release some other fallen creature as miserable as themselves, or moved by a general sympathy perhapsGod knowswith all who were without hope, and wretched.
Old swords, and pistols without ball or powder; sledge-hammers, knives, axes, saws, and weapons pillaged from the butchers shops; a forest of iron bars and wooden clubs; long ladders for scaling the walls, each carried on the shoulders of a dozen men; lighted torches; tow smeared with pitch, and tar, and brimstone; staves roughly plucked from fence and paling; and even crutches taken from crippled beggars in the streets; composed their arms. When all was ready, Hugh and Dennis, with Simon Tappertit between them, led the way. Roaring and chafing like an angry sea, the crowd pressed after them.
Instead of going straight down Holborn to the jail, as all expected, their leaders took the way to Clerkenwell, and pouring down a quiet street, halted before a locksmiths housethe Golden Key.
Beat at the door, cried Hugh to the men about him. We want one of his craft to-night. Beat it in, if no one answers.
The shop was shut. Both door and shutters were of a strong and sturdy kind, and they knocked without effect. But the impatient crowd raising a cry of Set fire to the house! and torches being passed to the front, an upper window was thrown open, and the stout old locksmith stood before them.
What now, you villains! he demanded. Where is my daughter?
Ask no questions of us, old man, retorted Hugh, waving his comrades to be silent, but come down, and bring the tools of your trade. We want you.
Want me! cried the locksmith, glancing at the regimental dress he wore: Ay, and if some that I could name possessed the hearts of mice, ye should have had me long ago. Mark me, my ladand you about him do the same. There are a score among ye whom I see now and know, who are dead men from this hour. Begone! and rob an undertakers while you can! Youll want some coffins before long.
Will you come down? cried Hugh.
Will you give me my daughter, ruffian? cried the locksmith.
I know nothing of her, Hugh rejoined. Burn the door!
Stop! cried the locksmith, in a voice that made them falter presenting, as he spoke, a gun. Let an old man do that. You can spare him better.
The young fellow who held the light, and who was stooping down before the door, rose hastily at these words, and fell back. The locksmith ran his eye along the upturned faces, and kept the weapon levelled at the threshold of his house. It had no other rest than his shoulder, but was as steady as the house itself.
Let the man who does it, take heed to his prayers, he said firmly; I warn him.
Snatching a torch from one who stood near him, Hugh was stepping forward with an oath, when he was arrested by a shrill and piercing shriek, and, looking upward, saw a fluttering garment on the house-top.
There was another shriek, and another, and then a shrill voice cried, Is Simmun below! At the same moment a lean neck was stretched over the parapet, and Miss Miggs, indistinctly seen in the gathering gloom of evening, screeched in a frenzied manner, Oh! dear gentlemen, let me hear Simmunss answer from his own lips. Speak to me, Simmun. Speak to me!
Mr Tappertit, who was not at all flattered by this compliment, looked up, and bidding her hold her peace, ordered her to come down and open the door, for they wanted her master, and would take no denial.
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