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useless for a man to say that he
don't care. They give the cue to the town, and every face is wreathed in smiles,
every finger is pointed, every voice says, "Aha!"
No man can face a whole community
long. Into such a nest of hornets came Manley and Cockburn. Every where the
ludicrous end of the elopement was the theme of jeering conversation. Verses
were extemporized upon it, and were sung by all the idle rascals in town, black
and white. Manley was treated to a mock serenade ; horns were blown, kettles
were beaten ; one of the serenaders had a tame crow which cawed in concert ;
another led a venerable goat that bleated when his beard was pulled; for Manley
it was Pandemonium let loose. The company had thoughts of bestowing similar
delicate attention on Cockburn; but the more prudent remembered his revolver,
it best not to run the risk of
Cockburn met Manley next day, and
was surprised to see the change in his face. Though still pale and thin, his
bloodless lips were sharply compressed, and his eyes, no longer humid and
womanly, shone with a cold, steady lustre.
" You see now," said Cockburn,
"we might as well be in the infernal regions. Something must be done. We can't
kill all these fellows ; they are too many. You have nothing left but your
choice between three things : to run away, cut your throat, or go and get your
" I will go and get my wife !"
" Good !" exclaimed Cockburn. " I
begin to believe in yon."
Their plan was speedily arranged.
Cockburn undertook to engage two or three men to accompany them. They thought
the display of force would intimidate the colonel into submission.
Strange that any persons could
have been found to go on so desperate an errand. Perhaps. But what enterprise,
however fool-hardy, has ever failed to draw followers from among the restless
spirits of Kentucky ? If Morino del Rey is to be stormed, Kentuckians are the
first to scale the walls. If Buena Vista is to be won against seven-fold odds,
Kentucky rifles and cavalry are ready. If Lopez needs men to be garroted or shot
in a vain attempt upon Cuba, or if the little tyrant Walker calls for aid in
establishing a slave republic in Central America, Kentuckians are eager to brave
fever and vomito, hunger and thirst, poisonous reptiles and more deadly
semi-savages, all for glory and the love of adventure.
Preparations were speedily and
silently made, and next morning at daylight Manley and Cockburn, with three
friends, all armed to the teeth, set out for Colonel Barwell's estate. All of
them wore cloaks or loose coats, to conceal
their weapons; and as they had
kept their intention secret, they expected to take the enemy completely by
But the proverbial "little bird"
carried the news ; in this case it was
a black bird—namely, Jake. In
some mysterious way he heard of what was going on, and at once came to me.
"Massa Bill, dere's trouble a
brewin' for ole Massa Barr'l. Dat yer Manley an' Cockbun is goin' to-morrer to
fotch away Miss Cely, an' to shoot de ole man if he gits in de way."
Jake, in common with all his
race, had a mortal contempt for " po'r white trash ;" and he was rejoiced beyond
measure when his master came home victorious. " I 'spected he was done shet* of
dat po'r white-livered chap, an' dat Miss Cely 'd be 'shamed of stoopin' to de
low-flung people for a man. Gor-a-mighty, I hope ole massa 'll gib de whole
crowd some lead to fetch back wid 'em! Don't you, Massa Bill ?"
I had not made up my mind.
" But, Massa Bill, wouldn't you
now be a frien' to ole massa, and jest ride over an' let him know, so 's they
shan't jump on him onawares ?"
* In Kentucky, to be shut of a
man is to be rid of him.
" Me ! Go sixteen miles at night
! I think I shall not interfere in the quarrel. Why don't you go youself? Mind,
I don't tell you to do it, nor advise you."
" Oh, massa, you'se sartin lawyer
enough to know dat nigger's word ain't good for noffin in court ; an' if dere's
any trouble ole massa maybe 'll want to show that he knowed de rascals was a
The astute Jake ! To think that
he was more far-seeing than I in my own field !
Notwithstanding, I kept my
ground. I did not see any reason why I should desire that Manley, or even the
hare-brained Cockburn, should be shot. But Jake was bent on his errand, and,
after borrowing a dollar from me, set out and found some white man to accompany
him. I neither helped nor hindered.
A little after sunrise Miss Celia
was making her toilet, when she heard the tramp of horses; she looked out of
window and recognized her lover and Cockburn. What she felt I don't pretend to
say. For afterward, when it became a matter of great importance to know, she
kept her counsel. A remarkably intelligent and self-possessed person she proved
to be. But, at all events, she started up and ran down stairs in a great
fright-to inform her father ? I did not say so. For any doing I know, she may
have intended to run to her lover's arms. But in the hall her father was ready ;
his rifle on his arm, a double-barreled gun in the corner; powder, balls,
buck-shot, patches, and percussion-caps in a chair at his knee. She had not time
to speak before he stepped forward, raised the rifle, and said, " Keep off!
Don't open my gate, or I shall fire !"
