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Title: Jack Sheppard: A Romance, Vol. 3 (of 3)
Author: Ainsworth, William Harrison
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Jack Sheppard: A Romance, Vol. 3 (of 3)" ***

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Volume III. (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._

[Illustration: 009]

[Illustration: titlepage]


The Portrait ... to face the Title.

Jonathan Wild throwing Sir Rowland Trenchard down the Well

Jack Sheppard tricking Shotbolt the Gaoler

The Escape, No. I.

The Escape, No. II

The Escape, No. III

Jonathan Wild seizing Jack Sheppard at his Mother’s Grave

Jack Sheppard’s Irons knocked off in Newgate

The Procession from Newgate to Tyburn

The Last Scene


About an hour after the occurrences at Newgate, the door of the small
back-parlour already described at Dollis Hill was opened by Winifred,
who, gliding noiselessly across the room, approached a couch, on
which was extended a sleeping female, and, gazing anxiously at her
pale careworn countenance, murmured,--“Heaven be praised! she still
slumbers--slumbers peacefully. The opiate has done its duty. Poor
thing! how beautiful she looks! but how like death!”

Deathlike, indeed, was the repose of the sleeper,--deathlike and
deep. Its very calmness was frightful. Her lips were apart, but no
breath seemed to issue from them; and, but for a slight--very slight
palpitation of the bosom, the vital principle might be supposed to
be extinct. This lifeless appearance was heightened by the extreme
sharpness of her features--especially the nose and chin,--and by the
emaciation of her limbs, which was painfully distinct through her
drapery. Her attenuated arms were crossed upon her breast; and
her black brows and eyelashes contrasted fearfully with the livid
whiteness of her skin. A few short, dark locks, escaping from beneath
her head-dress, showed that her hair had been removed, and had only
been recently allowed to grow again.

“Poor Mrs. Sheppard!” sighed Winifred, as she contemplated the
beautiful wreck before her,--“Poor Mrs. Sheppard! when I see her
thus, and think of all she has endured, of all she may yet have to
endure, I could almost pray for her release from trouble. I dare not
reflect upon the effect that her son’s fate,--if the efforts to save
him are ineffectual,--may have upon her enfeebled frame, and still
worse upon her mind. What a mercy that the blow aimed at her by
the ruffian, Wild, though it brought her to the brink of the grave,
should have restored her to reason! Ah! she stirs.”

As she said this, she drew a little aside, while Mrs. Sheppard heaved
a deep sigh, and opened her eyes, which now looked larger, blacker,
and more melancholy than ever.

“Where am I?” she cried, passing her hand across her brow.

“With your friends, dear Mrs. Sheppard,” replied Winifred, advancing.

“Ah! you are there, my dear young lady,” said the widow, smiling
faintly; “when I first waken, I’m always in dread of finding myself
again in that horrible asylum.”

“You need never be afraid of that,” returned Winifred,
affectionately; “my father will take care you never leave him more.”

“Oh! how much I owe him!” said the widow, with fervour, “for bringing
me here, and removing me from those dreadful sights and sounds, that
would have driven me distracted, even if I had been in my right mind.
And how much I owe _you_, too, dearest Winifred, for your kindness
and attention. Without you I should never have recovered either
health or reason. I can never be grateful enough. But, though _I_
cannot reward you, Heaven will.”

“Don’t say anything about it, dear Mrs. Sheppard,” rejoined Winifred,
controlling her emotion, and speaking as cheerfully as she could; “I
would do anything in the world for you, and so would my father, and
so would Thames; but he _ought_, for he’s your nephew, you know. We
all love you dearly.”

“Bless you! bless you!” cried Mrs. Sheppard, averting her face to
hide her tears.

“I mustn’t tell you what Thames means to do for you if ever he gains
his rights,” continued Winifred; “but I _may_ tell you what my father
means to do.”

“He has done too much already,” answered the widow. “I shall need
little more.”

“But, _do_ hear what it is,” rejoined Winifred; “you know I’m shortly
to be united to your nephew,--that is,” she added, blushing, “when he
can be married by his right name, for my father won’t consent to it

“Your father will never oppose your happiness, my dear, I’m sure,”
 said Mrs. Sheppard; “but, what has this to do with me?”

“You shall hear,” replied Winifred; “when this marriage takes place,
you and I shall be closely allied, but my father wishes for a still
closer alliance.”

“I don’t understand you,” returned Mrs. Sheppard.

“To be plain, then,” said Winifred, “he has asked me whether I have
any objection to you as a mother.”

“And what--what was your answer?” demanded the widow, eagerly.

“Can’t you guess?” returned Winifred, throwing her arms about her
neck. “That he couldn’t choose any one so agreeable to me.”

“Winifred,” said Mrs. Sheppard, after a brief pause, during which
she appeared overcome by her feelings,--she said, gently disengaging
herself from the young girl’s embrace, and speaking in a firm voice,
“you must dissuade your father from this step.”

“How?” exclaimed the other. “Can you not love him?”

“Love him!” echoed the widow. “The feeling is dead within my breast.
My only love is for my poor lost son. I can esteem him, regard him;
but, love him as he _ought_ to be loved--that I cannot do.”

“Your esteem is all he will require,” urged Winifred.

“He has it, and will ever have it,” replied Mrs. Sheppard,
passionately,--“he has my boundless gratitude, and devotion. But I am
not worthy to be any man’s wife--far less _his_ wife. Winifred, you
are deceived in me. You know not what a wretched guilty thing I am.
You know not in what dark places my life has been cast; with what
crimes it has been stained. But the offences I _have_ committed are
venial in comparison with what I should commit were I to wed your
father. No--no, it must never be.”

“You paint yourself worse than you are, dear Mrs. Sheppard,” rejoined
Winifred kindly. “Your faults were the faults of circumstances.”

“Palliate them as you may,” replied the widow, gravely, “they _were_
faults; and as such, cannot be repaired by a greater wrong. If you
love me, do not allude to this subject again.”

“I’m sorry I mentioned it at all, since it distresses you,” returned
Winifred; “but, as I knew my father intended to propose to you, if
poor Jack should be respited--”

“_If_ he should be respited?” repeated Mrs. Sheppard, with startling
eagerness. “Does your father doubt it? Speak! tell me!”

Winifred made no answer.

“Your hesitation convinces me he does,” replied the widow. “Is Thames
returned from London?”

“Not yet,” replied the other; “but I expect him every minute. My
father’s chief fear, I must tell you, is from the baneful influence
of Jonathan Wild.”

“That fiend is ever in my path,” exclaimed Mrs. Sheppard, with a
look, the wildness of which greatly alarmed her companion. “I cannot
scare him thence.”

“Hark!” cried Winifred, “Thames is arrived. I hear the sound of his
horse’s feet in the yard. Now you will learn the result.”

“Heaven support me!” cried Mrs. Sheppard, faintly.

“Breathe at this phial,” said Winifred.

Shortly afterwards,--it seemed an age to the anxious mother,--Mr.
Wood entered the room, followed by Thames. The latter looked very
pale, either from the effect of his wound, which was not yet entirely
healed, or from suppressed emotion,--partly, perhaps, from both
causes,--and wore his left arm in a sling.

“Well!” cried Mrs. Sheppard, raising herself, and looking at him as
if her life depended upon the answer. “He is respited?”

“Alas! no,” replied Thames, sadly. “The warrant for his execution is
arrived. There is no further hope.”

“My poor son!” groaned the widow, sinking backwards.

“Heaven have mercy on his soul!” ejaculated Wood.

“Poor Jack!” cried Winifred, burying her face in her lover’s bosom.

Not a word was uttered for some time, nor any sound heard except the
stilled sobs of the unfortunate mother.

At length, she suddenly started to her feet; and before Winifred
could prevent her, staggered up to Thames.

“When is he to suffer?” she demanded, fixing her large black eyes,
which burnt with an insane gleam, upon him.

“On Friday,” he replied.

“Friday!” echoed Mrs. Sheppard; “and to-day is Monday. He has three
days to live. Only three days. Three short days. Horrible!”

“Poor soul! her senses are going again,” said Mr. Wood, terrified by
the wildness of her looks. “I was afraid it would be so.”

“Only three days,” reiterated the widow, “three short short
days,--and then all is over. Jonathan’s wicked threat is fulfilled
at last. The gallows is in view--I see it with all its hideous
apparatus!--ough!” and shuddering violently, she placed her hands
before her, as if to exclude some frightful vision from her sight.

“Do not despair, my sweet soul,” said Wood, in a soothing tone.

“Do not despair!” echoed Mrs. Sheppard, with a laugh that cut the
ears of those who listened to it like a razor,--“Do not despair! And
who or what shall give me comfort when my son is gone? I have wept
till my eyes are dry,--suffered till my heart is broken,--prayed
till the voice of prayer is dumb,--and all of no avail. He will be
hanged--hanged--hanged. Ha! ha! What have I left but despair and
madness? Promise me one thing, Mr. Wood,” she continued, with a
sudden change of tone, and convulsively clutching the carpenter’s
arm, “promise it me.”

“Anything, my dear,” replied Wood, “What is it?”

“Bury us together in one grave in Willesden churchyard. There is a
small yew-tree west of the church. Beneath that tree let us lie. In
one grave, mind. Do you promise to do this?”

“Solemnly,” rejoined the carpenter.

“Enough,” said the widow, gratefully. “I must see him to-night.”

“Impossible, dear Mrs. Sheppard,” said Thames. “To-morrow I will take
you to him.”

“To-morrow will be too late,” replied the widow, in a hollow voice,
“I feel it will. I must go to-night, or I shall never behold him
again. I must bless him before I die. I have strength enough to drag
myself there, and I do not want to return.”

“Be pacified, sweet soul,” said Wood, looking meaningly at Thames;
“you _shall_ go, and I will accompany you.”

“A mother’s blessing on you,” replied Mrs. Sheppard, fervently.
“And now,” she added, with somewhat more composure, “leave me,
dear friends, I entreat, for a few minutes to collect my scattered
thoughts--to prepare myself for what I have to go through--to pray
for my son.”

“Shall we do so?” whispered Winifred to her father.

“By all means,” returned Wood; “don’t delay an instant.” And,
followed by the young couple, who gazed wistfully at the poor
sufferer, he hastily quitted the room, and locked the door after him.

Mrs. Sheppard was no sooner alone than she fell upon her knees by the
side of the couch, and poured forth her heart in prayer. So absorbed
was she by her passionate supplications that she was insensible
to anything passing around her, until she felt a touch upon her
shoulder, and heard a well-known voice breathe in her ear--“Mother!”

She started at the sound as if an apparition had called her,
screamed, and fell into her son’s outstretched arms. “Mother! dear
mother!” cried Jack, folding her to his breast.

“My son! my dear, dear son!” returned Mrs. Sheppard, returning his
embrace with all a parent’s tenderness.

Jack was completely overcome. His chest heaved violently, and big
tears coursed rapidly down his cheeks.

“I don’t deserve it,” he said, at length; “but I would have risked a
thousand deaths to enjoy this moment’s happiness.”

“And you must have risked much to obtain it, my love. I have scarcely
recovered from the shock of hearing of your condemnation, when I
behold you free!”

“Not two hours since,” rejoined Jack, “I was chained down in the
Condemned Hold in Newgate. With a small saw, conveyed to me a few
days since by Thames Darrell, which I contrived to conceal upon my
person, I removed a spike in the hatch, and, with the aid of some
other friends, worked my way out. Having heard from Thames that you
were better, and that your sole anxiety was about me, I came to give
you the _first_ intelligence of my escape.”

“Bless you for it. But you will stay here?”

“I dare not. I must provide for my safety.”

“Mr. Wood will protect you,” urged Mrs. Sheppard.

“He has not the power--perhaps not the will to do so. And if he
would, _I_ would not subject him to the annoyance. The moment my
escape is known, a large reward will be placed on my head. My
dress, my person will be minutely described. Jonathan Wild and his
bloodhounds, with a hundred others, incited by the reward, will be
upon my track. Nay, for aught I know, some of them may even now have
got scent of me.”

“You terrify me,” cried Mrs. Sheppard. “Oh! if this is the case, do
not stay an instant. Fly! fly!”

“As soon as I can do so with safety, I will return, or send to you,”
 said Jack.

“Do not endanger yourself on my account,” rejoined his mother. “I
am quite easy now; receive my blessing, my dear son; and if we never
meet again, rest assured my last prayer shall be for you.”

“Do not talk thus, dear mother,” returned Jack, gazing anxiously at
her pale countenance, “or I shall not be able to quit you. You must
live for me.”

“I will try to do so,” replied the widow, forcing a smile. “One last
embrace. I need not counsel you to avoid those fatal courses which
have placed you in such fearful jeopardy.”

“You need not,” replied Jack, in a tone of the deepest compunction.
“And, oh! forgive me, though I can never forgive myself, for the
misery I have caused you.”

“Forgive you!” echoed his mother, with a look radiant with delight.
“I have nothing to forgive. Ah!” she screamed, with a sudden change
of manner; and pointing to the window, which Jack had left open, and
at which a dark figure was standing, “there is Jonathan Wild!”

“Betrayed!” exclaimed Jack, glancing in the same direction. “The
door!--the door!--death!” he added, as he tried the handle, “it is
locked--and I am unarmed. Madman that I am to be so!”

“Help!” shrieked Mrs. Sheppard.

“Be silent,” said Jonathan, striding deliberately into the room;
“these cries will avail you nothing. Whoever answers them must assist
me to capture your son. Be silent, I say, if you value his safety.”

Awed by Jonathan’s manner, Mrs. Sheppard repressed the scream that
rose to her lips, and both mother and son gazed with apprehension at
the heavy figure of the thief-taker, which, viewed in the twilight,
seemed dilated to twice its natural size, and appeared almost to
block up the window. In addition to his customary arms, Jonathan
carried a bludgeon with a large heavy knob, suspended from his wrist
by a loop; a favourite weapon, which he always took with him on
dangerous expeditions, and which, if any information had been
requisite, would have told Sheppard that the present was one of them.

“Well, Jack,” he said, after a pause, “are you disposed to go back
quietly with me?”

“You’ll ascertain that when you attempt to touch me,” rejoined
Sheppard, resolutely.

“My janizaries are within call,” returned Wild. “I’m armed; you are

“It matters not. You shall not take me alive.”

“Spare him! spare him!” cried Mrs. Sheppard, falling on her knees.

“Get up, mother,” cried Jack; “do not kneel to him. I wouldn’t accept
my life from him. I’ve foiled him hitherto, and will foil him yet.
And, come what will, I’ll balk him of the satisfaction of hanging

Jonathan raised his bludgeon, but controlled himself by a powerful

“Fool!” he cried, “do you think I wouldn’t have secured you before
this if I hadn’t some motive for my forbearance?”

“And that motive is fear,” replied Jack contemptuously.

“Fear!” echoed Wild, in a terrible tone,--“fear! Repeat that word
again, and nothing shall save you.”

“Don’t anger him, my dear son,” implored the poor widow, with a look
of anguish at Jack. “Perhaps he means well.”

“Mad as you are, you’re the more sensible of the two, I must say,”
 rejoined Jonathan.

“Spare him!” cried Mrs. Sheppard, who fancied she had made some
impression on the obdurate breast of the thief-taker,--“spare him!
and I will forgive you, will thank you, bless you. Spare him! spare

“On one condition I _will_ spare him,” returned Wild; “on one
condition only.”

“What is it?” asked the poor woman.

“Either he or you must return with me,” answered Jonathan.

“Take _me_, then,” replied the widow. And she would have rushed to
him, if she had not been forcibly withheld by her son.

“Do not go near him, mother,” cried Jack; “do not believe him. There
is some deep treachery hidden beneath his words.”

“I _will_ go,” said Mrs. Sheppard, struggling to get free.

“Attend to me, Mrs. Sheppard,” said Jonathan, looking calmly on at
this distressing scene, “Attend to me, and do not heed him. I swear
to you, solemnly swear to you, I will save your son’s life, nay more,
will befriend him, will place him out of the reach of his enemies, if
you consent to become my wife.”

“Execrable villain!” exclaimed Jack.

“You hear that,” cried Mrs. Sheppard; “he swears to save you.”

“Well,” replied her son; “and you spurn the proposal.”

“No; she accepts it,” rejoined Jonathan, triumphantly. “Come along,
Mrs. Sheppard. I’ve a carriage within call shall convey you swiftly
to town. Come! come!”

“Hear me, mother,” cried Jack, “and I will explain to you _why_ the
villain makes this strange and revolting proposal. He well knows
that but two lives--those of Thames Darrell and Sir Rowland
Trenchard,--stand between you and the vast possessions of the family.
Those lives removed,--and Sir Rowland is completely in his power, the
estates would be yours--HIS! if he were your husband. Now do you see
his motive?”

“I see nothing but your danger,” replied his mother, tenderly.

“Granted it were as you say, Jack,” said Wild;--“and I sha’n’t
take the trouble to contradict you--the estates would be _yours_

“Liar!” cried Jack. “Do you affect ignorance that I am a condemned
felon, and can inherit nothing? But do not imagine that under any
circumstances I would accept your terms. My mother shall never
degrade herself by a connection with you.”

“Degrade herself,” rejoined Jonathan, brutally. “Do you think I would
take a harlot to my bed, if it didn’t suit my purposes to do so?”

“He says right,” replied Mrs. Sheppard, distractedly. “I am only fit
for such as him. Take me! take me!”

“Before an hour you shall be mine,” said Jonathan advancing towards

“Back!” cried Jack fiercely: “lay a finger on her, and I will fell
you to the ground. Mother! do you know what you do? Would you sell
yourself to this fiend?”

“I would sell myself, body and soul, to save you,” rejoined his
mother, bursting from his grasp.

Jonathan caught her in his arms.

“Come away!” he cried, with the roar of a demon.

This laugh and his looks alarmed her.

“It _is_ the fiend!” she exclaimed, recoiling. “Save me!--save me!”

“Damnation!” vociferated Jonathan, savagely. “We’ve no time for
any Bedlam scenes now. Come along, you mad jade. I’ll teach you
submission in time.”

With this, he endeavoured to force her off; but, before he could
accomplish his purpose, he was arrested, and his throat seized by
Jack. In the struggle, Mrs. Sheppard broke from him, and filled the
room with her shrieks.

“I’ll now pay the debt I owe you,” cried Jack, tightening his grip
till the thief-taker blackened in the face.

“Dog!” cried Wild, freeing himself by a powerful effort, and dealing
Jack a violent blow with the heavy bludgeon, which knocked him
backwards, “you are not yet a match for Jonathan Wild. Neither you
nor your mother shall escape me. But I must summon my janizaries.” So
saying, he raised a whistle to his lips, and blew a loud call; and,
as this was unanswered, another still louder. “Confusion!” he cried;
“something has happened. But I won’t be cheated of my prize.”

“Help! help!” shrieked Mrs. Sheppard, fleeing from him to the
farthest corner of the room.

But it was of no avail. Jonathan again seized her, when the door was
thrown open, and Thames Darrell, followed by Mr. Wood and several
serving-men, all well armed, rushed into the room. A glance sufficed
to show the young man how matters stood. He flew to the window, and
would have passed his sword through the thief-taker’s body, if the
latter had not quickly interposed the person of Mrs. Sheppard, so
that if the blow had been stricken she must have received it.

“Quilt!--Mendez!--Where are you?” vociferated Wild, sounding his
whistle for the third time.

“You call in vain,” rejoined Thames. “Your assistants are in my
power. Yield, villain!”

“Never!” replied Jonathan.

“Put down your burthen, monster!” shouted Wood, pointing an immense
blunderbuss at him.

“Take her,” cried Jonathan; and, flinging the now inanimate body of
the poor widow, who had fainted in the struggle, into the arms of
Thames, he leapt through the window, and by the time the latter could
consign her to Wood, and dart after him, he had disappeared.

“Pursue him,” cried Thames to the attendants, “and see that he does
not escape.”

The order was promptly obeyed.

“Jack,” continued Thames, addressing Sheppard, who had only just
recovered from the blow, and regained his feet, “I don’t ask _how_
you came here, nor do I blame your rashness in doing so. Fortunately,
ever since Wild’s late murderous attack, the household has all been
well armed. A post-chaise seen in the road first alarmed us. On
searching the grounds, we found two suspicious-looking fellows in
the garden, and had scarcely secured them, when your mother’s cries
summoned us hither, just in time to preserve her.”

“Your arrival was most providential,” said Jack.

“You must not remain here another instant,” replied Thames. “My horse
is at the door, saddled, with pistols in the holsters,--mount him and

“Thames, I have much to say,” said Jack, “much that concerns your

“Not now,” returned Thames, impatiently. “I cannot--will not suffer
you to remain here.”

“I will go, if you will consent to meet me at midnight near the old
house in Wych Street,” replied Jack. “By that time, I shall have
fully considered a plan which occurs to me for defeating the schemes
of your enemies.”

“Before that time you will be captured, if you expose yourself thus,”
 rejoined Thames. “However, I will be there. Farewell.”

“Till midnight,” replied Jack.

And imprinting a kiss upon his mother’s cold lips, he left the room.
He found the horse where Thames told him he would find him, mounted,
and rode off across the fields in the direction of town.


Jonathan Wild’s first object, as soon as he had made good his
retreat, was to ascertain what had become of his janizaries, and,
if possible, to release them. With this view, he hurried to the
spot where he had left the post-chaise, and found it drawn up at the
road-side, the postilion dismounted, and in charge of a couple of
farming-men. Advancing towards them, sword in hand, Jonathan so
terrified the hinds by his fierce looks and determined manner, that,
after a slight show of resistance, they took to their heels, leaving
him master of the field. He then threw open the door of the vehicle,
in which he found his janizaries with their arms pinioned, and,
leaping into it, ordered the man to drive off. The postilion obeyed,
and dashed off as hard as his horses could gallop along the beautiful
road leading to Neasdon and Willesden, just as the serving-men
made their appearance. Arrived at the latter place, Jonathan, who,
meanwhile, had contrived to liberate his attendants from their bonds,
drew up at the Six Bells, and hiring a couple of horses, despatched
his attendants in search of Jack Sheppard, while he proceeded to
town. Dismissing the post-chaise at the Old Bailey, he walked to
Newgate to ascertain what had occurred since the escape. It was just
upon the stroke of nine as he entered the Lodge, and Mr. Austin was
dismissing a host of inquirers who had been attracted thither by the
news,--for it had already been extensively noised abroad. Some of
these persons were examining the spot where the spike had been cut
off; others the spike itself, now considered a remarkable object;
and all were marvelling how Jack could have possibly squeezed himself
through such a narrow aperture, until it was explained to them by
Mr. Austin that the renowned housebreaker was of slender bodily
conformation, and therefore able to achieve a feat, which he, Mr.
Austin, or any man of similar dimensions, would have found wholly
impossible. Affixed to the wall, in a conspicuous situation, was a
large placard, which, after minutely describing Sheppard’s appearance
and attire, concluded thus:--“_Whoever will discover or apprehend
the above_ JOHN SHEPPARD, _so that he be brought to justice, shall
receive_ ONE HUNDRED GUINEAS REWARD, _to be paid by_ MR. PITT, _the
keeper of Newgate_.”

This placard attracted universal attention. While Jonathan was
conversing with Austin, from whom he took care to conceal the fact of
his having seen Sheppard since his escape, Ireton entered the Lodge.

“Altogether unsuccessful, Sir,” said the chief turnkey, with a look
of disappointment, not unmixed with apprehension, as he approached
Wild. “I’ve been to all the flash cases in town, and can hear nothing
of him or his wives. First, I went to Country Tom’s, the Goat, in
Long Lane. Tom swore he hadn’t set eyes on him since the trial. I
next proceeded to Jenny Bunch’s, the Ship, in Trig Lane--there I got
the same answer. Then to the Feathers, in Drury Lane. Then to the
Golden Ball, in the same street. Then to Martin’s brandy-shop, in
Fleet Street. Then to Dan Ware’s, in Hanging Sword Court. Then to
the Dean’s Head, in St. Martin’s Le Grand. And, lastly, to the Seven
Cities o’ Refuge, in the New Mint. And nowhere could I obtain the
slightest information.”

“Humph!” exclaimed Wild.

“Have you been more successful, Sir?” ventured Ireton.

Jonathan shook his head.

“Mr. Shotbolt thinks he has a scheme that can’t fail,” interposed
Austin; “but he wishes to know whether you’ll be as good as your
word, in respect to the great reward you offered for Jack’s capture.”

“Have I ever broken my word in such matters, that he dares put the
question?” rejoined Jonathan sternly. “Tell Mr. Shotbolt that if he,
or any other person, takes Jack Sheppard before to-morrow morning,
I’ll double it. Do you hear?”

“I do, Sir,” replied Austin respectfully.

“Two hundred pounds, if he’s lodged in Newgate before to-morrow
morning,” continued Wild. “Make it known among your friends.” And he
strode out of the place.

“Two hundred pounds!” exclaimed Ireton, “besides the governor’s
offer--that’s three hundred. I must go to work again. Keep a sharp
look out, Austin, and see that we lose no one else. I should be sorry
if Shotbolt got the reward.”

“Devilish hard! I’m not allowed a chance,” grumbled Austin, as he
was left alone. “However, some one _must_ look after the jail; and
they’re all gone but me. It’s fortunate we’ve no more Jack Sheppards,
or I should stand but a poor chance. Well, I don’t think they’ll any
of ‘em nab him, that’s one comfort.”

On quitting the Lodge, Wild repaired to his own habitation. Telling
the porter that he would attend to the house himself, he bade him go
in search of Jack Sheppard. There was something in Jonathan’s manner,
as he issued this command, that struck the man as singular, and he
afterwards recalled it. He, however, made no remark at the time, but
instantly prepared to set out. As soon as he was gone, Jonathan went
up stairs to the audience-chamber; and, sitting down, appeared for
some time buried in reflection. The dark and desperate thoughts that
were passing through his mind at this time will presently be shown.
After a while, he raised his eyes; and, if their glance could
have been witnessed at the moment, it could not have been easily
forgotten. Muttering something to himself, he appeared to be telling
upon his fingers the advantages and disadvantages of some scheme
he had in contemplation. That he had resolved upon its execution,
whatever it might be, was evident from his saying aloud,--

“I will do it. So good an opportunity may never occur again.”

Upon this he arose, and paced the room hastily backwards and
forwards, as if further arranging his plans. He then unlocked a
cabinet, opened a secret drawer, and, lifter ransacking its contents,
discovered a paper he was in search of, and a glove. Laying these
carefully aside, he restored the drawer to its place. His next
occupation was to take out his pistols, examine the priming, and rub
the flints. His sword then came in for his scrutiny: he felt at, and
appeared satisfied with its edge. This employment seemed to afford
him the highest satisfaction; for a diabolical grin--it cannot be
called a smile--played upon his face all the time he was engaged in
it. His sword done with, he took up the bludgeon; balanced it in his
hand; upon the points of his fingers; and let it fall with a smash,
intentionally, upon the table.

“After all,” he said, “this is the safest weapon. No instrument I’ve
ever used has done me such good service. It _shall_ be the bludgeon.”
 So saying, he slung it upon his wrist.

Taking up a link, which was blazing beside him, he walked across the
room; and touching a spring in the wall, a secret door flew open.
Beyond was a narrow bridge, crossing a circular building, at the
bottom of which lay a deep well. It was a dark mysterious place, and
what it was used for no one exactly knew; but it was called by those
who had seen it the Well Hole. The bridge was protected on either
side by a railing with bannisters placed at wide intervals. Steps to
aid the descent, which was too steep to be safe without them, led
to, a door on the opposite side. This door, which was open, Jonathan
locked and took out the key. As he stood upon the bridge, he held
down the light, and looked into the profound abyss. The red glare
fell upon the slimy brick-work, and tinged the inky waters below. A
slight cough uttered by Jonathan at the moment awakened the echoes of
the place, and was returned in hollow reverberations. “There’ll be
a louder echo here presently,” thought Jonathan. Before leaving the
place he looked upwards, and could just discern the blue vault and
pale stars of Heaven through an iron grating at the top.

On his return to the room, Jonathan purposely left the door of the
Well Hole ajar. Unlocking a cupboard, he then took out some cold meat
and other viands, with a flask of wine, and a bottle of brandy, and
began to eat and drink voraciously. He had very nearly cleared the
board, when a knock was heard below, and descending at the summons,
he found his two janizaries. They had both been unsuccessful. As
Jonathan scarcely expected a more satisfactory result, he made no
comment; but, ordering Quilt to continue his search, and not to
return until he had found the fugitive, called Abraham Mendez into
the house, and shut the door.

“I want you for the job I spoke of a short time ago, Nab,” he said.
“I mean to have no one but yourself in it. Come up stairs, and take a
glass of brandy.”

Abraham grinned, and silently followed his master, who, as soon as
they reached the audience-chamber, poured out a bumper of spirits,
and presented it to him. The Jew swallowed it at a draught.

“By my shoul!” he exclaimed, smacking his lips, “dat ish goot--very

“You shall finish the bottle when the job’s done,” replied Jonathan.

“Vat ish it, Mishter Vild?” inquired Mendez. “Shir Rowland
Trenchard’s affair--eh?”

“That’s it,” rejoined Jonathan; “I expect him here every minute. When
you’ve admitted him, steal into the room, hide yourself, and don’t
move till I utter the words, ‘You’ve a long journey before you.’
That’s your signal.”

“And a famoush goot shignal it ish,” laughed Abraham. “He hash a long
journey before him--ha! ha!”

“Peace!” cried Jonathan. “There’s his knock. Go, and let him in. And
mind you don’t arouse his suspicions.”

“Never fear--never fear,” rejoined Abraham, as he took up the link,
and left the room.

Jonathan cast a hasty glance around, to see that all was properly
arranged for his purpose; placed a chair with its back to the door;
disposed the lights on the table so as to throw the entrance of the
room more into shadow; and then flung himself into a seat to await
Sir Rowland’s arrival.

He had not to wait long. Enveloped in a large cloak, Sir Rowland
stalked into the room, and took the seat assigned him; while the Jew,
who received a private signal from Jonathan, set down the link near
the entrance of the Well Hole, and, having made fast the door, crept
behind one of the cases.

Fancying they were alone, Sir Rowland threw aside his cloak, and
produced a heavy bag of money, which he flung upon the table; and,
when Wild had feasted his greedy eyes sufficiently upon its golden
contents, he handed him a pocket-book filled with notes.

“You have behaved like a man of honour, Sir Rowland,” said Wild,
after he had twice told over the money. “Right to a farthing.”

“Give me an acquittance,” said Trenchard.

“It’s scarcely necessary,” replied Wild; “however, if you require
it, certainly. There it is. ‘Received from Sir Rowland Trenchard,
15,000£. --Jonathan Wild: August 31st, 1724.’ Will that do?”

“It will,” replied Trenchard. “This is our last transaction

“I hope not,” replied Wild.

“It is the last,” continued the knight, sternly; “and I trust we may
never meet again, I have paid you this large sum--not because you are
entitled to it, for you have failed in what you undertook to do,
but because I desire to be troubled with you no further. I have now
settled my affairs, and made every preparation for my departure to
France, where I shall spend the remainder of my days. And I have made
such arrangements that at my decease tardy justice will be done my
injured nephew.”

“You have made no such arrangements as will compromise me, I hope,
Sir Rowland?” said Wild, hastily.

“While I live you are safe,” rejoined Trenchard; “after my death I
can answer for nothing.”

“‘Sblood!” exclaimed Wild, uneasily. “This alters the case
materially. When were you last confessed, Sir Rowland?” he added

“Why do you ask?” rejoined the other haughtily.

