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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 444 pages of information about Jack Sheppard.

Monday, the 31st of August 1724,—­a day long afterwards remembered by the officers of Newgate,—­was distinguished by an unusual influx of visitors to the Lodge.  On that morning the death warrant had arrived from Windsor, ordering Sheppard for execution, (since his capture by Jonathan Wild in Bedlam, as related in a former chapter, Jack had been tried, convicted, and sentenced to death,) together with three other malefactors on the following Friday.  Up to this moment, hopes had been entertained of a respite, strong representations in his favour having been made in the highest quarter; but now that his fate seemed sealed, the curiosity of the sight-seeing public to behold him was redoubled.  The prison gates were besieged like the entrance of a booth at a fair; and the Condemned Hold where he was confined, and to which visitors were admitted at the moderate rate of a guinea a-head, had quite the appearance of a showroom.  As the day wore on, the crowds diminished,—­many who would not submit to the turnkey’s demands were sent away ungratified,—­and at five o’clock, only two strangers, Mr. Shotbolt, the head turnkey of Clerkenwell Prison, and Mr. Griffin, who held the same office in Westminster Gatehouse were left in the Lodge.  Jack, who had formerly been in the custody of both these gentlemen, gave them a very cordial welcome; apologized for the sorry room he was compelled to receive them in; and when they took leave, insisted on treating them to a double bowl of punch, which they were now discussing with the upper jailer, Mr. Ireton, and his two satellites, Austin and Langley.  At a little distance from the party, sat a tall, sinister-looking personage, with harsh inflexible features, a gaunt but muscular frame, and large bony hands.  He was sipping a glass of cold gin and water, and smoking a short black pipe.  His name was Marvel, and his avocation, which was as repulsive as his looks, was that of public executioner.  By his side sat a remarkably stout dame, to whom he paid as much attention as it was in his iron nature to pay.  She had a nut-brown skin, a swarthy upper lip, a merry black eye, a prominent bust, and a tun-like circumference of waist.  A widow for the fourth time, Mrs. Spurling, (for she it was,) either by her attractions of purse or person, had succeeded in moving the stony heart of Mr. Marvel, who, as he had helped to deprive her of her former husbands, thought himself in duty bound to offer to supply their place.  But the lady was not so easily won; and though she did not absolutely reject him, gave him very slight hopes.  Mr. Marvel, therefore, remained on his probation.  Behind Mrs. Spurling stood her negro attendant, Caliban; a hideous, misshapen, malicious monster, with broad hunched shoulders, a flat nose, and ears like those of a wild beast, a head too large for his body, and a body too long for his legs.  This horrible piece of deformity, who acted as drawer and cellarman, and was a constant butt to the small wits of the jail, was nicknamed the Black Dog of Newgate.

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