presented bgf the
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-_-*: HOIE AND .- FOREIGN :'---
Mis.2ionat and Circuit Assoc.atio.,
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PHILIP O'HARA'S ENCOUNTER WITH MAJOR OSBORNE.
W.& R. CHAMBERS,
LONDON AND EDINBURGH,
PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES... .......................... 3
A BOY'S FIRST FIGHT.............................................109
THE CHRISTM AS TREE.......................... ............... 131
THE LITTLE SHEPHERD.......................................137
PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES.
WAS born in the year 184-, in the old castle
of Edinburgh. At the date of my birth, my
father was attached as staff-surgeon to the
troops in garrison, and the first ten years of my life were
pleasantly passed within the gray fortress of Scotland's
romantic capital. My father was descended from an
ancient but impoverished Irish family, the O'Haras of
Kildare, who, previous to the rebellion of '98, had held
considerable estates in that county. The then head of
the sept or clan was an ardent supporter of the national
cause, and though convinced of the hopelessness of the
struggle, he nevertheless chivalrously threw in his lot
with the patriots; and in the last stand made by them
for Irish independence, his followers were scattered, his
estates first ravaged and then confiscated, and he himself
forced with his family to seek an asylum in France.
Here he shortly afterwards died of a broken heart. His
son, who had shared his exile, entered the French army,
4 PHILIP O'HABA'S ADrENTURES.
and served with distinction through all the wars of the
After the final overthrow of the latter, the unfortunate
but high-souled Irishman was proscribed by the restored
Bourbon, and had to fly to England, a country which of
all others he had most reason to fear and detest. He
was accompanied in his flight by his wife-a young
Parisian lady, whose father, while dying on the bloody
field of Austerlitz, had bequeathed her, as a sacred trust,
to his friend and companion in arms.
They had but one child, a son, whom they tenderly
loved. At the age of sixteen he was sent to Paris to
study medical jurisprudence, but the seductive attrac-
tions of that gay city proved too powerful for his moral
principles; he fell into dissolute habits, neglected his
studies, and finally became a noted drunkard and gambler.
During his residence abroad, both his parents died-
broken-hearted at the miserable failure of all their
cherished plans, the destruction of all their fondest hopes.
For a time, the loss of his parents seemed to act
as a check upon his downward career, and during the
brief period of amendment that followed, he became
acquainted with and married a young English gover-
ness, to whom I will presently introduce the reader as
During the troublous period of Irish history which
preceded the Smith O'Brien fiasco, my father had in
vain appealed to the British government to restore to
him such part of his ancestral lands as were then held
by the crown. His appeal found no favour at the Court
of St James, but, through the influence of an Irish
nobleman then in office, an appointment in the army
medical staff was offered, and this appointment his
necessities forced him to accept.
PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES. 5
In personal appearance, my father was tall and well
formed, with handsome and rather expressive features.
His full, gray eyes had a certain dreaminess in their
look, as if his thoughts habitually dwelt more in the
past than in the present. It would have been difficult
to have guessed his age, for he might have passed either
for a well-preserved specimen of sixty, or for one whom
old age had prematurely overtaken at six-and-thirty.
Altogether, his appearance was that of a man who might
have risen to greatness, had he possessed the one grand
essential-self-mastery. He was not what the world
would have called a bad husband-that is, he was
never actually cruel to my mother, except in the in-
difference which he evinced for her society, and the
misery which his intemperate habits inflicted upon her
refined and sensitive nature.
It would be impossible to imagine two beings more
dissimilar in character than were my father and mother.
He fond of pleasure, and preferring the companionship
of a few dissipated roisterers like himself to the refined
society of his wife. She-performing her wifely duties
from a lofty sense of their sacred character, hiding away,
in the depths of her anguished heart, the broken but
still precious fragments of the idol she had worshipped-
made her home the temple where her soul's best earthly
affections were enshrined.
She had three children-two sons and a daughter.
My sister Ellen was two years my senior, and was the
sunshine of our home. All. our affections gravitated
towards her as to a common centre, and were radiated
back to us again with tenfold intensity. There was
enough of heaven about her to make us fear that earth
was too rough a spot for so delicate a flower; and that
she would wither ere she reached maturity. My brother
6 PHILIP O'BARA'S ADVENTURES.
Ned, a fine manly fellow, was eight years older than
myself. He was destined for the army, and at an early
age entered a military academy. I therefore saw but
little of him, but that little was enough to impress my
boyish mind with a feeling which fell very little short of
absolute veneration. All the virtues which had once
distinguished our race seemed combined in him. Strong,
brave, truthful, he gave promise even in his boyhood of
those brilliant qualities which in after-years he displayed
on many a battle-field-qualities which earned for
him the 'Cross of Valour,' and in the end a soldier's
I had reached my thirteenth year before any event
worthy of mention occurred to disturb the atmosphere of
peace in which I had hitherto lived. Up to that point,
existence had flowed on in a quiet current of unin-
terrupted happiness. My father had left the service, and
had acquired a lucrative country practice near Edinburgh.
A great change had taken place in his habits and dis-
position. He was no longer a slave to the debasing
passion which had been his bane through life. And in
proportion as he resisted and overcame this, his master-
weakness, the peace and happiness of his home increased.
He had been about three years settled in his new practice,
when a very tempting offer was made him by govern-
ment to proceed to India, where a splendid appointment
was held open for his acceptance. The post was one
which insured both wealth and honour, and he at once
closed with the offer. My mother insisted upon accom-
panying him, and as my sister was considered too
delicate to undertake a long sea voyage, or to endure
the debilitating effects of a tropical climate, it was
decided that she and I should remain in Scotland, she to
regain her health, I to finish my studies.
PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES. 7
My brother Edward was, through the influence of the
Irish nobleman already referred to, appointed at the
same time to a lieutenancy in a native regiment, and was
now at home ready to accompany his parents to India.
I had seen but little of Ned during the six years he
had been at his studies, and now never tired of his
society. He was a splendid young fellow, handsome,
frank, and generous, with a figure that might have
served as a model for manly strength and beauty. His
face was almost feminine in its softness of repose, and in
the winning tenderness of its expression. But the lofty
brow, and the proud curves of the perfectly formed
resolute mouth, showed the dauntless soul that looked
out at you through those clear gray eyes.
My parents had no difficulty in providing a home for
my sister and myself. We were residing at this time in
a charming little villa in the lovely and romantic valley
of the Esk, and had many sincere friends, some of whom
kindly offered to receive us into their homes, and to
superintend our education. My mother finally decided
upon intrusting us to the guardianship of one of her
most valued friends, a retired clergyman, who resided at
a charming little villa in the neighbourhood, called
Eskvale Cottage. My parents having been allowed little
time in which to prepare for their departure, our arrange-
ments required expedition.
In a few days, house and furniture had been disposed
of by private bargain, and the proceeds invested for the
benefit of my sister and myself; and at length the
dreaded hour of separation arrived. The incidents of
that fatal parting shall never be effaced from my memory.
I can recall the scene as vividly as though it had occurred
but yesterday. The curtainless windows, with the cruel
sunlight streaming into the half-empty rooms. Packages
8 PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENT'UBES.
marked with the sinister word 'Calcutta' crowding the
hall; and at the door, the carriage that was to bear
us away, perhaps for ever, from those cherished beings
with whom were associated all our ideas of love and
happiness. It was deemed advisable that my sister and
I should leave the house with our new guardian, Mr
Stanhope, before the departure of the others. We were
standing in the hall ready to speak our last farewell, Mr
Stanhope's little phaeton waiting for us at the gate. My
father embraced us both tenderly. I had never before seen
him display so much emotion. Edward then bade us
farewell, and hurried away to give directions about the
packing of the luggage. Not, however, until I felt my-
self pressed to my mother's loving heart, did I fully
realise what the bitterness of parting meant. Her hot
tears were falling on my upturned face, while her frame
fairly shook under the powerful influence of her emotion.
During these few brief moments I made my first acquaint-
ance with human sorrow.
Mr Stanhope and my father gently drew us from her
embrace, then, pressing one last impassioned kiss upon
our lips, she sank on a chair, overcome by the thought
that perhaps she was parting with us for ever. A minute
more, and we were seated in the carriage, and bowling
along the white, dusty highway that led to Eskvale
Cottage. After a rapid drive of about half an hour we
arrived at the gate of the pretty garden that surrounded
the mansion. At the door of the latter we found the
hostess and her pretty daughter Edith waiting to receive
us. We were old friends, and Mrs Stanhope and her
daughter gave us both a cordial welcome. After giving
the servant orders respecting our luggage, Mr Stanhope
requested me to accompany him to his study, while the
ladies adjourned together to some mysterious apartment,
PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES. 9
sacred, I suppose, to the fair occupants of the house.
Arrived in the study, Mr Stanhope handed me a chair,
and seated himself by my side.
'Now Philip, my dear boy,' he said, 'you are to
consider this house your home. My wife and myself
will do our utmost to fulfil the duties of parents to you
and to your sister, until it shall please heaven to restore
your own. You will find in my daughter an affectionate
and indulgent sister, and one whom you will do well to
consult in matters upon which you might not care,
perhaps, to ask my advice. The counsels of a trusted
companion are often of more value than those of an
austere preceptor. The sorrow you will naturally feel,
for some time, at the absence of your parents will find
its best antidote in work. You must labour, in order to
strengthen your body, as well as to invigorate and enrich
the mind. To accomplish the first object, I shall require
you to rise early every morning, and either to work for
an hour or two in the garden before breakfast, or take a
pull with me for the same length of time on the river.
In like manner, I shall require you to devote a certain
portion of the day to your studies, which I shall myself
Do you quite comprehend 7 he asked when he had
finished the enumeration of all he wished done.
'I believe I do, sir,' I replied, abstractedly, though in
point of fact I had attended to scarcely a word of his
discourse; my thoughts were too busy with those from
whom I had just parted.
Very well, then,' he said rising, 'we will now join the
ladies in the dining-room; a little luncheon will do you
no harm.' And he led the way to the apartment named,
where I found my sister in company with Mrs Stanhope
and her daughter.
10 PHILIP O'HAA'S ADVENTURES.
Young people's sorrows are fortunately of a transient
nature, and the cheerful society of the two ladies soon
drew us away from a contemplation of our own griefs.
MR STANHOPE, my guardian, was a little over sixty years
of age, and had been for many years a missionary in
Southern Africa; but, owing to a complaint contracted
from the climate, he had returned to his native land.
Rather late in life he married a lady of ample means, the
issue of the marriage being 'one fair daughter and no
more.' He was a man of refined tastes and cultivated
mind, an accomplished scholar and profound thinker. In
person, he was tall and dignified. His perfectly chiselled
features were lit up by an expression of simplicity and
benevolence, while the wealth of silvery hair that gleamed
above his placid brow, gave him, in my young inexperi-
enced eyes, almost a saint-like appearance. His wife was
an excellent woman, who thoroughly understood and
appreciated her husband. She performed her household
duties in a most practical and efficient manner, her
mission being, she conceived, to minister to the material
wellbeing of her household.
Edith Stanhope, their daughter, was at this period in
her nineteenth year, a perfect embodiment of maiden
grace and beauty-a sweet sylph-like creature, with
golden hair, and eyes so deeply blue that they seemed
to have stolen their light from the ethereal hue of heaven.
Her features were delicately formed and slightly aquiline;
and there was a tender, confiding look too in her large
soft eye, that told of the guileless soul within. Edith
Stanhope knew absolutely nothing of the world in which
PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES. 11
she lived. She had never even been to a school, her
education having been entirely drawn from home sources;
and save for the occasional visits which, in company
with her parents, she had paid to us, or when these
visits were returned-sometimes by our whole family, but
more frequently by my mother and sister only-the
beautiful recluse knew no companionship save that of
For the first year every mail brought us news from
India. At first bright and hopeful, my mother's letters
soon changed, and the descriptions which she gave us of
the state of the country, and of the growing insolence of
the native soldiery, filled us with feelings of apprehension
and anxiety for the safety of our father and brother.
Events soon proved that my mother's fears and our own
were not unfounded. Symptoms of discontent had been
for some time apparent on the part of the Mohammedan
and Hindu population of India. Already a few pre-
monitory symptoms of insubordination among the sepoys
had startled the military authorities ; but it was not until
they heard the ominous muttering of the thunder, herald-
ing the coming storm, that either they or the civil govern-
ment awoke from their dream of security.
Soon the newspapers told us the whole sickening story
-told us of women and children ruthlessly slaughtered; of
husbands murdered in cold blood before the eyes of their
distracted wives ; of infants butchered in their mother's
arms-until, at last, the tale of disaster ended, and the
story of retribution followed as a sequel. We read how
the avenging armies of Britain swept over the land, crush-
ing and beating down every show of opposition. Often,
too, we read of the gallant deeds of our own hero brother,
and of the devotion displayed by our father in attending
to the wounded on the field of battle.
12 PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES.
&M Stanhope always looked over the morning papers
in his own room, before coming down-stairs to breakfast.
One morning I was surprised to hear his bell ring violently,
shortly after the servant had handed him in a copy of
I was in the hall arranging some flowers for Edith's
little conservatory, and heard the girl who answered the
bell, told to send her mistress immediately. Mrs
Stanhope soon responded to the summons, and for some
time was closeted with her husband in his dressing-room.
When she reappeared, followed by her husband, I
noticed that she was weeping. As she came down-stairs,
she tried to hide her emotion; but in- passing me, she
gazed pityingly into my face, burst into tears, and hurried
into the breakfast room. Surprised at this sudden exhibi-
tion of grief, I was about to follow her in order to inquire
the cause, when Mr Stanhope's voice arrested me.
Philip,' he said, approaching me, and laying his hand
gently on my shoulder, put aside those plants, my poor
boy, and-you needn't mind those Latin exercises I
spoke of last night; there will be no study for you
to-day !' And, much to my astonishment, he embraced
me, and I saw his eyes fill with tears.
Surprised, I was on the point of asking my tutor what
had occurred to distress him, when the door of my sister's
bedroom opened, and she and Edith came down-stairs
to breakfast. The girls were laughing, as only happy,
innocent girls can laugh ; but their merriment seemed to
jar upon my tutor's feelings, for, hastily pushing into the
pocket of his dressing-gown the folded newspaper which
he held in his hand, he strode into the breakfast-room
and took his place at the table. The girls and I followed.
Their quick perceptions at once told them that something
PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES. 13
Mr and Mrs Stanhope quietly greeted both the girls with
their customary morning salutation, then subsided into a
state' of thoughtful silence. Once or twice, Edith vainly
tried to provoke conversation; then, finding her efforts
ineffectual, and being afraid of displeasing her father by
asking for information which he appeared disposed to
withhold, after swallowing a few mouthfuls of tea, pushed
aside her cup and asked for the morning paper.
Papa does not wish the papers read this morning,'
said Mrs Stanhope unconsciously glancing in the direction
of Ellen, who sat opposite.
'Why, mamma inquired Edith, while I noticed a
frightened look steal into Ellen's eyes.
'Because, darling,' replied her father, 'newspapers are
not always to be relied on as sources of correct informa-
tion. They sometimes contain statements that require to
'And is that so to-day I inquired, beginning to feel
It is, Philip, I am sorry to say,' replied my tutor.
I noticed my sister's face grow deadly pale. Suddenly
she clutched at the table for support, and I had just time
to spring to her side when, with a stifled wail of Father !
Edward !' she fell back, unconscious, into my arms.
Mrs Stanhope immediately ran for restoratives, while I
laid my sister on a couch near an open window, and
chafed her bloodless hands.
As soon as Mrs Stanhope re-entered the room, her
husband requested me to follow him to his study, assuring
me that the patient would receive every attention during
our absence from his wife and daughter. Mechanically
I obeyed, and as we crossed the silent hall from the break-
fast-room, the sound of our footsteps seemed to awaken a
hundred slumbering echoes that each moaned the words
14 PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES.
'Father! Edward !' How the dreadful intelligence was
broken to me, and how I was affected by it, the reader
might not be interested to learn, so I forbear filling in
any of the painful details.
When I again entered the breakfast-room, I found my
sister conscious, and when I drew her fair head upon my
breast, it was to whisper to her, in quivering accents,
what her heart had already only too surely presaged-that
we were orphans and brotherless. My sister bore the
news better than I expected; at least she gave but few
outward signs of sorrow. She asked, however, to be
assisted to her room, murmuring as she went: Oh poor
mamma poor mamma !'