“Because--because I’m always distrustful of a priest,” rejoined

“I have just parted from one,” said Trenchard.

“So much the worse,” replied Jonathan, rising and taking a turn, as
if uncertain what to do.

“So much the better,” rejoined Sir Rowland. “He who stands on the
verge of the grave, as I do, should never be unprepared.”

“You’re strangely superstitious, Sir Rowland,” said Jonathan,
halting, and looking steadfastly at him.

“If I were so, I should not be here,” returned Trenchard.

“How so?” asked Wild, curiously.

“I had a terrible dream last night. I thought my sister and her
murdered husband dragged me hither, to this very room, and commanded
you to slay me.”

“A terrible dream, indeed,” said Jonathan thoughtfully. “But you
mustn’t indulge these gloomy thoughts. Let me recommend a glass of

“My penance forbids it,” said Trenchard, waving his hand. “I cannot
remain here long.”

“You will remain longer than you anticipate,” muttered Wild.

“Before I go,” continued Sir Rowland, “I must beg of you to disclose
to me all you know relative to the parentage of Thames Darrell.”

“Willingly,” replied Wild. “Thinking it likely you might desire to
have this information, I prepared accordingly. First, look at this
glove. It belonged to his father, and was worn by him on the night he
was murdered. You will observe that a coronet is embroidered on it.”

“Ha!” exclaimed Trenchard, starting, “is he so highly born?”

“This letter will inform you,” replied Wild, placing a document in
his hand.

“What is this!” cried Sir Rowland. “I know the hand--ha! my friend!
and I have murdered _him_! And my sister was thus nobly, thus
illustriously wedded. O God! O God!”

And he appeared convulsed with agony.

“Oh! if I had known this,” he exclaimed, “what guilt, what remorse
might have been spared me!”

“Repentance comes too late when the deed’s done,” returned Wild,

“It is not too late to repair the wrong I have done my nephew,” cried
Trenchard. “I will set about it instantly. He shall have the estates.
I will return to Manchester at once.”

“You had better take some refreshment before you start,” rejoined
Wild. “‘_You’ve a long journey before you._’”

As the signal was given, the Jew, who had been some time in
expectation of it, darted swiftly and silently behind Sir Rowland,
and flung a cloth over his head, while Jonathan, rushing upon him in
front, struck him several quick and violent blows in the face with
the bludgeon. The white cloth was instantly dyed with crimson; but,
regardless of this, Jonathan continued his murderous assault. The
struggles of the wounded man were desperate--so desperate, that in
his agony he overset the table, and, in the confusion, tore off the
cloth, and disclosed a face horribly mutilated, and streaming with
blood. So appalling was the sight, that even the murderers--familiar
as they were with scenes of slaughter,--looked aghast at it.

During this dreadful pause the wretched man felt for his sword. It
had been removed from the scabbard by the Jew. He uttered a deep
groan, but said nothing.

“Despatch him!” roared Jonathan.

Having no means of defence, Sir Rowland cleared the blood from his
vision; and, turning to see whether there was any means of escape,
he descried the open door behind him leading to the Well Hole, and
instantly darted through it.

“As I could wish!” cried Jonathan. “Bring the light, Nab.”

The Jew snatched up the link, and followed him.

A struggle of the most terrific kind now ensued. The wounded man had
descended the bridge, and dashed himself against the door beyond it;
but, finding it impossible to force his way further, he turned to
confront his assailants. Jonathan aimed a blow at him, which, if
it had taken place, must have instantly terminated the strife; but,
avoiding this, he sprang at the thief-taker, and grappled with him.
Firmly built, as it was, the bridge creaked in such a manner with
their contending efforts, that Abraham durst not venture beyond the
door, where he stood, holding the light, a horrified spectator of the
scene. The contest, however, though desperate, was brief. Disengaging
his right arm, Jonathan struck his victim a tremendous blow on the
head with the bludgeon, that fractured his skull; and, exerting all
his strength, threw him over the rails, to which he clung with the
tenacity of despair.

[Illustration: 059]

“Spare me!” he groaned, looking upwards. “Spare me!”

Jonathan, however, instead of answering him, searched for his knife,
with the intention of severing his wrist. But not finding it, he had
again recourse to the bludgeon, and began beating the hand fixed
on the upper rail, until, by smashing the fingers, he forced it
to relinquish its hold. He then stamped upon the hand on the lower
bannister, until that also relaxed its gripe.

Sir Rowland then fell.

A hollow plunge, echoed and re-echoed by the walls, marked his
descent into the water.

“Give me the link,” cried Jonathan.

Holding down the light, he perceived that the wounded man had risen
to the surface, and was trying to clamber up the slippery sides of
the well.

“Shoot him! shoot him! Put him out of hish mishery,” cried the Jew.

“What’s the use of wasting a shot?” rejoined Jonathan, savagely. “He
can’t get out.”

After making several ineffectual attempts to keep himself above
water, Sir Rowland sunk, and his groans, which had become gradually
fainter and fainter, were heard no more.

“All’s over,” muttered Jonathan.

“Shall ve go back to de other room?” asked the Jew. “I shall breathe
more freely dere. Oh! Christ! de door’s shut! It musht have schwung
to during de schuffle!”

“Shut!” exclaimed Wild. “Then we’re imprisoned. The spring can’t be
opened on this side.”

“Dere’s de other door!” cried Mendez, in alarm.

“It only leads to the fencing crib,” replied Wild. “There’s no outlet
that way.”

“Can’t ve call for asshistanche?”

“And who’ll find us, if we do?” rejoined Wild, fiercely. “But they
_will_ find the evidences of slaughter in the other room,--the table
upset,--the bloody cloth,--the dead man’s sword,--the money,--and my
memorandum, which I forgot to remove. Hell’s curses! that after all
my precautions I should be thus entrapped. It’s all your fault,
you shaking coward! and, but that I feel sure you’ll swing for your
carelessness, I’d throw you into the well, too.”


Persuaded that Jack Sheppard would keep his appointment with
Mr. Kneebone, and feeling certain of capturing him if he did so,
Shotbolt, on quitting Newgate, hurried to the New Prison to prepare
for the enterprise. After debating with himself for some time whether
he should employ an assistant, or make the attempt alone, his love
of gain overcame his fears, and he decided upon the latter plan.
Accordingly, having armed himself with various weapons, including a
stout oaken staff then ordinarily borne by the watch, and put a coil
of rope and a gag in his pocket, to be ready in case of need, he set
out, about ten o’clock, on the expedition.

Before proceeding to Wych Street, he called at the Lodge to see how
matters were going on, and found Mrs. Spurling and Austin at their
evening meal, with Caliban in attendance.

“Well, Mr. Shotbolt,” cried the turnkey, “I’ve good news for you. Mr.
Wild has doubled his offer, and the governor has likewise proclaimed
a reward of one hundred guineas for Jack’s apprehension.”

“You don’t say so!” exclaimed Shotbolt.

“Read that,” rejoined Austin, pointing to the placard. “I ought to
tell you that Mr. Wild’s reward is conditional upon Jack’s being
taken before to-morrow morning. So I fear there’s little chance of
any one getting it.”

“You think so, eh?” chuckled Shotbolt, who was eagerly perusing
the reward, and congratulating himself upon his caution; “you think
so--ha! ha! Well, don’t go to bed, that’s all.”

“What for?” demanded the turnkey.

“Because the prisoner’s arrival might disturb you--ha! ha!”

“I’ll lay you twenty guineas you don’t take him to-night,” rejoined

“Done!” cried Shotbolt. “Mrs. Spurling, you’re a witness to the bet.
Twenty guineas, mind. I shan’t let you off a farthing. Egad! I shall
make a good thing of it.”

“Never count your chickens till they’re hatched,” observed Mrs.
Spurling, drily.

“_My_ chickens are hatched, or, at least, nearly so,” replied
Shotbolt, with increased merriment. “Get ready your heaviest irons,
Austin. I’ll send you word when I catch him.”

“You’d better send _him_,” jeered the turnkey.

“So I will,” rejoined Shotbolt; “so I will. If I don’t, you shall
clap me in the Condemned Hold in his stead. Good-bye, for the
present--ha! ha!” And, laughing loudly at his own facetiousness, he
quitted the Lodge.

“I’ll lay my life he’s gone on a fox-and-goose-chase to Mr.
Kneebone’s,” remarked Austin, rising to fasten the door.

“I shouldn’t wonder,” replied Mrs. Spurling, as if struck by a sudden
idea. And, while the turnkey was busy with the keys, she whispered
to the black, “Follow him, Caliban. Take care he don’t see you,--and
bring me word where he goes, and what he does.”

“Iss, missis,” grinned the black.

“Be so good as to let Caliban out, Mr. Austin,” continued the
tapstress; “he’s only going on an errand.”

Austin readily complied with her request. As he returned to the
table, he put his finger to his nose; and, though he said nothing, he
thought he had a much better chance of winning his wager.

Unconscious that his movements were watched, Shotbolt, meanwhile,
hastened towards Wych Street. On the way, he hired a chair with a
couple of stout porters, and ordered them to follow him. Arrived
within a short distance of his destination, he came to a halt, and
pointing out a dark court nearly opposite the woollen-draper’s abode,
told the chairmen to wait there till they were summoned.

“I’m a peace-officer,” he added, “about to arrest a notorious
criminal. He’ll be brought out at this door, and may probably make
some resistance. But you must get him into the chair as fast as you
can, and hurry off to Newgate.”

“And what’ll we get for the job, yer hon’r?” asked the foremost
chairman, who, like most of his tribe at the time, was an Irishman.

“Five guineas. Here’s a couple in hand.”

“Faix, then we’ll do it in style,” cried the fellow. “Once in this
chair, yer hon’r, and I’ll warrant he’ll not get out so aisily as
Jack Sheppard did from the New Pris’n.”

“Hold your tongue, sirrah,” rejoined Shotbolt, not over-pleased
by the remark, “and mind what I tell you. Ah! what’s that?” he
exclaimed, as some one brushed hastily past him. “If I hadn’t just
left him, I could have sworn it was Mrs. Spurling’s sooty imp,

Having seen the chairmen concealed in the entry, Shotbolt proceeded
to Mr. Kneebone’s habitation, the shutters of which were closed,
and knocked at the door. The summons was instantly answered by a

“Is your master at home?” inquired the jailer.

“He is,” replied a portly personage, arrayed in a gorgeous yellow
brocade dressing-gown, lined with cherry-coloured satin, and having
a crimson velvet cap, surmounted by a gold tassel, on his head. “My
name is Kneebone,” added the portly personage, stepping forward.
“What do you want with me?”

“A word in private,” replied the other.

“Stand aside, Tom,” commanded Kneebone. “Now Sir,” he added, glancing
suspiciously at the applicant “your business?”

“My business is to acquaint you that Jack Sheppard has escaped, Mr.
Kneebone,” returned Shotbolt.

“The deuce he has! Why, it’s only a few hours since I beheld him
chained down with half a hundred weight of iron, in the strongest
ward at Newgate. It’s almost incredible. Are you sure you’re not
misinformed, Sir?”

“I was in the Lodge at the time,” replied the jailer.

“Then, of course, you must know. Well, it’s scarcely credible. When
I gave him an invitation to supper, I little thought he’d accept it.
But, egad! I believe he _will_.”

“I’m convinced of it,” replied Shotbolt; “and it was on that very
account I came here.” And he proceeded to unfold his scheme to the

“Well, Sir,” said Kneebone, when the other concluded, “I shall
certainly not oppose his capture, but, at the same time, I’ll lend
you no assistance. If he keeps _his_ word, I’ll keep _mine_. You must
wait till supper’s over.”

“As you please, Sir,--provided you don’t let him off.”

“That I’ll engage not to do. I’ve another reason for supposing he’ll
pay me a visit. I refused to sign a petition in his behalf to the
Recorder; not from any ill-will to him, but because it was prepared
by a person whom I particularly dislike--Captain Darrell.”

“A very sufficient reason,” answered the jailer.

“Tom,” continued Kneebone, calling to the shop-boy, “don’t go home.
I may want you. Light the lantern. And, if you hear any odd noise in
the parlour, don’t mind it.”

“Not in the least, Sir,” replied Tom, in a drowsy tone, and with a
look seeming to imply that he was too much accustomed to odd noises
at night to heed them.

“Now, step this way, Mr. What’s-your-name?”

“Shotbolt, Sir,” replied the jailer.

“Very well, Mr. Slipshod; follow me.” And he led the way to an inner
room, in the middle of which stood a table, covered with a large
white cloth.

“Jack Sheppard knows this house, I believe, Sir,” observed Shotbolt.

“Every inch of it,” replied the woollen-draper. “He _ought_ to do,
seeing that he served his apprenticeship in it to Mr. Wood, by whom
it was formerly occupied. His name is carved upon a beam up stairs.”

“Indeed!” said Shotbolt. “Where can I hide myself?” he added,
glancing round the room in search of a closet.

“Under the table. The cloth nearly touches the floor. Give me your
staff. It’ll be in your way.”

“Suppose he brings Blueskin, or some other ruffian with him,”
 hesitated the jailer.

“Suppose he does. In that case I’ll help you. We shall be equally
matched. You’re not afraid, Mr. Shoplatch.”

“Not in the least,” replied Shotbolt, creeping beneath the table;
“there’s my staff. Am I quite hidden?”

“Not quite;--keep your feet in. Mind you don’t stir till supper’s
over. I’ll stamp twice when we’ve done.”

“I forgot to mention there’s a trifling reward for his capture,”
 cried Shotbolt, popping his head from under the cloth. “If we take
him, I don’t mind giving you a share--say a fourth--provided you lend
a helping hand.”

“Curse your reward!” exclaimed Kneebone, angrily. “Do you take me for
a thief-catcher, like Jonathan Wild, that you dare to affront me by
such a proposal?”

“No offence, Sir,” rejoined the jailer, humbly. “I didn’t imagine for
a moment that you’d accept it, but I thought it right to make you the

“Be silent, and conceal yourself. I’m about to ring for supper.”

The woollen-draper’s application to the bell was answered by a very
pretty young woman, with dark Jewish features, roguish black eyes,
sleek glossy hair, a trim waist, and a remarkably neat figure: the
very model, in short, of a bachelor’s housekeeper.

“Rachel,” said Mr. Kneebone, addressing his comely attendant; “put a
few more plates on the table, and bring up whatever there is in the
larder. I expect company.”

“Company!” echoed Rachel; “at this time of night?”

“Company, child,” repeated Kneebone. “I shall want a bottle or two of
sack, and a flask of usquebaugh.”

“Anything else, Sir?”

“No:--stay! you’d better not bring up any silver forks or spoons.”

“Why, surely you don’t think your guests would steal them,” observed
Rachel, archly.

“They shan’t have the opportunity,” replied Kneebone. And, by way of
checking his housekeeper’s familiarity, he pointed significantly to
the table.

“Who’s there?” cried Rachel. “I’ll see.” And before she could be
prevented, she lifted up the cloth, and disclosed Shotbolt. “Oh,
Gemini!” she exclaimed. “A man!”

“At your service, my dear,” replied the jailer.

“Now your curiosity’s satisfied, child,” continued Kneebone,
“perhaps, you’ll attend to my orders.”

Not a little perplexed by the mysterious object she had seen, Rachel
left the room, and, shortly afterwards returned with the materials of
a tolerably good supper;--to wit, a couple of cold fowls, a tongue,
the best part of a sirloin of beef, a jar of pickles, and two small
dishes of pastry. To these she added the wine and spirits directed,
and when all was arranged looked inquisitively at her master.

“I expect a very extraordinary person to supper, Rachel,” he

“The gentleman under the table,” she answered. “He _does_ seem a very
extraordinary person.”

“No; another still more extraordinary.”

“Indeed!--who is it?”

“Jack Sheppard.”

“What! the famous housebreaker. I thought he was in Newgate.”

“He’s let out for a few hours,” laughed Kneebone; “but he’s going
back again after supper.”

“Oh, dear! how I should like to see him. I’m told he’s so handsome.”

“I’m sorry I can’t indulge you,” replied her master, a little piqued.
“I shall want nothing more. You had better go to bed.”

“It’s no use going to bed,” answered Rachel. “I shan’t sleep a wink
while Jack Sheppard’s in the house.”

“Keep in your own room, at all events,” rejoined Kneebone.

“Very well,” said Rachel, with a toss of her pretty head, “very well.
I’ll have a peep at him, if I die for it,” she muttered, as she went

Mr. Kneebone, then, sat down to await the arrival of his expected
guest. Half an hour passed, but Jack did not make his appearance. The
woollen-draper looked at his watch. It was eleven o’clock. Another
long interval elapsed. The watch was again consulted. It was now a
quarter past twelve. Mr. Kneebone, who began to feel sleepy, wound it
up, and snuffed the candles.

“I suspect our friend has thought better of it, and won’t come,” he

“Have a little patience, Sir,” rejoined the jailer.

“How are you off there, Shoplatch?” inquired Kneebone. “Rather
cramped, eh?”

“Rather so, Sir,” replied the other, altering his position. “I shall
be able to stretch my limbs presently--ha! ha!”

“Hush!” cried Kneebone, “I hear a noise without. He’s coming.”

The caution was scarcely uttered, when the door opened, and Jack
Sheppard presented himself. He was wrapped in a laced roquelaure,
which he threw off on his entrance into the room. It has been already
intimated that Jack had an excessive passion for finery; and it might
have been added, that the chief part of his ill-gotten gains was
devoted to the embellishment of his person. On the present occasion,
he appeared to have bestowed more than ordinary attention on his
toilette. His apparel was sumptuous in the extreme, and such as was
only worn by persons of the highest distinction. It consisted of
a full-dress coat of brown flowered velvet, laced with silver; a
waistcoat of white satin, likewise richly embroidered; shoes with red
heels, and large diamond buckles; pearl-coloured silk stockings with
gold clocks; a muslin cravat, or steen-kirk, as it was termed, edged
with the fine point lace; ruffles of the same material, and so ample
as almost to hide the tips of his fingers; and a silver-hilted sword.
This costume, though somewhat extravagant, displayed his slight, but
perfectly-proportioned figure to the greatest advantage. The only
departure which he made from the fashion of the period, was in
respect to the peruke--an article he could never be induced to wear.
In lieu of it, he still adhered to the sleek black crop, which,
throughout life, formed a distinguishing feature in his appearance.
Ever since the discovery of his relationship to the Trenchard family,
a marked change had taken place in Jack’s demeanour and looks,
which were so much refined and improved that he could scarcely be
recognised as the same person. Having only seen him in the gloom of
a dungeon, and loaded with fetters, Kneebone had not noticed this
alteration: but he was now greatly struck by it. Advancing towards
him, he made him a formal salutation, which was coldly returned.

“I am expected, I find,” observed Jack, glancing at the well-covered

“You are,” replied Kneebone. “When I heard of your escape, I felt
sure I should see you.”

“You judged rightly,” rejoined Jack; “I never yet broke an engagement
with friend or foe--and never will.”

“A bold resolution,” said the woollen-draper. “You must have made
some exertion to keep your present appointment. Few men could have
done as much.”

“Perhaps not,” replied Jack, carelessly. “I would have done more, if

“Well, take a chair,” rejoined Kneebone. “I’ve waited supper, you

“First, let me introduce my friends,” returned Jack, stepping to the

“Friends!” echoed Kneebone, with a look of dismay. “My invitation did
not extend to them.”

Further remonstrance, however, was cut short by the sudden entrance
of Mrs. Maggot and Edgeworth Bess. Behind them stalked Blueskin,
enveloped in a rough great-coat, called--appropriately enough in
this instance,--a wrap-rascal. Folding his arms, he placed his back
against the door, and burst into a loud laugh. The ladies were, as
usual, very gaily dressed; and as usual, also, had resorted to art to
heighten their attractions--

    From patches, justly placed, they borrow’d graces,
    And with vermilion lacquer’d o’er their faces.

Edgeworth Bess wore a scarlet tabby negligée,--a sort of undress, or
sack, then much in vogue,--which suited her to admiration, and upon
her head had what was called a fly-cap, with richly-laced lappets.
Mrs. Maggot was equipped in a light blue riding-habit, trimmed with
silver, a hunting-cap and a flaxen peruke, and, instead of a whip,
carried a stout cudgel.

For a moment, Kneebone had hesitated about giving the signal to
Shotbolt, but, thinking a more favourable opportunity might occur,
he determined not to hazard matters by undue precipitation. Placing
chairs, therefore, he invited the ladies to be seated, and, paying a
similar attention to Jack, began to help to the various dishes,
and otherwise fulfil the duties of a host. While this was going on,
Blueskin, seeing no notice whatever taken of him, coughed loudly and
repeatedly. But finding his hints totally disregarded, he, at length,
swaggered up to the table, and thrust in a chair.

“Excuse me,” he said, plunging his fork into a fowl, and transferring
it to his plate. “This tongue looks remarkably nice,” he added,
slicing off an immense wedge, “excuse me--ho! ho!”

“You make yourself at home, I perceive,” observed Kneebone, with a
look of ineffable disgust.

“I generally do,” replied Blueskin, pouring out a bumper of sack.
“Your health, Kneebone.”

“Allow me to offer you a glass of usquebaugh, my dear,” said
Kneebone, turning from him, and regarding Edgeworth Bess with a stare
so impertinent, that even that not over-delicate young lady summoned
up a blush.

“With pleasure, Sir,” replied Edgeworth Bess. “Dear me!” she added,
as she pledged the amorous woollen-draper, “what a beautiful ring
that is.”

“Do you think so?” replied Kneebone, taking it off, and placing it
on her finger, which he took the opportunity of kissing at the same
time; “wear it for my sake.”

“Oh, dear!” simpered Edgeworth Bess, endeavouring to hide her
confusion by looking steadfastly at her plate.

“You don’t eat,” continued Kneebone, addressing Jack, who had
remained for some time thoughtful, and pre-occupied with his head
upon his hand.

“The Captain has seldom much appetite,” replied Blueskin, who, having
disposed of the fowl, was commencing a vigorous attack upon the
sirloin. “I eat for both.”

“So it seems,” observed the woollen-draper, “and for every one else,

“I say, Kneebone,” rejoined Blueskin, as he washed down an immense
mouthful with another bumper, “do you recollect how nearly Mr. Wild
and I were nabbing you in this very room, some nine years ago?”

“I do,” replied Kneebone; “and now,” he added, aside, “the case is
altered. I’m nearly nabbing _you_.”

“A good deal has occurred since then, eh, Captain!” said Blueskin,
nudging Jack.

“Much that I would willingly forget. Nothing that I desire to
remember,” replied Sheppard, sternly. “On that night,--in this
room,--in your presence, Blueskin,--in yours Mr. Kneebone, Mrs. Wood
struck me a blow which made me a robber.”

“She has paid dearly for it,” muttered Blueskin.

“She has,” rejoined Sheppard. “But I wish her hand had been as deadly
as yours. On that night,--that fatal night,--Winifred crushed all
the hopes that were rising in my heart. On that night, I surrendered
myself to Jonathan Wild, and became--what I am.”

“On that night, you first met me, love,” said Edgeworth Bess,
endeavouring to take his hand, which he coldly withdrew.

“And me,” added Mrs. Maggot tenderly.

“Would I had never seen either of you!” cried Jack, rising and pacing
the apartment with a hurried step.

“Well, I’m sure Winifred could never have loved you as well as I do,”
 said Mrs. Maggot.

“_You_!” cried Jack, scornfully. “Do you compare _your_ love--a love
which all may purchase--with _hers_? No one has ever loved me.”

“Except me, dear,” insinuated Edgeworth Bess. “I’ve been always true
to you.”

“Peace!” retorted Jack, with increased bitterness. “I’m your dupe no

“What the devil’s in the wind now, Captain?” cried Blueskin, in

“I’ll tell you,” replied Jack, with forced calmness. “Within the last
few minutes, all my guilty life has passed before me. Nine years
ago, I was honest--was happy. Nine years ago, I worked in this very
house--had a kind indulgent master, whom I robbed--twice robbed,
at your instigation, villain; a mistress, whom you have murdered;
a companion, whose friendship I have for ever forfeited; a mother,
whose heart I have well-nigh broken. In this room was my ruin begun:
in this room it should be ended.”

“Come, come, don’t take on thus, Captain,” cried Blueskin, rising and
walking towards him. “If any one’s to blame, it’s me. I’m ready to
bear it all.”

“Can you make me honest?” cried Jack. “Can you make me other than a
condemned felon? Can you make me not Jack Sheppard?”

“No,” replied Blueskin; “and I wouldn’t if I could.”

“Curse you!” cried Jack, furiously,--“curse you!--curse you!”

“Swear away, Captain,” rejoined Blueskin, coolly. “It’ll ease your

“Do you mock me?” cried Jack, levelling a pistol at him.

“Not I,” replied Blueskin. “Take my life, if you’re so disposed.
You’re welcome to it. And let’s see if either of these women, who
prate of their love for you, will do as much.”

“This is folly,” cried Jack, controlling himself by a powerful

“The worst of folly,” replied Blueskin, returning to the table,
and taking up a glass; “and, to put an end to it, I shall drink the
health of Jack Sheppard, the housebreaker, and success to him in all
his enterprises. And now, let’s see who’ll refuse the pledge.”

“_I_ will,” replied Sheppard, dashing the glass from his hand. “Sit
down, fool!”

“Jack,” said Kneebone, who had been considerably interested by the
foregoing scene, “are these regrets for your past life sincere?”

“Suppose them so,” rejoined Jack, “what then?”

“Nothing--nothing,” stammered Kneebone, his prudence getting the
better of his sympathy. “I’m glad to hear it, that’s all,” he
added, taking out his snuff-box, his never-failing resource in such
emergencies. “It won’t do to betray the officer,” he muttered.

“O lud! what an exquisite box!” cried Edgeworth Bess. “Is it gold?”

“Pure gold,” replied Kneebone. “It was given me by poor dear Mrs.
Wood, whose loss I shall ever deplore.”

“Pray, let me have a pinch!” said Edgeworth Bess, with a captivating
glance. “I am so excessively fond of snuff.”

The woollen-draper replied by gallantly handing her the box, which
was instantly snatched from her by Blueskin, who, after helping
himself to as much of its contents as he could conveniently squeeze
between his thumb and finger, put it very coolly in his pocket.

The action did not pass unnoticed by Sheppard.

“Restore it,” he cried, in an authoritative voice.

“O’ons! Captain,” cried Blueskin, as he grumblingly obeyed the
command; “if you’ve left off business yourself, you needn’t interfere
with other people.”

“I should like a little of that plum-tart,” said Mrs. Maggot; “but I
don’t see a spoon.”

“I’ll ring for one,” replied Kneebone, rising accordingly; “but I
fear my servants are gone to bed.”

Blueskin, meanwhile, having drained and replenished his glass,
commenced chaunting a snatch of a ballad:--

    Once on a time, as I’ve heard tell.
    In Wych Street Owen Wood did dwell;
    A carpenter he was by trade,
    And money, I believe, he made.
        _With his foodle doo_!

    This carpenter he had a wife,
    The plague and torment of his life,
    Who, though she did her husband scold,
    Loved well a woollen-draper bold.
        _With her foodle doo_!

“I’ve a toast to propose,” cried Sheppard, filling a bumper. “You
won’t refuse it, Mr. Kneebone?”

“He’d better not,” muttered Blueskin.

“What is it?” demanded the woollen-draper, as he returned to the
table, and took up a glass.

“The speedy union of Thames Darrell with Winifred Wood,” replied

Kneebone’s cheeks glowed with rage, and he set down the wine
untasted, while Blueskin resumed his song.

    Now Owen Wood had one fair child,
    Unlike her mother, meek and mild;
    Her love the draper strove to gain,
    But she repaid him with disdain.
        _With his foodle doo_!

“Peace!” cried Jack.

But Blueskin was not to be silenced. He continued his ditty, in spite
of the angry glances of his leader.

    In vain he fondly urged his suit,
    And, all in vain, the question put;
    She answered,--“Mr. William Kneebone,
    Of me, Sir, you shall never be bone.”
         _With your foodle doo_!

    “Thames Darrell has my heart alone,
    A noble youth, e’en _you_ must own;
    And, if from him my love could stir,
    Jack Sheppard I should much prefer!”
         _With his foodle doo_!

“Do you refuse my toast?” cried Jack, impatiently.

“I do,” replied Kneebone.

“Drink this, then,” roared Blueskin. And pouring the contents of
a small powder-flask into a bumper of brandy, he tendered him the

At this juncture, the door was opened by Rachel.

“What did you ring for, Sir?” she asked, eyeing the group with

“Your master wants a few table-spoons, child,” said Mrs. Maggot.

“Leave the room,” interposed Kneebone, angrily.

“No, I shan’t,” replied Rachel, saucily. “I came to see Jack
Sheppard, and I won’t go till you point him out to me. You told me
he was going back to Newgate after supper, so I mayn’t have another

“Oh! he told you that, did he?” said Blueskin, marching up to her,
and chucking her under the chin. “I’ll show you Captain Sheppard,
my dear. There he stands. I’m his lieutenant,--Lieutenant Blueskin.
We’re two good-looking fellows, ain’t we?”

“Very good-looking,” replied Rachel. “But, where’s the strange
gentleman I saw under the table?”

“Under the table!” echoed Blueskin, winking at Jack. “When did you
see him, my love?”

“A short time ago,” replied the housekeeper, unsuspiciously.

“The plot’s out!” cried Jack. And, without another word, he seized
the table with both hands, and upset it; scattering plates, dishes,
bottles, jugs, and glasses far and wide. The crash was tremendous.
The lights rolled over, and were extinguished. And, if Rachel had not
carried a candle, the room would have been plunged in total darkness.
Amid the confusion, Shotbolt sprang to his feet, and levelling a
pistol at Jack’s head, commanded him to surrender; but, before any
reply could be made, the jailer’s arm was struck up by Blueskin, who,
throwing himself upon him, dragged him to the ground. In the struggle
the pistol went off, but without damage to either party. The conflict
was of short duration; for Shotbolt was no match for his athletic
antagonist. He was speedily disarmed; and the rope and gag being
found upon him, were exultingly turned against him by his conqueror,
who, after pinioning his arms tightly behind his back, forced open
his mouth with the iron, and effectually prevented the utterance of
any further outcries. While the strife was raging, Edgeworth Bess
walked up to Rachel, and advised her, if she valued her life, not to
scream or stir from the spot; a caution which the housekeeper, whose
curiosity far outweighed her fears, received in very good part.

In the interim, Jack advanced to the woollen-draper, and regarding
him sternly, thus addressed him:

“You have violated the laws of hospitality, Mr. Kneebone, I came
hither as your guest. You have betrayed me.”

“What faith is to be kept with a felon?” replied the woollen-draper,

“He who breaks faith with his benefactor may well justify himself
thus,” answered Jack. “I have not trusted you. Others who have done,
have found you false.”

“I don’t understand you,” replied Kneebone, in some confusion.

“You soon shall,” rejoined Sheppard. “Where are the packets committed
to your charge by Sir Rowland Trenchard?”

“The packets!” exclaimed Kneebone, in alarm.

“It is useless to deny it,” replied Jack. “You were watched to-night
by Blueskin. You met Sir Rowland at the house of a Romisch priest,
Father Spencer. Two packets were committed to your charge, which you
undertook to deliver,--one to another priest, Sir Rowland’s chaplain,
at Manchester, the other to Mr. Wood. Produce them!”

“Never!” replied Kneebone.

