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LONDON [Vol. II]
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must now return to the Blossom the lighter which had only
arrived at Mossop's wharf the night before the incidents of the last chapter
When the boat which conveyed the pirates to Gravesend
had pushed away from the Fairy at daybreak, as already described, the
Black, who was cleaning the deck of the Blossom, cast from beneath his
brows a rapid and scrutinising glance at the countenances of the four men who
were seated in that skiff.
As soon as the boat was out of sight, the Black hastened
down into the after-cabin of the Blossom, where a person was lying fast
asleep in bed.
The Black shook this person violently by the shoulder,
and awoke him.
"I have found him, sir, I have found
him!" cried the Black.
"Indeed!" cried Markham, starting up, and
rubbing his eyes. "Where? where?"
"He has just gone with three other men in a boat,
down the river," answered Morcar; "and one of these men is him that
spoke to Benstead lost night."
"Then they both belong to the Fairy?"
"Both," replied Morcar; "at least they
both came from it just now."
"Go and rouse Benstead," said Markham;
"and in the meantime I will get up."
The gipsy, who had so well disguised himself as a man of
colour, hastened to the caddy where Benstead was wrapped in the arms of Morpheus.
The police-officer was delighted, when awakened and made
acquainted with Morcar's discovery, to find that the Resurrection Man had been
thus recognised; and he lost no time in dressing himself.
The gipsy and Benstead afterwards proceeded to Richard's
cabin, where they found our hero just completing his hasty toilet.
"Thus far our aims are accomplished," said
Markham, when they were all three assembled. "It has turned out exactly as
I anticipated. Morcar, by aid of his disguised appearance, was enabled to keep a
sharp look out on all the vessels; while the report which you circulated that he
was deaf and dumb prevented him from being questioned. Had Tidkins himself seen
Morcar as closely as we are to him now, he would not have known him."
"My suspicions, too, are fully confirmed,"
observed Benstead. "The moment I saw that feller hanging about us last
night, I suspected he was up to no good. But how I managed to pump him,
when he doubtless thought that I was the soft-pated one? By my short,
evasive, or mysterious answers, I allowed him to think that the Blossom
was no better than she should be; and then I saw by his manners and language at
once, that he was a pirate. But when I dropped a hint about wanting two or three
hands for a good thing which I had in view, how eager the chap was to enlist
himself and his pal in the business!"
"And to-morrow night they are coming to talk over
the matter with you?" said Richard, half interrogatively.
"To-morrow night, or the night after,"
returned Benstead. "The pal that the man spoke of is sure to be Tidkins,
since our friend Morcar saw the villains leave the Fairy together."
"But there were two other men in the boat,"
observed the gipsy.
"You say that they sculled the boat round to the Fairy,
from some place higher up the river?" said Richard.
"Yes. But I could not see where they came from, as
it was nearly dark when they got alongside the Fairy."
Well," exclaimed Benstead, "it is very clear
that those two men who came in the boat, do n't belong to the Fairy; but
that Tidkins and the person who spoke to me last night do. I should think
there's no doubt about Tidkins being the pal that the man alluded to."
"Not the slightest," said Markham. "And
yet, to make assurance doubly sure, we will not alter the plan which we laid
down yesterday afternoon when we first came on board the lighter. You, Benstead,
must remain spokesman the master, in fact, of the Blossom;
you, Morcar, will continue a deaf and dumb Black," continued Richard, with
a smile; "and I must keep close in this cabin until the moment of action
arrives. If, to-morrow night or the night after, that man should bring Tidkins
with him, our object is accomplished at once: if he bring a stranger, our
precautions must be strictly preserved, and we must devise a means of seizing
the miscreant on board the Fairy or any other lighter to which we can
This advice was agreed to by Benstead and Morcar; and
while Richard remained below, the others took their turns in watching upon the
But all that day passed; and the pirates did not come
back to the Fairy they being occupied in the manner related
in the last chapter.
Morcar undertook to keep watch during the night; but
hour after hour stole away, another day dawned, and still the Fairy
was occupied only by the woman whom th pirates had left behind. [-91-]
That day also passed; and it was not until midnight that
Morcar's attention was attracted towards the Patsy. Then a boat rowed alongside
of the pirate-barge.
The night was pitch dark so dark that
Morcar could not see what was going on in the direction of the Fairy: but
his ears were all attention.
He was enabled to discover, by means of those organs,
that the boat transferred one or more of its living freight (but he could not
tell how many) to the Fairy: then a brief conversation was carried on in
low whispers, but not a distinct word of which reached the gipsy. At length the
boat pushed off, and rowed away up the river.
Morcar stood upon the deck of the Blossom for a
few minutes, attentively listening to catch a sound of any thing that might be
passing on board the pirate lighter: but all continued silent in that quarter.
Then Morcar descended to the cabin, where Richard and
the policeman were waiting.
