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Jack Sheppard eBook

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

Finding it impossible to descend on any side, without incurring serious risk, Jack resolved to return for his blanket, by the help of which he felt certain of accomplishing a safe landing on the roof of the house in Giltspur Street.

Accordingly, he began to retrace his steps, and pursuing the course he had recently taken, scaling the two towers, and passing along the wall of the prison, he descended by means of the door upon the Lower Leads.  Before he re-entered the prison, he hesitated from a doubt whether he was not fearfully increasing his risk of capture; but, convinced that he had no other alternative, he went on.

During all this time, he had never quitted the iron bar, and he now grasped it with the firm determination of selling his life dearly, if he met with any opposition.  A few seconds sufficed to clear the passage, through which it had previously cost him more than two hours to force his way.  The floor was strewn with screws, nails, fragments of wood and stone, and across the passage lay the heavy iron fillet.  He did not disturb any of this litter, but left it as a mark of his prowess.

He was now at the entrance of the chapel, and striking the door over which he had previously climbed a violent blow with the bar, it flew open.  To vault over the pews was the work of a moment; and having gained the entry leading to the Red Room he passed through the first door; his progress being only impeded by the pile of broken stones, which he himself had raised.

Listening at one of the doors leading to the Master Debtors’ side, he heard a loud voice chanting a Bacchanalian melody, and the boisterous laughter that accompanied the song, convinced him that no suspicion was entertained in this quarter.  Entering the Red Room, he crept through the hole in the wall, descended the chimney, and arrived once more in his old place of captivity.

How different were his present feelings compared with those he had experienced on quitting it. Then, though full of confidence, he half doubted his power of accomplishing his designs. Now, he had achieved them, and felt assured of success.  The vast heap of rubbish on the floor had been so materially increased by the bricks and plaster thrown down in his attack upon the wall of the Red Room, that it was with some difficulty he could find the blanket which was almost buried beneath the pile.  He next searched for his stockings and shoes, and when found, put them on.

While he was thus employed, his nerves underwent a severe shock.  A few bricks, dislodged probably by his last descent, came clattering down the chimney, and as it was perfectly dark, gave him the notion that some one was endeavouring to force an entrance into the room.

But these fears, like those he had recently experienced, speedily vanished, and he prepared to return to the roof, congratulating himself that owing to the opportune falling of the bricks, he had in all probability escaped serious injury.

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