A murmur ran through the assemblage, by several of whom Jack was recognised. But such was the violence of his grief,—such the compunction he exhibited, that all but one looked on with an eye of compassion. That person advanced towards him.
“I have killed her,” cried Jack.
“You have,” rejoined Jonathan, laying a forcible grasp on his shoulder. “You are my prisoner.”
Jack started to his feet; but before he could defend himself, his right arm was grasped by the Jew who had silently approached him.
“Hell-hounds!” he cried; “release me!”
At the same moment, Quilt Arnold rushed forward with such haste, that, stumbling over William Morgan, he precipitated him into the grave.
“Wretch!” cried Jack. “Are you not content with the crimes you have committed,—but you must carry your villany to this point. Look at the poor victim at your feet.”
Jonathan made no reply, but ordered his myrmidons to drag the prisoner along.
Thames, meanwhile, had drawn his sword, and was about to rush upon Jonathan; but he was withheld by Wood.
“Do not shed more blood,” cried the carpenter.
Groans and hoots were now raised by the crowd, and there was an evident disposition to rescue. A small brickbat was thrown, which struck Jonathan in the face.
“You shall not pass,” cried several of the crowd.
“I knew his poor mother, and for her sake I’ll not see this done,” cried John Dump.
“Slip on the handcuffs,” cried the thief-taker. “And now let’s see who’ll dare to oppose me. I am Jonathan Wild. I have arrested him in the King’s name.”
A deep indignant groan followed.
“Let me see the earth thrown over her,” implored Jack; “and take me where you please.”
“No,” thundered Wild.
“Allow him that small grace,” cried Wood.
“No, I tell you,” rejoined Jonathan, shouldering his way out of the crowd.
“My mother,—my poor mother!” exclaimed Jack.
But, in spite of his outcries and resistance, he was dragged along by Jonathan and his janizaries.
At the eastern gate of the churchyard stood the carriage with the steps lowered. The mob pursued the thief-taker and his party all the way, and such missiles as could be collected were hurled at them. They even threatened to cut the traces and take off the wheels from the carriage. The Jew got in first. The prisoner was then thrust in by Quilt. Before Jonathan followed he turned to face his assailants.
“Back!” he cried fiercely. “I am an officer in the execution of my duty. And he who opposes me in it shall feel the weight of my hand.”
He then sprung into the coach, the door of which was closed by Obadiah, who mounted the box.
“To Newgate,” cried Jonathan, putting his head out of the window.
A deep roar followed this order, and several missiles were launched at the vehicle, which was driven off at a furious pace.