“Go, Mr. Kneebone,—pray go!” implored Winifred. “Thames, I entreat—”
“Your wishes are my laws, beloved, girl,” replied Kneebone, bowing profoundly. “Captain Darren,” he added, sternly, “you shall hear from me.”
“When you please, Sir,” said Thames, coldly.
And the woollen-draper departed.
“What is all this, dear Winny?” inquired Thames, as soon as they were alone.
“Nothing—nothing,” she answered, bursting into tears. “Don’t ask me about it now.”
“Winny,” said Thames, tenderly, “something which that self-sufficient fool has said has so far done me a service in enabling me to speak upon a subject which I have long had upon my lips, but have not had courage to utter.”
“You seem to doubt my love,” he continued,—“you seem to think that change of circumstances may produce some change in my affections. Hear me then, now, before I take one step to establish my origin, or secure my rights. Whatever those rights may be, whoever I am, my heart is yours. Do you accept it?”
“Forgive this ill-timed avowal of my love. But, answer me. Am I mistaken? Is your heart mine?”
“It is—it is; and has ever been,” replied Winifred, falling upon his neck.
Lovers’ confidences should be respected. We close the chapter.
Jack Sheppard warns Thames Darrell.
On the following night—namely Monday,—the family assembled together, for the first time since the fatal event, in the chamber to which Thames had been introduced on his arrival at Dollis Hill. As this had been Mrs. Wood’s favourite sitting-room, and her image was so intimately associated with it, neither the carpenter nor his daughter could muster courage to enter it before. Determined, however, to conquer the feeling as soon as possible, Wood had given orders to have the evening meal served there; but, notwithstanding all his good resolutions upon his first entrance, he had much ado to maintain his self-command. His wife’s portrait had been removed from the walls, and the place it had occupied was only to be known by the cord by which it had been suspended. The very blank, however, affected him more deeply than if it had been left. Then a handkerchief was thrown over the cage, to prevent the bird from singing; it was her favourite canary. The flowers upon the mantel-shelf were withered and drooping—she had gathered them. All these circumstances,—slight in themselves, but powerful in their effect,—touched the heart of the widowed carpenter, and added to his depression.