Chapter 33147505

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Chapter NumberIII
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article33147505
Full Date1897-12-10
Page Number123
Corrections2
Word Count1578
IllustratedN
Last Corrected2018-06-05
Newspaper TitleWestern Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 - 1954)
Trove TitleOutwitted; Or, Diamond Cut Diamond
article text

CHAPTER III.

The next morning Black Ben, approach- ing Macpherson, remarked in a firm, cool tone, " It's a man of me word, I am, Sandy Macpherson, as is well beknown to ye, an' whin I ax for a thing I mane to 'ave it. Do not be shakin' in yer shoes. It's jist this ye saft spakin' villian—ye'll write a letter at me wordin', or if ye'd rather not be obleegin', it's over the cliff ye'll be goin' immerjutely, along wid thim treacher- ous thaves ye brought wid ye."

Macpherson intimated his willingness to comply and Ben dictated—"Nancy Walsh— Send me car an' me top-coat by the boy as brings this, an' be tellin' him to put Black Prince in, as he's the strongest horse, an' its a journey I'm going to Limerick aboot them rascals I told ye of. I ain't took them yet, but, plase God, I'll be after doin' it soon. Don't be tellin' the neegh- bours where I'm goin', but ye may tell Patsy I'm thinkin' of takin' him into me sarvice for the help he's bin to me. Don't be kapin' the bhoy, for it's a hurry I'm in. Now sign it Alexander Macpherson.

" Now, ye min' Sandy. If so be that car don't come, it's a dead man ye are ; for it's the divil a bit of use ye'll be to us. 'Twas yersilf as set the patrollers on us. Begorra, it's hard to bate them. Divil a bit of the road 'twixt this and Limerick can we go wid- out walkin' down their treacherous throats ; bad cess to thim, the thavin' raskils."

Macpherson devoutly hoped none of Nancy's foolishness would delay the car, for he knew her well enough to be aware that if her suspicions were aroused there would be no car forthcoming.

Nancy, as Macpherson expected, was surprised at the contents of his note.

"lt's daft he's gone. \Vhat call 'ave he to go to Limerick ?" she exclaimed on reading it.

" It all along of thim patrollers—divil sweep thim all. lt's notice they've got of stills as is workin", and it's Sandy as is

keen to catch thim "

" The dickens take yer imperdence acallin' of the master Sandy, ye lazy

bosthoon."

" It's a swate timper ye've got, Nancy, avick, an' it's pretty hardy as yer gettin', maybe that's a tellin' on ye," shouted Shaun as he shot out of the gate.

Nancy shook her broom at him in im-

potent wrath, as Shaun passed from her

view.

For three days the exciseman's car ran between the Eagle's Nest and Limerick, deporting a large quantity of whisky, under the very noses of the police. On the third day, as the car was passing a police station about ten miles from Limerick, the sergeant in charge caught sight of the driver.

" It strikes me. Hare," he exclaimed to a constable, "that man of Macpherson's 'ave a blackguardly look about him, I've seen him afore somewhere, but I can't roightly recall where."

" He's a dale loike that villin Pat Ryan.

as give us so much trooble, ye remimber, aboot four year ago."

"Begorra," cried the sergeant, " that's him. I wus certain I'd seen him afore—

Lord, the joke—Sandy Macpherson wid a

shebeener adrivin' his car"—and he laughed uproariously.

Walls have ears, and the imbecile look- ing youth, who groomed the constables' horses, sent by a trusty messenger the gist of this conversation to the Eagle's Nest.

