Part 4 out of 7
"What induces you to go amongst those people; hasn't your mother again and
again forbidden you to do so. Why do you go, I say?" he continued, shaking
her roughly by the arm, and frowning savagely. "Why don't you
The child, with the tears streaming down her lovely face, was only able to
answer in her defence. "Oh, pa, I do love them so."
"You do, do you?" replied her exasperated father, stamping his foot, and
pushing her from him; "go to bed, and if ever I hear of you going there
again, you shall be well whipped." The tearful face lingered about the door
in hope of a reprieve that did not come, and then disappeared for the
"The children must not be suffered to go in there, Jule; something I've
learned to-day will----" here Mr. Stevens checked himself; and in answer to
his wife's impatient "What have you learned?" replied, "Oh, nothing of
consequence--nothing that will interest you," and sat with his slipper in
his hand, engaged in deep thought.
Now for Mr. Stevens to commence a communication to his wife, and then break
off in the middle of it, was as novel as disagreeable, as he was generally
very communicative, and would detail to her in the evening, with pleasing
minuteness, all the rogueries he had accomplished during the day; and his
unwillingness to confide something that evidently occupied his mind caused
his spouse to be greatly irritated.
Mr. Stevens drank his tea in silence, and during the evening continued
absorbed in reflection; and, notwithstanding the various ill-natured
remarks of his wife upon his strange conduct retired without giving her the
slightest clue to its cause.
Mr. Stevens awoke at a very early hour the ensuing morning, and quite
unceremoniously shook his wife to arouse her also. This he accomplished
after considerable labour; for Mrs. Stevens was much more sleepy than
usual, in consequence of her husband's restlessness the previous night.
"I declare," said she, rubbing her eyes, "I don't get any peace of my life.
You lie awake, kicking about, half the night, muttering and whispering
about no one knows what, and then want me to rise before day. What are you
in such, a hurry for this morning,--no more mysteries, I hope?"
"Oh, come, Jule, get up!" said her husband, impatiently. "I must be off to
my business very early; I am overburthened with different things this
Mrs. Stevens made a very hasty toilette, and descended to the kitchen,
where the little charity-girl was bustling about with her eyes only half
open. With her assistance, the breakfast was soon prepared, and Mr. Stevens
called downstairs. He ate rapidly and silently, and at the conclusion of
his meal, put on his hat, and wished his amiable spouse an abrupt good
After leaving his house, he did not take the usual course to his office,
but turned his steps toward the lower part of the city. Hastening onward,
he soon left the improved parts of it in his rear, and entered upon a
The morning was very chilly, and as it was yet quite early, but few people
were stirring: they were labourers hurrying to their work, milkmen, and
trundlers of breadcarts.
At length he stopped at the door of a tavern, over which was a large sign,
bearing the name of Whitticar. On entering, he found two or three
forlorn-looking wretches clustering round the stove, endeavouring to
receive some warmth upon their half-clothed bodies,--their red and pimpled
noses being the only parts about them that did not look cold. They stared
wonderingly at Mr. Stevens as he entered; for a person so respectable as
himself in appearance was but seldom seen in that house.
The boy who attended the bar inquired from behind the counter what he would
"Mr. Whitticar, if you please," blandly replied Mr. Stevens.
Hearing this, the boy bolted from the shop, and quite alarmed the family,
by stating that there was a man in the shop, who said he wanted to take Mr.
Whitticar, and he suspected that he was a policeman.
Whitticar, who was seldom entirely free from some scrape, went through
another door to take a survey of the new comer, and on ascertaining who it
was, entered the room.
"You've quite upset the family; we all took you for a constable," said he,
approaching Mr. Stevens, who shook hands with him heartily, and then,
laying his arm familiarly on his shoulder, rejoined,--
"I say, Whitticar, I want about five minutes' conversation with you.
Haven't you some room where we can be quite private for a little while?"
"Yes; come this way," replied he. And, leading his visitor through the bar,
they entered a small back room, the door of which they locked behind them.
"Now, Whitticar," said Mr. Stevens, "I want you to act the part of a friend
by the fellow who got in that awkward scrape at this house. As you did not
give the evidence you informed me you were possessed of, at the coroner's
inquest, it is unnecessary for you to do so before the magistrate at
examination. There is no use in hanging the fellow--it cannot result in any
benefit to yourself; it will only attract disagreeable notice to your
establishment, and possibly may occasion a loss of your licence. We will
be willing to make it worth your while to absent yourself, for a short time
at least, until the trial is over; it will put money in your purse, and
save this poor devil's life besides. What do you say to receiving a hundred
and fifty, and going off for a month or two?"
"Couldn't think of it, Mr. Stevens, no how. See how my business would
suffer; everything would be at loose ends. I should be obliged to hire a
man to take my place; and, in that case, I must calculate upon his stealing
at least twenty-five per cent. of the receipts: and then there is his
wages. No, no that won't do. Besides, I'm trying to obtain the nomination
for the office of alderman--to secure it, I must be on the spot; nothing
like looking out for oneself. I am afraid I can't accommodate you, squire,
unless you can offer something better than one hundred and fifty."
"You've got no conscience," rejoined Mr. Stevens, "not a bit."
"Well, the less of that the better for me; it's a thing of very little use
in the rum-selling business; it interferes with trade--so I can't afford to
keep a conscience. If you really want me to go, make me a better offer; say
two fifty, and I'll begin to think of it. The trial will be over in a month
or six weeks, I suppose, and a spree of that length would be very
"No, I won't do that, Whitticar,--that's flat; but I'll tell you what I
will do. I'll make it two hundred, and what is more, I'll see to your
nomination. I'm all right down here, you know; I own the boys in this
district; and if you'll say you'll put some little matters through for me
after you are elected, I'll call it a bargain."
"Then I'm your man," said Whitticar, extending his hand.
"Well, then," added Stevens, "come to my office this morning, and you shall
have the money; after that I shall expect you to get out of town as quick
as possible. Goodbye."
"So far all right," muttered Mr. Stevens, with an air of intense
satisfaction, as he left the house; "he'll be of great use to me. When it
becomes necessary to blind the public by a sham investigation, he will be
the man to conduct it; when I want a man released from prison, or a little
job of that kind done, he will do it--this act will put him in my power;
and I am much mistaken if he won't prove of the utmost service in our riot
scheme. Now, then, we will have an examination of McCloskey as soon as they
A few weeks subsequent to the events we have just written, we find Mr.
Stevens seated in his dingy office in company with the McCloskey, who had
recently been discharged from custody in default of sufficient evidence
being found to warrant his committal for trial. He was sitting with his
feet upon the stove, and was smoking a cigar in the most free-and-easy
"So far, so good," said Mr. Stevens, as he laid down the letter he was
perusing; "that simplifies the matter greatly; and whatever is to be done
towards his removal, must be done quickly--now that the old man is dead
there is but one to deal with."
During the interval that had elapsed between the interview of Mr. Stevens
with Whitticar and the period to which we now refer, Mr. Stevens had been
actively engaged in promoting his riot scheme; and already several
disturbances had occurred, in which a number of inoffensive coloured people
had been injured in their persons and property.
But this was only a faint indication of what was to follow; and as he had,
through the agency of Mr. Morton and others, been able to prevent any but
the most garbled statements of these affairs from getting abroad, there was
but little danger of their operations being interfered with. Leading
articles daily appeared in the public journals (particularly those that
circulated amongst the lowest classes), in which the negroes were
denounced, in the strongest terms. It was averred that their insolence,
since the commencement of the abolition agitation, had become unbearable;
and from many quarters was suggested the absolute necessity for inflicting
some general chastisement, to convince them that they were still negroes,
and to teach them to remain in their proper place in the body politic.
Many of these articles were written by Mr. Stevens, and their insertion as
editorials procured through the instrumentality of Mr. Morton and his
Mr. Stevens turned to his visitor, and inquired, "What was done last
night--much of anything?"
"A great deal, yer honour," replied McCloskey; "a nagur or two half killed,
and one house set on fire and nearly burned up."
"_Is that all_?" said Mr. Stevens, with a well-assumed look of
disappointment. "Is that all? Why, you are a miserable set: you should have
beaten every darky out of the district by this time."
"They're not so aisily bate out--they fight like sevin divils. One o' 'em,
night before last, split Mikey Dolan's head clane open, and it's a small
chance of his life he's got to comfort himself wid."
"Chances of war--chances of war!" rejoined Mr. Stevens,--"mere trifles when
you get used to 'em: you mustn't let that stop you--you have a great deal
yet to do. What you have already accomplished is a very small matter
compared with what is expected, and what I intend you to do: your work has
only just begun, man."
"Jist begun!" replied the astonished McCloskey; "haven't we bin raising the
very divil every night for the last week--running a near chance of being
kilt all the time--and all for nothing! It's gettin' tiresome; one don't
like to be fighting the nagurs all the time for the mere fun of the
thing--it don't pay, for divil a cent have I got for all my trouble; and ye
said ye would pay well, ye remimber."
"So I shall," said Mr. Stevens, "when you do something worth paying
for--the quarter is not accomplished yet. I want the place made so hot down
there that the niggers can't stay. Go a-head, don't give them any
rest--I'll protect you from the consequences, whatever they be: I've great
things in store for you," continued he, moving nearer and speaking in a
confidential tone; "how should you like to return to Ireland a moneyed
"I should like it well enough, to be sure; but where's the money to come
"Oh, there's money enough to be had if you have the courage to earn it."
"I'm willin' enough to earn an honest penny, but I don't like risking me
neck for it, squire. It's clear ye'll not be afther givin' me a dale of
money widout being sure of havin' the worth of it out o' me; and it's dirty
work enough I've done, widout the doin' of any more: me conscience is a
sore throuble to me about the other job. Be the powers I'm out o' that, and
divil a like scrape will I get in agin wid my own consint."
"Your conscience has become troublesome very suddenly," rejoined Mr.
Stevens, with a look of angry scorn; "it's strange it don't appear to have
troubled you in the least during the last few weeks, whilst you have been
knocking niggers on the head so freely."
"Well, I'm tired o' that work," interrupted McCloskey; "and what's more,
I'll soon be lavin' of it off."
"We'll see about that," said Mr. Stevens. "You're a pretty fellow, now,
ain't you--grateful, too--very! Here I've been successful in getting you
out of a hanging scrape, and require a trifling service in return, and you
retire. You'll find this trifling won't do with me," continued Mr. Stevens,
with great sternness of manner. "You shall do as I wish: you are in my
power! I need your services, and I will have them--make up your mind to
McCloskey was somewhat staggered at this bold declaration from Mr. Stevens;
but he soon assumed his former assured manner, and replied, "I'd like to
know how I'm in your power: as far as this riot business is concerned,
you're as deep in the mud as I'm in the mire; as for the other, be St.
