The spirit gave him courage for the ordeal to which he had condemned himself; and with steadied step, he reached the door of the old prison. To his surprise, Gimblett refused him admission! "But I have come direct from the Commandant," said North. "Got any order, sir?" "Order! No." "I can't let you in, your reverence," said Gimblett. "I want to see the prisoner Dawes.
Vane of two hundred pounds, was present, he was at that time a turnkey, holding a third-class pass, and in receipt of two shillings per diem. Everything was quite still. I could not help remarking how quiet the gaol was, when Gimblett said, "There's someone speaking. I know who that is." And forthwith took from its pegs one of the bridles just described, and a pair of handcuffs.
Was it possible that, in his madness, the chaplain had been about to commit some violence which had drawn the trusty Gimblett from his post? "Gr-r-r-r! Ouph!" The trusty Gimblett was lying at his feet dead drunk! "Hi! Hiho! Hillo there!" roared somebody from the jetty below. "Be that you, Muster Noarth? We ain't too much tiam, sur!"
North was in despair, but a bright thought struck him a thought that, in his soberer moments, would never have entered his head he would buy admission. He produced the rum flask from beneath the sheltering cloak. "Come, don't talk nonsense to me, Gimblett. You don't suppose I would come here without authority. Here, take a pull at this, and let me through."
This being secured with the various straps and buckles, a more complete bridle could not be well imagined. I was in the gaol last evening at eight o'clock. I had been to see Rufus Dawes, and returning, paused for a moment to speak to Hailey. Gimblett, who robbed Mr.
I followed him to one of the cells, which he opened, and therein was a man lying on his straw mat, undressed, and to all appearance fast asleep. Gimblett ordered him to get up and dress himself. He did so, and came into the yard, where Gimblett inserted the iron-wood gag in his mouth.
He went to the door, and looked into the narrow corridor, expecting to see the scowling countenance of Gimblett. To his astonishment the door of the prison was wide open, and not a soul in sight. His first thought was of North. Had the story he had told, coupled with the entreaties he had lavished, sufficed to turn him from his purpose? He looked around.
The breeze, however, which was momentarily freshening, carried his voice away; and Jack Mannix, hearing nothing, continued his conversation. Gimblett was just drunk enough to be virtuously indignant at this incivility, and seating himself on the edge of the bank, swallowed the remainder of the rum at a draught. The effect upon his enforcedly temperate stomach was very touching.
"You had better retire, gentlemen," said Troke. "I see them getting out their knives." We made for the gate, and the crowd closed in like a sea upon the two constables. I fully expected murder, but in a few moments Troke and Gimblett appeared, borne along by a mass of men, dusty, but unharmed, and having the convict between them.
He had intended, in the first instance, to have taken but one sup in payment of his courtesy for Gimblett was conscious of his own weakness in the matter of strong waters but as he waited and waited, the one sup became two, and two three, and at length more than half the contents of the bottle had moistened his gullet, and maddened him for more. Gimblett was in a quandary.