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       Theophilus Grey and the Traitor's Mask, p.1

           Catherine Jinks
 
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Theophilus Grey and the Traitor's Mask


  OTHER NOVELS

  BY CATHERINE JINKS

  THE CITY OF ORPHANS SERIES

  A Very Unusual Pursuit

  A Very Peculiar Plague

  A Very Singular Guild

  Saving Thanehaven

  The Paradise Trap

  The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group

  The Reformed Vampire Support Group

  The Genius Wars

  Genius Squad

  Evil Genius

  Living Hell

  THE PAGAN CHRONICLES

  Pagan’s Crusade

  Pagan in Exile

  Pagan’s Vows

  Pagan’s Scribe

  Pagan’s Daughter

  First published by Allen & Unwin in 2016

  Copyright © Catherine Jinks 2016

  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher. The Australian Copyright Act 1968 (the Act) allows a maximum of one chapter or ten per cent of this book, whichever is the greater, to be photocopied by any educational institution for its educational purposes provided that the educational institution (or body that administers it) has given a remuneration notice to the Copyright Agency (Australia) under the Act.

  Allen & Unwin

  83 Alexander Street

  Crows Nest NSW 2065

  Australia

  Phone: (612) 8425 0100

  Email: [email protected]

  Web: www.allenandunwin.com

  A Cataloguing-in-Publication entry is available from the

  National Library of Australia

  www.trove.nla.gov.au

  ISBN 978 76011 361 2

  eISBN 9781952533648

  Teachers’ notes available from www.allenandunwin.com

  Cover and text design by Ruth Grüner

  Cover illustration and map by Kelvin Hucker

  Typeset by Ruth Grüner

  Colour reproduction by Splitting Image, Clayton, Victoria

  CONTENTS

  LONDON, ENGLAND 1750

  CHAPTER 1 OF A LINK BOY ASKED TO DEFEND HIS COUNTRY, AND WHY HE WAS OUT OF HIS DEPTH

  CHAPTER 2 HOW PHILO WAS PURSUED, AND WHAT CAME OF IT

  CHAPTER 3 A DIALOGUE BETWEEN PHILO AND MR BISHOP, CONCERNING THE JACOBITES

  CHAPTER 4 OF PHILO’S HOME, HIS CREW, AND HIS DOUBTS ABOUT A FORMER FRIEND

  CHAPTER 5 A VISIT TO PHILO’S OLD LODGINGS, FOLLOWED BY A TRIP TO ST-GILES-IN-THE-FIELDS

  CHAPTER 6 GIVING AN ACCOUNT OF A PROCESSION AND A LUCKY MEETING

  CHAPTER 7 WHAT MRS COWLEY HAD TO TEACH PHILO ABOUT THE ART OF DISGUISE

  CHAPTER 8 OF AN ENCOUNTER WITH A FRIEND AND A PROPOSAL MADE TO AN ENEMY

  CHAPTER 9 THE UNEXPECTED ARRIVAL OF ANOTHER INFORMANT AT PHILO’S LODGINGS

  CHAPTER 10 AN INSTANCE OF MRS COWLEY’S CUNNING AND PHILO’S QUICK WIT

  CHAPTER 11 WHAT PHILO’S FRIEND THE SURGEON HAD TO SAY ABOUT SPYING

  CHAPTER 12 IN WHICH PHILO MET WITH SEVERAL UNKNOWN RUFFIANS

  CHAPTER 13 AN ACCOUNT OF THE CONFLAGRATION THAT TOOK PLACE IN COVENT GARDEN MARKET

  CHAPTER 14 WHY PHILO FOUND HIMSELF BEFORE A MAGISTRATE

  CHAPTER 15 HOW PHILO PAID A CALL ON THE EARL OF WESTMORELAND

  CHAPTER 16 GIVING AN ACCOUNT OF PHILO’S ADVENTURES IN HANOVER SQUARE

  CHAPTER 17 HOW PHILO MADE A DECISION REGARDING HIS FUTURE

  CHAPTER 18 CONCERNING THE MANY RESPONSIBILITIES WITH WHICH PHILO WAS BURDENED

  CHAPTER 19 WHY PHILO ENDED UP IN BOW STREET MAGISTRATE’S COURT

  CHAPTER 20 OF PHILO’S ESCAPE FROM GARNET HOOKE, WHICH WAS ENGINEERED BY A FRIEND