Patrick, I'm clane out o' that!--they don't try a man twice for the same
thing." "Don't halloo so loud, my fine fellow," sneeringly rejoined Mr.
Stevens, "you are not entirely out of the wood yet; you are by no means as
safe as you imagine--you haven't been _tried_ yet, you have only been
examined before a magistrate! They lacked sufficient evidence to commit you
for trial--that evidence I can produce at any time; so remember, if you
please, you have not been tried yet: when you have been, and acquitted, be
kind enough to let me know, will you?"
Mr. Stevens stood for a few moments silently regarding the change his
language had brought over the now crestfallen McCloskey; he then
continued--"Don't think you can escape me--I'll have a thousand eyes upon
you; no one ever escapes me that I wish to retain. Do as I require, and
I'll promote your interest in every possible way, and protect you; but
waver, or hold back, and I'll hang you as unhesitatingly as if you were a
This threat was given in a tone that left no doubt on the mind of the
hearer but that Mr. Stevens would carry out his expressed intention; and
the reflections thereby engendered by no means added to the comfort or
sense of security that McCloskey had flattered himself he was in future to
enjoy; he, therefore, began to discover the bad policy of offending one who
might prove so formidable an enemy--of incensing one who had it in his
power to retaliate by such terrible measures.
He therefore turned to Mr. Stevens, with a somewhat humbled manner, and
said: "You needn't get so mad, squire--sure it's but natural that a man
shouldn't want to get any deeper in the mire than he can help; and I've
enough on my hands now to make them too red to look at wid comfort--sure
it's not a shade deeper you'd have 'em?" he asked, looking inquiringly at
Mr. Stevens, who was compelled to turn away his face for a moment to hide
At last he mastered his countenance, and, in as cool a tone as he could
assume, replied: "Oh, a little more on them will be scarcely a perceptible
addition. You know the old adage, 'In for a penny, in for a pound.' You
need have no fear," said he, lowering his voice almost to a whisper; "it
can be done in a crowd--and at night--no one will notice it."
"I don't know about that, squire--in a crowd some one will be sure to
notice it. It's, too dangerous--I can't do it."
"Tut, tut, man; don't talk like a fool. I tell you there is no danger. You,
in company with a mob of others, are to attack this man's house. When he
makes his appearance, as he will be sure to do, shoot him down."
"Good God! squire," said McCloskey, his face growing pale at the prospect
of what was required of him, "you talk of murder as if it was mere play!"
"And still, _I never murdered any one_," rejoined Mr. Stevens,
significantly; "come, come--put your scruples in your pocket, and make up
your mind to go through with it like a man. When the thing is done, you
shall have five thousand dollars in hard cash, and you can go with it where
you please. Now, what do you think of that?"
"Ah, squire, the money's a great timptation! but it's an awful job."
"No worse than you did for nothing," replied Mr. Stevens.
"But that was in a fair fight, and in hot blood; it isn't like planning to
kill a man, squire."
"Do you call it a fair fight when you steal up behind a man, and break his
skull with a slung shot?" asked Mr. Stevens.
McCloskey was unable to answer this, and sat moodily regarding his tempter.
"Come, make up your mind to it--you might as well," resumed Mr. Stevens, in
a coaxing tone.
"Ye seem bent on not giving it up, and I suppose I'll have to do it,"
replied McCloskey, reluctantly; "but what has the man done to ye's, squire,
that you're so down upon him?"
"Oh, he is one of those infernal Abolitionists, and one of the very worst
kind; he lives with a nigger woman--and, what is more, he is married to
"Married to a nigger!" exclaimed McCloskey--"it's a quare taste the animal
has--but you're not afther killing him for that; there's something more
behind: it's not for having a black wife instead of a white one you'd be
afther murthering him--ye'll get no stuff like that down me."
"No, it is not for that alone, I acknowledge," rejoined Mr. Stevens, with
considerable embarrassment. "He insulted me some time ago, and I want to be
revenged upon him."
"It's a dear job to insult you, at that rate, squire; but where does he
"In my neighbourhood--in fact, next door to me," replied Mr. Stevens, with
an averted face.
"Howly Mother! not away up there--sure it's crazy ye are. What, away up
there in the city limits!--why, they would have the police and the sogers
at our heels in less than no time. Sure, you're out o' your sinses, to have
me go up there with a mob. No, no--there's too much risk--I can't try
"I tell you there shall be no risk," impatiently replied Mr. Stevens. "It's
not to be done to-night, nor to-morrow night; and, when I say do it, you
_shall_ do it, and as safely there as anywhere. Only come to the conclusion
that a thing _must_ be done, and it is half finished already. You have only
to make up your mind that you will accomplish a design in spite of
obstacles, and what you once thought to be insurmountable difficulties will
prove mere straws in your path. But we are wasting time; I've determined
you shall do it, and I hope you now know me well enough to be convinced
that it is your best policy to be as obliging as possible. You had better
go now, and be prepared to meet me to-night at Whitticar's."
After the door closed upon the retreating form of McCloskey, the careless
expression that Mr. Stevens's countenance had worn during the conversation,
gave place to one full of anxiety and apprehension, and he shuddered as he
contemplated the fearful length to which he was proceeding.
"If I fail," said he--"pshaw! I'll not fail--I must not fail--for failure
is worse than ruin; but cool--cool," he continued, sitting down to his
desk--"those who work nervously do nothing right." He sat writing
uninterruptedly until quite late in the afternoon, when the fading sunlight
compelled him to relinquish his pen, and prepare for home.
Thrusting the papers into his pocket, he hurried toward the newspaper
office from which were to emanate, as editorials, the carefully concocted
appeals to the passions of the rabble which he had been all the afternoon
so busily engaged in preparing.
Mr. Stevens falls into Bad Hands.
The amiable partner of Mr. Stevens sat in high dudgeon, at being so long
restrained from her favourite beverage by the unusually deferred absence of
her husband. At length she was rejoiced by hearing his well-known step as
he came through the garden, and the rattle of his latch-key as he opened
the door was quite musical in her ears.
"I thought you was never coming," said she, querulously, as he entered the
room; "I have been waiting tea until I am almost starved."
"You needn't have waited a moment, for you will be obliged to eat alone
after all; I'm going out. Pour me out a cup of tea--I'll drink it whilst
I'm dressing; and," continued Mr. Stevens, "I want you to get me that old
brown over-coat and those striped trowsers I used to wear occasionally."
"Why, you told me," rejoined Mrs. Stevens, "that you did not require them
again, and so I exchanged them for this pair of vases to-day."
"The devil you did!" said Mr. Stevens, angrily; "you let them lie about the
house for nearly a year--and now, just as they were likely to be of some
service to me, you've sold them. It's just like you--always doing something
at the wrong time."
"How on earth, Stevens, was I to know you wanted them?"
"Well, there, Jule, they're gone; don't let's have any more talk about it.
Get me another cup of tea; I must go out immediately." After hastily
swallowing the second cup, Mr. Stevens left his home, and walked to an
omnibus-station, from whence he was quickly transported to a street in the
lower part of the city, in which were a number of second-hand clothing
stores. These places were supported principally by the country people who
attended the market in the same street, and who fancied that the clothing
they purchased at these shops must be cheap, because it was at second-hand.
Mr. Stevens stopped at the door of one of these establishments, and paused
to take a slight survey of the premises before entering. The doorway was
hung with coats of every fashion of the last twenty years, and all in
various stages of decay. Some of them looked quite respectable, from much
cleaning and patching; and others presented a reckless and forlorn aspect,
as their worn and ragged sleeves swung about in the evening air. Old hats,
some of which were, in all probability, worn at a period anterior to the
Revolution, kept company with the well-blacked shoes that were ranged on
shelves beside the doorway, where they served in the capacity of signs, and
fairly indicated the style of goods to be purchased within.
Seeing that there were no buyers in the store, Mr. Stevens opened the door,
and entered. The sounds of his footsteps drew from behind the counter no
less a personage than our redoubtable friend Kinch, who, in the absence of
his father, was presiding over the establishment.
"Well, Snowball," said Mr. Stevens, "do you keep this curiosity-shop?"
"My name is not Snowball, and this ain't a curiosity-shop," replied Kinch.
"Do you want to buy anything?"
"I believe I do," answered Mr. Stevens. "Let me look at some coats--one
that I can get on--I won't say fit me, I'm indifferent about that--let me
see some of the worst you've got."
Kinch looked surprised at this request from a gentleman of Mr. Stevens's
appearance, and handed out, quite mechanically, a coat that was but
slightly worn. "Oh, that won't do--I want something like this," said Mr.
Stevens, taking down from a peg a very dilapidated coat, of drab colour,
and peculiar cut. What do you ask for this?"
"That's not fit for, a gentleman like you, sir," said Kinch.
"I'm the best judge of that matter," rejoined Mr. Stevens. "What is the
price of it?"
"Oh, that coat you can have for a dollar," replied Kinch.
"Then I'll take it. Now hand out some trowsers."
The trowsers were brought; and from a large number Mr. Stevens selected a
pair that suited him. Then adding an old hat to his list of purchases, he
declared his fit-out complete.
"Can't you accommodate me with some place where I can put these on?" he
asked of Kinch; "I'm going to have a little sport with some friends of
mine, and I want to wear them."
Kinch led the way into a back room, where he assisted Mr. Stevens to array
himself in his newly-purchased garments. By the change in his attire he
seemed completely robbed of all appearance of respectability; the most
disagreeable points of his physique seemed to be brought more prominently
forward by the habiliments he had assumed, they being quite in harmony with
his villanous countenance.
Kinch, who looked at him with wonder, was forced to remark, "Why, you don't
look a bit like a gentleman now, sir."
Mr. Stevens stepped forward, and surveyed himself in the looking-glass. The
transformation was complete--surprising even to himself. "I never knew
before," said he, mentally, "how far a suit of clothes goes towards giving
one the appearance of a gentleman."
He now emptied the pockets of the suit he had on;--in so doing, he dropped
upon the floor, without observing it, one of the papers.
"Fold these up," said he, handing to Kinch the suit he had just taken off,
"and to-morrow bring them to this address." As he spoke, he laid his card
upon the counter, and, after paying for his new purchases, walked out of
the shop, and bent his steps in the direction of Whitticar's tavern.
On arriving there, he found the bar-room crowded with half-drunken men, the
majority of whom were Irishmen, armed with bludgeons of all sizes and
shapes. His appearance amongst them excited but little attention, and he
remained there some time before he was recognized by the master of the
"By the howly St. Patherick I didn't know you, squire; what have you been
doing to yourself?"
"Hist!" cried Mr. Stevens, putting his fingers to his lips; "I thought it
was best to see how matters were progressing, so I've run down for a little
while. How are you getting on?"