After helping Ellen to the door of her sitting-room, I
descended again to the study. It was untenanted, Mr
Stanhope having gone out into the garden. Upon the
table lay a copy of the Times. I took it up, and the first
line that encountered my eye was a heading in large type
which announced a splendid victory gained by our troops
over the rebel sepoys. I read down the column hurriedly
till I came to a paragraph which ran as follows : 'We
regret to state, however, that this splendid achievement
cost us the loss of many brave lives. A most affecting
incident occurred early in the day, when fortune seemed
as if she were about to desert our arms. Surgeon-major
O'Hara being wounded almost at the beginning of the
attack, his son, Captain Edward O'Hara-one of the
most promising young officers in the army-bore him to
what he considered a place of safety. Here, however,
the wounded man and his defender were attacked by a
party of sowars, and both killed. Captain O'Hara was
found stretched across his father's body, his broken sword
still remained grasped in his hand, while a heap of dead
rebels lying in front of him, showed with what fierce
PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES. 15
valour he had fought, and how terribly he had avenged
his own and his father's death.'
I laid down the paper, and, sinking into a chair, buried
my face in my hands, and paid my tribute of tears to the
memory of my unfortunate father and gallant brother.
In the course of the next six months we twice received
letters from our widowed mother, whose intention was to
remain in India some time longer. She could not, she
wrote, tear herself away from a land where lay the ashes
of those she had so fondly loved.
We had now been three years at Eskvale, and during
that time my health had greatly improved. I was now in
my sixteenth year, a strong, healthy, well-developed lad.
I could ride well, row well, and on more than one
occasion I had to prove to the boys of the neighbour-
ing village that I could also fight well. My progress in
learning was less satisfactory. I knew but little of Latin,
and nothing of Greek, though I evinced considerable
aptitude for mathematics and modern languages. I
spent most of my time in reading books of travel and
adventure, or such works on military science as I could
procure. By this time too, I considered myself old
enough to fall in love, and as (except my sister) Edith
Stanhope was the only young lady I knew intimately,
with Edith I consequently fell in love. True, I never
ventured to declare my passion, the object of it being
five years my senior; but my looks were eloquent of the
admiration which her beauty inspired. On her part,
Edith had always evinced for my society a marked
preference; I was always the companion of her walks,
my sister being usually too unwell to go farther than the
garden grounds. Sometimes, I fancied Edith observed
the love which I tried so hard to conceal, and that,
at times, her tenderness towards me was just slightly
16 PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES.
in excess of what a sisterly affection might have
I was then a tall, well-developed lad of sixteen, just
awakening to all the passionate impulses of manhood.
Edith was scarcely twenty-one; brought up in entire
seclusion, and possessing less knowledge of herself and
of the world in which she lived than many girls, much
younger, but much more experienced. It is impossible,
therefore, to say how our increasing intimacy might have
terminated, had not events at this time, as often happens
in life, disposed of the difficulty for us.
It was towards the end of June, when the woods were
musical with the songs of birds, that Edith and I were
out on a sketching expedition, and were seated on a
grassy knoll above the river. Behind us rose a little
ridge of bare crags crowning the summit of the knoll, in
the shadow of which Edith had seated herself, while
I had stretched myself with my sketch-book on the grass
some distance from her. I had just put the finishing
touches to a piece of foliage which I had been painting,
when I was startled by an exclamation of alarm from
Edith. Looking up, I was surprised to see a remarkably
handsome man standing on the narrow pathway that led
up the crags referred to, surveying us, or I should rather
say surveying Edith, with a look of intense admiration.
He was attired in a light tourist's suit, and wore a broad-
brimmed hat, round which a blue gossamer turban was
somewhat picturesquely wound. He appeared to be
about four or five and twenty, of medium height, and
slender but elegant shape. His face was singularly
handsome, and almost as dark as that of a mulatto, but
lit up by a pair of fine eyes that seemed to be ever vary-
ing in their expression. Altogether there was something
dangerously fascinating in the stranger's appearance,
PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES. 19
On perceiving Edith's alarm, he at once came forward
and, removing his hat, gracefully apologised for his unin-
tentional intrusion. 'I trust, madam,' he said, with a
courteous bow, 'that you will pardon me, if my abrupt
appearance has caused you any alarm.' He spoke in
a low voice, the full rich tones of which seemed to hold
the ear spellbound.
Edith blushed and stammered out an assurance that
she felt no uneasiness. The stranger intimated that,
being fond of seclusion, he had selected this path, believ-
ing it to be less frequented than any other. Edith, to
whom he had addressed himself throughout, managed to
make him understand that we had selected the spot for
Then our tastes evidently agree,' he said, with a smile
that showed his fine teeth. It is pleasant, while travel-
ling in a strange land, to find, thus accidentally, some one
having tastes similar to one's own.
'Then you are not a native of this country?' I ventured
'Oh, no,' he said, 'my home is in the direction of the
setting sun yonder. It lies under brighter skies and
amid fairer scenes than even those you are painting.' As
he spoke, there came a tender, far-away look into his
dark eyes; but it soon died out, and in its place came an
angry gleam, as if some unpleasant memories had been
stirred. Now and again I saw Edith steal a timid glance
at the stranger while he was speaking, and then blush
crimson when she became conscious that I had observed
As for myself, I was not by any means favourably
impressed with the intruder; I had an artist's love for
everything that was beautiful, it is true, and I admired
his fine person and graceful manners; but the quick
20 PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES.
instinct that moves within our souls, made me feel that
he was a man to be feared and avoided. I intuitively
came to the conclusion that his beauty and grace of
manner were allied with danger, like the gleam on the
dagger's blade. I could see too, with a feeling very
nearly akin to jealousy, that Edith was evidently inter-
ested in the handsome foreigner; and I was glad when
I saw her put away her sketching materials, and heard
her remark that it was time to go home.
The stranger was profuse in his regrets at not being
allowed the pleasure of seeing the completion of her
charming picture, and begged to be allowed the favour of
accompanying us as far in the direction in which we were
going as would lead him to the main road.
The favour was of course granted, and on the way our
new acquaintance proved himself a most agreeable and
entertaining companion; so that by the time we arrived
at the little gate opening on the public road, much of
Edith's natural shyness and timidity had vanished, and
even I had formed a more favourable opinion of his
On parting, he informed us that his name was Henry
Osborne, and that his father was a wealthy planter in one
of the southern states of America. He was on his travels,
and intended to remain in the district until he had
exhausted all its beauties. As he took Edith's hand at
parting in his, I could not help seeing the flush deepen
on her beautiful face, as the fascinating stranger took his
leave with a whispered Au revoir.'
On our arrival home, we found that Mr Stanhope had
resolved that my sister, who had been ailing for some
time, should have the benefit of a change of air, and it
was arranged that she should remove to the home of a
friend of his own, who lived in a pretty town on the Fife
PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES.
coast. I was to accompany her, and it was necessary
that we should start the following morning, in order to
meet the gentleman and his wife in Edinburgh.
I noticed that night that Edith was not so attentive at
prayers as she was wont to be, and that next morning at
breakfast she appeared preoccupied and unusually silent.
I shall feel so lonely without you, dear,' she said to
Ellen who sat beside her. 'I wish I could go with you.'
So you might have done,' interposed her father; only
I find that business connected with your mother's pro-
perty necessitates my going to London for a few weeks,
and your presence is necessary at home. When I return,
however, we shall spend a fortnight with our young
friends at the coast.'
Oh that will be delightful, papa,' exclaimed Edith.
'And while you are all away, I shall work hard at my
By this time the carriage that had been ordered to
convey us to Edinburgh arrived, and I left the breakfast-
room to see to our luggage. Mr Stanhope was to accom-
pany us as far as Edinburgh, and we were soon in our
places ready to drive off. Edith had come with us to the
foot of the avenue, and as the vehicle stopped while the
gate was being opened, she again shook hands with Ellen
and myself. As I stooped over the side of the carriage,
I lightly touched her forehead with my lips, and whis-
pered : 'You will not forget me in my absence, Edith,
will you ?'
'I shall never forget you, dear Phil,' she blushingly
murmured; then kissing her hand as the carriage drove
away, I heard her 'God bless you' borne to us by the
summer breeze, and in five minutes more I had lost sight
of dear, happy Eskvale.
About a fortnight after our arrival at the coast, Ellen
22 PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES.
received a letter. It was from Edith, and part of it ran
as follows :
'I beg you to accept a thousand apologies for this
remissness, which I'm sure you will pardon when you
learn the cause. Only the day after papa's departure for
London, I narrowly escaped losing my life. I was
crossing the river in the punt, and not being so skilful in
handling it as- dear Philip, the current drifted me into a
dangerous part of the stream, where it capsized. I must
inevitably have been drowned, but for the gallantry of a
gentleman who witnessed the accident, and who at once
plunged into the river and rescued me. Philip will be
glad to learn that my brave deliverer was none other than
our half-hour-old acquaintance, Captain Osborne. Pray
excuse this hasty scrawl; in my next I will put you au
courant of everything taking place at Eskvale.-Yours
with love, EDITH.'
But poor Edith's 'next' never came, and a week from
the receipt of her letter, while looking over the daily
papers in the town reading-room, I was startled by a
paragraph under the name of our village, headed,
'Romantic Elopement,' and read as follows:
This quiet village was thrown into a state of great
excitement yesterday, when it was found that a young
lady, the daughter of a retired gentleman living near the
village, had eloped with a foreign gentleman, who a short
time ago had saved her life, a service which she appears
to have repaid by falling madly in love with her pre-
server. The police have been communicated with, but no
trace of the missing pair has, as yet, been discovered.'
Almost overcome by a rush of conflicting emotions, I
left the room and hurried home, with the copy of the
paper still in my hand.
PHILIP O'HABA'S ADVENTURES.
ON my arrival at our lodgings, I fund the news had pre-
ceded me. My sister was weeping, and as soon as I
entered her room, handed me two letters. One was from
Mrs Stanhope, describing briefly what had occurred; at
the same time informing me that if I wished to see my
kind, old tutor again in life, I must lose no time in
returning to Eskvale. Mr Stanhope had arrived only
last night, and on learning the particulars of his
daughter's flight, had been stricken with paralysis and
was fast dying.
I determined to set off for Eskvale at once, and after
ascertaining when the next train started, I proceeded to
acquaint myself with the contents of the second letter,
which I saw from the Indian postmarks was from my
mother. It too contained information of a somewhat
startling character-information which inspired the hope
that at last I was about to enter upon a career of enter-
prise and adventure, such as my imagination had often
pictured. After expressing the most tender solicitude for
our wellbeing, my mother assured us that time had in no
degree weakened the ties which bound her to a land
with whose soil the ashes of her dead loved ones mingled.
She had found consolation in labouring as a missionary
among the native women, and had been appointed,
through the influence of the Governor-general, to super-
intend the education of a native Christian prince, the
Maharajah of Jelpore. It was her wish, she said, that
Ellen and myself should come out to India, where our
future settlement in life would be secured through the
Rajah's influence. She furthermore informed me that
arrangements had been made to enable us to come out by
N PHILIP rOBARA'S ADtPENfVTRES.
the next store-ship, and that we should be met in Edin-
burgh by a friend who was returning to India, and who
would act as our guardian on the voyage.
Little was said either by Ellen or myself on the subject
of Edith's flight; the theme was too painful to dwell
upon; and by the time my mother's letter had been read
and discussed, it was time for me to hurry off to catch
On my arrival at Eskvale Cottage, Mrs Stanhope
embraced me and burst into tears; then taking me by the
hand, she led me, without a word having been spoken on
either side, into what was soon to be the chamber of
death. The stricken old man had sunk into that state of
unconsciousness which generally precedes dissolution; he
was therefore unaware of my presence. I loved the
good, kindly old man, and seeing him thus afflicted, 1
flung myself on my knees by his bedside, and bathed with
my tears the cold hand already damp with the clammy
moisture of death. His broken-hearted wife also knelt
by his side, and for some minutes nothing was heard but
our sobbings, and the heavy, irregular breathing of the
dying man. Gradually the latter grew softer, and
occurred at longer intervals, till at last they ceased alto-
gether, and we knew that the gentle soul had taken its
flight. Then I rose, closed with reverent hand the sight-
less eyes, and led the desolate widow and forsaken mother
from the pitiful scene.
I had to return the same night, but before leaving
Eskvale Cottage, I again sought the chamber of death,
this time alone; and there, over the. dead body of the
dishonoured father-my benefactor-revengeful feelings
rose up in my mind against him who had been the
instrument of this calamity.
Passing over the events of the next two months, at the
PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES. 25
end of that time, I and my sister were on board the good
ship Circassia bound for Calcutta We were going out
under the care of a crusty, but really kind-hearted old
major named Kirkpatrick. He had entered the army as
a private soldier nearly thirty years before, and had worked
his way into the position which he then held by good
conduct and gallantry. The early part of the voyage was
unmarked by any events beyond what are common to
journeys by sea; alas it was not to be so always.
Ellen and I were seated one day, after we had rounded
the Cape, on a coil of rope near the mizzen-mast, she
busy crocheting, while I read to her. As we sat thus,
we noticed that the appearance of the atmosphere had
undergone a striking change. Instead of the beautiful
transparency which had characterized it only a few hours
before, it had now assumed a peculiar coppery tinge,
through which the meridian sun glared down like a ball
of fire. The wind, too, had suddenly dropped, and a
calm, so intense as to be positively painful, had settled
down on the face of the unruffled ocean. Unruffled it
was, but not motionless; for a long, heavy swell came
rolling up from the south, and the limp sails flapped
against the creaking masts with an impatient, complaining
sound. Once, I noticed the ship's lieutenant consulting
the barometer which hung near the binnacle, and then
carefully sweeping the horizon with his telescope. He
appeared anxious and uneasy in his manner, and, after
taking a few turns on the quarter-deck, he entered the
captain's cabin, pausing an instant at the door in order
to cast a look upward to the weather-vane at the mast-
In a few minutes he returned, followed by the captain,
who, throwing a quick glance, first aloft, and then around
the horizon, hurried aft, and carefully examined the
26 PHILIP O'HARA'S AD'rENTfRES.
barometer. Judging from the effect which it seemed to
produce on him, the information afforded by the instru-
ment was not of a pleasant nature. Shouting for the
boatswain, he ordered him to clear the deck of passengers,
and then to pipe all hands to take in sail. The boatswain
at once proceeded to execute the captain's orders. The
passengers were requested to retire below, and then the
shrill pipe summoned every man to his post.
In obedience to the first order, I had accompanied my
sister and the other passengers who were on deck into the
saloon, but feeling anxious about what was going on, I
resolved to disregard the captain's wishes on that point,
and, begging Ellen not to feel alarmed in my absence I
again ascended on deck.
While going up the cabin stair, I heard the captain
speaking to the lieutenant. Lay her under bare poles,
Mr St Clair,' he said, 'and send down all your upper
spars ; when the squall strikes her, keep your helm well
to starboard till she rights again, and then let her run
before the wind.' And just as I arrived on deck, he
disappeared within his cabin.
Lieutenant St Clair now assumed command, and under
his orders, every sail was soon securely furled, and every
yard and spar that could be dispensed with, sent down
and firmly lashed together amidships.
Some of the passengers now ventured to follow my
example, and came on deck as soon as the work of taking
in sail was over. Major Kirkpatrick was among them.
He had an anxious look, and said he thought I had
better go below.
'Why, Major I inquired, 'is there anything serious
going to happen 1'
'I fear there is,' he replied; I have been long in these
latitudes, and have witnessed these phenomena before.
PHILIP O'HABA'S ADVENTURES. 27
We are going to have a cyclone from the south-the
worst quarter from which it could come. May heaven be
merciful to us !'
'Will it be long before it reaches us I inquired.
'It will be on us in less than a quarter of an hour,' he
answered. See yonder it comes !'
I looked in the direction to which he pointed, and
noticed that the whole southern horizon was becoming of
a strange livid hue; at the same moment I observed a
dense mass of black vapour rising, as it were, out of the
sea, and come rushing towards us with fearful rapidity.
I had scarcely time to note these peculiar appearances,
when the ship heeled over as if struck by some invisible
force, and for the space of a minute or more she lay
almost on her beam ends, her lower yard-arms dipping
into the hissing foam which now covered the entire ocean.
As the ship heeled over, the major caught me by the
arm, and then laid hold of the mizzen rail; but for this
I should in all probability have been dashed overboard.
Two quartermasters were now lashed to the wheel, and
as the ship righted she was put before the wind, and
away she dashed, under bare poles, in whatever direction
the hurricane chose to drive her. The sea, meanwhile,
was as flat as a tennis lawn, only covered with a seething
layer of white foam that was caught up by the yelling
winds, and driven in broad, blinding flakes over the decks
and high up among the topmast shrouds. In a short
time it had grown almost pitch dark, save for the phos-
phorescent foam of the sea, or the lurid gleam upon the
edges of the black, piled-up clouds that came rolling up
with terrible speed from the south.