To them he communicated the few particulars just
"It is clear that the pirates have returned from
their expedition, whatever it might be," said our hero; "and most
probably Tidkins and his friend have just been put on board their lighter. We
must contrive to watch their motions; and should they keep their appointment
with you, Benstead, to-morrow night, our enterprise will speedily be brought to
"I will keep my watch now on deck till three
o'clock," said the policeman; "and Morcar may turn in."
This was done; Richard also retired to rest; and the
night passed away without any further adventure.
But at day-break Morcar, who had again resumed the
watch, observed some activity on board the Fairy. The Buffer and his wife
were in fact making evident preparations for departure. They raised the mast by
means of the windlass; they shook out the sail; fixed the tiller in the rudder,
and performed the various preliminaries in a most business-like manner.
Morcar speedily communicated these circumstances to
Benstead and Markham; and these three held a rapid consultation in the
after-cabin of the Blossom.
"You are certain you saw no one but that man who
first spoke to Benstead, and the woman?" asked Markham.
"Not a soul," answered Morcar. "But that
is no reason why Tidkins should not be below."
"Certainly not. He has numerous reasons to conceal
"But what is to be done?" said Morcar.
"Benstead must go and speak to the man,"
observed Richard, after a pause.
The policeman immediately left the cabin.
He crossed the barges and approached the Fairy,
which was just ready to put off.
"Holloa! my friend," cried Benstead: "you
seem busy this morning?"
"Yes we're going up above bridge a
short way," answered the Buffer: "the tide is just turning in our
favour now, and we have n't a moment to spare.
"And the appointment with me?"
"Oh! that must stand over for a day or two. How
long do you mean to remain here!"
"Till I get a couple of good hands to help me in
the matter I alluded to the night before last," answered Benstead.
"Well, I do n't like to disappoint a good
feller and that you seem to be," said the Buffer.
"but I really can't say whether I shall be able to do any thing with you or
not. I've something else on hand now and I think I shall leave the
"You speak openly at all events," said
Benstead. "It's very annoying, though; for I relied upon you. Can't your
pal the man that you spoke of, you know have a hand
in this matter with me!"
"No," answered the Buffer shortly. "But
I'll tell you who'll put you up to getting the assistance you want: and
that's Mossop's foreman. He's a cautious man, and won't meet you half way in
your conversation; but you can make a confidant of him, and if he can't help
you, he's sure not to sell you. So now good bye, old feller; and good luck to
With these words the Buffer loosened the rope that held
the Fairy alongside the barge next to it; and then by means of a
boat-hook he pushed the lighter off.
"Good bye," exclaimed Benstead; and he
hastened back to the Blossom.
"Now what must be done!" asked Morcar, when
these particulars were communicated to him and Richard.
"It seems clear to me that these men have
endangered themselves by something they have just been doing," observed
Benstead; "and so they're sheering off as fast as they can."
"And most likely the Resurrection Man is concealed
on board the Fairy," added Markham. "We must follow them we
must follow them, at any rate!"
"If we take our skiff and pursue them, they will
immediately entertain some suspicion," said Ben-stead; "and if you go,
sir, the Resurrection Man will recognise you the moment he catches a glimpse of
"We have no alternative, my good friends,"
observed Richard. "Let us all three follow them in our skiff: we will dog
them we will watch them; and If they attempt to land, we will
"Be it so," said Benstead.
This plan was immediately put into operation.
The skiff was lowered: Markham, the policeman, and the
gipsy leapt into it; the two latter pulled the oars; and our hero, muffled in a
pilot coat, with the collar of which he concealed his countenance as much as
possible, sate in the stern.
"Just keep the lighter in view and
that's all," said Richard. "So long as it does not show signs of
touching at any place on shore, we had better content ourselves with following
it, till we are assured that Tidkins is actually on board."
"Certainly, sir," answered Benstead. "We
might only get ourselves into trouble by forcibly entering the Fairy,
unless we knew that we should catch the game we're in search of."
The rowers had therefore little more to do than just
play with their oars, as the tide bore the skiff along with even a greater
rapidity than the lighter, although the latter proceeded with tolerable speed,
in consequence of being empty, and having a fair breeze with it. Thus, when the
boat drew too near the barge, the towers backed their oars; and by this manuvring
they maintained a convenient distance. [-92-]
On board the lighter, the Buffer and his wife were too
busy with the management of their vessel a task to which they were
not altogether equal to notice the watch and pursuit instituted by
the little boat.
In the manner described, the two parties pursued their
way up the narrow space left by the crowds of shipping for the passage of
The Tower was passed that gloomy fortalice
which has known sighs as full of anguish and hearts as oppressed with bitter woe
as ever did the prisons of the Inquisition, or the dungeons of the Bastille.
Then the Custom House was slowly left behind; and
Billingsgate, world-renowned for its slang, was passed by the pursued and the
To avoid the arch of London Bridge the Buffer lowered
his mast; and then mid-way between that and Southwark Bridge his intentions
He was about to put in at a wharf on the Surrey side,
where a large board on the building announced that lighters were bought or sold.
