A Tale of a Lonely Parish eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 399 pages of information about A Tale of a Lonely Parish.

“Perfectly,” answered the squire.  “He was driven from the station with three policemen in a hackney-coach, you say.”

“Exactly so.  It was a queer place where the body was—­away down in the Minories.  Ever been there, Mr. Juxon?  Queer place it is, and no mistake.  I would like to show you some little bits of London.  Well, as I was saying, the fourwheeler went along, with two policemen inside with Goddard and one on the box.  Safe, you would say.  Not a bit of it.  Just the beggar’s luck, too.  It was dusk.  That is always darker than when the lamps are well going.  The fourwheeler ran into a dray-cart, round a corner where they were repairing the street.  The horse went down with a smash, shafts, lamp, everything broken to smithereens, as they say.  The policeman jumps off the box with the cabby to see what is the matter.  One of the bobbies—­the policemen I would say—­it’s a technical term, Mr. Juxon—­gets out of the cab to see what’s up, leaving Goddard in charge of the other.  Then there is a terrific row; more carts come up, more fourwheelers—­everybody swearing at once.  Presently the policeman who had got out comes back and looks in to see if everything is straight.  Not a bit of it again.  Other door of the cab was open and—­no Goddard.  But the policeman was lying back in the corner and when they struck a light and looked, they found he was stone dead.  Goddard had brained him with the irons on his wrists.  No one ever saw him from that day to this.  He must have known London well—­they say he did, and he was a noted quick runner.  Being nightfall and rather foggy as it generally is in those parts he got clear off.  But he killed the man who had him in charge and if he lives he will have to swing for it.  May be Mrs. Goddard does not know that—–­may be she does.  That is the reason I don’t want her to be left alone with him.  No doubt she is very good and all that, but she might just take it into her head to save the government twenty feet of rope.”

“I am very much surprised, and very much shocked,” said the squire gravely.  “I had no idea of this.  But I will answer for Mrs. Goddard.  Why was all this never In the papers—­or was there an account of it, Mr. Booley?”

“Oh no—­it was never mentioned.  We felt sure that we should catch him and until we did we—­I mean the profession—­thought it just as well to say nothing.  The governor remembered to have read a letter from Goddard’s wife, just telling him where she was living, about two years ago.  Being harmless, he passed it and never copied the address; then he could not remember it.  At last they found it in his cell, hidden away somehow.  The beggar had kept it.”

“Poor fellow!” exclaimed Mr. Juxon.  In the silence which followed, the sound of wheels was heard outside.  Doctor Longstreet had arrived.


While Mr. and Mrs. Ambrose were together in the library downstairs, while John Short was waking from the short sleep he had enjoyed, and while the squire was listening in the study to Mr. Booley’s graphic account of the convict’s escape, Mrs. Goddard was alone with her husband, watching every movement and listening intently to every moaning breath he drew.

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A Tale of a Lonely Parish from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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