“I haven’t quite recovered the fright I got in the Vell-Hole,” replied Abraham.
On returning to the audience-chamber, Jonathan found the inanimate body of Thames Darrell lying where he had left it; but, on examining it, he remarked that the pockets were turned inside out, and had evidently been rifled. Startled by this circumstance, he looked around, and perceived that the trap-door,—which has been mentioned as communicating with a secret staircase,—was open. He, next, discovered that Blueskin was gone; and, pursuing his scrutiny, found that he had carried off all the banknotes, gold, and letters,—including, what Jonathan himself was not aware of,—the two packets which he had abstracted from the person of Thames. Uttering a terrible imprecation, Jonathan snatched up the link, and hastily descended the stairs, leaving the Jew behind him. After a careful search below, he could detect no trace of Blueskin. But, finding the cellar-door open, concluded he had got out that way.
Returning to the audience-chamber in a by-no-means enviable state of mind, he commanded the Jew to throw the body of Thames into the Well Hole.
“You musht do dat shob yourself, Mishter Vild,” rejoined Abraham, shaking his head. “No prize shall indushe me to enter dat horrid plashe again.”
“Fool!” cried Wild, taking up the body, “what are you afraid of? After all,” he added, pausing, “he may be of more use to me alive than dead.”
Adhering to this change of plan, he ordered Abraham to follow him, and, descending the secret stairs once more, carried the wounded man into the lower part of the premises. Unlocking several doors, he came to a dark vault, that would have rivalled the gloomiest cell in Newgate, into which he thrust Thames, and fastened the door.
“Go to the pump, Nab,” he said, when this was done, “and fill a pail with water. We must wash out those stains up stairs, and burn the cloth. Blood, they say, won’t come out. But I never found any truth in the saying. When I’ve had an hour’s rest, I’ll be after Blueskin.”
How Blueskin underwent the Peine Forte et Dure.
As soon as it became known, through the medium of the public prints on the following day, that Jack Sheppard had broken out of prison, and had been again captured during the night, fresh curiosity was excited, and larger crowds than ever flocked to Newgate, in the hope of obtaining admission to his cell; but by the governor’s express commands, Wild having privately counselled the step, no one was allowed to see him. A question next arose whether the prisoner could be executed under the existing warrant,—some inclining to one opinion, some to another. To settle the point, the governor started to Windsor, delegating his trust in the interim to Wild, who took advantage of his brief rule to adopt the harshest measures towards the prisoner. He had him removed