“Then, by Heaven! you are a dead man!” replied Jack, cocking a
pistol, and pointing it deliberately at his head. “I give you one
minute for reflection. After that time nothing shall save you.”

There was a brief, breathless pause. Even Blueskin looked on with

“It is past,” said Jack, placing his finger on the trigger.

“Hold!” cried Kneebone, flinging down the packets; “they are nothing
to me.”

“But they are everything to me,” cried Jack, stooping to pick them
up. “These packets will establish Thames Darrell’s birth, win him his
inheritance, and procure him the hand of Winifred Wood.”

“Don’t be too sure of that,” rejoined Kneebone, snatching up the
staff, and aiming a blow at his head, which was fortunately warded
off by Mrs. Maggot, who promptly interposed her cudgel.

“Defend yourself!” cried Jack, drawing his sword.

“Leave his punishment to me, Jack,” said Mrs. Maggot. “I’ve the
Bridewell account to settle.”

“Be it so,” replied Jack, putting up his blade. “I’ve a good deal to
do. Show him no quarter, Poll. He deserves none.”

“And shall find none,” replied the Amazon. “Now, Mr. Kneebone,” she
added, drawing up her magnificent figure to its full height, and
making the heavy cudgel whistle through the air, “look to yourself.”

“Stand off, Poll,” rejoined the woollen-draper; “I don’t want to hurt
you. It shall never be said that I raised my arm willingly against a

“I’ll forgive you all the harm you do me,” rejoined the Amazon.
“What! you still hesitate! Will that rouse you, coward?” And she gave
him a smart rap on the head.

“Coward!” cried Kneebone. “Neither man nor woman shall apply that
term to me. If you forget your sex, jade, I must forget mine.”

With this, he attacked her vigorously in his turn.

It was a curious sight to see how this extraordinary woman, who, it
has been said, was not less remarkable for the extreme delicacy of
her features, and the faultless symmetry of her figure, than for
her wonderful strength and agility, conducted herself in the present
encounter; with what dexterity she parried every blow aimed against
her by her adversary, whose head and face, already marked by
various ruddy streams, showed how successfully her own hits had been
made;--how she drew him hither and thither, now leading him on, now
driving him suddenly back; harassing and exhausting him in every
possible way, and making it apparent that she could at any moment put
an end to the fight, and only delayed the finishing stroke to make
his punishment the more severe.

Jack, meanwhile, with Blueskin’s assistance, had set the table once
more upon its legs, and placing writing materials, which he took from
a shelf, upon it, made Shotbolt, who was still gagged, but whose arms
were for the moment unbound, sit down before them.

“Write as I dictate,” he cried, placing a pen in the jailer’s hand
and a pistol to his ear.

Shotbolt nodded in token of acquiescence, and emitted an odd guttural

“Write as follows,” continued Jack. “‘I have succeeded in capturing
Jack Sheppard. The reward is mine. Get all ready for his reception.
In a few minutes after the delivery of this note he will be in
Newgate.’ Sign it,” he added, as, after some further threats, the
letter was indited according to his dictation, “and direct it to Mr.
Austin. That’s well. And, now, to find a messenger.”

“Mr. Kneebone’s man is in the shop,” said Rachel; “he’ll take it.”

“Can I trust him?” mused Jack. “Yes; he’ll suspect nothing. Give
him this letter, child, and bid him take it to the Lodge at Newgate
without loss of time. Blueskin will go with you,--for fear of a

“You might trust me,” said Rachel, in an offended tone; “but never

And she left the room with Blueskin, who very politely offered her
his arm.

Meanwhile, the combat between Kneebone and Mrs. Maggot had been
brought to a termination. When the woollen-draper was nearly worn
out, the Amazon watched her opportunity, and hitting him on the arm,
disabled it.

“That’s for Mrs. Wood,” she cried, as the staff fell from his grasp.

“I’m at your mercy, Poll,” rejoined Kneebone, abjectly.

“That’s for Winifred,” vociferated the Amazon, bringing the cudgel
heavily upon his shoulder.

“Damnation!” cried Kneebone.

“That’s for myself,” rejoined Mrs. Maggot, dealing him a blow, which
stretched him senseless on the floor.

“Bravo, Poll!” cried Jack, who having again pinioned Shotbolt, was
now tracing a few hasty lines on a sheet of paper. “You’ve given him
a broken head, I perceive.”

“He’ll scarcely need a plaister,” replied Mrs. Maggot, laughing.
“Here, Bess, give me the cord, and I’ll tie him to this chest of
drawers. I don’t think he’ll come to himself too soon. But it’s best
to be on the safe side.”

“Decidedly so,” replied Edgeworth Bess; “and I’ll take this
opportunity, while Jack’s back is turned,--for he’s grown so
strangely particular,--of easing him of his snuff-box. Perhaps,” she
added, in a whisper, as she appropriated the before-named article,
“he has a pocket-book.”

“Hush!” replied Mrs. Maggot; “Jack will hear you. We’ll come back for
that by and by, and the dressing-gown.”

At this moment, Rachel and Blueskin returned. Their momentary absence
seemed to have worked wonders; for now the most perfect understanding
appeared to subsist between them.

“Have you sent off the note?” inquired Jack.

“We have, Captain,” replied Blueskin. “I say _we_, because Miss
Rachel and I have struck up a match. Shall I bring off anything?” he
added, looking eagerly round.

“No,” replied Jack, peremptorily.

Having now sealed his letter, Sheppard took a handkerchief, and tying
it over Shotbolt’s face, so as completely to conceal the features,
clapped his hat upon his head, and pushed it over his brows. He,
next, seized the unlucky jailer, and forced him along, while Blueskin
expedited his movements by administering a few kicks behind.

When they got to the door, Jack opened it, and, mimicking the voice
of the jailer, shouted, “Now, my lads, all’s ready?”

“Here we are,” cried the chairmen, hurrying out of the court with
their swinging vehicle, “where is he?”

“Here,” replied Sheppard, dragging out Shotbolt by the collar, while
Blueskin pushed him behind, and Mrs. Maggot held up a lantern, which
she found in the shop. “In with him!”

[Illustration: 104]

“Ay--ay, yer hon’r,” cried the foremost chairman, lending a helping
hand. “Get in wid ye, ye villin!”

And, despite his resistance, Shotbolt was thrust into the chair,
which was instantly fastened upon him.

“There, he’s as safe as Jack Sheppard in the Condemned Hould,”
 laughed the man.

“Off with you to Newgate!” cried Jack, “and don’t let him out till
you get inside the Lodge. There’s a letter for the head turnkey, Mr.
Irreton. D’ye hear.”

“Yes, yer hon’r,” replied the chairman, taking the note.

“What are you waiting for?” asked Jack, impatiently.

“The gen’l’man as hired us,” replied the chairman.

“Oh! he’ll be after you directly. He’s settling an account in the
house. Lose no time. The letter will explain all.”

The chair was then rapidly put in motion, and speedily disappeared.

“What’s to be done next?” cried Blueskin, returning to Rachel, who
was standing with Edgeworth Bess near the door.

“I shall go back and finish my supper,” said Mrs. Maggot.

“And so shall I,” replied Edgeworth Bess.

“Stop a minute,” cried Jack, detaining his mistresses. “Here we
part,--perhaps for ever. I’ve already told you I’m about to take a
long journey, and it’s more than probable I shall never return.”

“Don’t say so,” cried Mrs. Maggot. “I should be perfectly miserable
if _I_ thought you in earnest.”

“The very idea is dreadful,” whimpered Edgeworth Bess.

“Farewell!” cried Jack, embracing them. “Take this key to Baptist
Kettleby. On seeing it, he’ll deliver you a box, which it will
unlock, and in which you’ll find a matter of fifty guineas and a few
trinkets. Divide the money between you, and wear the ornaments for
my sake. But, if you’ve a spark of love for me, don’t meddle with
anything in that house.”

“Not for worlds!” exclaimed both ladies together.

“Farewell!” cried Jack, breaking from them, and rushing down the

“What shall we do, Poll?” hesitated Edgeworth Bess.

“Go in, to be sure, simpleton,” replied Mrs. Maggot, “and bring off
all we can. I know where everything valuable is kept. Since Jack has
left us, what does it matter whether he’s pleased or not?”

At this moment, a whistle was heard.

“Coming!” cried Blueskin, who was still lingering with Rachel.
“The Captain’s in such a desperate hurry, that there’s no time
for love-making. Adieu! my charmer. You’ll find those young ladies
extremely agreeable acquaintances. Adieu!”

And, snatching a hasty kiss, he darted after Jack.

The chair, meanwhile, with its unhappy load, was transported at a
brisk pace to Newgate. Arrived there, the porter thundered at the
massive door of the Lodge, which was instantly opened--Shotbolt’s
note having been received just before. All the turnkeys were
assembled. Ireton and Langley had returned from a second unsuccessful
search; Marvel had come thither to bid good-night to Mrs. Spurling;
Austin had never quitted his post. The tapstress was full of
curiosity; but she appeared more easy than the others. Behind her
stood Caliban, chuckling to himself, and grinning from ear to ear.

“Well, who’d have thought of Shotbolt beating us all in this way!”
 said Ireton. “I’m sorry for old Newgate that another jail should have
it. It’s infernally provoking.”

“Infernally provoking!” echoed Langley.

“Nobody has so much cause for complaint as me,” growled Austin. “I’ve
lost my wager.”

“Twenty pounds,” rejoined Mrs. Spurling. “I witnessed the bet.”

“Here he is!” cried Ireton, as the knocking was heard without. “Get
ready the irons, Caliban.”

“Wait a bit, massa,” replied the grinning negro,--“lilly bit--see all
right fust.”

By this time, the chair had been brought into the Lodge.

“You’ve got him?” demanded Ireton.

“Safe inside,” replied the chairman, wiping the heat from his brow;
“we’ve run all the way.”

“Where’s Mr. Shotbolt?” asked Austin.

“The gen’l’man’ll be here directly. He was detained. T’ other
gen’l’man said the letter ‘ud explain all.”

“Detained!” echoed Marvel. “That’s odd. But, let’s see the prisoner.”

The chair was then opened.

“Shotbolt! by--” cried Austin, as the captive was dragged forth.
“I’ve won, after all.”

Exclamations of wonder burst from all. Mrs. Spurling bit her lips to
conceal her mirth. Caliban absolutely crowed with delight.

“Hear the letter,” said Ireton, breaking the seal. “‘_This is the way
in which I will serve all who attempt to apprehend me_.’ It is signed

“And, so Jack Sheppard has sent back Shotbolt in this pickle,” said

“So it appears,” replied Marvel. “Untie his arms, and take off that
handkerchief. The poor fellow’s half smothered.”

“I guess what share you’ve had in this,” whispered Austin to Mrs.

“Never mind,” replied the tapstress. “You’ve won your wager.”

Half an hour after this occurrence, when it had been sufficiently
laughed at and discussed; when the wager had been settled, and the
chairman dismissed with the remaining three guineas, which Shotbolt
was compelled to pay; Ireton arose, and signified his intention of
stepping across the street to inform Mr. Wild of the circumstance.

“As it’s getting late, and the porter may be gone to bed,” he
observed; “I’ll take the pass-key, and let myself in. Mr. Wild is
sure to be up. He never retires to rest till daybreak--if at all.
Come with me, Langley, and bring the lantern.”


Jack Sheppard, after whistling to Blueskin, hurried down a short
thoroughfare leading from Wych Street to the back of Saint Clement’s
Church, where he found Thames Darrell, who advanced to meet him.

“I was just going,” said Thames. “When I parted from you at Mr.
Kneebone’s door, you begged me to await your return here, assuring
me you would not detain me five minutes. Instead of which, more than
half an hour has elapsed.”

“You won’t complain of the delay when I tell you what I’ve done,”
 answered Jack. “I’ve obtained two packets, containing letters from
Sir Rowland Trenchard, which I’ve no doubt will establish your title
to the estates. Take them, and may they prove as serviceable to you
as I desire.”

“Jack,” replied Thames, greatly moved, “I wish I could devise any
means of brightening your own dark prospects.”

“That’s impossible,” replied Jack. “I am utterly lost.”

“Not utterly,” rejoined the other.

“Utterly,” reiterated Jack, gloomily,--“as regards all I hold dear.
Listen to me, Thames. I’m about to leave this country for ever.
Having ascertained that a vessel sails for France from the river at
daybreak to-morrow morning, I have secured a passage in her, and have
already had the few effects I possess, conveyed on board. Blueskin
goes with me. The faithful fellow will never leave me.”

“Never, while I’ve breath in my body, Captain,” rejoined Blueskin,
who had joined them. “England or France, London or Paris, it’s all
one to me, so I’ve you to command me.”

“Stand out of earshot,” rejoined his leader. “I’ll call you when
you’re wanted.”

And Blueskin withdrew.

“I cannot but approve the course you are about to take, Jack,” said
Thames, “though on some accounts I regret it. In after years you can
return to your own country--to your friends.”

“Never,” replied Sheppard bitterly. “My friends need not fear my
return. They shall hear of me no more. Under another name,--not my
own hateful one,--I will strive to distinguish myself in some foreign
service, and win myself a reputation, or perish honourably. But I
will never--never return.”

“I will not attempt to combat your resolution, Jack,” returned
Thames, after a pause. “But I dread the effect your departure may
have upon your poor mother. Her life hangs upon a thread, and this
may snap it.”

“I wish you hadn’t mentioned her,” said Jack, in a broken voice,
while his whole frame shook with emotion. “What I do is for the best,
and I can only hope she may have strength to bear the separation. You
must say farewell to her, for I cannot. I don’t ask you to supply my
place--for that is, perhaps, impossible. But, be like a son to her.”

“Do not doubt me,” replied Thames, warmly pressing his hand.

“And now, I’ve one further request,” faltered Jack; “though I
scarcely know how to make it. It is to set me right with Winifred. Do
not let her think worse of me than I deserve,--or even so ill.
Tell her, that more than once, when about to commit some desperate
offence, I have been restrained by her gentle image. If hopeless love
for her made me a robber, it has also saved me many a crime. Will you
tell her that?”

“I will,” replied Thames, earnestly.

“Enough,” said Jack, recovering his composure. “And now, to your own
concerns. Blueskin, who has been on the watch all night, has dogged
Sir Rowland Trenchard to Jonathan Wild’s house; and, from the
mysterious manner in which he was admitted by the thief-taker’s
confidential servant, Abraham Mendez, and not by the regular porter,
there is little doubt but they are alone, and probably making some
arrangements prior to our uncle’s departure from England.”

“Is he leaving England?” demanded Thames, in astonishment.

“He sails to-morrow morning in the very vessel by which I start,”
 replied Jack. “Now, if as I suspect,--from the documents just placed
in your possession,--Sir Rowland meditates doing you justice after
his departure, it is possible his intentions may be frustrated by the
machinations of Wild, whose interest is obviously to prevent such an
occurrence, unless we can surprise them together, and, by proving to
Sir Rowland that we possess the power of compelling a restitution
of your rights, force the other treacherous villain into compliance.
Jonathan, in all probability, knows nothing of these packets; and
their production may serve to intimidate him. Will you venture?”

“It is a hazardous experiment,” said Thames, after a moment’s
reflection; “but I will make it. You must not, however, accompany me,
Jack. The risk I run is nothing to yours.”

“I care for no risk, provided I can serve you,” rejoined Sheppard.
“Besides, you’ll not be able to get in without me. It won’t do to
knock at the door, and Jonathan Wild’s house is not quite so easy of
entrance as Mr. Wood’s.”

“I understand,” replied Thames; “be it as you will.”

“Then, we’ll lose no more time,” returned Jack. “Come along,

Starting at a rapid pace in the direction of the Old Bailey, and
crossing Fleet Bridge, “for oyster tubs renowned,” the trio skirted
the right bank of the muddy stream until they reached Fleet Lane, up
which they hurried. Turning off again on the left, down Seacoal Lane,
they arrived at the mouth of a dark, narrow alley, into which they
plunged; and, at the farther extremity found a small yard, overlooked
by the blank walls of a large gloomy habitation. A door in this house
opened upon the yard. Jack tried it, and found it locked.

“If I had my old tools with me, we’d soon master this obstacle,” he
muttered. “We shall be obliged to force it.”

“Try the cellar, Captain,” said Blueskin, stamping upon a large board
in the ground. “Here’s the door. This is the way the old thief brings
in all his heavy plunder, which he stows in out-of-the-way holes in
his infernal dwelling. I’ve seen him often do it.”

While making these remarks, Blueskin contrived, by means of a chisel
which he chanced to have about him, to lift up the board, and,
introducing his fingers beneath it, with Jack’s assistance speedily
opened it altogether, disclosing a dark hole, into which he leapt.

“Follow me, Thames,” cried Jack, dropping into the chasm.

They were now in a sort of cellar, at one end of which was a door.
It was fastened inside. But, taking the chisel from Blueskin, Jack
quickly forced back the bolt.

As they entered the room beyond, a fierce growl was heard.

“Let me go first,” said Blueskin; “the dogs know me. Soho! boys.”
 And, walking up to the animals, which were chained to the wall, they
instantly recognised him, and suffered the others to pass without

Groping their way through one or two dark and mouldy-smelling vaults,
the party ascended a flight of steps, which brought them to the hall.
As Jack conjectured, no one was there, and, though a lamp was burning
on a stand, they decided upon proceeding without it. They then
swiftly mounted the stairs, and stopped before the audience-chamber.
Applying his ear to the keyhole, Jack listened, but could detect
no sound. He, next cautiously tried the door, but found it fastened

“I fear we’re too late,” he whispered to Thames. “But, we’ll soon
see. Give me the chisel, Blueskin.” And, dexterously applying the
implement, he forced open the lock.

They then entered the room, which was perfectly dark.

“This is strange,” said Jack, under his breath. “Sir Rowland must
be gone. And, yet, I don’t know. The key’s in the lock, on the inner
side. Be on your guard.”

“I am so,” replied Thames, who had followed him closely.

“Shall I fetch the light, Captain?” whispered Blueskin.

“Yes,” replied Jack. “I don’t know how it is,” he added in a low
voice to Thames, as they were left alone, “but I’ve a strange
foreboding of ill. My heart fails me. I almost wish we hadn’t come.”

As he said this, he moved forward a few paces, when, finding his feet
glued to the ground by some adhesive substance, he stooped to feel
what it was, but instantly withdrew his hand, with an exclamation of

“God in Heaven!” he cried, “the floor is covered with blood. Some
foul murder has been committed. The light!--the light!”

Astounded at his cries, Thames sprang towards him. At this
moment, Blueskin appeared with the lamp, and revealed a horrible
spectacle,--the floor deluged with blood,--various articles of
furniture upset,--papers scattered about,--the murdered man’s cloak,
trampled upon, and smeared with gore,--his hat, crushed and similarly
stained,--his sword,--the ensanguined cloth,--with several other
ghastly evidences of the slaughterous deed. Further on, there were
impressions of bloody footsteps along the floor.

“Sir Rowland is murdered!” cried Jack, as soon as he could find a

“It is plain he has been destroyed by his perfidious accomplice,”
 rejoined Thames. “Oh God! how fearfully my father is avenged!”

“True,” replied Jack, sternly; “but we have our uncle to avenge.
What’s this?” he added, stooping to pick up a piece of paper lying at
his feet--it was Jonathan’s memorandum. “This is the explanation of
the bloody deed.”

“Here’s a pocket-book full of notes, and a heavy bag of gold,” said
Blueskin, examining the articles on the floor.

“The sum which incited the villain to the murder,” replied Jack. “But
he can’t be far off. He must be gone to dispose of the body. We shall
have him on his return.”

“I’ll see where these footsteps lead to,” said Blueskin, holding the
light to the floor. “Here are some more papers, Captain.”

“Give them to me,” replied Jack. “Ah!” he exclaimed, “a letter,
beginning ‘dearest Aliva,’--that’s your mother’s name, Thames.”

“Let me see it,” cried Thames, snatching it from him. “It _is_
addressed to my mother,” he added, as his eye glanced rapidly over
it, “and by my father. At length, I shall ascertain my name. Bring
the light this way--quick! I cannot decipher the signature.”

Jack was about to comply with the request, when an unlooked-for
interruption occurred. Having traced the footsteps to the wall, and
perceiving no outlet, Blueskin elevated the lamp, and discovered
marks of bloody fingers on the boards.

“He must have gone this way,” muttered Blueskin. “I’ve often heard
of a secret door in this room, though I never saw it. It must be
somewhere hereabouts. Ah!” he exclaimed, as his eye fell upon a small
knob in the wall, “there’s the spring!”

He touched it, and the door flew open.

The next moment, he was felled to the ground by Jonathan Wild, who
sprang into the room, followed by Abraham bearing the link. A single
glance served to show the thief-taker how matters stood. From the
slight sounds that had reached him in his place of confinement,
he was aware that some persons had found their way to the scene of
slaughter, and in a state of the most intense anxiety awaited the
result of their investigation, prepared for the worst. Hearing the
spring touched, he dashed through on the instant, and struck down
the person who presented himself, with his bludgeon. On beholding the
intruders, his fears changed to exultation, and he uttered a roar of
satisfaction as he glared at them, which could only be likened to the
cry of some savage denizen of the plains.

On his appearance, Jack levelled a pistol at his head. But his hand
was withheld by Thames.

“Don’t fire,” cried the latter. “It is important not to slay him.
He shall expiate his offences on the gibbet. You are my prisoner,

“_Your_ prisoner!” echoed Jonathan, derisively. “You mistake,--you
are mine. And so is your companion,--the convict Sheppard.”

“Waste not another word with him, Thames,” cried Jack. “Upon him!”

“Yield, villain, or die!” shouted Thames, drawing his sword and
springing towards him.

“There’s my answer!” rejoined Wild, hurling the bludgeon at him,
with such fatal effect, that striking him on the head it brought him
instantly to the ground.

“Ah! traitor!” cried Jack, pulling the trigger of his pistol.

Anticipating this, Wild avoided the shot by suddenly, ducking his
head. He had a narrow escape, however; for, passing within an inch of
him, the bullet burried itself deeply in the wall.

Before he could fire a second shot, Jack had to defend himself from
the thief-taker, who, with his drawn hanger, furiously assaulted him.
Eluding the blow, Jack plucked his sword from the scabbard, and a
desperate conflict began.

“Pick up that blade, Nab,” vociferated Wild, finding himself hotly
pressed, “and stab him. I won’t give him a chance.”

“Cowardly villain!” cried Jack, as the Jew, obeying the orders of his
principal, snatched up the weapon of the murdered man, and assailed
him. “But I’ll yet disappoint you.”

And springing backwards, he darted suddenly through the door.

“After him,” cried Wild; “he mustn’t escape. Dead or alive, I’ll have
him. Bring the link.”

And, followed by Abraham, he rushed out of the room.

Just as Jack got half way down the stairs, and Wild and the Jew
reached the upper landing, the street-door was opened by Langley and
Ireton, the latter of whom carried a lantern.

“Stop him!” shouted Jonathan from the stair-head, “stop him! It’s
Jack Sheppard!”

“Give way!” cried Jack fiercely. “I’ll cut down him who opposes me.”

The head turnkey, in all probability, would have obeyed. But, being
pushed forward by his subordinate officer, he was compelled to make a

“You’d better surrender quietly, Jack,” he cried; “you’ve no

Instead of regarding him, Jack glanced over the iron bannisters, and
measured the distance. But the fall was too great, and he abandoned
the attempt.

“We have him!” cried Jonathan, hurrying down the steps. “He can’t

As this was said, Jack turned with the swiftness of thought, and
shortening his sword, prepared to plunge it into the thief-taker’s
heart. Before he could make the thrust, however, he was seized behind
by Ireton, who flung himself upon him.

“Caught!” shouted the head-turnkey. “I give you joy of the capture,
Mr. Wild,” he added, as Jonathan came up, and assisted him to secure
and disarm the prisoner. “I was coming to give you intelligence of a
comical trick played by this rascal, when I find him here--the last
place, I own, where I should have expected to find him.”

“You’ve arrived in the very nick of time,” rejoined Jonathan; “and
I’ll take care your services are not overlooked.”

“Mr. Ireton,” cried Jack, in accents of the most urgent entreaty,
“before you take me hence, I implore you--if you would further the
ends of justice--search this house. One of the most barbarous murders
ever committed has just been perpetrated by the monster Wild. You
will find proofs of the bloody deed in his room. But go thither at
once, I beseech you, before he has time to remove them.”

“Mr. Ireton is welcome to search every room in my house if he
pleases,” said Jonathan, in a tone of bravado. “As soon as we’ve
conveyed you to Newgate, I’ll accompany him.”

“Mr. Ireton will do no such thing,” replied the head-turnkey. “Bless
your soul! d’ye think I’m to be gammoned by such nonsense. Not I.
I’m not quite such a greenhorn as Shotbolt, Jack, whatever you may

“For mercy’s sake go up stairs,” implored Sheppard. “I have not told
you half. There’s a man dying--Captain Darrell. Take me with you.
Place a pistol at my ear, and shoot me, if I’ve told you false.”

“And, what good would that do?” replied Ireton, sarcastically. “To
shoot you would be to lose the reward. You act your part capitally,
but it won’t do.”

“Won’t you go?” cried Jack passionately. “Mr. Langley, I appeal to
you. Murder, I say, has been done! Another murder will be committed
if you don’t prevent it. The blood will rest on your head. Do you
hear me, Sir? Won’t you stir!”

“Not a step,” replied Langley, gruffly.

“Off with him to Newgate!” cried Jonathan. “Ireton, as you captured
him, the reward is yours. But I request that a third may be given to

“It shall be, Sir,” replied Ireton, bowing. “Now come along, Jack.”

“Miscreants!” cried Sheppard, almost driven frantic by the violence
of his emotions; “you’re all in league with him.”

“Away with him!” cried Jonathan. “I’ll see him fettered myself.
Remain at the door, Nab,” he added, loitering for a moment behind the
others, “and let no one in, or out.”

Jack, meanwhile, was carried to Newgate. Austin could scarcely credit
his senses when he beheld him. Shotbolt, who had in some degree
recovered from the effects of his previous mortification, was thrown
into an ecstacy of delight, and could not sufficiently exult over the
prisoner. Mrs. Spurling had retired for the night. Jack appealed to
the new auditors, and again detailed his story, but with no better
success than heretofore. His statement was treated with derision.
Having seen him heavily ironed, and placed in the Condemned Hold,
Jonathan recrossed the street.

He found Abraham on guard as he had left him.

“Has any one been here?” he asked.

“No von,” replied the Jew.

“That’s well,” replied Wild, entering the house, and fastening the
door. “And now to dispose of our dead. Why, Nab, you shake as
if you’d got an ague?” he added, turning to the Jew, whose teeth
chattered audibly.

“I haven’t quite recovered the fright I got in the Vell-Hole,”
 replied Abraham.

On returning to the audience-chamber, Jonathan found the inanimate
body of Thames Darrell lying where he had left it; but, on examining
it, he remarked that the pockets were turned inside out, and had
evidently been rifled. Startled by this circumstance, he looked
around, and perceived that the trap-door,--which has been mentioned
as communicating with a secret staircase,--was open. He, next,
discovered that Blueskin was gone; and, pursuing his scrutiny,
found that he had carried off all the banknotes, gold, and
letters,--including, what Jonathan himself was not aware of,--the two
packets which he had abstracted from the person of Thames. Uttering
a terrible imprecation, Jonathan snatched up the link, and hastily
descended the stairs, leaving the Jew behind him. After a careful
search below, he could detect no trace of Blueskin. But, finding the
cellar-door open, concluded he had got out that way.

Returning to the audience-chamber in a by-no-means enviable state of
mind, he commanded the Jew to throw the body of Thames into the Well

“You musht do dat shob yourself, Mishter Vild,” rejoined Abraham,
shaking his head. “No prize shall indushe me to enter dat horrid
plashe again.”

“Fool!” cried Wild, taking up the body, “what are you afraid of?
After all,” he added, pausing, “he may be of more use to me alive
than dead.”

Adhering to this change of plan, he ordered Abraham to follow him,
and, descending the secret stairs once more, carried the wounded man
into the lower part of the premises. Unlocking several doors, he
came to a dark vault, that would have rivalled the gloomiest cell in
Newgate, into which he thrust Thames, and fastened the door.

“Go to the pump, Nab,” he said, when this was done, “and fill a pail
with water. We must wash out those stains up stairs, and burn the
cloth. Blood, they say, won’t come out. But I never found any truth
in the saying. When I’ve had an hour’s rest, I’ll be after Blueskin.”


As soon as it became known, through the medium of the public prints
on the following day, that Jack Sheppard had broken out of prison,
and had been again captured during the night, fresh curiosity was
excited, and larger crowds than ever flocked to Newgate, in the hope
of obtaining admission to his cell; but by the governor’s express
commands, Wild having privately counselled the step, no one was
allowed to see him. A question next arose whether the prisoner
could be executed under the existing warrant,--some inclining to one
opinion, some to another. To settle the point, the governor started
to Windsor, delegating his trust in the interim to Wild, who took
advantage of his brief rule to adopt the harshest measures towards
the prisoner. He had him removed from the Condemned Hold, stripped
of his fine apparel, clothed in the most sordid rags, loaded
with additional fetters, and thrust into the Stone Hold,--already
described as the most noisome cell in the whole prison. Here, without
a glimpse of daylight; visited by no one except Austin at stated
intervals, who neither answered a question nor addressed a word to
him; fed upon the worst diet, literally mouldy bread and ditch-water;
surrounded by stone walls; with a flagged floor for his pillow, and
without so much as a blanket to protect him from the death-like cold
that pierced his frame,--Jack’s stout heart was subdued, and he fell
into the deepest dejection, ardently longing for the time when even
a violent death should terminate his sufferings. But it was not so
ordered. Mr. Pitt returned with intelligence that the warrant was
delayed, and, on taking the opinion of two eminent lawyers of the
day, Sir William Thomson and Mr. Serjeant Raby, it was decided that
it must be proved in a regular and judicial manner that Sheppard was
the identical person who had been convicted and had escaped, before
a fresh order could be made for his execution; and that the matter
must, therefore, stand over until the next sessions, to be held at
the Old Bailey in October, when it could be brought before the court.

The unfortunate prisoner, meanwhile, who was not informed of the
respite, languished in his horrible dungeon, and, at the expiration
of three weeks, became so seriously indisposed that it was feared he
could not long survive. He refused his food,--and even when better
provisions were offered him, rejected them. As his death was by no
means what Jonathan desired, he resolved to remove him to a more
airy ward, and afford him such slight comforts as might tend to
his restoration, or at least keep him alive until the period of
execution. With this view, Jack was carried--for he was no longer
able to move without assistance--to a ward called the Castle,
situated over the gateway on the western side, in what was considered
the strongest part of the jail. The walls were of immense thickness;
the small windows double-grated and unglazed; the fire-place was
without a grate; and a barrack-bed, divided into two compartments,
occupied one corner. It was about twelve feet high, nine wide, and
fourteen long; and was approached by double doors each six inches
thick. As Jack appeared to be sinking fast, his fetters were removed,
his own clothes were returned to him, and he was allowed a mattress
and a scanty supply of bed-linen. Mrs. Spurling attended him as his
nurse, and, under her care, he speedily revived. As soon as he became
convalescent, and all fears of his premature dissolution were at
an end, Wild recommenced his rigorous treatment. The bedding was
removed; Mrs. Spurling was no longer allowed to visit him; he was
again loaded with irons; fastened by an enormous horse-padlock to a
staple in the floor; and only allowed to take repose in a chair. A
single blanket constituted his sole covering at night. In spite of
all this, he grew daily better and stronger, and his spirits revived.
Hitherto, no visitors had been permitted to see him. As the time
when his identity had to be proved approached, this rigour was, in
a trifling degree, relaxed, and a few persons were occasionally
admitted to the ward, but only in the presence of Austin. From none
of these could Jack ascertain what had become of Thames, or learn any
particulars concerning the family at Dollis Hill, or of his mother.
Austin, who had been evidently schooled by Wild, maintained a
profound silence on this head. In this way, more than a month passed
over. October arrived; and in another week the court would be sitting
at the Old Bailey.

