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II.

A few minutes later the audience filed down the stairway to the street. As the “gentleman from Sydney” was passing through the doorway to the landing a hand grasped his arm, and as he turned with a startled movement at the touch, the full lips of the fellow who had been watching him bent to his ear.

“An' vat is the time o' day with you, Sam Jefferson, alias Dicky Arnold? He-he! the game's up, Dicky!”

The man spoken to stared dazedly at the other. The white terror of the hunted animal at bay was for a moment in his face, but vanished as he strove to carry off the incident in a braggart style.

“Wot's your game, my covey?—I ain't no Dicky Arnold or wot d'yer call th' cove as yer named—er—Sam Jefferson neither. I don't know nothink 'bout yer!”

“Vy, vot a dear innercent chap ve've got 'ere!” returned the other, sardonically. “An' ye don't mean to turn yer back on an old Sydney pal, Dicky, d'yer?


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Oh, Dicky, Dicky, I'm kevite ashamed of ye!—wantin' to cut an old pal jest 'cos you're so big in yer shoes arter a-lecturin' all these city blokes an' donnas!”

The gentleman from Sydney had now regained his wits and his courage. “No more o' this —— nonsense, or I'll call a —— trap, an' give yer up!”

“Vy, vat a bold bloke he is to be sure!” admiringly exclaimed the other. “If he ain't a innercent, he is a tiptopper, an' no mistake! S'elp me, I never 'erd of a cove vot vas frightened of th' traps so, a-talkin' so bold! But if so be as ye want to give me up, vy I'm villin'!”

By this time, the couple had reached the street. The Jewish fellow's arm had gradually tightened round the Sydneyite's, and though the latter made one strong effort to escape, his capturer foiled it instantly by twisting his leg inside the other's.

“You bolt, Dicky, an' I'll raise th' hue an' cry! An' vere vill ye be then, my son? Now, don't be a fool, Dicky! I ain't goin' to be 'ard.”

A light of hope shot into the Sydney man's eyes.

“Wot d'yer mean, Izzy? 'Ull yer square it?”

“Ho, ho! Dicky, I'd 'a thought better o' ye! Ter go an' give yerself avay, like a born fool! Vy, ye do know Israel Chapman then, arter all, d'ye? Yer ol' friend, Izzy—vat copped ye at Parramatta an' sent ye


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to th' Phœnix! Vy, o' course ye knows Izzy—yer ol' friend Izzy!”

“An' wot if I does?” growled Chapman's prisoner. “Anywun wot 'as wunst seen yer ugly mug ain't agoin' ter forget it in an 'urry, neither!”

“Vell, vell,” quoth the notorious Sydney thief-taker, “ye ain't too compliment'ry to yer old friends, Dicky. But I'm going to do pis'ness, Dicky, pis'ness!”

“Honour bright an' above-board, Izzy?”

“Yes, s'elp me, by Father Abraham, I am!”

“Ye won't take my money an' then give me up, arter all, Izzy?”

Mr. Chapman looked genuinely distressed. “Vy, mine friend, vat d'ye take me for? I ain't Pounce!”

At the mention of old Pounce, the Sydney forger, who did so large a trade in official forgeries of all kinds, Dicky Arnold, otherwise Sam Jefferson, started again.

“D'yer mean ter say as Pounce 'as sold me?” he gasped.

“I ain't a-goin' ter say nuthin', mine friend—until we skevares matters, or I gives ye up at Bow-street perlice-office as a returned from transportation cove.”

“Well, Izzy, wot's it ter be?”

Mr. Israel Chapman, over from Sydney on “Government


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business”—in other words, commissioned by Mr. Alexander Macleay to ascertain the destination of certain Sydney Commissariat bills on the Treasury which had mysteriously disappeared from the Colonial Secretary's office, Sydney, gave the insinuated proposal two minutes' consideration before he replied.

“Vell, y' see, there's a reward for arresting a returned from transportation man 'ere—that's five! An' then there's the Sydney reward for pickin' up a Phœnix bolter—s'elp me, Dicky, that lect'rer chap gave it ye pretty sharp, all unbeknowin', though, didn't he?”

