife.

"What's that you're saying about Jack Sheppard?" she cried.

"Thames was just observing--"

"Thames!" echoed Mrs. Wood, glancing angrily at her husband. "There's
another instance of your wilfulness and want of taste. Who but _you_
would have dreamed of giving the boy such a name? Why, it's the name
of a river, not a Christian. No gentleman was ever called Thames, and
Darrell _is_ a gentleman, unless the whole story of his being found
in the river is a fabrication!"

"My dear, you forget--"

"No, Mr. Wood, I forget nothing. I've an excellent memory, thank
God! And I perfectly remember that everybody was drowned upon that
occasion--except yourself and the child!"

"My love you're beside yourself--"

"I was beside myself to take charge of your--"

"Mother?" interposed Winifred.

"It's of no use," observed Thames quietly, but with a look that
chilled the little damsel's heart;--"my resolution is taken."

"You at least appear to forget that Mr. Kneebone is coming, my dear,"
ventured Mr. Wood.

"Good gracious! so I do," exclaimed his amiable consort. "But you
_do_ agitate me so much. Come into the parlour, Winifred, and dry
your eyes directly, or I'll send you to bed. Mr. Wood, I desire
you'll put on your best things, and join us as soon as possible.
Thames, you needn't tidy yourself, as you've hurt your arm. Mr.
Kneebone will excuse you. Dear me! if there isn't his knock. Oh! I'm
in such a fluster!"

Upon which, she snatched up her fan, cast a look into the glass,
smoothed down her scarf, threw a soft expression into her features,
and led the way into the next room, whither she was followed by her
daughter and Thames Darrell.


Mr. William Kneebone was a woollen-draper of "credit and renown,"
whose place of business was held at the sign of the Angel (for, in
those days, every shop had its sign), opposite Saint Clement's church
in the Strand. A native of Manchester, he was the son of Kenelm
Kneebone, a staunch Catholic, and a sergeant of dragoons, who lost
his legs and his life while fighting for James the Second at the
battle of the Boyne, and who had little to bequeath his son except
his laurels and his loyalty to the house of Stuart.

The gallant woollen-draper was now in his thirty-sixth year. He had
a handsome, jolly-looking face; stood six feet two in his
stockings; and measured more than a cloth-yard shaft across the
shoulders--athletic proportions derived from his father the
dragoon. And, if it had not been for a taste for plotting, which was
continually getting him into scrapes, he might have been accounted a
respectable member of society.

Of late, however, his plotting had assumed a more dark and
dangerous complexion. The times were such that, with the opinions he
entertained, he could not remain idle. The spirit of disaffection
was busy throughout the kingdom. It was on the eve of that memorable
rebellion which broke forth, two months later, in Scotland. Since the
accession of George the First to the throne in the preceding year,
every effort had been made by the partisans of the Stuarts to shake
the credit of the existing government, and to gain supporters to
their cause. Disappointed in their hopes of the restoration of
the fallen dynasty after the death of Anne, the adherents of the
Chevalier de Saint George endeavoured, by sowing the seeds of
dissension far and wide, to produce a general insurrection in his
favour. No means were neglected to accomplish this end. Agents were
dispersed in all directions--offers the most tempting held out to
induce the wavering to join the Chevalier's standard. Plots were
hatched in the provinces, where many of the old and wealthy Catholic
families resided, whose zeal for the martyr of their religion (as
the Chevalier was esteemed), sharpened by the persecutions they
themselves endured, rendered them hearty and efficient allies. Arms,
horses, and accoutrements were secretly purchased and distributed;
and it is not improbable that, if the unfortunate prince, in whose
behalf these exertions were made, and who was not deficient in
courage, as he proved at the battle of Malplaquet, had boldly placed
himself at the head of his party at an earlier period, he might have
regained the crown of his ancestors. But the indecision, which had
been fatal to his race, was fatal to him. He delayed the blow till
the fortunate conjuncture was past. And when, at length, it _was_
struck, he wanted energy to pursue his advantages.

But we must not anticipate the course of events. At the precise
period of this history, the Jacobite party was full of hope and
confidence. Louis the Fourteenth yet lived, and expectations were,
therefore, indulged of assistance from France. The disgrace of the
leaders of the late Tory administration had strengthened, rather than
injured, their cause. Mobs were gathered together on the slightest
possible pretext; and these tumultuous assemblages, while committing
the most outrageous excesses, loudly proclaimed their hatred to the
house of Hanover, and their determination to cut off the Protestant
succession. The proceedings of this faction were narrowly watched
by a vigilant and sagacious administration. The government was not
deceived (indeed, every opportunity was sought by the Jacobites
of parading their numbers,) as to the force of its enemies; and
precautionary measures were taken to defeat their designs. On
the very day of which we write, namely, the 10th of June 1715,
Bolingbroke and Oxford were impeached of high treason. The Committee
of Secrecy--that English Council of Ten--were sitting, with Walpole
at their head; and the most extraordinary discoveries were
reported to be made. On the same day, moreover, which, by a curious
coincidence, was the birthday of the Chevalier de Saint George, mobs
were collected together in the streets, and the health of that prince
was publicly drunk under the title of James the Third; while, in many
country towns, the bells were rung, and rejoicings held, as if for a
reigning monarch:--the cry of the populace almost universally being,
"No King George, but a Stuart!"

The adherents of the Chevalier de Saint George, we have said, were
lavish in promises to their proselytes. Posts were offered to all who
chose to accept them. Blank commissions, signed by the prince, to be
filled up by the name of the person, who could raise a troop for his
service, were liberally bestowed. Amongst others, Mr. Kneebone, whose
interest was not inconsiderable with the leaders of his faction,
obtained an appointment as captain in a regiment of infantry, on the
conditions above specified. With a view to raise recruits for his
corps, the warlike woollen-draper started for Lancashire, under
the colour of a journey on business. He was pretty successful in
Manchester,--a town which may be said to have been the head-quarters
of the disaffected. On his return to London, he found that
applications had been made from a somewhat doubtful quarter by two
individuals, for the posts of subordinate officers in his troop.
Mr. Kneebone, or, as he would have preferred being styled, Captain
Kneebone, was not perfectly satisfied with the recommendations
forwarded by the applicants. But this was not a season in which to be
needlessly scrupulous. He resolved to judge for himself. Accordingly,
he was introduced to the two military aspirants at the Cross Shovels
in the Mint, by our old acquaintance, Baptist Kettleby. The Master of
the Mint, with whom the Jacobite captain had often had transactions
before, vouched for their being men of honour and loyalty; and
Kneebone was so well satisfied with his representations, that he at
once closed the matter by administering to the applicants the oath
of allegiance and fidelity to King James the Third, and several
other oaths besides, all of which those gentlemen took with as little
hesitation as the sum of money, afterwards tendered, to make the
compact binding. The party, then, sat down to a bowl of punch; and,
at its conclusion, Captain Kneebone regretted that an engagement to
spend the evening with Mrs. Wood, would preclude the possibility
of his remaining with his new friends as long as his inclinations
prompted. At this piece of information, the two subordinate officers
were observed to exchange glances; and, after a little agreeable
raillery on their captain's gallantry, they begged permission to
accompany him in his visit. Kneebone, who had drained his glass to
the restoration of the house of Stuart, and the downfall of the
house of Hanover, more frequently than was consistent with prudence,
consented; and the trio set out for Wych Street, where they arrived
in the jolliest humour possible.


Mrs. Wood was scarcely seated before Mr. Kneebone made his
appearance. To her great surprise and mortification he was not alone;
but brought with him a couple of friends, whom he begged to introduce
as Mr. Jeremiah Jackson, and Mr. Solomon Smith, chapmen, (or what in
modern vulgar parlance would be termed bagmen) travelling to procure
orders for the house of an eminent cloth manufacturer in Manchester.
Neither the manners, the looks, nor the attire of these gentlemen
prepossessed Mrs. Wood in their favour. Accordingly, on their
presentation, Mr. Jeremiah Jackson and Mr. Solomon Smith received
something very like a rebuff. Luckily, they were not easily
discomposed. Two persons possessing a more comfortable stock of
assurance could not be readily found. Imitating the example of Mr.
Kneebone, who did not appear in the slightest degree disconcerted
by his cool reception, each sank carelessly into a chair, and made
himself at home in a moment. Both had very singular faces; very odd
wigs, very much pulled over their brows; and very large cravats, very
much raised above their chins. Besides this, each had a large black
patch over his right eye, and a very queer twist at the left side of
his mouth, so that if their object had been disguise, they could
not have adopted better precautions. Mrs. Wood thought them both
remarkably plain, but Mr. Smith decidedly the plainest of the two.
His complexion was as blue as a sailor's jacket, and though Mr.
Jackson had one of the ugliest countenances imaginable, he had a very
fine set of teeth. That was something in his favour. One peculiarity
she did not fail to notice. They were both dressed in every respect
alike. In fact, Mr. Solomon Smith seemed to be Mr. Jeremiah Jackson's
double. He talked in the same style, and pretty nearly in the same
language; laughed in the same manner, and coughed, or sneezed at the
same time. If Mr. Jackson took an accurate survey of the room with
his one eye, Mr. Smith's solitary orb followed in the same direction.
When Jeremiah admired the Compasses in the arms of the Carpenter's
Company over the chimney-piece, or the portraits of the two eminent
masters of the rule and plane, William Portington, and John Scott,
Esquires, on either side of it, Solomon was lost in wonder. When Mr.
Jackson noticed a fine service of old blue china in an open japan
closet, Mr. Smith had never seen anything like it. And finally, when
Jeremiah, having bestowed upon Mrs. Wood a very free-and-easy sort
of stare, winked at Mr. Kneebone, his impertinence was copied to the
letter by Solomon. All three, then, burst into an immoderate fit
of laughter. Mrs. Wood's astonishment and displeasure momentarily
increased. Such freedoms from such people were not to be endured.
Her patience was waning fast. Still, in spite of her glances and
gestures, Mr. Kneebone made no effort to check the unreasonable
merriment of his companions, but rather seemed to encourage it. So
Mrs. Wood went on fuming, and the trio went on laughing for some
minutes, nobody knew why or wherefore, until the party was increased
by Mr. Wood, in his Sunday habiliments and Sunday buckle. Without
stopping to inquire into the cause of their mirth, or even to ask
the names of his guests, the worthy carpenter shook hands with the
one-eyed chapmen, slapped Mr. Kneebone cordially on the shoulder, and
began to laugh as heartily as any of them.

Mrs. Wood could stand it no longer.

"I think you're all bewitched," she cried.

"So we are, Ma'am, by your charms," returned Mr. Jackson, gallantly.

"Quite captivated, Ma'am," added Mr. Smith, placing his hand on his

Mr. Kneebone and Mr. Wood laughed louder than ever.

"Mr. Wood," said the lady bridling up, "my request may, perhaps, have
some weight with _you_. I desire, Sir, you'll recollect yourself.
Mr. Kneebone," she added, with a glance at that gentleman, which was
meant to speak daggers, "will do as he pleases."

Here the chapmen set up another boisterous peal.

"No offence, I hope, my dear Mrs. W," said Mr. Kneebone in a
conciliatory tone. "My friends, Mr. Jackson and Mr. Smith, may have
rather odd ways with them; but--"

"They _have_ very odd ways," interrupted Mrs. Wood, disdainfully.

"Our worthy friend was going to observe, Ma'am, that we never fail in
our devotion to the fair sex," said Mr. Jackson.

"Never, Ma'am!" echoed Mr. Smith, "upon my conscience."

"My dear," said the hospitable carpenter, "I dare say Mr. Kneebone
and his friends would be glad of a little refreshment."

"They shall have it, then," replied his better half, rising. "You
base ingrate," she added, in a whisper, as she flounced past Mr.
Kneebone on her way to the door, "how could you bring such creatures
with you, especially on an occasion like this, when we haven't met
for a fortnight!"

"Couldn't help it, my life," returned the gentleman addressed, in the
same tone; "but you little know who those individuals are."

"Lord bless us! you alarm me. Who are they?"

Mr. Kneebone assumed a mysterious air; and bringing his lips close
to Mrs. Wood's ear, whispered, "secret agents from France--you
understand--friends to the cause--hem!"

"I see,--persons of rank!"

Mr. Kneebone nodded.


Mr. Kneebone smiled assent.

"Mercy on us! Well, I thought their manners quite out o' the common.
And so, the invasion really is to take place after all; and the
Chevalier de Saint George is to land at the Tower with fifty thousand
Frenchmen; and the Hanoverian usurper's to be beheaded; and Doctor
Sacheverel's to be made a bishop, and we're all to be--eh?"

"All in good time," returned Kneebone, putting his finger to his
lips; "don't let your imagination run away with you, my charmer. That
boy," he added, looking at Thames, "has his eye upon us."

Mrs. Wood, however, was too much excited to attend to the caution.

"O, lud!" she cried; "French noblemen in disguise! and so rude as I
was! I shall never recover it!"

"A good supper will set all to rights," insinuated Kneebone. "But be
prudent, my angel."

"Never fear," replied the lady. "I'm prudence personified. You might
trust me with the Chevalier himself,--I'd never betray him. But why
didn't you let me know they were coming. I'd have got something nice.
As it is, we've only a couple of ducks--and they were intended for
you. Winny, my love, come with me. I shall want you.--Sorry to quit
your lord--worships, I mean,--I don't know what I mean," she added,
a little confused, and dropping a profound curtsey to the disguised
noblemen, each of whom replied by a bow, worthy, in her opinion, of
a prince of the blood at the least,--"but I've a few necessary orders
to give below."

"Don't mind us, Ma'am," said Mr. Jackson: "ha! ha!"

"Not in the least, Ma'am," echoed Mr. Smith: "ho! ho!"

"How condescending!" thought Mrs. Wood. "Not proud in the least, I
declare. Well, I'd no idea," she continued, pursuing her ruminations
as she left the room, "that people of quality laughed so. But it's
French manners, I suppose."


Mrs. Wood's anxiety to please her distinguished guests speedily
displayed itself in a very plentiful, if not very dainty repast. To
the duckling, peas, and other delicacies, intended for Mr. Kneebone's
special consumption, she added a few impromptu dishes, tossed off in
her best style; such as lamb chops, broiled kidneys, fried ham
and eggs, and toasted cheese. Side by side with the cheese (its
never-failing accompaniment, in all seasons, at the carpenter's
board) came a tankard of swig, and a toast. Besides these there was
a warm gooseberry-tart, and a cold pigeon pie--the latter capacious
enough, even allowing for its due complement of steak, to contain the
whole produce of a dovecot; a couple of lobsters and the best part
of a salmon swimming in a sea of vinegar, and shaded by a forest of
fennel. While the cloth was laid, the host and Thames descended to
the cellar, whence they returned, laden with a number of flasks
of the same form, and apparently destined to the same use as
those depicted in Hogarth's delectable print--the Modern Midnight

Mrs. Wood now re-appeared with a very red face; and, followed by
Winifred, took her seat at the table. Operations then commenced. Mr.
Wood carved the ducks; Mr. Kneebone helped to the pigeon-pie; while
Thames unwired and uncorked a bottle of stout Carnarvonshire ale. The
woollen-draper was no despicable trencherman in a general way; but
his feats with the knife and fork were child's sport compared with
those of Mr. Smith. The leg and wing of a duck were disposed of by
this gentleman in a twinkling; a brace of pigeons and a pound of
steak followed with equal celerity; and he had just begun to make
a fierce assault upon the eggs and ham. His appetite was perfectly
Gargantuan. Nor must it be imagined, that while he thus exercised his
teeth, he neglected the flagon. On the contrary, his glass was never
idle, and finding it not filled quite so frequently as he desired,
he applied himself, notwithstanding the expressive looks and muttered
remonstrances of Mr. Jackson, to the swig. The latter gentleman did
full justice to the good things before him; but he drank sparingly,
and was visibly annoyed by his companion's intemperance. As to Mr.
Kneebone, what with flirting with Mrs. Wood, carving for his friends,
and pledging the carpenter, he had his hands full. At this juncture,
and just as a cuckoo-clock in the corner struck sis, Jack Sheppard
walked into the room, with the packing-case under his arm.

"I was in the right, you see, father," observed Thames, smiling;
"Jack _has_ done his task."

"So I perceive," replied Wood.

"Where am I to take it to?" asked Sheppard.

"I told you that before," rejoined Wood, testily. "You must take it
to Sir Rowland Trenchard's in Southampton Fields. And, mind, it's for
his sister, Lady Trafford."

"Very well, Sir," replied Sheppard.

"Wet your whistle before you start, Jack," said Kneebone, pouring
out a glass of ale. "What's that you're taking to Sir Rowland

"Only a box, Sir," answered Sheppard, emptying the glass.

"It's an odd-shaped one," rejoined Kneebone, examining it
attentively. "But I can guess what it's for. Sir Rowland is one
of _us_," he added, winking at his companions, "and so was his
brother-in-law, Sir Cecil Trafford. Old Lancashire families both.
Strict Catholics, and loyal to the backbone. Fine woman, Lady
Trafford--a little on the wane though."

"Ah! you're so very particular," sighed Mrs. Wood.

"Not in the least," returned Kneebone, slyly, "not in the least.
Another glass, Jack."

"Thank'ee, Sir," grinned Sheppard.