One night, about this time, just as Austin was about to lock the
great gate, Jonathan Wild and his two janizaries entered the Lodge
with a prisoner bound hand and foot. It was Blueskin. On the cords
being removed, he made a desperate spring at Wild, bore him to the
ground, clutched at his throat, and would, infallibly, have strangled
him, if the keepers had not all thrown themselves upon him, and by
main force torn him off. His struggles were so violent, that, being a
man of tremendous strength, it was some time before they could master
him, and it required the combined efforts of all the four partners
to put him into irons. It appeared from what he said that he had been
captured when asleep,--that his liquor had been drugged,--otherwise,
he would never have allowed himself to be taken alive. Wild, he
asserted, had robbed him of a large sum of money, and till it was
restored he would never plead.

“We’ll see that,” replied Jonathan. “Take him to the bilbowes. Put
him in the stocks, and there let him sleep off his drunken fit.
Whether he pleads or not, he shall swing with his confederate, Jack

At this allusion to his leader, a shudder passed through Blueskin’s
athletic frame.

“Where is he?” he cried. “Let me see him. Let me have a word with
him, and you may take all the money.”

Jonathan made no answer, but motioned the partners to take him away.

As soon as Blueskin was removed, Wild intimated his intention of
visiting the Castle. He was accompanied by Ireton and Austin. The
massive door was unlocked, and they entered the cell. What was their
surprise to find it vacant, and the prisoner gone! Jonathan, could
scarcely believe his eyes. He looked fiercely and inquiringly from
one to the other of his companions; but, though both of them were
excessively frightened, neither appeared guilty. Before a word could
be said, however, a slight noise was heard in the chimney, and Jack
with his irons on descended from it. Without betraying the slightest
confusion, or making a single remark, he quietly resumed his seat.

“Amazement!” cried Wild. “How has he unfastened his padlock? Austin,
it must be owing to your negligence.”

“My negligence, Mr. Wild,” said the turnkey, trembling in every
joint. “I assure you, Sir, when I left him an hour ago, it was
locked. I tried it myself, Sir. I’m as much astonished as you. But I
can’t account for it!”

“At all events, you shall answer for it,” thundered Wild, with a
bitter imprecation.

“He’s not to blame,” said Jack, rising. “I opened the padlock with
this crooked nail, which I found in the floor. If you had arrived ten
minutes later, or if there hadn’t been an iron bar in the chimney,
that hindered my progress, I should have been beyond your reach.”

“You talk boldly,” replied Wild. “Go to the Iron Hold, Austin, and
tell two of the partners to bring another padlock of the largest
size, and the heaviest handcuffs they can find. We’ll try whether
he’ll get loose again.”

Sheppard said nothing, but a disdainful smile curled his lips.

Austin departed, and presently afterwards returned with the two
subordinate officers, each of whom wore a leathern apron round his
waist, and carried a large hammer. As soon as the manacles were
slipped over the prisoner’s wrists, and the new padlock secured to
the staple, they withdrew.

“Leave me alone with him a moment,” said Jonathan. And the jailers
also retired.

“Jack,” said Wild, with a glance of malignant triumph, “I will now
tell you what I have done. All my plans have succeeded. Before a
month has elapsed, your mother will be mine. The Trenchard estates
will likewise be mine, for Sir Rowland is no more, and the youth,
Thames, will never again see daylight. Blueskin, who had evaded me
with the papers and the money, is a prisoner here, and will perish on
the same gallows as yourself. My vengeance is completely gratified.”

Without waiting for a reply, but darting a malevolent look at the
prisoner, he quitted the cell, the door of which was instantly
double-locked and bolted.

“I’ve not quite done yet,” said Jonathan, as he joined the turnkeys.
“I should like to see whether Blueskin is a little more composed.
I’ve a question to ask him. Give me the keys and the light. I’ll go

So saying, he descended a short spiral staircase, and, entering a
long stone gallery, from which several other passages branched, took
one of them, and after various turnings--for he was familiar with all
the intricacies of the prison--arrived at the cell of which he was
in search. Selecting a key from the heavy bunch committed to him by
Austin, he threw open the door, and beheld Blueskin seated at the
back of the small chamber, handcuffed, and with his feet confined
in a heavy pair of stocks. He was asleep when Jonathan entered, and
growled at being disturbed. But, as soon as he perceived who it was,
he roused himself, and glared fiercely at the intruder from under his
bent brows.

“What do you want?” he asked, in a gruff voice.

“I want to know what you’ve done with the rest of the notes--with the
gold--and the papers you took away from my room!” rejoined Wild.

“Then you’ll never know more than this,” retorted Blueskin, with a
grin of satisfaction;--“they’re in a place of safety, where _you_‘ll
never find ‘em, but where somebody else _will_, and that before

“Hear me, Blueskin,” said Jonathan, restraining his choler. “If
you’ll tell me where to look for these things, and I _do_ find
them, I’ll set you free. And you shall have a share of the gold for

“I’ll tell you what I’ll do,” rejoined the other. “Set Captain
Sheppard free, and when I hear he’s safe,--not before,--I’ll put the
money and papers into your possession, and some other matters, too,
that you know nothing about.”

“Impracticable dolt!” exclaimed Jonathan, furiously. “Do you think
I’d part with the sweetest morsel of revenge on those terms? No! But
I’ll have the secret out of you by other means.”

So saying, he violently shut and locked the door.

About ten days after this interview, Blueskin, having been indicted
by Wild for several robberies, and true bills found against him, was
placed at the bar of the Old Bailey to be arraigned; when he declared
that he would not plead to the indictment, unless the sum of five
hundred pounds, taken from him by Jonathan Wild, was first restored
to him. This sum, claimed by Wild under the statute 4th and 5th of
William and Mary, entitled “_An act for encouraging the apprehending
of Highwaymen_,” was granted to him by the court.

As Blueskin still continued obstinate, the judgment appointed to be
executed upon such prisoners as stood mute, was then read. It was
as follows, and, when uttered, produced a strong effect upon all who
heard it, except the prisoner, who, in no respect, altered his sullen
and dogged demeanour.

“Prisoner at the bar,” thus ran the sentence, “you shall be taken to
the prison from whence you came, and put into a mean room, stopped
from the light; and shall there be laid on the bare ground, without
any litter, straw, or other covering, and without any garment. You
shall lie upon your back; your head shall be covered; and your feet
shall be bare. One of your arms shall be drawn to one side of the
room, and the other arm to the other side, and your legs shall be
served in the like manner. Then, there shall be laid upon your body
as much iron, or stone as you can bear, and more. And the first day,
you shall have three morsels of barley bread, without any drink; and
the second day, you shall be allowed to drink as much as you can,
at three times, of the water that is next to the prison-door, except
running-water, without any bread. And this shall be your diet till
you die.”

“Prisoner at the bar,” continued the clerk of the court, “he against
whom this judgment is given, forfeits his goods to the king.”

An awful silence prevailed throughout the court. Every eye was fixed
upon the prisoner. But, as he made no answer, he was removed.

Before the full sentence was carried into execution, he was taken
into a small room adjoining the court. Here Marvel, the executioner,
who was in attendance, was commanded by Wild to tie his thumbs
together, which he did with whipcord so tightly, that the string cut
to the bone. But, as this produced no effect, and did not even elicit
a groan, the prisoner was carried back to Newgate.

The Press Room, to which Blueskin was conveyed on his arrival at the
jail, was a small square chamber, walled and paved with stone. In
each corner stood a stout square post reaching to the ceiling. To
these a heavy wooden apparatus was attached, which could be raised
or lowered at pleasure by pullies. In the floor were set four
ring-bolts, about nine feet apart. When the prisoner was brought into
this room, he was again questioned; but, continuing contumacious,
preparations were made for inflicting the torture. His great personal
strength being so well known, it was deemed prudent by Marvel to
have all the four partners, together with Caliban, in attendance. The
prisoner, however, submitted more quietly than was anticipated. He
allowed his irons and clothes to be taken off without resistance.
But just as they were about to place him on the ground, he burst from
their hold, and made a desperate spring at Jonathan, who was standing
with his arms folded near the door watching the scene. The attempt
was unsuccessful. He was instantly overpowered, and stretched upon
the ground. The four men fell upon him, holding his arms and legs,
while Caliban forced back his head. In this state, he contrived to
get the poor black’s hand into his mouth, and nearly bit off one
of his fingers before the sufferer could be rescued. Meanwhile, the
executioner had attached strong cords to his ankles and wrists, and
fastened them tightly to the iron rings. This done, he unloosed the
pulley, and the ponderous machine, which resembled a trough, slowly
descended upon the prisoner’s breast. Marvel, then, took two iron
weights, each of a hundred pounds, and placed them in the press. As
this seemed insufficient, after a lapse of five minutes, he added
another hundred weight. The prisoner breathed with difficulty. Still,
his robust frame enabled him to hold out. After he had endured this
torture for an hour, at a sign from Wild another hundred weight was
added. In a few minutes, an appalling change was perceptible. The
veins in his throat and forehead swelled and blackened; his eyes
protruded from their sockets, and stared wildly; a thick damp
gathered on his brow: and blood gushed from his mouth, nostrils, and

“Water!” he gasped.

The executioner shook his head.

“Do you submit?” interrogated Wild.

Blueskin answered by dashing his head violently against the flagged
floor. His efforts at self-destruction were, however, prevented.

“Try fifty pounds more,” said Jonathan.

“Stop!” groaned Blueskin.

“Will you plead?” demanded Wild, harshly.

“I will,” answered the prisoner.

“Release him,” said Jonathan. “We have cured his obstinacy, you
perceive,” he added to Marvel.

“I _will_ live,” cried Blueskin, with a look of the deadliest hatred
at Wild, “to be revenged on you.”

And, as the weights were removed, he fainted.


Early in the morning of Thursday, the 15th of October, 1724, the
door of the Castle was opened by Austin, who, with a look of unusual
importance, announced to the prisoner that four gentlemen were
shortly coming up with the governor to see him,--“four _such_
gentlemen,” he added, in a tone meant to impress his auditor with a
due sense of the honour intended him, “as you don’t meet every day.”

“Is Mr. Wood among them?” asked Jack, eagerly.

“Mr. Wood!--no,” replied the turnkey. “Do you think I’d take the
trouble to announce _him_? These are persons of consequence, I tell

“Who are they?” inquired Sheppard.

“Why, first,” rejoined Austin, “there’s Sir James Thornhill,
historical painter to his Majesty, and the greatest artist of the
day. Those grand designs in the dome of St. Paul’s are his work. So
is the roof of the state-room at Hampton Court Palace, occupied by
Queen Anne, and the Prince of Denmark. So is the chapel of All Souls
at Oxford, and the great hall at Blenheim, and I don’t know how many
halls and chapels besides. He’s now engaged on the hall at Greenwich

“I’ve heard of him,” replied Jack, impatiently. “Who are the others?”

“Let me see. There’s a friend of Sir James--a young man, an engraver
of masquerade tickets and caricatures,--his name I believe is
Hogarth. Then, there’s Mr. Gay, the poet, who wrote the ‘Captives,’
which was lately acted at Drury Lane, and was so much admired by
the Princess of Wales. And, lastly, there’s Mr. Figg, the noted
prize-fighter, from the New Amphitheatre in Marylebone Fields.”

“Figg’s an old friend of mine,” rejoined Jack; “he was my instructor
in the small sword and back sword exercise. I’m glad he’s come to see

“You don’t inquire what brings Sir James Thornhill here?” said

“Curiosity, I suppose,” returned Jack, carelessly.

“No such thing,” rejoined the jailer; “he’s coming on business.”

“On what business, in the name of wonder?” asked Sheppard.

“To paint your portrait,” answered the jailer.

“My portrait!” echoed Jack.

“By desire of his Majesty,” said the jailer, consequentially. “He has
heard of your wonderful escapes, and wishes to see what you’re like.
There’s a feather in your cap! No house-breaker was ever so highly
honoured before.”

“And have my escapes really made so much noise as to reach the ear of
royalty?” mused Jack. “I have done nothing--nothing to what I _could_
do--to what I _will_ do!”

“You’ve done quite enough,” rejoined Austin; “more than you’ll ever
do again.”

“And then to be taken thus, in these disgraceful bonds!” continued
Jack, “to be held up as a sight for ever!”

“Why, how else would you be taken?” exclaimed the jailer, with a
coarse laugh. “It’s very well Mr. Wild allowed you to have your
fine clothes again, or you might have been taken in a still more
disgraceful garb. For my part, I think those shackles extremely
becoming. But, here they are.”

Voices being heard at the door, Austin flew to open it, and admitted
Mr. Pitt, the governor, a tall pompous personage, who, in his turn,
ushered in four other individuals. The first of these, whom he
addressed as Mr. Gay, was a stout, good-looking, good-humoured man,
about thirty-six, with a dark complexion, an oval face, fine black
eyes, full of fire and sensibility, and twinkling with roguish
humour--an expression fully borne out by the mouth, which had a
very shrewd and sarcastic curl. The poet’s appearance altogether was
highly prepossessing. With a strong tendency to satire, but without a
particle of malice or ill-nature in its display. Gay, by his strokes
of pleasantry, whether in his writings or conversation, never lost a
friend. On the contrary, he was a universal favourite, and numbered
amongst his intimate acquaintances the choicest spirits of the
time,--Pope, Swift, Arbuthnot, and “all the better brothers.” His
demeanour was polished; his manners singularly affable and gentle;
and he was remarkable, for the generosity of his temper. In worldly
matters Gay was not fortunate. Possessed, at one time, of a share
in the South Sea stock, he conceived himself worth twenty thousand
pounds. But, on the bursting of that bubble, his hopes vanished
with it. Neither did his interest,--which was by no means
inconsiderable,--nor his general popularity, procure him the
preferment he desired. A constant attendant at court, he had the
mortification to see every one promoted but himself, and thus bewails
his ill-luck.

    Places, I found, were daily given away,
    And yet no friendly gazette mentioned Gay.

The prodigious success of the “Beggars’ Opera,” which was produced
about four years after the date of this history, rewarded him for
all his previous disappointments, though it did not fully justify the
well-known epigram, alluding to himself and the manager, and “make
Gay _rich_, and Rich _gay_.” At the time of his present introduction,
his play of “The Captives,” had just been produced at Drury Lane,
and he was meditating his “Fables,” which were published two years

Behind the poet came Sir James Thornhill. The eminent painter had
handsome, expressive features, an aquiline nose, and a good deal
of dignity in his manner. His age was not far from fifty. He was
accompanied by a young man of about seven-and-twenty, who carried
his easel, set it in its place, laid the canvass upon it, opened the
paint box, took out the brushes and palette, and, in short, paid him
the most assiduous attention. This young man, whose features, though
rather plain and coarse, bore the strongest impress of genius, and
who had a dark gray, penetrating eye, so quick in its glances that it
seemed to survey twenty objects at once, and yet only to fasten upon
one, bore the honoured name of William Hogarth. Why he paid so much
attention to Sir James Thornhill may be explained anon.

The rear of the party was brought up by a large, powerfully-built
man, with a bluff, honest, but rugged countenance, slashed with many
a cut and scar, and stamped with that surly, sturdy, bull-dog-like
look, which an Englishman always delights to contemplate, because he
conceives it to be characteristic of his countrymen. This formidable
person, who was no other than the renowned Figg, the “Atlas of the
sword,” as he is termed by Captain Godfrey, had removed his hat and
“skull covering,” and was wiping the heat from his bepatched and
close-shaven pate. His shirt also was unbuttoned, and disclosed a
neck like that of an ox, and a chest which might have served as
a model for a Hercules. He had a flattish, perhaps, it should be
called, a _flattened_ nose, and a brown, leathern-looking hide,
that seemed as if it had not unfrequently undergone the process of
tanning. Under his arm he carried a thick, knotted crab-stick. The
above description of

   --the great Figg, by the prize-fighting swains
    Sole monarch acknowledged of Mary’bone plains--

may sound somewhat tame by the side of the glowing account given of
him by his gallant biographer, who asserts that “there was a majesty
shone in his countenance, and blazed in his actions, beyond all I
ever saw;” but it may, possibly, convey a more accurate notion of
his personal appearance. James Figg was the most perfect master of
self-defence of his day. Seconded by his strength and temper, his
skill rendered him invincible and he is reputed never to have lost
a battle. His imperturbable demeanour in the fight has been well
portrayed by Captain Godfrey, who here condescends to lay aside
his stilts. “His right leg bold and firm, and his left, which could
hardly ever be disturbed, gave him a surprising advantage, and
struck his adversary with despair and panic. He had a peculiar way of
stepping in, in a parry; knew his arm, and its just time of moving;
put a firm faith in that, and never let his opponent escape. He was
just as much a greater master than any other I ever saw, as he was a
greater judge of time and measure.” Figg’s prowess in a combat with
Button has been celebrated by Dr. Byrom,--a poet of whom his native
town, Manchester, may be justly proud; and his features and figure
have been preserved by the most illustrious of his companions on the
present occasion,--Hogarth,--in the levée in the “Rake’s Progress,”
 and in “Southwark Fair.”

On the appearance of his visitors, Sheppard arose,--his gyves
clanking heavily as he made the movement,--and folding his arms,
so far as his manacles would permit him, upon his breast, steadily
returned the glances fixed upon him.

“This is the noted house-breaker and prison-breaker, gentlemen,” said
Mr. Pitt, pointing to the prisoner.

“Odd’s life!” cried Gay, in astonishment; “is this slight-made
stripling Jack Sheppard? Why, I expected to see a man six foot high
at the least, and as broad across the shoulders as our friend Figg.
This is a mere boy. Are you sure you haven’t mistaken the ward, Mr.

“There is no mistake, Sir,” rejoined the prisoner, drawing himself
up, “I am Jack Sheppard.”

“Well, I never was more surprised in my life,” said the

“He’s just the man _I_ expected to see,” observed Hogarth, who,
having arranged everything to Thornhill’s satisfaction, had turned to
look at the prisoner, and was now with his chin upon his wrist, and
his elbow supported by the other hand, bending his keen gray eyes
upon him, “just the man! Look at that light, lithe figure,--all
muscle and activity, with not an ounce of superfluous flesh upon it.
In my search after strange characters, Mr. Gay, I’ve been in many
odd quarters of our city--have visited haunts frequented only by
thieves--the Old Mint, the New Mint, the worst part of St. Giles’s,
and other places--but I’ve nowhere seen any one who came up
so completely to my notion of a first-rate housebreaker as the
individual before us. Wherever I saw him, I should pick him out as a
man designed by nature to plan and accomplish the wonderful escapes
he has effected.”

As he spoke, a smile crossed Sheppard’s countenance.

“He understands me, you perceive,” said Hogarth.

“Well, I won’t dispute your judgment in such matters, Mr. Hogarth,”
 replied Gay. “But I appeal to you, Sir James, whether it isn’t
extraordinary that so very slight a person should be such a desperate
robber as he is represented--so young, too, for such an _old_
offender. Why, he can scarcely be twenty.”

“I am one-and-twenty,” observed Jack.

“One-and-twenty, ah!” repeated Gay. “Well, I’m not far from the

“He is certainly extremely youthful-looking and very slightly
made,” said Thornhill, who had been attentively studying Sheppard’s
countenance. “But I agree with Hogarth, that he is precisely the
person to do what he has done. Like a thorough-bred racer, he would
sustain twice as much fatigue as a person of heavier mould. Can I be
accommodated with a seat, Mr. Pitt?”

“Certainly, Sir James, certainly,” replied the governor. “Get a
chair, Austin.”

While this order was obeyed, Figg, who had been standing near the
door, made his way to the prisoner, and offered him his huge hand,
which Jack warmly grasped.

“Well, Jack,” said the prize-fighter, in a rough, but friendly voice,
and with a cut-and-thrust abrupt manner peculiar to himself; “how are
you, lad, eh? Sorry to see you here. Wouldn’t take my advice. Told
you how it would be. One mistress enough to ruin a man,--two, the
devil. Laughed at me, then. Laugh on the wrong side of your mouth,

“You’re not come here to insult me, Mr. Figg?” said Jack, peevishly.

“Insult you! not I;” returned Figg. “Heard of your escapes. Everybody
talking of you. Wished to see you. Old pupil. Capital swordsman.
Shortly to be executed. Come to take leave. Trifle useful?” he added,
slipping a few gold pieces into Jack’s hand.

“You are very kind,” said Jack, returning the money; “but I don’t
require assistance.”

“Too proud, eh?” rejoined the prize-fighter. “Won’t be under an

“There you’re wrong, Mr. Figg,” replied Jack, smiling; “for, before
I’m taken to Tyburn, I mean to borrow a shirt for the occasion from

“Have it, and welcome,” rejoined Figg. “Always plenty to spare. Never
bought a shirt in my life, Mr. Gay,” he added, turning to the poet.
“Sold a good many, though.”

“How do you manage that, Mr. Figg?” asked Gay.

“Thus,” replied the prize-fighter. “Proclaim a public fight.
Challenge accepted. Fifty pupils. Day before, send round to each to
borrow a shirt. Fifty sent home. All superfine holland. Wear one on
the stage on the following day. Cut to pieces--slashed--bloodied.
Each of my scholars thinks it his own shirt. Offer to return it to
each in private. All make the same answer--‘d--n you, keep it.’”

“An ingenious device,” laughed Gay.

Sir James Thornhill’s preparations being completed, Mr. Pitt desired
to know if he wanted anything further, and being answered in the
negative, he excused himself on the plea that his attendance was
required in the court at the Old Bailey, which was then sitting, and

“Do me the favour to seat yourself, Jack,” said Sir James.
“Gentlemen, a little further off, if you please.”

Sheppard immediately complied with the painter’s request; while Gay
and Figg drew back on one side, and Hogarth on the other. The latter
took from his pocket a small note-book and pencil.

“I’ll make a sketch, too,” he said. “Jack Sheppard’s face is well
worth preserving.”

After narrowly examining the countenance of the sitter, and motioning
him with his pencil into a particular attitude, Sir James Thornhill
commenced operations; and, while he rapidly transferred his
lineaments to the canvass, engaged him in conversation, in the course
of which he artfully contrived to draw him into a recital of his
adventures. The _ruse_ succeeded almost beyond his expectation.
During the narration Jack’s features lighted up, and an expression,
which would have been in vain looked for in repose, was instantly
caught and depicted by the skilful artist. All the party were greatly
interested by Sheppard’s history--especially Figg, who laughed loud
and long at the escape from the Condemned Hold. When Jack came to
speak of Jonathan Wild, his countenance fell.

“We must change the subject,” remarked Thornhill, pausing in his
task; “this will never do.”

“Quite right, Sir James,” said Austin. “We never suffer him to
mention Mr. Wild’s name. He never appears to so little advantage as
when speaking of him.”

“I don’t wonder at it,” rejoined Gay.

Here Hogarth received a private signal from Thornhill to attract
Sheppard’s attention.

“And so you’ve given up all hope of escaping, eh, Jack?” remarked

“That’s scarcely a fair question, Mr. Hogarth, before the jailer,”
 replied Jack. “But I tell you frankly, and Mr. Austin, may repeat it
if he pleases to his master, Jonathan Wild,--I have _not_.”

“Well said, Jack,” cried Figg. “Never give in.”

“Well,” observed Hogarth, “if, fettered as you are, you contrive to
break out of this dungeon, you’ll do what no man ever did before.”

A peculiar smile illuminated Jack’s features.

“There it is!” cried Sir James, eagerly. “There’s the exact
expression I want. For the love of Heaven, Jack, don’t move!--Don’t
alter a muscle, if you can help it.”

And, with a few magical touches, he stamped the fleeting expression
on the canvass.

“I have it too!” exclaimed Hogarth, busily plying his pencil. “Gad!
it’s a devilish fine face when lit up.”

“As like as life, Sir,” observed Austin, peeping over Thornhill’s
shoulder at the portrait. “As like as life.”

“The very face,” exclaimed Gay, advancing to look at it;--“with all
the escapes written in it.”

“You flatter me,” smiled Sir James. “But, I own, I think it _is_

“What do you think of _my_ sketch, Jack?” said Hogarth, handing him
the drawing.

“It’s like enough, I dare say,” rejoined Sheppard. “But it wants
something _here_.” And he pointed significantly to the hand.

“I see,” rejoined Hogarth, rapidly sketching a file, which he placed
in the hands of the picture. “Will that do?” he added, returning it.

“It’s better,” observed Sheppard, meaningly. “But you’ve given me
what I don’t possess.”

“Hum!” said Hogarth, looking fixedly at him. “I don’t see how I can
improve it.”

“May I look at it, Sir!” said Austin, stepping towards him.

“No,” replied Hogarth, hastily effacing the sketch. “I’m never
satisfied with a first attempt.”

“Egad, Jack,” said Gay, “you should write your adventures. They would
be quite as entertaining as the histories of Guzman D’Alfarache,
Lazarillo de Tormes, Estevanillo Gonzalez, Meriton Latroon, or any of
my favourite rogues,--and far more instructive.”

“You had better write them for me, Mr. Gay,” rejoined Jack.

“If you’ll write them, I’ll illustrate them,” observed Hogarth.

“An idea has just occurred to me,” said Gay, “which Jack’s narrative
has suggested. I’ll write an opera the scene of which shall be
laid altogether in Newgate, and the principal character shall be a
highmaywan. I’ll not forget your two mistresses, Jack.”

“Nor Jonathan Wild, I hope,” interposed Sheppard.

“Certainly not,” replied Gay. “I’ll gibbet the rascal. But I
forget,” he added, glancing at Austin; “it’s high treason to speak
disrespectfully of Mr. Wild in his own domain.”

“I hear nothing, Sir,” laughed Austin.

“I was about to add,” continued Gay, “that my opera shall have no
music except the good old ballad tunes. And we’ll see whether it
won’t put the Italian opera out of fashion, with Cutzoni, Senesino,
and the ‘divine’ Farinelli at its head.”

“You’ll do a national service, then,” said Hogarth. “The sums
lavished upon those people are perfectly disgraceful, and I should be
enchanted to see them hooted from the stage. But I’ve an idea as well
as you, grounded in some measure upon Sheppard’s story. I’ll take
two apprentices, and depict their career. One, by perseverance and
industry shall obtain fortune, credit, and the highest honours;
while the other by an opposite course, and dissolute habits, shall
eventually arrive at Tyburn.”

“Your’s will be nearer the truth, and have a deeper moral, Mr.
Hogarth,” remarked Jack, dejectedly. “But if my career were truly
exhibited, it must be as one long struggle against destiny in the
shape of--”

“Jonathan Wild,” interposed Gay. “I knew it. By the by, Mr. Hogarth,
didn’t I see you last night at the ridotto with Lady Thornhill and
her pretty daughter?”

“Me!--no, Sir,” stammered Hogarth, colouring. And he hazarded a wink
at the poet over the paper on which he was sketching. Luckily, Sir
James was so much engrossed by his own task, that both the remark and
gesture escaped him.

“I suppose I was mistaken,” returned Gay. “You’ve been quizzing my
friend Kent, I perceive, in your Burlington Gate.”

“A capital caricature that,” remarked Thornhill, laughing. “What does
Mr. Kent say to it?”

“He thinks so highly of it, that he says if he had a daughter he
would give her to the artist,” answered Gay, a little maliciously.

“Ah!” exclaimed Sir James.

“‘Sdeath!” cried Hogarth, aside to the poet. “You’ve ruined my

“Advanced them rather,” replied Gay, in the same tone. “Miss
Thornhill’s a charming girl. _I_ think a wife a needless incumbrance,
and mean to die a bachelor. But, if I were in your place, I know what
I’d do--”

“What--what would you do?” asked Hogarth, eagerly.

“Run away with her,” replied Gay.

“Pish!” exclaimed Hogarth. But he afterwards acted upon the

“Good-b’ye, Jack,” said Figg, putting on his hat. “Rather in the way.
Send you the shirt. Here, turnkey. Couple of guineas to drink Captain
Sheppard’s speedy escape. Thank him, not me, man. Give this fellow
the slip, if you can, Jack. If not, keep up your spirits. Die game.”

“Never fear,” replied Jack. “If I get free, I’ll have a bout with you
at all weapons. If not, I’ll take a cheerful glass with you at the
City of Oxford, on my way to Tyburn.”

“Give you the best I have in either case,” replied Figg. “Good-b’ye!”
 And with a cordial shake of the hand he took his departure.

Sir James Thornhill, then, rose.

“I won’t trouble you further, Jack,” he remarked. “I’ve done all I
can to the portrait here. I must finish it at home.”

“Permit me to see it, Sir James!” requested Jack. “Ah!” he exclaimed,
as the painting was turned towards him. “What would my poor mother
say to it?”

“I was sorry to see that about your mother, Jack,” observed Hogarth.

“What of her?” exclaimed Jack, starting up. “Is she dead?”

“No--no,” answered Hogarth. “Don’t alarm yourself. I saw it this
morning in the Daily Journal--an advertisement, offering a reward--”

“A reward!” echoed Jack. “For what?”

“I had the paper with me. ‘Sdeath! what can I have done with it? Oh!
here it is,” cried Hogarth, picking it from the ground. “I must
have dropped it when I took out my note-book. There’s the
paragraph. ‘_Mrs. Sheppard left Mr. Wood’s house at Dollis Hill on
Tuesday_’--that’s two days ago,--‘_hasn’t been heard of since_.’”

“Let me see,” cried Jack, snatching the paper, and eagerly perusing
the advertisement. “Ah!” he exclaimed, in a tone of anguish. “She has
fallen into the villain’s hands.”

“What villain?” cried Hogarth.

“Jonathan Wild, I’ll be sworn,” said Gay.

“Right!--right!” cried Jack, striking his fettered hands against his
breast. “She is in his power, and I am here, chained hand and foot,
unable to assist her.”

“I could make a fine sketch of him now,” whispered Hogarth to Gay.

“I told you how it was, Sir James,” said Austin, addressing the
knight, who was preparing for his departure, “he attributes every
misfortune that befals him to Mr. Wild.”

“And with some justice,” replied Thornhill, drily.

“Allow me to assist you, Sir James,” said Hogarth.

“Many thanks, Sir,” replied Thornhill, with freezing politeness; “but
Id not require assistance.”

“I tell you what, Jack,” said Gay, “I’ve several urgent engagements
this morning; but I’ll return to-morrow, and hear the rest of your
story. And, if I can render you any service, you may command me.”

“To-morrow will be too late,” said Sheppard, moodily.

The easel and palette having been packed up, and the canvass
carefully removed by Austin, the party took leave of the prisoner,
who was so much abstracted that he scarcely noticed their departure.
Just as Hogarth got to the door, the turnkey stopped him.

“You have forgotten your knife, Mr. Hogarth,” he observed,

“So I have,” replied Hogarth, glancing at Sheppard.

“I can do without it,” muttered Jack.

The door was then locked, and he was left alone.

