Jack Sheppard eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 601 pages of information about Jack Sheppard.
offered to conduct him to every cell in the building to prove the truth of his assertion.  He then barred and double-locked the door, took out the key, (a precautionary measure which, with a grim smile, he said he never omitted,) thrust it into his vest, and motioning the couple to follow him, led the way to the inner room.  As Wood obeyed, his foot slipped; and, casting his eyes upon the floor, he perceived it splashed in several places with blood.  From the freshness of the stains, which grew more frequent as they approached the adjoining chamber, it was evident some violence had been recently perpetrated, and the carpenter’s own blood froze within his veins as he thought, with a thrill of horror, that, perhaps on this very spot, not many minutes before his arrival, his adopted son might have been inhumanly butchered.  Nor was this impression removed as he stole a glance at Mrs. Sheppard, and saw from her terrified look that she had made the same alarming discovery as himself.  But it was now too late to turn back, and, nerving himself for the shock he expected to encounter, he ventured after his conductor.  No sooner had they entered the room than Sharples, who waited to usher them in, hastily retreated, closed the door, and turning the key, laughed loudly at the success of his stratagem.  Vexation at his folly in suffering himself to be thus entrapped kept Wood for a short time silent.  When he could find words, he tried by the most urgent solicitations to prevail upon the constable to let him out.  But threats and entreaties—­even promises were ineffectual; and the unlucky captive, after exhausting his powers of persuasion, was compelled to give up the point.

The room in which he was detained—­that lately occupied by the Mohocks, who, it appeared, had been allowed to depart,—­was calculated to inspire additional apprehension and disgust.  Strongly impregnated with the mingled odours of tobacco, ale, brandy, and other liquors, the atmosphere was almost stifling.  The benches running round the room, though fastened to the walls by iron clamps, had been forcibly wrenched off; while the table, which was similarly secured to the boards, was upset, and its contents—­bottles, jugs, glasses, and bowls were broken and scattered about in all directions.  Everything proclaimed the mischievous propensities of the recent occupants of the chamber.

Here lay a heap of knockers of all sizes, from the huge lion’s head to the small brass rapper:  there, a collection of sign-boards, with the names and calling of the owners utterly obliterated.  On this side stood the instruments with which the latter piece of pleasantry had been effected,—­namely, a bucket filled with paint and a brush:  on that was erected a trophy, consisting of a watchman’s rattle, a laced hat, with the crown knocked out, and its place supplied by a lantern, a campaign wig saturated with punch, a torn steen-kirk and ruffles, some half-dozen staves, and a broken sword.

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Jack Sheppard from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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