"Off with it to the health of King James the Third, and confusion to
his enemies!"

"Hold!" interposed Wood; "that is treason. I'll have no such toast
drunk at my table!"

"It's the king's birthday," urged the woollen draper.

"Not _my_ king's," returned Wood. "I quarrel with no man's political
opinions, but I will have my own respected!"

"Eh day!" exclaimed Mrs. Wood; "here's a pretty to-do about nothing.
Marry, come up! I'll see who's to be obeyed. Drink the toast, Jack."

"At your peril, sirrah!" cried Wood.

"He was hanged that left his drink behind, you know, master,"
rejoined Sheppard. "Here's King James the Third, and confusion to his

"Very well," said the carpenter, sitting down amid the laughter of
the company.

"Jack!" cried Thames, in a loud voice, "you deserve to be hanged for
a rebel as you are to your lawful king and your lawful master. But
since we must have toasts," he added, snatching up a glass, "listen
to mine: Here's King George the First! a long reign to him! and
confusion to the Popish Pretender and his adherents!"

"Bravely done!" said Wood, with tears in his eyes.

"That's the kinchin as was to try the dub for us, ain't it?" muttered
Smith to his companion as he stole a glance at Jack Sheppard.

"Silence!" returned Jackson, in a deep whisper; "and don't muddle
your brains with any more of that Pharaoh. You'll need all your
strength to grab him."

"What's the matter?" remarked Kneebone, addressing Sheppard, who,
as he caught the single but piercing eye of Jackson fixed upon him,
started and trembled.

"What's the matter?" repeated Mrs. Wood in a sharp tone.

"Ay, what's the matter, boy!" reiterated Jackson sternly. "Did you
never see two gentlemen with only a couple of peepers between them

"Never, I'll be sworn!" said Smith, taking the opportunity of filling
his glass while his comrade's back was turned; "we're a nat'ral

"Can I have a word with you, master?" said Sheppard, approaching

"Not a syllable!" answered the carpenter, angrily. "Get about your

"Thames!" cried Jack, beckoning to his friend.

But Darrell averted his head.

"Mistress!" said the apprentice, making a final appeal to Mrs. Wood.

"Leave the room instantly, sirrah!" rejoined the lady, bouncing up,
and giving him a slap on the cheek that made his eyes flash fire.

"May I be cursed," muttered Sheppard, as he slunk away with (as the
woollen-draper pleasantly observed) 'a couple of boxes in charge,'
"if ever I try to be honest again!"

[Illustration: 238]

"Take a little toasted cheese with the swig, Mr. Smith," observed
Wood. "That's an incorrigible rascal," he added, as Sheppard closed
the door; "it's only to-day that I discovered--"

"What?" asked Jackson, pricking up his ears.

"Don't speak ill of him behind his back, father," interposed Thames.

"If _I_ were your father, young gentleman," returned Jackson, enraged
at the interruption, "I'd teach _you_ not to speak till you were
spoken to."

Thames was about to reply, but a glance from Wood checked him.

"The rebuke is just," said the carpenter; "at the same time, I'm not
sorry to find you're a friend to fair play, which, as you seem
to know, is a jewel. Open that bottle with a blue seal, my dear.
Gentlemen! a glass of brandy will be no bad finish to our meal."

This proposal giving general satisfaction, the bottle circulated
swiftly; and Smith found the liquor so much to his taste, that he
made it pay double toll on its passage.

"Your son is a lad of spirit, Mr. Wood," observed Jackson, in a
slightly-sarcastic tone.

"He's not my son," rejoined the carpenter.

"How, Sir?"

"Except by adoption. Thames Darrell is--"

"My husband nicknames him Thames," interrupted Mrs. Wood, "because he
found him in the river!--ha! ha!"

"Ha! ha!" echoed Smith, taking another bumper of brandy; "he'll set
the Thames on fire one of these days, I'll warrant him!"

"That's more than you'll ever do, you drunken fool!" growled Jackson,
in an under tone: "be cautious, or you'll spoil all!"

"Suppose we send for a bowl of punch," said Kneebone.

"With all my heart!" replied Wood. And, turning to his daughter, he
gave the necessary directions in a low tone.

Winifred, accordingly, left the room, and a servant being despatched
to the nearest tavern, soon afterwards returned with a crown bowl
of the ambrosian fluid. The tables were then cleared. Bottles and
glasses usurped the place of dishes and plates. Pipes were lighted;
and Mr. Kneebone began to dispense the fragrant fluid; begging Mrs.
Wood, in a whisper, as he filled a rummer to the brim, not to forget
the health of the Chevalier de Saint George--a proposition to which
the lady immediately responded by drinking the toast aloud.

"The Chevalier shall hear of this," whispered the woollen-draper.

"You don't say so!" replied Mrs. Wood, delighted at the idea.

Mr. Kneebone assured her that he _did_ say so; and, as a further
proof of his sincerity, squeezed her hand very warmly under the

Mr. Smith, now, being more than half-seas over, became very
uproarious, and, claiming the attention of the table, volunteered the


    I.      Jolly nose! the bright rubies that garnish thy tip
      Are dug from the mines of canary;
    And to keep up their lustre I moisten my lip
      With hogsheads of claret and sherry.

    II.      Jolly nose! he who sees thee across a broad glass
      Beholds thee in all thy perfection;
    And to the pale snout of a temperate ass
      Entertains the profoundest objection.

    III.      For a big-bellied glass is the palette I use,
      And the choicest of wine is my colour;
    And I find that my nose takes the mellowest hues
      The fuller I fill it--the fuller!

    IV.      Jolly nose! there are fools who say drink hurts the sight;
      Such dullards know nothing about it.
    'T is better, with wine, to extinguish the light,
      Than live always, in darkness, without it!

"How long may it be since that boy was found in the way Mrs. Wood
mentions?" inquired Jackson, as soon as the clatter that succeeded
Mr. Smith's melody had subsided.

"Let me see," replied Wood; "exactly twelve years ago last November."

"Why, that must be about the time of the Great Storm," rejoined

"Egad!" exclaimed Wood, "you've hit the right nail on the head,
anyhow. It _was_ on the night of the Great Storm that I found him."

"I should like to hear all particulars of the affair," said Jackson,
"if it wouldn't be troubling you too much."

Mr. Wood required little pressing. He took a sip of punch and
commenced his relation. Though meant to produce a totally different
effect, the narrative seemed to excite the risible propensities
rather than the commiseration of his auditor; and when Mr. Wood wound
it up by a description of the drenching he had undergone at the Mint
pump, the other could hold out no longer, but, leaning back in his
chair, gave free scope to his merriment.

"I beg your pardon," he cried; "but really--ha! ha!--you must excuse
me!--that is so uncommonly diverting--ha! ha! Do let me hear it
again?--ha! ha! ha!"

"Upon my word," rejoined Wood, "you seem vastly entertained by my

"To be sure! Nothing entertains me so much. People always rejoice at
the misfortunes of others--never at their own! The droll dogs! how
_they_ must have enjoyed it!--ha! ha!"

"I dare say they did. But _I_ found it no laughing matter, I can
assure you. And, though it's a long time ago, I feel as sore on the
subject as ever."

"Quite natural! Never forgive an injury!--_I_ never do!--ha! ha!"

"Really, Mr. Jackson, I could almost fancy we had met before. Your
laugh reminds me of--of----"

"Whose, Sir?" demanded Jackson, becoming suddenly grave.

"You'll not be offended, I hope," returned Wood, drily, "if I say
that your voice, your manner, and, above all, your very extraordinary
way of laughing, put me strangely in mind of one of the 'droll dogs,'
(as you term them,) who helped to perpetrate the outrage I've just

"Whom do you mean?" demanded Jackson.

"I allude to an individual, who has since acquired an infamous
notoriety as a thief-taker; but who, in those days, was himself the
associate of thieves."

"Well, Sir, his name?"

"Jonathan Wild."

"'Sblood!" cried Jackson, rising, "I can't sit still and hear Mr.
Wild, whom I believe to be as honest a gentleman as any in the
kingdom, calumniated!"

"Fire and fury!" exclaimed Smith, getting up with the brandy-bottle
in his grasp; "no man shall abuse Mr. Wild in my presence! He's the
right-hand of the community! We could do nothing without him!"

"_We!_" repeated Wood, significantly.

"Every honest man, Sir! He helps us to our own again."

"Humph!" ejaculated the carpenter.

"Surely," observed Thames, laughing, "to one who entertains so high
an opinion of Jonathan Wild, as Mr. Jackson appears to do, it can't
be very offensive to be told, that he's like him."

"I don't object to the likeness, if any such exists, young Sir,"
returned Jackson, darting an angry glance at Thames; "indeed I'm
rather flattered by being thought to resemble a gentleman of Mr.
Wild's figure. But I can't submit to hear the well-earned reputation
of my friend termed an 'infamous notoriety.'"

"No, we can't stand that," hiccupped Smith, scarcely able to keep his

"Well, gentlemen," rejoined Wood, mildly; "since Mr. Wild is a friend
of yours, I'm sorry for what I said. I've no doubt he's as honest as
either of you."

"Enough," returned Jackson, extending his hand; "and if I've
expressed myself warmly, I'm sorry for it likewise. But you must
allow me to observe, my good Sir, that you're wholly in the wrong
respecting my friend. Mr. Wild never was the associate of thieves."

"Never," echoed Smith, emphatically, "upon my honour."

"I'm satisfied with your assurance," replied the carpenter, drily.

"It's more than I am," muttered Thames.

"I was not aware that Jonathan Wild was an acquaintance of yours, Mr.
Jackson," said Kneebone, whose assiduity to Mrs. Wood had prevented
him from paying much attention to the previous scene.

"I've known him all my life," replied the other.

"The devil you have! Then, perhaps, you can tell me when he intends
to put his threat into execution?"

"What threat?" asked Jackson.

"Why, of hanging the fellow who acts as his jackal; one Blake, or
Blueskin, I think he's called."

"You've been misinformed, Sir," interposed Smith. "Mr. Wild is
incapable of such baseness."

"Bah!" returned the woollen-draper. "I see you don't know him as well
as you pretend. Jonathan is capable of anything. He has hanged twelve
of his associates already. The moment they cease to be serviceable,
or become dangerous he lodges an information, and the matter's
settled. He has always plenty of evidence in reserve. Blueskin is
booked. As sure as you're sitting there, Mr. Smith, he'll swing after
next Old Bailey sessions. I wouldn't be in his skin for a trifle!"

"But he may peach," said Smith casting an oblique glance at Jackson.

"It would avail him little if he did," replied Kneebone. "Jonathan
does what he pleases in the courts."

"Very true," chuckled Jackson; "very true."

"Blueskin's only chance would be to carry _his_ threat into effect,"
pursued the woollen-draper.

"Aha!" exclaimed Jackson. "_He_ threatens, does he?"

"More than that," replied Kneebone; "I understand he drew a knife
upon Jonathan, in a quarrel between them lately. And since then, he
has openly avowed his determination of cutting his master's throat on
the slightest inkling of treachery. But, perhaps Mr. Smith will tell
you I'm misinformed, also, on that point."

"On the contrary," rejoined Smith, looking askance at his companion,
"I happen to _know_ you're in the right."

"Well, Sir, I'm obliged to you," said Jackson; "I shall take care to
put Mr. Wild on his guard against an assassin."

"And I shall put Blueskin on the alert against the designs of a
traitor," rejoined Smith, in a tone that sounded like a menace.

"In my opinion," remarked Kneebone, "it doesn't matter how soon
society is rid of two such scoundrels; and if Blueskin dies by the
rope, and Jonathan by the hand of violence, they'll meet the fate
they merit. Wild was formerly an agent to the Jacobite party, but,
on the offer of a bribe from the opposite faction, he unhesitatingly
deserted and betrayed his old employers. Of late, he has become the
instrument of Walpole, and does all the dirty work for the Secret
Committee. Several arrests of importance have been intrusted to
him; but, forewarned, forearmed, we have constantly baffled his
schemes;--ha! ha! Jonathan's a devilish clever fellow. But he can't
have his eyes always about him, or he'd have been with us this
morning at the Mint, eh, Mr. Jackson!"

"So he would," replied the latter: "so he would."

"With all his cunning, he may meet with his match," continued
Kneebone, laughing. "I've set a trap for him."

"Take care you don't fall into it yourself," returned Jackson, with a
slight sneer.

"Were I in your place," said Smith, "I should be apprehensive of
Wild, because he's a declared enemy."

"And were I in _yours_," rejoined the woollen-draper, "I should
be doubly apprehensive, because he's a professed friend. But we're
neglecting the punch all this time. A bumper round, gentlemen.
Success to our enterprise!"

"Success to our enterprise!" echoed the others, significantly.

"May I ask whether you made any further inquiries into the mysterious
affair about which we were speaking just now?" observed Jackson,
turning to the carpenter.

"I can't say I did," replied Wood, somewhat reluctantly; "what with
the confusion incident to the storm, and the subsequent press of
business, I put it off till it was too late. I've often regretted
that I didn't investigate the matter. However, it doesn't much
signify. All concerned in the dark transaction must have perished."

"Are you sure of that," inquired Jackson.

"As sure as one reasonably can be. I saw their boat swept away, and
heard the roar of the fall beneath the bridge; and no one, who was
present, could doubt the result. If the principal instigator of the
crime, whom I afterwards encountered on the platform, and who was
dashed into the raging flood by the shower of bricks, escaped, his
preservation must have been indeed miraculous."

"Your own was equally so," said Jackson ironically. "What if he _did_

"My utmost efforts should be used to bring him to justice."


"Have you any reason to suppose he survived the accident?" inquired
Thames eagerly.

Jackson smiled and put on the air of a man who knows more than he
cares to tell.

"I merely asked the question," he said, after he had enjoyed the
boy's suspense for a moment.

The hope that had been suddenly kindled in the youth's bosom was as
suddenly extinguished.

"If I thought he lived----" observed Wood.

"_If_," interrupted Jackson, changing his tone: "he _does_ live. And
it has been well for you that he imagines the child was drowned."

"Who is he?" asked Thames impatiently.

"You're inquisitive, young gentleman," replied Jackson, coldly.
"When you're older, you'll know that secrets of importance are not
disclosed gratuitously. Your adoptive father understands mankind

"I'd give half I'm worth to hang the villain, and restore this boy to
his rights," said Mr. Wood.

"How do you know he _has_ any rights to be restored to?" returned
Jackson, with a grin. "Judging from what you tell me, I've no
doubt he's the illegitimate offspring of some handsome, but lowborn
profligate; in which case, he'll neither have name, nor wealth for
his inheritance. The assassination, as you call it, was, obviously,
the vengeance of a kinsman of the injured lady, who no doubt was
of good family, upon her seducer. The less said, therefore, on this
point the better; because, as nothing is to be gained by it, it would
only be trouble thrown away. But, if you have any particular fancy
for hanging the gentleman, who chose to take the law into his
own hands--and I think your motive extremely disinterested and
praiseworthy--why, it's just possible, if you make it worth my while,
that your desires may be gratified."

"I don't see how this is to be effected, unless you yourself were
present at the time," said Wood, glancing suspiciously at the

"I had no hand in the affair," replied Jackson, bluntly; "but I know
those who had; and could bring forward evidence, if you require it."

"The best evidence would be afforded by an accomplice of the
assassin," rejoined Thames, who was greatly offended by the
insinuation as to his parentage.

"Perhaps you could point out such a party, Mr. Jackson?" said Wood,

"I could," replied Thames.

"Then you need no further information from me," rejoined Jackson,

"Stay!" cried Wood, "this is a most perplexing business--if you
really are privy to the affair----"

"We'll talk of it to-morrow, Sir," returned Jackson, cutting him
short. "In the mean time, with your permission, I'll just make a few
minutes of our conversation."

"As many as you please," replied Wood, walking towards the
chimney-piece, and taking down a constable's, staff, which hung upon
a nail.

Jackson, mean time, produced a pocket-book; and, after deliberately
sharpening the point of a pencil, began to write on a blank leaf.
While he was thus occupied, Thames, prompted by an unaccountable
feeling of curiosity, took up the penknife which the other had just
used, and examined the haft. What he there noticed occasioned a
marked change in his demeanour. He laid down the knife, and fixed
a searching and distrustful gaze upon the writer, who continued his
task, unconscious of anything having happened.

"There," cried Jackson, closing the book and rising, "that'll do.
To-morrow at twelve I'll be with you, Mr. Wood. Make up your mind as
to the terms, and I'll engage to find the man."

"Hold!" exclaimed the carpenter, in an authoritative voice: "we
can't part thus. Thames, look the door." (An order which was promptly
obeyed.) "Now, Sir, I must insist upon a full explanation of your
mysterious hints, or, as I am headborough of the district, I shall at
once take you into custody."

Jackson treated this menace with a loud laugh of derision.

"What ho!" he cried slapping Smith, who had fallen asleep with the
brandy-bottle in his grasp, upon the shoulder. "It is time!"

"For what?" grumbled the latter, rubbing his eyes.

"For the caption!" replied Jackson, coolly drawing a brace of pistols
from his pockets.

"Ready!" answered Smith, shaking himself, and producing a similar
pair of weapons.

"In Heaven's name! what's all this?" cried Wood.