At three o’clock, on the same day, Austin brought up Jack’s
provisions, and, after carefully examining his fetters, and finding
all secure, told him if he wanted anything further he must mention
it, as he should not be able to return in the evening, his presence
being required elsewhere. Jack replied in the negative, and it
required all his mastery over himself to prevent the satisfaction
which this announcement afforded him from being noticed by the

With the usual precautions, Austin then departed.

“And now,” cried Jack, leaping up, “for an achievement, compared with
which all I have yet done shall be as nothing!”


Jack Sheppard’s first object was to free himself from his handcuffs.
This he accomplished by holding the chain that connected them firmly
between his teeth, and squeezing his fingers as closely together as
possible, succeeded in drawing his wrists through the manacles. He
next twisted the heavy gyves round and round, and partly by main
strength, partly by a dexterous and well-applied jerk, sapped asunder
the central link by which they were attached to the padlock. Taking
off his stockings, he then drew up the basils as far as he was able,
and tied the fragments of the broken chain to his legs, to prevent
them from clanking, and impeding his future exertions.

Jack’s former attempt to pass up the chimney, it may be remembered,
was obstructed by an iron bar. To remove this obstacle it was
necessary make an extensive breach in the wall. With the broken links
of the chain, which served him in lieu of more efficient implements,
he commenced operations just above the chimney-piece, and soon
contrived to pick a hole in the plaster.

He found the wall, as he suspected, solidly constructed of brick and
stone; and with the slight and inadequate tools which he possessed,
it was a work of infinite labour and skill to get out a single brick.
That done, however, he was well aware the rest would be comparatively
easy, and as he threw the brick to the ground, he exclaimed
triumphantly, “The first step is taken--the main difficulty is

Animated by this trifling success, he proceeded with fresh ardour,
and the rapidity of his progress was proclaimed by the heap of
bricks, stones, and mortar which before long covered the floor. At
the expiration of an hour, by dint of unremitting exertion, he had
made so large a breach in the chimney, that he could stand upright in
it. He was now within a foot of the bar, and introducing himself into
the hole, speedily worked his way to it.

Regardless of the risk he incurred from some heavy stone dropping on
his head or feet,--regardless also of the noise made by the falling
rubbish, and of the imminent danger which he consequently ran of
being interrupted by some of the jailers, should the sound reach
their ears, he continued to pull down large masses of the wall, which
he flung upon the floor of the cell.

Having worked thus for another quarter of an hour without being
sensible of fatigue, though he was half stifled by the clouds of dust
which his exertions raised, he had made a hole about three feet wide,
and six high, and uncovered the iron bar. Grasping it firmly with
both hands, he quickly wrenched if from the stones in which it was
mortised, and leapt to the ground. On examination it proved to be
a flat bar of iron, nearly a yard in length, and more than an
inch square. “A capital instrument for my purpose,” thought Jack,
shouldering it, “and worth all the trouble I have had in procuring

While he was thus musing, he fancied he heard the lock tried. A chill
ran through his frame, and, grasping the heavy weapon with which
chance had provided him, prepared to strike down the first person who
should enter the cell. After listening attentively for a short time
without drawing breath, he became convinced that his apprehensions
were groundless, and, greatly relieved, sat down upon the chair to
rest himself and prepare for further efforts.

Acquainted with every part of the jail, Jack well knew that his only
chance of effecting an escape must be by the roof. To reach it would
be a most difficult undertaking. Still it was possible, and the
difficulty was only a fresh incitement.

The mere enumeration of the obstacles that existed would have
deterred any spirit less daring than Sheppard’s from even hazarding
the attempt. Independently of other risks, and of the chance of
breaking his neck in the descent, he was aware that to reach the
leads he should have to break open six of the strongest doors of
the prison. Armed, however, with the implement he had so fortunately
obtained, he did not despair of success.

“My name will only be remembered as that of a robber,” he mused;
“but it shall be remembered as that of a bold one: and this night’s
achievement, if it does nothing else, shall prevent me from being
classed with the common herd of depredators.”

Roused by this reflection, filled with the deepest anxiety for his
mother, and burning to be avenged upon Jonathan Wild, he grasped the
iron bar, which, when he sat down, he had laid upon his knees, and
stepped quickly across the room. In doing so, he had to clamber up
the immense heap of bricks and rubbish which now littered the floor,
amounting almost to a car-load, and reaching up nearly to the top of
the chimney-piece.

“Austin will stare,” thought Jack, “when he comes here in the
morning. It will cost them something to repair their stronghold, and
take them more time to build it up again than I have taken to pull it

Before proceeding with his task, he considered whether it would be
possible to barricade the door; but, reflecting that the bar would be
an indispensable assistant in his further efforts, he abandoned the
idea, and determined to rely implicitly on that good fortune which
had hitherto attended him on similar occasions.

Having once more got into the chimney, he climbed to a level with the
ward above, and recommenced operations as vigorously as before. He
was now aided with a powerful implement, with which he soon contrived
to make a hole in the wall.

“Every brick I take out,” cried Jack, as fresh rubbish clattered down
the chimney, “brings me nearer my mother.”


The ward into which Jack was endeavouring to break was called the Red
Room, from the circumstance of its walls having once been painted
in that colour; all traces of which had, however, long since
disappeared. Like the Castle, which it resembled in all respects
except that it was destitute even of a barrack-bedstead, the Red Room
was reserved for state-prisoners, and had not been occupied since the
year 1716, when the jail, as has before been mentioned, was crowded
by the Preston rebels.

Having made a hole in the wall sufficiently large to pass through,
Jack first tossed the bar into the room and then crept after it. As
soon as he had gained his feet, he glanced round the bare blank
walls of the cell, and, oppressed by the musty, close atmosphere,
exclaimed, “I’ll let a little fresh air into this dungeon. They say
it hasn’t been opened for eight years--but I won’t be eight years in
getting out of it.”

In stepping across the room, some sharp point in the floor pierced
his foot, and stooping to examine it, he found that the wound had
been inflicted by a long rusty nail, which projected from the boards.
Totally disregarding the pain, he picked up the nail, and reserved it
for future use. Nor was he long in making it available.

On examining the door, he found it secured by a large rusty lock,
which he endeavoured to pick with the nail he had just acquired;
but all his efforts proving ineffectual, he removed the plate that
covered it with the bar, and with his fingers contrived to draw back
the bolt.

Opening the door he then stepped into a dark narrow passage leading,
as he was well aware, to the chapel. On the left there were doors
communicating with the King’s Bench Ward and the Stone Ward, two
large holds on the Master Debtors’ side. But Jack was too well versed
in the geography of the place to attempt either of them. Indeed,
if he had been ignorant of it, the sound of voices which he could
faintly distinguish, would have served as a caution to him.

[Illustration: 183]

Hurrying on, his progress was soon checked by a strong door, several
inches in thickness, and nearly as wide as the passage. Running his
hand carefully over it in search of the lock, he perceived to his
dismay that it was fastened on the other side. After several vain
attempts to burst it open, he resolved, as a last alternative, to
break through the wall in the part nearest to the lock. This was
a much more serious task than he anticipated. The wall was of
considerable thickness, and built altogether of stone; and the noise
he was compelled to make in using the heavy bar, which brought sparks
with every splinter he struck off, was so great, that he feared
it must be heard by the prisoners on the Debtors’ side. Heedless,
however, of the consequences, he pursued his task.

Half an hour’s labour, during which he was obliged more than once to
pause to regain breath, sufficed to make a hole wide enough to allow
a passage for his arm up to the elbow. In this way he was able to
force back a ponderous bolt from its socket; and to his unspeakable
joy, found that the door instantly yielded.

Once more cheered by daylight, he hastened forward, and entered the


Situated at the upper part of the south-east angle of the jail, the
chapel of Old Newgate was divided on the north side into three grated
compartments, or pens as they were termed, allotted to the common
debtors and felons. In the north-west angle, there was a small pen
for female offenders, and, on the south, a more commodious enclosure
appropriated to the master-debtors and strangers. Immediately
beneath the pulpit stood a large circular pew where malefactors under
sentence of death sat to hear the condemned sermon delivered to
them, and where they formed a public spectacle to the crowds, which
curiosity generally attracted on those occasions.

To return. Jack had got into one of the pens at the north side of
the chapel. The enclosure by which it was surrounded was about twelve
feet high; the under part being composed of taken planks, the upper
of a strong iron grating, surmounted by sharp iron spikes. In the
middle there was a gate. It was locked. But Jack speedily burst it
open with the iron bar.

Clearing the few impediments in his way, he soon reached the
condemned pew, where it had once been his fate to sit; and extending
himself on the seat endeavoured to snatch a moment’s repose. It was
denied him, for as he closed his eyes--though but for an instant--the
whole scene of his former visit to the place rose before him. There
he sat as before, with the heavy fetters on his limbs, and beside him
sat his three companions, who had since expiated their offences on
the gibbet. The chapel was again crowded with visitors, and every
eye--even that of Jonathan Wild who had come thither to deride
him,--was fixed upon him. So perfect was the illusion, that he could
almost fancy he heard the solemn voice of the ordinary warning
him that his race was nearly run, and imploring him to prepare for
eternity. From this perturbed state he was roused by thoughts of his
mother, and fancying he heard her gentle voice urging him on to fresh
exertion, he started up.

On one side of the chapel there was a large grated window, but, as
it looked upon the interior of the jail, Jack preferred following the
course he had originally decided upon to making any attempt in this

Accordingly, he proceeded to a gate which stood upon the south, and
guarded the passage communicating with the leads. It was grated and
crested with spikes, like that he had just burst open, and thinking
it a needless waste of time to force it, he broke off one of the
spikes, which he carried with him for further purposes, and then
climbed over it.

A short flight of steps brought him to a dark passage, into which he
plunged. Here he found another strong door, making the fifth he had
encountered. Well aware that the doors in this passage were much
stronger than those in the entry he had just quitted he was neither
surprised nor dismayed to find it fastened by a lock of unusual size.
After repeatedly trying to remove the plate, which was so firmly
screwed down that it resisted all his efforts, and vainly attempting
to pick it with the spike and nail; he, at length, after half an
hour’s ineffectual labour, wrenched off the box by means of the iron
bar, and the door, as he laughingly expressed it, “became his humble

But this difficulty was only overcome to be succeeded by one still
greater. Hastening along the passage he came to the sixth door.
For this he was prepared; but he was not prepared for the almost
insurmountable obstacles which it presented. Running his hand hastily
over it, he was startled to find it one complicated mass of bolts and
bars. It seemed as if all the precautions previously taken were
here accumulated. Any one less courageous than himself would have
abandoned the attempt from a conviction of its utter hopelessness;
but, though it might for a moment damp his ardour, it could not deter

Once again, he passed his hand over the surface and carefully noted
all the obstacles. There was a lock, apparently more than a foot
wide, strongly plated, and girded to the door with thick iron hoops.
Below it a prodigiously large bolt was shot into the socket, and, in
order to keep it there, was fastened by a hasp, and further protected
by an immense padlock. Besides this, the door was crossed and
recrossed by iron bars, clenched by broad-headed nails. An iron
fillet secured the socket of the bolt and the box of the lock to the
main post of the doorway.

Nothing disheartened by this survey, Jack set to work upon the lock,
which he attacked with all his implements;--now attempting to pick
it with the nail;--now to wrench it off with the bar: but all without
effect. He not only failed in making any impression, but seemed to
increase the difficulties, for after an hour’s toil he had broken the
nail and slightly bent the iron bar.

Completely overcome by fatigue, with strained muscles, and bruised
hands; streaming with perspiration, and with lips so parched that he
would gladly have parted with a treasure if he had possessed it for
a draught of water; he sank against the wall, and while in this state
was seized with, a sudden and strange alarm. He fancied that the
turnkeys had discovered his flight and were in pursuit of him,--that
they had climbed up the chimney,--entered the Red Room,--tracked him
from door to door, and were now only detained by the gate which he
had left unbroken in the chapel. He even thought he could detect the
voice of Jonathan, urging and directing them.

[Illustration: 195]

So strongly was he impressed with this idea, that grasping the iron
bar with both hands, he dashed it furiously against the door, making
the passage echo with the blows.

By degrees, his fears vanished, and hearing nothing, he grew calmer.
His spirits revived, and encouraging himself with the idea that the
present impediment, though the greatest, was the last, he set himself
seriously to consider how it might best be overcome.

On reflection, it occurred to him that he might, perhaps, be able to
loosen the iron fillet; a notion no sooner conceived than executed.
With incredible labour, and by the aid of both spike and nail,
he succeeded in getting the point of the bar beneath the fillet.
Exerting all his energies, and using the bar as a lever, he forced
off the iron band, which was full seven feet high, seven inches wide,
and two thick, and which brought with it in its fall the box of the
lock and the socket of the bolt, leaving no further hinderance.

Overjoyed beyond measure at having vanquished this
apparently-insurmountable obstacle, Jack darted through the door.


Ascending a short flight of steps, Jack found at the summit a door,
which being bolted in the inside he speedily opened.

The fresh air, which blew in his face, greatly revived him. He had
now reached what was called the Lower Leads,--a flat, covering a part
of the prison contiguous to the gateway, and surrounded on all sides
by walls about fourteen feet high. On the north stood the battlements
of one of the towers of the gate. On this side a flight of wooden
steps, protected by a hand-rail, led to a door opening upon the
summit of the prison. This door was crested with spikes, and guarded
on the right by a bristling semicircle of spikes. Hastily ascending
these steps, Jack found the door, as he anticipated, locked. He
could have easily forced it, but preferred a more expeditious mode of
reaching the roof which suggested itself to him. Mounting the door he
had last opened, he placed his hands on the wall above, and quickly
drew himself up.

Just as he got on the roof of the prison, St. Sepulchre’s clock
struck eight. It was instantly answered by the deep note of St.
Paul’s; and the concert was prolonged by other neighbouring churches.
Jack had thus been six hours in accomplishing his arduous task.

Though nearly dark, there was still light enough left to enable
him to discern surrounding objects. Through the gloom he distinctly
perceived the dome of St. Paul’s, hanging like a black cloud in the
air; and nearer to him he remarked the golden ball on the summit
of the College of Physicians, compared by Garth to a “gilded
pill.” Other towers and spires--St. Martin’s on Ludgate-hill, and
Christchurch in Newgate Street, were also distinguishable. As
he gazed down into the courts of the prison, he could not help
shuddering, lest a false step might precipitate him below.

To prevent the recurrence of any such escape as that just described,
it was deemed expedient, in more recent times, to keep a watchman
at the top of Newgate. Not many years ago, two men, employed on this
duty, quarrelled during the night, and in the morning their bodies
were found stretched upon the pavement of the yard beneath.

Proceeding along the wall, Jack reached the southern tower, over the
battlements of which he clambered, and crossing it, dropped upon the
roof of the gate. He then scaled the northern tower, and made his
way to the summit of that part of the prison which fronted Giltspur
Street. Arrived at the extremity of the building, he found that it
overlooked the flat-roof of a house which, as far as he could judge
in the darkness, lay at a depth of about twenty feet below.

Not choosing to hazard so great a fall, Jack turned to examine
the building, to see whether any more favourable point of descent
presented itself, but could discover nothing but steep walls, without
a single available projection. As he looked around, he beheld an
incessant stream of passengers hurrying on below. Lights glimmered in
the windows of the different houses; and a lamp-lighter was running
from post to post on his way to Snow Hill.

Finding it impossible to descend on any side, without incurring
serious risk, Jack resolved to return for his blanket, by the help of
which he felt certain of accomplishing a safe landing on the roof of
the house in Giltspur Street.

Accordingly, he began to retrace his steps, and pursuing the course
he had recently taken, scaling the two towers, and passing along the
wall of the prison, he descended by means of the door upon the Lower
Leads. Before he re-entered the prison, he hesitated from a doubt
whether he was not fearfully increasing his risk of capture; but,
convinced that he had no other alternative, he went on.

During all this time, he had never quitted the iron bar, and he now
grasped it with the firm determination of selling his life dearly,
if he met with any opposition. A few seconds sufficed to clear the
passage, through which it had previously cost him more than two hours
to force his way. The floor was strewn with screws, nails, fragments
of wood and stone, and across the passage lay the heavy iron fillet.
He did not disturb any of this litter, but left it as a mark of his

He was now at the entrance of the chapel, and striking the door over
which he had previously climbed a violent blow with the bar, it flew
open. To vault over the pews was the work of a moment; and having
gained the entry leading to the Red Room he passed through the first
door; his progress being only impeded by the pile of broken stones,
which he himself had raised.

Listening at one of the doors leading to the Master Debtors’ side, he
heard a loud voice chanting a Bacchanalian melody, and the boisterous
laughter that accompanied the song, convinced him that no suspicion
was entertained in this quarter. Entering the Red Room, he crept
through the hole in the wall, descended the chimney, and arrived once
more in his old place of captivity.

How different were his present feelings compared with those he had
experienced on quitting it. _Then_, though full of confidence, he
half doubted his power of accomplishing his designs. _Now_, he _had_
achieved them, and felt assured of success. The vast heap of rubbish
on the floor had been so materially increased by the bricks and
plaster thrown down in his attack upon the wall of the Red Room,
that it was with some difficulty he could find the blanket which was
almost buried beneath the pile. He next searched for his stockings
and shoes, and when found, put them on.

While he was thus employed, his nerves underwent a severe shock. A
few bricks, dislodged probably by his last descent, came clattering
down the chimney, and as it was perfectly dark, gave him the notion
that some one was endeavouring to force an entrance into the room.

But these fears, like those he had recently experienced, speedily
vanished, and he prepared to return to the roof, congratulating
himself that owing to the opportune falling of the bricks, he had in
all probability escaped serious injury.

Throwing the blanket over his left arm and shouldering the iron bar,
he again clambered up the chimney; regained the Red Room; hurried
along the first passage; crossed the Chapel; threaded the entry to
the Lower Leads; and, in less than ten minutes after quitting the
Castle, had reached the northern extremity of the prison.

[Illustration: 206]

Previously to his descent he had left the nail and spike on the wall,
and with these he fastened the blanket to the stone coping. This
done, he let himself carefully down by it, and having only a few feet
to drop, alighted in safety.

Having now fairly got out of Newgate for the second time, with a
heart throbbing with exultation, he hastened to make good his escape.
To his great joy he found a small garret-door in the roof of the
opposite house open. He entered it; crossed the room, in which there
was only a small truckle-bed, over which he stumbled; opened another
door and gained the stair-head. As he was about to descend his chains
slightly rattled. “Oh, lud! what’s that?” exclaimed a female voice,
from an adjoining room. “Only the dog,” replied the rough tones of a

Securing the chain in the best way he could, Jack then hurried down
two pair of stairs, and had nearly reached the lobby, when a door
suddenly opened, and two persons appeared, one of whom held a light.
Retreating as quickly as he could, Jack opened the first door he
came to, entered a room, and searching in the dark for some place of
concealment, fortunately discovered a skreen, behind which he crept.


Jack was scarcely concealed when the door opened, and the two persons
of whom he had caught a glimpse below entered the room. What was his
astonishment to recognise in the few words they uttered the voices of
Kneebone and Winifred! The latter was apparently in great distress,
and the former seemed to be using his best efforts to relieve her

“How very fortunate it is,” he observed, “that I happened to call
upon Mr. Bird, the turner, to give him an order this evening. It was
quite an unexpected pleasure to meet you and your worthy father.”

“Pray cease these compliments,” returned Winifred, “and, if you have
any communication to make, do not delay it. You told me just now that
you wished to speak a few words to me in private, concerning Thames
Darrell, and for that purpose I have left my father below with Mr.
Bird and have come hither. What have you got to say?”

“Too much,” replied Kneebone, shaking his head; “sadly too much.”

“Do not needlessly alarm me, I beseech you,” replied Winifred.
“Whatever your intelligence may be I will strive to bear it. But
do not awaken my apprehension, unless you have good cause for so
doing.--What do you know of Thames?--Where is he?”

“Don’t agitate yourself, dearest girl,” rejoined the woollen-draper;
“or I shall never be able to commence my relation.”

“I am calm--perfectly calm,” replied Winifred. “Pray, make no further
mystery; but tell me all without reserve.”

“Since you require it, I must obey,” replied Kneebone; “but prepare
yourself for a terrible shock.”

“For mercy’s sake, go on!” cried Winifred.

“At all hazards then then you shall know the truth,” replied the
woollen-draper, in a tone of affected solicitude,--“but are you
really prepared?”

“Quite--quite!” replied Winifred. “This suspense is worse than

“I am almost afraid to utter it,” said Kneebone; “but Thames Darrell
is murdered.”

“Murdered!” ejaculated Winifred.

“Basely and inhumanly murdered, by Jack Sheppard and Blueskin,”
 continued Kneebone.

“Oh! no--no--no,” cried Winifred, “I cannot believe it. You must
be misinformed, Mr. Kneebone. Jack may be capable of much that is
wicked, but he would never lift his hand against his friend,--of that
I am assured.”

“Generous girl!” cried Jack from behind the skreen.

“I have proofs to the contrary,” replied Kneebone. “The murder
was committed after the robbery of my house by Sheppard and his
accomplices. I did not choose to mention my knowledge of this fact to
your worthy father; but you may rely on its correctness.”

“You were right not to mention it to him,” rejoined Winifred, “for
he is in such a state of distress at the mysterious disappearance of
Mrs. Sheppard, that I fear any further anxiety might prove fatal to
him. And yet I know not--for the object of his visit here to-night
was to serve Jack, who, if your statement is correct, which I cannot
however for a moment believe, does not deserve his assistance.”

“You may rest assured he does not,” rejoined Kneebone, emphatically,
“but I am at a loss to understand in what way your father proposes to
assist him.”

“Mr. Bird, the turner, who is an old friend of our’s, has some
acquaintance with the turnkeys of Newgate,” replied Winifred, “and by
his means my father hoped to convey some implements to Jack, by which
he might effect another escape.”

“I see,” remarked Kneebone. “This must be prevented,” he added to

“Heaven grant you may have been wrongly informed with respect to
Thames!” exclaimed Winifred; “but, I beseech you, on no account to
mention what you have told me to my poor father. He is not in a state
of mind to bear it.”

“Rely on me,” rejoined Kneebone. “One word before we part, adorable
girl--only one,” he continued, detaining her. “I would not venture to
renew my suit while Thames lived, because I well knew your affections
were fixed upon him. But now that this bar is removed, I trust I may,
without impropriety, urge it.”

“No more of this,” said Winifred, angrily. “Is this a season to speak
on such a subject?”

“Perhaps not,” rejoined the woollen-draper; “but the uncontrollable
violence of my passion must plead my excuse. My whole life shall be
devoted to you, beloved girl. And when you reflect how much at heart
your poor mother, whose loss we must ever deplore, had our union, you
will, I am persuaded, no longer refuse me.”

“Sir!” exclaimed Winifred.

“You will make me the happiest of mankind,” cried the woollen-draper,
falling on his knees, and seizing her hand, which he devoured with

“Let me go,” cried Winifred. “I disbelieve the whole story you have
told me.”

“By Heaven!” cried Kneebone, with increasing fervour, “it is true--as
true as my affection for you.”

“I do not doubt it,” retorted Winifred, scornfully; “because I attach
credit neither to one nor the other. If Thames _is_ murdered, you are
his assassin. Let me go, Sir.”

The woollen-draper made no answer, but hastily starting up, bolted
the door.

“What do you mean?” cried Winifred in alarm.

“Nothing more than to obtain a favourable answer to my suit,” replied

“This is not the way to obtain it,” said Winifred, endeavouring to
reach the door.

“You shall not go, adorable girl,” cried Kneebone, catching her in
his arms, “till you have answered me. You must--you shall be mine.”

“Never,” replied Winifred. “Release me instantly, or I will call my

“Do so,” replied Kneebone; “but remember the door is locked.”

“Monster!” cried Winifred. “Help! help!”

“You call in vain,” returned Kneebone.

“Not so,” replied Jack, throwing down the skreen. “Release her
instantly, villain!”

Both Winifred and her suitor started at this sudden apparition. Jack,
whose clothes were covered with dust, and whose face was deathly pale
from his recent exertion, looked more like a phantom than a living

“In the devil’s name, is that you, Jack!” ejaculated Kneebone.

“It is,” replied Sheppard. “You have uttered a wilful and deliberate
falsehood in asserting that I have murdered Thames, for whom you well
know I would lay down my life. Retract your words instantly, or take
the consequences.”

“What should I retract, villain?” cried the woollen-draper, who at
the sound of Jack’s voice had regained his confidence. “To the best
of my belief, Thames Darrell has been murdered by you.”

“A lie!” exclaimed Jack in a terrible tone. And before Kneebone could
draw his sword, he felled him to the ground with the iron bar.

“You have killed him,” cried Winifred in alarm.

“No,” answered Jack, approaching her, “though, if I had done so, he
would have merited his fate. You do not believe his statement?”

“I do not,” replied Winifred. “I could not believe you capable of so
foul a deed. But oh! by what wonderful chance have you come hither so

“I have just escaped from Newgate,” replied Jack; “and am more than
repaid for the severe toil I have undergone, in being able to save
you. But tell me,” he added with much anxiety, “has nothing been
heard of Thames since the night of my former escape?”

“Nothing whatever,” answered Winifred. “He left Dollis Hill at ten
o’clock on that night, and has not since returned. My father has made
every possible inquiry, and offered large rewards; but has not been
able to discover the slightest trace of him. His suspicions at first
fell upon you. But he has since acquitted you of any share in it.”

“Oh, Heaven!” exclaimed Jack.

“He has been indefatigable in his search,” continued Winifred, “and
has even journeyed to Manchester. But though he visited Sir Rowland
Trenchard’s seat, Ashton Hall, he could gain no tidings of him, or of
his uncle, Sir Rowland, who, it seems, has left the country.”

“Never to return,” remarked Jack, gloomily. “Before to-morrow morning
I will ascertain what has become of Thames, or perish in the attempt.
And now tell me what has happened to my poor mother?”

“Ever since your last capture, and Thames’s mysterious disappearance,
she has been dreadfully ill,” replied Winifred; “so ill, that each
day was expected to be her last. She has also been afflicted with
occasional returns of her terrible malady. On Tuesday night, she was
rather better, and I had left her for a short time, as I thought,
asleep on the sofa in the little parlour of which she is so fond--”

“Well,” exclaimed Jack.

“On my return, I found the window open, and the room vacant. She was

“Did you discover any trace of footsteps?” inquired Jack eagerly.

“There were some marks near the window; but whether recently made or
not could not be ascertained,” replied Winifred.

“Oh God!” exclaimed Jack, in a tone of the bitterest anguish. “My
worst fears are realized. She is in Wild’s power.”

“I ought to add,” continued Winifred, “that one of her shoes was
picked up in the garden, and that prints of her feet were discovered
along the soft mould; whether made in flying from any one, or from
rushing forth in distracted terror, it is impossible to say. My
father thought the latter. He has had the whole country searched; but
hitherto without success.”

“I know _where_ she will be found, and _how_,” rejoined Jack with a

“I have something further to tell you,” pursued Winifred. “Shortly
after your last visit to Dollis Hill, my father was one evening
waylaid by a man, who informed him that he had something to
communicate respecting Thames, and had a large sum of money, and
some important documents to deliver to him, which would be given up,
provided he would undertake to procure your liberation.”

“It was Blueskin,” observed Jack.

“So my father thought,” replied Winifred; “and he therefore instantly
fired upon him. But though the shot took effect, as was evident from
the stains on the ground, the villain escaped.”

“Your father did right,” replied Jack, with some bitterness. “But if
he had not fired that shot, he might have saved Thames, and possessed
himself of papers which would have established his birth, and his
right to the estates of the Trenchard family.”

“Would you have had him spare my mother’s murderer?” cried Winifred.

“Ho, no,” replied Jack. “And yet--but it is only part of the chain of
ill-luck that seems wound around me. Listen to me, Winifred.”

And he hastily related the occurrences in Jonathan Wild’s house.

The account of the discovery of Sir Rowland’s murder filled Winifred
with alarm; but when she learnt what had befallen Thames--how he had
been stricken down by the thief-taker’s bludgeon, and left for dead,
she uttered a piercing scream, fainted, and would have fallen, if
Jack had not caught her in his arms.

Jack had well-nigh fallen too. The idea that he held in his arms the
girl whom he had once so passionately loved, and for whom he still
retained an ardent but hopeless attachment, almost overcame him.
Gazing at her with eyes blinded with tears, he imprinted one
brotherly kiss upon her lips. It was the first--and the last!

At this juncture, the handle of the door was tried, and the voice of
Mr. Wood was heard without, angrily demanding admittance.

“What’s the matter?” he cried. “I thought I heard a scream. Why is
the door fastened? Open it directly!”

“Are you alone?” asked Jack, mimicking the voice of Kneebone.

“What for?” demanded Wood. “Open the door, I say, or I’ll burst it

Carefully depositing Winifred on a sofa, Jack then extinguished the
light, and, as he unfastened the door, crept behind it. In rushed Mr.
Wood, with a candle in his hand, which Jack instantly blew out, and
darted down stairs. He upset some one--probably Mr. Bird,--who was
rushing up stairs, alarmed by Mr. Wood’s cries: but, regardless of
this, he darted along a passage, gained the shop, and passed through
an open door into the street.

And thus he was once more free, having effected one of the most
wonderful escapes ever planned or accomplished.


About seven o’clock on the same night, Jonathan Wild’s two
janizaries, who had been for some time in attendance in the hall
of his dwelling at the Old Bailey, were summoned to the
audience-chamber. A long and secret conference then took place
between the thief-taker and his myrmidons, after which they were
severally dismissed.

Left alone, Jonathan lighted a lamp, and, opening the trap-door,
descended the secret stairs. Taking the opposite course from that
which he had hitherto pursued when it has been necessary to attend
him in his visits to the lower part of his premises, he struck into a
narrow passage on the right, which he tracked till he came to a small
door, like the approach to a vault. Unlocking it, he entered the
chamber, which by no means belied its external appearance.

On a pallet in one corner lay a pale emaciated female. Holding the
lamp over her rigid but beautiful features, Jonathan, with some
anxiety, placed his hand upon her breast to ascertain whether
the heart still beat. Satisfied with his scrutiny, he produced
a pocket-flask, and taking off the silver cup with which it was
mounted, filled it with the contents of the flask, and then seizing
the thin arm of the sleeper, rudely shook it. Opening her large black
eyes, she fixed them upon him for a moment with a mixture of terror
and loathing, and then averted her gaze.

“Drink this,” cried Jonathan, handing her the cup. “You’ll feel
better after it.”

Mechanically raising the potion to her lips, the poor creature
swallowed it without hesitation.

“Is it poison?” she asked.

“No,” replied Jonathan, with a brutal laugh. “I’m not going to get
rid of you just yet. It’s gin--a liquor you used to like. You’ll
find the benefit of it by and by. You’ve a good deal to go through

“Ah!” exclaimed Mrs. Sheppard, “are you come to renew your terrible

“I’m come to execute my threats,” replied Wild. “To-night you shall
be my wedded wife.”

“I will die first,” replied Mrs. Sheppard.

“You may die _afterwards_ as soon as you please,” retorted Jonathan;
“but live till then you _shall_. I’ve sent for the priest.”

“Mercy!” cried Mrs. Sheppard, vainly trying to discover a gleam of
compassion in the thief-taker’s inexorable countenance,--“Mercy!

“Pshaw!” rejoined Jonathan. “You should be glad to be made an honest

“Oh! let me die,” groaned the widow. “I have not many days,--perhaps,
not many hours to live. But kill me rather than commit this outrage.”

“That wouldn’t answer my purpose,” replied Jonathan, savagely. “I
didn’t carry you off from old Wood to kill you, but to wed you.”