  CHAPTER 21 A MUTUAL AGREEMENT, A STROKE OF GOOD FORTUNE, AND A PIECE OF ILL LUCK

  CHAPTER 22 THE BLOODY CONSEQUENCE OF A DREADFUL QUARREL

  CHAPTER 23 IN WHICH PHILO’S GREAT SENSE OF LOYALTY WAS BOTH ABUSED AND LAMENTED

  CHAPTER 24 HOW PHILO CAME TO BE IN BRIDEWELL PRISON, AND WHAT HE DID THERE

  CHAPTER 25 IN WHICH PHILO SET OFF ON AN ADVENTURE, AFTER CONSULTING WITH HIS FRIENDS

  CHAPTER 26 SHOWING HOW PHILO BECAME A GUEST OF THE KING

  CHAPTER 27 OF PHILO’S ADVENTURES IN ST JAMES’S PALACE

  CHAPTER 28 HOW PHILO REVENGED HIMSELF ON MR GIBERNE

  CHAPTER 29 WHAT PASSED BETWEEN PHILO AND THE MAN WHO BETRAYED HIM

  CHAPTER 30 A SURPRISING INSTANCE OF HOW LIFE GOES ON

  CHAPTER 31 BEING THE LAST, IN WHICH PHILO EMBARKED UPON A NEW ADVENTURE

  GLOSSARY

  ‘All imposture weakens confidence

  and chills benevolence.’

  SAMUEL JOHNSON

  DRAMATIS PERSONAE

  THEOPHILUS GREY —An honest linkboy,

  known about London as ‘Philo’.

  GARNET HOOKE —A lawyer’s clerk, very cunning,

  whom Philo once served.

  NATHANIEL PAXTON —A surgeon-apothecary,

  kindly and humorous.

  CAROLINE COWLEY—An actress and spy, very

  witty and comely.

  MR BISHOP—An agent of the Duke of Newcastle.

  PHILO’S CREW

  FRANCIS ‘FLEABITE’ LEADBITTER—The youngest

  linkboy, with the fiercest temper.

  DANIEL ‘DANDY’ DODDS—A linkboy much

  admired for his angelic features.

  WILLIAM ‘LIPPY’ WHITTLE—A linkboy

  distinguished by his sturdy frame and hare-lip.

  KIT MALTMAN—A reformed thief turned linkboy.

  FORMER MEMBERS OF PHILO’S CREW

  ‘FETTLER’ BEN THOROUGHGOOD—Servant to

  Garnet Hooke.

  VALENTINE BRODY—An Irish linkboy often

  employed to guide sedan chairs.

  PHILO’S FRIENDS

  SUSANNAH QUAIL—A young pedlar of rosemary

  and information.

  ANNE JENKINS—An older pedlar of pamphlets,

  loud and brash.

  BARNABAS HOLT—A Bridewell boy, often seen

  manning the hospital fire-engine.

  RIVERSIDE LINKBOYS

  WAT WILEY—The unfriendly leader of the crew.

  JOHN ‘CRAB JACK’ DAVIS—A dwarf.

  FRED SCATTERGOOD—A gypsy.

  CALVIN CARVER—Wat’s creature.

  JACOBITES

  ALEXANDER MURRAY—Fourth son of the fourth

  Earl of Elibank, and a notorious traitor.

  PATRICK MURRAY, FIFTH EARL OF

  ELIBANK—A well-known literary and legal figure.

  GEORGE VANDEPUT, SECOND BARONET —

  A political personage much derided by those

  opposing the Tories in Parliament.

  JOHN FANE, SEVENTH EARL OF

  WESTMORELAND—A Tory former member

  of Parliament.

  ROBERT GORDON—A ‘Nonjuror’ Bishop who

  refused to take an oath of allegiance to King George

  and his family.

  SAMUEL JOHNS—A Jacobite lawyer.

  ANNE DRELINCOURT, LADY PRIMROSE—Widow

  of Hugh, Third Viscount Primrose and a great friend

  of Bonnie Prince Charles.

  SUNDRY FOLK

  MR HENRY FIELDING—The Bow Street magistrate.

  SIMON EDY—An addled beggar.

  RICHARD NORRIS—A bricklayer employed by the

  Duke of Bedford to keep order.

  THOMAS PELHAM-HOLLES, FIRST DUKE OF

  NEWCASTLE—Secretary of State and brother of the

  Prime Minister, Henry Pelham.

  OF A LINK BOY<
br />
  ASKED TO DEFEND HIS

  COUNTRY, AND WHY HE WAS

  OUT OF HIS DEPTH

  Philo stood beside the church of St Clement Danes, staring at the broad, bustling, built-up street known as the Strand.