"Be still, and you'll receive no injury," returned Jackson. "We're
merely about to discharge our duty by apprehending a rebel. Captain
Kneebone! we must trouble you to accompany us."

"I've no intention of stirring," replied the woollen-draper, who
was thus unceremoniously disturbed: "and I beg you'll sit down, Mr.

"Come, Sir!" thundered the latter, "no trifling! Perhaps," he added,
opening a warrant, "you'll obey this mandate?"

"A warrant!" ejaculated Kneebone, starting to his feet.

"Ay, Sir, from the Secretary of State, for _your_ arrest! You're
charged with high-treason."

"By those who've conspired with me?"

"No! by those who've entrapped you! You've long eluded our vigilance;
but we've caught you at last!"

"Damnation!" exclaimed the woollen-draper; "that I should be the dupe
of such a miserable artifice!"

"It's no use lamenting now, Captain! You ought rather to be obliged
to us for allowing you to pay this visit. We could have secured
you when you left the Mint. But we wished to ascertain whether Mrs.
Wood's charms equalled your description."

"Wretches!" screamed the lady; "don't dare to breathe your vile
insinuations against me! Oh! Mr. Kneebone, are these your French

"Don't upbraid me!" rejoined the woollen-draper.

"Bring him along, Joe!" said Jackson, in a whisper to his comrade.

Smith obeyed. But he had scarcely advanced a step, when he was felled
to the ground by a blow from the powerful arm of Kneebone, who,
instantly possessing himself of a pistol, levelled it at Jackson's

"Begone! or I fire!" he cried.

"Mr. Wood," returned Jackson, with the utmost composure; "you're a
headborough, and a loyal subject of King George. I call upon you to
assist me in the apprehension of this person. You'll be answerable
for his escape."

"Mr. Wood, I command you not to stir," vociferated the carpenter's
better-half; "recollect you'll be answerable to me."

"I declare I don't know what to do," said Wood, burned by conflicting
emotions. "Mr. Kneebone! you would greatly oblige me by surrendering

"Never!" replied the woollen-draper; "and if that treacherous rascal,
by your side, doesn't make himself scarce quickly, I'll send a bullet
through his brain."

"My death will lie at your door," remarked Jackson to the carpenter.

"Show me your warrant!" said Wood, almost driven to his wit's-end;
"perhaps it isn't regular?"

"Ask him who he is?" suggested Thames.

"A good idea!" exclaimed the carpenter. "May I beg to know whom I've
the pleasure of addressing? Jackson, I conclude, is merely an assumed

"What does it signify?" returned the latter, angrily.

"A great deal!" replied Thames. "If you won't disclose your name, I
will for you! You are Jonathan Wild!"

"Further concealment is needless," answered the other, pulling off
his wig and black patch, and resuming his natural tone of voice; "I
_am_ Jonathan Wild!"

"Say you so!" rejoined Kneebone; "then be this your passport to

Upon which he drew the trigger of the pistol, which, luckily for the
individual against whom it was aimed, flashed in the pan.

"I might now send you on a similar journey!" replied Jonathan, with a
bitter smile, and preserving the unmoved demeanour he had maintained
throughout; "but I prefer conveying you, in the first instance, to
Newgate. The Jacobite daws want a scarecrow."

So saying, he sprang, with a bound like that of a tiger-cat, against
the throat of the woollen-draper. And so sudden and well-directed was
the assault, that he completely overthrew his gigantic antagonist.

"Lend a hand with the ruffles, Blueskin!" he shouted, as that
personage, who had just recovered from the stunning effects of the
blow, contrived to pick himself up. "Look quick, d--n you, or we
shall never master him!"

"Murder!" shrieked Mrs. Wood, at the top of her voice.

"Here's a pistol!" cried Thames, darting towards the undischarged
weapon dropped by Blueskin in the scuffle, and pointing it at
Jonathan. "Shall I shoot him?"

"Yes! yes! put it to his ear!" cried Mrs. Wood; "that's the surest

"No! no! give it me!" vociferated Wood, snatching the pistol, and
rushing to the door, against which he placed his back.

"I'll soon settle this business. Jonathan Wild!" he added, in a loud
voice, "I command you to release your prisoner."

"So I will," replied Jonathan, who, with Blueskin's aid, had
succeeded in slipping a pair of handcuffs over the woollen-draper's
wrists, "when I've Mr. Walpole's order to that effect--but not

"You'll take the consequences, then?"


"In that case I arrest you, and your confederate, Joseph Blake, alias
Blueskin, on a charge of felony," returned Wood, brandishing his
staff; "resist my authority, if you dare."

"A clever device," replied Jonathan; "but it won't serve your turn.
Let us pass, Sir. Strike the gag, Blueskin."

"You shall not stir a footstep. Open the window, Thames, and call for

"Stop!" cried Jonathan, who did not care to push matters too far,
"let me have a word with you, Mr. Wood."

"I'll have no explanations whatever," replied the carpenter,
disdainfully, "except before a magistrate."

"At least state your charge. It is a serious accusation."

"It _is_," answered Wood. "Do you recollect this key? Do you
recollect to whom you gave it, and for what purpose? or shall I
refresh your memory?"

Wild appeared confounded.

"Release your prisoner," continued Wood, "or the window is opened."

"Mr. Wood," said Jonathan, advancing towards him, and speaking in a
low tone, "the secret of your adopted son's birth is known to me. The
name of his father's murderer is also known to me. I can help you to
both,--nay, I _will_ help you to both, if you do not interfere with
my plans. The arrest of this person is of consequence to me. Do not
oppose it, and I will serve you. Thwart me, and I become your mortal
enemy. I have but to give a hint of that boy's existence in the
proper quarter, and his life will not be worth a day's purchase."

"Don't listen to him, father," cried Thames, unconscious of what was
passing; "there are plenty of people outside."

"Make your choice," said Jonathan.

"If you don't decide quickly, I'll scream," cried Mrs. Wood, popping
her head through the window.

"Set your prisoner free!" returned Wood.

"Take off the ruffles, Blueskin," rejoined Wild. "You know my fixed
determination," he added in a low tone, as he passed the carpenter.
"Before to-morrow night that boy shall join his father."

So saying, he unlocked the door and strode out of the room.

"Here are some letters, which will let you see what a snake you've
cherished in your bosom, you uxorious old dotard," said Blueskin,
tossing a packet of papers to Wood, as he followed his leader.

"'Odd's-my-life! what's this?" exclaimed the carpenter, looking at
the superscription of one of them. "Why, this is your writing Dolly,
and addressed to Mr. Kneebone."

"My writing! no such thing!" ejaculated the lady, casting a look of
alarm at the woollen-draper.

"Confusion! the rascal must have picked my pocket of your letters,"
whispered Kneebone, "What's to be done?"

"What's to be done! Why, I'm undone! How imprudent in you not to
burn them. But men _are_ so careless, there's no trusting anything to
them! However, I must try to brazen it out.--Give me the letters,
my love," she added aloud, and in her most winning accents; "they're
some wicked forgeries."

"Excuse me, Madam," replied the carpenter, turning his back upon her,
and sinking into a chair: "Thames, my love, bring me my spectacles.
My heart misgives me. Fool that I was to marry for beauty! I ought to
have remembered that a fair woman and a slashed gown always find some
nail in the way."


If there is one thing on earth, more lovely than another, it is a
fair girl of the tender age of Winifred Wood! Her beauty awakens no
feeling beyond that of admiration. The charm of innocence breathes
around her, as fragrance is diffused by the flower, sanctifying her
lightest thought and action, and shielding her, like a spell, from
the approach of evil. Beautiful is the girl of twelve,--who is
neither child nor woman, but something between both, something more
exquisite than either!

Such was the fairy creature presented to Thames Darrell, under the
following circumstances.

Glad to escape from the scene of recrimination that ensued between
his adopted parents, Thames seized the earliest opportunity of
retiring, and took his way to a small chamber in the upper part of
the house, where he and Jack were accustomed to spend most of their
leisure in the amusements, or pursuits, proper to their years. He
found the door ajar, and, to his surprise, perceived little Winifred
seated at a table, busily engaged in tracing some design upon a sheet
of paper. She did not hear his approach, but continued her occupation
without raising her head.

It was a charming sight to watch the motions of her tiny fingers as
she pursued her task; and though the posture she adopted was not the
most favourable that might have been chosen for the display of her
sylphlike figure, there was something in her attitude, and the glow
of her countenance, lighted up by the mellow radiance of the setting
sun falling upon her through the panes of the little dormer-window,
that seemed to the youth inexpressibly beautiful. Winifred's features
would have been pretty, for they were regular and delicately formed,
if they had not been slightly marked by the small-pox;--a disorder,
that sometimes spares more than it destroys, and imparts an
expression to be sought for in vain in the smoothest complexion. We
have seen pitted cheeks, which we would not exchange for dimples
and a satin skin. Winifred's face had a thoroughly amiable look. Her
mouth was worthy of her face; with small, pearly-white teeth; lips
glossy, rosy, and pouting; and the sweetest smile imaginable, playing
constantly about them. Her eyes were soft and blue, arched over by
dark brows, and fringed by long silken lashes. Her hair was of the
darkest brown, and finest texture; and, when unloosed, hung down to
her heels. She was dressed in a little white frock, with a very long
body, and very short sleeves, which looked (from a certain fullness
about the hips,) as if it was intended to be worn with a hoop. Her
slender throat was encircled by a black riband, with a small locket
attached to it; and upon the top of her head rested a diminutive lace

The room in which she sat was a portion of the garret, assigned, as
we have just stated, by Mr. Wood as a play-room to the two boys; and,
like most boy's playrooms, it exhibited a total absence of order, or
neatness. Things were thrown here and there, to be taken up, or again
cast aside, as the whim arose; while the broken-backed chairs and
crazy table bore the marks of many a conflict. The characters of the
youthful occupants of the room might be detected in every article it
contained. Darell's peculiar bent of mind was exemplified in a rusty
broadsword, a tall grenadier's cap, a musket without lock or ramrod,
a belt and cartouch-box, with other matters evincing a decided
military taste. Among his books, Plutarch's Lives, and the Histories
of Great Commanders, appeared to have been frequently consulted;
but the dust had gathered thickly upon the Carpenter's Manual, and a
Treatise on Trigonometry and Geometry. Beneath the shelf, containing
these books, hung the fine old ballad of '_St. George for England_'
and a loyal ditty, then much in vogue, called '_True Protestant
Gratitude, or, Britain's Thanksgiving for the First of August,
Being the Day of His Majesty's Happy Accession to the Throne_.' Jack
Sheppard's library consisted of a few ragged and well-thumbed volumes
abstracted from the tremendous chronicles bequeathed to the world by
those Froissarts and Holinsheds of crime--the Ordinaries of Newgate.
His vocal collection comprised a couple of flash songs pasted against
the wall, entitled '_The Thief-Catcher's Prophecy_,' and the
'_Life and Death of the Darkman's Budge_;' while his extraordinary
mechanical skill was displayed in what he termed (Jack had a supreme
contempt for


orthography,) a '_Moddle of his Ma^{s}. Jale off Newgate_;' another
model of the pillory at Fleet Bridge; and a third of the permanent
gibbet at Tyburn. The latter specimen, of his workmanship was adorned
with a little scarecrow figure, intended to represent a housebreaking
chimney-sweeper of the time, described in Sheppard's own
hand-writing, as '_Jack Hall a-hanging_.' We must not omit to mention
that a family group from the pencil of little Winifred, representing
Mr. and Mrs. Wood in very characteristic attitudes, occupied a
prominent place on the walls.

For a few moments, Thames regarded the little girl through the
half-opened door in silence. On a sudden, a change came over her
countenance, which, up to this moment, had worn a smiling and
satisfied expression. Throwing down the pencil, she snatched up a
piece of India-rubber, and exclaiming,--"It isn't at all like him!
it isn't half handsome enough!" was about to efface the sketch, when
Thames darted into the room.

"Who isn't it like?" he asked, endeavouring to gain possession of the
drawing, which, af the sound of his footstep, she crushed between her

"I can't tell you!" she replied, blushing deeply, and clinching her
little hand as tightly as possible; "it's a secret!"

"I'll soon find it out, then," he returned, playfully forcing the
paper from her grasp.

"Don't look at it, I entreat," she cried.

But her request was unheeded. Thames unfolded the drawing, smoothed
out its creases, and beheld a portrait of himself.

"I've a good mind not to speak to you again, Sir!" cried Winifred,
with difficulty repressing a tear of vexation; "you've acted

"I feel I have, dear Winny!" replied Thames, abashed at his own
rudeness; "my conduct is inexcusable."

"I'll excuse it nevertheless," returned the little damsel,
affectionately extending her hand to him.

"Why were you afraid to show me this picture, Winny?" asked the

"Because it's not like you," was her answer.

"Well, like or not, I'm greatly pleased with it, and must beg it from
you as a memorial----"

"Of what?" she interrupted, startled by his change of manner.

"Of yourself," he replied, in a mournful tone. "I shall value it
highly, and will promise never to part with it. Winny, this is the
last night I shall pass beneath your father's roof."

"Have you told him so?" she inquired, reproachfully. "No; but I
shall, before he retires to rest."

"Then you _will_ stay!" she cried, clapping her hands joyfully, "for
I'm sure he won't part with you. Oh! thank you--thank you! I'm so

"Stop, Winny!" he answered, gravely; "I haven't promised yet."

"But you will,--won't you?" she rejoined, looking him coaxingly in
the face.

Unable to withstand this appeal, Thames gave the required promise,
adding,--"Oh! Winny, I wish Mr. Wood had been my father, as well as

"So do I!" she cried; "for then you would have been _really_ my
brother. No, I don't, either; because----"

"Well, Winny?"

"I don't know what I was going to say," she added, in some confusion;
"only I'm sorry you were born a gentleman."

"Perhaps, I wasn't," returned Thames, gloomily, as the remembrance of
Jonathan Wild's foul insinuation crossed him. "But never mind who, or
what I am. Give me this picture. I'll keep it for your sake."

"I'll give you something better worth keeping," she answered,
detaching the ornament from her neck, and presenting it to him; "this
contains a lock of my hair, and may remind you sometimes of your
little sister. As to the picture, I'll keep it myself, though, if you
_do_ go I shall need no memorial of _you_. I'd a good many things to
say to you, besides--but you've put them all out of my head."

With this, she burst into tears, and sank with her face upon his
shoulder. Thames did not try to cheer her. His own heart was too
full of melancholy foreboding. He felt that he might soon be
separated--perhaps, for ever--from the fond little creature he held
in his arms, whom he had always regarded with the warmest fraternal
affection, and the thought of how much she would suffer from the
separation so sensibly affected him, that he could not help joining
in her grief.

From this sorrowful state he was aroused by a loud derisive whistle,
followed by a still louder laugh; and, looking up, he beheld the
impudent countenance of Jack Sheppard immediately before him.

"Aha!" exclaimed Jack, with a roguish wink, "I've caught you,--have

    The carpenter's daughter was fair and free--
    Fair, and fickle, and false, was she!
    She slighted the journeyman, (meaning _me!_)
    And smiled on a gallant of high degree.
                               Degree! degree!
    She smiled on a gallant of high degree.
    Ha! ha! ha!"

"Jack!" exclaimed Thames, angrily.

But Sheppard was not to be silenced. He went on with his song,
accompanying it with the most ridiculous grimaces:

    "When years were gone by, she began to rue
    Her love for the gentleman, (meaning _you!_)
    'I slighted the journeyman fond,' quoth she,
    'But where is my gallant of high degree?
                                Where! where!
    Oh! where is my gallant of high degree?'
    Ho! ho! ho!"

"What are you doing here!" demanded Thames.

"Oh! nothing at all," answered Jack, sneeringly, "though this room's
as much mine as yours, for that matter. 'But I don't desire to spoil
sport,--not I. And, if you'll give me such a smack of your sweet
lips, Miss, as you've just given Thames, I'll take myself off in less
than no time."

The answer to this request was a "smack" of a very different
description, bestowed upon Sheppard's outstretched face by the little
damsel, as she ran out of the room.

"'Odd's! bodikins!" cried Jack, rubbing his cheek, "I'm in luck
to-day. However, I'd rather have a blow from the daughter than the
mother. I know who hits hardest. I tell you what, Thames," he
added, flinging himself carelessly into a chair, "I'd give my right
hand,--and that's no light offer for a carpenter's 'prentice,--if
that little minx were half as fond of me as she is of you."

"That's not likely to be the case, if you go on in this way," replied
Thames, sharply.

"Why, what the devil would you have had me do!--make myself scarce,
eh? You should have tipped me the wink."

"No more of this," rejoined Thames, "or we shall quarrel."

"Who cares if we do?" retorted Sheppard, with a look of defiance.

"Jack," said the other, sternly; "don't provoke me further, or I'll
give you a thrashing."

"Two can play at that game, my blood," replied Sheppard, rising, and
putting himself into a posture of defence.

"Take care of yourself, then," rejoined Thames, doubling his fists,
and advancing towards him: "though my right arm's stiff, I can use
it, as you'll find."

Sheppard was no match for his opponent, for, though he possessed more
science, he was deficient in weight and strength; and, after a short
round, in which he had decidedly the worst of it, a well-directed hit
on the _nob_ stretched him at full length on the floor.