Soon the overcharged clouds began to pour out their
pent-up wrath. From every quarter of the compass fell
the forked lightning, while crash upon crash of awful
28 PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES.
thunder seemed as if about to split up the very framework
of creation. The thunder fairly burst over us in a succes-
sion of terrific peals, and, mingling with its roar, came
the crash of falling spars and the shrieks of wounded men.
It seemed as if the mighty timbers of the ship were being
torn and wrenched asunder.
For a while, the fury of the storm seemed to be spent
in that last tremendous outburst; and when our eyes had
recovered from the blinding effects of the lightning, they
rested upon a woful scene of death and destruction.
The electric fluid had struck the mainmast and riven it
into a hundred pieces, the splinters killing and maiming
about twenty of the crew. Rigging, blocks, and tackle,
together with fragments of the mast and yards, were
piled up amidships in a state of almost inextricable
confusion; while mixed up with or buried beneath the
debris were the bodies of such as had been killed or
wounded in the catastrophe.
With great difficulty the latter were got out and taken
below, the dead being at once committed to the deep, the
ceremony of a burial service having to be dispensed with.
I cannot picture all the horrors of that fearful day, and
of the still more fearful night that followed ; and when
the leaden eye of another dawn opened, it looked upon a
scene of wild commotion. A sky from whose ashen face
every other tint had died away, scowled down upon a
wind-vexed waste of heaving waters, upon whose pitiless
breast laboured our crippled bark, the frail home of so
many human beings.
For three days and nights the storm raged on with
unabated fury. We were still running under bare poles,
but whither we could only guess, for there was neither
sun nor star visible by which to take an observation.
The captain expressing himself as of opinion that we
PHILIP O'HABA'S ADVENTURES. 29
must be nearing the entrance to the Mozambique Channel,
a sharp look-out was kept for breakers, the channel
being dangerous by reason of the coral reefs with which
At last, shortly before daybreak, came the terrible cry
of 'Breakers ahead!' and every one rushed wildly on
deck. I was about to carry my sister likewise on deck,
when she clasped me to her breast, and said in a tone of
perfect calmness : Philip, dear brother, promise me one
thing before we leave this spot. That, if you see only
one chance of escaping yourself, you will not fling it
away in any useless effort to save my life. Better that
one should live to console poor mamma, than that both
should perish. You are more useful than I, a poor
weak girl, and mamma will need your presence and
protection. Promise then, that if the worst comes to the
worst, you will leave me to heaven, and for mamma's
sake, dear Philip, attend to the safety of your own life.
Promise me this !'
I replied that we were both in the hands of heaven,
and that, if it willed, we should live or die together.
Then seizing her slender form in my arms, I bore her
half-fainting on deck. Arrived here, we could discern
in the dim light the awful danger in which we were.
Stretching right across our bows ran a long line of
white breakers, while towering threateningly through the
gloom we could discern the shadowy outlines of a range
of mountains in the distance. As the ship dashed on, we
could perceive a break in the line of foam, evidently a
channel of deep water piercing the reef, and leading,
doubtless, into some inner basin or lagoon. The sight of
this clear space inspired us with fresh hope, and making
his way forward, the captain ordered some of the men to
cast loose and hoist the storm stay-sail. This was soon
30 PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES.
done, and the ship's head began gradually to fall away
to larboard, till we found ourselves running in an oblique
direction, close to the outer edge of the reef. Soon we
were directly abreast of the opening, the stay-sail sheet
was eased, the helm put to starboard till her head pointed
straight for the channel, and away bounded the ship
like a stately courser, urged forward by the full pressure
of the storm. It was a moment of fearful suspense not
a word was spoken, every breath was hushed, or used
but to murmur a fervent prayer. Meanwhile I had made
my way forward to the ship's booms, where the launch,
the only boat left, was still fastened by its lashings.
These latter I had cut away, intending to secure myself
and my sister to one of the spare spars. I had just
succeeded in knotting the four pieces of rope together
when, with a noise like the bursting of a thunder-cloud,
the storm stay-sail was carried by the force of the wind
clean out of its bolt-ropes. In a moment the doomed
ship fell broadside to the blast, then lifted on the crest of
a mighty wave, was hurled with a fearful crash upon the
fatal reef. For a while she hung there transfixed by
the points of the jagged rocks that had crushed into her
bottom, her stout planks still holding together. But it
seemed as if the elements had resolved on a grand final
effort, for I had just time to fling my right arm round
my sister's waist, and to clutch with my left hand a ring-
bolt in the gunwale of the launch, when a tremendous
avalanche of waves thundered over the devoted ship, and
a fearful shriek rose from her parting decks.
PHILIP OHA RA'S ADVENTURES.
As the ship went to pieces, I felt myself whirled across
the reef by the wave that had overwhelmed her. I had
managed to retain my hold upon the boat, which strange
to say, appeared to have sustained but little damage, and
was floating in comparatively smooth water, for as I
found afterwards, we had been shot right across the reef,
and were now in the quiet waters of a lagoon, outside of
which the sea was still raving and tossing its maddened
waters. My sister had been dragged from me, and in
the darkness of the night it was impossible to tell the
fate of any.
Weak, confused, and trembling, I was only able, with
some difficulty, to scramble over the gunwale into the
boat. It was full of empty water-barrels, which were
securely jammed together between the seats and the
bottom. These it was that had kept her afloat, despite
the fact that she must have filled when the ship went to
pieces and she was driven over the barrier.
Not a soul seemed to have been left alive but myself.
All were gone! And my dear sister! had she too perished?
My agony was intense Was she I had so lately clasped
to my breast to be seen by me no more ? Broken with
grief and anxiety, and thoroughly worn out, I sat for a
time like a creature forlorn of sense, and it was only
when I became conscious that the boat was nearly full
of water, that I was aroused from my stupor, and began
to take measures for lightening it. I felt about for a
vessel of some kind to bale out the water, and fortunately
got one suited to the purpose. While I was thus en-
gaged, I perceived looming through the now lessening
gloom, and at no great distance from me, a long, black
34 PHILIP O'HABA'S ADVENTURES.
object which I at first supposed to be a rock. Judge of
my surprise, when on closer inspection I discovered that
my boat was only about a hundred yards distant from a
Her upper masts were struck, and she appeared to be
riding at anchor. I came, therefore, to the conclusion
that she was some vessel which had entered the lagoon in
order to escape the cyclone. The current was gradually
drifting me in her direction, and as well as my weak
state allowed me, I hailed her with all the voice I could
muster. I waited some seconds, then finding I got no
reply, I concluded every one on board was asleep, or that
my voice was too weak to be heard. I therefore deter-
mined to board the vessel, and for this purpose proceeded
to pull out one of the thwarts which was already loose.
This I used as a paddle, and by its assistance soon
managed to reach the vessel. A rope ladder hung over
her side, and after securing my boat to her main-chains,
I mounted by its aid to the gangway. The vessel rose
and fell with a nodding, sleepy motion. Her deck was
deserted, and a faint, sickening odour seemed to rise
from it, which produced in me-but why, I knew not-a
strange, undefined feeling of mingled apprehension and
disgust. I shouted to see if I could attract the attention
of any one on board, but all was silent as the grave.
Determined to penetrate the mystery-for mystery I
began to feel sure there was in connection with this
silent solitary ship-I jumped from the gangway on
deck. As I did so, my foot slipped, and I fell; my hands,
which I flung forward to save myself, coming into
contact with something on the deck which was wet and
sticky. What was my horror, on looking at them, to
discover that they were covered with blood.
For a moment I stood transfixed to the spot, my own
PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES. 35
blood curdling at the sickening sight. The increasing
light now enabled me to see things more clearly, and I
soon discovered sufficient facts to warrant me in coming
to the conclusion that the deck of this mysterious ship
had lately been the scene of some terrible tragedy. The
bulwarks were splashed with blood ; so likewise were the
coils of rope around the mainmast; while every hollow in
the deck had become a miniature reservoir into which
had trickled a ghastly stream of now clotted gore. A
sanguinary struggle had evidently taken place amidships,
for lying scattered about were several flattened bullets,
and the blood lay there in such quantities as to give
that part of the vessel the appearance of a shambles.
I saw no bodies, however ; but this did not surprise me,
as I concluded they might have been thrown to the
sharks by the perpetrators of the crime. But who were
the perpetrators, and what had become of them? Had
they deserted the ship after disposing of the bodies of
their victims ? This latter possibility caused me to resist
my first impulse of flying at once from the ship. It
occurred to me that perhaps she had been attacked by
the natives, who, after having murdered the crew, had
then plundered and abandoned her. If so, for me to
seek safety on shore would simply be to court my own
destruction. On the other hand, should the robbers
return to the ship, as was not improbable, and find me
here, I should certainly share the same fate as the unfor-
tunate crew. The ship, however, promised more safety
than the shore, for the savages, after the murder of their
victims, would scarcely expect to find any one alive on
their return. These considerations determined me upon
making a survey of the vessel, in order to discover, if
possible, a fitting place of concealment. The only part of
a ship with which I had any acquaintance was the cabin
36 PHILIP O'HABA'S ADVENTURES.
and quarter-deck; so I resolved to examine them first.
I knew that if the ship had been plundered, the cabin
would have received a more complete overhauling than
any other part of the ship; so, to satisfy my doubts on
this point, I proceeded towards the cabin first.
It was now comparatively daylight, the transition from
light to darkness, and vice versd, being very rapid in these
southern climes. The cabin was reached by a companion-
hatchway; and scarcely had my foot touched the first
step than I suddenly became aware that the ship was
not, as I had supposed, entirely untenanted.
I listened attentively, and the sound which had at first
attracted my ear, soon resolved itself into a prolonged
snore, a snore that told too of the most profound slumber.
I also fancied I heard, in the intervals of this stertorous
breathing, an occasional low moaning as of some one in
It was evident, then, that there were at least two
persons below, for sounds so dissimilar could not proceed
from one and the same individual at the same time.
Peering cautiously down the opening, I could perceive
the reflection of a light, and saw, further, that by ventur-
ing down a few steps more I could obtain a view of the
interior of the cabin without being seen myself. Noise-
lessly as a cat, I crept to the bottom, where I found
myself separated from the cabin or 'state-room' by a
short narrow passage with a sleeping berth on either
side; and shrouded by its friendly darkness, I could here
command a complete view of the cabin.
From the roof swung an ordinary ship's lamp, the
light of which was reflected from the glasses and decanters
upon a large square table placed in the centre of the
apartment. Through the round skylight, the cold, gray
light of early dawn came to mingle with the sickly glare
PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES. 37
of the cabin lamp, imparting a ghastly appearance to the
objects which they rendered only dimly visible. At one
end of the table sat, or rather reclined, a tall, powerful-
looking man, dressed in a costume resembling that of a
Spanish contrabandist. His body was bent forward
across the table, his head resting upon his folded arms,
while beside him stood a half-emptied bottle of brandy
and a box of cigars. Indeed, the whole cabin presented
the appearance of having been the scene of a recent
carouse in which a number of individuals must have
taken part, as more than a dozen bottles, glasses, and
decanters were scattered about upon the table. The man
seated at the table, and whose loud snoring I had heard,
was fast asleep. I could not see his face owing to the
posture in which he sat; but the tawny colour of his
huge hands, and the bushy black hair that swelled out
from beneath the red bandana handkerchief which he wore
twisted round his head in the form of a turban, declared
him to be the child of a sunnier clime than our own.
Judging from the rest of his costume, he was evidently no
savage, for he wore a red and white striped cotton shirt
and loose dangaree pants. I noticed with tremor, also,
a huge bowie-knife and revolver lying before him on the
table, and within easy reach of his hand.
In another part of the cabin, whence the low moaning
sound already referred to proceeded, my eye encountered
an object of more engrossing interest. Bound hand and
foot, and fastened to a ringbolt in the cabin floor by a
chain round his waist, lay a tall, thin, but muscularly-
built man, apparently of about forty. There was an ugly
wound upon his forehead, and an expression of extreme
pain on his handsome, swarthy face; and no wonder, for
in addition to his wounded head, the poor fellow must
have suffered intense agony from the posture in which he
38 PBILIP O'hARA'S ADVENTTfRES.
lay, his hands being securely fastened under his knees,
which were thus drawn up so as almost to touch his chin.
In spite of this, however, I observed that he was
making desperate efforts to get his hands free; each
attempt, however, only adding to his discomfort, and
forcing from his lips a deeper groan.
It required no great exercise of mind to enable me, at
once, to understand the true position of affairs, and what
relationship these two men occupied one to the other.
There sat the guard who had drunk himself insensible-
satisfied that he had taken .every precaution to insure the
safe custody of his prisoner, and convinced that there was
no possibility of his getting away. There, on the other
hand, lay the captive, bound and bleeding, yet eager to
escape, clutching at hope as a drowning man will clutch
at a straw.
For a moment, I stood irresolute as to what course I
ought to pursue, whether to return to my boat and for-
sake this blood-stained ship and its mysterious occupants;
or to boldly confront the present danger, and attempt the
deliverance of the unfortunate captive. I quickly decided
upon adopting the latter course, the plan which I instinc-
tively shaped out in my own mind being to slip into the
cabin, possess myself of the sleeper's weapons, and
before he had time to awaken, cut the prisoner's bonds,
and afterwards act as circumstances or he might
Gently, therefore, I stole from my place of concealment,
pausing an instant at the cabin door in order to attract
the prisoner's attention. His face was turned to where
I was, and as soon as he saw me emerge from the gloom
of the narrow passage, he was about to utter an excla-
mation of surprise, when, laying my finger upon my
lip, I motioned him to remain silent. Then cautiously
PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES. 39
approaching the sleeper, I speedily secured his revolver,
and the murderous-looking bowie-knife, which, as I
observed with a shudder, bore encrusted blood-stains
upon its polished blade. With the latter, I soon severed
the stout cords which had almost eaten into the flesh
on the prisoner's limbs.
This done, I was about to unfasten the chain, when
the man, who had hitherto regarded me with a look of
mingled fear and wonder, said to me in a whisper: It's
no use, stranger; the chain is secured with a padlock, you
see, and that skunk thar has the key in his pocket.'
I assisted him to his feet, and after a few seconds,
during which he leant against the bulkhead to steady
himself, for he was weak from loss of blood, and stiff from
the painful posture in which for hours he had lain bound,
he said : We must lose no time in settling that miscreant
thar. Lend me the revolver, boy.'
'You won't kill him, will you?' I inquired, rather
frightened at the prospect of being compelled to witness
the deliberate killing of a fellow-creature.
'Why shouldn't I do so ? If we don't look sharp, he '11
deprive us of that pleasure by killing us. Give me the
pistol, boy; and when I've gauged the thickness of that
fellow's head, I'11 ask you who you are, and how you got
on board my ship.'
I was about to hand him the weapon when another
thought seemed to strike him, and he whispered : 'No,
that won't do either; his mates are ashore, perhaps are
even now close at hand. The noise of the pistol would
attract their attention, and they would swarm down on
us before we had time to prepare for their reception.
There are two more prisoners on board besides myself; if
we could settle this gentleman and free them, we'd be a
match for the scoundrels, and win back the ship. Do
40 PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES.
you give him a clip over the head with the butt-end and
stun him; that will make no noise. You can then get
the key and unfasten this cussed chain. For heaven's
sake, don't hesitate He won't think twice about cutting
your throat as well as mine should he awaken and find
you here. Look; he is beginning to stir !'
And so he was; the effects of the drink had com-
menced to die away, and his huge fingers began working
convulsively as though they were trying to clutch an
I saw that no time was to be lost; so, first handing
the prisoner the bowie-knife, I slipped behind the sleeper's
chair, and brought the heavy butt of the revolver down
upon his head with all the force I could command.
This could not have been much, after all I had gone
through, or the mulatto's skull must have been of excep-
tional thickness, for the blow had no other effect than to
cause him to spring to his feet and grasp the back of the
chair to steady himself.
For a moment he appeared dazed and bewildered,
then his eye instinctively sought his weapons, and their
absence at once recalled his scattered senses. He glared
an instant in the direction of his prisoner, and seeing the
latter standing erect, though still apparently secured by
the chain, the truth suddenly flashed upon him. Utter-
ing a fearful imprecation in Spanish, he sprang upon the
American, and almost in the same instant I beheld him
fling up both his arms, utter a piercing shriek, and fall
backward with a tremendous thud, that'made the cabin
shake, and caused every glass and bottle on the table to
rattle with the vibration of the shock.
