“Get me a boat!” cried the new-comer. “A sovereign, five sovereigns, ten sovereigns, a hundred—but that ship must not weigh anchor until I board her, do you hear!”
The ring of the imperative voice, and moreover the ring of good English coin, set all the dock astir. Straightway there came up another wherry with two lusty fellows, who laid her at the stair where stood the impatient stranger.
“Hurry, men!” he cried. “’Tis life and death—’tis more than life and death!”
And such fortune attended Sir Arthur Pembroke that forsooth he went over the side of the Polly Perkins, even as the gray dawn began to break over the narrow Thames, and even as the anchor-song of the crew struck up.
A few hours later a coppery sun slowly dispersed the morning mists above the Thames. The same sun warmed the court-yards of the London jail, which lately had confined John Law, convicted of the murder of Beau Wilson, gentleman. It was discovered that the said John Law had, in some superhuman fashion, climbed the spiked walls of the inner yard. The jailer pointed out the very spot where this act had been done. It was not so plain how he had passed the outer gates of the prison, yet those were not wanting who said that he had overpowered the turnkey at the gate, taken from him his keys, and so forced his way out into London city.
Far and wide went forth the proclamation of reward for the apprehension of this escaped convict. The streets of London were placarded broadcast with bills bearing this description of the escaped prisoner:
“Five hundred pounds reward for information regarding the escaped felon, John Law, convicted in the King’s Bench of murder and under sentence of death. The same Law escaped from prison on the night of 20 July. May be known by the following description: Is tall, of dark complexion, spare of build, raw-boned, face hath deep pock-marks. Eyes dark, hair dark and scanty. Speaks broad and loud. Carries his shoulders stooped, and is of mean appearance.
Done at Newgate prison, this 21 July.”
Yet though the authorities of the law made full search in London, and indeed in other of the principal cities of England, they got no word of the escaped prisoner.
The clouded dawn which broke over the Thames below the Pool might have told its own story. There sat upon the deck of the good ship Polly Greenway, outbound from Thames’ mouth, this same John Law. He regarded idly the busy scenes of the shipping about him. His gaze, dull and listless, looked without joy upon the dawn, without inquiry upon the far horizon. For the first time in all his life John Law dropped his head between his hands.
Not so Mary Connynge. “Good sir,” cried she, merrily, “’tis morning. Let’s break our fast, and so set forth proper on our voyage.”