“What’s this here kinchen in for?” asked Terence, as he and Quilt strode along, with Thames between them.
“What for?” rejoined Quilt, evasively.
“Oh! nothin’ partickler—mere curossity,” replied Terence. “By the powers!” he added, turning his lantern full upon the face of the captive, “he’s a nice genn-teel-lookin’ kiddy, I must say. Pity he’s ta’en to bad ways so airly.”
“You may spare me your compassion, friend,” observed Thames; “I am falsely detained.”
“Of course,” rejoined Quilt, maliciously; “every thief is so. If we were to wait till a prig was rightfully nabbed, we might tarry till doomsday. We never supposed you helped yourself to a picture set with diamonds—not we!”
“Is the guv’ner consarned in this job?” asked Terence, in a whisper.
“He is,” returned Quilt, significantly. “Zounds! what’s that!” he cried, as the noise of a scuffle was heard behind them. “The other kid’s given my partner the slip. Here, take this youngster, Terry; my legs are lighter than old Nab’s.” And, committing Thames to the care of the watchman, he darted after the fugitive.
“Do you wish to earn a rich reward, my good friend?” said Thames to the watchman, as soon as they were left alone.
“Is it by lettin’ you go, my darlin’, that I’m to airn it?” inquired Terence. “If so, it won’t pay. You’re Mister Wild’s pris’ner, and worse luck to it!”
“I don’t ask you to liberate me,” urged Thames; “but will you convey a message for me?”
“Where to, honey?”
“To Mr. Wood’s, the carpenter in Wych Street. He lives near the Black Lion.”
“The Black Lion!” echoed Terence. “I know the house well; by the same token that it’s a flash crib. Och! many a mug o’ bubb have I drained wi’ the landlord, Joe Hind. And so Misther Wudd lives near the Black Lion, eh?”
“He does,” replied Thames. “Tell him that I—his adopted son, Thames Darrell—am detained here by Jonathan Wild.”
“Thames Ditton—is that your name?”
“No,” replied the boy, impatiently; “Darrell—Thames Darrell.”
“I’ll not forget it. It’s a mighty quare ’un, though. I never yet heard of a Christians as was named after the Shannon or the Liffy; and the Thames is no better than a dhurty puddle, compared wi’ them two noble strames. But then you’re an adopted son, and that makes all the difference. People do call their unlawful children strange names. Are you quite shure you haven’t another alyas, Masther Thames Ditton?”
“Darrell, I tell you. Will you go? You’ll be paid handsomely for your trouble.”
“I don’t mind the throuble,” hesitated Terence, who was really a good-hearted fellow at the bottom; “and I’d like to sarve you if I could, for you look like a gentleman’s son, and that goes a great way wi’ me. But if Misther Wild were to find out that I thwarted his schames——”
“I’d not be in your skin for a trifle,” interrupted Quilt, who having secured Sheppard, and delivered him to Abraham, now approached them unawares; “and it shan’t be my fault if he don’t hear of it.”