"Don't shoot ! Keep cool!" some
The party were close together,
and Manley in advance, was just opening the gate, a hundred
yards or so from the porch where
the colonel stood. The gate swung open, and the party coolly came on.
" Once more !" shouted the
colonel, "I warn you!" At the same instant the sharp crack of the rifle was
heard, and Manley fell off his horse. His party responded with pistol-shots, but
their fire fell short, and only enraged their antagonist. Quick as lightning he
discharged a load of buck-shot from the other gun, and winged two of them ; one
was Cockburn, whose right arm fell powerless at his side.
The horsemen now halted for
parley. These movements took place within ten seconds from the time when Celia
came down. It was not until after Colonel Barwell had set down the second gun,
still smoking, by the door, that he became conscious of his daughter's presence.
She had fallen
to the floor and was grasping his
knees with cries and supplications. She did not obey his stern order to go to
her room, but still clung to him, weeping convulsively.
The two unwounded members of the
expedition now dismounted and picked up the body of their unfortunate chief.
" Bring him in," said the
colonel. " Is it peace or war?" he continued, as he rammed down a ball in his
rifle. "Let us understand each other." " Peace," was the reply.
Cockburn meanwhile, and his
wounded companion, got off their horses with difficulty, and fainted from pain
and loss of blood before they had gone ten steps. (I may as well state here that
amputation became necessary in both cases.)
Manley was brought into the hall
and laid on his cloak for a pillow. The colonel stood by unflinchingly; not a
muscle moved. His daughter bent over the body in a paroxysm of grief, and, I
dare say, of remorse. Manley breathed feebly, but his eyes were shut in
insensibility. Presently he
gave a groan, which shook his
whole frame ; his eyes slowly unclosed. " I told you !—we part—I die for you !
Farewell !" He was dead.
The colonel drew a deep breath. "
This is a sorry business, gentlemen," said he, "and I hope you are satisfied
with your share in it."
No one ventured to answer. Celia
still sat by the dead body, weeping and moaning.
The master of the house then
called his servants, and gave orders for the care of the dead body. He
dispatched one for a surgeon, and ordered another to have his carriage ready.
The wounded men were brought in to receive medical treatment.
Then, turning to one of the
unfortunate party, he said : " Of course this affair will require a legal
investigation. My carriage is prepared. Please ride over to Squire Hemenway, the
coroner; ask him
to have a jury summoned, and say
that I and the witnesses are ready."
'While waiting for the coroner
Colonel Barwell took his daughter aside and said,
"You must not blame me, Celia. I
had information last night of their coming, in violation of agreement, to tear
you from me by force. You are my child, and the law gives use the right to
protect you and to defend my house from violence. You were not his wife, and he
had no claim upon you, even if he had come with an officer instead of a party of
armed desperadoes. And remember—for possibly I may not be allowed to give bail,
but may have to be imprisoned until the trial comes on—remember, I say, that you
saw Manley's hand on a revolver under his cloak as he came through the gate."
What she saw, or what she
remembered or said, rests with her. I only give the facts that were brought out
at the trial. Miss Celia, in a very distinct voice, then testified as her father
wished, and, upon cross-examination, she admitted the conversation I have just
The coroner sat. A magistrate to
whom the homicide surrendered himself bound him over to the next term of court.
The colonel gave bail and went at large, as stately in his carriage, as proud
and defiant, or as gracious and agreeable, as he had ever been. The day he was
admitted to bail he came to Barrington and engaged counsel for the defense :
among them myself. It was my first important case, and I threw all my energies
into its preparation. Of course. I saw much of the colonel and of his daughter.
The conflict in her mind was over. Her lover was in his grave ; her father was
in danger ; and she was more drawn to the living than the dead. Perhaps in some
little nook of her heart (if she had one) she preserved a recollection of the
man who had paid for his love with his life; but
for all that I could discern,
Manley was as dead to her as though he had never existed.
I shall not report the trial, nor
the speeches (two for the prosecution and four for the defense).
My own speech, carefully written
out, and rehearsed to an attentive audience of black-jacks half a mile out of
town, is still on my files, indorsed
COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY
under indictment for murder.
Argument of W. T. for defense.
Of course our client was
acquitted. Who ever knew a Kentucky jury to convict where they believed there
was " a fair fight?"
Cockburn and the Manleys railed
at the jury, as might have been expected; but a one-armed man might talk as much
as he chose, since he could not take up the quarrel ; and as for the Manleys,
what matter was it what a set of poor " no-account" wagon-makers said ?
" And Miss Celia ?" She is
married to a thriving planter in Tennessee. " Her father?" Lives on his estate,
comfortable and respected.
"No poetical justice, then?" Not
MAP OF NORTH CAROLINA, SHOWING FORT HATTERAS AND
THE SOUNDS IT COMMANDS.