“I did,” interrupted Jack; “and I never yet broke an engagement. Though a thief, Jack Sheppard is a man of his word.”
“To be sure he is,” acquiesced Blueskin. “I should like to meet the man who would dare to gainsay it.”
“One word before we begin, Blueskin,” said Jack, authoritatively; “in case the family should be alarmed—mind, no violence. There’s one person in the house whom I wouldn’t frighten for the world.”
“Wood’s daughter, I suppose?” observed the other.
“You’ve hit it,” answered Sheppard.
“What say you to carrying her off, Captain?” suggested Blueskin. “If you’ve a fancy for the girl, we might do it.”
“No—no,” laughed Jack. “Bess wouldn’t bear a rival. But if you wish to do old Wood a friendly turn, you may bring his wife.”
“I shouldn’t mind ridding him of her,” said Blueskin, gruffly; “and if she comes in my way, may the devil seize me if I don’t make short work with her!”
“You forget,” rejoined Jack, sternly, “I’ve just said I’ll have no violence—mind that.”
With this, they dismounted; and fastening their horses to a tree, proceeded towards the house. It was still so dark, that nothing could be distinguished except the heavy masses of timber by which the premises were surrounded; but as they advanced, lights were visible in some of the windows. Presently they came to a wall, on the other side of which the dog began to bark violently; but Blueskin tossed him a piece of prepared meat, and uttering a low growl, he became silent. They then clambered over a hedge, and scaling another wall, got into the garden at the back of the house. Treading with noiseless step over the soft mould, they soon reached the building. Arrived there, Jack felt about for a particular window; and having discovered the object of his search, and received the necessary implements from his companion, he instantly commenced operations. In a few seconds, the shutter flew open,—then the window,—and they were in the room. Jack now carefully closed the shutters, while Blueskin struck a light, with which he set fire to a candle. The room they were in was a sort of closet, with the door locked outside; but this was only a moment’s obstacle to Jack, who with a chisel forced back the bolt. The operation was effected with so much rapidity and so little noise, that even if any one had been on the alert, he could scarcely have detected it. They then took off their boots, and crept stealthily up stairs, treading upon the point of their toes so cautiously, that not a board creaked beneath their weight. Pausing at each door on the landing, Jack placed his ear to the keyhole, and listened intently. Having ascertained by the breathing which room Thames occupied, he speedily contrived to fasten him in. He then tried the door of Mr. Wood’s bed-chamber—it was locked, with the key left in it. This occasioned a little delay; but Jack, whose skill as a workman