“Go on! To —— with the lect'rer! If it 'adn't been for 'im, ye wouldn't 'a cotched me!”

“P'r'aps I vudn't an' p'r'aps I vud! But I vas really in doubt till I 'erd ye tell that yarn 'bout Jim Hughes! Everybody in th' old time knew Dick Arnold's story of Jim Hughes' missus' mother.”

“Go on! go on!”

“Don't lose yer temper, mine friend! If people vat ought to keep 'emselves low vant to brag an' show off, vy, they've got to pay th' price of greatness, Dicky. Vell, then, besides, the Phœnix revard is ten—that's fifteen pun, Dicky.”

“I'll give it yer to let me go.”

“Stay, stay, not so fast, my son! I never does


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these little friendly jobs except for double the Gov'nment price.”

“That's thirty pun—I'll make it guineas!”

“Ho, ho! Vy, yer must 'ave a nice plant someveres, Dicky! An' then, y' know, there's somethink for the credit—ye must make allowance for the credit, Dicky! Vy, dis would be a brilliant capture! Vot shall ve say for the credit, Mister Arnold? Just a leetle bit of paper for twenty quid? Say yes, Dicky!”

“I s'pose I must say yes if yer insist 'pon it!” cursed the other.

“That's fifty altogether, Dicky. Now, I put it to yer, Dicky, ain't that too low for a service to a friend? Make it double, Dicky—say an 'underd—an' I'm blowed if I don't let ye go!”

“Square?”

“Skevar!”

“On yer honour?”

“On the honour of a shentleman, Dicky!”

And, though Mr. Arnold paid the notes over with a seeming reluctance, he rejoiced in his heart that his unauthorized return trip to his native land was to cost him no more.

“Tip us another tenner, Dicky, an' I'll tell ye 'ow I heard o' ye being here!”

“No!”




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“Better 'ad! The chap vat gave ye avay this time may give yer avay again. An' if ye gets sent out once more—an' ye're bound to, Dicky, when ye're spent all th' mopuses on the gals—th' knowledge 'll be useful!”

The contingency of another voyage across the seas not being altogether beyond the limits of possibility, Mr. Arnold, otherwise Sam Jefferson, thought the outlay of another ten pounds only a precautionary measure. So he made it.

“Vat did ye pay old Pounce for Sammy Jefferson's certificate of freedom?”

Arnold's mouth twitched in angry surprise. “A tenner!”

“An' vat did it cost to 'ave Sammy Jefferson's marks tattooed on your buzzum?”

“Three pun' ten.”

“So this leetle trip 'ome o' yours has cost yer wi'out your ship-money, 'ow much, Dicky?”

“One 'underd an' thirteen pun' ten.”

“Now, ain't that a nice sum to pay for trustin' ol' Pounce?”

“D'ye mean ter say——?”

“As Pounce gave ye 'vay? O' course I do! He says to me, ‘Izzy, ye're going 'ome! Ven ye're in Lunnun look out for Dicky Arnold vat bolted from


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the hulk. I'm afraid he vent 'vay’—them vas his very verds, Dicky!—‘on Sammy Jefferson's ticket. Dick ain't no marks on his buzzum, Izzy, but if ye find a Sammy Jefferson in Lunnun vith a mermaid an' a 'nanchor in a true-lover's knot on his buzzum over S. J., that chap's Dicky Arnold!' That's vot ol' Pounce said, Dicky. An' he vanted to go halves in th' revard if I cotched ye! Vasn't he mean?”

“Mean! I'd mean 'im if I'd 'im 'ere for ten minutes!”

“An' look 'ere, Dicky. Ven ye comes out again, an' I'm in Sydney—an' ye vants to make another bolt, v'y, you send for me, Dicky. I'll get ye a whole pardon with th' seal an' all reg'lar for vat Pounce charges for a ticket of freedom only! An' I allus acts skevare, Dicky—I never gives no one avay vat deals honour'ble vith me! Now, let's 'av a drink, Dicky, for the sake o' old times!”

Within a week, Richard Arnold, alias Samuel Jefferson, was arrested by a Bow-street runner as a convict illegally returned from transportation. Only Israel Chapman did not appear as the informant. Nevertheless, he fingered the reward.

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