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 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.