As the reader already knows, the American was in
possession of the bowie-knife; and when the infuriated
and half-drunken mulatto, in ignorance of the fact,
PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES. 41
hurled himself upon his prisoner, the latter had plunged
the knife into his assailant's breast. Then turning to me,
' Now that he's quiet, stranger,' he said, 'you'll find the
key in one of his pockets.'
IT was some seconds before I could bring myself to touch
the still bleeding body, but at last I made the effort, and
the key was found.
The prisoner, who informed me that he was captain of
the vessel, was soon set at liberty, and in a few hasty
words he explained to me, that while at sea, he had
picked up the crew of a Spanish vessel that had foundered
during a storm. They turned out to be slavers, and three
days ago had mutinied and murdered the crew, with the
exception of the captain, mate, and carpenter. Them
they had preserved, not from considerations of humanity,
but that the captain and mate should assist in navigating
the vessel (their own leader having been killed in the
fight), and that the carpenter should repair whatever
damage the ship had sustained by the storm. The lagoon
into which they had carried the ship was a place most
difficult of access, and known only to the slavers fre-
quenting the coast. A market for the sale of captured
negroes existed at a native village about ten miles into
the interior; and there had the mutineers gone the evening
previous, to secure a cargo of slaves, leaving the ship and
their prisoners-whom they intended likewise to murder
when they had served their purpose-in charge of the
strongest and most ferocious of their number, a mulatto
42 PHILIP O'HBA 'S ADVENTURES.
With these explanations the captain set about making
some provision for their safety against the return of the
slavers. First, he took down the lamp, which was still
burning although it was now clear daylight, .and pro-
ceeded to lift a trap-door in the floor of the cabin.
Through this he descended into that part of the after-
hold known as the lazaretto, where his companions were
confined. While he was engaged in liberating them, I
took the opportunity of refreshing myself with a few of
the good things which the cabin contained. I partook of
a small quantity of the dead mutineers' brandy, and
swallowed a few mouthfuls of biscuit and cold meat
which I discovered in an open locker. The captain soon
reappeared, followed by the mate and carpenter, both
having on their faces the marks of the cruel ill-treatment
which they had received from the mutineers.
All three immediately embraced me, and hailed me as
their deliverer. 'Now, lads,' said the captain, take a
reviver, and then we '11 proceed to work and he filled
out to each a glass of brandy.
The three men tossed off the liquor and hastily partook
of a little food, which seemed to infuse into them fresh
life and vigour. The captain then led the way into an
inner room opening from one side of the cabin, and which
had, until then, escaped my notice, owing to its being
concealed by a sliding panel of the same material and
pattern as the rest of the walls. It was a sort of armoury,
magazine, and general store-room. The captain, opening
a drawer, took from it three pairs of Colt's revolvers,
which he proceeded to load. While this operation was
going on I furnished them with the particulars of the
wreck, and gave a brief account of the circumstances
which led me, in so singular a manner, to become the
instrument of their deliverance.
PHILIP O'IARA'S ADVENTURES. 43
'Poor boy!' said the captain, looking at me in a kindly
manner, as he rammed home a ball into the chamber of a
revolver. 'Poor boy it's a rough experience you've had
to be so young. But you've got the right sort of stuff in
you to make a man, and if we only succeed in settling
accounts with these varmin, you may reckon on a friend
for life in Josh Trestrail-that's me,' he added, pointing
He now hurriedly explained how he intended to settle
accounts with the malicious varmin,' as he styled the
mutineers. It was first of all necessary, he said, to get
rid of my boat, for, if once the slavers caught sight of it
alongside, they would suspect that assistance of some
kind had reached their prisoners, and they would, in
consequence, either attack in force, or take the alarm and
make off for the bush. 'I've conceived such a liking for
these amiable individuals,' he jocularly remarked, that I
shouldn't like to part company with them just yet. Pay-
ing off old scores is a virtue upon which Josh Trestrail
rather prides himself.'
The carpenter was forthwith ordered to scuttle my
boat so as to sink her to the water's edge. She would by
this means be rendered invisible to the slavers, and might
be recovered if required, a cork-buoy being attached to
her painter, to indicate her whereabouts. While the
carpenter was carrying out this part of the programme,
the captain and mate were hard at work maturing
another. Taking from an iron locker a small flannel bag
containing gunpowder, the captain handed it to the mate,
and then proceeded to fill an empty preserved meat can
with rifle bullets, iron scupper nails and loose powder.
' We'll just call in the assistance of Doctor Washington,'
he remarked. 'Those fellows' stomachs will most likely
be out of order when they return, and a few of his pills
44 PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES.
will improve their digestion. Oh! I forgot though,' he
added, noticing my look of surprise at the mention of a
doctor being on board. I forgot you haven't seen the
doctor yet, though you must have passed him in coming
down the companion stair; but come along, my boy, and
I'll give you an introduction to the old gentleman,' and
he led the way on deck.
At the top of the cabin stair we were joined by the
carpenter, who had finished scuttling the boat, and who
now began to assist the mate in taking off what the
captain facetiously called the doctor's mackintosh.'
The 'mackintosh' was a large waterproof tarpaulin,
which, on removal, disclosed, not a healer of the human
body, but a destroyer of it, in the shape of a twelve-
pounder ship's carronade. The gun had evidently formed,
at one time, part of the armament of a United States
sloop of war, as it bore on its trunnions and carriage a
representation of the American eagle, while the word
'Washington' was embossed in large letters across its
This is the doctor,' said Captain Trestrail with a grim
smile, as he proceeded to load the piece with the canister
of missiles. I'll bet a cent piece to a Senegal monkey
that these infernal skunks don't have the toothache often
after getting this dose.'
The process of loading completed, the doctor was again
invested with his 'mackintosh,' the sides of which were
left loose so as to afford concealment beneath them.
The muzzle of the piece had previously been pointed so
as to command, not only the entrance to the cabin, but
also to sweep the entire decks if required.
'There,' said the captain, as the last preparations were
made to give the mutineers a hot reception, 'if these
reptiles don't feel flattered at the trouble we're taking on
PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES. 45
their account, they ain't got a bit of gratitude left in their
He then ordered the mate and carpenter to go down
into the cabin and throw Casar's body into the lazaretto,
so that it might not at once attract his companions' atten-
tion when they returned.
'You see,' he said, addressing himself to me, as soon
as the others had gone to execute his orders-' you see
there are ten of them, and they may bring as many more
with them of rascally Portuguese traders, with perhaps a
degenerate specimen of a Yankee or Britisher to set them
an example in villainy. Then they are almost sure to be
followed by a few niggers, fellows sufficiently civilised to
wear pants, drink rum, assist in hunting down and
enslaving men of their own race and colour, and to
become generally the most wretched set of cussed toads
on the face of creation. They'll fight though; oh yes!
I reckon it's the only good quality the devil left them
when he spiled their original dispositions. So you see we
must try to get them together as much as possible.
They're likely all to crowd down below there when they
come on board, for, just now, every man's captain and
nobody's crew. Once in the cabin there, they're safe
enough with "Doctor Washington" looking down on
them in that kind, fatherly way of his; and if they don't
cave in, and allow themselves to be ironed, man by man,
then I'11 blow them into everlasting smash.' And
Captain Trestrail looked like a man who meant what he
The body of Casar being disposed of, the captain
ordered the mate and the carpenter to get some break-
fast, and then have a lie down until such time as they
were needed. He himself, he said, would remain on
deck to watch for the return of the mutineers.
46 PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES.
'You'd better have a snooze, too, youngster,' he said
to me. You'll find the apprentice's bunk to the right
as you get to the bottom of the companion stair. Poor
lad! his mother will have a sad heart when she learns
his fate. He was stabbed by a long, lanky Spaniard
named Pietro. Keep your weather-eye open should you
come into contact with that individual. You'll easily
know him; he's got the look of a couple of yards of
up-and-down pump-water, and is as blood-thirsty as a
Louisianian alligator. He's sure to fasten on you 'cos
your only a boy, and the reptile seems to have a liking
for young blood. Now go below, and refresh yourself
with half-an-hour's sleep; you look worn out. Mind
you keep that revolver, though, ready to your hand, and
turn out the moment you are called.'
Tired as I was, both in mind and body, I gladly availed
myself of the opportunity to seek a little repose; so,
thanking the captain, and promising to keep his instruc-
tions in mind, I descended once more the cabin stair, and
entered the sleeping berth indicated.
It was just as he had left it, with articles of clothing
lying about in disorder, and here and there a piece of
fancy knotting or splicing. On the little flap table,
which was fastened by two hinges to the bulkhead, lay a
copy of Newton's Epitome of Navigation, and between its
open pages a half-finished letter beginning with the touch-
ing words, 'Dear mother;' showing plainly the direction
in which the poor boy's thoughts had pointed only a
short time before his cruel and untimely end.
The sight of that unfinished letter, and the painful
thoughts which it called up in my mind, effectually
banished all desire for sleep. Moreover I felt stiff and
uncomfortable by reason of my wet clothes, my skin
having become partly excoriated by the action on it of
PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES. 47
the dense salt water. It now occurred to me that I
might exchange my own clothes for some of those I
saw lying about, and which had belonged to the dead
apprentice. There was a large 'sea-chest' in one corner
of the bunk, which I supposed might contain clean under-
clothing, without a supply of which it would be no use
changing my upper garments. I accordingly opened the
lid of the chest, and the first object which met my eye
was a handsomely bound volume of the Scriptures. I
looked at the fly-leaf in order to discover what was the
name of its late possessor, and read the following
FROM HIS LOVING SISTER MARY.
Richmond, U.S., 1858.'
I laid aside this sweet pledge of sisterly piety and love,
overcome by the rush of tender, saddening memories to
which the sight of it gave birth. It recalled the sweet
image of my own dear sister, and awakened in my soul
a storm of the most poignant sorrow for her untimely
Many a hot tear did I shed, sitting on the corner of
that dead sailor-boy's chest, as I pictured my mother's
anguish when she came to learn of her fresh bereavement.
After my overcharged heart had been to some extent
relieved, I turned my attention to what was likely to
alleviate my present sense of physical discomfort. Having
selected one of young Churchill's undershirts, together
with a pair of cotton drawers, I arrayed myself in them,
and afterwards donned a pair of blue dangaree trousers
and red flannel shirt or Baltic' which I found hanging
at the end of the bunk. Around my waist I strapped a
broad leather belt having a 'sheath-knife' attached,
48 PHILIP O'HABA'S ADVENTURES.
into which I stuck the revolver I had taken from the
defunct mulatto. A straw hat, also the property of
young Churchill, completed my new and rather pic-
Feeling quite refreshed by the change, and having no
inclination for sleep, despite my experiences of the last
twenty-four hours, I again went on deck. I found the
captain carefully scanning the line of shore with the
ship's telescope. As soon as he heard me approach, he
turned sharply round, and the moment his eyes rested on
me he uttered an ejaculation of surprise, and almost let
the instrument fall from his grasp.
'Good heavens, boy!' he exclaimed when he had
recovered from his astonishment. 'What a fright you
gave me. Blow me if I didn't think it was young Dick
come alive again. He was just such another youngster as
yourself; your very height and build too, though, perhaps
a year or two older. But what has brought you on deck
again ? Couldn't you sleep ?'
'No,' I replied; 'at least not down there. There's
too much about the place that reminds me of my own
sorrows. Besides, I felt uncomfortable in my wet clothes,
and thought I might as well put on some of these, as
they were lying to hand. And now I've come on deck
to keep you company.
You're a good lad,' he said, patting me kindly on the
head. I think I heard you say you have a mother I'
'I have,' I replied, my eyes filling with tears at mention
of her name. 'My sister and I were on our way to
India to join her when the ship struck and went to
Poor boy !' murmured the captain; and your father,
is he alive ?'
'Alas! no sir,' I answered. 'He and my only brother
PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES. 49
were both killed in the same day, and on the same battle-
'Dear me! dear me a soldier's son, eh ? and your
poor sister too, torn from your arms and drowned.'
After a sigh of sympathy, his mind once more reverted to
business. 'Here,' said he, 'just take a squint through
this tube towards the crest of that low ridge of hills
there, and tell me what you see;' and he handed me the
glass, to which he had every few seconds applied his eye
I looked in the direction specified, and winding slowly
round an angle of the forest which ran down the shoulder
of the hill almost to the water's edge, I could perceive
a long line of dusky figures making their way to the
narrow strip of beach where, lying motionless upon the
sands, I could see two other objects which I took to be
boats. I described what I saw to the captain, still
keeping the telescope fixed upon the point of observation.
'I thought so,' he exclaimed, though the clip I got
on the head from the cussed mulatto has somewhat
weakened the sight of my eyes. Those brown-looking
nondescripts are the rascals we are on the look-out for,
re-enforced by a number of Portuguese slave-merchants
and their tools the nigger-stealers. Those objects lying on
the beach are the ship's boats, which the ruffians that
murdered my poor crew had drawn up there on going
into the bush. Now my lad,' he continued, looking me
steadily in the eyes, 'if you think you have pluck enough
to stay on deck during this business, your assistance will
be most valuable, and should we prove successful, won't
go unrewarded; but if you think you're likely to get
skeered at the sight of blood-for there'll be plenty of that
going about presently, then I'll put you below, where
you'll be safe till it's all over.'
50 PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES.
As a matter of course, I elected to remain on deck,
and while the captain went to call up our two companions,
I took in another hole in my leather belt, loosened the
knife in its sheath, examined my revolver to see that it
was properly loaded and capped; and felt prepared for
The mate and carpenter were both soon on deck,
looking all the brighter for the hour's quiet sleep they
had enjoyed. They too started with wonder as soon as
they saw me, believing for a moment that I was their
former shipmate returned to life.
One of the boats had by this time put off from the
shore, and urged by vigorous arms, was now tearing over
the glassy surface of the lagoon in the direction of the
schooner. She was seen to contain seven of the mutineers,
the other three being left behind to bring off the slave-
hunters and the Portuguese in the second boat.
"And now began the real preparations for a desperate
conflict. Each of my companions was armed with a
pair of six-shooters and a bowie-knife. The captain had
furnished himself with about twelve inches of shell fuse,
which he lighted and placed at the breech of the
carronade, into the touch-hole of which a quill filled
with gunpowder had been previously inserted. The
captain next placed the carpenter on one side of the
cannon and the mate at the other, with orders not to show
themselves until he gave the word of command.
Do you crouch down there, Spinks ; and you on the
other side, Chips,' he said, addressing first the mate
and then the carpenter. See that the tarpaulin conceals
you completely, and have your "orators ready to deliver
six nice little speeches each. We 'll let as many as
possible get down below before we say "good-morning"
to them. When I sing out Go," then show yourselves,
PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES. 51
and whoever's on deck, shoot them. I'll see that the
doctor's in attendance on those below. There's nine
pair of irons in that pork cask there, and as I call them
up, do you two clap a pair on the ankles and wrists of
each of them. As for you, youngster, you'd better keep
close to me, and mind you have your eyes open for fear
of Pietro. Now in with you, and be ready to fight for
THE mate and carpenter immediately slipped beneath the
tarpaulin, after having cut in it a cross slit with their
knives to enable them to see through. And now, over
the still waters of the lagoon, we could hear the mutineers'
shouts and laughter, or the snatches of song with which
they accompanied the measured motion of their oars.
Soon they arrived within speaking distance, and hailed
the schooner with a loud'hil-i-ho-ho !' but receiving no
reply, they gave way once more, supposing their guard to
be either drunk or asleep, two accomplishments in which
the mulatto was known to excel. A few more strokes,
and the pinnace had reached the ship's side.
Meanwhile the captain had placed himself at the breech
of the carronade, with me by his side, in such a manner
that though we were completely screened by the tarpaulin,
we could nevertheless see from beneath the gun every
one that approached. Soon we heard the murderers
rattling over the gangway, some of them making brutal
remarks upon the ghastly evidences of their cruelty which
still disfigured the decks. Little did they think that
even then the avenging spirit had stretched his remorse-
less sword over their heads and that, in the space of
52 PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES.
only a few seconds, the blood of some among them would
mingle with that of their slaughtered victims.
They came crowding aft, and two of them immediately
dived below, shouting on Casar as they went, but Caesar
did not answer Another two followed, and a fifth had
just got his foot on the first step, when there was a cry
from below, a cry of surprise, of rage, of fear-for it com-
bined the characteristics of these three emotions-and in
an instant the sound of hurrying feet was heard on the
Quick as lightning, the captain sprang from his con-
cealment, shouting 'Go !' at the same time that by a
dexterous movement he whisked the tarpaulin right off
the carronade, and stood with a lighted fuse in his hand,
ready to apply it to the touch-hole.
Simultaneously with the captain's signal, two sharp
cracks were heard, followed by two piercing shrieks, as a
brace of the mutineers fell dead in front of the companion
hatch. The third, surprised and terrified by this unex-
pected turn of affairs, made a dash for the ship's side,
and was about to spring overboard, when I fired and
brought him to the deck.
