+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

"cases." Mine was the second case called. I
followed Mr. Keggs up an extremely narrow
staircase; and, waiting at the top of it for a
minute or two, saw that a trap-door was
raised over my head, through which I was
to be wound up, like a stage ghost, and
quite as pale. I made my first appearance
as a prisoner in the dock, and stood before
the robes and chains of City magistrates.
My mouth was dry, and I felt faint. I
scarcely heard the case. I saw, as through a
mist, a witness at the witness's rail. I heard
persons on my right and left speaking loudly,
as it seemed, against me; and a quiet, resolute
voice, which seemed to speak on my behalf.
In my confusion I could not tell to what end
the proceedings tended, until I caught the
words from the Bench: "Well, if all parties
are agreed, I see no reason for not granting
it. Let the case be remanded until this day

Then my thoughts dwelt upon the prospect
of immediate deliverance. There was more
talking, and whispering, and consulting on
my right hand. Every man engaged in it
was irksome to me, for prolonging my detention
as the mark for a vague crowd of staring
eyes. The voice from the bench was again
audible to me: "Oh, decidedly not. I cannot
think of accepting bail. Bail is out of the

Before I had attached a meaning to the
words the trap was raised, and I was being
hurried down the narrow staircase. In a
minute or two I was again locked up in the
den with my old companions, who received
me with a simultaneous pull of long,
commiserative faces, meant to be comical.

"You can have a cab if you like"—of
course, out of my own funds—"instead of
going with the rest," said Mr. Keggs.

"But where am I to go to?" I asked in
bewilderment. "Where is Mr. Bartle, my

"Mr. Bartle will be down to speak to you

"And then?"

"Why, then you must go to Newgate."

I was taken to Newgate in a cab. In the
entrance-hall of that dark building I was
officially delivered over to the warden; who, with
a  cheery comfortable face, suggested thoughts
rather of warden pie than gruel.

"Prisoner on remand," said Mr. Keggs,
handing to him the committal from the

Having asked me a few questions formally,
to satisfy himself that I was the person specified
in the document, and having inquired
whether I had anything in my pockets, he
shouted once or twice to some one who was
slow to come out of the innermost recesses
of the place. His voice echoed among the
labyrinth of passages, beating itself against
the thick stone walls, until another voice
came echoing an answer to it. In a short
time a man appeared behind the massive iron
gate, and threw it open with a heavy sound,
terrible to one who had not been scared before
by anything more wretched than an unoiled
bedroom hinge. "Here's one for the remand
ward," said the warden. "Very well," said
the man, who was in no good temper, "come
this way." I shook hands with the officer,
and felt, when he departed, as if I had
lost a valued friend. He would meet me,
he said, at the Mansion-house, punctually on
the appointed day; talking of it as genially
as if it were a dinner appointment. Then,
as administrator of my funds, he gave to
the warden sixpence wherewith to buy for
me postage stamps, and left me to make
myself at home in Newgate.

Strong and stony as the prison seems to
passers by, it looks much stonier and stronger
to the men who enter it. The multiplicity
of heavy walls, of iron gates and doorways;
of huge locks, of bolts, spikes and bars of
every imaginable shape and size, make of the
place a very nightmare dungeon. I followed
the gruff under- warden, through some dark
and chilly vaulted passages, now turning to
the right, now to the left. We crossed a
large hall, in the centre of which is a glass
room for the use of prisoners when they are
giving instructions to their lawyers. When
it is so used, a prison officer walks round and
round it, seeing all that may take place
within, but hearing nothing. In another
passage was a small recess, in which three or
four under-wardens in their regulation
uniform were dining. One vacant seat, with a
half emptied plate before it, let me know
why my guide was not in a good humour.
Had I arrived ten minutes later, he would
have been, I do not doubt, in an excellent
humour. Still following, I was led into
another large recess or chamber, on one side
of which was a huge boiler with a furnace
glowing under it, and on another side a large
stone bath. On the third wall there were a
couple of round towels on a roller, with a
wooden bench beneath them. "Stop," cried
the warden, "take your clothes off." I
hesitated. "Take off your clothes, do you hear?"
My clothes were soon laid on the bench, and
a hot bath filled, and I went in. The officer
had then his opportunity of taking up my
garments one by one, searching their pockets
and their linings, feeling them about and
holding them against the light. My boots
appeared to be especially suspicious. After
he had put his hands into them, he thumped
them violently on the stone floor; but there
rolled nothing out. Having bathed, I was led
down another passage, at the end of which
were two gratings of iron bars, closely woven
over with wire-work, distant about two feet
from each other. Unlocking both he pushed
me through, and started me up two or three
steps into a square court-yard, where there
was a man walking to and fro very violently.
After shouting "One in!" he locked the two
gratings, and retreated rapidly in the direction