"Pull alongside the Fairy," cried
Markham: "we must board her before she reaches the wharf, or our prey may
Benstead and Morcar plied the oars with a vigour which
soon brought the boat within a few yards of the Fairy. The Buffer's
attention was now attracted to it for the first time; but he did not immediately
recognise the two rowers, because they had their backs turned towards the
"I should know that man!" suddenly exclaimed
Richard, as he contemplated the Buffer, who was standing at the tiller, and who
had his eyes fixed with some anxiety upon the boat, which was evidently pulling
"Who?" asked Benstead.
"That man on board the lighter," was the
reply. Benstead cast a glance behind him, and said, "he's the man that
spoke to me."
"I remember him the villain! I
recollect him now!" cried Richard. "Yes he is a
companion in iniquity of Anthony Tidkins: it was he who brought me that false
message concerning my brother, which nearly cost me my life at Twig Folly!"
These words Richard spoke aloud; but they were
unintelligible to his two companions, who were unacquainted with the incident
They had no time to question him, nor had he leisure to
explain his meaning to them; for at that moment the boat shot alongside of the
"Markham!" cried the Buffer, in alarm, as he
recognised our hero who immediately sprang upon the deck.
"You know me?" said Richard: "and I have
ample reason to remember you. But my present business regards another;
and if you offer no resistance I will not harm you."
"Who do you want?" asked the Buffer, somewhat
reassured by these words.
"Your companion," replied Richard.
"What! my wife?" ejaculated the Buffer, with a
hoarse laugh. "Do you know this gen'leman, Moll?"
"Cease this jesting," cried Richard sternly;
"and remain where you are. Benstead, take care that he does not move from
the deck: Morcar, come you with me."
The Buffer cast looks of surprise and curiosity upon
Richard's companions, who, having made the boat fast to the lighter, had leapt
upon the deck.
"What! you, my fine feller!" cried Wicks,
addressing himself to Benstead. "I suppose, then, this is all a reg'lar
plant; and you're
"I am a police officer," answered Benstead
coolly. "But, as far as I know, we have no business with either you or your
wife since you say that this woman is your wife."
"Well so much the better,"
remarked the Buffer. "And I also suppose your negro is about as deaf and
dumb as I am!"
"About," replied Benstead, unable to suppress
a smile. "Keep quiet, and no harm will happen to you."
"But who is it that you do want!" asked the
"Your friend Tidkins better known as
the Resurrection Man."
"Then you won't find him here."
In the meantime, Richard and the gipsy had descended
into the after-cabin; and they now reappeared upon the deck, their search having
"He is not there," said Richard. "Let us
He and Morcar visited the cuddy; but the Resurrection
Man was evidently not in the lighter.
They returned to the after deck, and questioned, the
"I do n't know where Tidkins is," was the
reply of that individual, who did not dare reveal the truth relative to the
expedition to the plague ship, and its result; "and even if I did, it is
not likely that I should blab any thing that would get us both into a scrape,
since I see that the whole thing with you is a trap, and that man there,"
he added, pointing to Benstead, "is a policeman."
"Now, listen," exclaimed Richard. "It is
in my power to have you arrested this moment for being concerned in a plot
against my life you know how and when; but I pledge you my honour
that if you will satisfy me relative to Anthony Tidkins, we will depart, and
leave you unmolested. I scorn treachery, even among men of your description; and
I will not offer you a bribe. But I require to know how he came to separate from
you for I am convinced that he was with you a day or two
"Well, sir," said the Buffer, who had found
time, while Richard thus spoke, to collect his ideas and invent a tale, "Tidkins,
me, and some other pals went on a little excursion the night afore last you
do n't want me to get myself into a scrape by saying what the business was; but
we fell in with a Thames police boat some way down the river; and Tidkins had a
swim for it."
"Did he escape?" demanded Richard.
"Yes," answered the Buffer, boldly. "I
saw him get safe on land; and then of course he took to his heels."
"This looks like the truth, sir," said
Benstead aside to our hero. "These fellows have been baulked in some
scheme the river-police have got scent of 'em and
that's the reason why this man gets off so quick with his lighter."
"And as I do not wish to punish this man for the
injury he has done me," said Richard, glancing towards the Buffer, "as
I can afford to forgive him our expedition seems to have
arrived at its close."
"Without success, too, sir," added Morcar.[-93-]
"We shall now leave you," continued Richard,
turning towards the Buffer; "but rest well assured that, though we
forbear from molesting you, justice will some day overtake you in your evil and
"That's my look out," cried the Buffer,
brutally. Markham turned away in disgust, and descended to the boat, followed by
Morcar and Benstead.
"We will now proceed to the wharf where I hired the
Blossom," said Richard, when they had pushed off from the Fairy;
"and, my good friends, there I shall dispense with your further services.
The owner of the lighter can send his men to Rotherhithe to bring it up, and
thus save us a task which is somewhat beyond our skill."
"It is a great pity we have failed to capture the
miscreant," observed Morcar.
"But your reward has not been the less fairly and
honestly earned," replied Richard; "as I will prove to you when we
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LONDON [Vol. II]
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