Jack Sheppard eBook

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

The room in which she sat was a portion of the garret, assigned, as we have just stated, by Mr. Wood as a play-room to the two boys; and, like most boy’s playrooms, it exhibited a total absence of order, or neatness.  Things were thrown here and there, to be taken up, or again cast aside, as the whim arose; while the broken-backed chairs and crazy table bore the marks of many a conflict.  The characters of the youthful occupants of the room might be detected in every article it contained.  Darell’s peculiar bent of mind was exemplified in a rusty broadsword, a tall grenadier’s cap, a musket without lock or ramrod, a belt and cartouch-box, with other matters evincing a decided military taste.  Among his books, Plutarch’s Lives, and the Histories of Great Commanders, appeared to have been frequently consulted; but the dust had gathered thickly upon the Carpenter’s Manual, and a Treatise on Trigonometry and Geometry.  Beneath the shelf, containing these books, hung the fine old ballad of ‘St. George for England’ and a loyal ditty, then much in vogue, called ’True Protestant Gratitude, or, Britain’s Thanksgiving for the First of August, Being the Day of His Majesty’s Happy Accession to the Throne.’  Jack Sheppard’s library consisted of a few ragged and well-thumbed volumes abstracted from the tremendous chronicles bequeathed to the world by those Froissarts and Holinsheds of crime—­the Ordinaries of Newgate.  His vocal collection comprised a couple of flash songs pasted against the wall, entitled ‘The Thief-Catcher’s Prophecy,’ and the ’Life and Death of the Darkman’s Budge;’ while his extraordinary mechanical skill was displayed in what he termed (Jack had a supreme contempt for orthography,) a ‘Moddle of his Ma^{s}.  Jale off Newgate;’ another model of the pillory at Fleet Bridge; and a third of the permanent gibbet at Tyburn.  The latter specimen, of his workmanship was adorned with a little scarecrow figure, intended to represent a housebreaking chimney-sweeper of the time, described in Sheppard’s own hand-writing, as ‘Jack Hall a-hanging.’  We must not omit to mention that a family group from the pencil of little Winifred, representing Mr. and Mrs. Wood in very characteristic attitudes, occupied a prominent place on the walls.

For a few moments, Thames regarded the little girl through the half-opened door in silence.  On a sudden, a change came over her countenance, which, up to this moment, had worn a smiling and satisfied expression.  Throwing down the pencil, she snatched up a piece of India-rubber, and exclaiming,—­“It isn’t at all like him! it isn’t half handsome enough!” was about to efface the sketch, when Thames darted into the room.

“Who isn’t it like?” he asked, endeavouring to gain possession of the drawing, which, af the sound of his footstep, she crushed between her fingers.

“I can’t tell you!” she replied, blushing deeply, and clinching her little hand as tightly as possible; “it’s a secret!”

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Jack Sheppard from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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