He held down the light, and a moment afterwards beckoned, with a blanched cheek, to Rowland.
“Your sister is dead,” said he, in a deep whisper.
“Her blood be upon her own head, then,” replied Rowland, sternly. “Why came she here?”
“She could not resist the hand of fate which drew her hither,” replied Sir Cecil, mournfully.
“Descend and take charge of the body,” said Rowland, conquering his emotion by a great effort, “I will join you in a moment. This accident rather confirms than checks my purpose. The stain upon our family is only half effaced: I have sworn the death of the villain and his bastard, and I will keep my oath. Now, Sir,” he added, turning to Jonathan, as Sir Cecil and his followers obeyed his injunctions, “you say you know the road which the person whom we seek has taken?”
“I do,” replied Jonathan. “But I give no information gratis!”
“Speak, then,” said Rowland, placing money in his hand.
“You’ll find him at St. Saviours’s stairs,” answered Jonathan. “He’s about to cross the river. You’d better lose no time. He has got five minutes’ start of you. But I sent him the longest way about.”
The words were scarcely pronounced, when Rowland disappeared.
“And now to see the end of it,” said Jonathan, shortly afterwards passing through the window. “Good night, Master.”
Three persons only were left in the room. These were the Master of the Mint, Van Galgebrok, and Mrs. Sheppard.
“A bad business this, Van,” observed Baptist, with a prolonged shake of the head.
“Ja, ja, Muntmeester,” said the Hollander, shaking his head in reply;—“very bad—very.”
“But then they’re staunch supporters of our friend over the water,” continued Baptist, winking significantly; “so we must e’en hush it up in the best way we can.”
“Ja,” answered Van Galgebrok. “But—sapperment!—I wish they hadn’t broken my pipe.”
“JONATHAN WILD promises well,” observed the Master, after a pause: “he’ll become a great man. Mind, I, Baptist Kettleby, say so.”
“He’ll be hanged nevertheless,” replied the Hollander, giving his collar an ugly jerk. “Mind, I, Rykhart Van Galgebrok predict it. And now let’s go back to the Shovels, and finish our brandewyn and bier, Muntmeester.”
“Alas!” cried Mrs. Sheppard, relieved by their departure, and giving way to a passionate flood of tears; “were it not for my child, I should wish to be in the place of that unfortunate lady.”