'Bravely done!' exclaimed the captain. 'You've
winged that bird, I guess. Now, take this fuse in your
hand, and stand here in my place. If I tell you to fire,
do so. I see the other boat about to put off, and we
must look sharp and bag what we've caught before the
rest of the game arrive.' Then going to the back of the
companion, so that a shot could not be fired up at him
from below, he called out to the imprisoned mutineers :
'Now look here, you beauties below there; I'll give you
just three minutes to make up your minds; you might do
it in half the time for all any of you have got, but I '11
give you three minutes to recover the use of your limbs
PHILIP O'BARA'S ADVENTURES. 53
sufficiently to enable you to hand up your shooting-irons
-butt-ends first, mind you-and then to transport your
precious carcasses one by one on deck to get ironed. If
this is not done in less time than I have taken to tell
you, then this gun is loaded to the muzzle; and I'll fire
Scarcely had he finished speaking, when an arm was
thrust up the companion, presenting the butt-end of a
six-shooter. It was immediately taken by the captain,
and the owner ordered on deck, where he was securely
ironed. This operation was repeated, until the four
ruffians lay bound hand and foot, preferring the prospect
of being hanged, to the certainty of meeting death in the
fashion described by Captain Josiah Trestrail.
The prisoners were now bundled in turn down the
cabin stair, and flung unceremoniously into the lazaretto,
beside their dead companion. While the carpenter and
his comrade were performing this interesting, and to
them most congenial task, I assisted the captain in
disposing of the bodies of those whom we had killed.
Two were lifted over the taffrail and dropped overboard,
as they were quite dead. On examining, however, the
one I had shot, it was discovered that he was only
wounded, the ball having entered the neck and lodged in
the base of the skull. Though unconscious, he was still
breathing, and I asked the captain what he proposed
doing with him, when he replied to me by drawing his
revolver and sending a bullet through his brain.
By this time the second boat was only about a mile
distant, and we could see that it was full of people; so
sending the dead slaver to join his messmates at the
bottom of the lagoon, the tarpaulin was again adjusted,
the mate and carpenter taking their places beneath it as
before. Ere we likewise occupied our former position,
54 PHILIP O'IHARA'S ADVENTURES.
the captain took his telescope and brought it to bear on
the approaching boat. 'I must see how many we've
got to deal with this time,' he remarked. There's four
Portuguese and five nigger-trappers besides the other
three skunks; that's twelve in all. We mayn't find our
former dodge succeed so well with this lot, so stand by
to give it 'em tooth and nail. If they scatter before we
get the gun to bear on them, I guess they'll give us a
little trouble. That's Pintro, look, steering;' and he
handed me the glass.
Resting it on one of the hawse-pipes, so as not to be
observed by any of the occupants of the boat, I brought
it to bear first upon the individual named, and then upon
the others successively. A more villainous-looking face
than that of the butcherly Spaniard, I never saw before,
nor have ever since seen; and I resolved, if possible, not
to empty a chamber of my revolver until an opportunity
occurred of depositing its contents into Senor PiMtro's
long body. The slave-hunters were all gigantic negroes
armed to the teeth, and dressed in every variety of
costume, the leading idea in its selection being that it
might make the wearer look as hideous or as ludicrous
as possible. As to the Portuguese, they were dried,
yellow, shrivelled-up objects'that might have passed for
resuscitated mummies of the time of Sosthenes. They too
were armed with rifles, revolvers, and stilettos.
As soon as we had finished our reconnaissance, as the
captain termed it, we placed away beneath the gun the
arms taken from the captured mutineers, so that we had
plenty of weapons at our disposal.
'You'd better get under the doctor altogether,
youngster,' said the captain to me, as we were getting
under the mackintosh; 'you'll be out of harm's way
there, and can supply us with fresh pistols if they should
PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES. 55
be required. If these cusses don't take the bait as
readily as the others, we couldn't use the doctor with-
out cutting up the spars and rigging a good deal. This
would necessitate our remaining here a few days to
repair, and we might have another slaver running into
the lagoon before we got out. They'd know at once
that we didn't belong to the trade, and would cut our
throats to make us hold our tongues. Hush; here they
I crept underneath the gun as the captain had
suggested, and was scarcely well in my place before I
could hear the bow of the boat bump against the
schooner's side, and a minute afterwards the oaths and
laughter of those that were clambering on board. I
counted them one by one as they jumped on deck, until
there were nine, and as they did not come aft at once,
but waited amidships, I concluded that the slave-
hunters and Portuguese were waiting to be conducted
there by one of the mutineers. Two of the latter I
heard still in the boat, probably making her fast and
baling her out.
Presently we saw them coming aft, and heard a voice
exclaim: 'Ho! Caesar Castrello where is all de peoples
gone 1 Hullo! what is dis ? Dere is blood here; fresh
blood. Look to your pistols, dere is something wrong on
board. What ho below dere;' and bending over the
companion he shouted with all his might.
Go!' cried the captain, springing to his feet and tearing
aside the tarpaulin, at the same time that the mate
rushed out upon the mutineer and shot him dead. A
panic immediately seized upon the rest of his companions,
and they made a rush for the gangway in order to escape
by the boat. In this intention, however, they were foiled
by the two mutineers who had remained in the boat, and
56 PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES.
who, as soon as they heard the pistol-shot, and saw the
terrified crowd rush to the gangway, immediately cast off
and pulled away.
Escape by this means being rendered impossible, and
having in a measure recovered from their first surprise,
the Portuguese, followed by the negroes, took shelter
before the foremast, where a number of water-casks
afforded them some shelter. These they made into a
sort of breastwork, and having rifles and a plentiful
supply of ammunition, they soon opened a hot fire upon
the quarter-deck. As the captain had foreseen, it appeared
impossible to bring the gun to bear on them without, in
a measure, crippling the ship by the injury it would have
inflicted upon the spars and rigging.
It was evident that we should experience great
difficulty in dislodging them from their sheltered position
without greatly exposing ourselves; indeed, we had now
become as much a target for their bullets as they were for
ours, and had therefore to avail ourselves of such shelter
as was afforded by the mainmast, companion hatchway,
S and the carronade.
For fully twenty minutes we continued to blaze away at
each other from behind our extemporised entrenchments,
and our party being the better marksmen, we succeeded
in occasionally hitting some of our antagonists whenever
any of them rose to take aim. Between the foremast and
the fore-hatch were half-a-dozen water-casks lashed to
ringbolts, fastened in the coamings of the latter, and
behind these as many of the Portuguese and slave-hunters
had established themselves as could find shelter.
I say, Chips,' said the captain, addressing the carpen-
ter; 'I think we could reduce the number of these
hunkersliders on the fore-hatch.'
How 2' laconically inquired Chips, at the same time
PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES. 57
emptying a chamber of his revolver, as the sallow face of
a Portuguese peered over one of the water-barrels.
Do you and Bob slip down into the cabin, and quietly
unfasten one of the planks from the bulkhead. You'll
find a bag of gunpowder in the same locker from which
you saw me take the other. Make your way noiselessly
through the hold, and attach the bag of powder with a
lighted fuse in it to the cross-beam of the hatchway.
Then make your way through the fore-peak into the
topgallant forecastle, and wait for the explosion. As
soon as it occurs, rush out before the smoke clears away,
and pick off the remainder. They're not likely to venture
abaft the mainmast for fear of the doctor, even should
they remark your absence. Now, give them a grand
flare-up, and bolt down the companion in the smoke.'
All three thereupon 'flared up' in order to mask the
new movement, and then the two men darted down
the cabin stair, concealed by the smoke from the observa-
tion of those to whose destruction the 'grand flare-up,'
as the captain styled it, was intended to serve as the
Grasping his revolver in one hand, and holding a
burning fuse in the other, the captain held his post in
rear of the carronade, and for a quarter of an hour or
twenty minutes, nothing save an occasional ping, ping,
as shots were exchanged fore and aft, broke the stillness
of the tropic noon.
In the excitement of the contest, the captain had for-
gotten all about the boat containing the two mutineers-a
piece of oversight which, on his part, almost cost him his
life, and very nearly threw the fortunes of the day once
more into the hands of these bloodthirsty miscreants.
After having cast off, they had pulled away to a safe
distance from the ship, where, resting on their oars, they
58 PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES.
could watch the progress of the contest. They soon took
in the true position of affairs, and came to what was a
proper conclusion-namely, that during the absence of
themselves and their companions, the three prisoners had
found means to liberate themselves, and had regained
possession of the ship. So completely had the storm
done its work, that not a sign of the wreck was visible
on the glassy surface of the lagoon; and, save the boat,
which the captain's foresight had effectually concealed,
not a spar belonging to the ill-fated Circassia had crossed
that fatal reef. It never crossed the minds, therefore, of
the two mutineers that external aid could have reached
their prisoners, and they set down the circumstance of
their having regained their freedom to Casar's stupidity
or drunkenness. They knew also that whatever advan-
tage their late prisoners might have over their antagonists
in weapons or in courage, they must be terribly over-
matched by the latter in point of numbers.
Enraged at the prospect of having their schemes
defeated, and fearful of being balked of the rich harvest
of gold which they had promised themselves as the result
of their villainous enterprise, the two miscreants resolved
to make a bold stroke to regain what they seemed to be
on the point of losing altogether.
Gradually sweeping round the schooner until they were
on a line with her stern, and seeing that their motions
attracted no observation from those on the quarter-deck,
they crept stealthily on, a boat's length at a time, till they
got quietly under the ship's counter. Here they fastened
the boat to a rope which they found hanging over the
taffrail, and up this rope they both proceeded to mount,
holding their loaded revolvers between their teeth.
The captain and I were anxiously awaiting the issue of
his last manoeuvre, when all at once I was startled by the
PSILIP O'ftAl A'S ADVENTURES. 59
sharp crack of a pistol from behind, and, to my dismay, I
beheld the captain fall with a cry to the deck. Cautiously
I peered out from beneath the carronade in the direction
of the sound, and, to my horror, saw a man jump at
the same instant from the taffrail. Another, whom I at
once recognized as the murderer of young Churchill, was
sprawling over the stern after him. The captain, whom
I at first thought was killed, but who was in reality only
stunned, now began to move, and the man who had fired
the shot at once ran forward to despatch him with his
bowie-knife, which he had drawn for the purpose. As
he approached, I covered him with my revolver, and
waited until he was within three feet of its muzzle.
Uttering a fearful imprecation, the mutineer bent over
the prostrate body of my friend, the knife was raised, and
in another second would have found a sheath in the
wounded man's body; when I fired, and he fell forward
Pietro, seeing the captain attempting to rise, and
believing him to have fired the shot which had killed his
comrade, was on the point of revenging the latter's death,
when, pushing aside the body, I sprang from my con-
cealment, and, with bloody face and hands, I confronted
the astonished Spaniard. His revolver was already
levelled to fire at the captain; but the moment I made
my sudden appearance, the weapon dropped from his
grasp, as if he had himself been shot, or had seen an
apparition. A deadly pallor overspread his swarthy
visage, while his long body swayed backwards and for-
wards, and his knees seemed to sink beneath his weight.
Tremblingly, he made the sign of the cross upon his
breast, while his blanched lips vainly attempted to articu-
late a prayer. Then, fairly overcome by an access of
superstitious terror, he turned to spring overboard into
60 PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES.
the boat, when I again fired, and, with a scream of mortal
agony and fear which I shall never forget, he fell, and
Richard Churchill was avenged.
I immediately ran to the assistance of Captain Trestrail,
and helped him to rise. He was bleeding from a wound
in the head, which, however, on examination proved only
trifling in its nature, and he was able to take his place
again at the carronade. Scarcely had he done so, than
there was a loud report, as a column of flame and
smoke shot upward from the fore-hatch, and we saw
several writhing figures hurled high into the air. Then
the sharp crack, crack of pistol-shots and the savage yells
of stricken men were, in a few seconds, followed by death-
like silence; and when our two companions at length
emerged from the cloud of smoke which enveloped the
forepart of the deck, their empty revolvers still reeking in
their hands, and their faces begrimed and blood-spattered,
we read the light of triumph in their eyes, and knew
that at last we were saved, and that the ship was ours.
Worn out, as much by the sustained excitement of the
last four hours, as by the physical exertion we had under-
gone, it was decided to leave the ship just as she lay, with
shattered fore-hatch, and deck hampered with slain men,
and streaming with human blood. The captain's wound
had first to be attended to; and having gained some
surgical experience from my father, I washed, dressed,
and bandaged it, the materials being supplied by the
ship's medicine chest. The ball had struck the skull
obliquely, and instead of fracturing the bone, had merely
grooved out a portion of the scalp. However painful, the
wound was fortunately not dangerous, and I was happy
to be able to assure my friend that he would be all right
in a few days.
This operation completed, we adjourned to the cabin
PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES. 61
and partook of some refreshments, the captain being first
of all put to bed. It was then agreed that, as we all
needed rest, one of us should keep watch for a couple of
hours, while the other two lay down. The mate elected
to take the first turn, and accordingly Chips and I went
to the apprentice's bunk, where I stretched my weary
limbs, and in five minutes was sound asleep. After the
lapse of what appeared to me about half an hour, my
slumbers grew lighter ; I was disturbed by some apparently
unseen and mysterious influence; a feeling of uneasiness
took possession of me, and I became conscious of some
one moving about near the bunk where I lay. Suddenly,
a shadow seemed to pass and repass, and then stand still
at the door of the dead boy's sleeping-berth. I felt
afraid, yet knew not why. I tried to speak-to ask who
was there-but terror froze the syllables on my tongue ere
they could frame themselves into words. I turned my
eyes in the direction of that mysterious shadow, and my
heart seemed to cease its pulsations, and my hair to stand
on end when, right in the doorway, I beheld, standing,
the long, attenuated form of the Spaniard Pietro His
white, cadaverous face was drawn and wrinkled into an
expression of mingled hatred and agony, while his eyes
glared at me with a look of fiendish triumph as, thinking
me still asleep, he drew his murderous-looking bowie-
knife from its sheath, and crept on tiptoe up to my bed-
side. The whole truth flashed upon me in a moment.
Instead of killing him, as I had supposed, I had merely
wounded him, and the artful villain had feigned death in
order to escape or seek revenge. I was now unarmed,
defenceless, and about to share the fate of poor Dick
Churchill. He reached the bedside; his hot breath
scorched my face as he bent down over me. While with
one hand he felt for my heart, the other was raised to
62 PHILIP O'HABA'S ADVENTURES.
plunge into it the deadly knife. With a fierce cry I
sprung from bed and grappled him by the throat, and we
both rolled together on to the floor of the apartment, I
above, the Spaniard below.
' ULLO hullo here, boy what the deuce is the matter
with you? Are you gone mad ? Take your fingers from
my throat, man.' The voice was one which I ought to
have known, and the language used, my own mother-
tongue. For the first time, in reality, since I had fallen
sleep, I now opened my eyes and discovered that I had
been dreaming, and that instead of the Spaniard Pietro, I
had almost throttled the life out of poor Chips, the
carpenter, who had come to call me.
I relinquished my hold upon my companion's throat,
and sank back upon young Churchill's sea-chest in a state
of bewilderment. I could scarcely bring myself to believe
that any of the fearful incidents which had marked the
last few days were any more real than that which had
terminated in this ludicrous mistake. When I became
convinced of their reality, I apologised to Chips for the
rough handling I had given him, and told him of the
strange dream which I had. The good-natured fellow
listened to my explanation, and laughed when I asked
him if it was my turn now to keep watch.
'Wal,' he said, speaking with the same nasal drawl as
his master, 'considering that you've just slept twelve
hours right off the reel, I should think it was.'
Slept twelve hours !' I exclaimed in a tone of incre-
dulity; 'you surely don't mean that? I thought I had
PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES. 63
only been lain down about half an hour when that con-
founded dream awoke me.'
The confounded dream did more for you, then, than I
was able to do,' he replied. 'I tried to turn you out
twice, but finding it useless, we determined to let you
have your own way. I was passing the berth though,
just now, and seeing you stirring, I thought I 'd make
another attempt, and nearly got strangled for my pains.'
But the honest-hearted fellow had breath enough left to
have a hearty laugh, while with his fingers he examined
the condition of his windpipe.
I was soon dressed and on deck, and found Chips's
statement to be perfectly correct. Instead of the sun
shining in all its tropic splendour, as it did when I was
last on deck, I found a glorious full moon, flooding
earth and heaven with its soft and mellow beams, and
flinging a pathway of silver light far over the shining
waters of the broad lagoon. Every object stood out as
clear and distinct as in the full glare of the noonday sun;
and, save the gentle lap of tiny wavelets as they kissed
the vessel's sides, not a sound broke the divine silence
in which slumbering nature lay wrapt.
