If I was to suffer, it should be under an assumed name. But what name? Here I was interrupted by the gaoler, who opened the door, and desired me to roll up my mattress and bed-clothes, that they might, as was the custom, be taken out of the cell during the day.
My first inquiry was, if the man who had been so much hurt was in the gaol.
“You mean your ’complice,” replied the gaoler. “Yes, he is here, and has recovered his senses. The doctor says he will do very well.”
“Has he made any confession?” inquired I.
The gaoler made no reply.
“I ask that question,” continued I, “because if he acknowledges who was his accomplice, I shall be set at liberty.”
“Very likely,” replied the man, sarcastically; “the fact is, there is no occasion for king’s evidence in this case, or you might get off by crossing the water; so you must trust to your luck. The grand jury meet to-day, and I will let you know whether a true bill is found against you or not.”
“What is the name of the other man?” inquired I.
“Well, you are a good un to put a face upon a matter, I will say. You would almost persuade me, with that innocent look of yours, that you know nothing about the business.”
“Nor do I,” replied I.
“You will be fortunate if you can prove as much, that’s all.”
“Still, you have not answered my question; what is the other man’s name?”
“Well,” replied the gaoler, laughing, “since you are determined I shall tell you, I will. It must be news to you, with a vengeance. His name is Bill Ogle, alias Swamping Bill. I suppose you never heard that name before?”
“I certainly never did,” replied I.
“Perhaps you do not know your own name? Yet I can tell it you, for Bill Ogle has blown upon you so far.”
“Indeed,” replied I; “and what name has he given to me?”
“Why, to do him justice, it wasn’t until he saw a copy of the depositions before the magistrates, and heard how you were nabbed in trying to help him off, that he did tell it; and then he said, ’Well, Phil Maddox always was a true un, and I’m mortal sorry that he’s in for’t, by looking a’ter me.’ Now do you know your own name?”
“I certainly do not,” replied I.
“Well, did you ever hear of one who went by the name of Phil Maddox?”
“I never did,” replied I; “and I am glad that Ogle has disclosed so much.”
“Well, I never before met with a man who didn’t know his own name, or had the face to say so, and expect to be believed; but never mind, you are right to be cautious, with the halter looking you in the face.”
“O God! O God!” exclaimed I, throwing myself on the bedstead, and covering up my face, “give me strength to bear even that, if so it must be.”
The gaoler looked at me for a time. “I don’t know what to make of him—he puzzles me quite, certainly. Yet it’s no mistake.”