"That'll teach you to keep a civil tongue in your head for the
future," observed Thames, as he helped Jack to his feet.

"I didn't mean to give offence," replied Sheppard, sulkily. "But, let
me tell you, it's not a pleasant sight to see the girl one likes in
the arms of another."

"You want another drubbing, I perceive," said Thames, frowning.

"No, I don't. Enough's as good as a feast of the dainties you
provide. I'll think no more about her. Save us!" he cried, as his
glance accidentally alighted on the drawing, which Winifred had
dropped in her agitation. "Is this _her_ work?"

"It is," answered Thames. "Do you see any likeness?"

"Don't I," returned Jack, bitterly. "Strange!" he continued, as if
talking to himself. "How very like it is!"

"Not so strange, surely," laughed Thames, "that a picture should
resemble the person for whom it's intended."

"Ay, but it _is_ strange how much it resembles somebody for whom it's
_not_ intended. It's exactly like a miniature I have in my pocket."

"A miniature! Of whom?"

"That I can't say," replied Jack, mysteriously. "But, I half suspect,
of your father."

"My father!" exclaimed Thames, in the utmost astonishment; "let me
see it!"

"Here it is," returned Jack, producing a small picture in a case set
with brilliants.

Thames took it, and beheld the portrait of a young man,
apparently--judging from his attire--of high rank, whose proud and
patrician features certainly presented a very striking resemblance to
his own.

"You're right Jack," he said, after a pause, during which he
contemplated the picture with the most fixed attention: "this must
have been my father!"

"No doubt of it," answered Sheppard; "only compare it with Winny's
drawing, and you'll find they're as like as two peas in a pod."

"Where did you get it?" inquired Thames.

"From Lady Trafford's, where I took the box."

"Surely, you haven't stolen it?"

"Stolen's an awkward word. But, as you perceive, I brought it away
with me."

"It must be restored instantly,--be the consequences what they may."

"You're not going to betray me!" cried Jack, in alarm.

"I am not," replied Thames; "but I insist upon your taking it back at

"Take it back yourself," retorted Jack, sullenly. "I shall do no such

"Very well," replied Thames, about to depart.

"Stop!" exclaimed Jack, planting himself before the door; "do you
want to get me sent across the water?"

"I want to save you from disgrace and ruin," returned Thames.

"Bah!" cried Jack, contemptuously; "nobody's disgraced and ruined
unless he's found out. I'm safe enough if you hold your tongue. Give
me that picture, or I'll make you!"

"Hear me," said Thames, calmly; "you well know you're no match for

"Not at fisticuffs, perhaps," interrupted Jack, fiercely; "but I've
my knife."

"You daren't use it."

"Try to leave the room, and see whether I daren't," returned Jack,
opening the blade.

"I didn't expect this from you," rejoined Thames, resolutely. "But
your threats won't prevent my leaving the room when I please, and as
I please. Now, will you stand aside?"

"I won't," answered Jack, obstinately.

Thames said not another word, but marched boldly towards him, and
seized him by the collar.

"Leave go!" cried Jack, struggling violently, and raising his hand,
"or I'll maul you for life."

But Thames was not to be deterred from his purpose; and the strife
might have terminated seriously, if a peace-maker had not appeared
in the shape of little Winifred, who, alarmed by the noise, rushed
suddenly into the room.

[Illustration: 282]

"Ah!" she screamed, seeing the uplifted weapon in Sheppard's hand,
"don't hurt Thames--don't, dear Jack! If you want to kill somebody,
kill me, not him."

And she flung herself between them.

Jack dropped the knife, and walked sullenly aside.

"What has caused this quarrel, Thames?" asked the little girl,

"You," answered Jack, abruptly.

"No such thing," rejoined Thames. "I'll tell you all about it
presently. But you must leave us now, dear Winny, Jack and I have
something to settle between ourselves. Don't be afraid. Our quarrel's
quite over."

"Are you sure of that?" returned Winifred, looking uneasily at Jack.

"Ay, ay," rejoined Sheppard; "he may do what he pleases,--hang me, if
he thinks proper,--if _you_ wish it."

With this assurance, and at the reiterated request of Thames, the
little girl reluctantly withdrew.

"Come, come, Jack," said Thames, walking up to Sheppard, and taking
his hand, "have done with this. I tell you once more, I'll say and
do nothing to get you into trouble. Best assured of that. But I'm
resolved to see Lady Trafford. Perhaps, she may tell me whose picture
this is."

"So she may," returned Jack, brightening up; "it's a good idea.
I'll go with you. But you must see her alone; and that'll be no
easy matter to manage, for she's a great invalid, and has generally
somebody with her. Above all, beware of Sir Rowland Trenchard. He's
as savage and suspicious as the devil himself. I should never have
noticed the miniature at all, if it hadn't been for him. He was
standing by, rating her ladyship,--who can scarcely stir from the
sofa,--while I was packing up her jewels in the case, and I observed
that she tried to hide a small casket from him. His back was no
sooner turned, than she slipped this casket into the box. The next
minute, I contrived, without either of 'em perceiving me, to convey
it into my own pocket. I was sorry for what I did afterwards; for, I
don't know why, but, poor, lady! with her pale face, and black eyes,
she reminded me of my mother."

"That, alone, ought to have prevented you from acting as you did,
Jack," returned Thames, gravely.

"I should never have acted as I did," rejoined Sheppard, bitterly;
"if Mrs. Wood hadn't struck me. That blow made me a thief. And, if
ever I'm brought to the gallows, I shall lay my death at her door."

"Well, think no more about it," returned Thames. "Do better in

"I will, when I've had my revenge," muttered Jack. "But, take my
advice, and keep out of Sir Rowland's way, or you'll get the poor
lady into trouble as well as me."

"Never fear," replied Thames, taking up his hat. "Come, let's be

The two boys, then, emerged upon the landing, and were about to
descend the stairs, when the voices of Mr. and Mrs. Wood resounded
from below. The storm appeared to have blown over, for they were
conversing in a very amicable manner with Mr. Kneebone, who was on
the point of departing.

"Quite sorry, my good friend, there should have been any
misunderstanding between us," observed the woollen-draper.

"Don't mention it," returned Wood, in the conciliatory tone of one
who admits he has been in the wrong; "your explanation is perfectly

"We shall expect you to-morrow," insinuated Mrs. Wood; "and pray,
don't bring anybody with you,--especially Jonathan Wild."

"No fear of that," laughed Kneebone.--"Oh! about that boy, Thames
Darrell. His safety must be looked to. Jonathan's threats are not to
be sneezed at. The rascal will be at work before the morning. Keep
your eye upon the lad. And mind he doesn't stir out of your sight, on
any pretence whatever, till I call."

"You hear that," whispered Jack.

"I do," replied Thames, in the same tone; "we haven't a moment to

"Take care of yourself," said Mr. Wood, "and I'll take care of
Thames. It's never a bad day that has a good ending. Good night! God
bless you!"

Upon this, there was a great shaking of hands, with renewed apologies
and protestations of friendship on both sides; after which Mr.
Kneebone took his leave.

"And so, you really suspected me?" murmured Mrs. Wood, reproachfully,
as they returned to the parlour. "Oh! you men! you men! Once get a
thing into your head, and nothing will beat it out."

"Why, my love," rejoined her husband, "appearances, you must allow,
were a little against you. But since you assure me _you_ didn't write
the letters, and Mr. Kneebone assures me _he_ didn't receive them, I
can't do otherwise than believe you. And I've made up my mind that a
husband ought to believe only half that he hears, and nothing that he

"An excellent maxim!" replied his wife, approvingly; "the best I ever
heard you utter."

"I must now go and look after Thames," observed the carpenter.

"Oh! never mind him: he'll take no harm! Come with me into the
parlour. I can't spare you at present. Heigho!"

"Now for it!" cried Jack, as the couple entered the room: "the
coast's clear."

Thames was about to follow, when he felt a gentle grasp upon his arm.
He turned, and beheld Winifred.

"Where are you going?" she asked.

"I shall be back presently," replied Thames, evasively.

"Don't go, I beg of you!" she implored. "You're in danger. I
overheard what Mr. Kneebone said, just now."

"Death and the devil! what a cursed interruption!" cried Jack,
impatiently. "If you loiter in this way, old Wood will catch us."

"If you stir, I'll call him!" rejoined Winifred. "It's you, Jack,
who are persuading my brother to do wrong. Thames," she urged, "the
errand, on which you're going, can't be for any good, or you wouldn't
be afraid of mentioning it to my father."

"He's coming!" cried Jack, stamping his foot, with vexation. "Another
moment, and it'll be too late."

"Winny, I _must_ go!" said Thames, breaking from her.

"Stay, dear Thames!--stay!" cried the little girl. "He hears me not!
he's gone!" she added, as the door was opened and shut with violence;
"something tells me I shall never see him again!"

When her father, a moment afterwards, issued from the parlour to
ascertain the cause of the noise, he found her seated on the stairs,
in an agony of grief.

"Where's Thames?" he hastily inquired.

Winifred pointed to the door. She could not speak.

"And Jack?"

"Gone too," sobbed his daughter.

Mr. Wood uttered something like an imprecation.

"God forgive me for using such a word!" he cried, in a troubled tone;
"if I hadn't yielded to my wife's silly request, this wouldn't have


On the same evening, in a stately chamber of a noble old mansion of
Elizabeth's time, situated in Southampton Fields, two persons were
seated. One of these, a lady, evidently a confirmed invalid, and
attired in deep mourning, reclined upon a sort of couch, or easy
chair, set on wheels, with her head supported by cushions, and her
feet resting upon a velvet footstool. A crutch, with a silver handle,
stood by her side, proving the state of extreme debility to which she
was reduced. It was no easy matter to determine her age, for, though
she still retained a certain youthfulness of appearance, she had many
marks in her countenance, usually indicating the decline of life, but
which in her case were, no doubt, the result of constant and severe
indisposition. Her complexion was wan and faded, except where it was
tinged by a slight hectic flush, that made the want of colour more
palpable; her eyes were large and black, but heavy and lustreless;
her cheeks sunken; her frame emaciated; her dark hair thickly
scattered with gray. When younger, and in better health, she must
have been eminently lovely; and there were still the remains of great
beauty about her. The expression, however, which would chiefly have
interested a beholder, was that of settled and profound melancholy.

Her companion was a person of no inferior condition. Indeed it was
apparent, from the likeness between them, that they were nearly
related. He had the same dark eyes, though lighted by a fierce flame;
the same sallow complexion; the same tall, thin figure, and majestic
demeanour; the same proud cast of features. But here the resemblance
stopped. The expression was wholly different. He looked melancholy
enough, it is true. But his gloom appeared to be occasioned by
remorse, rather than sorrow. No sterner head was ever beheld beneath
the cowl of a monk, or the bonnet of an inquisitor. He seemed
inexorable, and inscrutable as fate itself.

"Well, Lady Trafford," he said, fixing a severe look upon her. "You
depart for Lancashire to-morrow. Have I your final answer?"

"You have, Sir Rowland," she answered, in a feeble tone, but firmly.
"You shall have the sum you require, but----"

"But what, Madam!"

"Do not misunderstand me," she proceeded. "I give it to King
James--not so you: for the furtherance of a great and holy cause, not
for the prosecution of wild and unprofitable schemes."

Sir Rowland bit his lips to repress the answer that rose to them.

"And the will?" he said, with forced calmness. "Do you still refuse
to make one!"

"I _have_ made one," replied Lady Trafford.

"How?" cried her brother, starting.

"Rowland," she rejoined, "you strive in vain to terrify me into
compliance with your wishes. Nothing shall induce me to act contrary
to the dictates of my conscience. My will is executed, and placed in
safe custody."

"In whose favour is it made?" he inquired, sternly.

"In favour of my son."

"You have no son," rejoined Sir Rowland, moodily.

"I _had_ one," answered his sister, in a mournful voice; "and,
perhaps, I have one still."

"If I thought so--" cried the knight fiercely; "but this is idle,"
he added, suddenly checking himself. "Aliva, your child perished with
its father."

"And by whom were they both destroyed?" demanded his sister, raising
herself by a painful effort, and regarding him with a searching

"By the avenger of his family's dishonour--by your brother," he
replied, coolly.

"Brother," cried Lady Trafford, her eye blazing with unnatural light,
and her cheek suffused with a crimson stain: "Brother," she cried,
lifting her thin fingers towards Heaven, "as God shall judge me, I
was wedded to that murdered man!"

"A lie!" ejaculated Sir Rowland, furiously; "a black, and damning

"It is the truth," replied his sister, falling backwards upon the
couch. "I will swear it upon the cross!"

"His name, then?" demanded the knight. "Tell me that, and I will
believe you."

"Not now--not now!" she returned, with a shudder. "When I am dead you
will learn it. Do not disquiet yourself. You will not have to wait
long for the information. Rowland," she added, in an altered tone,
"I am certain I shall not live many days. And if you treat me in this
way, you will have my death to answer for, as well as the deaths of
my husband and child. Let us part in peace. We shall take an eternal
farewell of each other."

"Be it so!" rejoined Sir Rowland, with concentrated fury; "but
before we _do_ part, I am resolved to know the name of your pretended

"Torture shall not wrest it from me," answered his sister, firmly.

"What motive have you for concealment?" he demanded.

"A vow," she answered,--"a vow to my dead husband."

Sir Rowland looked at her for a moment, as if he meditated some
terrible reply. He then arose, and, taking a few turns in the
chamber, stopped suddenly before her.

"What has put it into your head that your son yet lives?" he asked.

"I have dreamed that I shall see him before I die," she rejoined.

"Dreamed!" echoed the knight, with a ghastly smile. "Is that all?
Then learn from me that your hopes are visionary as their foundation.
Unless he can arise from the bottom of the Thames, where he and his
abhorred father lie buried, you will never behold him again in this

"Heaven have compassion on you, Rowland!" murmured his sister,
crossing her hands and looking upwards; "you have none on me."

"I _will_ have none till I have forced the villain's name from you!"
he cried, stamping the floor with rage.

"Rowland, your violence is killing me," she returned, in a plaintive

"His name, I say!--his name!" thundered the knight.

And he unsheathed his sword.

Lady Trafford uttered a prolonged scream, and fainted. When she came
to herself, she found that her brother had quitted the room, leaving
her to the care of a female attendant. Her first orders were to
summon the rest of her servants to make immediate preparations for
her departure for Lancashire.

"To-night, your ladyship?" ventured an elderly domestic.

"Instantly, Hobson," returned Lady Trafford; "as soon as the carriage
can be brought round."

"It shall be at the door in ten minutes. Has your ladyship any
further commands?"

"None whatever. Yet, stay! There is one thing I wish you to do.
Take that box, and put it into the carriage yourself. Where is Sir

"In the library, your ladyship. He has given orders that no one is
to disturb him. But there's a person in the hall--a very odd sort of
man--waiting to see him, who won't be sent away."

"Very well. Lose not a moment, Hobson."

The elderly domestic bowed, took up the case, and retired.

"Your ladyship is far too unwell to travel," remarked the female
attendant, assisting her to rise; "you'll never be able to reach

"It matters not, Norris," replied Lady Trafford: "I would rather die
on the road, than be exposed to another such scene as I have just

"Dear me!" sympathised Mrs. Norris. "I was afraid from the scream
I heard, that something dreadful had happened, Sir Rowland has a
terrible temper indeed--a shocking temper! I declare he frightens me
out of my senses."

"Sir Rowland is my brother," resumed Lady Trafford coldly.

"Well that's no reason why he should treat your ladyship so
shamefully, I'm sure. Ah! how I wish, poor dear Sir Cecil were alive!
he'd keep him in order."

Lady Trafford sighed deeply.

"Your ladyship has never been well since you married Sir Cecil,"
rejoined Mrs. Norris. "For my part, I don't think you ever quite got
over the accident you met with on the night of the Great Storm."

"Norris!" gasped Lady Trafford, trembling violently.

"Mercy on us! what have I said!" cried the attendant, greatly alarmed
by the agitation of her mistress; "do sit down, your ladyship, while
I run for the ratifia and rosa solis."

"It is past," rejoined Lady Trafford, recovering herself by a
powerful effort; "but never allude to the circumstance again. Go and
prepare for our departure."

In less time than Hobson had mentioned, the carriage was announced.
And Lady Trafford having been carried down stairs, and placed within
it, the postboy drove off, at a rapid pace for Barnet.


Sir Rowland, meantime, paced his chamber with a quick and agitated
step. He was ill at ease, though he would not have confessed his
disquietude even to himself. Not conceiving that his sister--feeble
as she was, and yielding as she had ever shown herself to his wishes,
whether expressed or implied--would depart without consulting him,
he was equally surprised and enraged to hear the servants busied
in transporting her to the carriage. His pride, however, would not
suffer him to interfere with their proceedings; much less could
he bring himself to acknowledge that he had been in the wrong, and
entreat Lady Trafford to remain, though he was well aware that her
life might be endangered if she travelled by night. But, when the
sound of the carriage-wheels died away, and he felt that she was
actually gone, his resolution failed him, and he rang the bell

"My horses, Charcam," he said, as a servant appeared.

The man lingered.

"'Sdeath! why am I not obeyed?" exclaimed the knight, angrily. "I
wish to overtake Lady Trafford. Use despatch!"