The ship too had undergone a very marked change
for the better. During my lengthened sleep, the mate
and carpenter had been hard at work, and had managed
to give the schooner a more ship-shape appearance. The
dead had been thrown overboard, and by dint of scrub-
bing and scraping, aided by a plentiful supply of water,
they had succeeded in removing from her deck and bul-
warks some of the ghastly traces of the recent struggle,
and of the butchery which had preceded it.
After putting the ship through a hasty repair, she was
towed out by means of the boats through the channel
into deep water; the mutineers being compelled, two by
64 PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES.
two, to assist in the work, under a threat of instant death
if they refused, or attempted either flight or treachery.
The captain's wound was sufficiently healed by this
time to allow him to attend to the working of the ship,
and, before setting sail, he determined to make a survey
of the reef, and to take soundings in order to report
information to his government or to any cruiser we might
happen to fall in with. With this object in view, I
accompanied him in the boat, while the mate and car-
penter were left in charge of the ship and to look after
the prisoners. The reef was of semicircular formation,
and about six miles long. Some parts of it were from
three to nine feet under, while others rose to a consider-
able height above water, and were generally fringed with
narrow strips of beach, composed of disintegrated frag-
ments of white, glistening coral. Rowing along the outer
edge of the barrier, we more than once came upon ghastly
traces of the wreck in the shape of disfigured bodies, cast
perhaps upon one of those tiny beaches already described,
or wedged between the interstices of the coral.
Having completed the survey, we returned on board
and set as much sail as we could conveniently carry with
our limited number of hands. The vessel was what is
called a three-masted schooner of about five hundred tons
burden, and a very fast sailer. She was owned by a
wealthy Baltimore merchant, who named her the Isabelle
in honour of his wife. She was employed in trading
with the natives of the Zambesi, as well aswith those of
the countries lying on both sides of the great Mozam-
We had been three days at sea when we sighted and
signalled a large ship bound for Zanzibar, which, on learn-
ing our condition, kindly supplied us with four additional
hands, and two Arab coolies, and thus equipped, in four
PHILIP O'BARA'S ADVENTURES. 65
days more we reached Delagoa Bay, a Portuguese settle-
ment. Here, we found a United States ship of war, to
which we transferred our prisoners, and a court-martial
being at once instituted, they were found guilty of piracy
and murder, and the following morning were hanged at
the yard-arms of the corvette.
My position at this time was the reverse of agreeable.
I was without money, without clothes, in a strange
country, and among strange people. The captain of the
schooner was not a rich man, though anxious to testify to
the utmost his gratitude for the services I had rendered.
His means were, however, too limited to let him bestow
upon me a sum sufficient to pay my passage to India, as
well as to procure another outfit, for which purposes a
very large amount would have been required. Besides,
even should I succeed in reaching Calcutta, I had more
than a thousand miles to travel up-country before I
would arrive at my final destination. I was ignorant of
what arrangements Major Kirkpatrick had intended
making on our arrival, and I was unacquainted with any
one in Calcutta to whom I could apply either for assist-
ance or advice. In view of these difficulties Captain
Trestrail offered to keep me on board the Isabelle, where,
he said, I should be treated as his own son. Meanwhile
I could employ every means to establish communications
with my mother in India, and to join her at the termina-
tion of the voyage.
S To this sound advice the British consul at Delagoa
Bay added the weight of his approval. It was, he said,
the best plan I could adopt. Months might elapse
before a vessel touched at the port bound for India, and
it was impossible, without proceeding to Cape Town and
taking a passage in one of the mail boats, to think of
reaching Calcutta in less than from eight to twelve
66 PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES.
months. The latter course was out of the question too,
by reason of the expense which it would have involved.
This gentleman also promised to forward, by the first
opportunity, a letter from me to my mother, through the
governor of the presidency in which she was then
In point of fact, this course, which I was urged to
adopt, was very much in harmony with my own feelings
and inclinations. I had acquired a taste for travel and
adventure, and felt flattered too by the praise and kindness
which every one bestowed upon me for the pluck and
promptitude I had shown when dealing with the
mutineers. So I finally made up my mind to cast in my
lot with my present companions, trusting to the current
of events to drift me in a direction that would ultimately
restore me to my beloved mother. So, for the next two
years, my home was on board the good ship Isabelle.
At the end of two years, during which time I had
never heard from my mother, the Isabelle sailed with a
valuable general cargo for the United States.
On our arrival at Baltimore, I was introduced to the
owner, and heard my exploits repeated to him in glowing
language by my admiring captain. Mr Percival-such
was the owner's name-thanked me cordially for my
services; and, in addition to the sum due to me as wages,
presented me with a handsome gold watch and five
You will please to accept this trifle, Mr O'Hara,' he
said to me, at the same time handing me a cheque for the
sum named, 'as a mark of my friendship and esteem. I
thank you, not so much for having saved my ship-
though that was a service so great, that I look upon it as
one even beyond my power to recompense. What I
thank you most for, Mr O'Hara, is for the way in which
PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES. 67
you have acted towards the memory of my poor nephew,
Richard Churchill your nephew, sir !' I exclaimed, in
surprise; I was not aware he was in any way related to
No more was he aware of it himself,' replied the old
merchant. 'It's a family secret, you see, Mr O'-Iara,
but now that retaining it as such can serve no purpose, I
may as well tell you of it. Dick's mother was my
favourite sister; indeed, I may say, she was my only
sister, for the others died while she was yet a child.
After their death, which occurred suddenly through
yellow fever, my parents also sickened of the same disease,
and died. Mary was consequently left to my whole and
'I was nearly double her age, and treated her more as
a daughter than as a sister till she was sixteen, when to
my sorrow I discovered that she had fallen in love with
a man whom I detested. I forbade her to even speak to
her lover, but it was of no use. Mary had a will of her
own, and she married the ne'er-do-well son of my bitterest
enemy. Well, the marriage turned out as I expected
it would. The son proved even worse than the father.
He drank and gambled and neglected his children-
sweet things both of them-Dick, the elder, and Mary,
who is at present staying with us, the younger.
When Dick grew old enough to be made useful, I
got a friend to prevail on his parents to let him be
bound apprentice to the sea, and, after some trouble,
they consented. My friend brought him down here
from Richmond, and he was articled for five years
to Captain Trestrail, who was the only one in the
'I have no children myself, Mr O'Hara,' continued
68 PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES.
he, a look of regret coming into his eyes. 'I have no
children myself, and had Dick lived and turned out a
worthier man than his father-though he has turned over
a new leaf since he heard of the poor boy's death-I
should have bequeathed him everything I possess at my
death. I was in hopes that he would have taken my
place, and carried on the business of the firm when I am
gone; but that was not to be. But you'll come and dine
with us this evening, won't you ? Poor Richard's sister
is with us on a visit just now. She has often heard
about you from the captain's letters; and will, I am
sure, be most happy to see you.'
'I shall.be delighted to make Miss Churchill's acquaint-
ance,' I replied, and feel honoured by your kind invita-
tion. I shall be only too happy to come.'
Very well then,' said Mr Percival; we dine at six,
but come as early as you please. Of course you'll come
too, won't you, Trestrail ?'
Come too !' exclaimed the captain; you may lay long
odds on't that I do. Guess I wouldn't miss the treat for
half the state of Maryland I've seen Mr Phil here in all
sorts of curious predicaments, and in every kind of uncom-
fortable situation, from shooting a pirate to throttling
an alligator ; and found that he looked considerably un-
concerned during the operation. I should like, though,
to see how he'll act under the fire of two such bright
eyes as Miss Mary's. I shouldn't wonder now if he
don't waste enough red material in the shape of blushes,
to paint over the bottom of a Mississippi steamboat.
Copper snakes and cuttle-fish! Come too? Oh yes!
I'11 be there, sir.'
Mr Percival laughed heartily at his subordinate's
ludicrous description of how I should probably act in
the presence of his fair niece. Then, shaking us both
PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES. 69
cordially by the hand, he repeated his invitation for us
to come early,' and took his leave.
No sooner had he left the hotel where we were staying,
and where the interview took place, than Captain
Trestrail, slapping mejocularly on the shoulder, exclaimed :
'I say, Phil, my boy; your fortune's made: yes,
seriously, and in sober earnest, my boy, your fortune's
made-that's to say, if you don't go and spoil your
chance, like many another young fool in the world.'
What are you raving about now, Trestrail?' I inquired.
'I believe that that whisky toddy has gone to your head.
What do you mean by my fortune being made ? Do you
call five hundred dollars a fortune 1'
No, but I call fifty thousand a pretty tidy little sum;
and you can have the one as easily as you've got the
other if you like to go in for it.'
Fifty thousand Go in for it !' I repeated, at a loss to
comprehend my friend's incoherences. What do you
What do I mean ? why, what I say, to be sure; and
that is, that your fortune's made, Philip O'Hara. Come
here, Mr Incredulous, and I'll let you into another
secret;' and he drew me towards him with the air of one
about to uncover a mystery. 'Among the many other
splendid gifts with which indulgent Nature endowed me
at my birth was one of prophecy-nay, don't run away,
but hear me out. It's true as gospel, Phil; the mantle
of old Mother Shipton descended at his birth upon the
shoulders of Josh Trestrail; and he can see through
between the steps of a ladder with any man in Maryland.
Now, I prophesy that your fortune's made. Didn't that
amiable old man who has just left us, pathetically inform
you that he had no children. Poor Dick was to have
been his heir. But the old man's ambition to perpetuate
70 PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES.
his name," even in his business, is doomed to be un-
realised, unless some clever young scamp like yourself
comes forward and charitably undertakes to marry his
niece, assume his name, and live comfortably off his
dollars when he 's dead. Do you see my drift now, eh 1'
'I do,' I replied, 'and I must confess I feel some
interest in what you say. It is highly suggestive.'
'Of course it is,' laughed my companion. Now let us
see how the case stands. You've got no father : here 's
an old man who has got no son. You've got no fortune :
here's an old man who has one of fifty thousand dollars,
and a charming little niece into the bargain. A large
fortune and the loveliest wife in Maryland, both to be
had for the winning. Why then, say I, go in and
win, and count, at least, upon Josh Trestrail for your
backer.' And, giving his knee a vigorous slap, the
captain finished his speech and his cold whisky toddy at
the same time.
It was not in the nature of youth, and especially in
that of a youth of ardent temperament and fervid ima-
gination, to be otherwise than pleased and captivated by
the splendid prospect which the captain's words suggested.
And so for a few minutes I sat silent, trying to shape
out in my own mind the probable issues of my forth-
coming introduction to Mary Churchill.
Since the memorable morning when I became
acquainted with her name through reading it on the
fly-leaf of her brother's Bible, she had in truth often
occupied a place in my thoughts. Imagination's magic
pencil had painted her image in all its most glowing
colours, while of her virtues and piety I had formed
almost an ideal conception, from the fact that she had
considered a copy of the Bible as the most suitable
parting gift to bestow upon her sailor brother. I now
PHILIP O'HABA'S ADVENTURES. 71
became impatient to see how far the real would harmonise
with the ideal, and when the captain, after a little more
conversation on the subject, proposed that we should go
and dress for dinner, and afterwards drive in a four-
wheeler to Rappahannock House, the residence of Mr
Percival, I consented with an alacrity which evoked
another outburst of humorous volubility on the part of
my lively companion.
AN hour later on in the afternoon saw us at the gate of
Rappahannock House, a fine specimen of the Southern
style of architecture, built on a slight elevation which
had been levelled for the purpose of its erection, and
surrounded by terraced lawns which sloped down on
each of its four sides like the glacis of a miniature forti-
fication. An extensive garden, glowing with all the
richest hues of nature, and over which hung an atmo-
sphere of the most delicious perfume, stretched out in
front of the house.
At the richly ornamental gate before which our
four-wheeler drew up, we were met by the owner
of the mansion, and by him were conducted across
the beautiful grounds and up the flight of steps to the
house, under the veranda of which Mrs Percival and
her charming niece were waiting to receive us. After
the formality of introduction, we were ushered through
an octagonal-shaped vestibule hung with trophies of the
chase, into an elegantly furnished little ante-room, the
walls of which I was surprised to see were lined with
the portraits of English historical personages, while the
floor was curiously carpeted with a singular piece of
72 PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES.
patchwork, composed of the skins of various wild
animals, so artistically grouped and fitted together as to
furnish the spectator with a sort of pictorial chart of
natural history. While Mr Percival was describing to
me some objects of interest, I had leisure to observe
the two ladies, and especially to compare the Mary
Churchill who sat before me, with the Mary Churchill
of my imagination.
Often, amid the solitude of the vast ocean, had I
beguiled the tedium of a long night-watch with picturing
her as a fair, gentle-looking creature with flaxen hair and
deep-blue eyes ; the counterpart, in fact, of my own
sweet sister, or of dear, hapless Edith ere the fascin-
ating tempter had crossed her path. Judge of my
surprise, then, when I found her supremely beautiful,
but the very reverse of the type my fancy had portrayed.
Although scarcely sixteen, she had expanded under the
ripening influence of a southern sun, into fully developed
womanhood. Her figure was exquisitely formed, but
had in it more of the appearance of the queenly rose
than the tender gracefulness of the virgin lily. Her
glossy raven hair was deftly woven into massive braids,
and twisted like a coronet round her finely shaped head.
It will be readily imagined, that a being so singularly
gifted with personal attractions would feel the natural
desire of her sex to display them to the greatest advan-
tage, and so, from the richly embroidered slippers that
encased her delicate little feet, to the solitary crimson
flower that peeped out from among the rich, dark braids
of her glossy hair, she was in dress, as she was in
person, simply perfection. After our introduction we soon
became excellent friends, chatting away pleasantly on a
variety of interesting topics, but never once alluding to
the painful circumstances of her brother's death. I found
PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES. 73
my beautiful companion highly intelligent and extremely
well informed-fond of music and poetry, and gifted
with some imagination.
It was surprising how soon we felt at ease in each
other's society, so that by the time the dinner-gong
sounded we seemed as intimate as if our friendship had
been the growth of a year rather than the product of an
hour. At the dinner table I sat beside her, and I fear
that the sight of her beauty deprived me of much of my
Mr Percival and the captain soon became deeply
engaged in discussing the position of parties in the North
and South, or speculating upon the probabilities of the
slave question having to be decided by the arbitrament
of the sword. Having but little acquaintance with
politics, and especially with the singular medley of
divergent principles applied to the furtherance of indi-
vidual interests, which in America used to be dignified
by the name of politics, my attentions were exclusively
devoted to Miss Churchill and her aunt-a plain but
severe-looking woman, who did not leave on me a favour-
able impression. Everything about her was stiff, prim,
and formal, even to the three little corkscrew ringlets
that stuck down on each side of her ears, as rigid as the
three prongs of a pitchfork. It required no keenness of
perception to see that aunt and niece had no great
regard one for the other.
At first I was most assiduous in my attentions to my
hostess, and began by addressing to her a good deal of
my conversation. Finding, however, that my questions
met with only monosyllabic responses, and that my jeux
d'esprit did not receive even the ghost of a smile, I
gave up the attempt to please, and turning to 'metal
more attractive,' soon enjoyed the monopoly of Miss
74 PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES.
Churchill's conversation. We were deep in the discus-
sion of one of those pleasing trifles upon which young
minds love to exercise themselves, when the captain, who
had been several times watching us, a mischievous
expression playing about the corners of his mouth,
observed to Mr Percival: 'That young couple seem to
understand each other considerably well for so short an
acquaintance. Guess they don't feel just now as if
there was any one else on the face of creation barring
their two selves.'
As soon as dinner was over, Miss Churchill proposed a
stroll in the garden. 'You can show Mr O'Hara over
the grounds yourself, Mary my dear,' said her uncle;
'while Captain Trestrail and I finish our chat over a
glass of punch and a cigar. I am sure you will excuse us
for half an hour, Mr O'Hara '
'Certainly, sir,' I replied, secretly delighted at the
proposal; 'if Miss Churchill has no objections'
'Oh, I shall be only too happy!' interrupted the
young lady with charming candour. Uncle here knows
already the name and nature of every flower in the
garden, and floriculture is a subject that may not, perhaps,
interest Captain Trestrail.'
Wal, I reckon not,' replied the gentleman referred to.
SI know just enough of botany to enable me to tell a
rose-bush from a broom-handle; indeed, I prefer the latter
plant as the most useful. I never see a rose-tree in full
bloom, without thinking what a lot of red paint nature
throws away every year.'
