A Rogue's Life HTML version

take the road to Gretna Green. He acknowledged, in conclusion, that he should
have followed us to Edinburgh, or even to the Continent itself, on the chance of
our leading him to the doctor's retreat, but for the servant girl at the inn, who had
listened outside the door while our brief marriage ceremony was proceeding, and
from whom, with great trouble and delay, he had extracted all the information he
required. A further loss of half an hour's time had occurred while he was getting
the necessary help to assist him, in the event of my resisting, or trying to give him
the slip, in making me a prisoner. These small facts accounted for the hour's
respite we had enjoyed at the inn, and terminated the runner's narrative of his
own proceedings.
On arriving at our destination I was, of course, immediately taken to the jail.
Alicia, by my advice, engaged a modest lodging in a suburb of Barkingham. In
the days of the red-brick house, she had seldom been seen in the town, and she
was not at all known by sight in the suburb. We arranged that she was to visit me
as often as the authorities would let her. She had no companion, and wanted
none. Mrs. Baggs, who had never forgiven the rebuke administered to her at the
starting-point of our journey, left us at the close of it. Her leave-taking was
dignified and pathetic. She kindly informed Alicia that she wished her well,
though she could not conscientiously look upon her as a lawful married woman;
and she begged me (in case I got off), the next time I met with a respectable
person who was kind to me, to profit by remembering my past errors, and to treat
my next benefactress with more confidence than I had treated her.
My first business in the prison was to write to Mr. Batterbury.
I had a magnificent ease to present to him, this time. Although I believed myself,
and had succeeded in persuading Alicia, that I was sure of being recommended
to mercy, it was not the less the fact that I was charged with an offense still
punishable by death, in the then barbarous state of the law. I delicately stated
just enough of my case to make one thing clear to the mind of Mr. Batterbury. My
affectionate sister's interest in the contingent reversion was now ( unless Lady
Malkinshaw perversely and suddenly expired) actually threatened by the
While calmly awaiting the answer, I was by no means without subjects to occupy
my attention when Alicia was not at the prison. There was my fellow-workman--
Mill--(the first member of our society betrayed by Screw) to compare notes with;
and there was a certain prisoner who had been transported, and who had some
very important and interesting particulars to communicate, relative to life and its
chances in our felon-settlements at the Antipodes. I talked a great deal with this
man; for I felt that his experience might be of the greatest possible benefit to me.
Mr. Batterbury's answer was speedy, short, and punctual. I had shattered his
nervous system forever, he wrote, but had only stimulated his devotion to my