"Her ladyship will not travel beyond Saint Alban's to-night, Sir
Rowland, so Mrs. Norris informed me," returned Charcam, respectfully;
"and there's a person without, anxious for an audience, whom, with
submission, I think your honour would desire to see."

"Ah!" exclaimed Sir Rowland, glancing significantly at Charcam, who
was a confidant in his Jacobite schemes; "is it the messenger from
Orchard-Windham, from Sir William?"

"No, Sir Rowland."

"From Mr. Corbet Kynaston, then? Sir John Packington's courier was
here yesterday."

"No, Sir Rowland."

"Perhaps he is from Lord Derwentwater, or Mr. Forster? News _is_
expected from Northumberland."

"I can't exactly say, Sir Rowland. The gentleman didn't communicate
his business to me. But I'm sure it's important."

Charcam said this, not because he knew anything about the matter;
but, having received a couple of guineas to deliver the message,
he, naturally enough, estimated its importance by the amount of the

"Well, I will see him," replied the knight, after a moment's pause;
"he may be from the Earl of Mar. But let the horses be in readiness.
I shall ride to St. Alban's to-night."

So saying, he threw himself into a chair. And Charcam, fearful of
another charge in his master's present uncertain mood, disappeared.

The person, shortly afterwards ushered into the room, seemed by the
imperfect light,--for the evening was advancing, and the chamber
darkened by heavy drapery,--to be a middle-sized middle-aged man,
of rather vulgar appearance, but with a very shrewd aspect. He was
plainly attired in a riding-dress and boots of the period, and wore a
hanger by his side.

"Your servant, Sir Rowland," said the stranger, ducking his head, as
he advanced.

"Your business, Sir?" returned the other, stiffly.

The new-comer looked at Charcam. Sir Rowland waved his hand, and the
attendant withdrew.

"You don't recollect me, I presume?" premised the stranger, taking a

The knight, who could ill brook this familiarity, instantly arose.

"Don't disturb yourself," continued the other, nowise disconcerted
by the rebuke. "I never stand upon ceremony where I know I shall be
welcome. We _have_ met before."

"Indeed!" rejoined Sir Rowland, haughtily; "perhaps, you will refresh
my memory as to the time, and place."

"Let me see. The time was the 26th of November, 1703: the place, the
Mint in Southwark. I have a good memory, you perceive, Sir Rowland."

The knight staggered as if struck by a mortal wound. Speedily
recovering himself, however, he rejoined, with forced calmness, "You
are mistaken, Sir. I was in Lancashire, at our family seat, at the
time you mention."

The stranger smiled incredulously.

"Well, Sir Rowland," he said, after a brief pause, during which the
knight regarded him with a searching glance, as if endeavouring to
recall his features, "I will not gainsay your words. You are in the
right to be cautious, till you know with whom you have to deal; and,
even then, you can't be too wary. 'Avow nothing, believe nothing,
give nothing for nothing,' is my own motto. And it's a maxim of
universal application: or, at least, of universal practice. I am not
come here to play the part of your father-confessor. I am come to
serve you."

"In what way, Sir?" demanded Trenchard, in astonishment.

"You will learn anon. You refuse me your confidence. I applaud your
prudence: it is, however, needless. Your history, your actions, nay,
your very thoughts are better known to me than to your spiritual

"Make good your assertions," cried Trenchard, furiously, "or----"

"To the proof," interrupted the stranger, calmly. "You are the son
of Sir Montacute Trenchard, of Ashton-Hall, near Manchester. Sir
Montacute had three children--two daughters and yourself. The eldest,
Constance, was lost, by the carelessness of a servant, during her
infancy, and has never since been heard of: the youngest, Aliva, is
the present Lady Trafford. I merely mention these circumstances to
show the accuracy of my information."

"If this is the extent of it, Sir," returned the knight, ironically,
"you may spare yourself further trouble. These particulars are
familiar to all, who have any title to the knowledge."

"Perhaps so," rejoined the stranger; "but I have others in reserve,
not so generally known. With your permission, I will go on in my own
way. Where I am in error, you can set me right.--Your father, Sir
Montacute Trenchard, who had been a loyal subject of King James the
Second, and borne arms in his service, on the abdication of that
monarch, turned his back upon the Stuarts, and would never afterwards
recognise their claims to the crown. It was said, that he received
an affront from James, in the shape of a public reprimand, which his
pride could not forgive. Be this as it may, though a Catholic, he
died a friend to the Protestant succession."

"So far you are correct," observed Trenchard; "still, this is no

"Suffer me to proceed," replied the stranger. "The opinions,
entertained by the old knight, naturally induced him to view with
displeasure the conduct of his son, who warmly espoused the cause he
had deserted. Finding remonstrances of no avail, he had recourse to
threats; and when threats failed, he adopted more decided measures."

"Ha!" ejaculated Trenchard.

"As yet," pursued the stranger, "Sir Montacute had placed no limit to
his son's expenditure. He did not quarrel with Rowland's profusion,
for his own revenues were ample; but he _did_ object to the large
sums lavished by him in the service of a faction he was resolved not
to support. Accordingly, the old knight reduced his son's allowance
to a third of its previous amount; and, upon further provocation,
he even went so far as to alter his will in favour of his daughter,
Aliva, who was then betrothed to her cousin, Sir Cecil Trafford."

"Proceed, Sir," said Trenchard, breathing hard.

"Under these circumstances, Rowland did what any other sensible
person would do. Aware of his father's inflexibility of purpose, he
set his wits to work to defeat the design. He contrived to break off
his sister's match; and this he accomplished so cleverly, that he
maintained the strictest friendship with Sir Cecil. For two years he
thought himself secure; and, secretly engaged in the Jacobite schemes
of the time, in which, also, Sir Cecil was deeply involved, he began
to relax in his watchfulness over Aliva. About this time,--namely,
in November, 1703--while young Trenchard was in Lancashire, and his
sister in London, on a visit, he received a certain communication
from his confidential servant, Davies, which, at once, destroyed his
hopes. He learnt that his sister was privately married--the name
or rank of her husband could not be ascertained--and living in
retirement in an obscure dwelling in the Borough, where she had given
birth to a son. Rowland's plans were quickly formed, and as quickly
executed. Accompanied by Sir Cecil, who still continued passionately
enamoured of his sister, and to whom he represented that she had
fallen a victim to the arts of a seducer, he set off, at fiery speed,
for the metropolis. Arrived there, their first object was to seek out
Davies, by whom they were conducted to the lady's retreat,--a lone
habitation, situated on the outskirts of Saint George's Fields in
Southwark. Refused admittance, they broke open the door. Aliva's
husband, who passed by the name of Darrell, confronted them sword in
hand. For a few minutes he kept them at bay. But, urged by his wife's
cries, who was more anxious for the preservation of her child's life
than her own, he snatched up the infant, and made his escape from the
back of the premises. Rowland and his companions instantly started in
pursuit, leaving the lady to recover as she might. They tracked the
fugitive to the Mint; but, like hounds at fault, they here lost all
scent of their prey. Meantime, the lady had overtaken them; but,
terrified by the menaces of her vindictive kinsmen, she did not dare
to reveal herself to her husband, of whose concealment on the roof
of the very house the party were searching she was aware. Aided by
an individual, who was acquainted with a secret outlet from the
tenement, Darrell escaped. Before his departure, he gave his
assistant a glove. That glove is still preserved. In her endeavour to
follow him, Aliva met with a severe fall, and was conveyed away, in
a state of insensibility, by Sir Cecil. She was supposed to be
lifeless; but she survived the accident, though she never regained
her strength. Directed by the same individual, who had helped
Darrell to steal a march upon him, Rowland, with Davies, and another
attendant, continued the pursuit. Both the fugitive and his chasers
embarked on the Thames. The elements were wrathful as their passions.
The storm burst upon them in its fury. Unmindful of the terrors
of the night, unscared by the danger that threatened him, Rowland
consigned his sister's husband and his sister's child to the waves."

"Bring your story to an end, Sir," said Trenchard who had listened to
the recital with mingled emotions of rage and fear.

"I have nearly done," replied the stranger.--"As Rowland's whole crew
perished in the tempest, and he only escaped by miracle, he fancied
himself free from detection. And for twelve years he has been so;
until his long security, well-nigh obliterating remembrance of the
deed, has bred almost a sense of innocence within his breast. During
this period Sir Montacute has been gathered to his fathers. His
title has descended to Rowland: his estates to Aliva. The latter
has, since, been induced to unite herself to Sir Cecil, on terms
originating with her brother, and which, however strange and
unprecedented, were acquiesced in by the suitor."

Sir Rowland looked bewildered with surprise.

"The marriage was never consummated," continued the imperturbable
stranger. "Sir Cecil is no more. Lady Trafford, supposed to be
childless, broken in health and spirits, frail both in mind and body,
is not likely to make another marriage. The estates must, ere long,
revert to Sir Rowland."

"Are you man, or fiend?" exclaimed Trenchard, staring at the
stranger, as he concluded his narration.

"You are complimentary, Sir Rowland," returned the other, with a grim

"If you _are_ human," rejoined Trenchard, with stern emphasis, "I
insist upon knowing whence you derived your information?"

"I might refuse to answer the question, Sir Rowland. But I am not
indisposed to gratify you. Partly, from your confessor; partly, from
other sources."

"My confessor!" ejaculated the knight, in the extremity of surprise;
"has _he_ betrayed his sacred trust?"

"He has," replied the other, grinning; "and this will be a caution to
you in future, how you confide a secret of consequence to a priest.
I should as soon think of trusting a woman. Tickle the ears of their
reverences with any idle nonsense you please: but tell them nothing
you care to have repeated. I was once a disciple of Saint Peter
myself, and speak from experience."

"Who are you?" ejaculated Trenchard, scarcely able to credit his

"I'm surprised you've not asked that question before, Sir Rowland.
It would have saved me much circumlocution, and you some suspense. My
name is Wild--Jonathan Wild."

And the great thief-taker indulged himself in a chuckle at the effect
produced by this announcement. He was accustomed to such surprises,
and enjoyed them.

Sir Rowland laid his hand upon his sword.

"Mr. Wild," he said, in a sarcastic tone, but with great firmness;
"a person of your well-known sagacity must be aware that some secrets
are dangerous to the possessor."

"I am fully aware of it, Sir Rowland," replied Jonathan, coolly; "but
I have nothing to fear; because, in the first place, it will be to
your advantage not to molest me; and, in the second, I am provided
against all contingencies. I never hunt the human tiger without being
armed. My janizaries are without. One of them is furnished with a
packet containing the heads of the statement I have just related,
which, if I don't return at a certain time, will be laid before the
proper authorities. I have calculated my chances, you perceive."

"You have forgotten that you are in my power," returned the
knight, sternly; "and that all your allies cannot save you from my

"I can at least, protect myself," replied Wild, with, provoking
calmness. "I am accounted a fair shot, as well as a tolerable
swordsman, and I will give proof of my skill in both lines, should
occasion require it. I have had a good many desperate engagements in
my time, and have generally come off victorious. I bear the marks of
some of them about me still," he continued, taking off his wig,
and laying bare a bald skull, covered with cicatrices and plates of
silver. "This gash," he added, pointing to one of the larger scars,
"was a wipe from the hanger of Tom Thurland, whom I apprehended for
the murder of Mrs. Knap. This wedge of silver," pointing to another,
"which would mend a coffee-pot, serves to stop up a breach made by
Will Colthurst, who robbed Mr. Hearl on Hounslow-Heath. I secured the
dog after he had wounded me. This fracture was the handiwork of Jack
Parrot (otherwise called Jack the Grinder), who broke into the palace
of the Bishop of Norwich. Jack was a comical scoundrel, and made
a little too free with his grace's best burgundy, as well as his
grace's favourite housekeeper. The Bishop, however, to show him the
danger of meddling with the church, gave him a dance at Tyburn for
his pains. Not a scar but has its history. The only inconvenience I
feel from my shattered noddle is an incapacity to drink. But that's
an infirmity shared by a great many sounder heads than mine. The
hardest bout I ever had was with a woman--Sally Wells, who
was afterwards lagged for shoplifting. She attacked me with a
carving-knife, and, when I had disarmed her, the jade bit off a
couple of fingers from my left hand. Thus, you see, I've never
hesitated and never _shall_ hesitate to expose my life where anything
is to be gained. My profession has hardened me."

And, with this, he coolly re-adjusted his peruke.

"What do you expect to gain from this interview, Mr. Wild!" demanded
Trenchard, as if he had formed a sudden resolution.

"Ah! now we come to business," returned Jonathan, rubbing his hands,
gleefully. "These are my terms, Sir Rowland," he added, taking a
sheet of paper from his pocket, and pushing it towards the knight.

Trenchard glanced at the document.

"A thousand pounds," he observed, gloomily, "is a heavy price to
pay for doubtful secrecy, when _certain silence_ might be so cheaply

"You would purchase it at the price of your head," replied Jonathan,
knitting his brows. "Sir Rowland," he added, savagely, and with
somewhat of the look of a bull-dog before he flies at his foe, "if it
were my pleasure to do so, I could crush you with a breath. You are
wholly in my power. Your name, with the fatal epithet of 'dangerous'
attached to it, stands foremost on the list of Disaffected now before
the Secret Committee. I hold a warrant from Mr. Walpole for your

"Arrested!" exclaimed Trenchard, drawing his sword.

"Put up your blade, Sir Rowland," rejoined Jonathan, resuming his
former calm demeanour, "King James the Third will need it. I have
no intention of arresting you. I have a different game to play; and
it'll be your own fault, if you don't come off the winner. I offer
you my assistance on certain terms. The proposal is so far from being
exorbitant, that it should be trebled if I had not a fellow-feeling
in the cause. To be frank with you, I have an affront to requite,
which can be settled at the same time, and in the same way with your
affair. That's worth something to me; for I don't mind paying for
revenge. After all a thousand pounds is a trifle to rid you of an
upstart, who may chance to deprive you of tens of thousands."

"Did I hear you aright?" asked Trenchard, with startling eagerness.

"Certainly," replied Jonathan, with the most perfect _sangfroid_,
"I'll undertake to free you from the boy. That's part of the

"Is he alive!" vociferated Trenchard.

"To be sure," returned Wild; "he's not only alive, but likely for
life, if we don't clip the thread."

Sir Rowland caught at a chair for support, and passed his hand across
his brow, on which the damp had gathered thickly.

"The intelligence seems new to you. I thought I'd been sufficiently
explicit," continued Jonathan. "Most persons would have guessed my

"Then it was _not_ a dream!" ejaculated Sir Rowland in a hollow
voice, and as if speaking to himself. "I _did_ see them on the
platform of the bridge--the child and his preserver! They were _not_
struck by the fallen ruin, nor whelmed in the roaring flood,--or, if
they _were_, they escaped as I escaped. God! I have cheated myself
into a belief that the boy perished! And now my worst fears are
realized--he lives!"

"As yet," returned Jonathan, with fearful emphasis.

"I cannot--dare not injure him," rejoined Trenchard, with a haggard
look, and sinking, as if paralysed, into a chair.

Jonathan laughed scornfully.

"Leave him to me," he said. "He shan't trouble you further."

"No," replied Sir Rowland, who appeared completely prostrated. "I
will struggle no longer with destiny. Too much blood has been shed

"This comes of fine feelings!" muttered Jonathan, contemptuously.
"Give me your thorough-paced villain. But I shan't let him off thus.
I'll try a strong dose.--Am I to understand that you intend to plead
guilty, Sir Rowland?" he added. "If so, I may as well execute my

"Stand off, Sir!" exclaimed Trenchard, starting suddenly backwards.

"I knew that would bring him to," thought Wild.

"Where is the boy?" demanded Sir Rowland.

"At present under the care of his preserver--one Owen Wood, a
carpenter, by whom he was brought up."

"Wood!" exclaimed Trenchard,--"of Wych Street?"

"The same."

"A boy from his shop was here a short time ago. Could it be him you

"No. That boy was the carpenter's apprentice, Jack Sheppard. I've
just left your nephew."

At this moment Charcam entered the room.

"Beg pardon, Sir Rowland," said the attendant, "but there's a boy
from Mr. Wood, with a message for Lady Trafford."

"From whom?" vociferated Trenchard.

"From Mr. Wood the carpenter."

"The same who was here just now?"

"No, Sir Rowland, a much finer boy."

"'Tis he, by Heaven!" cried Jonathan; "this is lucky. Sir Rowland,"
he added, in a deep whisper, "do you agree to my terms?"

"I do," answered Trenchard, in the same tone.

"Enough!" rejoined Wild; "he shall not return."

"Have you acquainted him with Lady Trafford's departure?" said
the knight, addressing Charcam, with as much composure as he could

"No, Sir Rowland," replied the attendant, "as you proposed to ride
to Saint Albans to-night, I thought you might choose to see him
yourself. Besides, there's something odd about the boy; for, though
I questioned him pretty closely concerning his business, he declined
answering my questions, and said he could only deliver his message
to her ladyship. I thought it better not to send him away till I'd
mentioned the circumstance to you."

"You did right," returned Trenchard.

"Where is he?" asked Jonathan.

"In the hall," replied Charcam.