"Fine, fine, squire," replied Whitticar; "the boys are ripe for anything.
They talk of burning down a nigger church."
"Not to-night--they must not do such a thing to-night--we are not ready for
that yet. I've made out a little list--some of the places on it they might
have a dash at to-night, just to keep their hands in." As Mr. Stevens
spoke, he fumbled in his pocket for the list in question, and was quite
surprised to be unable to discover it.
"Can't you find it, squire?" asked Whitticar.
"I must have lost; it on the way," replied Mr. Stevens. "I am sure I put it
in this pocket," and he made another search. "No use--I'll have to give it
up," said he, at length; "but where is McCloskey? I haven't seen him since
I came in."
"He came here this afternoon, very far gone; he had been crooking his elbow
pretty frequently, and was so very drunk that I advised him to go home and
go to bed; so he took another dram and went away, and I haven't seen him
"That's bad, very bad--everything goes wrong this evening--I wanted him
to-night particularly." "Wouldn't the boys go out with you?" suggested
"No, no; that wouldn't do at all. I mustn't appear in these things. If I'm
hauled up for participation, who is to be your lawyer--eh?"
"True for you," rejoined Whitticar; "and I'll just disperse the crowd as
soon as I can, and there will be one peaceable night in the district at any
Not liking to give directions to the mob personally, and his useful
coadjutor McCloskey not being at hand, Mr. Stevens came to the conclusion
he would return to his home, and on the next evening a descent should be
made upon the places marked on the list.
Taking out his watch, he found it would be too late to return to the store
where he had purchased his present adornments, so he determined to start
The coat that temporarily adorned the person of Mr. Stevens was of peculiar
cut and colour--it was, in fact, rather in the rowdy style, and had, in its
pristine state, bedecked the person of a member of a notorious fire
company. These gentry had for a long time been the terror of the district
in which they roamed, and had rendered themselves highly obnoxious to some
of the rival factions on the borders of their own territory; they had the
unpleasant habit of pitching into and maltreating, without the slightest
provocation, any one whom their practised eyes discovered to be a rival;
and by such outrages they had excited in the bosoms of their victims a
desire for revenge that only awaited the occasion to manifest itself.
Mr. Stevens, in happy unconsciousness, that, owing to his habiliments, he
represented one of the well-known and hated faction, walked on quite
leisurely; but, unfortunately for him, his way home lay directly through
the camp of their bitterest and most active enemies.
Standing in front of a tavern-window, through which a bright light shone,
were a group of young men, who bestowed upon Mr. Stevens more than passing
attention. "I'm blest," exclaimed one of them, if there ain't a ranger!
now that it a saucy piece of business, ain't it! That fellow has come up
here to be able to go back and play brag-game."
"Let's wallop him, then," suggested another, "and teach him better than to
come parading himself in our parts. I owe 'em something for the way they
served me when I was down in their district."
"Well, come on," said the first speaker, "or he will get away whilst we are
jawing about what we shall do."
Advancing to Mr. Stevens, he tapped that gentleman on the shoulder, and
said, with mock civility, and in as bland a tone as he could assume, "It's
really very obliging of you, mister, to come up here to be flogged--saves
us the trouble of coming down to you. We would like to settle with you for
that drubbing you gave one of our boys last week."
"You must be mistaken," replied Mr. Stevens: "I don't know anything of the
affair to which you allude."
"You don't, eh! Well, take that, then, to freshen your memory," exclaimed
one of the party, at the same time dealing him a heavy blow on the cheek,
which made the lamplights around appear to dance about in the most
The first impulse of Mr. Stevens was to cry out for the watchman; but a
moment's reflection suggested the impolicy of that project, as he would
inevitably be arrested with the rest; and to be brought before a magistrate
in his present guise, would have entailed upon him very embarrassing
explanations; he therefore thought it best to beg off--to throw himself, as
it were, upon their sympathies.
"Stop, gentlemen--stop--for God's sake, stop," he cried, as soon as he
could regain the breath that had been almost knocked out of him by the
tremendous blow he had just received--"don't kill an innocent man; upon my
honour I never saw you before, nor ever assaulted any of you in my life. My
dear friends," he continued, in a dolorous tone, "please let me go--you are
quite mistaken: I assure you I am not the man." "No, we ain't mistaken,
either: you're one of the rangers; I know you by your coat," replied one of
It now flashed upon Mr. Stevens that he had brought himself into these
difficulties, by the assumption of the dress he then wore; he therefore
quickly rejoined--"Oh, it is not my coat--I only put it on for a joke!"
"That's a likely tale," responded one of the party, who looked very
incredulous; "I don't believe a word of it. That's some darned stuff you've
trumped up, thinking to gammon us--it won't go down; we'll just give you a
walloping, if it's only to teach you to wear your own clothes,"--and
suiting the action to the word, he commenced pommelling him unmercifully.
"Help! help!" screamed Mr. Stevens. "Don't kill me, gentlemen,--don't kill
"Oh! we won't kill you--we'll only come as near it as we can, without quite
finishing you," cried one of his relentless tormenters.
On hearing this, their victim made a frantic effort to break away, and not
succeeding in it, he commenced yelling at the top of his voice. As is usual
in such cases, the watchman was nowhere to be seen; and his cries only
exasperated his persecutors the more.
"Hit him in the bread-crusher, and stop his noise," suggested one of the
party farthest off from Mr. Stevens. This piece of advice was carried into
immediate effect, and the unfortunate wearer of the obnoxious coat received
a heavy blow in the mouth, which cut his lips and knocked out one of his
His cries now became so loud as to render it necessary to gag him, which
was done by one of the party in the most thorough and expeditious manner.
They then dragged him into a wheelwright's shop near by, where they
obtained some tar, with which they coated his face completely.
"Oh! don't he look like a nigger!" said one of the party, when they had
finished embellishing their victim.
"Rub some on his hands, and then let him go," suggested another. "When he
gets home I guess he'll surprise his mammy: I don't believe his own dog
will know him!"
A shout of laughter followed this remark, in the midst of which they
ungagged Mr. Stevens and turned him from the door.
"Now run for it--cut the quickest kind of time," exclaimed one of them, as
he gave him a kick to add impetus to his forward movement.
This aid was, however, entirely unnecessary, for Mr. Stevens shot away from
the premises like an arrow from a bow; and that, too, without any
observation upon the direction in which he was going.
As soon as he felt himself out of the reach of his tormentors, he sat down
upon the steps of a mansion, to consider what was best to be done. All the
shops, and even the taverns, were closed--not a place was open where he
could procure the least assistance; he had not even an acquaintance in the
neighbourhood to whom he might apply.
He was, indeed, a pitiable object to look upon The hat he had so recently
purchased, bad as it was when it came into his possession, was now
infinitely less presentable. In the severe trials it had undergone, in
company with its unfortunate owner, it had lost its tip and half the brim.
The countenance beneath it would, however, have absorbed the gazer's whole
attention. His lips were swelled to a size that would have been regarded as
large even on the face of a Congo negro, and one eye was puffed out to an
alarming extent; whilst the coating of tar he had received rendered him
such an object as the reader can but faintly picture to himself.
The door of the mansion was suddenly opened, and there issued forth a party
of young men, evidently in an advanced state of intoxication. "Hallo!
here's a darkey!" exclaimed one of them, as the light from the hall fell
upon the upturned face of Mr. Stevens. "Ha, ha! Here's a darkey--now for
Mr. Stevens was immediately surrounded by half a dozen well-dressed young
men, who had evidently been enjoying an entertainment not conducted upon
temperance principles. "Spirit of--hic--hic--night, whence co-co-comest
thou?" stammered one; "sp-p-peak--art thou a creature of the
mag-mag-na-tion-goblin-damned, or only a nigger?--speak!" Mr. Stevens, who
at once recognized one or two of the parties as slight acquaintances, would
not open his mouth, for fear that his voice might discover him, as to them,
above all persons, he would have shrunk from making himself known, he
therefore began to make signs as though he were dumb.
"Let him alone," said one of the more sober of the party; "he's a poor dumb
fellow--let him go." His voice was disregarded, however, as the rest seemed
bent on having some sport.
A half-hogshead, nearly filled with water, which stood upon the edge of the
pavement, for the convenience of the builders who were at work next door,
caught the attention of one of them.
"Let's make him jump into this," he exclaimed, at the same time motioning
to Mr. Stevens to that effect. By dint of great effort they made him
understand what was required, and they then continued to make him jump in
and out of the hogshead for several minutes; then, joining hands, they
danced around him, whilst he stood knee-deep in the water, shivering, and
making the most imploring motions to be set at liberty.
Whilst they were thus engaged, the door again opened, and the fashionable
Mr. Morton (who had been one of the guests) descended the steps, and came
to see what had been productive of so much mirth.
"What have you got here?" he asked, pressing forward, until he saw the
battered form of Mr. Stevens; "oh, let the poor darkey go," he continued,
compassionately, for he had just drunk enough to make him feel humane; "let
the poor fellow go, it's a shame to treat him in this manner."
As he spoke, he endeavoured to take from the hands of one of the party a
piece of chip, with which he was industriously engaged in streaking the
face of Mr. Stevens with lime, "Let me alone, Morton--let me alone; I'm
making a white man of him, I'm going to make him a glorious fellow-citizen,
and have him run for Congress. Let me alone, I say."
Mr. Morton was able, however, after some persuasion, to induce the young
men to depart; and as his home lay in a direction opposite to theirs, he
said to Mr. Stevens, "Come on, old fellow, I'll protect you."
As soon as they were out of hearing of the others, Mr. Stevens exclaimed,
"Don't you know me, Morton?"
Mr. Morton started back with surprise, and looked at his companion in a
bewildered manner, then exclaimed, "No, I'll be hanged if I do. Who the
devil are you?"
"I'm Stevens; you know me."
"Indeed I don't. Who's Stevens?"
"You don't know me! why, I'm George Stevens, the lawyer."
Mr. Morton thought that he now recognized the voice, and as they were
passing under the lamp at the time, Mr. Stevens said to him, "Put your
finger on my face, and you will soon see it is only tar." Mr. Morton did as
he was desired, and found his finger smeared with the sticky article.
"What on earth have you been doing with yourself?" he asked, with great
surprise; "what is all this masquerading for?"
Mr. Stevens hereupon related his visit at Whitticar's, and detailed the
events that had subsequently occurred.
Mr. Morton gave vent to shouts of laughter as he listened to the recital of
his friend. "By George!" he exclaimed, "I'll have to tell that; it is too
good to keep."
"Oh, no, don't," said Mr. Stevens; "that won't do--you forget what I came
"True," rejoined Mr. Morton; "I suppose it will be best to keep mum about
it. I'll go home with you, you might fall into the hands of the Philistines
"Thank you--thank you," replied Mr. Stevens, who felt greatly relieved to
have some company for his further protection; "and," continued he, "if I
could only get some of this infernal stuff off my face, I should be so
glad; let us try."
