- In which I begin my life of crime
How many days I was passed out I do not know. A fever had come over me and all I remember are brief flashes of conciousness. The first thing I remember is the room I lay in. Very bare it was save for a clothes-line with many pocket handkerchiefs hanging down. The most beautiful handkerchiefs I have seen. A table in the middle of the room held many pocketbooks, watches, pieces of cloth and silk purses. At the table sat a man and women. I recognized the man as the fellow who saved me from the rat catcher. He wore spectacles and examined a small watch carefully. “This should fetch a good price” he said. The woman counted out money from the pocketbooks. She appeared to be a taller woman, very hard in the face but with a gentle look in her eye. Finally she looked up from her work and glanced over at me. “He's awake” she said and then stood up and walked towards me. “Are you alright my dear”, she asked? I could barely speak and gently slipped back into my feverish sleep.
The next morning I awoke and the fever had been broken. I sat up in the small bed they had made for me in the corner. There was no one in the room. The handkerchiefs and goods from the table were gone. I paced through the small room as if I would disturb someone with any noise. Whoever these people were they had saved my life and I was grateful. But what was I to do now? Just at that moment the man burst through the door followed by a familiar little dog. It was Jack, the rat catchers dog. He ran up to me and jumped up on the my chest, trying to lick me in the face. The man looked at me and said “That mutt has not left your side for three days.” I stared at the dog in the face. I knew we would be friends. “His name is Jack” I said.
“Oh yeah? And what do they call you boy?”
“Booke, Jacob Booke, sir”
The man set out some food on the table from a sack that he carried in and told me to eat up. As I sat and ate he spoke. I learned that his name was J. Henderson. His lover was the woman and her name was Miss Garland and that I was to call her Miss Garland at all times. He said that I was free to go if I would like, but that if I wanted to begin an enterprising career, he would take me on as his apprentice. As I had no other family, or place to go I accepted his offer.
At that moment Miss Garland came into the room. She emptied her pockets, reached in her stockings and produced many silk handkerchiefs and lace. “Oh he's awake! And how are you my little man. You gave us quite a fright. We were not sure you'd last the night.” She grabbed my cheeks and commented that my complection was still poor and that I should eat up.
I learned then that I was to be a thief's apprentice. What would my mother think? She was dead. I would have to make my way with out her now. How I did miss her. These people seemed kind to me and so I was to set off on a life of crime.