“I leave this bowl for you,” he cried, returning it to the landlord untasted.
“Your father said so before you,” replied Jonathan, malignantly; “and yet it has tarried thus long.”
“You will call for it before six months are passed,” rejoined Jack, sternly.
Once again the cavalcade was in motion, and winding its way by St. Giles’s church, the bell of which continued tolling all the time, passed the pound, and entered Oxford Road, or, as it was then not unfrequently termed, Tyburn Road. After passing Tottenham Court Road, very few houses were to be seen on the right hand, opposite Wardour Street it was open country.
The crowd now dispersed amongst the fields, and thousands of persons were seen hurrying towards Tyburn as fast as their legs could carry them, leaping over hedges, and breaking down every impediment in their course.
Besides those who conducted themselves more peaceably, the conductors of the procession noticed with considerable uneasiness, large bands of men armed with staves, bludgeons, and other weapons, who were flying across the field in the same direction. As it was feared that some mischief would ensue, Wild volunteered, if he were allowed a small body of men, to ride forward to Tyburn, and keep the ground clear until the arrival of the prisoner.
This suggestion being approved, was instantly acted upon, and the thief-taker, accompanied by a body of the grenadiers, rode forward.
The train, meantime, had passed Marylebone Lane, when it again paused for a moment, at Jack’s request, near the door of a public-house called the City of Oxford.
Scarcely had it come to a halt, when a stalwart man shouldered his way, in spite of their opposition, through the lines of soldiery to the cart, and offered his large horny hand to the prisoner.
“I told you I would call to bid you farewell, Mr. Figg,” said Jack.
“So you did,” replied the prize-fighter. “Sorry you’re obliged to keep your word. Heard of your last escape. Hoped you’d not be retaken. Never sent for the shirt.”
“I didn’t want it,” replied Jack; “but who are those gentlemen?”
“Friends of yours,” replied Figg; “come to see you;—Sir James Thornhill, Mr. Hogarth, and Mr. Gay. They send you every good wish.”
“Offer them my hearty thanks,” replied Jack, waving his hand to the group, all of whom returned the salutation. “And now, farewell, Mr. Figg! In a few minutes, all will be over.”
Figg turned aside to hide the tears that started to his eyes,—for the stout prize-fighter, with a man’s courage, had a woman’s heart,—and the procession again set forward.
The Closing Scene.
Tyburn was now at hand. Over the sea of heads arose a black and dismal object. It was the gallows. Jack, whose back was towards it, did not see it; but he heard, from the pitying exclamations of the crowd, that it was in view. This circumstance produced no further alteration in his demeanour except that he endeavoured to abstract himself from the surrounding scene, and bend his attention to the prayers which the ordinary was reciting.