Accordingly they stopped at the nearest pump, and endeavoured to remove
some of the obnoxious tar from his face; but, unfortunately, the only
result obtained by their efforts was to rub it more thoroughly in, so they
were compelled to give up in despair, and hasten onward.
Mr. Stevens rang so loudly at the door, as to quite startle his wife and
the charity-girl, both of whom had fallen into a sound sleep, as they sat
together awaiting his return. Mr. Morton, who, as we have said before, was
not entirely sober, was singing a popular melody, and keeping time upon the
door with the head of his cane. Now, in all her life, Mrs. Stevens had
never heard her husband utter a note, and being greatly frightened at the
unusual noise upon the door-step, held a hurried consultation with the
charity-girl upon the best mode of proceeding.
"Call through the key-hole, ma'am," suggested she, which advice Mrs.
Stevens immediately followed, and inquired, "Who's there?"
"Open the door, Jule, don't keep me out here with your darned nonsense; let
me in quick."
"Yes, let him in," added Mr. Morton; "he's brought a gentleman from Africa
Mrs. Stevens did not exactly catch the purport of the words uttered by Mr.
Morton; and, therefore, when she opened the door, and her husband, with his
well-blacked face, stalked into the entry, she could not repress a scream
of fright at the hideous figure he presented.
"Hush, hush," he exclaimed, "don't arouse the neighbours--it's me; don't
you know my voice."
Mrs. Stevens stared at him in a bewildered manner, and after bidding Mr.
Morton "Good night," she closed and locked the door, and followed her
husband into the back room. In a short time he recapitulated the events
of the night to his astonished and indignant spouse, who greatly
commiserated his misfortunes. A bottle of sweet oil was brought into
requisition, and she made a lengthened effort to remove the tar from her
husband's face, in which she only partially succeeded; and it was almost
day when he crawled off to bed, with the skin half scraped off from his
Immediately after the departure of Mr. Stevens, Master Kinch began to
consider the propriety of closing the establishment for the night. Sliding
down from the counter, where he had been seated, reflecting upon the
strange conduct of his recent customer, he said, "I feels rather queer
round about here," laying his hand upon his stomach; "and I'm inclined to
think that some of them 'ere Jersey sausages and buckwheat cakes that the
old man has been stuffing himself with, wouldn't go down slow. Rather
shabby in him not to come back, and let me go home, and have a slap at the
wittles. I expect nothing else, but that he has eat so much, that he's fell
asleep at the supper-table, and won't wake up till bedtime. He's always
serving me that same trick."
The old man thus alluded to was no other than Master Kinch's father, who
had departed from the shop two or three hours previously, promising to
return immediately after tea.
This promise appeared to have entirely faded from his recollection, as he
was at that moment, as Kinch had supposed, fast asleep, and totally
oblivious of the fact that such a person as his hungry descendant was in
Having fully come to the conclusion to suspend operations for the evening,
Kinch made two or three excursions into the street, returning each time
laden with old hats, coats, and shoes. These he deposited on the counter
without order or arrangement, muttering, as he did so, that the old man
could sort 'em out in the morning to suit himself. The things being all
brought from the street, he had only to close the shutters, which
operation was soon effected, and our hungry friend on his way home.
The next morning Mr. De Younge (for the father of Kinch rejoiced in that
aristocratic cognomen) was early at his receptacle for old clothes, and it
being market-day, he anticipated doing a good business. The old man
leisurely took down the shutters, assorted and hung out the old clothes,
and was busily engaged in sweeping out the store, when his eye fell upon
the paper dropped by Mr. Stevens the evening previous.
"What's dis 'ere," said he, stooping to pick it up; "bill or suthin' like
it, I s'pose. What a trial 'tis not to be able to read writin'; don't know
whether 'tis worth keeping or not; best save it though till dat ar boy of
mine comes, _he_ can read it--he's a scholar. Ah, de children now-a-days
has greater 'vantages than deir poor fathers had."
Whilst he was thus soliloquizing, his attention was arrested by the noise
of footsteps in the other part of the shop, and looking up, he discerned
the tall form of Mr. Walters.
"Why, bless me," said the old man, "dis is an early visit; where you come
from, honey, dis time o' day?"
"Oh, I take a walk every morning, to breathe a little of the fresh air; it
gives one an appetite for breakfast, you know. You'll let me take the
liberty of sitting on your counter, won't you?" he continued; "I want to
read a little article in a newspaper I have just purchased."
Assent being readily given, Mr. Walters was soon perusing the journal with
great attention; at last he tossed it from him in an impatient manner, and
exclaimed, "Of all lying rascals, I think the reporters for this paper are
the greatest. Now, for instance, three or four nights since, a gang of
villains assaulted one of my tenants--a coloured man--upon his own
doorstep, and nearly killed him, and that, too, without the slightest
provocation; they then set fire to the house, which was half consumed
before it could be extinguished; and it is here stated that the coloured
people were the aggressors, and whilst they were engaged in the _melee_,
the house caught fire accidentally." "Yes," rejoined Mr. De Younge;
"things are gitting mighty critical even in dese 'ere parts; and I wouldn't
live furder down town if you was to give me a house rent-free. Why, it's
raly dangerous to go home nights down dere."
"And there is no knowing how long we may be any better off up here,"
continued Mr. Walters; "the authorities don't seem to take the least notice
of them, and the rioters appear to be having it all their own way."
They continued conversing upon the topic for some time, Mr. De Younge being
meanwhile engaged in sponging and cleaning some coats he had purchased the
day before; in so doing, he was obliged to remove the paper he had picked
up from the floor, and it occurred to him to ask Mr. Walters to read it; he
therefore handed it to him, saying--
"Jist read dat, honey, won't you? I want to know if it's worth savin'. I've
burnt up two or three receipts in my life, and had de bills to pay over;
and I'se got rale careful, you know. 'Taint pleasant to pay money twice
over for de same thing."
Mr. Walters took the paper extended to him, and, after glancing over it,
remarked, "This handwriting is very familiar to me, very; but whose it is,
I can't say; it appears to be a list of addresses, or something of that
kind." And he read over various names of streets, and numbers of houses.
"Why," he exclaimed, with a start of surprise, "here is my own house upon
the list, 257, Easton-street; then here is 22, Christian-street; here also
are numbers in Baker-street, Bedford-street, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth
Streets; in some of which houses I know coloured people live, for one or
two of them are my own. This is a strange affair."
As he spoke, he turned over the paper, and read on the other side,--"Places
to be attacked." "Why, this looks serious," he continued, with some
excitement of manner. "'Places to be attacked,'--don't that seem to you as
if it might be a list of places for these rioters to set upon? I really
must look into this. Who could have left it here?"
"I raly don't know," replied the old man. "Kinch told me suthin' last
night about some gemman comin' here and changing his clothes; p'raps 'twas
him. I'd like to know who 'twas myself. Well, wait awhile, my boy will come
in directly; maybe he can explain it."
He had scarcely finished speaking, when Master Kinch made his appearance,
with his hat, as usual, placed upon nine hairs, and his mouth smeared with
the eggs and bacon with which he had been "staying and comforting" himself.
He took off his hat on perceiving Mr. Walters, and, with great humility,
"hoped that gentleman was well."
"Yes, very well, Kinch," replied Mr. Walters. "We were waiting for you. Can
you tell where this came from?" he asked, handing him the mysterious paper.
"Never seen it before, that I know of," replied Kinch, after a short
"Well, who was here last night?" asked his father; "you said you sold
"So I did," replied Kinch; "sold a whole suit; and the gentleman who put it
on said he was going out for a lark. He was changing some papers from his
pocket: perhaps he dropped it. I'm to take this suit back to him to-day.
Here is his card."
"By heavens!" exclaimed Mr. Walters, after looking at the card, "I know the
fellow,--George Stevens, 'Slippery George,'--every one knows him, and can
speak no good of him either. Now I recognize the handwriting of the list; I
begin to suspect something wrong by seeing his name in connection with
Hereupon Kinch was subjected to a severe cross-examination, which had the
effect of deepening Mr. Walters's impression, that some plot was being
concocted that would result to the detriment of the coloured people; for he
was confident that no good could be indicated by the mysterious conduct of
After some deliberation, Kinch received instructions to take home the
clothes as directed, and to have his eyes about him; and if he saw or heard
anything, he was to report it. In accordance with his instructions,
Master Kinch made several journeys to Mr. Stevens's office, but did not
succeed in finding that gentleman within; the last trip he made there
fatigued him to such a degree, that he determined to wait his arrival, as
he judged, from the lateness of the hour, that, if it was his intention to
come at all that day, he would soon be there.
"I'll sit down here," said Kinch, who espied an old box in the back part of
the entry, "and give myself a little time to blow."
He had not sat long before he heard footsteps on the stairs, and presently
the sound of voices became quite audible.
"That's him," ejaculated Kinch, as Mr. Stevens was heard saying, in an
angry tone,--"Yes; and a devil of a scrape I got into by your want of
sobriety. Had you followed my directions, and met me at Whitticar's,
instead of getting drunk as a beast, and being obliged to go home to bed,
it wouldn't have happened."
"Well, squire," replied McCloskey, for he was the person addressed by Mr.
Stevens, "a man can't be expected always to keep sober."
"He ought to when he has business before him," rejoined Mr. Stevens,
sharply; "how the devil am I to trust you to do anything of importance,
when I can't depend on your keeping sober a day at a time? Come up to this
top landing," continued he, "and listen to me, if you think you are sober
enough to comprehend what I say to you."
They now approached, and stood within a few feet of the place where Kinch
was sitting, and Mr. Stevens said, with a great deal of emphasis, "Now, I
want you to pay the strictest attention to what I say. I had a list of
places made out for you last night, but, somehow or other, I lost it. But
that is neither here nor there. This is what I want you to attend to
particularly. Don't attempt anything to-night; you can't get a sufficient
number of the boys together; but, when you do go, you are to take, first,
Christian-street, between Eleventh and Twelfth,--there are several nigger
families living in that block. Smash in their windows, break their
furniture, and, if possible, set one of the houses on fire, and that will
draw attention to that locality whilst you are operating elsewhere. By that
time, the boys will be ripe for anything. Then you had better go to a house
in Easton-street, corner of Shotwell: there is a rich nigger living there
whose plunder is worth something. I owe him an old grudge, and I want you
to pay it off for me."