“What motive can you have for so vile a deed?” asked Mrs. Sheppard.

“You know my motive well enough,” answered Jonathan. “However,
I’ll refresh your memory. I once might have married you for your
beauty,--now I marry you for your wealth.”

“My wealth,” replied Mrs. Sheppard. “I have nothing.”

“You are heiress to the Trenchard property,” rejoined Jonathan, “one
of the largest estates in Lancashire.”

“Not while Thames Darrell and Sir Rowland live.”

“Sir Rowland is dead,” replied Jonathan, gloomily. “Thames Darrell
only waits my mandate to follow him. Before our marriage there will
be no life between you and the estates.”

“Ah!” exclaimed Mrs. Sheppard.

“Look here,” cried Jonathan, stooping down and taking hold of a ring
in the floor, with which by a great effort he raised up a flag. “In
this pit,” he added, pointing to the chasm below, “your brother is
buried. Here your nephew will speedily be thrown.”

“Horrible!” cried Mrs. Sheppard, shuddering violently. “But your
dreadful projects will recoil on your own head. Heaven will not
permit the continuance of such wickedness as you practise.”

“I’ll take my chance,” replied Jonathan, with a sinister smile. “My
schemes have succeeded tolerably well hitherto.”

“A day of retribution will assuredly arrive,” rejoined Mrs. Sheppard.

“Till then, I shall remain content,” returned Wild. “And now, Mrs.
Sheppard, attend to what I’m about to say to you. Years ago, when you
were a girl and in the bloom of your beauty, I loved you.”

“Loved me! _You_!”

“I loved you,” continued Jonathan, “and struck by your appearance,
which seemed above your station, inquired your history, and found you
had been stolen by a gipsy in Lancashire. I proceeded to Manchester,
to investigate the matter further, and when there ascertained,
beyond a doubt, that you were the eldest daughter of Sir Montacute
Trenchard. This discovery made, I hastened back to London to
offer you my hand, but found you had married in the mean time a
smock-faced, smooth-tongued carpenter named Sheppard. The important
secret remained locked in my breast, but I resolved to be avenged. I
swore I would bring your husband to the gallows,--would plunge you in
such want, such distress, that you should have no alternative but the
last frightful resource of misery,--and I also swore, that if you had
a son he should share the same fate as his father.”

“And terribly you have kept your vow,” replied Mrs. Sheppard.

“I have,” replied Jonathan. “But I am now coming to the point which
most concerns you. Consent to become my wife, and do not compel me to
have recourse to violence to effect my purpose, and I will spare your

Mrs. Sheppard looked fixedly at him, as if she would penetrate the
gloomy depth of his soul.

“Swear that you will do this,” she cried.

“I swear it,” rejoined Jonathan, readily.

“But what is an oath to you!” cried the widow, distrustfully. “You
will not hesitate to break it, if it suits your purpose. I have
suffered too much from your treachery. I will not trust you.”

“As you please,” replied Jonathan, sternly. “Recollect you are in my
power. Jack’s life hangs on your determination.”

“What shall I do?” cried Mrs. Sheppard, in a voice of agony.

“Save him,” replied Jonathan. “You _can_ do so.”

“Bring him here,--let me see him--let me embrace him--let me be
assured that he is safe, and I am yours. I swear it.”

“Hum!” exclaimed Jonathan.

“You hesitate--you are deceiving me.”

“By my soul, no,” replied Jonathan, with affected sincerity. “You
shall see him to-morrow.”

“Delay the marriage till then. I will never consent till I see him.”

“You ask impossibilities,” replied Jonathan, sullenly. “All is
prepared. The marriage cannot--shall not be delayed. You must be mine

“Force shall not make me yours till Jack is free,” replied the widow,

“An hour hence, I shall return with the priest,” replied Jonathan,
striding towards the door.

And, with a glance of malignant exultation, he quitted the vault, and
locked the door.

“An hour hence, I shall be beyond your malice,” said Mrs. Sheppard,
sinking backwards upon the pallet.


After escaping from the turner’s house, Jack Sheppard skirted St.
Sepulchre’s church, and hurrying down Snow Hill, darted into the
first turning on the left. Traversing Angel Court, and Green Arbour
Court,--celebrated as one of Goldsmith’s retreats,--he speedily
reached Seacoal Lane, and pursuing the same course, which he and
Thames had formerly taken, arrived at the yard at the back of
Jonathan’s habitation.

A door, it may be remembered, opened from Wild’s dwelling into this
yard. Before he forced an entrance, Jack tried it, and, to his great
surprise and delight, found it unfastened. Entering the house, he
found himself in a narrow passage leading to the back stairs. He
had not taken many steps when he perceived Quilt Arnold in the upper
gallery, with a lamp in his hand. Hearing a noise below, Quilt called
out, supposing it occasioned by the Jew. Jack hastily retreated, and
taking the first means of concealment that occurred to him, descended
the cellar steps.

Quilt, meanwhile, came down, examined the door, and finding
it unfastened, locked it with a bitter imprecation on his
brother-janizary’s carelessness. This done, he followed the course
which Jack had just taken. As he crossed the cellar, he passed so
near to Jack who had concealed himself behind a piece of furniture
that he almost touched him. It was Jack’s intention to have knocked
him down with the iron bar; but he was so struck with the janizary’s
looks, that he determined to spare him till he had ascertained his
purpose. With this view, he suffered him to pass on.

Quilt’s manner, indeed, was that of a man endeavouring to muster up
sufficient resolution for the commission of some desperate crime.
He halted,--looked fearfully around,--stopped again, and exclaimed
aloud, “I don’t like the job; and yet it must be done, or Mr. Wild
will hang me.” With this, he appeared to pluck up his courage, and
stepped forward more boldly.

“Some dreadful deed is about to be committed, which I may perhaps
prevent,” muttered Jack to himself. “Heaven grant I may not be too

Followed by Jack Sheppard, who kept sufficiently near him to watch
his proceedings, and yet not expose himself, Quilt unlocked one
or two doors which he left open, and after winding his way along a
gloomy passage, arrived at the door of a vault. Here he set down
the lamp, and took out a key, and as he did so the expression of his
countenance was so atrocious, that Jack felt assured he was not wrong
in his suspicions.

By this time, the door was unlocked, and drawing his sword, Quilt
entered the cell. The next moment, an exclamation was heard in the
voice of Thames. Darting forward at this sound, Jack threw open the
door, and beheld Quilt kneeling over Thames, who’se hands and feet
were bound with cords, and about to plunge his sword into his breast.
A blow from the iron bar instantly stretched the ruffian on the
floor. Jack then proceeded to liberate the captive from his bondage.

“Jack!” exclaimed Thames. “Is it you?”

“It is,” replied Sheppard, as he untied the cords. “I might return
the question. Were it not for your voice, I don’t think I should know
you. You are greatly altered.”

Captivity had, indeed, produced a striking alteration in Thames. He
looked like the shadow of himself--thin, feeble, hollow-eyed--his
beard unshorn--nothing could be more miserable.

“I have never been out of this horrible dungeon since we last met,”
 he said; “though how long ago that is, I scarcely know. Night and day
have been alike to me.”

“Six weeks have elapsed since that fatal night,” replied Jack.
“During the whole of that time I have been a close prisoner in
Newgate, whence I have only just escaped.”

“Six weeks!” exclaimed Thames, in a melancholy tone. “It seems like
six long months to me.”

“I do not doubt it,” returned Jack; “none but those who have
experienced it can understand the miseries of imprisonment.”

“Do not speak of it,” rejoined Thames, with a look of horror. “Let us
fly from this frightful place.”

“I will conduct you to the outlet,” replied Jack; “but I cannot
leave it till I have ascertained whether my mother also is a prisoner

“I can answer that,” replied Thames. “She is. The monster, Wild, when
he visited my dungeon last night, told me, to add to my misery, that
she occupied a cell near me.”

“Arm yourself with that ruffian’s weapons,” replied Jack, “and let us
search for her.”

Thames complied. But he was so feeble, that it seemed scarcely
possible he could offer any effectual resistance in case of an

“Lean on me,” said Jack.

Taking the light, they then proceeded along the passage. There was no
other door in it, and Jack therefore struck into another entry which
branched off to the right. They had not proceeded far when a low moan
was heard.

“She is here,” cried Jack, darting forward.

A few steps brought him to the door of the vault in which his mother
was immured. It was locked. Jack had brought away the bunch of keys
which he had taken from Quilt Arnold, but, none of them would open
it. He was therefore obliged to use the iron bar, which he did with
as much caution as circumstances would permit. At the first blow,
Mrs. Sheppard uttered a piercing scream.

“Wretch!” she cried, “you shall not force me to your hateful purpose.
I will never wed you. I have a weapon--a knife--and if you attempt to
open the door, will plunge it to my heart.”

“Oh God!” exclaimed Jack, paralysed by her cries. “What shall I do?
If I persist, I shall destroy her.”

“Get hence,” continued Mrs. Sheppard, with a frenzied laugh. “You
shall never behold me alive.”

“Mother!” cried Jack, in a broken voice. “It is your son.”

“It is false,” cried Mrs. Sheppard. “Think not to deceive me,
monster. I know my son’s voice too well. He is in Newgate. Hence!”

“Mother! dear mother!” cried Jack, in a voice, the tones of which
were altered by his very anxiety to make them distinct, “listen to
me. I have broken from prison, and am come to save you.”

“It is _not_ Jack’s voice,” rejoined Mrs. Sheppard. “I am not to be
deceived. The knife is at my breast. Stir a foot, and I strike.”

“Oh Heavens!” cried Jack, driven to his wits’ end. “Mother--dear
mother! Once again, I beseech you to listen to me. I am come to
rescue you from Wild’s violence. I must break open the door. Hold
your hand for a moment.”

“You have heard my fixed determination, villain,” cried Mrs.
Sheppard. “I know my life is valuable to you, or you would not
spare it. But I will disappoint you. Get you gone. Your purposes are

“Footsteps are approaching,” cried Thames. “Heed her not. It is but a
wild threat.”

“I know not how to act,” exclaimed Jack, almost driven to

“I hear you plotting with your wicked associates,” cried Mrs.
Sheppard. “I have baffled you.”

“Force the door,” said Thames, “or you will be too late.”

“Better she die by her own hand, than by that monster’s,” cried Jack,
brandishing the bar. “Mother, I come to you.”

With this, he struck the door a heavy blow.

He listened. There was a deep groan, and the sound of a fall within.

“I have killed her,” exclaimed Jack, dropping the bar,--“by your
advice, Thames. Oh God! pardon me.”

“Do not delay,” cried Thames. “She may yet be saved. I am too weak to
aid you.”

Jack again seized the bar, and, dashing it furiously against the
door, speedily burst it open.

The unfortunate woman was stretched upon the floor, with a bloody
knife in her hand.

“Mother!” cried Jack, springing towards her.

“Jack!” she cried, raising her head. “Is it you?”

“It is,” replied her son, “Oh! why would you not listen to me?”

“I was distracted,” replied Mrs. Sheppard, faintly.

“I have killed you,” cried Jack, endeavouring to staunch the effusion
of blood from her breast. “Forgive--forgive me!”

“I have nothing to forgive,” replied Mrs. Sheppard. “I alone am to

“Can I not carry you where you can obtain help?” cried Jack in a
agony of distress.

“It is useless,” replied Mrs. Sheppard: “nothing can save me. I die
happy--quite happy in beholding you. Do not remain with me. You may
fall into the hands of your enemy. Fly! fly!”

“Do not think of me, mother, but of yourself,” cried Jack, in an
agony of tears.

“You have always been, far dearer to me than myself,” replied
Mrs. Sheppard. “But I have one last request to make. Let me lie in
Willesden churchyard.”

“You shall--you shall,” answered Jack.

“We shall meet again ere long, my son,” cried Mrs. Sheppard, fixing
her glazing eyes upon him.

“Oh God! she is dying,” exclaimed Jack in a voice suffocated by
emotion. “Forgive me--oh, forgive me!”

“Forgive you--bless you!” she gasped.

A cold shiver ran through her frame, and her gentle spirit passed
away for ever.

“Oh, God! that I might die too,” cried Jack, falling on his knees
beside her.

After the first violent outbreak of grief had in some degree
subsided, Thames addressed him.

“You must not remain here,” he said. “You can render no further
service to your poor mother.”

“I can avenge her,” cried Jack in a terrible tone.

“Be ruled by me,” returned Thames. “You will act most in accordance
with her wishes, could she dictate them, by compliance. Do not waste
time in vain regrets, but let us remove the body, that we may fulfil
her last injunctions.”

After some further arguments, Jack assented to this proposal.

“Go on first with the light,” he said. “I will bear the body.” And he
raised it in his arms.

Just as they reached the end of the passage, they heard the voices of
Jonathan and the Jew in Thames’s late place of confinement. Wild
had evidently discovered the body of Quilt Arnold, and was loudly
expressing his anger and astonishment.

“Extinguish the light,” cried Jack; “turn to the left. Quick! Quick!”

The order was only just given in time. They had scarcely gained
the adjoining cellar when Jonathan and the Jew rushed past in the
direction of the vault.

“Not a moment is to be lost,” cried Jack: “follow me.”

So saying, he hurried up stairs, opened the back door, and was
quickly in the yard. Having ascertained that Thames was at his heels,
he hurried with his ghastly burthen down Seacoal Lane.

“Where are you going?” cried Thames, who, though wholly
disencumbered, was scarcely able to keep up with him.

“I know not--and care not,” replied Jack.

At this moment, a coach passed them, and was instantly hailed by

“You had better let me convey her to Dollis Hill,” he said.

“Be it so,” replied Jack.

Luckily it was so dark, and there was no lamp near, that the man did
not notice the condition of the body, which was placed in the vehicle
by the two young men.

“What will you do?” asked Thames.

“Leave me to my fate,” rejoined Jack. “Take care of your charge.”

“Doubt me not,” replied Thames.

“Bury her in Willesden churchyard, as she requested, on Sunday,” said
Jack. “I will be there at the time.”

So saying, he closed the door.

The coachman having received his order, and being offered an extra
fare if he drove quickly, set off at full speed.

As Jack departed, a dark figure, emerging from behind a wall, rushed
after him.


After running to some distance down Seacoal Lane, Jack stopped to
give a last look at the vehicle which was bearing away the remains of
his beloved and ill-fated mother. It was scarcely out of sight, when
two persons, whom, he instantly recognised as Jonathan and Abraham
Mendez, turned the corner of the street, and made it evident from
their shouts, that they likewise perceived him.

Starting off at a rapid pace, Jack dashed down Turnagain-lane,
skirted the eastern bank of Fleet-ditch, crossed Holborn Bridge, and
began to ascend the neighbouring hill. By the time he had reached
St. Andrew’s Church, his pursuers had gained the bridge, and the
attention of such passengers as crowded the streets was attracted
towards him by their vociferations. Amongst others, the watchman
whose box was placed against the churchyard wall, near the entrance
to Shoe-lane, rushed out and sprung his rattle, which was immediately
answered by another rattle from Holborn-bars.

Darting down Field-lane, Jack struck into a labyrinth of streets
on the left; but though he ran as swiftly as he could, he was not
unperceived. His course had been observed by the watchman, who
directed Wild which way to take.

“It is Jack Sheppard, the noted housebreaker,” cried Jonathan, at the
top of his sonorous voice. “He has just broken out of Newgate. After
him! A hundred pounds to the man who takes him.”

Sheppard’s name operated like magic on the crowd. The cry was echoed
by twenty different voices. People ran out of their shops to join
the pursuit; and, by the time Wild had got into Field-lane, he had
a troop of fifty persons at his heels--all eager to assist in the

“Stop thief!” roared Jonathan, who perceived the fugitive hurrying
along a street towards Hatton Garden. “It is Sheppard--Jack
Sheppard--stop him!” And his shouts were reiterated by the pack of
bloodhounds at his heels.

Jack, meanwhile, heard, the shouts, and, though alarmed by them, held
on a steady course. By various twistings and turnings, during all
which time his pursuers, who were greatly increased in numbers, kept
him in view, he reached Gray’s-Inn-lane. Here he was hotly pursued.
Fatigued by his previous exertions, and incumbered by his fetters, he
was by no means--though ordinarily remarkably swift of foot--a match
for his foes, who were fast gaining upon him.

At the corner of Liquorpond Street stood the old Hampstead
coach-office; and, on the night in question, a knot of hostlers,
waggoners, drivers, and stable-boys was collected in the yard.
Hearing the distant shouts, these fellows rushed down to the entrance
of the court, and arrived there just as Jack passed it. “Stop thief!”
 roared Jonathan. “Stop thief!” clamoured the rabble behind.

At no loss to comprehend that Jack was the individual pointed out by
these outcries, two of the nearest of the group made a dash at him.
But Jack eluded their grasp. A large dog was then set at him by a
stable-boy; but, striking the animal with his faithful iron-bar, he
speedily sent him yelping back. The two hostlers, however, kept close
at his heels; and Jack, whose strength began to flag, feared he could
not hold much longer. Determined, however, not be taken with life, he
held on.

Still keeping ahead of his pursuers, he ran along the direct road,
till the houses disappeared and he got into the open country. Here
he was preparing to leap over the hedge into the fields on the left,
when he was intercepted by two horsemen, who, hearing the shouts,
rode up and struck at him with the butt-ends of their heavy
riding-whips. Warding off the blows as well as he could with the bar,
Jack struck both the horses on the head, and the animals plunged so
violently, that they not only prevented their riders from assailing
him, but also kept off the hostlers; and, in the confusion that
ensued, Jack managed to spring over the fence, and shaped his course
across the field in the direction of Sir John Oldcastle’s.

The stoppage had materially lessened the distance between him and his
pursuers, who now amounted to more than a hundred persons, many of
whom carried lanterns and links. Ascertaining that it was Sheppard of
whom this concourse was in pursuit, the two horsemen leapt the hedge,
and were presently close upon him. Like a hare closely pressed, Jack
attempted to double, but the device only brought him nearer his foes,
who were crossing the field in every direction, and rending the
air with their shouts. The uproar was tremendous--men yelling--dogs
barking,--but above all was heard the stentorian voice of Jonathan,
urging them on. Jack was so harrassed that he felt half inclined to
stand at bay.

While he was straining every sinew, his foot slipped, and he fell,
head foremost, into a deep trench, which he had not observed in the
dark. This fall saved him, for the horsemen passed over him. Creeping
along quickly on his hands and knees, he found the entrance to a
covered drain, into which he crept. He was scarcely concealed when he
heard the horsemen, who perceived they had overshot their mark, ride

By this time, Jonathan and the vast mob attending him, had come up,
and the place was rendered almost as light as day by the links.

“He must be somewhere hereabouts,” cried one of the horsemen,
dismounting. “We were close upon him when he suddenly disappeared.”

Jonathan made no answer, but snatching a torch from a bystander,
jumped into the trench and commenced a diligent search. Just as he
had arrived at the mouth of the drain, and Jack felt certain he must
be discovered, a loud shout was raised from the further end of the
field that the fugitive was caught. All the assemblage, accompanied
by Jonathan, set off in this direction, when it turned out that
the supposed housebreaker was a harmless beggar, who had been found
asleep under a hedge.

Jonathan’s vexation at the disappointment was expressed in the
bitterest imprecations, and he returned as speedily as he could to
the trench. But he had now lost the precise spot; and thinking he had
examined the drain, turned his attention to another quarter.

Meanwhile, the excitement of the chase had in some degree subsided.
The crowd dispersed in different directions, and most fortunately
a heavy shower coming on, put them altogether to flight. Jonathan,
however, still lingered. He seemed wholly insensible to the rain,
though it presently descended in torrents, and continued his search
as ardently as before.

After occupying himself thus for the best part of an hour, he thought
Jack must have given him the slip. Still, his suspicions were so
strong, that he ordered Mendez to remain on guard near the spot all
night, and, by the promise of a large reward induced two other men to
keep him company.

As he took his departure, he whispered to the Jew: “Take him dead or
alive; but if we fail now, and you heard him aright in Seacoal Lane,
we are sure of him at his mother’s funeral on Sunday.”


About an hour after this, Jack ventured to emerge from his place
of concealment. It was still raining heavily, and profoundly dark.
Drenched to the skin,--in fact, he had been lying in a bed of muddy
water,--and chilled to the very bone, he felt so stiff, that he could
scarcely move.

Listening attentively, he fancied he heard the breathing of some one
near him, and moved cautiously in the opposite direction. In spite of
his care, he came in contact with a man, who, endeavouring to grasp
him, cried, in the voice of Mendez, “Who goes dere? Shpeak! or I

No answer being returned, the Jew instantly discharged his pistol,
and though the shot did no damage, the flash discovered Sheppard. But
as the next moment all was profound darkness, Jack easily managed to
break away from them.

Without an idea where he was going, Jack pursued his way through
the fields; and, as he proceeded, the numbness of his limbs in some
degree wore off, and his confidence returned. He had need of all
the inexhaustible energy of his character to support him through
his toilsome walk over the wet grass, or along the slippery ploughed
land. At last, he got into a lane, but had not proceeded far when he
was again alarmed by the sound of a horse’s tread.

Once more breaking through the hedge he took to the fields. He was
now almost driven to despair. Wet as he was, he felt if he lay down
in the grass, he should perish with cold; while, if he sought a
night’s lodging in any asylum, his dress, stained with blood and
covered with dirt, would infallibly cause him to be secured and
delivered into the hands of justice. And then the fetters, which were
still upon his legs:--how was he to get rid of them?

Tired and dispirited, he still wandered on. Again returning to the
main road, he passed through Clapton; and turning off on the left,
arrived at the foot of Stamford Hill. He walked on for an hour
longer, till he could scarcely drag one leg after another. At length,
he fell down on the road, fully expecting each moment would prove his

How long he continued thus he scarcely knew; but just before dawn, he
managed to regain his legs, and, crawling up a bank, perceived he
was within a quarter of a mile of Tottenham. A short way off in
the fields he descried a sort of shed or cow-house, and thither he
contrived to drag his weary limbs. Opening the door, he found it
littered with straw, on which he threw himself, and instantly fell

When he awoke it was late in the day, and raining heavily. For some
time he could not stir, but felt sick and exhausted. His legs were
dreadfully swelled; his hands bruised; and his fetters occasioned him
intolerable pain. His bodily suffering, however, was nothing compared
with his mental anguish. All the events of the previous day rushed to
his recollection; and though he had been unintentionally the cause
of his mother’s death, he reproached himself as severely as if he had
been her actual murderer.

“Had I not been the guilty wretch I am,” he cried, bursting into an
agony of tears, “she would never have died thus.”

This strong feeling of remorse having found a natural vent, in some
degree subsided, and he addressed himself to his present situation.
Rousing himself, he went to the door. It had ceased raining, but the
atmosphere was moist and chill, and the ground deluged by the recent
showers. Taking up a couple of large stones which lay near, Jack
tried to beat the round basils of the fetters into an oval form, so
as to enable him to slip his heels through them.

While he was thus employed a farming man came into the barn.
Jack instantly started to his feet, and the man, alarmed at his
appearance, ran off to a neighbouring house. Before he could return,
Jack had made good his retreat; and, wandering about the lanes and
hedges, kept out of sight as much as possible.

On examining his pockets, he found about twenty guineas in gold, and
some silver. But how to avail himself of it was the question, for in
his present garb he was sure to be recognised. When night fell,
he crept into the town of Tottenham. As he passed along the main
thoroughfare, he heard his own name pronounced, and found that it
was a hawker, crying a penny history of his escapes. A crowd was
collected round the fellow, who was rapidly disposing of his stock.

“Here’s the full, true, and particular account of Jack Sheppard’s
last astonishing and never-to-be-forgotten escape from the Castle
of Newgate,” bawled the hawker, “with a print of him taken from the
life, showing the manner, how he was shackled and handcuffed. Only
one penny--two copies--two pence--thank you, Sir. Here’s the----”

“Let me have one,” cried a servant maid, running across the street,
and in her haste forgetting to shut the door,--“here’s the money.
Master and missis have been talking all day long about Jack Sheppard,
and I’m dying to read his life.”

“Here you have it, my dear,” returned the hawker. “Sold again!”

“If you don’t get back quickly, Lucy,” observed a bystander, “Jack
Sheppard will be in the house before you.”

This sally occasioned a general laugh.

“If Jack would come to my house, I’d contrive to hide him,” remarked
a buxom dame. “Poor fellow! I’m glad he has escaped.”

“Jack seems to be a great favourite with the fair sex,” observed a
smirking grocer’s apprentice.

“Of course,” rejoined the bystander, who had just spoken, and who
was of a cynical turn,--“the greater the rascal, the better they like

“Here’s a particular account of Jack’s many robberies and escapes,”
 roared the hawker,--“how he broke into the house of his master, Mr.
Wood, at Dollis Hill--”

“Let me have one,” said a carpenter, who was passing by at the
moment,--“Mr. Wood was an old friend of mine--and I recollect seeing
Jack when he was bound ‘prentice to him.”

“A penny, if you please, Sir,” said the hawker.--“Sold again! Here
you have the full, true, and particular account of the barbarous
murder committed by Jack Sheppard and his associate, Joseph Blake,
_alias_ Blueskin, upon the body of Mrs. Wood--”

“That’s false!” cried a voice behind him.

The man turned at the exclamation, and so did several of the
bystanders; but they could not make out who had uttered it.

Jack, who had been lingering near the group, now walked on.

In the middle of the little town stood the shop of a Jew dealer in
old clothes. The owner was at the door unhooking a few articles of
wearing apparel which he had exposed outside for sale. Amongst other
things, he had just brought down an old laced bavaroy, a species of
surtout much worn at the period.

“What do you want for that coat, friend?” asked Jack, as he came up.

“More than you’ll pay for it, friend,” snuffled the Jew.

“How do you know that?” rejoined Jack. “Will you take a guinea for

“Double that sum might tempt me,” replied the Jew; “it’s a nobleman’s
coat, upon my shoul!”

“Here’s the money,” replied Jack, taking the coat.

“Shall I help you on with it, Sir?” replied the Jew, becoming
suddenly respectful.

“No,” replied Jack.

“I half suspect this is a highwayman,” thought the Jew; “he’s so
ready with his cash. I’ve some other things inside, Sir, which you
might wish to buy,--some pistols.”

Jack was about to comply; but not liking the man’s manner, he walked

Further on, there was a small chandler’s shop, where Jack observed
an old woman seated at the counter, attended by a little girl. Seeing
provisions in the window, Jack ventured in and bought a loaf. Having
secured this,--for he was almost famished,--he said that he had lost
a hammer and wished to purchase one. The old woman told him she had
no such article to dispose of, but recommended him to a neighbouring

Guided by the glare of the forge, which threw a stream of ruddy light
across the road, Jack soon found the place of which he was in search.
Entering the workshop, he found the blacksmith occupied in heating
the tire of a cart wheel. Suspending his labour on Jack’s appearance,
the man demanded his business. Making up a similar story to that
which he had told the old woman, he said he wanted to purchase a
hammer and a file.

The man looked hard at him.

“Answer me one question first?” he said; “I half suspect you’re Jack

“I am,” replied Jack, without hesitation; for he felt assured from
the man’s manner that he might confide in him.

“You’re a bold fellow, Jack,” rejoined the blacksmith. “But you’ve
done well to trust me. I’ll take off your irons--for I guess that’s
the reason why you want the hammer and file--on one condition.”

“What is it?”

“That you give ‘em to me.”


Taking Jack into a shed behind the workshop the smith in a short time
freed him from his fetters. He not only did this, but supplied him
with an ointment which allayed the swelling of his limbs, and crowned
all by furnishing him with a jug of excellent ale.

“I’m afraid, Jack, you’ll come to the gallows,” observed the smith;
“buth if you do, I’ll go to Tyburn to see you. But I’ll never part
with your irons.”

Noticing the draggled condition Jack was in, he then fetched him
a bucket of water, with which Jack cleansed himself as well as he
could, and thanking the honest smith, who would take nothing for his
trouble, left the shop.

Having made a tolerably good meal upon the loaf, overcome by fatigue,
Jack turned into a barn in Stoke Newington, and slept till late in
the day, when he awakened much refreshed. The swelling in his limbs
had also subsided. It rained heavily all day, so he did not stir

Towards night, however, he ventured out, and walked on towards
London. When he arrived at Hoxton, he found the walls covered with
placards offering a reward for his apprehension, and he everywhere
appeared to be the general subject of conversation. Prom a knot
of idlers at a public-house, he learnt that Jonathan Wild had just
ridden past, and that his setters were scouring the country in every

Entering London, he bent his way towards the west-end; and having
some knowledge of a secondhand tailor’s shop in Rupert Street,
proceeded thither, and looked out a handsome suit of mourning, with
a sword, cloak, and hat, and demanded the price. The man asked twelve
guineas, but after a little bargaining, he came down to ten.

Taking his new purchase under his arm, Jack proceeded to a small
tavern in the same street, where, having ordered dinner, he went to
a bed-room to attire himself. He had scarcely completed his toilet,
when he was startled by a noise at the door, and heard his own name
pronounced in no friendly accents. Fortunately, the window was
not far from the ground; so opening it gently, he dropped into a
backyard, and from thence got into the street.

Hurrying down the Haymarket, he was arrested by a crowd who were
collected round a street-singer. Jack paused for a moment, and found
that his own adventures formed the subject of the ballad. Not daring,
however, to listen to it, he ran on.


That night Jack walked to Paddington, and took up his quarters at
a small tavern, called the Wheat-sheaf, near the green. On the next
morning--Sunday--the day on which he expected his mother’s funeral to
take place, he set out along the Harrow Road.

It was a clear, lovely, October morning. The air was sharp and
bracing, and the leaves which had taken their autumnal tints were
falling from the trees. The road which wound by Westbourne Green,
gave him a full view of the hill of Hampstead with its church, its
crest of houses, and its villas peeping from out the trees.

Jack’s heart was too full to allow him to derive any pleasure from
this scene; so he strolled on without raising his eyes till he
arrived at Kensal Green. Here he obtained some breakfast, and
mounting the hill turned off into the fields on the right. Crossing
them, he ascended an eminence, which, from its singular shape, seems
to have been the site of a Roman encampment, and which commands a
magnificent prospect.

Leaning upon a gate he looked down into the valley. It was the very
spot from which his poor mother had gazed after her vain attempt
to rescue him at the Mint; but, though he was ignorant of this, her
image was alone present to him. He beheld the grey tower of Willesden
Church, embosomed in its grove of trees, now clothed, in all the
glowing livery of autumn. There was the cottage she had inhabited for
so many years,--in those fields she had rambled,--at that church she
had prayed. And he had destroyed all this. But for him she might have
been alive and happy. The recollection was too painful, and he burst
into an agony of tears.

Aroused by the sound of the church bells, he resolved, at whatever
risk, to attend Divine service. With this view, he descended the
hill and presently found a footpath leading to the church. But he was
destined to have every tide of feeling awakened--every wound opened.
The path he had selected conducted him to his mother’s humble
dwelling. When she occupied, it, it was neatness itself; the little
porch was overrun with creepers--the garden trim and exquisitely
kept. Now, it was a wilderness of weeds. The glass in the windows was
broken--the roof unthatched--the walls dilapidated. Jack turned away
with an aching heart. It seemed an emblem of the ruin he had caused.

As he proceeded, other painful reminiscences were aroused. At every
step he seemed to be haunted by the ghost of the past. There was the
stile on which Jonathan had sat, and he recollected distinctly the
effect of his mocking glance--how it had hardened his heart against
his mother’s prayer. “O God!” he exclaimed, “I am severely punished.”

