“It is a mistake,” replied I, rising; “but whether the mistake will be found out until too late, is another point. However, it is of little consequence. What have I to live for,—unless to find out who is my father?”
“Find out your father! what’s in the wind now? well, it beats my comprehension altogether. But did not you say you wished me to get you something?”
“Yes,” replied I; and I gave him some money, with directions to purchase me implements for writing, some scented wax, a tooth-brush, and tooth-powder, eau de cologne, hair-brush and comb, razors, small looking-glass, and various implements for my toilet.
“This is a rum world,” said the man, repeating what I asked for, as I put two guineas in his hand. “I’ve purchased many a article for a prisoner, but never heard of such rattletraps afore; however, that be all the same. You will have them, though what ho de colum is I can’t tell, nor dang me if I shall recollect—not poison, be it, for that is not allowed in the prison?”
“No, no,” replied I, indulging in momentary mirth at the idea; “you may inquire, and you will find that it’s only taken by ladies who are troubled with the vapours.” “Now I should ha’ thought that you’d have spent your money in the cookshop, which is so much more natural. However, we all have our fancies;” so saying, he quitted the cell, and locked the door.
I am condemned to be hung by the neck until I am dead, and to go out of the world without finding out who is my father—Afterwards my innocence is made manifest and I am turned adrift a maniac in the high road.
It may appear strange to the reader that I sent for the above-mentioned articles, but habit is second nature, and although two days before, when I set out on my pilgrimage, I had resolved to discard these superfluities, yet now in my distress I felt as if they would comfort me. That evening, after rectifying a few mistakes on the part of the good-tempered gaoler, by writing down what I wanted on the paper which he had procured me, I obtained all that I required.
The next morning, he informed me that the grand jury had found a true bill against me, and that on the Saturday next, the assizes would be held. He also brought me the list of trials, and I found that mine would be one of the last, and would not probably come on until Monday or Tuesday. I requested him to send for a good tailor, as I wished to be dressed in a proper manner, previous to appearing in court. As a prisoner is allowed to go into court in his own clothes instead of the gaol dress, this was consented to, and when the man came, I was very particular in my directions, so much so, that it surprised him. He also procured me the other articles I required to complete my dress, and on Saturday night I had them all ready, for I was resolved that I would at least die as a gentleman.