"You keep me pretty busy paying your debts. What's the name of this rich
"Walters," replied Mr. Stevens; "everybody knows him. Now about that other
affair." Here he whispered so low, that Kinch could only learn they were
planning an attack on the house of some one, but failed in discovering the
name. McCloskey departed as soon as he had received full directions from
Mr. Stevens, and his retreating steps might be still heard upon the stairs,
when Mr. Stevens unlocked his office-door and entered.
After giving him sufficient time to get quietly seated, Kinch followed, and
delivered the clothes left with him the evening previous. He was very much
struck with Mr. Stevens's altered appearance, and, in fact, would not have
recognized him, but for his voice.
"You don't seem to be well?" remarked Kinch, inquiringly.
"No, I'm not," he replied, gruffly; "I've caught cold." As Kinch was
leaving the office, he called after him, "Did you find a paper in your shop
"No, sir," replied Kinch, "_I didn't_;" but mentally he observed, "My daddy
did though;" and, fearful of some other troublesome question, he took leave
Fatigued and out of breath, Kinch arrived at the house of Mr. Walters,
where he considered it best to go and communicate what he had learned.
Mr. Walters was at dinner when he received from the maid a summons to the
parlour to see a lad, who said his business was a matter "of life or
death." He was obliged to smile at the air of importance with which Kinch
commenced the relation of what he had overheard--but the smile gave place
to a look of anxiety and indignation long ere he had finished, and at the
conclusion of the communication he was highly excited and alarmed.
"The infernal scoundrel!" exclaimed Mr. Walters. "Are you sure it was my
"Yes, sure," was Kinch's reply. "You are the only coloured person living in
the square--and he said plain enough for anybody to understand,
'Easton-street, corner of Shotwell.' I heard every word but what they said
towards the last in a whisper."
"You couldn't catch anything of it?" asked Mr. Walters.
"No, I missed that; they talked too low for me to hear."
After reflecting a few moments, Mr. Walters said: "Not a word of this is to
be lisped anywhere except with my permission, and by my direction. Have you
had your dinner?"
"No, sir," was the prompt reply.
"I want to despatch a note to Mr. Ellis, by you, if it won't trouble you
too much. Can you oblige me?"
"Oh, yes, sir, by all means," replied Kinch, "I'll go there with pleasure."
"Then whilst I'm writing," continued Mr. Walters, "you can be eating your
dinner, that will economize time, you know."
Kinch followed the servant who answered the bell into the dining-room which
Mr. Walters had just left. On being supplied with a knife and fork, he
helped himself bountifully to the roast duck, then pouring out a glass of
wine, he drank with great enthusiasm, to "our honoured self," which
proceeding caused infinite amusement to the two servants who were peeping
at him through the dining-room door. "Der-licious," exclaimed Kinch,
depositing his glass upon the table; "guess I'll try another;" and suiting
the action to the word, he refilled his glass, and dispatched its contents
in the wake of the other. Having laboured upon the duck until his appetite
was somewhat appeased, he leant back in his chair and suffered his plate to
be changed for another, which being done, he made an attack upon a peach
pie, and nearly demolished it outright.
This last performance brought his meal to a conclusion, and with a look of
weariness, he remarked, "I don't see how it is--but as soon as I have eat
for a little while my appetite is sure to leave me--now I can't eat a bit
more. But the worst thing is walking down to Mr. Ellis's. I don't feel a
bit like it, but I suppose I must;" and reluctantly rising from the table,
he returned to the parlour, where he found Mr. Walters folding the note he
had promised to deliver.
As soon as he had despatched Kinch on his errand, Mr. Walters put on his
hat and walked to the office of the mayor.
"Is his honour in?" he asked of one of the police, who was lounging in the
"Yes, he is--what do you want with him?" asked the official, in a rude
"That, sir, is none of your business," replied Mr. Walters; "if the mayor
is in, hand him this card, and say I wish to see him."
Somewhat awed by Mr. Walters's dignified and decided manner, the man went
quickly to deliver his message, and returned with an answer that his honour
would be obliged to Mr. Walters if he would step into his office.
On following the officer, he was ushered into a small room--the private
office of the chief magistrate of the city.
"Take a seat, sir," said the mayor, politely, "it is some time since we
have met. I think I had the pleasure of transacting business with you quite
frequently some years back if I am not mistaken."
"You are quite correct," replied Mr. Walters, "and being so favourably
impressed by your courtesy on the occasions to which you refer, I have
ventured to intrude upon you with a matter of great importance, not only to
myself, but I think I may say to the public generally. Since this morning,
circumstances have come under my notice that leave no doubt on my mind
that a thoroughly-concerted plan is afoot for the destruction of the
property of a large number of our coloured citizens--mine amongst the rest.
You must be aware," he continued, "that many very serious disturbances have
occurred lately in the lower part of the city."
"Yes, I've heard something respecting it," replied the mayor, "but I
believe they were nothing more than trifling combats between the negroes
and the whites in that vicinity."
"Oh, no, sir! I assure you," rejoined Mr. Walters, "they were and are
anything but trifling. I regard them, however, as only faint indications of
what we may expect if the thing is not promptly suppressed; there is an
organized gang of villains, who are combined for the sole purpose of
mobbing us coloured citizens; and, as we are inoffensive, we certainly
deserve protection; and here," continued Mr. Walters, "is a copy of the
list of places upon which it is rumoured an attack is to be made."
"I really don't see how I'm to prevent it, Mr. Walters; with the exception
of your own residence, all that are here enumerated are out of my
jurisdiction. I can send two or three police for your protection if you
think it necessary. But I really can't see my way clear to do anything
"Two or three police!" said Mr. Walters, with rising indignation at the
apathy and indifference the mayor exhibited; "they would scarcely be of any
more use than as many women. If that is the extent of the aid you can
afford me, I must do what I can to protect myself."
"I trust your fears lead you to exaggerate the danger," said the mayor, as
Mr. Walters arose to depart; "perhaps it is _only_ rumour after all."
"I might have flattered myself with the same idea, did I not feel convinced
by what has so recently occurred but a short distance from my own house; at
any rate, if I am attacked, they will find I am not unprepared. Good day,"
and bowing courteously to the mayor, Mr. Walters departed.
Mr. Walters lost no time in sending messengers to the various parties
threatened by the mob, warning them either to leave their houses or to make
every exertion for a vigorous defence. Few, however, adopted the latter
extremity; the majority fled from their homes, leaving what effects they
could not carry away at the mercy of the mob, and sought an asylum in the
houses of such kindly-disposed whites as would give them shelter.
Although the authorities of the district had received the most positive
information of the nefarious schemes of the rioters, they had not made the
slightest efforts to protect the poor creatures threatened in their persons
and property, but let the tide of lawlessness flow on unchecked.
Throughout the day parties of coloured people might have been seen hurrying
to the upper part of the city: women with terror written on their faces,
some with babes in their arms and children at their side, hastening to some
temporary place of refuge, in company with men who were bending beneath the
weight of household goods.
Mr. Walters had converted his house into a temporary fortress: the shutters
of the upper windows had been loop-holed, double bars had been placed
across the doors and windows on the ground floor, carpets had been taken
up, superfluous furniture removed, and an air of thorough preparation
imparted. A few of Mr. Walters's male friends had volunteered their aid in
defence of his house, and their services had been accepted.
Mr. Ellis, whose house was quite indefensible (it being situated in a
neighbourhood swarming with the class of which the mob was composed), had
decided on bringing his family to the house of Mr. Walters, and sharing
with him the fortunes of the night, his wife and daughters having declared
they would feel as safe there as elsewhere; and, accordingly, about five in
the afternoon, Mrs. Ellis came up, accompanied by Kinch and the girls.
Caddy and Kinch, who brought up the rear, seemed very solicitous respecting
the safety of a package that the latter bore in his arms.
"What have you there?" asked Mr. Walters, with a smile; "it must be powder,
or some other explosive matter, you take such wonderful pains for its
preservation. Come, Caddy, tell us what it is; is it powder?"
"No, Mr. Walters, it isn't powder," she replied; "it's nothing that will
blow the house up or burn it down."
"What is it, then? You tell us, Kinch."
"Just do, if you think best," said Caddy, giving him a threatening glance;
whereupon, Master Kinch looked as much as to say, "If you were to put me on
the rack you couldn't get a word out of me."
"I suppose I shall have to give you up," said Mr. Walters at last; "but
don't stand here in the entry; come up into the drawing-room."
Mrs. Ellis and Esther followed him upstairs, and stood at the door of the
drawing-room surveying the preparations for defence that the appearance of
the room so abundantly indicated. Guns were stacked in the corner, a number
of pistols lay upon the mantelpiece, and a pile of cartridges was heaped up
beside a small keg of powder that stood upon the table opposite the
"Dear me!" exclaimed Mrs. Ellis, "this looks dreadful; it almost frightens
me out of my wits to see so many dangerous weapons scattered about."
"And how does it affect our quiet Esther?" asked Mr. Walters.
"It makes me wish I were a man," she replied, with considerable vehemence
of manner. All started at this language from one of her usually gentle
"Why, Esther, how you talk, girl: what's come over you?"
"Talk!" replied she. "I say nothing that I do not feel. As we came through
the streets to-day, and I saw so many inoffensive creatures, who, like
ourselves, have never done these white wretches the least injury,--to see
them and us driven from our homes by a mob of wretches, who can accuse us
of nothing but being darker than themselves,--it takes all the woman out of
my bosom, and makes me feel like a----" here Esther paused, and bit her lip
to prevent the utterance of a fierce expression that hovered on the tip of
She then continued: "One poor woman in particular I noticed: she had a babe
in her arms, poor thing, and was weeping bitterly because she knew of no
place to go to seek for shelter or protection. A couple of white men stood
by jeering and taunting her. I felt as though I could have strangled them:
had I been a man, I would have attacked them on the spot, if I had been
sure they would have killed me the next moment."
"Hush! Esther, hush! my child; you must not talk so, it sounds
unwomanly--unchristian. Why, I never heard you talk so before." Esther made
no reply, but stood resting her forehead upon the mantelpiece. Her face was
flushed with excitement, and her dark eyes glistened like polished jet.
Mr. Walters stood regarding her for a time with evident admiration, and
then said, "You are a brave one, after my own heart." Esther hung down her
head, confused by the ardent look he cast upon her, as he continued, "You
have taken me by surprise; but it's always the way with you quiet people;
events like these bring you out--seem to change your very natures, as it
were. We must look out," said he, with a smile, turning to one of the young
men, "or Miss Ellis will excel us all in courage. I shall expect great
things from her if we are attacked to-night."
"Don't make a jest of me, Mr. Walters," said Esther, and as she spoke her
eyes moistened and her lip quivered with vexation.
"No, no, my dear girl, don't misunderstand me," replied he, quickly;
"nothing was farther from my thoughts. I truly meant all that I said. I
believe you to be a brave girl."