'Oh, what a horridly utilitarian man !' cried Mary, as
she passed, I following, into the garden.
Much of our conversation, however pleasing to us,
would be of very little interest to the reader. I found
her as vivacious and lively as she was beautiful, and
PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES.
felt more and more charmed by her society. While in
the midst of an "animated conversation, I saw the colour
suddenly begin to die out of my companion's face.
'You are ill, Miss Churchill,' I said ; 'I trust that I
have not said anything to cause you pain.'
'Oh, nothing, Mr O'Hara,' she replied, with a vain
effort to resume her former cheerfulness; 'a momentary
weakness, which I am sure you will pardon. I was
thinking of my poor brother-that is-I-I'--
'Allow me to lead you to a seat, Miss Churchill,'
I said, drawing her arm gently within my own. She
offered no objection, and I conducted her to a sheltered,
secluded part of the grounds. Placing her in a rustic
chair, I seated myself upon the grassy sward at her
feet, and for several minutes neither of us spoke. We
were each, doubtless, busied with our own thoughts,
or trying to analyse the feelings of our own hearts. At
length I looked up into her face, and she smiled.
'I fear you will think me a very strange girl, Mr
O'Hara,' she said. 'I do not often show signs of
feminine weakness; in fact, I have the reputation of
being rather strong-minded. But to-day, I do not
know what has come over me. Are you a fatalist,
Mr O'Hara I'
I was startled by the abruptness of the question, and
replied: 'No, but I am somewhat of a poet, and poets,
you know, are proverbially a class of dreamers, and
their dreams are occasionally fulfilled.'
'And have your dreams ever been fulfilled?' she
Yes,' I replied, often;' and taking from my pocket-
book the fly-leaf with her name on it which I had cut
from her dead brother's Bible, I showed it to her, and
continued: 'Ever since the moment in which I first
76 PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES.
beheld your name here, I felt that we should one day
meet, and this conviction inspired me with hope in
many a dark hour of my experience.'
Carried out of myself by the fierce current of my
newly-conceived passion, I said I know not what; but
when we rose to leave the garden, there was more than
a mere understanding between us that our lives were
in the future to be sometime linked together.
'Wal now, may I be boiled down into lob-sauce, if
that ain't one of the prettiest pictures I ever clapped
eyes on !'
Such were the words that broke upon our delicious
trance as we stood together in the quiet shrubbery. We
started, as if a powder-mine had suddenly gone off
beneath us; and looking round, there, in the middle
of the walk, with one hand thrust deep into his trousers-
pocket, while he held a lighted cigar between the fingers
of the other, stood Captain Trestrail. In a moment
Miss Churchill had quitted my side, and disappeared.
Pity now,' he continued, 'that I didn't have a mop
and a bucketful of tar handy; see if I wouldn't have
taken both your portraits, and sent them to the art
exhibition in Washington. Why, they'd have knocked
tin candlesticks out of all the pictures in the Capitol-
Pocahontas and Paul and Virginia included. Ha !
'Well, captain, you mightn't have taken us unawares
in that manner. You do not know what you might
'Interrupted !' he repeated, with a comical expression
on his manly countenance. 'Wal, now, may I never
smell bilge-water if that ain't cool! How was I to
know where you were, or what you intended ? Umph !
PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES. 77
It's a lucky thing that I did interrupt you, for here
comes the governor.'
'I implore you, Trestrail, don't say anything to the
'All right, Phil, my boy; don't alarm yourself. I've had
a long talk to the old man about you, and you've nothing
to fear from him. It might have been as well, though,
to have asked his permission before bringing your guns
to bear upon so pretty a craft; but if she's hauled down
her colours and surrendered at the first challenge, he
won't say a word against you carrying off your prize.'
In a few minutes we had joined Mr Percival, whose
hobby at home was botany, and the captain was treated
to a discourse upon monocotyledons and cryptogams,
of which he did not seem to understand a single word.
It was now drawing near the hour when our vehicle
had been ordered to call for us. So we strolled slowly
back to the house. Before parting, Mr Churchill
proposed that I should return next day, and bring
my luggage with me, and take up my abode at his
house during the month we expected to be in Baltimore.
I need not say that very little pressure was required to
obtain my consent to a proposal that ran so much in
the line of my inclinations.
Six months have passed since the events recorded in the
preceding chapter had transpired, and the good ship
Isabelle, with her eccentric but good-natured captain,
are again on their old trading ground on the coast of
Africa. A great change has, however, taken place in
my prospects and mode of life. I am no longer one
78 PHILIP O'HABA'S ADVENTURES.
of the crew of the Isabelle, no longer courting danger
from a love of the excitement which danger brings;
but as the confidential clerk, and all but the adopted
son of Mr Percival, am balancing ledgers, perched upon
a high stool in a dingy office in Baltimore. The work
was by no means of an agreeable kind, and I should
have much preferred the free, roving life of an African
trader; but it gave me opportunities of having daily
intercourse with Mary, and for nearly four months I
had been permanently located as an inmate of Rappa-
hannock House. But the enjoyment of her loved society
more than compensated for the restraints which a
mercantile life imposed. The pleasure of spending my
evenings with her reconciled me to the drudgery of a
merchant's office, and to the loss of the wild freedom I
had hitherto enjoyed.
Unfortunately, about two months previous to the date
on which this chapter begins, Mary had received a
sudden summons to return to Richmond to attend upon
her mother, who was in failing health. I was thus left
to the companionship of my adopted parents, and soon
found the association become irksome and monotonous.
From the first day of our acquaintance, Mr Percival had
evinced a marked liking for me, which, as our intimacy
grew closer, soon deepened into a kind of fatherly affection
on his part, and of filial love on mine. The generous-
hearted old man was to me the very personification of
kindness. In addition to a very liberal allowance by
way of salary, and Rappahannock House for a home,
I was to consider, if my conduct continued to merit his
approval, everything he possessed as mine at his death.
My marriage with Mary he had arranged should take
place as soon as I attained my majority, and I was then
on the verge of twenty.
PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES. 79
Since my admission into Rappahannock House, I had
succeeded in winning my way into the good graces of
even Mrs Percival, and often by the influence which I
gradually acquired over her, did I prevent her smoulder-
ing anger against her rebellious niece from bursting into
flame. By degrees her temper lost much of its natural
acerbity, and her features began to soften into a less
rigid and melancholy expression.
I began to settle down to the performance of the dull
duties connected with my new vocation, and looked for-
ward to becoming a prosaic city merchant and ship-
owner, with no ambition but to increase my dollars.
Up to the time of Mary's departure for the south, I had
been infinitely happy, but when she went, a great void
was made in my daily life. It was impossible to say
when we should meet again, for now the cloud that had
been so long gathering over the western continent was
about to burst, and North and South were preparing to
enter upon a struggle, the fiercest and most bloody the
world had ever seen. Already the tocsin of war had
been sounded from the casements of Fort Sumter, and
the challenge as fiercely responded to by the cannon of
Fort Moultrie. Richmond was being rapidly put into a
state of defence, and terrace after terrace of frowning
batteries looked down on the roads that led from Wash-
ington to the capital of the new Confederation.
I had heard twice from my betrothed since her
departure, and each letter breathed a spirit of the ten-
derest love for me, strangely mingled with enthusiastic
allusions to the military displays which she daily wit-
nessed. Very attractive these must have appeared to
one of her imagination, fired as it was by an ardent
spirit of lofty patriotism.
0 dear Philip,' she wrote in her last letter, do ask
80 PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES.
my dear uncle to let you come here, and adopt a profes-
sion more suited to your talents, more consonant with
your tastes. You have often told me that a military
career is the one you longed most to follow. Here, then,
you have a glorious opportunity. My country requires
such men as you, dear Philip. Under her banners you
could not fail to rise to a position of rank, or to win that
fame which I know is very dear to your heart. If you
fell-though I think my prayers would have weight with
Heaven to avert such a catastrophe-you would fall in
a glorious cause. Your name would live in the hearts of
a grateful people, and your memory be preserved, ever
green, within my soul as that of my hero-love.'
I was beginning to tire of the unvarying dullness of
my present life; and had Mary called upon me to take
up arms in a cause more in harmony with my principles,
I would at once have responded to her appeal. As it
was, her eloquent words stirred my soul to its very
depths, and aroused in me all my old love for dangerous
adventure. But, in truth, my whole sympathies were
against the principles for which her countrymen fought,
and deeply in favour of their opponents. I did not
trouble myself to look at the question of negro emancipa-
tion in its social or political aspects. To me, slavery
stood clearly defined as a most hideous institution, which
it was the desire of the liberty-loving people of the North
to abolish, and the interest of the South to maintain.
Therefore, my best wishes were for the success of aboli-
tion. True, I admired the chivalrous spirit manifested
by the South in defence of what it had come to consider
its rights, and could not help feeling struck by the deter-
mined attitude assumed by those plucky little states in
setting at defiance the will of their gigantic brothers.
But the more I consulted my own feelings, the more
PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES. 81
convinced I became that I could never raise my arm in
defence of a system against which my whole manhood
revolted. Much, therefore, as I loved my Virginian
girl, and gladly as I would have sacrificed my life to do
her bidding, I resolved not to risk a drop of blood to
advance a cause of which I so strongly disapproved.
I had written in reply to this letter of Mary's, stating
therein, more clearly than ever I had done, my precise
views upon this subject. I explained my reasons for
declining to become a soldier of the Confederacy, reminded
her that I was myself the child of an alien race pining
for its freedom and independence, and begged her to
assign me any other task, to demand of me any other
sacrifice, if she doubted of my love for her, or sought only
for some proof of my devotion. Nearly a month elapsed
ere I received a reply; but at length one came, and its
arrival formed another turning-point in my strange and
I was sitting at my desk one day, examining some
shipping returns, when the office messenger brought me a
letter. It was from Mary, and ran as follows :
'DEAR MR O'HARA-Your favour of the 20th ult. to
hand, for which many thanks. I have somewhere heard
or read that true love levels all distinctions, and ignores
every difference whether of creed or principle. You
appear, however, to think differently, and seem to be of
opinion that love should take its shape and colour from
principle alone, and that the manifestations of the former
should be regulated in conformity with the requirements
of the latter. Now, sir, I am candid enough to inform
you that such a love has no attractions for a nature like
mine.-Yours no longer, MARY CHURCHILL.'
It would be impossible to describe the effect produced
82 PHILIP O'HABA'S ADVENTURES.
upon my mind by this letter-penned, too, by the hand
which had so often written sweet words of love and
tender assurances of undying constancy. The pride of
my manhood rose in revolt against the indignity, and hot
tears brought a blush of mingled anger and shame to my
face as I read and re-read those fatal sentences.
I did not fly into a fury, nor vent my emotions in
a tempest of vain reproaches. The feelings aroused
within my breast were too deep for such forms of
expression; but as I leant my throbbing brow against
my clenched hands, and strove to keep down the choking
sensation at my heart, few would have imagined that I
was bidding farewell to fondly cherished memories, to
bright but illusive hopes, or that I was wrenching asunder
those sweet ties that had become interwoven with the
very tissues of life. The thought that rose uppermost in
my soul was, that I should cause that proud girl to
confess to herself how terribly she had misjudged me.
I rose from my desk, locked away my papers, and sallied
forth into the street, my soul filled with a new resolve.
Hailing a passing fiacre, I ordered the man to drive as
quickly as possible to Rappahannock House. Arrived
there, I found that Mr Percival had gone out, and would
not be home again for some hours. I was rather glad
that this should be the case, as it would spare me the
pain of an interview, the result of which might be to
cause me to alter my newly-formed resolves.
Writing a short letter to Mr Percival, in which I
thanked him for all his kindness to me, I hurriedly
explained to him the reason why I quitted his service,
and informed him of my intention to abandon the
mercantile for the military profession. I then wrote a
few words of farewell to Mrs Percival, leaving them in
charge of a servant, with orders that they were not to
PHILTP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES. 83
be delivered until after I had left the house. This done,
I packed up in a portmanteau a few necessary articles
of clothing, took with me as much money as would
serve for immediate wants, stole unperceived from the
house that I had come to regard as my future home,
and in half an hour's time took my last look at Baltimore
through the window of a railway-carriage en route for
the city of Washington.
ON my arrival in 'the city of magnificent distances,' as
Washington has been called, I lost no time in presenting
myself to one of the functionaries at the White House
charged with the duty of enrolling volunteers for the
war. I was at once accepted, and next day was
forwarded to the camp then forming on Arlington
Heights. Having expressed a wish to join a cavalry
regiment, I was drafted to a squadron of horse which
afterwards formed the nucleus of that splendid brigade
known as Stone's Trojans.' After three months' hard
drilling, during which time I strained every nerve to
become an efficient trooper, I was pronounced fit for
active service; and with about eighty other passed men
was despatched to the headquarters of the 'army of
the Potomac.' Here for some time my chief duties
consisted of acting as a mounted scout, or in making
sudden and rapid dashes on the enemy's detached
To describe one half of the thrilling adventures I met
with during the period in which I served in the 'Trojans,'
would be to extend my narrative to double its present
dimensions. Suffice it to say, that on more than one
84 PHILIP O'HARA'S AD VENTURES.
occasion I had the good fortune to distinguish myself
in the field, and had risen through all the grades of
non-commissioned officer, till after two years' hard service
I was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. Not long
after receiving this last mark of honour, I happened to
be in charge of some Confederate prisoners about to be
exchanged on parole. They were all officers, and most
of them men of position and education. With one of
them I had struck up a kind of friendship. He was a
young man of great intelligence, some three or four
years older than myself. He had been wounded, and
while under my charge I had shown him some trifling
acts of kindness, for which the poor fellow appeared to
be exceedingly grateful. I asked him one day to what
state he belonged, and was informed by him that he was
a native of Richmond. Time had somewhat subdued,
but had not quenched my love for Mary Churchill, and
I seized this opportunity of asking the young Confederate
if he was acquainted with a family of that name in his
'Oh, quite well,' he replied. 'The father, who was at
one time one of the wildest fellows in Virginia, suddenly
became exemplary in his conduct-some say through the
loss at sea of his only son; and is now serving as provost-
marshal with the twelfth division. You will see him if
you are deputed to escort us to headquarters, for it is from
him you will receive the Federal paroles in exchange.'
'He had a daughter, I think,' I said carelessly; 'is
she still alive i'
She was alive and well when I was in Richmond
last, about four months ago. Her name is Mary, but
she is always spoken of as the "Richmond Belle,"
because of her extreme beauty. Why, all the young
officers in garrison there are insane about her.'
PHILTP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES. 85
'Then she is not married ?'
'No, nor likely to be, from all I have heard'
'Why so? does she favour none of her numerous
Not one-at least none for the last two years or more.
About that time, however, there was one fellow who
seemed to have a very fair chance. He was a handsome
dashing Louisianian of Stuart's Cavalry," named Captain
'Captain Osborne!' I exclaimed, the hot blood of hate
and jealousy flashing to my cheek, and then tingling
down to the very tips of my fingers. 'Did you say
Captain Osborne ?'
Yes; Captain Henry Osborne of New Orleans. Do
you know him ?'
Slightly,' I replied, making a terrible effort to repress
my emotion; 'but, go on.'
'Well, this Osborne is a great lady-killer, you know,
so he set about practising his art upon the Belle of
Richmond, and for a while it seemed as if his fascinations
were likely to take effect. He was even laying wagers
with some of his mess cronies that the lady would be
his within a week, when suddenly, to his, and indeed,
to every one's surprise, the languishing captain got his
leave, and for a while the beauty withdrew herself from
I gave vent to a huge sigh of genuine relief at this
piece of intelligence. Mary had not, then, fallen a victim
to this designing scoundrel, and parted as we were,
perhaps for ever, there was a world of comfort in the
thought. 'Was the cause of this sudden change in
Miss Churchill's conduct ever discovered I inquired,
striving to look unconcerned.
No, not clearly,' he replied. Rumour said she only
86 PHILIP O'HAIRA'S ADVENTURES.
encouraged Osborne's attentions from a desire to pique
some young fellow-a Britisher, I believe-with whom
she had fallen in love while residing with a wealthy old
uncle who lives in Baltimore. She and her sweetheart
had quarrelled, and he had, it seems, gone and joined
the Yankees. This, it would appear, cut her up greatly,
and led to the dismissal of the irresistible Osborne; so
runs the story, of which I believe her own father is the
And what became of this slayer of women's hearts-
this paragon of manhood 1' I asked.
