'Be alive, Mr Nadgett.'
'It contained the dress I had seen him wear,' said Nadgett; 'stained with clay, and spotted with blood. Information of the murder was received in town last night. The wearer of that dress is already known to have been seen near the place; to have been lurking in that neighbourhood; and to have alighted from a coach coming from that part of the country, at a time exactly tallying with the very minute when I saw him returning home. The warrant has been out, and these officers have been with me, some hours. We chose our time; and seeing you come in, and seeing this person at the window--'
'Beckoned to him,' said Mark, taking up the thread of the narrative, on hearing this allusion to himself, 'to open the door; which he did with a deal of pleasure.'
'That's all at present,' said Nadgett, putting up his great pocketbook, which from mere habit he had produced when he began his revelation, and had kept in his hand all the time; 'but there is plenty more to come. You asked me for the facts, so far I have related them, and need not detain these gentlemen any longer. Are you ready, Mr Slyme?'
'And something more,' replied that worthy, rising. 'If you walk round to the office, we shall be there as soon as you. Tom! Get a coach!'
The officer to whom he spoke departed for that purpose. Old Martin lingered for a few moments, as if he would have addressed some words to Jonas; but looking round, and seeing him still seated on the floor, rocking himself in a savage manner to and fro, took Chuffey's arm, and slowly followed Nadgett out. John Westlock and Mark Tapley accompanied them. Mrs Gamp had tottered out first, for the better display of her feelings, in a kind of walking swoon; for Mrs Gamp performed swoons of different sorts, upon a moderate notice, as Mr Mould did Funerals.
'Ha!' muttered Slyme, looking after them. 'Upon my soul! As insensible of being disgraced by having such a nephew as myself, in such a situation, as he was of my being an honour and a credit to the family! That's the return I get for having humbled my spirit-- such a spirit as mine--to earn a livelihood, is it?'
He got up from his chair, and kicked it away indignantly.
'And such a livelihood too! When there are hundreds of men, not fit to hold a candle to me, rolling in carriages and living on their fortunes. Upon my soul it's a nice world!'
His eyes encountered Jonas, who looked earnestly towards him, and moved his lips as if he were whispering.
'Eh?' said Slyme.
Jonas glanced at the attendant whose back was towards him, and made a clumsy motion with his bound hands towards the door.
'Humph!' said Slyme, thoughtfully. 'I couldn't hope to disgrace him into anything when you have shot so far ahead of me though. I forgot that.'
Jonas repeated the same look and gesture.
'Jack!' said Slyme.
'Hallo!' returned his man.
'Go down to the door, ready for the coach. Call out when it comes. I'd rather have you there. Now then,' he added, turning hastily to Jonas, when the man was gone. 'What's the matter?'
Jonas essayed to rise.
'Stop a bit,' said Slyme. 'It's not so easy when your wrists are tight together. Now then! Up! What is it?'
'Put your hand in my pocket. Here! The breast pocket, on the left!' said Jonas.
He did so; and drew out a purse.
'There's a hundred pound in it,' said Jonas, whose words were almost unintelligible; as his face, in its pallor and agony, was scarcely human.
Slyme looked at him; gave it into his hands; and shook his head.
'I can't. I daren't. I couldn't if I dared. Those fellows below--'
'Escape's impossible,' said Jonas. 'I know it. One hundred pound for only five minutes in the next room!'
'What to do?' he asked.
The face of his prisoner as he advanced to whisper in his ear, made him recoil involuntarily. But he stopped and listened to him. The words were few, but his own face changed as he heard them.
'I have it about me,' said Jonas, putting his hands to his throat, as though whatever he referred to were hidden in his neckerchief. 'How should you know of it? How could you know? A hundred pound for only five minutes in the next room! The time's passing.