"If you really think so," rejoined Esther, "prove it by showing me how to
load these." As she spoke she took from the mantel one of the pistols that
were lying there, and turned it over to examine it.
"Oh! put that down, Esther, put that down immediately," almost screamed
Mrs. Ellis; "what with your speeches and your guns you'll quite set me
crazy; do take it from her, Walters; it will certainly go off."
"There's not the least danger, Ellen," he replied; "there's nothing in it."
"Well, I'm afraid of guns, loaded or unloaded; they are dangerous, all of
them, whether they have anything in them or not. Do you hear me, Esther; do
put that down and come out of here."
"Oh, no, mother," said she, "do let me remain; there, I'll lay the pistols
down and won't touch them again whilst you are in the room."
"You may safely leave her in my hands," interposed Mr. Walters. "If she
wants to learn, let her; it won't injure her in the least, I'll take care
of that." This assurance somewhat quieted Mrs. Ellis, who left the room and
took up her quarters in another apartment.
"Now, Mr. Walters," said Esther, taking off her bonnet, I'm quite in
earnest about learning to load these pistols, and I wish you to instruct
me. You may be hard pressed tonight, and unable to load for yourselves, and
in such an emergency I could perhaps be of great use to you."
"But, my child," replied he, "to be of use in the manner you propose, you
would be compelled to remain in quite an exposed situation."
"I am aware of that," calmly rejoined Esther. "And still you are not
afraid?" he asked, in surprise.
"Why should I be; I shall not be any more exposed than you or my father."
"That's enough--I'll teach you. Look here," said Mr. Walters, "observe how
I load this." Esther gave her undivided attention to the work before her,
and when he had finished, she took up another pistol and loaded it with a
precision and celerity that would have reflected honour on a more practised
"Well done!--capital!" exclaimed Mr. Walters, as she laid down the weapon.
"You'll do, my girl; as I said before, you are one after my own heart. Now,
whilst you are loading the rest, I will go downstairs, where I have some
little matters to attend to." On the stair-way he was met by Kinch and
Caddy, who were tugging up a large kettle of water. "Is it possible,
Caddy," asked Mr. Walters, "that your propensity to dabble in soap and
water has overcome you even at this critical time? You certainly can't be
going to scrub?"
"No, I'm not going to scrub," she replied, "nor do anything like it. We've
got our plans, haven't we, Kinch?"
"Let's hear what your plans are. I'd like to be enlightened a little, if
convenient," said Mr. Walters.
"Well, it's _not_ convenient, Mr. Walters, so you need not expect to hear a
word about them. You'd only laugh if we were to tell you, so we're going to
keep it to ourselves, ain't we, Kinch?"
The latter, thus appealed to, put on an air of profound mystery, and
intimated that if they were permitted to pursue the even tenor of their
way, great results might be expected; but if they were balked in their
designs, he could not answer for the consequences.
"You and Esther have your plans," resumed Caddy, "and we have ours. We
don't believe in powder and shot, and don't want anything to do with guns;
for my part I'm afraid of them, so please let us go by--do, now, that's a
"You seem to forget that I'm the commander of this fortress," said Mr.
Walters, "and that I have a right to know everything that transpires within
it; but I see you look obstinate, and as I haven't time to settle the
matter now, you may pass on. I wonder what they can be about," he remarked,
as they hurried on. "I must steal up by-and-by and see for myself."
One after another the various friends of Mr. Walters came in, each bringing
some vague report of the designs of the mob. They all described the
excitement as growing more intense; that the houses of various prominent
Abolitionists had been threatened; that an attempt had been made to fire
one of the coloured churches; and that, notwithstanding the rioters made
little scruple in declaring their intentions, the authorities were not
using the slightest effort to restrain them, or to protect the parties
threatened. Day was fast waning, and the approaching night brought with it
clouds and cold.
Whilst they had been engaged in their preparations for defence, none had
time to reflect upon the danger of their situation; but now that all was
prepared, and there was nothing to sustain the excitement of the last few
hours, a chill crept over the circle who were gathered round the fire.
There were no candles burning, and the uncertain glow from the grate gave a
rather weird-like look to the group. The arms stacked in the corner of the
room, and the occasional glitter of the pistol-barrels as the flames rose
and fell, gave the whole a peculiarly strange effect.
"We look belligerent enough, I should think," remarked Mr. Walters, looking
around him. "I wish we were well out of this: it's terrible to be driven to
these extremities--but we are not the aggressors, thank God! and the
results, be they what they may, are not of our seeking. I have a right to
defend my own: I have asked protection of the law, and it is too weak, or
too indifferent, to give it; so I have no alternative but to protect
myself. But who is here? It has grown so dark in the room that I can
scarcely distinguish any one. Where are all the ladies?" "None are here
except myself," answered Esther; "all the rest are below stairs."
"And where are you? I hear, but can't see you; give me your hand," said he,
extending his own in the direction from which her voice proceeded. "How
cold your hand is," he continued; "are you frightened?"
"Frightened!" she replied; "I never felt calmer in my life--put your finger
on my pulse."
Mr. Walters did as he was desired, and exclaimed, "Steady as a clock. I
trust nothing may occur before morning to cause it to beat more hurriedly."
"Let us put some wood on these coals," suggested Mr. Ellis; "it will make a
slight blaze, and give us a chance to see each other." As he spoke he took
up a few small fagots and cast them upon the fire.
The wood snapped and crackled, as the flames mounted the chimney and cast a
cheerful glow upon the surrounding objects: suddenly a thoroughly ignited
piece flew off from the rest and fell on the table in the midst of the
cartridges. "Run for your lives!" shrieked one of the party. "The powder!
the powder!" Simultaneously they nearly all rushed to the door.
Mr. Walters stood as one petrified. Esther alone, of the whole party,
retained her presence of mind; springing forward, she grasped the blazing
fragment and dashed it back again into the grate. All this passed in a few
seconds, and in the end Esther was so overcome with excitement and terror,
that she fainted outright. Hearing no report, those who had fled cautiously
returned, and by their united efforts she was soon restored to
"What a narrow escape!" said she, trembling, and covering her face with her
hands; "it makes me shudder to think of it."
"We owe our lives to you, my brave girl," said Mr. Walters; "your presence
of mind has quite put us all to the blush."
"Oh! move the powder some distance off, or the same thing may happen
again. Please do move it, Mr. Walters; I shall have no peace whilst it is
Whilst they were thus engaged, a loud commotion was heard below stairs, and
with one accord all started in the direction from whence the noise
"Bring a light! bring a light!" cried Mrs. Ellis; "something dreadful has
happened." A light was soon procured, and the cause of this second alarm
Master Kinch, in his anxiety to give himself as warlike an appearance as
possible, had added to his accoutrements an old sword that he had
discovered in an out-of-the-way corner of the garret. Not being accustomed
to weapons of this nature, he had been constantly getting it between his
legs, and had already been precipitated by it down a flight of steps, to
the imminent risk of his neck. Undaunted, however, by this mishap, he had
clung to it with wonderful tenacity, until it had again caused a disaster
the noise of which had brought all parties into the room where it had
The light being brought, Master Kinch crawled out from under a table with
his head and back covered with batter, a pan of which had been overturned
upon him, in consequence of his having been tripped up by his sword and
falling violently against the table on which it stood.
"I said you had better take that skewer off," exclaimed Caddy: "It's a
wonder it hasn't broke your neck before now; but you are such a goose you
would wear it," said she, surveying her aide-de-camp with derision, as he
vainly endeavoured to scrape the batter from his face.
"Please give me some water," cried Kinch, looking from one to the other of
the laughing group: "help a feller to get it off, can't you--it's all in my
eyes, and the yeast is blinding me."
The only answer to this appeal was an additional shout of laughter, without
the slightest effort for his relief. At last Caddy, taking compassion upon
his forlorn condition, procured a basin of water, and assisted him to wash
from his woolly pate what had been intended for the next day's meal.
"This is the farce after what was almost a tragedy," said Mr. Walters, as
they ascended the stairs again; "I wonder what we shall have next!"
They all returned to their chairs by the drawing-room fire after this
occurrence, and remained in comparative silence for some time, until loud
cries of "Fire! fire!" startled them from their seats.
"The whole of the lower part of the city appears to be in a blaze,"
exclaimed one of the party who had hastened to the window; "look at the
flames--they are ascending from several places. They are at their work; we
may expect them here soon."
"Well, they'll find us prepared when they do come," rejoined Mr. Walters.
"What do you propose?" asked Mr. Ellis. "Are we to fire on them at once, or
wait for their attack?"
"Wait for their attack, by all means," said he, in reply;--"if they throw
stones, you'll find plenty in that room with which to return the
compliment; if they resort to fire-arms, then we will do the same; I want
to be strictly on the defensive--but at the same time we must defend
ourselves fully and energetically."
In about an hour after this conversation a dull roar was heard in the
distance, which grew louder and nearer every moment.
"Hist!" said Esther; "do you hear that noise? Listen! isn't that the mob
Mr. Walters opened the shutter, and then the sound became more distinct. On
they came, nearer and nearer, until the noise of their voices became almost
There was something awful in the appearance of the motley crowd that, like
a torrent, foamed and surged through the streets. Some were bearing large
pine torches that filled the air with thick smoke and partially lighted up
the surrounding gloom. Most of them were armed with clubs, and a few with
guns and pistols.
As they approached the house, there seemed to be a sort of consultation
between the ringleaders, for soon after every light was extinguished, and
the deafening yells of "Kill the niggers!" "Down with the Abolitionists!"
were almost entirely stilled.
"I wonder what that means," said Mr. Walters, who had closed the shutter,
and was surveying, through an aperture that had been cut, the turbulent
mass below. "Look out for something soon."
He had scarcely finished speaking, when a voice in the street cried,
"One--two--three!" and immediately there followed a volley of missiles,
crushing in the windows of the chamber above, and rattling upon the
shutters of the room in which the party of defenders were gathered. A yell
then went up from the mob, followed by another shower of stones.
"It is now our turn," said Mr. Walters, coolly. "Four of you place
yourselves at the windows of the adjoining room; the rest remain here. When
you see a bright light reflected on the crowd below, throw open the
shutters, and hurl down stones as long as the light is shining. Now, take
your places, and as soon as you are prepared stamp upon the floor."
Each of the men now armed themselves with two or more of the largest stones
they could find, from the heap that had been provided for the occasion; and
in a few seconds a loud stamping upon the floor informed Mr. Walters that
all was ready. He now opened the aperture in the shutter, and placed
therein a powerful reflecting light which brought the shouting crowd below
clearly into view, and in an instant a shower of heavy stones came crashing
down upon their upturned faces.
