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Jack Sheppard eBook

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

Amid this tumult, several men armed with tremendous bludgeons, with their faces besmeared with grease and soot, and otherwise disguised, were observed to be urging the populace to attempt a rescue.  They were headed by an athletic-looking, swarthy-featured man, who was armed with a cutlass, which he waved over his head to cheer on his companions.

These desperadoes had been the most active in demolishing the coach, and now, being supported by the rabble, they audaciously approached the very portals of the ancient Hall.  The shouts, yells, and groans which they uttered, and which were echoed by the concourse in the rear, were perfectly frightful.

Jonathan, who with the other constables had reconnoitred this band, and recognised in its ring-leader, Blueskin, commanded the constables to follow him, and made a sally for the purpose of seizing him.  Enfeebled by his wound, Wild had lost much of his strength, though nothing of his ferocity and energy,—­and fiercely assailing Blueskin, he made a desperate but unsuccessful attempt to apprehend him.

He was, however, instantly beaten back; and the fury of the mob was so great that it was with difficulty he could effect a retreat.  The whole force of the constables, jailers and others was required to keep the crowd out of the Hall.  The doors were closed and barricaded, and the mob threatened to burst them open if Jack was not delivered to them.

Things now began to wear so serious a aspect that a messenger was secretly despatched to the Savoy for troops, and in half an hour a regiment of the guards arrived, who by dint of great exertion succeeded in partially dispersing the tumultuous assemblage.  Another coach was then procured, in which the prisoner was placed.

Jack’s appearance was hailed with the loudest cheers, but when Jonathan followed and took a place beside him in the vehicle, determined, he said, never to lose sight of him, the abhorrence of the multitude was expressed by execrations, hoots, and yells of the most terrific kind.  So dreadful were these shouts as to produce an effect upon the hardened feelings of Jonathan, who shrank out of sight.

It was well for him that he had taken his place by Sheppard, as regard for the latter alone prevented the deadliest missiles being hurled at him.  As it was, the mob went on alternately hooting and huzzaing as the names of Wild and Sheppard were pronounced, while some individuals, bolder than the rest, thrust their faces into the coach-window, and assured Jack that he should never be taken to Tyburn.

“We’ll see that, you yelping hounds!” rejoined Jonathan, glaring fiercely at them.

In this way, Jack was brought back to Newgate, and again chained down in the Middle Ward.

It was late before Jonathan ventured to his own house, where he remained up all night, and kept his janizaries and other assistants well armed.

CHAPTER XXX.

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