"Not exactly, Sir. There's another lad at the gate waiting for
him--the same who was here just now, that Sir Rowland was speaking
of, who fastened up the jewel-case for her ladyship."

"A jewel-case!" exclaimed Jonathan. "Ah, I see it all!" he cried,
with a quick glance. "Jack Sheppard's fingers are lime-twigs. Was
anything missed after the lad's departure, Sir Rowland?"

"Not that I'm aware of," said the knight.--"Stay! something occurs to
me." And he conferred apart with Jonathan.

"That's it!" cried Wild when Trenchard concluded. "This young fool is
come to restore the article--whatever it may be--which Lady Trafford
was anxious to conceal, and which his companion purloined. It's
precisely what such a simpleton would do. We have him as safe as a
linnet in a cage; and could wring his neck round as easily. Oblige
me by acting under my guidance in the matter, Sir Rowland. I'm an old
hand at such things. Harkee," he added, "Mr. What's-your-name!"

"Charcam," replied the attendant, bowing.

"Very well, Mr. Charcoal, you may bring in the boy. But not a word
to him of Lady Trafford's absence--mind that. A robbery has been
committed, and your master suspects this lad as an accessory to
the offence. He, therefore, desires to interrogate him. It will be
necessary to secure his companion; and as you say he is not in the
house, some caution must be used in approaching him, or he may chance
to take to his heels, for he's a slippery little rascal. When you've
seized him, cough thrice thus,--and two rough-looking gentlemen
will make their appearance. Don't be alarmed by their manners, Mr.
Charcoal. They're apt to be surly to strangers, but it soon wears
off. The gentleman with the red beard will relieve you of your
prisoner. The other must call a coach as quickly as he can."

"For whom, Sir?" inquired Charcam. "For me--his master, Mr. Jonathan

"Are you Mr. Jonathan Wild?" asked the attendant, in great

"I _am_, Charcoal. But don't let my name frighten you. Though," said
the thief-taker, with a complacent smile, "all the world seems to
tremble at it. Obey my orders, and you've nothing to fear. About them
quickly. Lead the lad to suppose that he'll be introduced to Lady
Trafford. You understand me, Charcoal."

The attendant did _not_ understand him. He was confounded by the
presence in which he found himself. But, not daring to confess his
want of comprehension, he made a profound reverence, and retired.


"How do you mean to act, Sir?" inquired Trenchard, as soon as they
were left alone.

"As circumstances shall dictate, Sir Rowland," returned Jonathan.
"Something is sure to arise in the course of the investigation, of
which I can take advantage. If not, I'll convey him to St. Giles's
round-house on my own responsibility."

"Is this your notable scheme!" asked the knight, scornfully.

"Once there," proceeded Wild, without noticing the interruption,
"he's as good as in his grave. The constable, Sharples, is in my pay.
I can remove the prisoner at any hour of the night I think fit: and
I _will_ remove him. You must, know, Sir Rowland--for I've no secrets
from you--that, in the course of my business I've found it convenient
to become the owner of a small Dutch sloop; by means of which I can
transmit any light ware,--such as gold watches, rings, and plate,
as well as occasionally a bank or goldsmith's note, which has been
_spoken with_ by way of the mail,--you understand me?--to Holland or
Flanders, and obtain a secure and ready market for them. This vessel
is now in the river, off Wapping. Her cargo is nearly shipped. She
will sail, at early dawn to-morrow, for Rotterdam. Her commander,
Rykhart Van Galgebrok, is devoted to my interests. As soon as he gets
into blue water, he'll think no more of pitching the boy overboard
than of lighting his pipe. This will be safer than cutting his throat
on shore. I've tried the plan, and found it answer. The Northern
Ocean keeps a secret better than the Thames, Sir Rowland. Before
midnight, your nephew shall be safe beneath the hatches of the

"Poor child!" muttered Trenchard, abstractedly; "the whole scene upon
the river is passing before me. I hear the splash in the water--I see
the white object floating like a sea-bird on the tide--it will not

"'Sblood!" exclaimed Jonathan, in a tone of ill-disguised contempt;
"it won't do to indulge those fancies now. Be seated, and calm

"I have often conjured up some frightful vision of the dead,"
murmured the knight, "but I never dreamed of an interview with the

"It'll be over in a few minutes," rejoined Jonathan, impatiently; "in
fact, it'll be over too soon for me. I like such interviews. But we
waste time. Have the goodness to affix your name to that memorandum,
Sir Rowland. I require nothing, you see, till my share of the
contract is fulfilled."

Trenchard took up a pen.

"It's the boy's death-warrant," observed Jonathan, with a sinister

"I cannot sign it," returned Trenchard.

"Damnation!" exclaimed Wild with a snarl, that displayed his
glistening fangs to the farthest extremity of his mouth, "I'm not
to be trifled with thus. That paper _must_ be signed, or I take my

"Go, Sir," rejoined the knight, haughtily.

"Ay, ay, I'll go, fast enough!" returned Jonathan, putting his hands
into his pockets, "but not alone, Sir Rowland."

At this juncture, the door was flung open, and Charcam entered,
dragging in Thames, whom he held by the collar, and who struggled in
vain to free himself from the grasp imposed upon him.

"Here's one of the thieves, Sir Rowland!" cried the attendant. "I
was only just in time. The young rascal had learnt from some of the
women-servants that Lady Trafford was from home, and was in the very
act of making off when I got down stairs. Come along, my Newgate
bird!" he continued, shaking him with great violence.

Jonathan gave utterance to a low whistle.

"If things had gone smoothly," he thought, "I should have cursed the
fellow's stupidity. As it is, I'm not sorry for the blunder."

Trenchard, meanwhile, whose gaze was fixed upon the boy, became livid
as death, but he moved not a muscle.

"'T is he!" he mentally ejaculated.

"What do you think of your nephew, Sir Rowland?" whispered Jonathan,
who sat with his back towards Thames, so that his features were
concealed from the youth's view. "It would be a thousand pities,
wouldn't it, to put so promising a lad out of the way?"

"Devil!" exclaimed the knight fiercely, "Give me the paper."

Jonathan hastily picked up the pen, and presented it to Trenchard,
who attached his signature to the document.

"If I _am_ the devil," observed Wild, "as some folks assert, and I
myself am not unwilling to believe, you'll find that I differ from
the generally-received notions of the arch-fiend, and faithfully
execute the commands of those who confide their souls to my custody."

"Take hence this boy, then," rejoined Trenchard; "his looks unman

"Of what am I accused?" asked Thames, who though a good deal alarmed
at first, had now regained his courage.

"Of robbery!" replied Jonathan in a thundering voice, and suddenly
confronting him. "You've charged with assisting your comrade, Jack
Sheppard, to purloin certain articles of value from a jewel-case
belonging to Lady Trafford. Aha!" he continued, producing a short
silver staff, which he carried constantly about with him, and
uttering a terrible imprecation, "I see you're confounded. Down on
your marrow-bones, sirrah! Confess your guilt, and Sir Rowland may
yet save you from the gallows."

"I've nothing to confess," replied Thames, boldly; "I've done no
wrong. Are _you_ my accuser?"

"I am," replied Wild; "have you anything to allege to the contrary?"

"Only this," returned Thames: "that the charge is false, and
malicious, and that _you_ know it to be so."

"Is that all!" retorted Jonathan. "Come, I must search you my

"You shan't touch me," rejoined Thames; and, suddenly bursting from
Charcam, he threw himself at the feet of Trenchard. "Hear me, Sir
Rowland!" he cried. "I am innocent, f have stolen nothing. This
person--this Jonathan Wild, whom I beheld for the first time,
scarcely an hour ago, in Wych Street, is--I know not why--my enemy.
He has sworn that he'll take away my life!"

"Bah!" interrupted Jonathan. "You won't listen to this nonsense, Sir

"If you _are_ innocent, boy," said the knight, controlling his
emotion; "you have nothing to apprehend. But, what brought you here?"

"Excuse me, Sir Rowland. I cannot answer that question. My business
is with Lady Trafford."

"Are you aware that I am her ladyship's brother?" returned the
knight. "She has no secrets from me."

"Possibly not," replied Thames, in some confusion; "but I am not at
liberty to speak."

"Your hesitation is not in your favour," observed Trenchard, sternly.

"Will he consent, to be searched?" inquired Jonathan.

"No," rejoined Thames, "I won't be treated like a common felon, if I
can help it."

"You shall be treated according to your deserts, then," said
Jonathan, maliciously. And, in spite of the boy's resistance, he
plunged his hands into his pockets, and drew forth the miniature.

"Where did you get this from?" asked Wild, greatly surprised at the
result of his investigation.

Thames returned no answer.

"I thought as much," continued Jonathan. "But we'll find a way to
make you open your lips presently. Bring in his comrade," he added,
in a whisper to Charcam; "I'll take care of him. And don't neglect my
instructions this time." Upon which, with an assurance that he would
not do so, the attendant departed.

"You can, of course, identify this picture as Lady Trafford's
property?" pursued Jonathan, with a meaning glance, as he handed it
to the knight.

"I can," replied Trenchard. "Ha!" he exclaimed, with a sudden start,
as his glance fell upon the portrait; "how came this into your
possession, boy?"

"Why don't you answer, sirrah?" cried Wild, in a savage tone, and
striking him with the silver staff. "Can't you speak?"

"I don't choose," replied Thames, sturdily; "and your brutality
shan't make me."

"We'll see that," replied Jonathan, dealing him another and more
violent blow.

"Let him alone," said Trenchard authoritatively, "I have another
question to propose. Do you know whoso portrait this is?"

"I do not," replied Thames, repressing his tears, "but I believe it
to be the portrait of my father."

"Indeed!" exclaimed the knight, in astonishment. "Is your father

"No," returned Thames; "he was assassinated while I was an infant."

"Who told you this is his portrait?" demanded Trenchard.

"My heart," rejoined Thames, firmly; "which now tells me I am in the
presence of his murderer."

"That's me," interposed Jonathan; "a thief-taker is always a
murderer in the eyes of a thief. I'm almost sorry your suspicions are
unfounded, if your father in any way resembled you, my youngster. But
I can tell you who'll have the pleasure of hanging your father's
son; and that's a person not a hundred miles distant from you at this
moment--ha! ha!"

As he said this, the door was opened, and Charcam entered,
accompanied by a dwarfish, shabby-looking man, in a brown serge
frock, with coarse Jewish features, and a long red beard. Between the
Jew and the attendant came Jack Sheppard; while a crowd of servants,
attracted by the news, that the investigation of a robbery was going
forward, lingered at the doorway in hopes of catching something of
the proceedings.

When Jack was brought in, he cast a rapid glance around him, and
perceiving Thames in the custody of Jonathan, instantly divined
how matters stood. As he looked in this direction, Wild gave him a
significant wink, the meaning of which he was not slow to comprehend.

"Get it over quickly," said Trenchard, in a whisper to the

Jonathan nodded assent.

"What's your name?" he said, addressing the audacious lad, who was
looking about him as coolly as if nothing material was going on.

"Jack Sheppard," returned the boy, fixing his eyes upon a portrait of
the Earl of Mar. "Who's that queer cove in the full-bottomed wig?"

"Attend to me, sirrah," rejoined Wild, sternly. "Do you know this
picture?" he added, with another significant look, and pointing to
the miniature.

"I do," replied Jack, carelessly.

"That's well. Can you inform us whence it came?"

"I should think so."

"State the facts, then."

"It came from Lady Trafford's jewel-box."

Here a murmur of amazement arose from the assemblage outside.

"Close the door!" commanded Trenchard, impatiently.

"In my opinion, Sir Rowland," suggested Jonathan; "you'd better allow
the court to remain open."

"Be it so," replied the knight, who saw the force of this reasoning.
"Continue the proceedings."

"You say that the miniature was abstracted from Lady Trafford's
jewel-box," said Jonathan, in a loud voice. "Who took it thence?"

"Thames Darrell; the boy at your side."

"Jack!" cried Thames, in indignant surprise.

But Sheppard took no notice of the exclamation.

[Illustration: 337]

A loud buzz of curiosity circulated among the domestics; some of
whom--especially the females--leaned forward to obtain a peep at the

"Si-lence!" vociferated Charcam, laying great emphasis on the last

"Were you present at the time of the robbery?" pursued Jonathan.

"I was," answered Sheppard.

"And will swear to it?"

"I will."

"Liar!" ejaculated Thames.

"Enough!" exclaimed Wild, triumphantly.

"Close the court, Mr. Charcoal. They've heard quite enough for my
purpose," he muttered, as his orders were obeyed, and the domestics
excluded. "It's too late to carry 'em before a magistrate now, Sir
Rowland; so, with your permission, I'll give 'em a night's lodging in
Saint Giles's round-house. You, Jack Sheppard, have nothing to fear,
as you've become evidence against your accomplice. To-morrow, I shall
carry you before Justice Walters, who'll take your information; and
I've no doubt but Thames Darrell will be fully committed. Now, for
the cage, my pretty canary-bird. Before we start, I'll accommodate
you with a pair of ruffles." And he proceeded to handcuff his

"Hear me!" cried Thames, bursting into tears. "I am innocent. I could
not have committed this robbery. I have only just left Wych Street.
Send for Mr. Wood, and you'll find that I've spoken the truth."

"You'd better hold your peace, my lad," observed Jonathan, in a
menacing tone.

"Lady Trafford would not have thus condemned me!" cried Thames.

"Away with him!" exclaimed Sir Rowland, impatiently.

"Take the prisoners below, Nab," said Jonathan, addressing the
dwarfish Jew; "I'll join you in an instant."

The bearded miscreant seized Jack by the waist, and Thames by the
nape of the neck, and marched off, like the ogre in the fairy tale,
with a boy under each arm, while Charcam brought upt the rear.


They had scarcely been gone a moment, when a confused noise was heard
without, and Charcam re-entered the room, with a countenance of the
utmost bewilderment and alarm.

"What's the matter with the man?" demanded Wild.

"Her ladyship--" faltered the attendant.

"What of her?" cried the knight. "Is she returned!"

"Y--e--s, Sir Rowland," stammered Charcam.

"The devil!" ejaculated Jonathan. "Here's a cross-bite."

"But that's not all, your honour," continued Charcam; "Mrs. Norris
says she's dying."

"Dying!" echoed the knight.

"Dying, Sir Rowland. She was taken dreadfully ill on the road, with
spasms and short breath, and swoonings,--worse than ever she was
before. And Mrs. Norris was so frightened that she ordered the
postboys to drive back as fast as they could. She never expected to
get her ladyship home alive."

"My God!" cried Trenchard, stunned by the intelligence, "I have
killed her."

"No doubt," rejoined Wild, with a sneer; "but don't let all the world
know it."

"They're lifting her out of the carriage," interposed Charcam; "will
it please your honour to send for some advice and the chaplain?"

"Fly for both," returned Sir Rowland, in a tone of bitter anguish.

"Stay!" interposed Jonathan. "Where are the boys?"

"In the hall."

"Her ladyship will pass through it?"

"Of course; there's no other way."

"Then, bring them into this room, the first thing--quick! They must
not meet, Sir Rowland," he added, as Charcam hastened to obey his

"Heaven has decreed it otherwise," replied the knight, dejectedly. "I
yield to fate."

"Yield to nothing," returned Wild, trying to re-assure him; "above
all, when your designs prosper. Man's fate is in his own hands.
You are your nephew's executioner, or he is yours. Cast off this
weakness. The next hour makes, or mars you for ever. Go to your
sister, and do not quit her till all is over. Leave the rest to me."

Sir Rowland moved irresolutely towards the door, but recoiled
before a sad spectacle. This was his sister, evidently in the last
extremity. Borne in the arms of a couple of assistants, and preceded
by Mrs. Norris, wringing her hands and wepping, the unfortunate
lady was placed upon a couch. At the same time, Charcam, who seemed
perfectly distracted by the recent occurrences, dragged in Thames,
leaving Jack Sheppard outside in the custody of the dwarfish Jew.

"Hell's curses!" muttered Jonathan between his teeth; "that fool will
ruin all. Take him away," he added, striding up to Charcam.

"Let him remain," interposed Trenchard.

"As you please, Sir Rowland," returned Jonathan, with affected
indifference; "but I'm not going to hunt the deer for another to eat
the ven'son, depend on 't."

But seeing that no notice was taken of the retort, he drew a little
aside, and folded his arms, muttering, "This whim will soon be over.
She can't last long. I can pull the strings of this stiff-necked
puppet as I please."

Sir Rowland, meantime, throw himself on his knees beside his sister,
and, clasping her chilly fingers within his own, besought her
forgiveness in the most passionate terms. For a few minutes,
she appeared scarcely sensible of his presence. But, after some
restoratives had been administered by Mrs. Norris, she revived a

"Rowland," she said, in a faint voice, "I have not many minutes
to live. Where is Father Spencer? I must have absolution. I have
something that weighs heavily upon my mind."

Sir Rowland's brow darkened.

"I have sent for him," Aliva, he answered; "he will be here directly,
with your medical advisers."

"They are useless," she returned. "Medicine cannot save mo now."

"Dear sister----"

"I should die happy, if I could behold my child."

"Comfort yourself, then, Aliva. You _shall_ behold him."

"You are mocking me, Rowland. Jests are not for seasons like this."

"I am not, by Heaven," returned the knight, solemnly. "Leave us, Mrs.
Norris, and do not return till Father Spencer arrives."