  Though it was nine o’clock in the evening, the sun had only just set. Across the way, an oil-lamp was being lit over the door of the Crown and Anchor tavern. Coach-lamps were starting to flare on the carriages lined up at a nearby hackney stand. Philo could see candles glowing in the houses opposite, which were tall and stately, with flat stone façades.

  All over the city, pinpricks of light were multiplying like stars against the gathering darkness.

  Philo had already lit his own torch. It was made of elmwood, wrapped in tow and dipped in pitch. The leaping flames illumined his broad-brimmed hat, his mop of dark curls and his long, pale, solemn face. It was so warm that he hadn’t bothered to put on his coat. Instead he wore a yellow stuff waistcoat over a white holland shirt. Philo was proud of his new waistcoat. It had five buttons (two brass, three bone) and was lined, not with canvas, but with silk. Though the silk was patched and faded, it had once been a rich gold colour, with a red stripe through it.

  Unfortunately, the waistcoat didn’t fit him as well as it should have. He was too thin for his height, which was well above average for a twelve-year-old, so the lowest button barely reached his navel. Still, he thought that he looked respectable in a waistcoat. He’d always hated running around on hot days with his shirt tails flapping like the sails on a ship. He liked to be neatly dressed: that was why he kept his stockings darned, his hat brushed and his shoes polished. It was better for business.

  Not that business had been very brisk. Summer was a hard season for linkboys like Philo. The short nights and clear skies meant that fewer people needed a boy with a flaming torch to guide them through London’s dark, winding alleys. Philo’s weekly takings always dropped as the weather warmed up. He and his crew of fellow linkboys had to find other kinds of work in the early evening. They would deliver parcels, mind horses, drive pigs, or hand ladies into carriages.

  They would also collect information.

  Philo was particularly good at that. He could walk down any street in his neighbourhood and name three-quarters of its inhabitants. He kept a close eye on what people were wearing, what they were pawning, and what they were doing to feed themselves. He knew who was sick and who was in love and who was indebted to whom.

  It was his job to know, because such intelligence was valuable. A good many constables and churchwardens were interested in the activities of local thieves, drunkards and paupers. Some of Philo’s regular clients didn’t want a safe trip home; they wanted information. And these were the clients who paid Philo’s rent during the lean weeks of summer.

  But was it worth the risk? Hovering by the church, scanning the scene before him, Philo began to have doubts. St Clement Danes stood at the very edge of his territory. Beyond it lay unexplored streets and unfamiliar faces. Philo always felt uncomfortable when he had to cross the Strand, or venture further east than Temple Bar. He only did it when a client asked him to.

  And now, once again, a client had asked him to.

  ‘Hi! Linkboy!’

  Someone was hailing him from the door of the Crown and Anchor. Philo recognised this man, a butcher from Clare Market who usually drank at the Bull’s Head. Philo wondered what he was doing so far from home.

  ‘I want to go to George’s Coffee House,’ the butcher announced thickly. He was swaying a little. When he pulled a handful of coins from his pocket, they flew in all directions. Cursing, he stooped to pick them up.

  That was when Philo made his escape.

  Normally he would have been happy to escort the butcher, but he’d already been engaged to watch a house in Essex Street. So he turned and plunged behind the nearest hackney carriage, using it to shield himself from the butcher’s gaze. Then he scurried eastward, darting from one coach to the next. There were five altogether, lined up along the south side of the church. When Philo reached the last of them, he found himself close to Essex Street, which ran all the way from the Strand to the river.

  Philo waited until a coal-wagon had passed before crossing the road. On reaching Essex Street, he made for a tavern known as the Essex Head – not because he was looking for custom, but because the Essex Head stood near Lady Primrose’s house. ‘Lady Primrose is an incorrigible Jacobite,’ Mr Bishop had told him. ‘She has spent years raising money for the Young Pretender’s cause. Last summer she sheltered him when he was secretly in London. Everything she does is of great interest to His Majesty’s government – and therefore of great interest to me.’

  The Young Pretender was Charles Edward Stuart, who had laid claim to the English throne. Six years earlier, his uprising had been crushed. Now, according to Mr Bishop, he was plotting with his agents to overthrow King George II. Mr Bishop knew this because he worked for the Secretary of State. ‘It is imperative that I am informed about every meeting that takes place between these traitors,’ he’d insisted. ‘There are certain people you must watch for, Theophilus. You must take note of their habits and movements. If necessary, you must abandon your other work in pursuit of this task. The safety of the realm depends upon it.’

  Philo had known Mr Bishop for just over half a year. During that time, Mr Bishop had paid him at least thirty shillings from something called the ‘Secret Service Fund’. It was Mr Bishop who had bankrolled Philo’s move to a nice little garret in Cockpit Court, and who had paid for his new waistcoat. Mr Bishop was fast becoming Philo’s main source of income, thanks to his insatiable need for intelligence.

