1723 - Defoe, Daniel - History and Remarkable Life of Col. Jacque

From International Robin Hood Bibliography
Allusion
Date 1723
Author Defoe, Daniel
Title The History and Remarkable Life of the truly Honourable Col. Jacque, commonly call'd Col. Jack, who was Born a Gentleman, put 'Prentice to a Pick−Pocket, was Six and Twenty Years a Thief, and then Kidnapp'd to Virginia, Came back a Merchant; was Five times married to Four Whores; went into the Wars, behav'd bravely, got Preferment, was made Colonel of a Regiment, came over, and fled with the Chevalier, is still abroad compleating a Life of Wonders, and resolves to dye a General
Mentions Pinder of Wakefield's Fort (Clerkenwell)
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The probable site of the Pinder of Wakefield's Fort.
Portrait of Daniel Defoe, National Maritime Museum, London; unknown painter, in the style of Sir Godfrey Kneller. / Public Domain, via Wikipedia.

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2020-10-01. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2020-10-01.

Allusion

But to go back where I left off. Will came to me, as I have said, and telling me how much better business he was fallen into, would have me go along with him, and I should be a gentleman. Will, it seems, understood that word in a quite different manner from me; for his gentleman was nothing more or less than a gentleman thief, a villain of a higher degree than a pickpocket, and one that might do something more wicked, and better entitling him to the gallows, than could be done in our way. But my gentleman that I had my eye upon was another thing quite, though I could not really tell how to describe it either.

  However, the word took with me, and I went with him. We were neither of us old. Will was about twenty-four; and as for me, I was now about eighteen, and pretty tall of my age.

  The first time I went with him, he brought me into the company only of two more young fellows. We met at the lower part of Gray's Inn Lane, about an hour before sunset, and went out into the fields toward a place called Pindar of Wakefield, where are aundance of brick-kilns. Here it was agreed to spread from the field-path to the roadway, all the way towards Pancras Church, to observe any chance [p. 95:] game, as they called it, which they might shoot flying. Upon the path within the bank on the side of the road going towards Kentish Town, two of our gang, Will and one of the others, met a single gentleman walking apace towards the town. Being almost dark, Will cried, "Mark, ho !" which, it seems, was the word at which we were all to stand still at a distance, come in if he wanted help, and give a signal if anything appeared that was dangerous.

  Will steps up to the gentleman, stops him, and put the question; that is, "Sir, your money ?" The gentleman, seeing he was alone, struck at him with his cane; but Will, a nimble, strong fellow, flew in upon him, and with struggling got him down. Then he begged for his life, Will having told him with an oath that he would cut his throat. In that moment, while this was doing, comes a hackney-coach along the road, and the fourth man, who was that way, cries, "Mark, ho !" which was to intimate that it was a prize, not a surprise. And accordingly the next man went up to assist him, where they stopped the coach, which had a doctor of physic and a surgeon in it, who had been to visit some considerable patient, and, I suppose, had had considerable fees. For here they got two good purses, one with eleven or twelve guineas, the other six with some pocket-money, two watches, one diamond ring, and [p. 96:] the surgeon's plaster-box, which was most of it full of silver instruments.

  While they were at this work, Will kept the man down who was under him; and though he promised not to kill him, unless he offered to make a noise, yet he would not let him stir till he heard the noise of the coach going on again, by which he knew the job was over on that side. Then he carried him a little out of the way, tied his hands behind him, and bade him lie still and make no noise, and he would come back in half-an-hour and untie him, upon his word; but if he cried out, he would come back and kill him.

  The poor man promised to lie still and make no noise, and did so; and had not above 11s. 6d. in his pocket, which Will took, and came back to the rest; but while they were together, I, who was on the side of the Pindar of Wakefield, cried, "Mark, ho !" too.[1]

IRHB comments

According to a note in an edition of the novel published in 1965, 'Jack refers to the Pindar of Wakefield's Fort, near Gray's Inn Lane, a part of the fortifications built by Parliament to defend the City during the Civil War'.[2] For this fort, see Pinder of Wakefield's Fort (Clerkenwell). There was also a public house named the 'Pinder of Wakefield' in the vicinity. Although this was quite well-known – and its name probably inspired that of the fort – the mention of a 'place' with brick kilns strongly suggests that the then crumbling fortification was meant.

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