"Your ladyship----" hesitated Norris.

"Go!" said Lady Trafford; "it is my last request."

And her faithful attendant, drowned in tears, withdrew, followed by
the two assistants.

Jonathan stepped behind a curtain.

"Rowland," said Lady Trafford, regarding him with a look of
indescribable anxiety, "you have assured me that I shall behold my
son. Where is he?"

"Within this room," replied the knight.

"Here!" shrieked Lady Trafford.

"Here," repeated her brother. "But calm yourself, dear sister, or the
interview will be too much for you."

"I _am_ calm--quite calm, Rowland," she answered, with lips whose
agitation belied her words. "Then, the story of his death was
false. I knew it. I was sure you could not have the heart to slay a
child--an innocent child. God forgive you!"

"May He, indeed, forgive me!" returned Trenchard, crossing himself
devoutly; "but my guilt is not the less heavy, because your child
escaped. This hand consigned him to destruction, but another
was stretched forth to save him. The infant was rescued from a
watery-grave by an honest mechanic, who has since brought him up as
his own son."

"Blessings upon him!" cried Lady Trafford, fervently. "But trifle
with mo no longer. Moments are ages now. Let me see my child, if he
is really here?"

"Behold him!" returned Trenchard, taking Thames (who had been a mute,
but deeply-interested, witness of the scene) by the hand, and leading
him towards her.

"Ah!" exclaimed Lady Trafford, exerting all her strength. "My sight
is failing me. Let me have more light, that I may behold him. Yes!"
she screamed, "these are his father's features! It is--it is my son!"

"Mother!" cried Thames; "are you, indeed, my mother?"

"I am, indeed--my own sweet boy!" she sobbed, pressing him tenderly
to her breast.

"Oh!--to see you thus!" cried Thames, in an agony of affliction.

"Don't weep, my love," replied the lady, straining him still more
closely to her. "I am happy--quite happy now."

During this touching interview, a change had come over Sir Rowland,
and he half repented of what he had done.

"You can no longer refuse to tell me the name of this youth's father,
Aliva," he said.

"I dare not, Rowland," she answered. "I cannot break my vow. I will
confide it to Father Spencer, who will acquaint you with it when I am
no more. Undraw the curtain, love," she added to Thames, "that I may
look at you."

"Ha!" exclaimed her son, starting back, as he obeyed her, and
disclosed Jonathan Wild.

"Be silent," said Jonathan, in a menacing whisper.

"What have you seen?" inquired Lady Trafford.

"My enemy," replied her son.

"Your enemy!" she returned imperfectly comprehending him. "Sir
Rowland is your uncle--he will be your guardian--he will protect you.
Will you not, brother?"

"Promise," said a deep voice in Trenchard's ear.

"He will kill me," cried Thames. "There is a man in this room who
seeks my life."

"Impossible!" rejoined his mother.

"Look at these fetters," returned Thames, holding up his manacled
wrists; "they were put on by my uncle's command."

"Ah!" shrieked Lady Trafford.

"Not a moment is to be lost," whispered Jonathan to Trenchard. "His
life--or yours?"

"No one shall harm you more, my dear," cried Lady Trafford. "Your
uncle _must_ protect you. It will be his interest to do so. He will
be dependent on you."

"Do what you please with him," muttered Trenchard to Wild.

"Take off these chains, Rowland," said Lady Trafford, "instantly, I
command you."

"_I_ will," replied Jonathan, advancing, and rudely seizing Thames.

"Mother!" cried the son, "help!"

"What is this?" shrieked Lady Trafford, raising herself on the couch,
and extending her hands towards him. "Oh, God! would you take him
from me?--would you murder him?"

"His father's name?--and he is free," rejoined Rowland, holding her

"Release him first--and I will disclose it!" cried Lady Trafford; "on
my soul, I will!"

"Speak then!" returned Rowland.

"Too late!" shrieked the lady, falling heavily backwards,--"too

Heedless of her cries, Jonathan passed a handkerchief tightly over
her son's mouth, and forced him out of the room.

When he returned, a moment or so afterwards, he found Sir Rowland
standing by the lifeless body of his sister. His countenance was
almost as white and rigid as that of the corpse by his side.

"This is your work," said the knight, sternly.

"Not entirely," replied Jonathan, calmly; "though I shouldn't be
ashamed of it if it were. After all, you failed in obtaining the
secret from her, Sir Rowland. Women are hypocrites to the last--true
only to themselves."

"Peace!" cried the knight, fiercely.

"No offence," returned Jonathan. "I was merely about to observe that
_I_ am in possession of her secret."


"Didn't I tell you that the fugitive Darrell gave me a glove! But
we'll speak of this hereafter. You can _purchase_ the information
from me whenever you're so disposed. I shan't drive a hard bargain.
To the point however. I came back to say, that I've placed your
nephew in a coach; and, if you'll be at my lock in the Old Bailey an
hour after midnight, you shall hear the last tidings of him."

"I will be there," answered Trenchard, gloomily.

"You'll not forget the thousand, Sir Rowland--short accounts, you

"Fear nothing. You shall have your reward."

"Thank'ee,--thank'ee. My house is the next door to the Cooper's Arms,
in the Old Bailey, opposite Newgate. You'll find me at supper."

So saying, he bowed and departed.

"That man should have been an Italian bravo," murmured the knight,
sinking into a chair: "he has neither fear nor compunction. Would I
could purchase his apathy as easily as I can procure his assistance."

Soon after this Mrs. Norris entered the room, followed by Father
Spencer. On approaching the couch, they found Sir Rowland senseless,
and extended over the dead body of his unfortunate sister.


Jonathan Wild, meanwhile, had quitted the house. He found a coach at
the door, with the blinds carefully drawn up, and ascertained from a
tall, ill-looking, though tawdrily-dressed fellow, who held his horse
by the bridle, and whom he addressed as Quilt Arnold, that the two
boys were safe inside, in the custody of Abraham Mendez, the dwarfish
Jew. As soon as he had delivered his instructions to Quilt, who,
with Abraham, constituted his body-guard, or janizaries, as he termed
them, Jonathan mounted his steed, and rode off at a gallop. Quilt was
not long in following his example. Springing upon the box, he told
the coachman to make the best of his way to Saint Giles's. Stimulated
by the promise of something handsome to drink, the man acquitted
himself to admiration in the management of his lazy cattle. Crack
went the whip, and away floundered the heavy vehicle through the
deep ruts of the ill-kept road, or rather lane, (for it was little
better,) which, then, led across Southampton Fields. Skirting the
noble gardens of Montague House, (now, we need scarcely say, the
British Museum,) the party speedily reached Great Russell Street,--a
quarter described by Strype, in his edition of old Stow's famous
_Survey_, "as being graced with the best buildings in all Bloomsbury,
and the best inhabited by the nobility and gentry, especially the
north side, as having gardens behind the houses, and the prospect of
the pleasant fields up to Hampstead and Highgate; insomuch that
this place, by physicians, is esteemed the most healthful of any in
London." Neither of the parties outside bestowed much attention upon
these stately and salubriously-situated mansions; indeed, as it was
now not far from ten o'clock, and quite dark, they could scarcely
discern them. But, in spite of his general insensibility to such
matters, Quilt could not help commenting upon the delicious perfume
wafted from the numerous flower-beds past which they were driving.
The coachman answered by a surly grunt, and, plying his whip with
redoubled zeal, shaped his course down Dyot Street; traversed that
part of Holborn, which is now called Broad Street, and where two
ancient alms-houses were, then, standing in the middle of that great
thoroughfare, exactly opposite the opening of Compston Street; and,
diving under a wide gateway on the left, soon reached a more open
space, surrounded by mean habitations, coach-houses and stables,
called Kendrick Yard, at the further end of which Saint Giles's
round-house was situated.

No sooner did the vehicle turn the corner of this yard, than Quilt
became aware, from the tumultuous sounds that reached his ears, as
well as from the flashing of various lanterns at the door of the
round-house, that some disturbance was going on; and, apprehensive
of a rescue, if he drew up in the midst of the mob, he thought
it prudent to come to a halt. Accordingly, he stopped the coach,
dismounted, and hastened towards the assemblage, which, he was glad
to find, consisted chiefly of a posse of watchmen and other guardians
of the night. Quilt, who was an ardent lover of mischief, could
not help laughing most heartily at the rueful appearance of these
personages. Not one of them but bore the marks of having been
engaged in a recent and severe conflict. Quarter-staves, bludgeons,
brown-bills, lanterns, swords, and sconces were alike shivered; and,
to judge from the sullied state of their habiliments, the claret must
have been tapped pretty freely. Never was heard such a bawling as
these unfortunate wights kept up. Oaths exploded like shells from
a battery in full fire, accompanied by threats of direst vengeance
against the individuals who had maltreated them. Here, might be seen
a poor fellow whose teeth were knocked down his throat, spluttering
out the most tremendous menaces, and gesticulating like a madman:
there, another, whose nose was partially slit, vented imprecations
and lamentations in the same breath. On the right, stood a bulky
figure, with a broken rattle hanging out of his great-coat pocket,
who held up a lantern to his battered countenance to prove to the
spectators that both his orbs of vision were darkened: on the left,
a meagre constable had divested himself of his shirt, to bind up with
greater convenience a gaping cut in the arm.

"So, the Mohocks have been at work, I perceive," remarked Quilt, as
he drew near the group.

"'Faith, an' you may say that," returned a watchman, who was wiping a
ruddy stream from his brow; "they've broken the paice, and our pates
into the bargain. But shurely I'd know that vice," he added, turning
his lantern towards the janizary. "Ah! Quilt Arnold, my man, is it
you? By the powers! I'm glad to see you. The sight o' your 'andsome
phiz allys does me good."

"I wish I could return the compliment, Terry. But your cracked skull
is by no means a pleasing spectacle. How came you by the hurt, eh?"

"How did I come by it?--that's a nate question. Why, honestly enouch.
It was lent me by a countryman o' mine; but I paid him back in his
own coin--ha! ha!"

"A countryman of yours, Terry?"

"Ay, and a noble one, too, Quilt--more's the pity! You've heard of
the Marquis of Slaughterford, belike?"

"Of course; who has not? He's the leader of the Mohocks, the general
of the Scourers, the prince of rakes, the friend of the surgeons and
glaziers, the terror of your tribe, and the idol of the girls!"

"That's him to a hair?" cried Terence, rapturously. "Och! he's a
broth of a boy!"

"Why, I thought he'd broken your head, Terry?"

"Phooh! that's nothing? A piece o' plaster'll set all to rights;
and Terry O'Flaherty's not the boy to care for the stroke of a
supple-jack. Besides, didn't I tell you that I giv' him as good as he
brought--and better! I jist touched him with my 'Evenin' Star,' as
I call this shillelah," said the watchman, flourishing an immense
bludgeon, the knob of which appeared to be loaded with lead, "and, by
Saint Patrick! down he cum'd like a bullock."

"Zounds!" exclaimed Quilt, "did you kill him?"

"Not quite," replied Terence, laughing; "but I brought him to his

"By depriving him of 'em, eh! But I'm sorry you hurt his lordship,
Terry. Young noblemen ought to be indulged in their frolics. If they
_do_, now and then, run away with a knocker, paint a sign, beat the
watch, or huff a magistrate, they _pay_ for their pastime, and
that's sufficient. What more could any reasonable man--especially a
watchman--desire? Besides, the Marquis, is a devilish fine fellow,
and a particular friend of mine. There's not his peer among the

"Och! if he's a friend o' yours, my dear joy, there's no more to be
said; and right sorry am I, I struck him. But, bloodan'-'ouns! man,
if ould Nick himself were to hit me a blow, I'd be afther givin' him

"Well, well--wait awhile," returned Quilt; "his lordship won't forget
you. He's as generous as he's frolicsome."

As he spoke, the door of the round-house was opened, and a stout man,
with a lantern in his hand, presented himself at the threshold.

"There's Sharples," cried Quilt.

"Whist!" exclaimed Terence; "he elevates his glim. By Jasus! he's
about to spake to us."

"Gem'men o' the votch!" cried Sharples, as loudly as a wheezy cough
would permit him, "my noble pris'ner--ough! ough;--the Markis o'

Further speech was cut short by a volley of execrations from the
angry guardians of the night.

"No Mohocks! No Scourers!" cried the mob.

"Hear! hear!" vociferated Quilt.

"His lordship desires me to say--ough! ough!"

Fresh groans and hisses.

"Von't you hear me?--ough! ough!" demanded Sharples, after a pause.

"By all means," rejoined Quilt.

"Raise your vice, and lave off coughin'," added Terence.

"The long and the short o' the matter's this then," returned Sharples
with dignity, "the Markis begs your acceptance o' ten guineas to
drink his health."

The hooting was instantaneously changed to cheers.

"And his lordship, furthermore, requests me to state," proceeded
Sharples, in a hoarse tone, "that he'll be responsible for the
doctors' bill of all such gem'men as have received broken pates, or
been _otherwise_ damaged in the fray--ough! ough!"

"Hurrah!" shouted the mob.

"We're all damaged--we've all got broken pates," cried a dozen

"Ay, good luck to him! so we have," rejoined Terence; "but we've no
objection to take out the dochter's bill in drink."

"None whatever," replied the mob.

"Your answer, gem'men?" demanded Sharples.

"Long life to the Markis, and we accept his honourable proposal,"
responded the mob.

"Long life to the Marquis!" reiterated Terence; "he's an honour to
ould Ireland!"

"Didn't I tell you how it would be?" remarked Quilt.

"Troth, and so did you," returned the watchman; "but I couldn't
belave it. In futur', I'll keep the 'Evenin' Star' for his lordship's

"You'd better," replied Quilt. "But bring your glim this way. I've a
couple of kinchens in yonder rattler, whom I wish to place under old
Sharples's care."

"Be handy, then," rejoined Terence, "or, I'll lose my share of the
smart money."

With the assistance of Terence, and a linkboy who volunteered his
services, Quilt soon removed the prisoners from the coach, and
leaving Sheppard to the custody of Abraham, proceeded to drag Thames
towards the round-house. Not a word had been exchanged between
the two boys on the road. Whenever Jack attempted to speak, he was
checked by an angry growl from Abraham; and Thames, though his
heart was full almost to bursting, felt no inclination to break the
silence. His thoughts, indeed, were too painful for utterance, and
so acute were his feelings, that, for some time, they quite overcame
him. But his grief was of short duration. The elastic spirits of
youth resumed their sway; and, before the coach stopped, his tears
had ceased to flow. As to Jack Sheppard, he appeared utterly reckless
and insensible, and did nothing but whistle and sing the whole way.

While he was dragged along in the manner just described, Thames
looked around to ascertain, if possible, where he was; for he did
not put entire faith in Jonathan's threat of sending him to
the round-house, and apprehensive of something even worse than
imprisonment. The aspect of the place, so far as he could discern
through the gloom, was strange to him; but chancing to raise his eyes
above the level of the surrounding habitations, he beheld, relieved
against the sombre sky, the tall steeple of Saint Giles's church, the
precursor of the present structure, which was not erected till some
fifteen years later. He recognised this object at once. Jonathan had
not deceived him.

"What's this here kinchen _in_ for?" asked Terence, as he and Quilt
strode along, with Thames between them.

"What for?" rejoined Quilt, evasively.

"Oh! nothin' partickler--mere curossity," replied Terence. "By the
powers!" he added, turning his lantern full upon the face of the
captive, "he's a nice genn-teel-lookin' kiddy, I must say. Pity he's
ta'en to bad ways so airly."

"You may spare me your compassion, friend," observed Thames; "I am
falsely detained."

"Of course," rejoined Quilt, maliciously; "every thief is so. If we
were to wait till a prig was rightfully nabbed, we might tarry till
doomsday. We never supposed you helped yourself to a picture set with
diamonds--not we!"

"Is the guv'ner consarned in this job?" asked Terence, in a whisper.

"He is," returned Quilt, significantly. "Zounds! what's that!" he
cried, as the noise of a scuffle was heard behind them. "The other
kid's given my partner the slip. Here, take this youngster, Terry; my
legs are lighter than old Nab's." And, committing Thames to the care
of the watchman, he darted after the fugitive.

"Do you wish to earn a rich reward, my good friend?" said Thames to
the watchman, as soon as they were left alone.

"Is it by lettin' you go, my darlin', that I'm to airn it?" inquired
Terence. "If so, it won't pay. You're Mister Wild's pris'ner, and
worse luck to it!"

"I don't ask you to liberate me," urged Thames; "but will you convey
a message for me?"

"Where to, honey?"

"To Mr. Wood's, the carpenter in Wych Street. He lives near the Black

"The Black Lion!" echoed Terence. "I know the house well; by the same
token that it's a flash crib. Och! many a mug o' bubb have I drained
wi' the landlord, Joe Hind. And so Misther Wudd lives near the Black
Lion, eh?"

"He does," replied Thames. "Tell him that I--his adopted son, Thames
Darrell--am detained here by Jonathan Wild."

"Thames Ditton--is that your name?"

"No," replied the boy, impatiently; "Darrell--Thames Darrell."

