Containing A Scene Of A Different Kind From Any Of The Preceding.
The gentleman who now arrived was the keeper; or, if you please (for so he
pleased to call himself), the governor of the prison.
He used so little ceremony at his approach, that the bolt, which was very slight
on the inside, gave way, and the door immediately flew open. He had no sooner
entered the room than he acquainted Miss Matthews that he had brought her
very good news, for which he demanded a bottle of wine as his due.
This demand being complied with, he acquainted Miss Matthews that the
wounded gentleman was not dead, nor was his wound thought to be mortal: that
loss of blood, and perhaps his fright, had occasioned his fainting away; "but I
believe, madam," said he, "if you take the proper measures you may be bailed
to-morrow. I expect the lawyer here this evening, and if you put the business into
his hands I warrant it will be done. Money to be sure must be parted with, that's
to be sure. People to be sure will expect to touch a little in such cases. For my
own part, I never desire to keep a prisoner longer than the law allows, not I; I
always inform them they can be bailed as soon as I know it; I never make any
bargain, not I; I always love to leave those things to the gentlemen and ladies
themselves. I never suspect gentlemen and ladies of wanting generosity."
Miss Matthews made a very slight answer to all these friendly professions. She
said she had done nothing she repented of, and was indifferent as to the event.
"All I can say," cries she, "is, that if the wretch is alive there is no greater villain in
life than himself;" and, instead of mentioning anything of the bail, she begged the
keeper to leave her again alone with Mr. Booth. The keeper replied, "Nay,
madam, perhaps it may be better to stay a little longer here, if you have not bail
ready, than to buy them too dear. Besides, a day or two hence, when the
gentleman is past all danger of recovery, to be sure some folks that would expect
an extraordinary fee now cannot expect to touch anything. And to be sure you
shall want nothing here. The best of all things are to be had here for money, both
eatable and drinkable: though I say it, I shan't turn my back to any of the taverns
for either eatables or wind. The captain there need not have been so shy of
owning himself when he first came in; we have had captains and other great
gentlemen here before now; and no shame to them, though I say it. Many a great
gentleman is sometimes found in places that don't become them half so well, let
me tell them that, Captain Booth, let me tell them that."
"I see, sir," answered Booth, a little discomposed, "that you are acquainted with
my title as well as my name."