He had now gained the high road. The villagers were thronging to
church. Bounding the corner of a garden wall, he came upon his former
place of imprisonment. Some rustic hand had written upon the door
“JACK SHEPPARD’S CAGE;” and upon the wall was affixed a large
placard describing his person, and offering a reward for his capture.
Muffling up his face, Jack turned away; but he had not proceeded many
steps when he heard a man reading aloud an account of his escapes
from a newspaper.

Hastening to the church, he entered it by the very door near which
his first crime had been committed. His mother’s scream seemed again
to ring in his ears, and he was so deeply affected that, fearful of
exciting attention, he was about to quit the sacred edifice, when he
was stopped by the entrance of Thames, who looked pale as death, with
Winifred leaning on his arm. They were followed by Mr. Wood in the
deepest mourning.

Shrinking involuntarily back into the farthest corner of the seat,
Jack buried his face in his hands. The service began. Jack who
had not been in a place of worship for many years was powerfully
affected. Accidentally raising his eyes, he saw that he was perceived
by the family from Dollis Hill, and that he was an object of the
deepest interest to them.

As soon as the service was over, Thames contrived to approach him,
and whispered, “Be cautious,--the funeral will take place after
evening service.”

Jack would not hazard a glance at Winifred; but, quitting the church,
got into an adjoining meadow, and watched the party slowly ascending
the road leading to Dollis Hill. At a turn in the road, he perceived
Winifred looking anxiously towards him, and when she discovered him,
she waved her hand.

Returning to the churchyard, he walked round it; and on the western
side, near a small yew-tree discovered a new-made grave.

“Whose grave is this?” he inquired of a man who was standing near it.

“I can’t say,” answered the fellow; “but I’ll inquire from the
sexton, William Morgan. Here, Peter,” he added to a curly-headed lad,
who was playing on one of the grassy tombs, “ask your father to step
this way.”

The little urchin set off, and presently returned with the sexton.

“It’s Mrs. Sheppard’s grave,--the mother of the famous housebreaker,”
 said Morgan, in answer to Jack’s inquiry;--“and it’s well they let
her have Christian burial after all--for they say she destroyed
herself for her son. The crowner’s ‘quest sat on her yesterday--and
if she hadn’t been proved out of her mind, she would have been buried
at four lane-ends.”

Jack could stand no more. Placing a piece of money in Morgan’s hands,
he hurried out of the churchyard.

“By my soul,” said the sexton, “that’s as like Jack Sheppard as any
one I ever seed i’ my born days.”

Hastening to the Six Bells, Jack ordered some refreshment, and
engaged a private room, where he remained till the afternoon absorbed
in grief.

Meantime, a change had taken place in the weather. The day had become
suddenly overcast. The wind blew in fitful gusts, and scattered the
yellow leaves from the elms and horse-chestnuts. Roused by the bell
tolling for evening service, Jack left the house. On reaching the
churchyard, he perceived the melancholy procession descending the
hill. Just then, a carriage drawn by four horses, drove furiously up
to the Six Bells; but Jack was too much absorbed to take any notice
of it.

At this moment, the bell began to toll in a peculiar manner,
announcing the approach of the corpse. The gate was opened; the
coffin brought into the churchyard; and Jack, whose eyes were filled
with tears, saw Mr. Wood and Thames pass him, and followed at a
foot’s pace behind them.

Meanwhile, the clergyman, bare-headed and in his surplice, advanced
to meet them. Having read the three first verses of the impressive
service appointed for the burial of the dead, he returned to the
church, whither the coffin was carried through the south-western
door, and placed in the centre of the aisle--Mr. Wood and Thames
taking their places on either side of it, and Jack at a little
distance behind.

Jack had been touched in the morning, but he was now completely
prostrated. In the midst of the holy place, which he had formerly
profaned, lay the body of his unfortunate mother, and he could not
help looking upon her untimely end as the retributive vengeance of
Heaven for the crime he had committed. His grief was so audible, that
it attracted the notice of some of the bystanders, and Thames was
obliged to beg him to control it. In doing this, he chanced to
raise his eyes and half fancied he beheld, shaded by a pillar at
the extremity of the western aisle, the horrible countenance of the

Before the congregation separated, the clergyman descended from the
pulpit; and, followed by the coffin-bearers and mourners, and by Jack
at a respectful distance, entered the churchyard.

The carriage, which it has been mentioned drove up to the Six Bells,
contained four persons,--Jonathan Wild, his two janizaries, and his
porter, Obadiah Lemon. As soon as they had got out, the vehicle was
drawn up at the back of a tree near the cage. Having watched the
funeral at some distance, Jonathan fancied he could discern the
figure of Jack; but not being quite sure, he entered the church. He
was daring enough to have seized and carried him off before the whole
congregation, but he preferred waiting.

Satisfied with his scrutiny, he returned, despatched Abraham and
Obadiah to the northwest corner of the church, placed Quilt behind
a buttress near the porch, and sheltered himself behind one of the
mighty elms.

The funeral procession had now approached the grave, around which
many of the congregation, who were deeply interested by the sad
ceremonial, had gathered. A slight rain fell at the time; and a few
leaves, caught by the eddies, whirled around. Jonathan mixed with the
group, and, sure of his prey, abided his time.

The clergyman, meanwhile, proceeded with the service, while the
coffin was deposited at the brink of the grave.

Just as the attendants were preparing to lower the corpse into the
earth, Jack fell on his knees beside the coffin, uttering the wildest
exclamations of grief, reproaching himself with the murder of his
mother, and invoking the vengeance of Heaven on his own head.

A murmur ran through the assemblage, by several of whom Jack was
recognised. But such was the violence of his grief,--such the
compunction he exhibited, that all but one looked on with an eye of
compassion. That person advanced towards him.

“I have killed her,” cried Jack.

“You have,” rejoined Jonathan, laying a forcible grasp on his
shoulder. “You are my prisoner.”

[Illustration: 275]

Jack started to his feet; but before he could defend himself, his
right arm was grasped by the Jew who had silently approached him.

“Hell-hounds!” he cried; “release me!”

At the same moment, Quilt Arnold rushed forward with such haste,
that, stumbling over William Morgan, he precipitated him into the

“Wretch!” cried Jack. “Are you not content with the crimes you have
committed,--but you must carry your villany to this point. Look at
the poor victim at your feet.”

Jonathan made no reply, but ordered his myrmidons to drag the
prisoner along.

Thames, meanwhile, had drawn his sword, and was about to rush upon
Jonathan; but he was withheld by Wood.

“Do not shed more blood,” cried the carpenter.

Groans and hoots were now raised by the crowd, and there was an
evident disposition to rescue. A small brickbat was thrown, which
struck Jonathan in the face.

“You shall not pass,” cried several of the crowd.

“I knew his poor mother, and for her sake I’ll not see this done,”
 cried John Dump.

“Slip on the handcuffs,” cried the thief-taker. “And now let’s see
who’ll dare to oppose me. I am Jonathan Wild. I have arrested him in
the King’s name.”

A deep indignant groan followed.

“Let me see the earth thrown over her,” implored Jack; “and take me
where you please.”

“No,” thundered Wild.

“Allow him that small grace,” cried Wood.

“No, I tell you,” rejoined Jonathan, shouldering his way out of the

“My mother,--my poor mother!” exclaimed Jack.

But, in spite of his outcries and resistance, he was dragged along by
Jonathan and his janizaries.

At the eastern gate of the churchyard stood the carriage with the
steps lowered. The mob pursued the thief-taker and his party all the
way, and such missiles as could be collected were hurled at them.
They even threatened to cut the traces and take off the wheels from
the carriage. The Jew got in first. The prisoner was then thrust in
by Quilt. Before Jonathan followed he turned to face his assailants.

“Back!” he cried fiercely. “I am an officer in the execution of my
duty. And he who opposes me in it shall feel the weight of my hand.”

He then sprung into the coach, the door of which was closed by
Obadiah, who mounted the box.

“To Newgate,” cried Jonathan, putting his head out of the window.

A deep roar followed this order, and several missiles were launched
at the vehicle, which was driven off at a furious pace.

And while her son was reconveyed to prison the body of the
unfortunate Mrs. Sheppard was committed to the earth.


Jack Sheppard’s escape from Newgate on the night of the 15th of
October was not discovered till the following morning; for although
the intelligence was brought by several parties to the Lodge in the
course of the night, Austin, who was the officer in attendance, paid
no attention to them.

After pursuing the fugitive as before related, Jonathan Wild returned
to his own habitation, where he was occupied during the remainder of
the night with Quilt Arnold and Obadiah Lemon in removing everything
which, in case of a search, might tend to criminate him. Satisfied
in this respect, he flung himself into a chair, for his iron frame
seldom required the indulgence of a bed, and sought an hour’s repose
before he began the villanies of another day.

He was aroused from his slumber, about six o’clock, by the return of
Abraham Mendez, who not choosing to confess that Jack had eluded his
vigilance, contended himself with stating that he had kept watch till
daybreak, when he had carefully searched the field, and, finding no
trace of him, had thought it better to return.

This information was received by Jonathan with a lowering brow.
He comforted himself, however, with the certainty which he felt of
capturing his prey on the Sunday. His breakfast despatched, which he
ate with a wolfish appetite, he walked over to Newgate, chuckling
as he went at the consternation which his appearance would create
amongst the turnkeys.

Entering the Lodge, the first person he beheld was Austin, who was
only just up, and whose toilette appeared scarcely completed. A
glance satisfied Jonathan that the turnkey was not aware of the
prisoner’s escape; and he resolved not to destroy what he considered
a good jest, by a premature disclosure of it.

“You are out betimes this morning, Mr. Wild,” observed Austin, as
he put on his coat, and adjusted his minor bob. “Something fresh on
hand, I suppose?”

“I’m come to inquire after Jack Sheppard,” returned Jonathan.

“Don’t alarm yourself about him, Sir,” replied Austin. “He’s safe
enough, I assure you.”

“I should like to satisfy myself on that score,” rejoined Wild,

“So you shall, Sir,” replied Austin, who at this moment recollected,
with some uneasiness, the applications at the lodge-door during the
night. “I hope you don’t imagine anything has gone wrong, Sir.”

“It matters not what I think,” replied Wild. “Come with me to the

“Instantly, Sir,” replied Austin; “instantly. Here, Caliban, attend
to the door, and keep the wicket locked till I return. D’ye hear.
Now, Sir.”

Taking the keys, he led the way, followed by Jonathan, who chuckled
internally at the shock that awaited the poor fellow.

The door was opened, and Austin entered the cell, when he absolutely
recoiled before the spectacle he beheld, and could scarcely have
looked more alarmed if the prison had tumbled about his ears.
Petrified and speechless, he turned an imploring look at Wild, who
was himself filled with astonishment at the pile of rubbish lying
before him.

“‘Sdeath!” cried Jonathan, staring at the breach in the wall. “Some
one _must_ have assisted him. Unless he has dealings with the devil,
he could never have done this alone.”

“I firmly believe he _has_ dealings with the devil,” replied Austin,
trembling from head to foot. “But, perhaps, he has not got beyond the
room above. It’s as strong, if not stronger, than this. I’ll see.”

So saying, he scrambled over the rubbish, and got into the chimney.
But though the breach was large enough to admit him below, he could
not squeeze his bulky person through the aperture into the Red Room.

“I believe he’s gone,” he said, returning to Jonathan. “The door’s
open, and the room empty.”

“You believe--you _know_ it,” replied Jonathan, fixing one of his
sternest and most searching glances upon him. “Nothing you can say to
the contrary will convince me that you have not been accessory to his

“I, Sir!--I swear----”

“Tush!” interrupted Jonathan, harshly. “I shall state my suspicions
to the governor. Come down with me to the Lodge directly. All further
examinations must be conducted in the presence of proper witnesses.”

With these words, he strode out of the room, darted down the stone
stairs, and, on his arrival at the Lodge, seized the rope of the
great bell communicating with the interior of the prison, which he
rang violently. As this was never done, except in some case of great
emergency, the application was instantly answered by all the other
turnkeys, by Marvel, the four partners, and Mrs. Spurling. Nothing
could exceed the dismay of these personages when they learnt why they
had been summoned. All seemed infected with Austin’s terrors except
Mrs. Spurling, who did not dare to exhibit her satisfaction otherwise
than by privately pinching the arm of her expected husband.

Headed by Jonathan, all the turnkeys then repaired to the upper part
of the jail, and, approaching the Red Room by a circuitous route,
several doors were unlocked, and they came upon the scene of Jack’s
exploits. Stopping before each door, they took up the plates of the
locks, examined the ponderous bolts, and were struck with the utmost
astonishment at what they beheld.

Arriving at the chapel, their wonder increased. All the jailers
declared it utterly impossible he could have accomplished his
astonishing task unaided; but who had lent him assistance was a
question they were unable to answer. Proceeding to the entry to the
Lower Leads, they came to the two strong doors, and their surprise
was so great at Jack’s marvellous performance, that they could
scarcely persuade themselves that human ingenuity could have
accomplished it.

“Here’s a door,” remarked Ireton, when he got to that nearest the
leads, “which I could have sworn would have resisted anything. I
shall have no faith in future in bolts and bars.”

Mounting the roof of the prison, they traced the fugitive’s course to
the further extremity of the building, where they found his blanket
attached to the spike proving that he escaped in that direction.

After severely examining Austin, and finding it proved, on the
testimony of his fellow-jailers, that he could not have aided Jack in
his flight, Jonathan retracted his harsh sentence, and even went
so far as to say that he would act as mediator between him and the

This was some satisfaction to the poor fellow, who was dreadfully
frightened, as indeed he might well be, it being the opinion of the
jailers and others who afterwards examined the place, that Jack had
accomplished, single-handed, in a few hours, and, as far as it could
be ascertained, with imperfect implements, what it would have taken
half a dozen men several days, provided with proper tools, to effect.
In their opinion a hundred pounds would not repair the damage done to
the prison.

As soon as Jack’s escape became known, thousands of persons flocked
to Newgate to behold his workmanship; and the jailers reaped am
abundant harvest from their curiosity.

Jonathan, meanwhile, maintained profound secrecy as to his hopes of
capturing the fugitive; and when Jack was brought back to Newgate on
the Sunday evening, his arrival was wholly unexpected.

At a little after five, on that day, four horses dashed round the
corner of the Old Bailey, and drew up before the door of the Lodge.
Hearing the stoppage, Austin rushed out, and could scarcely believe
his eyes when he beheld Jack Sheppard in the custody of Quilt Arnold
and Abraham Mendez.

Jack’s recapture was speedily made known to all the officers of
the jail, and the Lodge was instantly crowded. The delight of the
turnkeys was beyond all bounds; but poor Mrs. Spurling was in a state
of distraction and began to abuse Jonathan so violently that her
future husband was obliged to lay forcible hands upon her and drag
her away.

By Wild’s command the prisoner was taken to the Condemned Hold,
whither he was followed by the whole posse of officers and by the
partners; two of whom carried large hammers and two the fetters.
There was only one prisoner in the ward. He was chained to the
ground, but started up at their approach. It was Blueskin. When he
beheld Jack he uttered a deep groan.

“Captain,” he cried, in a voice of the bitterest anguish, “have these
dogs again hunted you down? If you hadn’t been so unlucky, I should
have been with you before to-morrow night.”

Jack made no answer, nor did he even cast his eyes upon his follower.
But Jonathan, fixing a terrible look upon him, cried.

“Ha! say you so? You must be looked to. My lads,” he continued,
addressing the partners; “when you’ve finished this job give that
fellow a fresh set of darbies. I suspect he has been at work upon
those he has on.”

“The link of the chain next the staple is sawn through,” said Ireton,
stooping to examine Blueskin’s fetters.

“Search him and iron him afresh;” commanded Jonathan. “But first let
us secure Sheppard. We’ll then remove them both to the Middle Stone
Hold, where a watch shall be kept over them night and day till
they’re taken to Tyburn. As they’re so fond of each other’s society
they shan’t part company even on that occasion, but shall swing from
the same tree.”

“You’ll never live to see that day,” cried Blueskin, fixing a
menacing look upon him.

“What weight are these irons?” asked Jonathan, coolly addressing one
of the partners.

“More than three hundred weight, Sir,” replied the man. “They’re
the heaviest set we have,--and were forged expressly for Captain

“They’re not half heavy enough,” replied Wild. “Let him be
handcuffed, and doubly ironed on both legs; and when we get him into
the Stone Ward, he shall not only be chained down to the ground, but
shall have two additional fetters running through the main links,
fastened on each side of him. We’ll see whether he’ll get rid of his
new bonds?” he added with a brutal laugh, which was echoed by the

“Mark me,” said Jack, sternly; “I have twice broken out of this
prison in spite of all your precautions. And were you to load me with
thrice the weight of iron you have ordered you should not prevent my
escaping a third time.”

“That’s right, Captain,” cried Blueskin. “We’ll give them the slip
yet, and hang that butcherly thief-taker upon his own gibbet.”

“Be silent dog,” cried Jonathan. And with his clenched hand he struck
him a violent blow in the face.

For the first time, perhaps, in his life, he repented of his
brutality. The blow was scarcely dealt, when, with a bound like
that of a tiger, Blueskin sprang upon him. The chain, which had been
partially cut through, snapped near the staple. Before any assistance
could be rendered by the jailers, who stood astounded, Blueskin
had got Wild in his clutches. His strength has been described as
prodigious; but now, heightened by his desire for vengeance, it
was irresistible. Jonathan, though a very powerful man, was like
an infant in his gripe. Catching hold of his chin, he bent back the
neck, while with his left hand he pulled out a clasp knife, which
he opened with his teeth, and grasping Wild’s head with his arm,
notwithstanding his resistance, cut deeply into his throat. The folds
of a thick muslin neckcloth in some degree protected him, but the
gash was desperate. Blueskin drew the knife across his throat a
second time, widening and deepening the wound; and wrenching back the
head to get it into a more favourable position, would infallibly
have severed it from the trunk, if the officers, who by this time had
recovered from their terror, had not thrown themselves upon him, and
withheld him.

“Now’s your time,” cried Blueskin, struggling desperately with
his assailants and inflicting severe cuts with his knife. “Fly,

Aroused to a sense of the possibility of escape, Jack, who had viewed
the deadly assault with savage satisfaction, burst from his captors
and made for the door. Blueskin fought his way towards it, and
exerting all his strength, cutting right and left as he proceeded,
reached it at the same time. Jack in all probability, would have
escaped, if Langley, who was left in the Lodge, had not been alarmed
at the noise and rushed thither. Seeing Jack at liberty, he instantly
seized him, and a struggle commenced.

At this moment, Blueskin came up, and kept off the officers with his
knife. He used his utmost efforts to liberate Jack from Langley, but
closely pressed on all sides, he was not able to render any effectual

“Fly!” cried Jack; “escape if you can; don’t mind me.”

Casting one look of anguish at his leader, Blueskin then darted down
the passage.

The only persons in the Lodge were Mrs. Spurling and Marvel. Hearing
the noise of the scuffle, the tapstress, fancying it was Jack
making an effort to escape, in spite of the remonstrances of the
executioner, threw open the wicket. Blueskin therefore had nothing to
stop him. Dashing through the open door, he crossed the Old Bailey,
plunged into a narrow court on the opposite side of the way, and was
out of sight in a minute, baffling all pursuit.

On their return, the jailers raised up Jonathan, who was weltering in
his blood, and who appeared to be dying. Efforts were made to staunch
his wounds and surgical assistance sent for.

“Has he escaped?” asked the thief-taker, faintly.

“Blueskin,” said Ireton.

“No--Sheppard?” rejoined Wild.

“No, no, Sir,” replied Ireton. “He’s here.”

“That’s right,” replied Wild, with a ghastly smile. “Remove him to
the Middle Stone Hold,--watch over him night and day, do you mind?”

“I do, Sir.”

“Irons--heavy irons--night and day.”

“Depend upon it, Sir.”

“Go with him to Tyburn,--never lose sight of him till the noose is
tied. Where’s Marvel?”

“Here, Sir,” replied the executioner.

“A hundred guineas if you hang Jack Sheppard. I have it about me.
Take it, if I die.”

“Never fear, Sir,” replied Marvel.

“Oh! that I could live to see it,” gasped Jonathan. And with a
hideous expression of pain, he fainted.

“He’s dead,” exclaimed Austin.

“I am content,” said Jack. “My mother is avenged. Take me to the
Stone Room. Blueskin, you are a true friend.”

The body of Jonathan was then conveyed to his own habitation, while
Jack was taken to the Middle Stone Room, and ironed in the manner
Wild had directed.


“At length this tragedy is at an end,” said Mr. Wood, as, having seen
the earth thrown over the remains of the unfortunate Mrs. Sheppard,
he turned to quit the churchyard. “Let us hope that, like her who
‘loved much,’ her sins are forgiven her.”

Without another word, and accompanied by Thames, he then took his way
to Dollis Hill in a state of the deepest depression. Thames did
not attempt to offer him any consolation, for he was almost as much
dejected. The weather harmonized with their feelings. It rained
slightly, and a thick mist gathered in the air, and obscured the
beautiful prospect.

On his arrival at Dollis Hill, Mr. Wood was so much exhausted that
he was obliged to retire to his own room, where he continued for some
hours overpowered by grief. The two lovers sat together, and their
sole discourse turned upon Jack and his ill-fated mother.

As the night advanced, Mr. Wood again made his appearance in a more
composed frame of mind, and, at his daughter’s earnest solicitation,
was induced to partake of some refreshment. An hour was then passed
in conversation as to the possibility of rendering any assistance to
Jack; in deploring his unhappy destiny; and in the consideration of
the course to be pursued in reference to Jonathan Wild.

While they were thus occupied, a maid-servant entered the room,
and stated that a person was without who had a packet for Captain
Darrell, which must be delivered into his own hands. Notwithstanding
the remonstrances of Wood and Winifred, Thames instantly followed the
domestic, and found a man, with his face muffled up, at the door, as
she had described. Somewhat alarmed at his appearance, Thames laid
his hand upon his sword.

“Fear nothing, Sir,” said the man, in a voice which Thames instantly
recognised as that of Blueskin. “I am come to render you a service.
There are the packets which my Captain hazarded his life to procure
for you, and which he said would establish your right to the estates
of the Trenchard family. There are also the letters which were
scattered about Wild’s room after the murder of Sir Rowland. And
there,” he added, placing in his hands a heavy bag of money, and a
pocket-book, “is a sum little short of fifteen thousand pounds.”

“How have you procured these things?” asked Thames, in the utmost

“I carried them off on the fatal night when we got into Wild’s house,
and you were struck down,” replied Blueskin. “They have ever since
been deposited in a place of safety. You have nothing more to fear
from Wild.”

“How so?” asked Thames.

“I have saved the executioner a labour, by cutting his throat,”
 replied Blueskin. “And, may I be cursed if I ever did anything in my
whole life which gave me so much satisfaction.”

“Almighty God! is this possible?” exclaimed Thames.

“You will find it true,” replied Blueskin. “All I regret is, that I
failed in liberating the Captain. If he had got off, they might have
hanged me, and welcome.”

“What can be done for him?” cried Thames.

“That’s not an easy question to answer,” rejoined Blueskin. “But I
shall watch night and day about Newgate, in the hope of getting him
out. He wouldn’t require my aid, but before I stopped Jonathan’s
mouth, he had ordered him to be doubly-ironed, and constantly
watched. And, though the villain can’t see his orders executed, I’ve
no doubt some one else will.”

“Poor Jack!” exclaimed Thames. “I would sacrifice all my fortune--all
my hopes--to liberate him.”

“If you’re in earnest,” rejoined Blueskin, “give me that bag of gold.
It contains a thousand pounds; and, if all other schemes fail, I’ll
engage to free him on the way to Tyburn.”

“May I trust you?” hesitated Thames.

“Why did I not keep the money when I had it?” returned Blueskin,
angrily. “Not a farthing of it shall be expended except in the
Captain’s service.”

“Take it,” replied Thames.

“You have saved his life,” replied Blueskin. “And now, mark me. You
owe what I have done for you, to him, not to me. Had I not known that
you and your affianced bride are dearer to him than life I should
have used this money to secure my own safety. Take it, and take the
estates, in Captain Sheppard’s name. Promise me one thing before I
leave you.”

“What is it?” asked Thames.

“If the Captain _is_ taken to Tyburn, be near the place of
execution--at the end of the Edgeware Road.”

“I will.”

“In case of need you will lend a helping hand?”


“Swear it!”

“I do.”

“Enough!” rejoined Blueskin. And he departed, just as Wood, who had
become alarmed by Thames’s long absence, made his appearance with a
blunderbuss in his hand.

Hastily acquainting him with the treasures he had unexpectedly
obtained, Thames returned to the room to apprize Winifred of his good
fortune. The packets were hastily broken open; and, while Wood was
absorbed in the perusal of the despatch addressed to him by Sir
Rowland, Thames sought out, and found the letter which he had been
prevented from finishing on the fatal night at Jonathan Wild’s. As
soon as he had read it, he let it fall from his grasp.

Winifred instantly picked it up.

“You are no longer Thames Darrell,” she said, casting her eyes
rapidly over it; “but the Marquis de Chatillon.”

“My father was of the blood-royal of France,” exclaimed Thames.

“Eh-day! what’s this?” cried Wood, looking up from beneath his
spectacles. “Who--who is the Marquis de Chatillon?”

“Your adopted son, Thames Darrell,” answered Winifred.

“And the Marchioness is your daughter,” added Thames.

“O, Lord!” ejaculated Wood. “My head fairly turns round. So many
distresses--so many joys coming at the same time are too much for
me. Read that letter, Thames--my lord marquis, I mean. Read it, and
you’ll find that your unfortunate uncle, Sir Rowland, surrenders to
you all the estates in Lancashire. You’ve nothing to do but to take

“What a strange history is mine!” said Thames. “Kidnapped, and sent
to France by one uncle, it was my lot to fall into the hands of
another,--my father’s own brother, the Marshal Gaucher de Chatillon;
to whom, and to the Cardinal Dubois, I owed all my good fortune.”

“The ways of Providence are inscrutable,” observed Wood.

“When in France, I heard from the Marshal that his brother had
perished in London on the night of the Great Storm. It was supposed
he was drowned in crossing the river, as his body had never been
found. Little did I imagine at the time that it was my own father to
whom he referred.”

“I think I remember reading something about your father in the
papers,” observed Wood. “Wasn’t he in some way connected with the
Jacobite plots?”

“He was,” replied Thames. “He had been many years in this country
before his assassination took place. In this letter, which is
addressed to my ill-fated mother, he speaks of his friendship for Sir
Rowland, whom it seems he had known abroad; but entreats her to
keep the marriage secret for a time, for reasons which are not fully

“And so Sir Rowland murdered his friend,” remarked Wood. “Crime upon

“Unconsciously, perhaps,” replied Thames. “But be it as it may, he is
now beyond the reach of earthly punishment.”

“But Wild still lives,” cried Wood.

“He; also, has paid the penalty of his offences,” returned Thames.
“He has fallen by the hand of Blueskin, who brought me these

“Thank God for that!” cried Wood, heartily. “I could almost forgive
the wretch the injury he did me in depriving me of my poor dear
wife--No, not quite _that_,” he added, a little confused.

“And now,” said Thames, (for we must still preserve the name,) “you
will no longer defer my happiness.”

“Hold!” interposed Winifred, gravely. “I release you from your
promise. A carpenter’s daughter is no fit match for a peer of

“If my dignity must be purchased by the loss of you, I renounce it,”
 cried Thames. “You will not make it valueless in my eyes,” he added,
catching her in his arms, and pressing her to his breast.

“Be it as you please,” replied Winifred. “My lips would belie my
heart were I to refuse you.”

“And now, father, your blessing--your consent!” cried Thames.

“You have both,” replied Wood, fervently. “I am too much
honoured--too happy in the union. Oh! that I should live to be
father-in-law to a peer of France! What would my poor wife say to
it, if she could come to life again? Oh, Thames!--my lord marquis, I
mean--you have made me the happiest--the proudest of mankind.”

Not many days after this event, on a bright October morning, the
bells rang a merry peal from the old gray tower of Willesden church.
All the village was assembled in the churchyard. Young and old were
dressed in their gayest apparel; and it was evident from the smiles
that lighted up every countenance, from the roguish looks of the
younger swains, and the demure expression of several pretty
rustic maidens, that a ceremony, which never fails to interest all
classes,--a wedding,--was about to take place.

At the gate opening upon the road leading to Dollis Hill were
stationed William Morgan and John Dump. Presently, two carriages
dashed down the hill, and drew up before it. From the first of
these alighted Thames, or, as he must now be styled, the Marquis de
Chatillon. From the second descended Mr. Wood--and after him came his

The sun never shone upon a lovelier couple than now approached the
altar. The church was crowded to excess by the numbers eager to
witness the ceremony; and as soon as it was over the wedded pair were
followed to the carriage, and the loudest benedictions uttered for
their happiness.

In spite of the tumultuous joy which agitated him, the bridegroom
could not prevent the intrusion of some saddening thoughts, as
he reflected upon the melancholy scene which he had so recently
witnessed in the same place.

The youthful couple had been seated in the carriage a few minutes
when they were joined by Mr. Wood, who had merely absented himself
to see that a public breakfast, which he had ordered at the Six Bells
for all who chose to partake of it, was in readiness. He likewise
gave directions that in the after part of the day a whole bullock
should be roasted on the green and distributed, together with a
barrel of the strongest ale.

In the evening, a band of village musicians, accompanied by most
of the young inhabitants of Willesden, strolled out to Dollis Hill,
where they formed a rustic concert under the great elm before the
door. Here they were regaled with another plentiful meal by the
hospitable carpenter, who personally superintended the repast.

These festivities, however, were not witnessed by the newly-married
pair, who had departed immediately after the ceremony for Manchester.


Loaded with the heaviest fetters, and constantly watched by two of
the jailers’ assistants, who neither quitted him for a single moment,
nor suffered any visitor to approach him, Jack Sheppard found all
attempts to escape impracticable.

He was confined in the Middle Stone Ward, a spacious apartment, with
good light and air, situated over the gateway on the western side,
and allotted to him, not for his own convenience, but for that of
the keepers, who, if he had been placed in a gloomier or more
incommodious dungeon, would have necessarily had to share it with

Through this, his last trial, Jack’s spirits never deserted him.
He seemed resigned but cheerful, and held frequent and serious
discourses with the ordinary, who felt satisfied of his sincere
penitence. The only circumstance which served to awaken a darker
feeling in his breast was, that his implacable foe Jonathan Wild had
survived the wound inflicted by Blueskin, and was slowly recovering.

As soon as he could be moved with safety, Jonathan had himself
transported to Newgate, where he was carried into the Middle Ward,
that he might feast his eyes upon his victim. Having seen every
precaution taken to ensure his safe custody, he departed, muttering
to himself, “I shall yet live to see him hanged--I shall live to see
him hanged.”

Animated by his insatiate desire of vengeance, he seemed to gain
strength daily,--so much so, that within a fortnight after receiving
his wound he was able to stir abroad.

On Thursday, the 12th of November, after having endured nearly a
month’s imprisonment, Jack Sheppard was conveyed from Newgate to
Westminster Hall. He was placed in a coach, handcuffed, and heavily
fettered, and guarded by a vast posse of officers to Temple Bar,
where a fresh relay of constables escorted him to Westminster.

