A Rogue's Life HTML version
The people there were not gone to bed; and I sent for the landlord to consult with
him about a conveyance. Perhaps it was my suspicious fancy again; but I
thought his manner was altered. He seemed half distrustful, half afraid of me,
when I asked him if there had been any signs, during my absence, of those two
gentlemen, for whom I had already inquired on arriving at his door that evening.
He gave an answer in the negative, looking away from me while he spoke.
Thinking it advisable, on the whole, not to let him see that I noticed a change in
him, I proceeded at once to the question of the conveyance, and was told that I
could hire the landlord's light cart, in which he was accustomed to drive to the
market town. I appointed an hour for starting the next day, and retired at once to
my bedroom. There my thoughts were enough. I was anxious about Screw and
the Bow Street runner. I was uncertain about the stranger who had called at
Number Two, Zion Place. I was in doubt even about the landlord of the inn.
Never did I know what real suffering from suspense was, until that night,
Whatever my apprehensions might have been, they were none of them realized
the next morning.
Nobody followed me on my way to Zion Place, and no stranger had called there
before me a second time, when I made inquiries on entering the house. I found
Alicia blushing, and Mrs. Baggs impenetrably wrapped up in dignified sulkiness.
After informing me with a lofty look that she intended to go to Scotland with us,
and to take my five-pound note--partly under protest, and partly out of excessive
affection for Alicia--she retired to pack up. The time consumed in performing this
process, and the further delay occasioned by paying small outstanding debts to
tradespeople, and settling with the owner of the house, detained us till nearly
noon before we were ready to get into the landlord's cart.
I looked behind me anxiously at starting, and often afterward on the road; but
never saw anything to excite my suspicions. In settling matters with the landlord
over night, I had arranged that we should be driven to the nearest town at which
a post-chaise could be obtained. My resources were just as likely to hold out
against the expenses of posting, where public conveyances could not be
obtained, as against the expense of waiting privately at hotels, until the right
coaches might start. According to my calculations, my money would last till we
got to Scotland. After that, I had my watch, rings, shirtpin, and Mr. Batterbury, to
help in replenishing my purse. Anxious, therefore, as I was about other things,
money matters, for once in a way, did not cause me the smallest uneasiness.