Yells of rage and agony ascended from the throng, who, not seeing any
previous signs of life in the house, had no anticipation of so prompt and
severe a response to their attack. For a time they swayed to and fro,
bewildered by the intense light and crushing shower of stones that had so
suddenly fallen upon them. Those in the rear, however, pressing forward,
did not permit the most exposed to retire out of reach of missiles from the
house; on perceiving which, Mr. Walters again turned the light upon them,
and immediately another stony shower came rattling down, which caused a
"The house is full of niggers!--the house is full of niggers!" cried
several voices--"Shoot them! kill them!" and immediately several shots were
fired at the window by the mob below.
"Don't fire yet," said Mr. Walters to one of the young men who had his hand
upon a gun. "Stop awhile. When we do fire, let it be to some purpose--let
us make sure that some one is hit."
Whilst they were talking, two or three bullets pierced the shutters, and
flattened themselves upon the ceiling above.
"Those are rifle bullets," remarked one of the young men--"do let us fire."
"It is too great a risk to approach the windows at present; keep quiet for
a little while; and, when the light is shown again, fire. But, hark!"
continued he, "they are trying to burst open the door. We can't reach them
there without exposing ourselves, and if they should get into the entry it
would be hard work to dislodge them."
"Let us give them a round; probably it will disperse those farthest
off--and those at the door will follow," suggested one of the young men.
"We'll try it, at any rate," replied Walters. "Take your places, don't fire
until I show the light--then pick your man, and let him have it. There is
no use to fire, you know, unless you hit somebody. Are you ready?" he
"Yes," was the prompt reply.
"Then here goes," said he, turning the light upon the crowd below--who,
having some experience in what would follow, did their best to get out of
reach; but they were too late--for the appearance of the light was followed
by the instantaneous report of several guns which did fearful execution
amidst the throng of ruffians. Two or three fell on the spot, and were
carried off by their comrades with fearful execrations.
The firing now became frequent on both sides, and Esther's services came
into constant requisition. It was in vain that her father endeavoured to
persuade her to leave the room; notwithstanding the shutters had been
thrown open to facilitate operations from within and the exposure thereby
greatly increased, she resolutely refused to retire, and continued
fearlessly to load the guns and hand them to the men.
"They've got axes at work upon the door, if they are not dislodged, they'll
cut their way in," exclaimed one of the young men--"the stones are
exhausted, and I don't know what we shall do."
Just then the splash of water was heard, followed by shrieks of agony.
"Oh, God! I'm scalded! I'm scalded!" cried one of the men upon the steps.
"Take me away! take me away!"
In the midst of his cries another volume of scalding water came pouring
down upon the group at the door, which was followed by a rush from the
"What is that--who could have done that--where has that water come from?"
asked Mr. Walters, as he saw the seething shower pass the window, and fall
upon the heads below. "I must go and see."
He ran upstairs, and found Kinch and Caddy busy putting on more water, they
having exhausted one kettle-full--into which they had put two or three
pounds of cayenne pepper--on the heads of the crowd below.
"We gave 'em a settler, didn't we, Mr. Walters?" asked Caddy, as he entered
the room. "It takes us; we fight with hot water. This," said she, holding
up a dipper, "is my gun. I guess we made 'em squeal."
"You've done well, Caddy," replied he--"first-rate, my girl. I believe
you've driven them off entirely," he continued, peeping out of the window.
"They are going off, at any rate," said he, drawing in his head; "whether
they will return or not is more than I can say. Keep plenty of hot water,
ready, but don't expose yourselves, children. Weren't you afraid to go to
the window?" he asked.
"We didn't go near it. Look at this," replied Caddy, fitting a broom handle
into the end of a very large tin dipper. "Kinch cut this to fit; so we have
nothing to do but to stand back here, dip up the water, and let them have
it; the length of the handle keeps us from being seen from the street. That
was Kinch's plan."
"And a capital one it was too. Your head, Kinch, evidently has no batter
within, if it has without; there is a great deal in that. Keep a bright
look out," continued Mr. Walters; "I'm going downstairs. If they come
again, let them have plenty of your warm pepper-sauce."
On returning to the drawing-room, Mr. Walters found Mr. Dennis, one of the
company, preparing to go out. "I'm about to avail myself of the advantage
afforded by my fair complexion, and play the spy," said he. "They can't
discern at night what I am, and I may be able to learn some of their
"A most excellent idea," said Mr. Walters; "but pray be careful. You may
meet some one who will recognise you."
"Never fear," replied Mr. Dennis. "I'll keep a bright look out for that."
And, drawing his cap far down over his eyes, to screen his face as much as
possible, he sallied out into the street.
He had not been absent more than a quarter of an hour, when he returned
limping into the house. "Have they attacked you--are you hurt?" asked the
anxious group by which he was surrounded.
"I'm hurt-, but not by them. I got on very well, and gleaned a great deal
of information, when I heard a sudden exclamation, and, on looking round, I
found myself recognized by a white man of my acquaintance. I ran
immediately; and whether I was pursued or not, I'm unable to say. I had
almost reached here, when my foot caught in a grating and gave my ancle
such a wrench that I'm unable to stand." As he spoke, his face grew pale
from the suffering the limb was occasioning. "I'm sorry, very sorry," he
continued, limping to the sofa; "I was going out again immediately. They
intend making an attack on Mr. Garie's house: I didn't hear his name
mentioned, but I heard one of the men, who appeared to be a ringleader,
say, 'We're going up to Winter-street, to give a coat of tar and feathers
to a white man, who is married to a nigger woman.' They can allude to none
but him. How annoying that this accident should have happened just now, of
all times. They ought to be warned."
"Oh, poor Emily!" cried Esther, bursting into tears; "it will kill her, I
know it will; she is so ill. Some one must go and warn them. Let me try;
the mob, even if I met them, surely would not assault a woman."
"You mustn't think of such a thing, Esther," exclaimed Mr. Walters; "the
idea isn't to be entertained for a moment. You don't know what ruthless
wretches they are. Your colour discovered you would find your sex but a
trifling protection. I'd go, but it would be certain death to me: my black
face would quickly obtain for me a passport to another world if I were
discovered in the street just now."
"I'll go," calmly spoke Mr. Ellis. "I can't rest here and think of what
they are exposed to. By skulking through bye-streets and keeping under the
shadows of houses I may escape observation--at any rate, I must run the
risk." And he began to button up his coat. "Don't let your mother know I'm
gone; stick by her, my girl," said he, kissing Esther; "trust in
God,--He'll protect me."
Esther hung sobbing on her father's neck. "Oh, father, father," said she,
"I couldn't bear to see you go for any one but Emily and the children."
"I know it, dear," he replied; "it's my duty. Garie would do the same for
me, I know, even at greater risk. Good-bye! good-bye!" And, disengaging
himself from the weeping girl, he started on his errand of mercy.
Walking swiftly forwards, he passed over more than two-thirds of the way
without the slightest interruption, the streets through which he passed
being almost entirely deserted. He had arrived within a couple of squares
of the Garies, when suddenly, on turning a corner, he found himself in the
midst of a gang of ruffians.
"Here's a nigger! here's a nigger!" shouted two or three of them, almost
simultaneously, making at the same time a rush at Mr. Ellis, who turned and
ran, followed by the whole gang. Fear lent him wings, and he fast
outstripped his pursuers, and would have entirely escaped, had he not
turned into a street which unfortunately was closed at the other end. This
he did not discover until it was too late to retrace his steps, his
pursuers having already entered the street.
Looking for some retreat, he perceived he was standing near an unfinished
building. Tearing off the boards that were nailed across the window, he
vaulted into the room, knocking off his hat, which fell upon the pavement
behind him. Scarcely had he groped his way to the staircase of the dwelling
when he heard the footsteps of his pursuers.
"He can't have got through," exclaimed one of them, "the street is closed
up at the end; he must be up here somewhere."
Lighting one of their torches, they began to look around them, and soon
discovered the hat lying beneath the window.
"He's in here, boys; we've tree'd the 'coon," laughingly exclaimed one of
the ruffians. "Let's after him."
Tearing off the remainder of the boards, one or two entered, opened the
door from the inside, and gave admission to the rest.
Mr. Ellis mounted to the second story, followed by his pursuers; on he
went, until he reached the attic, from which a ladder led to the roof.
Ascending this, he drew it up after him, and found himself on the roof of a
house that was entirely isolated.
The whole extent of the danger flashed upon him at once. Here he was
completely hemmed in, without the smallest chance for escape. He
approached the edge and looked over, but could discover nothing near enough
to reach by a leap.
"I must sell my life dearly," he said. "God be my helper now--He is all I
have to rely upon." And as he spoke, the great drops of sweat fell from his
forehead. Espying a sheet of lead upon the roof, he rolled it into a club
of tolerable thickness, and waited the approach of his pursuers.
"He's gone on the roof," he heard one of them exclaim, "and pulled the
ladder up after him." Just then, a head emerged from the trap-door, the
owner of which, perceiving Mr. Ellis, set up a shout of triumph.
"We've got him! we've got him!--here he is!" which cries were answered by
the exultant voices of his comrades below.
An attempt was now made by one of them to gain the roof; but he immediately
received a blow from Mr. Ellis that knocked him senseless into the arms of
his companions. Another attempted the same feat, and met a similar fate.
This caused a parley as to the best mode of proceeding, which resulted in
the simultaneous appearance of three of the rioters at the opening. Nothing
daunted, Mr. Ellis attacked them with such fierceness and energy that they
were forced to descend, muttering the direst curses. In a few moments
another head appeared, at which Mr. Ellis aimed a blow of great force; and
the club descended upon a hat placed upon a stick. Not meeting the
resistance expected, it flew from his hand, and he was thrown forward,
nearly falling down the doorway.
With a shout of triumph, they seized his arm, and held him firmly, until
one or two of them mounted the roof.
"Throw him over! throw him over!" exclaimed some of the fiercest of the
crowd. One or two of the more merciful endeavoured to interfere against
killing him outright; but the frenzy of the majority triumphed, and they
determined to cast him into the street below.
Mr. Ellis clung to the chimney, shrieking,--"Save me! save me!--Help! help!
Will no one save me!" His cries were unheeded by the ruffians, and the
people at the surrounding windows were unable to afford him any assistance,
even if they were disposed to do so.
Despite his cries and resistance, they forced him to the edge of the roof;
he clinging to them the while, and shrieking in agonized terror. Forcing
off his hold, they thrust him forward and got him partially over the edge,
where he clung calling frantically for aid. One of the villains, to make
him loose his hold, struck on his fingers with the handle of a hatchet
found on the roof; not succeeding in breaking his hold by these means,
with, an oath he struck with the blade, severing two of the fingers from
one hand and deeply mangling the other.
With a yell of agony, Mr. Ellis let go his hold, and fell upon a pile of
rubbish below, whilst a cry of triumphant malignity went up from the crowd
on the roof.