By this time, Jack’s reputation had risen to such a height with
the populace,--his exploits having become the universal theme of
discourse, that the streets were almost impassable for the crowds
collected to obtain a view of him. The vast area in front of
Westminster Hall was thronged with people, and it was only by a
vigorous application of their staves that the constables could force
a passage for the vehicle. At length, however, the prisoner was got
out, when such was the rush of the multitude that several persons
were trampled down, and received severe injuries.

Arrived in the Hall, the prisoner’s handcuffs were removed, and
he was taken before the Court of King’s Bench. The record of his
conviction at the Old Bailey sessions was then read; and as no
objection was offered to it, the Attorney-General moved that his
execution might take place on Monday next. Upon this, Jack earnestly
and eloquently addressed himself to the bench, and besought that a
petition which he had prepared to be laid before the King might be
read. This request, however, was refused; and he was told that the
only way in which he could entitle himself to his Majesty’s clemency
would be by discovering who had abetted him in his last escape; the
strongest suspicions being entertained that he had not affected it

Sheppard replied by a solemn assertion, “that he had received
no assistance except from Heaven.”--An answer for which he was
immediately reprimanded by the court. It having been stated that it
was wholly impossible he could have removed his irons in the way he
represented, he offered, if his handcuffs were replaced, to take
them off in the presence of the court. The proposal, however, was
not acceded to; and the Chief Justice Powis, after enumerating his
various offences and commenting upon their heinousness, awarded
sentence of death against him for the following Monday.

As Jack was removed, he noticed Jonathan Wild at a little distance
from him, eyeing him with a look of the most savage satisfaction. The
thief-taker’s throat was bound up with thick folds of linen, and
his face had a ghastly and cadaverous look, which communicated an
undefinable and horrible expression to his glances.

Meanwhile, the mob outside had prodigiously increased, and had begun
to exhibit some disposition to riot. The coach in which the prisoner
had been conveyed was already broken to pieces, and the driver was
glad to escape with life. Terrific shouts were raised by the rabble,
who threatened to tear Wild in pieces if he showed himself.

Amid this tumult, several men armed with tremendous bludgeons, with
their faces besmeared with grease and soot, and otherwise disguised,
were observed to be urging the populace to attempt a rescue. They
were headed by an athletic-looking, swarthy-featured man, who was
armed with a cutlass, which he waved over his head to cheer on his

These desperadoes had been the most active in demolishing the coach,
and now, being supported by the rabble, they audaciously approached
the very portals of the ancient Hall. The shouts, yells, and groans
which they uttered, and which were echoed by the concourse in the
rear, were perfectly frightful.

Jonathan, who with the other constables had reconnoitred this band,
and recognised in its ring-leader, Blueskin, commanded the constables
to follow him, and made a sally for the purpose of seizing him.
Enfeebled by his wound, Wild had lost much of his strength, though
nothing of his ferocity and energy,--and fiercely assailing Blueskin,
he made a desperate but unsuccessful attempt to apprehend him.

He was, however, instantly beaten back; and the fury of the mob was
so great that it was with difficulty he could effect a retreat. The
whole force of the constables, jailers and others was required to
keep the crowd out of the Hall. The doors were closed and barricaded,
and the mob threatened to burst them open if Jack was not delivered
to them.

Things now began to wear so serious a aspect that a messenger was
secretly despatched to the Savoy for troops, and in half an hour
a regiment of the guards arrived, who by dint of great exertion
succeeded in partially dispersing the tumultuous assemblage. Another
coach was then procured, in which the prisoner was placed.

Jack’s appearance was hailed with the loudest cheers, but when
Jonathan followed and took a place beside him in the vehicle,
determined, he said, never to lose sight of him, the abhorrence of
the multitude was expressed by execrations, hoots, and yells of the
most terrific kind. So dreadful were these shouts as to produce an
effect upon the hardened feelings of Jonathan, who shrank out of

It was well for him that he had taken his place by Sheppard, as
regard for the latter alone prevented the deadliest missiles being
hurled at him. As it was, the mob went on alternately hooting and
huzzaing as the names of Wild and Sheppard were pronounced, while
some individuals, bolder than the rest, thrust their faces into
the coach-window, and assured Jack that he should never be taken to

“We’ll see that, you yelping hounds!” rejoined Jonathan, glaring
fiercely at them.

In this way, Jack was brought back to Newgate, and again chained down
in the Middle Ward.

It was late before Jonathan ventured to his own house, where he
remained up all night, and kept his janizaries and other assistants
well armed.


The day appointed for the execution was now close at hand, and the
prisoner, who seemed to have abandoned all hopes of escape, turned
his thoughts entirely from worldly considerations.

On Sunday, he was conveyed to the chapel, through which he had passed
on the occasion of his great escape, and once more took his seat
in the Condemned Pew. The Rev. Mr. Purney, the ordinary, who had
latterly conceived a great regard for Jack, addressed him in a
discourse, which, while it tended to keep alive his feelings of
penitence, was calculated to afford him much consolation. The chapel
was crowded to excess. But here,--even here, the demon was suffered
to intrude, and Jack’s thoughts were distracted by Jonathan Wild, who
stood at a little distance from him, and kept his bloodthirsty eyes
fixed on him during the whole of the service.

On that night, an extraordinary event occurred, which convinced the
authorities that every precaution must be taken in conducting Jack to
Tyburn,--a fact of which they had been previously made aware,
though scarcely to the same extent, by the riotous proceedings near
Westminster Hall. About nine o’clock, an immense mob collected
before the Lodge at Newgate. It was quite dark; but as some of the
assemblage carried links, it was soon ascertained to be headed by the
same party who had mainly incited the former disturbance. Amongst the
ring-leaders was Blueskin, whose swarthy features and athletic figure
were easily distinguished. Another was Baptist Kettleby, and a
third, in a Dutch dress, was recognised by his grizzled beard as the
skipper, Van Galgebrok.

Before an hour had elapsed, the concourse was fearfully increased.
The area in front of the jail was completely filled. Attempts were
made upon the door of the Lodge; but it was too strong to be forced.
A cry was then raised by the leaders to attack Wild’s house, and the
fury of the mob was instantly directed to that quarter. Wrenched
from their holds, the iron palisades in front of the thief-taker’s
dwelling were used as weapons to burst open the door.

While this was passing, Jonathan opened one of the upper windows, and
fired several shots upon the assailants. But though he made Blueskin
and Kettleby his chief marks, he missed both. The sight of the
thief-taker increased the fury of the mob to a fearful degree.
Terrific yells rent the air. The heavy weapon thundered against the
door; and it speedily yielded to their efforts.

“Come on, my lads!” vociferated Blueskin, “we’ll unkennel the old

As he spoke, several shots were fired from the upper part of the
house, and two men fell mortally wounded. But this only incensed
the assailing party the more. With a drawn cutlass in one hand and
a cocked pistol in the other, Blueskin rushed up stairs. The landing
was defended by Quilt Arnold and the Jew. The former was shot by
Blueskin through the head, and his body fell over the bannisters.
The Jew, who was paralysed by his companion’s fate, offered no
resistance, and was instantly seized.

“Where is your accursed master?” demanded Blueskin, holding the sword
to his throat.

The Jew did not speak, but pointed to the audience-chamber.
Committing him to the custody of the others, Blueskin, followed by
a numerous band, darted in that direction. The door was locked; but,
with the bars of iron, it was speedily burst open. Several of the
assailants carried links, so that the room was a blaze of light.
Jonathan, however, was nowhere to be seen.

Rushing towards the entrance of the well-hole, Blueskin touched
the secret spring. He was not there. Opening the trap-door, he then
descended to the vaults--searched each cell, and every nook and
corner separately. Wild had escaped.

Robbed of their prey, the fury of the mob became ungovernable. At
length, at the end of a passage, next to the cell where Mrs. Sheppard
had been confined, Blueskin discovered a trap-door which he had not
previously noticed. It was instantly burst open, when the horrible
stench that issued from it convinced them that it must be a
receptacle for the murdered victims of the thief-taker.

Holding a link into the place, which had the appearance of a deep
pit, Blueskin noticed a body richly dressed. He dragged it out, and
perceiving, in spite of the decayed frame, that it was the body
of Sir Rowland Trenchard, commanded his attendants to convey it up
stairs--an order which was promptly obeyed.

Returning to the audience-chamber, Blueskin had the Jew brought
before him. The body of Sir Rowland was then laid on the large table.
Opposite to it was placed the Jew. Seeing from the threatening looks
of his captors, that they were about to wreak their vengeance upon
him, the miserable wretch besought mercy in abject terms, and charged
his master with the most atrocious crimes. His relation of the murder
of Sir Rowland petrified even his fierce auditors.

One of the cases in Jonathan’s museum was now burst open, and a rope
taken from it. In spite of his shrieks, the miserable Jew was then
dragged into the well-hole, and the rope being tied round his neck,
he was launched from the bridge.

The vengeance of the assailants did not stop here. They broke open
the entrance into Jonathan’s store-room--plundered it of everything
valuable--ransacked every closet, drawer, and secret hiding-place,
and stripped them of their contents. Large hoards of money were
discovered, gold and silver plate, cases of watches, and various
precious articles. Nothing, in short, portable or valuable was
left. Old implements of housebreaking were discovered; and the
thief-taker’s most hidden depositories were laid bare.

The work of plunder over, that of destruction commenced. Straw and
other combustibles being collected, were placed in the middle of the
audience-chamber. On these were thrown all the horrible contents of
Jonathan’s museum, together with the body of Sir Rowland Trenchard.
The whole was then fired, and in a few minutes the room was a blaze.
Not content with this, the assailants set fire to the house in
half-a-dozen other places; and the progress of the flames was rapid
and destructive.

Meanwhile, the object of all this fearful disturbance had made
his escape to Newgate, from the roof of which he witnessed the
destruction of his premises. He saw the flames burst from the
windows, and perhaps in that maddening spectacle suffered torture
equivalent to some of the crimes he had committed.

While he was thus standing, the flames of his house, which made the
whole street as light as day, and ruddily illumined the faces of the
mob below, betrayed him to them, and he was speedily driven from his
position by a shower of stones and other missiles.

The mob now directed their attention to Newgate; and, from their
threats, appeared determined to fire it. Ladders, paviour’s rams,
sledge-hammers, and other destructive implements were procured, and,
in all probability, their purpose would have been effected, but for
the opportune arrival of a detachment of the guards, who dispersed
them, not without some loss of life.

Several prisoners were taken, but the ring-leaders escaped. Engines
were brought to play upon Wild’s premises, and upon the adjoining
houses. The latter were saved; but of the former nothing but the
blackened stone walls were found standing on the morrow.


The noise of this disturbance did not fail to reach the interior of
the prison. In fact, the reflection of the flames lighted up the ward
in which Jack Sheppard was confined.

The night his execution was therefore passed in a most anxious state
of mind; nor was his uneasiness allayed by the appearance of Jonathan
Wild, who, after he had been driven from the roof of the jail,
repaired to the Middle Stone Ward in a fit of ungovernable passion,
to vent his rage upon the prisoner, whom he looked upon as the cause
of the present calamity. Such was his fury, that if he had not been
restrained by the presence of the two turnkeys, he might perhaps have
anticipated the course of justice, by laying violent hands upon his

After venting his wrath in the wildest manner, and uttering the most
dreadful execrations, Jonathan retired to another part of the prison,
where he passed the night in consultation with the governor, as to
the best means of conveying the prisoner securely to Tyburn. Mr. Pitt
endeavoured to dissuade him from attending in person, representing
the great risk he would incur from the mob, which was certain to be
assembled. But Jonathan was not to be deterred.

“I have sworn to see him hanged,” he said, “and nothing shall keep me
away--nothing, by----.”

By Wild’s advice, the usual constabulary force was greatly augmented.
Messengers were despatched to all the constables and head-boroughs to
be in attendance,--to the sheriffs to have an extraordinary number of
their officers in attendance,--and to the Savoy, to obtain the escort
of a troop of grenadier-guards. In short, more preparations were made
than if a state criminal was about to be executed.

The morning of Monday the 16th of November 1724 at length dawned.
It was a dull, foggy day, and the atmosphere was so thick and heavy,
that, at eight o’clock, the curious who arrived near the prison could
scarcely discern the tower of St. Sepulchre’s church.

By and by the tramp of horses’ feet was heard slowly ascending Snow
Hill, and presently a troop of grenadier guards rode into the area
facing Newgate. These were presently joined by a regiment of foot.
A large body of the constables of Westminster next made their
appearance, the chief of whom entered the Lodge, where they were
speedily joined by the civic authorities. At nine o’clock, the
sheriffs arrived, followed by their officers and javelin-men.

Meantime, the Stone Hall was crowded by all the inmates of the jail,
debtors, felons, turnkeys, and officers who could obtain permission
to witness the ceremony of the prisoner’s irons being struck off.
Caliban, who, through the interest of Mr. Ireton, was appointed
to the office, stood with a hammer in one hand, and a punch in the
other, near the great stone block, ready to fulfil his duty. Close
behind him stood the tall gaunt figure of Marvel, with his large bony
hands, his scraggy neck, and ill-favoured countenance. Next to the
executioner stood his wife--the former Mrs. Spurling. Mrs. Marvel
held her handkerchief to her eyes, and appeared in great distress.
But her husband, whose deportment to her was considerably changed
since the fatal knot had been tied, paid no attention whatever to her

At this moment, the bell of Newgate began to toll, and was answered
by another bell from St. Sepulchre’s. The great door of the Stone
Hall was thrown open, and the sheriffs, preceded by the javelin-men,
entered the room. They were followed by Jonathan, who carried a stout
stick under his arm, and planted himself near the stone. Not a word
was uttered by the assemblage; but a hush of expectation reigned

Another door was next opened, and, preceded by the ordinary, with
the sacred volume in his hand, the prisoner entered the room.
Though encumbered by his irons, his step was firm, and his demeanour
dignified. His countenance was pale as death, but not a muscle
quivered; nor did he betray the slightest appearance of fear. On the
contrary, it was impossible to look at him without perceiving that
his resolution was unshaken.

Advancing with a slow firm step to the stone-block he placed his left
foot upon it, drew himself up to his full height, and fixed a look so
stern upon Jonathan, that the thief-taker quailed before it.

[Illustration: 329]

The black, meantime, began to ply his hammer, and speedily unriveted
the chains. The first stroke appeared to arouse all the vindictive
passions of Jonathan. Fixing a ferocious and exulting look upon Jack
Sheppard, he exclaimed.

“At length, my vengeance is complete.”

“Wretch!” cried Jack, raising his hand in a menacing manner, “your
triumph will be short-lived. Before a year has expired, you will
share the same fate.”

“If I do, I care not,” rejoined Wild; “I shall have lived to see you

“O Jack, dear, dear Jack!” cried Mrs. Marvel, who was now quite
dissolved in tears, “I shall never survive this scene.”

“Hold your tongue, hussy!” cried her husband gruffly. “Women ought
never to show themselves on these occasions, unless they can behave
themselves properly.”

“Farewell, Jack,” cried twenty voices.

Sheppard looked round, and exchanged kindly glances with several of
those who addressed him.

“My limbs feel so light, now that my irons are removed,” he observed
with a smile, “that I am half inclined to dance.”

“You’ll dance upon nothing, presently,” rejoined Jonathan, brutally.

“Farewell for ever,” said Jack, extending his hand to Mrs. Marvel.

“Farewell!” blubbered the executioner’s wife, pressing his hand
to her lips. “Here are a pair of gloves and a nosegay for you. Oh
dear!--oh dear! Be careful of him,” she added to her husband, “and
get it over quickly, or never expect to see me again.”

“Peace, fool!” cried Marvel, angrily. “Do you think I don’t know my
own business?”

Austin and Langley then advanced to the prisoner, and, twinning their
arms round his, led him down to the Lodge, whither he was followed by
the sheriffs, the ordinary, Wild, and the other officials.

Meantime, every preparation had been made outside for his departure.
At the end of two long lines of foot-guards stood the cart with a
powerful black horse harnessed to it. At the head of the cart was
placed the coffin. On the right were several mounted grenadiers: on
the left, some half dozen javelin-men. Soldiers were stationed at
different points of the street to keep off the mob, and others were
riding backwards and forwards to maintain an open space for the
passage of the procession.

The assemblage which was gathered together was almost countless.
Every house-top, every window, every wall, every projection, had its
occupants. The wall of St. Sepulchre’s church was covered--so was
the tower. The concourse extended along Giltspur Street as far as
Smithfield. No one was allowed to pass along Newgate Street, which
was barricaded and protected by a strong constabulary force.

The first person who issued from the Lodge was Mr. Marvel, who
proceeded to the cart, and took his seat upon the coffin. The hangman
is always an object of peculiar detestation to the mob, a tremendous
hooting hailed his appearance, and both staves and swords were
required to preserve order.

A deep silence, however, now prevailed, broken only by the tolling of
the bells of Newgate and St. Sepulchre’s. The mighty concourse became
for a moment still. Suddenly, such a shout as has seldom smitten
human ears rent the air. “He comes!” cried a thousand voices, and the
shout ascended to Smithfield, descended to Snow Hill, and told those
who were assembled on Holborn Hill that Sheppard had left the prison.

Between the two officers, with their arms linked in his, Jack
Sheppard was conducted to the cart. He looked around, and as he heard
that deafening shout,--as he felt the influence of those thousand
eyes fixed upon him,--as he listened to the cheers, all his
misgivings--if he had any--vanished, and he felt more as if he were
marching to a triumph, than proceeding to a shameful death.

Jack had no sooner taken his place in the cart, than he was followed
by the ordinary, who seated himself beside him, and, opening the book
of prayer, began to read aloud. Excited by the scene, Jack, however,
could pay little attention to the good man’s discourse, and was lost
in a whirl of tumultuous emotions.

The calvacade was now put slowly in motion. The horse-soldiers
wheeled round and cleared a path: the foot closed in upon the cart.
Then came the javelin-men, walking four abreast, and lastly, a long
line of constables, marching in the same order.

The procession had just got into line of march, when a dreadful
groan, mixed with yells, hootings, and execrations, was heard. This
was occasioned by Jonathan Wild, who was seen to mount his horse and
join the train. Jonathan, however, paid no sort of attention to this
demonstration of hatred. He had buckled on his hanger, and had two
brace of pistols in his belt, as well as others in this holsters.

By this time, the procession had reached the west end of the wall of
St. Sepulchre’s church, where, in compliance with an old custom,
it halted. By the will of Mr. Robert Dow, merchant tailor, it was
appointed that the sexton of St. Sepulchre’s should pronounce a
solemn exhortation upon every criminal on his way to Tyburn, for
which office he was to receive a small stipend. As soon as the
cavalcade stopped, the sexton advanced, and, ringing a handbell,
pronounced the following admonition.

“_All good people pray heartily unto God for this poor sinner, who is
now going to take his death, for whom this great bell doth toll_.

“_You who are condemned to die, repent with lamentable tears. Ask
mercy of the Lord for the salvation of your own soul, through the
merits of the death and passion of Jesus Christ, who now sits at the
right hand of God, to make intercession for you, if you penitently
return to him. The Lord have mercy upon you_!”

This ceremony concluded, the calvacade was again put in motion.

Slowly descending Snow Hill, the train passed on its way, attended by
the same stunning vociferations, cheers, yells, and outcries, which
had accompanied it on starting from Newgate. The guards had great
difficulty in preserving a clear passage without resorting to severe
measures, for the tide, which poured upon them behind, around, in
front, and at all sides, was almost irresistible. The houses on Snow
Hill were thronged, like those in Old Bailey. Every window, from
the groundfloor to the garret had its occupant, and the roofs were
covered with spectators. Words of encouragement and sympathy were
addressed to Jack, who, as he looked around, beheld many a friendly
glance fixed upon him.

In this way, they reached Holborn Bridge. Here a little delay
occurred. The passage was so narrow that there was only sufficient
room for the cart to pass, with a single line of foot-soldiers on one
side; and, as the walls of the bridge were covered with spectators,
it was not deemed prudent to cross it till these persons were

While this was effected, intelligence was brought that a formidable
mob was pouring down Field Lane, the end of which was barricaded. The
advanced guard rode on to drive away any opposition, while the main
body of the procession crossed the bridge, and slowly toiled up
Holborn Hill.

The entrance of Shoe Lane, and the whole line of the wall of St.
Andrew’s church, the bell of which was tolling, was covered with
spectators. Upon the steps leading to the gates of the church
stood two persons whom Jack instantly recognised. These were his
mistresses, Poll Maggot and Edgeworth Bess. As soon as the latter
beheld him, she uttered a loud scream, and fainted. She was caught by
some of the bystanders, who offered by her every assistance in their
power. As to Mrs. Maggot, whose nerves were more firmly strung, she
contented herself with waving her hand affectionately to her lover,
and encouraging him by her gestures.

While this was taking place, another and more serious interruption
occurred. The advanced guard had endeavoured to disperse the mob in
Field Lane, but were not prepared to meet with the resistance they
encountered. The pavement had been hastily picked up, and heaped
across the end of the street, upon which planks, barrels, and other
barricades, were laid. Most of the mob were armed with pikes, staves,
swords, muskets, and other weapons, and offered a most desperate
resistance to the soldiery, whom they drove back with a shower of

The arrival of the cart at the end of Field Lane, appeared the
signal for an attempt at rescue. With a loud shout, and headed by a
powerfully-built man, with a face as black as that of a mulatto,
and armed with a cutlass, the rabble leapt over the barricades,
and rushed towards the vehicle. An immediate halt took place. The
soldiers surrounded the cart, drew their swords, and by striking the
rioters first with the blunt edge of their blades, and afterwards
with the sharp points, succeeded in driving them back.

Amid this skirmish Jonathan greatly distinguished himself. Drawing
his hanger he rode amongst the crowd, trampled upon those most
in advance, and made an attempt to seize their leader, in whom he
recognised Blueskin.

Baffled in their attempt, the mob uttered a roar, such as only a
thousand angry voices can utter, and discharged a volley of missiles
at the soldiery. Stones and brickbats were showered on all sides, and
Mr. Marvel was almost dislodged from his seat on the coffin by a dead
dog, which was hurled against him, and struck him in the face.

At length, however, by dealing blows right and left with their
swords, and even inflicting severe cuts on the foremost of the
rabble, the soldiers managed to gain a clear course, and to drive
back the assailants; who, as they retreated behind the barricades,
shouted in tones of defiance, “To Tyburn! to Tyburn!”

The object of all this tumult, meanwhile, never altered his position,
but sat back in the cart, as if resolved not to make even a struggle
to regain his liberty.

The procession now wound its way, without further interruption, along
Holborn. Like a river swollen by many currents, it gathered force
from the various avenues that poured their streams into it. Fetter
Lane, on the left, Gray’s Inn, on the right, added their supplies. On
all hands Jack was cheered, and Jonathan hooted.

[Illustration: 346]

At length, the train approached St. Giles’s. Here, according to
another old custom, already alluded to, a criminal taken to execution
was allowed to halt at a tavern, called the Crown, and take a draught
from St. Giles’s bowl, “as his last refreshment on earth.” At the
door of this tavern, which was situated on the left of the street,
not more than a hundred yards distant from the church, the bell of
which began to toll as soon as the procession came in sight, the cart
drew up, and the whole cavalcade halted. A wooden balcony in one of
the adjoining houses was thronged with ladies, all of whom
appeared to take a lively interest in the scene, and to be full of
commiseration for the criminal, not, perhaps, unmixed with admiration
of his appearance. Every window in the public house was filled with
guests; and, as in the case of St. Andrew’s, the churchyard wall of
St. Giles’s was lined with spectators.

A scene now ensued, highly characteristic of the age, and the
occasion. The doleful procession at once assumed a festive character.
Many of the soldiers dismounted, and called for drink. Their example
was immediately imitated by the officers, constables, javelin men,
and other attendants; and nothing was to be heard but shouts of
laughter and jesting,--nothing seen but the passing of glasses,
and the emptying of foaming jugs. Mr. Marvel, who had been a little
discomposed by the treatment he had experienced on Holborn Hill, very
composedly filled and lighted his pipe.

One group at the door attracted Jack’s attention, inasmuch as it
was composed of several of his old acquaintances--Mr. Kneebone, Van
Galgebrok, and Baptist Kettleby--all of whom greeted him cordially.
Besides these, there was a sturdy-looking fellow, whom he instantly
recognised as the honest blacksmith who had freed him from his irons
at Tottenham.

“I am here, you see,” said the smith.

“So I perceive,” replied Jack.

At this moment, the landlord of the Crown, a jovial-looking stout
personage, with a white apron round his waist, issued from the house,
bearing a large wooden bowl filled with ale, which he offered to
Jack, who instantly rose to receive it. Raising the bowl in his right
hand, Jack glanced towards the balcony, in which the group of ladies
were seated, and begged to drink their healths; he then turned to
Kneebone and the others, who extended their hands towards him,
and raised it to his lips. Just as he was about to drain it, he
encountered the basilisk glance of Jonathan Wild, and paused.

“I leave this bowl for you,” he cried, returning it to the landlord

“Your father said so before you,” replied Jonathan, malignantly; “and
yet it has tarried thus long.”

“You will call for it before six months are passed,” rejoined Jack,

Once again the cavalcade was in motion, and winding its way by St.
Giles’s church, the bell of which continued tolling all the time,
passed the pound, and entered Oxford Road, or, as it was then not
unfrequently termed, Tyburn Road. After passing Tottenham Court Road,
very few houses were to be seen on the right hand, opposite Wardour
Street it was open country.

The crowd now dispersed amongst the fields, and thousands of persons
were seen hurrying towards Tyburn as fast as their legs could carry
them, leaping over hedges, and breaking down every impediment in
their course.

Besides those who conducted themselves more peaceably, the conductors
of the procession noticed with considerable uneasiness, large bands
of men armed with staves, bludgeons, and other weapons, who were
flying across the field in the same direction. As it was feared that
some mischief would ensue, Wild volunteered, if he were allowed a
small body of men, to ride forward to Tyburn, and keep the ground
clear until the arrival of the prisoner.

This suggestion being approved, was instantly acted upon, and the
thief-taker, accompanied by a body of the grenadiers, rode forward.

The train, meantime, had passed Marylebone Lane, when it again paused
for a moment, at Jack’s request, near the door of a public-house
called the City of Oxford.

Scarcely had it come to a halt, when a stalwart man shouldered his
way, in spite of their opposition, through the lines of soldiery to
the cart, and offered his large horny hand to the prisoner.

“I told you I would call to bid you farewell, Mr. Figg,” said Jack.

“So you did,” replied the prize-fighter. “Sorry you’re obliged
to keep your word. Heard of your last escape. Hoped you’d not be
retaken. Never sent for the shirt.”

“I didn’t want it,” replied Jack; “but who are those gentlemen?”

“Friends of yours,” replied Figg; “come to see you;--Sir James
Thornhill, Mr. Hogarth, and Mr. Gay. They send you every good wish.”

“Offer them my hearty thanks,” replied Jack, waving his hand to the
group, all of whom returned the salutation. “And now, farewell, Mr.
Figg! In a few minutes, all will be over.”

Figg turned aside to hide the tears that started to his eyes,--for
the stout prize-fighter, with a man’s courage, had a woman’s
heart,--and the procession again set forward.


Tyburn was now at hand. Over the sea of heads arose a black and
dismal object. It was the gallows. Jack, whose back was towards it,
did not see it; but he heard, from the pitying exclamations of the
crowd, that it was in view. This circumstance produced no further
alteration in his demeanour except that he endeavoured to abstract
himself from the surrounding scene, and bend his attention to the
prayers which the ordinary was reciting.

Just as he had succeeded in fixing his attention, it was again
shaken, and he was almost unnerved by the sight of Mr. Wood, who was
standing at the edge of a raised platform, anxiously waving his hand
to him.

Jack instantly sprang to his feet, and as his guards construed the
motion into an attempt to escape, several of them drew their swords
and motioned to him to sit down. But Jack did not heed them. His
looks were fixed on his old benefactor.

“God in Heaven bless you, unhappy boy!” cried. Wood, bursting into
tears, “God bless you!”

Jack extended his hand towards him, and looked anxiously for Thames;
but he was nowhere to be seen. A severe pang shot through Jack’s
heart, and he would have given worlds if he possessed them to have
seen his friend once more. The wish was vain: and, endeavouring
to banish every earthly thought, he addressed himself deeply and
sincerely to prayer.

While this was passing, Jonathan had ridden back to Marvel to tell
him that all was ready, and to give him his last instructions.

“You’ll lose no time,” said the thief-taker. “A hundred pounds if you
do it quickly.”

“Rely on me,” rejoined the executioner, throwing away his pipe, which
was just finished.

A deep dread calm, like that which precedes a thunderstorm, now
prevailed amongst the assemblage. The thousand voices which a few
moments before had been so clamorous were now hushed. Not a breath
was drawn. The troops had kept a large space clear around the
gallows. The galleries adjoining it were crowded with spectators,--so
was the roof of a large tavern, then the only house standing at the
end of the Edgeware Road,--so were the trees,--the walls of Hyde
Park,--a neighbouring barn, a shed,--in short, every available

The cart, meantime, had approached the fatal tree. The guards, horse
and foot, and constables formed a wide circle round it to keep off
the mob. It was an awful moment--so awful, that every other feeling
except deep interest in the scene seemed suspended.

At this terrible juncture, Jack maintained his composure,--a smile
played upon his face before the cap was drawn over it,--and the last
words he uttered were, “My poor mother! I shall soon join her!” The
rope was then adjusted, and the cart began to move.

[Illustration: 347]

The next instant, he was launched into eternity!

Scarcely had he been turned off a moment, when a man with swarthy
features leapt into the cart with an open clasp-knife in his hand,
and, before he could be prevented, severed the rope, and cut down
the body. It was Blueskin. His assistance came too late. A ball from
Wild’s pistol passed through his heart, and a volley of musketry
poured from the guards lodged several balls in the yet breathing body
of his leader.

Blueskin, however, was not unattended. A thousand eager assistants
pressed behind him. Jack’s body was caught, and passed from hand to
hand over a thousand heads, till it was far from the fatal tree.

The shouts of indignation--the frightful yells now raised baffle
description. A furious attack was made on Jonathan, who, though he
defended himself like a lion, was desperately wounded, and would
inevitably have perished if he had not been protected by the guards,
who were obliged to use both swords and fire-arms upon the mob in his
defence. He was at length rescued from his assailants,--rescued to
perish, seven months afterwards, with every ignominy, at the very
gibbet to which he had brought his victim.

The body of Jack Sheppard, meanwhile, was borne along by that
tremendous host, which rose and fell like the waves of the ocean,
until it approached the termination of the Edgeware Road.

At this point a carriage with servants in sumptuous liveries was
stationed. At the open door stood a young man in a rich garb with a
mask on his face, who was encouraging the mob by words and gestures.
At length, the body was brought towards him. Instantly seizing it,
the young man placed it in the carriage, shut the door, and commanded
his servants to drive off. The order was promptly obeyed, and the
horses proceeded at a furious pace along the Edgeware Road.

Half an hour afterwards the body of Jack was carefully examined. It
had been cut down before life was extinct, but a ball from one of the
soldiers had pierced his heart.

Thus died Jack Sheppard.

That night a grave was dug in Willesden churchyard, next to that
in which Mrs. Sheppard had been interred. Two persons, besides the
clergyman and sexton, alone attended the ceremony. They were a young
man and an old one, and both appeared deeply affected. The coffin was
lowered into the grave, and the mourners departed. A simple wooden
monument was placed over the grave, but without any name or date. In
after years, some pitying hand supplied the inscription, which ran

[Illustration: 361]


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