"I'll not forget it. It's a mighty quare 'un, though. I never yet
heard of a Christians as was named after the Shannon or the Liffy;
and the Thames is no better than a dhurty puddle, compared wi' them
two noble strames. But then you're an adopted son, and that makes all
the difference. People do call their unlawful children strange
names. Are you quite shure you haven't another alyas, Masther Thames

"Darrell, I tell you. Will you go? You'll be paid handsomely for your

"I don't mind the throuble," hesitated Terence, who was really a
good-hearted fellow at the bottom; "and I'd like to sarve you if I
could, for you look like a gentleman's son, and that goes a great
way wi' me. But if Misther Wild were to find out that I thwarted his

"I'd not be in your skin for a trifle," interrupted Quilt, who having
secured Sheppard, and delivered him to Abraham, now approached them
unawares; "and it shan't be my fault if he don't hear of it."

"'Ouns!" ejaculated Terence, in alarm, "would you turn snitch on your
old pal, Quilt?"

"Ay, if he plays a-cross," returned Quilt. "Come along, my sly
shaver. With all your cunning, we're more than a match for you."

"But not for me," growled Terence, in an under tone.

"Remember!" cried Quilt, as he forced the captive along.

"Remember the devil!" retorted Terence, who had recovered his natural
audacity. "Do you think I'm afeard of a beggarly thief-taker and his
myrmidons? Not I. Master Thames Ditton, I'll do your biddin'; and
you, Misther Quilt Arnold, may do your worst, I defy you."

"Dog!" exclaimed Quilt, turning fiercely upon him, "do you threaten?"

But the watchman eluded his grasp, and, mingling with the crowd,


Saint Giles's Round-house was an old detached fabric, standing in an
angle of Kendrick Yard. Originally built, as its name imports, in
a cylindrical form, like a modern Martello tower, it had undergone,
from time to time, so many alterations, that its symmetry was, in a
great measure, destroyed. Bulging out more in the middle than at the
two extremities, it resembled an enormous cask set on its end,--a
sort of Heidelberg tun on a large scale,--and this resemblance was
increased by the small circular aperture--it hardly deserved to be
called a door--pierced, like the bung-hole of a barrell, through
the side of the structure, at some distance from the ground, and
approached by a flight of wooden steps. The prison was two stories
high, with a flat roof surmounted by a gilt vane fashioned like a
key; and, possessing considerable internal accommodation, it had, in
its day, lodged some thousands of disorderly personages. The windows
were small, and strongly grated, looking, in front, on Kendrick Yard,
and, at the back, upon the spacious burial-ground of Saint Giles's
Church. Lights gleamed from the lower rooms, and, on a nearer
approach to the building, the sound of revelry might be heard from

Warned of the approach of the prisoners by the increased clamour,
Sharples, who was busied in distributing the Marquis's donation,
affected to throw the remainder of the money among the crowd, though,
in reality, he kept back a couple of guineas, which he slipped into
his sleeve, and running hastily up the steps, unlocked the door. He
was followed, more leisurely, by the prisoners; and, during their
ascent, Jack Sheppard made a second attempt to escape by ducking
suddenly down, and endeavouring to pass under his conductor's legs.
The dress of the dwarfish Jew was not, however, favourable to this
expedient. Jack was caught, as in a trap, by the pendant tails of
Abraham's long frock; and, instead of obtaining his release by his
ingenuity, he only got a sound thrashing.

Sharples received them at the threshold, and holding his lantern
towards the prisoners to acquaint himself with their features, nodded
to Quilt, between whom and himself some secret understanding seemed
to subsist, and then closed and barred the door.

"Vell," he growled, addressing Quilt, "you know who's here, I

"To be sure I do," replied Quilt; "my noble friend, the Marquis of
Slaughterford. What of that?"

"Vot 'o that!" echoed Sharples, peevishly: "Everythin'. Vot am I to
do vith these young imps, eh?"

"What you generally do with your prisoners, Mr. Sharples," replied
Quilt; "lock 'em up."

"That's easily said. But, suppose I've no place to lock 'em up in,
how then?"

Quilt looked a little perplexed. He passed his arm under that of the
constable, and drew him aside.

"Vell, vell," growled Sharples, after he had listened to the other's
remonstrances, "it shall be done. But it's confounded inconvenient.
One don't often get sich a vindfal as the Markis----"

"Or such a customer as Mr. Wild," edged in Quilt.

"Now, then, Saint Giles!" interposed Sheppard, "are we to be kept
here all night?"

"Eh day!" exclaimed Sharples: "wot new-fledged bantam's this?"

"One that wants to go to roost," replied Sheppard. "So, stir your
stumps, Saint Giles; and, if you mean to lock us up, use despatch."

"Comin'! comin'!" returned the constable, shuffling towards him.

"Coming!--so is midnight--so is Jonathan Wild," retorted Jack, with a
significant look at Thames.

"Have you never an out-o-the-vay corner, into vich you could shtow
these troublesome warmint?" observed Abraham. "The guv'ner'll be here
afore midnight."

Darrell's attention was drawn to the latter part of this speech by a
slight pressure on his foot. And, turning at the touch, he perceived
Sheppard's glance fixed meaningly upon him.

"Stow it, Nab!" exclaimed Quilt, angrily; "the kinchen's awake."

"Awake!--to be sure I am, my flash cove," replied Sheppard; "I'm down
as a hammer."

"I've just bethought me of a crib as'll serve their turn," interposed
Sharples, "at any rate, they'll be out o' the vay, and as safe as two
chicks in a coop."

"Lead the way to it then, Saint Giles," said Jack, in a tone of mock

The place, in which they stood, was a small entrance-chamber, cut
off, like the segment of a circle, from the main apartment, (of which
it is needless to say it originally constituted a portion,) by a
stout wooden partition. A door led to the inner room; and it was
evident from the peals of merriment, and other noises, that, ever and
anon, resounded from within, that this chamber was occupied by the
Marquis and his friends. Against the walls hung an assortment of
staves, brown-bills, (weapons then borne by the watch,) muskets,
handcuffs, great-coats, and lanterns. In one angle of the room stood
a disused fire-place, with a rusty grate and broken chimney-piece; in
the other there was a sort of box, contrived between the wall and the
boards, that looked like an apology for a cupboard. Towards this
box Sharples directed his steps, and, unlocking a hatch in the door,
disclosed a recess scarcely as large, and certainly not as clean, as
a dog-kennel.

"Vill this do?" demanded the constable, taking the candle from the
lantern, the better to display the narrow limits of the hole. "I call
this ere crib the Little-Ease, arter the runaway prentices' cells
in Guildhall. I _have_ squeezed three kids into it afore now. To be
sure," he added, lowering his tone, "they wos little 'uns, and one on
'em was smothered--ough! ough!--how this cough chokes me!"

Sheppard, meanwhile, whose hands were at liberty, managed to possess
himself, unperceived, of the spike of a halbert, which was lying,
apart from the pole, upon a bench near him. Having secured this
implement, he burst from his conductor, and, leaping into the hatch,
as clowns generally spring into the clock-faces, when in pursuit of
harlequin in the pantomime,--that is, back foremost,--broke into a
fit of loud and derisive laughter, kicking his heels merrily all the
time against the boards. His mirth, however, received an unpleasant
check; for Abraham, greatly incensed by his previous conduct, caught
him by the legs, and pushed him with such violence into the hole that
the point of the spike, which he had placed in his pocket, found
its way through his clothes to the flesh, inflicting a slight,
but painful wound. Jack, who had something of the Spartan in his
composition, endured his martyrdom without flinching; and carried
his stoical indifference so far, as even to make a mocking grimace
in Sharples's face, while that amiable functionary thrust Thames into
the recess beside him.

"How go you like your quarters, sauce-box?" asked Sharples, in a
jeering tone.

"Better than your company, Saint Giles," replied Sheppard; "so, shut
the door, and make yourself scarce."

"That boy'll never rest till he finds his vay to Bridewell," observed

"Or the street," returned Jack: "mind my words, the prison's not
built that can keep me."

"We'll see that, young hempseed," replied Sharples, shutting the
hatch furiously in his face, and locking it. "If you get out o' that
cage, I'll forgive you. Now, come along, gem'men, and I'll show you
some precious sport."

The two janizaries followed him as far as the entrance to the inner
room, when Abraham, raising his finger to his lips, and glancing
significantly in the direction of the boys, to explain his intention
to his companions, closed the door after them, and stole softly back
again, planting himself near the recess.

For a few minutes all was silent. At length Jack Sheppard
observed:--"The coast's clear. They're gone into the next room."

Darrell returned no answer.

"Don't be angry with me, Thames," continued Sheppard, in a tone
calculated, as he thought, to appease his companion's indignation. "I
did all for the best, as I'll explain."

"I won't reproach you, Jack," said the other, sternly. "I've done
with you."

"Not quite, I hope," rejoined Sheppard. "At all events, I've not
done with you. If you owe your confinement to me, you shall owe your
liberation to me, also."

"I'd rather lie here for ever, than be indebted to _you_ for my
freedom," returned Thames.

"I've done nothing to offend you," persisted Jack. "Nothing!" echoed
the other, scornfully. "You've perjured yourself."

"That's my own concern," rejoined Sheppard. "An oath weighs little
with me, compared with your safety."

"No more of this," interrupted Thames, "you make the matter worse by
these excuses."

"Quarrel with me as much as you please, Thames, but hear me,"
returned Sheppard. "I took the course I pursued to serve you."

"Tush!" cried Thames; "you accused me to skreen yourself."

"On my soul, Thames, you wrong me!" replied Jack, passionately. "I'd
lay down my life for yours."

"And you expect me to believe you after what has passed?"

"I do; and, more than that, I expect you to thank me."

"For procuring my imprisonment?"

"For saving your life."


"Listen to me, Thames. You're in a more serious scrape than you
imagine. I overheard Jonathan Wild's instructions to Quilt Arnold,
and though he spoke in slang, and in an under tone, my quick ears,
and acquaintance with the thieves' lingo, enabled me to make out
every word he uttered. Jonathan is in league with Sir Rowland to make
away with you. You are brought here that their designs may be carried
into effect with greater security. Before morning, unless, we
can effect an escape, you'll be kidnapped, or murdered, and your
disappearance attributed to the negligence of the constable."

"Are you sure of this?" asked Thames, who, though as brave a lad as
need be, could not repress a shudder at the intelligence.

"Certain. The moment I entered the room, and found you a prisoner in
the hands of Jonathan Wild, I guessed how matters stood, and acted
accordingly. Things haven't gone quite as smoothly as I anticipated;
but they might have been worse. I _can_ save you, and _will_. But,
say we're friends."

"You're not deceiving me!" said Thames, doubtfully.

"I am not, by Heaven!" replied Sheppard, firmly.

"Don't swear, Jack, or I shall distrust you. I can't give you my
hand; but you may take it."

"Thank you! thank you!" faltered Jack, in a voice full of emotion.
"I'll soon free you from these bracelets."

"You needn't trouble yourself," replied Thames. "Mr. Wood will be
here presently."

"Mr. Wood!" exclaimed Jack, in surprise. "How have you managed to
communicate with him?"

Abraham, who had listened attentively to the foregoing
conversation,--not a word of which escaped him,--now drew in his
breath, and brought his ear closer to the boards.

"By means of the watchman who had the charge of me," replied Thames.

"Curse him!" muttered Abraham.

"Hist!" exclaimed Jack. "I thought I heard a noise. Speak lower.
Somebody may be on the watch--perhaps, that old ginger-hackled Jew."

"I don't care if he is," rejoined Thames, boldly. "He'll learn that
his plans will be defeated."

"He may learn how to defeat yours," replied Jack.

"So he may," rejoined Abraham, aloud, "so he may."

"Death and fiends!" exclaimed Jack; "the old thief _is_ there. I knew
it. You've betrayed yourself, Thames."

"Vot o' that?" chuckled Abraham. "_You_ can shave him, you know."

"I _can_," rejoined Jack; "and you, too, old Aaron, if I'd a razor."

"How soon do you expect Mishter Vudd?" inquired the janizary,

"What's that to you?" retorted Jack, surlily.

"Because I shouldn't like to be out o' the vay ven he arrives,"
returned Abraham, in a jeering tone; "it vouldn't be vell bred."

"Vouldn't it!" replied Jack, mimicking his snuffling voice; "then
shtay vere you are, and be cursed to you."

"It's all up," muttered Thames. "Mr. Wood will be intercepted. I've
destroyed my only chance."

"Not your _only_ chance, Thames," returned Jack, in the same
undertone; "but your best. Never mind. We'll turn the tables upon 'em
yet. Do you think we could manage that old clothesman between us, if
we got out of this box?"

"I'd manage him myself, if my arms were free," replied Thames,

"Shpeak up, vill you?" cried Abraham, rapping his knuckles against
the hatch. "I likes to hear vot you says. You _can_ have no shecrets
from me."

"Vy don't you talk to your partner, or Saint Giles, if you vant
conversation, Aaron?" asked Jack, slyly.

"Because they're in the next room, and the door's shut; that's vy, my
jack-a-dandy!" replied Abraham, unsuspiciously.

"Oh! they are--are they?" muttered Jack, triumphantly; "that'll do.
Now for it, Thames! Make as great a row as you can to divert his

With this, he drew the spike from his pocket; and, drowning the sound
of the operation by whistling, singing, shuffling, and other noises,
contrived, in a few minutes, to liberate his companion from the

"Now, Jack," cried Thames, warmly grasping Sheppard's hand, "you are
my friend again. I freely forgive you."

Sheppard cordially returned the pressure; and, cautioning Thames,
"not to let the ruffles drop, or they might tell a tale," began to
warble the following fragment of a robber melody:--

    "Oh! give me a chisel, a knife, or a file,
    And the dubsmen shall find that I'll do it in style!

"Vot the devil are you about, noisy?" inquired Abraham.

"Practising singing, Aaron," replied Jack. "Vot are you?"

"Practising patience," growled Abraham.

"Not before it's needed," returned Jack, aloud; adding in a whisper,
"get upon my shoulders, Thames. Now you're up, take this spike. Feel
for the lock, and prize it open,--you don't need to be told
_how_. When it's done, I'll push you through. Take care of the old
clothesman, and leave the rest to me.

    When the turnkey, next morning, stepp'd into his room,
    The sight of the hole in the wall struck him dumb;
    The sheriff's black bracelets lay strewn on the ground,
    But the lad that had worn 'em could nowhere be found.

As Jack concluded his ditty, the door flew open with a crash, and
Thames sprang through the aperture.

This manoeuvre was so suddenly executed that it took Abraham
completely by surprise. He was standing at the moment close to the
hatch, with his ear at the keyhole, and received a severe blow in
the face. He staggered back a few paces; and, before he could recover
himself, Thames tripped up his heels, and, placing the point of the
spike at his throat, threatened to stab him if he attempted to stir,
or cry out. Nor had Jack been idle all this time. Clearing the recess
the instant after his companion, he flew to the door of the inner
room, and, locking it, took out the key. The policy of this step was
immediately apparent. Alarmed by the noise of the scuffle, Quilt and
Sharples rushed to the assistance of their comrade. But they were
too late. The entrance was barred against them; and they had the
additional mortification of hearing Sheppard's loud laughter at their

"I told you the prison wasn't built that could hold me," cried Jack.

"You're not out yet, you young hound," rejoined Quilt, striving
ineffectually to burst open the door.

"But I soon shall be," returned Jack; "take these," he added,
flinging the handcuffs against the wooden partition, "and wear 'em

"Halloo, Nab!" vociferated Quilt. "What the devil are you about! Will
you allow yourself to be beaten by a couple of kids?"

"Not if I can help it," returned Abraham, making a desperate effort
to regain his feet. "By my shalvation, boy," he added, fiercely, "if
you don't take your hande off my peard, I'll sthrangle you."

"Help me, Jack!" shouted Thames, "or I shan't be able to keep the
villain down."

"Stick the spike into him, then," returned Sheppard, coolly, "while I
unbar the outlet."

But Thames had no intention of following his friend's advice.
Contenting himself with brandishing the weapon in the Jew's eyes, he
exerted all his force to prevent him from rising.

While this took place, while Quilt thundered at the inner door, and
Jack drew back the bolts of the outer, a deep, manly voice was heard
chanting--as if in contempt of the general uproar--the following

    With pipe and punch upon the board,
      And smiling nymphs around us;
    No tavern could more mirth afford
      Than old Saint Giles's round-house!
          _The round-house! the round-house!
          The jolly--jolly round-house!_

"The jolly, jolly round-house!" chorussed Sheppard, as the last bar
yielded to his efforts. "Hurrah! come along, Thames; we're free."

"Not sho fasht--not sho fasht!" cried Abraham, struggling with
Thames, and detaining him; "if you go, you musht take me along vid

"Save yourself, Jack!" shouted Thames, sinking beneath the superior
weight and strength of his opponent; "leave me to my fate!"

"Never," replied Jack, hurrying towards him. And, snatching the spike
from Thames, he struck the janizary a severe blow on the head. "I'll
make sure work this time," he added, about to repeat the blow.

"Hold!" interposed Thames, "he can do no more mischief. Let us be

"As you please," returned Jack, leaping up; "but I feel devilishly
inclined to finish him. However, it would only be robbing the hangman
of his dues."

With this, he was preparing to follow his friend, when their egress
was prevented by the sudden appearance of Jonathan Wild and Blueskin.


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