A gentleman and some of his friends kindly carried the insensible man into
his house. "Poor fellow!" said he, "he is killed, I believe. What a gang of
wretches. These things are dreadful; that such a thing can be permitted in
a Christian city is perfectly appalling." The half-dressed family gathered
around the mangled form of Mr. Ellis, and gave vent to loud expressions of
sympathy. A doctor was quickly sent for, who stanched the blood that was
flowing from his hands and head.
"I don't think he can live," said he, "the fall was too great. As far as I
can judge, his legs and two of his ribs are broken. The best thing we can
do, is to get him conveyed to the hospital; look in his pockets, perhaps we
can find out who he is."
There was nothing found, however, that afforded the least clue to his name
and residence; and he was, therefore, as soon as persons could be procured
to assist, borne to the hospital, where his wounds were dressed, and the
broken limbs set.
Unaware of the impending danger, Mr. Garie sat watching by the bedside of
his wife. She had been quite ill; but on the evening of which we write,
although nervous and wakeful, was much better. The bleak winds of the fast
approaching winter dealt unkindly with her delicate frame, accustomed as
she was to the soft breezes of her Southern home.
Mr. Garie had been sitting up looking at the fires in the lower part of the
city. Not having been out all that day or the one previous, he knew nothing
of the fearful state into which matters had fallen.
"Those lights are dying away, my dear," said he to his wife; "there must
have been quite an extensive conflagration." Taking out his watch, he
continued, "almost two o'clock; why, how late I've been sitting up. I
really don't know whether it's worth while to go to bed or not, I should be
obliged to get up again at five o'clock; I go to New York to-morrow, or
rather to-day; there are some matters connected with Uncle John's will that
require my personal attention. Dear old man, how suddenly he died."
"I wish, dear, you could put off your journey until I am better," said Mrs.
Garie, faintly; "I do hate you to go just now."
"I would if I could, Emily; but it is impossible. I shall be back
to-morrow, or the next day, at farthest. Whilst I'm there, I'll----"
"Hush!" interrupted Mrs. Garie, "stop a moment. Don't you hear a noise like
the shouting of a great many people." "Oh, it's only the firemen,"
replied he; "as I was about to observe--"
"Hush!" cried she again. "Listen now, that don't sound like the firemen in
the least." Mr. Garie paused as the sound of a number of voices became more
Wrapping his dressing-gown more closely about him, he walked into the front
room, which overlooked the street. Opening the window, he saw a number of
men--some bearing torches--coming rapidly in the direction of his dwelling.
"I wonder what all this is for; what can it mean," he exclaimed.
They had now approached sufficiently near for him to understand their
cries. "Down with the Abolitionist--down with the Amalgamationist! give
them tar and feathers!"
"It's a mob--and that word Amalgamationist--can it be pointed at me? It
hardly seems possible; and yet I have a fear that there is something
"What is it, Garie? What is the matter?" asked his wife, who, with a shawl
hastily thrown across her shoulders, was standing pale and trembling by the
"Go in, Emily, my dear, for Heaven's sake; you'll get your death of cold in
this bleak night air--go in; as soon as I discover the occasion of the
disturbance, I'll come and tell you. Pray go in." Mrs. Garie retired a few
feet from the window, and stood listening to the shouts in the street.
The rioters, led on evidently by some one who knew what he was about,
pressed forward to Mr. Garie's house; and soon the garden in front was
filled with the shouting crowd.
"What do you all want--why are you on my premises, creating this
disturbance?" cried Mr. Garie.
"Come down and you'll soon find out. You white livered Abolitionist, come
out, damn you! we are going to give you a coat of tar and feathers, and
your black wench nine-and-thirty. Yes, come down--come down!" shouted
several, "or we will come up after you."
"I warn you," replied Mr. Garie, "against any attempt at violence upon my
person, family, or property. I forbid you to advance another foot upon the
premises. If any man of you enters my house, I'll shoot him down as quick
as I would a mad dog."
"Shut up your gap; none of your cussed speeches," said a voice in the
crowd; "if you don't come down and give yourself up, we'll come in and take
you--that's the talk, ain't it, boys?" A general shout of approval answered
this speech, and several stones were thrown at Mr. Garie, one of which
struck him on the breast.
Seeing the utter futility of attempting to parley with the infuriated
wretches below, he ran into the room, exclaiming, "Put on some clothes,
Emily! shoes first--quick--quick, wife!--your life depends upon it. I'll
bring down the children and wake the servants. We must escape from the
house--we are attacked by a mob of demons. Hurry, Emily! do, for God sake!"
Mr. Garie aroused the sleeping children, and threw some clothes upon them,
over which he wrapped shawls or blankets, or whatever came to hand. Rushing
into the next room, he snatched a pair of loaded pistols from the drawer of
his dressing-stand, and then hurried his terrified wife and children down
"This way, dear--this way!" he cried, leading on toward the back door; "out
that way through the gate with the children, and into some of the
neighbour's houses. I'll stand here to keep the way."
"No, no, Garie," she replied, frantically; "I won't go without you."
"You must!" he cried, stamping his foot impatiently; "this is no time to
parley--go, or we shall all be murdered. Listen, they've broken in the
door. Quick--quick! go on;" and as he spoke, he pressed her and the
children out of the door, and closed it behind them.
Mrs. Garie ran down the garden, followed by the children; to her horror,
she found the gate locked, and the key nowhere to be found.
"What shall we do?" she cried. "Oh, we shall all be killed!" and her limbs
trembled beneath her with cold and terror. "Let us hide in here, mother,"
suggested Clarence, running toward the wood-house; "we'll be safe in
there." Seeing that nothing better could be done, Mrs. Garie availed
herself of the suggestion; and when she was fairly inside the place, fell
fainting upon the ground.
As she escaped through the back door, the mob broke in at the front, and
were confronting Mr. Garie, as he stood with his pistol pointed at them,
prepared to fire.
"Come another step forward and I fire!" exclaimed he, resolutely; but those
in the rear urged the advance of those in front, who approached cautiously
nearer and nearer their victim. Fearful of opening the door behind him,
lest he should show the way taken by his retreating wife, he stood
uncertain how to act; a severe blow from a stone, however, made him lose
all reflection, and he immediately fired. A loud shriek followed the report
of his pistol, and a shower of stones was immediately hurled upon him.
He quickly fired again, and was endeavouring to open the door to effect his
escape, when a pistol was discharged close to his head and he fell forward
on the entry floor lifeless.
All this transpired in a few moments, and in the semi-darkness of the
entry. Rushing forward over his lifeless form, the villains hastened
upstairs in search of Mrs. Garie. They ran shouting through the house,
stealing everything valuable that they could lay their hands upon, and
wantonly destroying the furniture; they would have fired the house, but
were prevented by McCloskey, who acted as leader of the gang.
For two long hours they ransacked the house, breaking all they could not
carry off, drinking the wine in Mr. Garie's cellar, and shouting and
screaming like so many fiends.
Mrs. Garie and the children lay crouching with terror in the wood-house,
listening to the ruffians as they went through the yard cursing her and her
husband and uttering the direst threats of what they would do should she
fall into their hands. Once she almost fainted on hearing one of them
propose opening the wood-house, to see if there was anything of value in
it--but breathed again when they abandoned it as not worth their attention.
The children crouched down beside her--scarcely daring to whisper, lest
they should attract the attention of their persecutors. Shivering with cold
they drew closer around them the blanket with which they had been
"Brother, my feet are _so_ cold," sobbed little Em. "I can't feel my toes.
Oh, I'm so cold!"
"Put your feet closer to me, sissy," answered her brother, baring himself
to enwrap her more thoroughly; "put my stockings on over yours;" and, as
well as they were able in the dark, he drew his stockings on over her
benumbed feet. "There, sis, that's better," he whispered, with an attempt
at cheerfulness, "now you'll be warmer."
Just then Clarence heard a groan from his mother, so loud indeed that it
would have been heard without but for the noise and excitement around the
house--and feeling for her in the dark, he asked, "Mother, are you worse?
are you sick?"
A groan was her only answer.
"Mother, mother," he whispered, "do speak, please do!" and he endeavoured
to put his arm around her.
"Don't, dear--don't," said she, faintly, "just take care of your
sister--you can't do me any good--don't speak, dear, the men will hear
Reluctantly the frightened child turned his attention again to his little
sister; ever and anon suppressed groans from his mother would reach his
ears--at last he heard a groan even fierce in its intensity; and then the
sounds grew fainter and fainter until they entirely ceased. The night to
the poor shivering creatures in their hiding place seemed interminably
long, and the sound of voices in the house had not long ceased when the
faint light of day pierced their cheerless shelter.
Hearing the voices of some neighbours in the yard, Clarence hastened out,
and seizing one of the ladies by the dress, cried imploringly, "Do come to
my mother, she's sick."
"Why, where did you come from, chil?" said the lady, with a start of
astonishment. "Where have you been?"
"In there," he answered, pointing to the wood-house. "Mother and sister are
The lady, accompanied by one or two others, hastened to the wood-house.
"Where is she?" asked the foremost, for in the gloom of the place she could
not perceive anything.
"Here," replied Clarence, "she's lying here." On opening a small window,
they saw Mrs. Garie lying in a corner stretched upon the boards, her head
supported by some blocks. "She's asleep," said Clarence. "Mother--mother,"
but there came no answer. "MOTHER," said he, still louder, but yet there
was no response.
Stepping forward, one of the females opened the shawl, which was held
firmly in the clenched hands of Mrs. Garie--and there in her lap partially
covered by her scanty nightdress, was discovered a new-born babe, who with
its mother had journeyed in the darkness, cold, and night, to the better
land, that they might pour out their woes upon the bosom of their Creator.
The women gazed in mournful silence on the touching scene before them.
Clarence was on his knees, regarding with fear and wonder the unnatural
stillness of his mother--the child had never before looked on death, and
could not recognize its presence. Laying his hand on her cold cheek, he
cried, with faltering voice, "Mother, _can't_ you speak?" but there was no
answering light in the fixed stare of those glassy eyes, and the lips of
the dead could not move. "Why don't she speak?" he asked.
"She can't, my dear; you must come away and leave her. She's better off, my
Then there was a cry of grief sprung up from the heart of that orphan boy,
that rang in those women's ears for long years after; it was the first
outbreak of a loving childish heart pierced with life's bitterest grief--a
The two children were kindly taken into the house of some benevolent
neighbour, as the servants had all fled none knew whither. Little Em was in
a profound stupor--the result of cold and terror, and it was found
necessary to place her under the care of a physician.
After they had all gone, an inquest was held by the coroner, and a very
unsatisfactory and untruthful verdict pronounced--one that did not at all
coincide with the circumstances of the case, but such a one as might have
been expected where there was a great desire to screen the affair from