“But, Mr. Wild,” implored the turnkeys.
“I’ve said it,” rejoined Jonathan, peremptorily. “And you, Marvel, you must have been a party—”
“If he’s not found, I’ll get a new hangman.”
“Zounds!” cried Marvel, “I—”
“Hush!” whispered the tapstress, “or I retract my promise.”
“Mrs. Spurling,” said Jonathan, who overheard the whisper, “you owe your situation to me. If you have aided Jack Sheppard’s escape, you shall owe your discharge to me also.”
“As you please, Sir,” replied the tapstress, coolly. “And the next time Captain Darrell wants a witness, I promise you he shan’t look for one in vain.”
“Ha! hussy, dare you threaten?” cried Wild; but, checking himself, he turned to Ireton and asked, “How long have the women been gone?”
“Scarcely five minutes,” replied the latter.
“One of you fly to the market,” returned Jonathan; “another to the river; a third to the New Mint. Disperse in every direction. We’ll have him yet. A hundred pounds to the man who takes him.”
So saying, he rushed out, followed by Ireton and Langley.
“A hundred pounds!” exclaimed Shotbolt. “That’s a glorious reward. Do you think he’ll pay it?”
“I’m sure of it,” replied Austin.
“Then I’ll have it before to-morrow morning,” said the keeper of the New Prison, to himself. “If Jack Sheppard sups with Mr. Kneebone, I’ll make one of the party.”
Dollis Hill revisited.
About an hour after the occurrences at Newgate, the door of the small back-parlour already described at Dollis Hill was opened by Winifred, who, gliding noiselessly across the room, approached a couch, on which was extended a sleeping female, and, gazing anxiously at her pale careworn countenance, murmured,—“Heaven be praised! she still slumbers—slumbers peacefully. The opiate has done its duty. Poor thing! how beautiful she looks! but how like death!”
Deathlike, indeed, was the repose of the sleeper,—deathlike and deep. Its very calmness was frightful. Her lips were apart, but no breath seemed to issue from them; and, but for a slight—very slight palpitation of the bosom, the vital principle might be supposed to be extinct. This lifeless appearance was heightened by the extreme sharpness of her features—especially the nose and chin,—and by the emaciation of her limbs, which was painfully distinct through her drapery. Her attenuated arms were crossed upon her breast; and her black brows and eyelashes contrasted fearfully with the livid whiteness of her skin. A few short, dark locks, escaping from beneath her head-dress, showed that her hair had been removed, and had only been recently allowed to grow again.