“Coming!” cried Mr. Wood, leaping from the bed. “Where are you?”
“Here,” replied Mrs. Wood. “Help—I’ll hold him!”
“Leave her,” cried Jack, darting down stairs, amid a furious ringing of bells,—“the house is alarmed,—follow me!”
“Curses light on you!” cried Blueskin, savagely; “since you won’t be advised, take your fate.”
And seizing her by the hair, he pulled back her head, and drew the knife with all his force across her throat. There was a dreadful stifled groan, and she fell heavily upon the landing.
The screams of the unfortunate woman had aroused Thames from his slumbers. Snatching-up his pistols, he rushed to the door, but to his horror found it fastened. He heard the struggle on the landing, the fall of the heavy body, the groan,—and excited almost to frenzy by his fears, he succeeded in forcing open the door. By this time, several of the terrified domestics appeared with lights. A terrible spectacle was presented to the young man’s gaze:—the floor deluged with blood—the mangled and lifeless body of Mrs. Wood,—Winifred fainted in the arms of a female attendant,—and Wood standing beside them almost in a state of distraction. Thus, in a few minutes, had this happy family been plunged into the depths of misery. At this juncture, a cry was raised by a servant from below, that the robbers were flying through the garden. Darting to a window looking in that direction, Thames threw it up, and discharged both his pistols, but without effect. In another minute, the tramp of horses’ feet told that the perpetrators of the outrage had effected their escape.
Jack Sheppard’s Quarrel with Jonathan Wild.
Scarcely an hour after the horrible occurrence just related, as Jonathan Wild was seated in the audience-chamber of his residence at the Old Bailey, occupied, like Peachum, (for whose portrait he sat,) with his account-books and registers, he was interrupted by the sudden entrance of Quilt Arnold, who announced Jack Sheppard and Blueskin.
“Ah!” cried Wild, laying down his pen and looking up with a smile of satisfaction. “I was just thinking of you Jack. What news. Have you done the trick at Dollis Hill?—brought off the swag—eh?”
“No,” answered Jack, flinging himself sullenly into a chair, “I’ve not.”
“Why how’s this?” exclaimed Jonathan. “Jack Sheppard failed! I’d not believe it, if any one but himself told me so.”
“I’v not failed,” returned Jack, angrily; “but we’ve done too much.”
“I’m no reader of riddles,” said Jonathan. “Speak plainly.”
“Let this speak for me,” said Sheppard, tossing a heavy bag of money towards him. “You can generally understand that language. There’s more than I undertook to bring. It has been purchased by blood!”
“What! have you cut old Wood’s throat?” asked Wild, with great unconcern, as he took up the bag.