“Close the door!” commanded Trenchard, impatiently.
“In my opinion, Sir Rowland,” suggested Jonathan; “you’d better allow the court to remain open.”
“Be it so,” replied the knight, who saw the force of this reasoning. “Continue the proceedings.”
“You say that the miniature was abstracted from Lady Trafford’s jewel-box,” said Jonathan, in a loud voice. “Who took it thence?”
“Thames Darrell; the boy at your side.”
“Jack!” cried Thames, in indignant surprise.
But Sheppard took no notice of the exclamation.
A loud buzz of curiosity circulated among the domestics; some of whom—especially the females—leaned forward to obtain a peep at the culprit.
“Si—lence!” vociferated Charcam, laying great emphasis on the last syllable.
“Were you present at the time of the robbery?” pursued Jonathan.
“I was,” answered Sheppard.
“And will swear to it?”
“Liar!” ejaculated Thames.
“Enough!” exclaimed Wild, triumphantly.
“Close the court, Mr. Charcoal. They’ve heard quite enough for my purpose,” he muttered, as his orders were obeyed, and the domestics excluded. “It’s too late to carry ’em before a magistrate now, Sir Rowland; so, with your permission, I’ll give ’em a night’s lodging in Saint Giles’s round-house. You, Jack Sheppard, have nothing to fear, as you’ve become evidence against your accomplice. To-morrow, I shall carry you before Justice Walters, who’ll take your information; and I’ve no doubt but Thames Darrell will be fully committed. Now, for the cage, my pretty canary-bird. Before we start, I’ll accommodate you with a pair of ruffles.” And he proceeded to handcuff his captive.
“Hear me!” cried Thames, bursting into tears. “I am innocent. I could not have committed this robbery. I have only just left Wych Street. Send for Mr. Wood, and you’ll find that I’ve spoken the truth.”
“You’d better hold your peace, my lad,” observed Jonathan, in a menacing tone.
“Lady Trafford would not have thus condemned me!” cried Thames.
“Away with him!” exclaimed Sir Rowland, impatiently.
“Take the prisoners below, Nab,” said Jonathan, addressing the dwarfish Jew; “I’ll join you in an instant.”
The bearded miscreant seized Jack by the waist, and Thames by the nape of the neck, and marched off, like the ogre in the fairy tale, with a boy under each arm, while Charcam brought upt the rear.
Mother and Son.
They had scarcely been gone a moment, when a confused noise was heard without, and Charcam re-entered the room, with a countenance of the utmost bewilderment and alarm.
“What’s the matter with the man?” demanded Wild.
“Her ladyship—” faltered the attendant.
“What of her?” cried the knight. “Is she returned!”