  But Mr Bishop was a demanding client. This was the third night in a row that Philo had been forced to stand outside the Essex Head, watching Lady Primrose’s house. It was a risky job. Though Philo had to look as if he were waiting for customers, he also had to avoid being hired by anyone except a Jacobite. That wasn’t easy; it meant ducking down a side street whenever anyone emerged from the tavern. Even worse, Philo sensed that he was intruding. The local linkboys were always glaring at him. And though Philo didn’t know them, he felt sure that they wouldn’t approve of a stranger doing business in their territory.

  Not that Philo was actually doing business. He didn’t want to be dragged away from the doorstep of the Essex Head. He was simply trying not to look suspicious. Link-boys were such a common sight outside the city’s taverns that the Essex Head had proved to be a perfect surveillance post. It was a quiet little alehouse, nicely positioned on a corner, with the kind of clean, modern lines that attracted a superior class of patron. Skulking near the taproom, Philo felt less exposed than he would have felt in an alley, or on a doorstep. But it was still like having a target painted on his back.

  He’d already decided that when he next spoke to Mr Bishop, he would suggest hiring someone else to watch Lady Primrose – someone more familiar with the riverside alleys of St Clement’s parish. Philo could name only half a dozen people who lived in the neighbourhood. He had never been to Cane’s Wharf, or Wood Wharf. He always felt lost if he ventured too far south.

  A better-informed agent would be much more useful.

  Letting his gaze wander, Philo pulled his hat down low over his pale-blue eyes, trying not to attract attention. Luckily, there weren’t many people about. Essex Street was a respectable thoroughfare lined with handsome houses. Lady Primrose’s wasn’t the finest of them by any means, though to Philo it looked like a palace. Standing halfway between the Strand and the water gate, it was a gracious, four-storeyed building with a stone portico, three chimneys, and eleven sash windows all fitted with internal shutters.

  From the Essex Head, Philo had a clear view of these windows. Most were gleaming in the dusk, throwing squares of light across the freestone paving in front of them. But he couldn’t see any dark figures moving about inside.

  Suddenly, Lady Primrose’s front door opened. Two men emerged and stood for a moment, silhouetted agai
nst the light. One man was short and wiry. The other was tall and stooped. Both wore dark coats, cocked hats, and white neckcloths. The shorter man was carrying a bundle of papers. His movements were brisk and restless; his nose was as sharp as a dagger. Philo knew him well. He was Samuel Johns, a solicitor who lodged at Lyons Inn.

  Philo also recognised the tall man, but only from Mr Bishop’s description. Robert Gordon was a clergyman who ministered to many of London’s Jacobites. Slow and heavy, with a haggard face crowned by a full-bottomed wig, the Reverend Mr Gordon was a long way from home. According to Mr Bishop, he lived miles away, in St George’s parish.

  He’ll be wanting a coach, Philo thought.

  ‘Here’s light, your honours!’ he exclaimed. ‘Here’s light for a ha’penny!’ He dashed across the street, waving his torch, as the two men peered at him.

  ‘Ah,’ said Mr Johns. Then he turned to the clergyman. ‘May I light you to the nearest coach stand on my way home? I see no other linkboys about.’

  ‘By all means,’ the Reverend Mr Gordon replied. ‘I am ill-acquainted with this quarter.’

  ‘Take me to Lyons Inn,’ Mr Johns said to Philo, ‘by way of St Clement’s church.’

  ‘Aye, your honour.’ Philo touched his hat-brim, then began to guide his two customers back towards the Strand. But when they reached the first side street, Mr Johns halted abruptly.

  ‘We’ll go this way,’ Mr Johns decreed, pointing to his left. ‘’Tis the quicker route.’

  Philo hesitated. Little Essex Street was barely more than an alley – and a dark one at that. But he wasn’t about to argue with the man paying his fee. ‘Aye, your honour,’ he mumbled, swerving into a narrow passage that was pinched between two lofty townhouses.

  He was busily taking note of everything he’d heard so far, though he couldn’t help being distracted by the strangeness of the route ahead. He didn’t know what to expect around the next corner, because Little Essex Street was a mystery to him. His gaze skipped nervously from wall to wall, alert for any alcoves or doorways that might conceal an armed footpad. His ears were pricked for the sound of approaching footsteps.

  ‘Speaking of coaches,’ Mr Johns continued, addressing the clergyman, ‘will you be attending Mr M. tomorrow? You would be welcome in Lord C.’s carriage, I’m sure.’

 
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