Throwing the blanket over his left arm and shouldering the iron bar, he again clambered up the chimney; regained the Red Room; hurried along the first passage; crossed the Chapel; threaded the entry to the Lower Leads; and, in less than ten minutes after quitting the Castle, had reached the northern extremity of the prison.
Previously to his descent he had left the nail and spike on the wall, and with these he fastened the blanket to the stone coping. This done, he let himself carefully down by it, and having only a few feet to drop, alighted in safety.
Having now fairly got out of Newgate for the second time, with a heart throbbing with exultation, he hastened to make good his escape. To his great joy he found a small garret-door in the roof of the opposite house open. He entered it; crossed the room, in which there was only a small truckle-bed, over which he stumbled; opened another door and gained the stair-head. As he was about to descend his chains slightly rattled. “Oh, lud! what’s that?” exclaimed a female voice, from an adjoining room. “Only the dog,” replied the rough tones of a man.
Securing the chain in the best way he could, Jack then hurried down two pair of stairs, and had nearly reached the lobby, when a door suddenly opened, and two persons appeared, one of whom held a light. Retreating as quickly as he could, Jack opened the first door he came to, entered a room, and searching in the dark for some place of concealment, fortunately discovered a skreen, behind which he crept.
What befell Jack Sheppard in the Turner’s House.
Jack was scarcely concealed when the door opened, and the two persons of whom he had caught a glimpse below entered the room. What was his astonishment to recognise in the few words they uttered the voices of Kneebone and Winifred! The latter was apparently in great distress, and the former seemed to be using his best efforts to relieve her anxiety.
“How very fortunate it is,” he observed, “that I happened to call upon Mr. Bird, the turner, to give him an order this evening. It was quite an unexpected pleasure to meet you and your worthy father.”
“Pray cease these compliments,” returned Winifred, “and, if you have any communication to make, do not delay it. You told me just now that you wished to speak a few words to me in private, concerning Thames Darrell, and for that purpose I have left my father below with Mr. Bird and have come hither. What have you got to say?”
“Too much,” replied Kneebone, shaking his head; “sadly too much.”
“Do not needlessly alarm me, I beseech you,” replied Winifred. “Whatever your intelligence may be I will strive to bear it. But do not awaken my apprehension, unless you have good cause for so doing.—What do you know of Thames?—Where is he?”
“Don’t agitate yourself, dearest girl,” rejoined the woollen-draper; “or I shall never be able to commence my relation.”