The man looked hard at him.
“Answer me one question first?” he said; “I half suspect you’re Jack Sheppard.”
“I am,” replied Jack, without hesitation; for he felt assured from the man’s manner that he might confide in him.
“You’re a bold fellow, Jack,” rejoined the blacksmith. “But you’ve done well to trust me. I’ll take off your irons—for I guess that’s the reason why you want the hammer and file—on one condition.”
“What is it?”
“That you give ’em to me.”
Taking Jack into a shed behind the workshop the smith in a short time freed him from his fetters. He not only did this, but supplied him with an ointment which allayed the swelling of his limbs, and crowned all by furnishing him with a jug of excellent ale.
“I’m afraid, Jack, you’ll come to the gallows,” observed the smith; “buth if you do, I’ll go to Tyburn to see you. But I’ll never part with your irons.”
Noticing the draggled condition Jack was in, he then fetched him a bucket of water, with which Jack cleansed himself as well as he could, and thanking the honest smith, who would take nothing for his trouble, left the shop.
Having made a tolerably good meal upon the loaf, overcome by fatigue, Jack turned into a barn in Stoke Newington, and slept till late in the day, when he awakened much refreshed. The swelling in his limbs had also subsided. It rained heavily all day, so he did not stir forth.
Towards night, however, he ventured out, and walked on towards London. When he arrived at Hoxton, he found the walls covered with placards offering a reward for his apprehension, and he everywhere appeared to be the general subject of conversation. Prom a knot of idlers at a public-house, he learnt that Jonathan Wild had just ridden past, and that his setters were scouring the country in every direction.
Entering London, he bent his way towards the west-end; and having some knowledge of a secondhand tailor’s shop in Rupert Street, proceeded thither, and looked out a handsome suit of mourning, with a sword, cloak, and hat, and demanded the price. The man asked twelve guineas, but after a little bargaining, he came down to ten.
Taking his new purchase under his arm, Jack proceeded to a small tavern in the same street, where, having ordered dinner, he went to a bed-room to attire himself. He had scarcely completed his toilet, when he was startled by a noise at the door, and heard his own name pronounced in no friendly accents. Fortunately, the window was not far from the ground; so opening it gently, he dropped into a backyard, and from thence got into the street.
Hurrying down the Haymarket, he was arrested by a crowd who were collected round a street-singer. Jack paused for a moment, and found that his own adventures formed the subject of the ballad. Not daring, however, to listen to it, he ran on.