Well, you see, he had boasted so much of his success
in making love to Miss Churchill, that after she had so
unceremoniously given him the "right about," he could
scarcely hold up his head in garrison; every one
chaffed him so unmercifully. But that was not all, for
just a few days after his failure became known, who
should find her way to Richmond in search of him, but
a poor young thing with a child in her arms He had,
it appears, carried off the poor girl from her home in
England, and afterwards basely abandoned her. Her
story roused such a feeling of indignation against him,
that he was glad to leave Richmond, and is now likewise
at the front serving with the twelfth division.'
'And what became of the poor woman?' I asked,
convinced in my own mind that it could be none other
than the unfortunate Edith.
She disappeared about the same time as Osborne,
though I have heard she has been seen in an obscure
part of the town, seemingly in a state of great poverty.'
At that moment the adjutant rode up and hailed me.
'Lieutenant O'Hara,' he said, drawing me aside after
dismounting, 'take an escort of thirty troopers and start
for Bull's Bluff with those prisoners. You will find
PHILIP O'HA.A'S ADVENTURES. 87
the Confederate headquarters there, and before entering
their lines show a flag of truce. You will bring back
with you the same number of Federal prisoners as you
deliver of Confederates. Be ready to start in an hour.'
I hurried off at once to warn the men who were to
act as the escort, and to give orders for the prisoners to
be got in readiness by the time specified, and an hour
afterwards escort and prisoners were speeding along the
banks of the Potomac in the direction of Bull's Bluff.
On our way we passed over our last great battle-field,
upon which, under General Mead, our arms had inflicted
a crushing defeat on the Confederates. Most of the
dead had been buried in great square trenches, the places
of sepulchre being marked by little cairns of stones in the
case of soldiers, and by rude wooden crosses in that of
officers. A Inarch of a couple of hours brought us to
the angle of a wood, round which the road we were
pursuing took a sharp turn, the wood itself stretching in
an easterly direction till it reached the foot of the Bluff.
Here we were brought to a sudden halt by the sharp
challenge of a sentinel, 'Who goes there and we knew
that we were in front of the enemy's lines.
We were received by a mounted picket to whose
challenge we had replied, and with our flag of truce
flying were conducted by the trooper some distance
within the lines. We were not, however, allowed to
penetrate far in this direction, for at a little village about
half a mile up the road, we found the advanced guard of
the twelfth division, where the rebel officers charged with
the business of exchanging the prisoners were in company
with the latter waiting to receive us.
At the entrance to the village we were met by a tall
portly officer of about forty-five, with a very red face and
a pair of the darkest eyes I ever remembered to have
88 PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES.
seen-no; there were another pair which these ones so
strongly reminded me of, that for an instant I fancied I
must have seen their possessor before. The ceremony of
an introduction was dispensed with on either side, the
Southern officer merely asking me how many of his boys
I had brought. I replied, 'Fifty.'
We had by this time reached the door of what had
been the village school-house, but which the exigences of
war had now transformed into a main guard; and here
we found, drawn up in line, the Federal officers who
were to be exchanged. The transfer was at once effected,
and now all that remained to do was for each of us to
sign duplicate forms of exchange. My portly friend soon
produced the requisite materials, and proceeded to affix
his signature to the document. When he had done so,
I took up the paper, and found that it bore the name of
Richard Churchill, and realized that I was in the
presence of Mary's father. For a brief space I stood
gazing into his face, endeavouring to trace out whatever
resemblance his features bore to hers, then taking from
his hand the pen, I inscribed in bold characters beneath
his signature the name of Philip O'Hara. No sooner
had he read the words than he started and looked some-
what eagerly into my face.
I think, sir,' he said, 'I have heard your name
It is not improbable,' I replied; the name is both an
ancient and an honourable one.'
No doubt, sir, no doubt. May I ask were you ever in
Yes,' I replied; 'I passed there some of the happiest
weeks of my life.'
'Did you know a gentleman residing there named
PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES. 89
'I did, but my acquaintance was not limited to Mr
Percival; it unfortunately extended also to his niece, your
daughter, Mary Churchill.'
A look of intense pleasure came into the man's eyes, as
stretching out his hand he seized hold of mine, and said :
' I'm prouder at this moment, sir, than if they had made
me general of the division. Allow me, sir, the pleasure
of grasping the hand that so nobly avenged my poor
murdered boy-the hand, too, that should have been
joined in marriage with that of my daughter, but for her
own romantic folly. Ah, captain; you don't know how
that girl loves you. She never ceases to mourn the folly
that dictated the foolish letter that drove you into the
arms of our enemies. When she heard from her uncle
that you had left Baltimore, she saw the blunder she
had committed, and when a year ago she read in a
Union paper how you had led the forlorn hope at
Pittsburg, and how the general had created you a
lieutenant on the field of battle, it nearly broke poor
Mary's heart to think that she had been the cause of your
throwing yourself in the way of almost certain destruc-
tion. Ah, captain; just scrawl her a line to say you are
still alive, and that you forgive her. I '11 send it to her
by the Brigade Post which starts for Richmond in an
I took from my breast-pocket the letter which had
caused us both so much needless suffering, and which I
had carefully treasured through those years of hardship
and danger. It contained a blank sheet, upon which I
wrote the following lines :
'DEAR MIss CHURCHIML-By this time, I trust the
spirit which dictated this letter will have passed away,
and given place to something of the old feeling that
90 PHILIP O'HABA'S ADVENTURES.
ought never to have known any change. My object in
returning your letter is, that, reading it after the lapse of
years you may the more fully realise how little it
harmonises with my subsequent conduct, or with the
circumstances which have led to the present communi-
cation. The chances of war are against the likelihood of
our ever meeting again. I will therefore say farewell.
May you be happy, and may you sometimes think of me
in the future as you loved to think of me in the never-to-
be-forgotten past, as yours in heart,
I handed the letter to the provost-marshal, took a
farewell grasp of his hand, said good-bye to the young
Confederate who was standing near, and who had
witnessed our interview. Then, lest the emotions which
kept surging up in my heart should find utterance in
words or betray their existence in looks, I sprang into
the saddle, gave the order to march, and was soon on
the route back for the Federal camp.
WE were now drawing towards the close of that gigantic
struggle which had lasted for four years, which had cost
the lives of over half a million of men, but which finally
resulted in the complete triumph of the Union, and in
the emancipation of four millions of an oppressed and
enslaved people. Since the conclusion of the last chapter,
events had followed one upon another with marvellous
rapidity. Battle after battle had been fought, in which
the South had been defeated, until in the terrible three
days' fighting around Spotsylvania, Southern misfortune
culminated in disastrous defeat. The military power of
PHILIP O'HABA'S ADVENTURES. 91
the Confederacy was annihilated, her civil government
disorganised, and her resources exhausted.
It was towards the close of the last day's struggle, after
nine hours' incessant fighting, that the enemy gave way;
and abandoning the guns and position which they had
so heroically defended, fled for Richmond. The reserve
cavalry, which till then had been held like hounds in
leash, were let loose on their track, and the horrors of
the pursuit began. Ten thousand sabres flashed in the
red light of the setting sun, as with a wild hurrah the
horsemen dashed after the flying rout. It was no longer
a battle, but a butchery, and lance and sabre did their
pitiless work without remorse.
Now and then a few brave fellows would turn and sell
their lives at a terrible price, proving that the courage of
the Southern chivalry' could be great even in disaster
and despair. Among our troopers were a number of
German mercenaries, and these men, though possessed of
excellent fighting qualities, were merciless while in pursuit
of a flying foe. They cut and slashed right and left,
regardless of offers to surrender or calls for quarter.
Seeing one of them, a butcherly-looking fellow, about
to cut down a Confederate officer who was evidently
already wounded-for his gray uniform was stained with
blood, and his left arm hung limp and motionless by his
side-I spurred my horse between him and the German,
and received the full sweep of his sabre upon my own.
Observing my rank-for I was now captain-the German
muttered some Teuton expletive, and dashed away to glut
his appetite for blood upon some less fortunate fugitive.
I now turned to look at the man whom I rescued, and
found to my amazement that he was Mary Churchill's
father. An exclamation, at once of surprise and pleasure,
escaped us, as our eyes met.
92 PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES.
You have saved my life, captain,' he gasped as soon
as he could speak. 'How can I sufficiently thank
'Never mind thanking me at present,' I replied. Are
you badly hurt ?'
A bullet in the left shoulder; that's all. I've lost a
good deal of blood though, and feel weak.'
Do you think you could keep your seat on my horse
if I gave you a mount V
I'm afraid not, captain; but you won't leave me to
be sabred by those fellows, will you .'
Certainly not. Take hold of my stirrup-leather, and
support yourself by it. I'11 stick by you till some of the
ambulance wagons come up.'
I had shared in enough of bloodshed for one day, and
saw no glory in the pursuit and wanton slaughter of men
who thought no more of resistance, but only of how to
preserve their lives. So I determined to protect my
prisoner, and to conduct him to a place of safety.
I was walking my horse at a slow pace down a narrow
road which crossed at right-angles the route taken by the
main body of the Southern army in its flight. There
were a few houses clustered together at one side of the
road, and in one of them I hoped to be able to procure
some assistance for my wounded friend. But the houses
were deserted, their occupants having, doubtless, accom-
panied the routed army in its flight to Richmond. The
sounds of war had not yet altogether died away, though
cannonading had ceased; and everything like an organised
resistance was at an end, though now and then detached
parties of the enemy would make a show of fight as they
were overtaken, or driven from their places of conceal-
ment, by the Union troops.
We had just finished our exploration of the deserted
PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTTUES. 93
cottages, and were thinking of turning in order to retrace
our steps and gain the main road, and there await the
arrival of an ambulance wagon, when we were startled
by the sound of firing behind a wood on our left. In
a few minutes we perceived a troop of rebel cavalry
dash out from the cover of the plantation and scatter
in all directions, hotly pursued by a body of our own
cavalry-the irrepressible 'Trojans.' Suddenly we saw
a rebel officer, who appeared to be their leader, leap his
charger over a high stone fence which separated the
plantation from an extensive field lying between the
former and the road. He was mounted on a splendid
gray mustang, and came dashing at full speed across
the field, in order to gain the road where we were
standing. He could not observe us, owing to our being
screened from sight by the projecting angle of one of
the above-mentioned houses. The man was flying for
his life, and I resolved not to molest him, as he would
pass us without being aware of our presence. As his
flying steed approached nearer, however, something in
the bearing and appearance of the rider attracted my
attention, and made me scrutinise him more closely.
He wore a broad palmetto which partly concealed his
features, but I saw enough of them to inspire me with
the conviction that they were the features of some one
I had seen before. As this conviction strengthened, I
felt myself settle down into my saddle, and begin to
gather up my reins. Even the intelligent animal which
I bestrode felt the impulse, and responded to it, pawing
the ground as if to assure me he was ready for the
charge. Just then, Churchill recognizing his country-
man, exclaimed : 'Bless me, if that ain't Major Osborne.'
For a moment my mind seemed to undergo one of
those mysterious changes that psychologists find it so
94 PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTTUBES.
difficult to explain. I was suddenly transported out of
the present, and surrounded by the past with all its
vivid and painful recollections, and I seemed to see
him smiling as he stood, on the night in which I first
met him, by the side of his unsuspecting victim.
On seeing me suddenly emerge from behind the angle
of the building, he checked the speed of his horse, and
was about to double in another direction. Then observ-
ing that he had but one foe to contend against, he altered
his intention, and dashed straight towards me. When
about twenty yards distant, he took aim with his revolver
and fired, the bullet whizzing by within three inches of
my ear. Finding he had not another charge left, he stood
up in his stirrups, and hurled the empty pistol at me with
the force of a catapult. Stooping low in my saddle to
allow the missile to fly over my head, I made a sweep at
him with my sabre, which he skilfully guarded off with
And now, for some minutes nothing could be heard
but the rasping and clashing of our weapons as we closed
together in deadly combat, or the angry prancing and
snorting of our steeds. I soon found that I had to do
with an accomplished swordsman, as well as a splendid
rider who kept his saddle like a centaur. In this
manner the contest went on for several minutes, till the '
fury of my antagonist began to show symptoms of abat-
ing, and his movements grew less vigorous and rapid.
Then, of a sudden, as if by a mutual feeling or impulse,
we paused a moment, and regarded each other with eyes
full of anger and deadly hate. Gradually a look of
perplexity stole into my enemy's face, as he seemed to
recognize in mine the features of some one he had seen
under different circumstances, and he gasped out:
' Stranger, I've met you before ; who are you ?'
PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES. 95
'I am no stranger to you, Henry Osborne,' I replied;
'I am the friend, the brother of the woman to whom
you behaved so cruelly at Eskvale. I am Philip
The dark face of the Louisianian blanched as I uttered
these words, and a look of deadly fear dawned in his
eyes. The recollection of his victim's wrongs began to
palsy his heart, and rob his arm of its former strength
and skill. A few more blows, feeble compared with
those he had previously showered upon my weapon,
and he fell from his saddle a lifeless corpse. Securing
the slain man's horse, which I could see was a most
valuable one, I rode back to the spot where I had left
Mary's father. He had been witness of the combat, and
had seen it terminate in the death of his countryman,
to whom he could render no assistance, even had he felt
inclined, as he had no arms, and was moreover badly
wounded. But, apart from these considerations, the
provost-marshal bore to Osborne no very kindly feeling,
knowing well his character, and the designs on his
daughter which the libertine had openly avowed. I
briefly related to him the story of Edith's wrongs, with its
painful sequel of sorrow and death, and told him, too, of
the vow which I had made in the presence of her dead
father to avenge her dishonour.
As Mr Churchill stood much in need of surgical assist-
ance, I with some difficulty managed to mount him in my
saddle, for he was suffering great pain from his wound,
and, myself mounting Osborne's mustang, I slowly led
my own along by the bridle reins. We soon regained
the main road, which was literally strewn with dead
bodies, and material of war in the shape of rifles, bayonets,
knapsacks, and drums-with everything, in fact, that could
impede an army in full flight, or add to its chances of
96 PHILIP O'HARA'S AD YENTUREAS.
being overtaken. Fortunately, we soon came upon one
of the field-hospital wagons, where the bullet was speedily
extracted and the wounded man taken care of.
The war was now virtually at an end, and six weeks
after the last battle I visited Richmond in company with
Mary's father, now perfectly recovered of his wound. It
was evening when the provost-marshal and I arrived,
and we lost no time in proceeding at once to the house
of the former, a comfortable but unpretentious-looking
edifice situated in the suburbs of the town. Not a light
was visible in any of the windows looking on the road,
and we noticed that the blinds were all closely drawn,
and there was that hushed, silent, hopeless look about
the exterior of the house that told us it was the home of
sorrow, if not of death.
In answer to the provost-marshal's vigorous summons
on the bell, the door was quickly opened by a neatly
dressed quadroon girl.
Are Mrs and Miss Churchill at home 7' inquired my
'Yes, sir,' answered the little quadroon, who was
evidently a stranger to the master of the house.
'Very well, my dear,' he said, pushing past her, and
closing the door softly as I entered behind him. Very
well; are they in the drawing-room ?'
'No, sir, in the back-parlour with Miss Johnston, the
What are they doing with the dressmaker ?' inquired
'Getting their mourning fitted on.
'Why, who are they going into mourning for i'
'Why, sir, for poor dear Colonel Churchill, who was
killed by these horrid Yankees.'
The provost's stout face gradually extended till it
PHILIP O'HARA'S ADVENTURES. 97
was twice its usual length, while it assumed an
expression of the most ludicrous- melancholy. 'Oh,
captain,' he murmured in a sepulchral tone of voice,
'this is too bad! my wife appears to be in a hurry to
make the world believe she's a widow. I daresay now,
that had my absence lasted a whole year, I'd have found
that instead of weeds, the dressmaker would have been
fitting her with a second wedding-dress. It's almost a
pity to spoil her peace of mind by dispelling the sweet
I could not help feeling amused at this comical view
taken by a restored husband of the effect likely to
be produced by his reappearance on the wife of his
'Look you, captain,' he said to me in a low voice,
'too many surprises might at first prove unpleasant. Do
you remain out here in the lobby for a few minutes,
while I go in first and prepare them. They're both
sensible, strong-minded women, and not at all likely
to faint. I don't mind much if the dressmaker does;
she'd be less in the way, perhaps, if she did.'
Then turning to the servant, who stood by, wondering
who we were and what we wanted, he said to her:
'Look here, my girl, Colonel Churchill is not killed at
all; he's here. I am he, and I'm going into the parlour
to astonish your mistress. Don't be afraid; this young
gentleman will remain with you, but don't fall in love
with him,' he added playfully; 'he's engaged already.'
And leaving the astonished quadroon and myself to
amuse ourselves as best we could, he strode to the
farther end of the lobby, or what in England would
have been designated the 'hall,' and rapped at a door
to the right.
'Come in,' exclaimed a sweet, rich voice, the sound