" I'll be trooblin' ye agin. Mister Mac- pherson," Ben remarked with elaborate politeness : " shure this time it's only to Limerick I'll be wantin' ye to go and it's stoppin' at the polis hut for a chat ye'll be. Au' ye min' if that schamer Doyne—may the divil au' all his angels fly away wid him—ax ye what 'ave ye done wid that villin Pat ye'll be after sayin', as 'twas moighty onplisant in his timper he was, and bedad ye sint him aboot his bisaness. Ye min' Shaun wull be be drivin' ye, an' Darby wull be on t'other side. If ye say a word 'cept what I'm tellin' ye, it's a bullet in the head ye'll be 'avin'. The bhoys wull be after comin' sivin miles back from Limerick wid ye, as t'will hearten ye up to 'ave compiny. As for thim thavin' raskils as come wid ye— they'll bide here till the road's stored — thin the back of me hand to the lot of ye."

Macpherson agreed to do as he was required. The choking peat smoke, the sickening fumes of whisky, the coarse jokes at his expense, and the rough treat- ment to which he had been subjected had made his quarters at the "Eagle's Nest" sufficiently distasteful to him to induce him to promise anything.

On leaving the cave he found himself on the face of a precipice, at the foot of

which the sea roared and foamed. Follow-

ing his guide up a narrow pathway cut in the face of the cliff, he reached the level ground, where he found the car and Black Prince awaiting him. Before starting, his captors proceeded to blindfold him, for, as Darby sarcastically remarked— " It's that well we've trated ye, ye'll be afther want- in to pay us another visit, when, maybe, it won't be convanient. It's as well ye

shouldn't know the road."

After driving for about an hour, the bandage was removed from Macpherson's eyes, and he found himself within a mile

of Sergeant Doyne's station, on reaching which the car stopped, and Macpherson inquired " If anything was stirring ?"

" Och '. we've the joke on ye," shouted the sergeant. " The chap as 'ave bin drivin' yer car wus none other thin Pat Ryan, as give us sich a chase four year ago, the rapscallion. Shure it wus mesilf as come near breakin' me neck, for I had hoult of him whin be fell over the cliff, an' if the saints hadn't unloosed me fingers I'd ave

bin a dead man."

Macpherson measured the distance be- tween Sergeant Doyne and himself. Would it be possible to spring into safety ? But

his heart died within him as he heard the faint click of a pistol.

" It suited me to try him," he replied, " Mick bein' bad with rheumatics : but

there wus no putten' up with his timper, so I got rid of him Do ye ken whaur he's gone ? "

" No, but t'was right ye wer, for Pat's not the one to be stickin' at a trifle. Is it fur yer goin'?"

" To Limerick."

" Well then, its part of the way I'll go wid ye, for it's three mile this side of

Limerick I'm wantin' to be."

And so saying he sprang up by Darby to make the weight even. Darby was in great spirits. The absurdness of the situa- tion appealed to his native humour. Smuggling whisky into circulation, with a police sergeant and an exciseman on the road, was in his opinion " a crame of a joke." He laid himself out to amuse- Doyne, and told thrilling tales about shebeeners, whom he vowed he had been at war with since he was a lad of ten, when one of them shot his uncle in mistake for a patroller—capital stories

which alternately fired the sergeant with enthusiasm or convulsed him with laughter.

On reaching his destination the con- stable shook hands heartily with Darby, expressing a wish for his further acquain- tance, which Darby, with a twinkle in his eye, reciprocated.

The short winter's day was drawing to a close, as Shaun entered the low quarter of Limerick and drew up at the corner of one of the streets, where stood a small cart with an antiquated-looking donkey in the shafts. Two ruffianly fellows came for- ward, and, after a few words with Darby, removed the jars of whisky, stowing them carefully at the bottom of the cart.

A few minutes later they were trotting rapidly in the direction of Ballymore. Darby lighted his well blackened dudheen, and, drawing a few whiffs with apparent relish, remarked :

" Arrah, thin I'm thinkin', Mister Mac- pherson, as we've most done with yer com- pany. It's just a matter of siven miles as we'll be goin' wid ye, an' thin ye can be findin' the road yersilf."

Darby kept up his spirits, which he declared were damped at the prospect of losing Sandy's cheerful company, by sing- ing in stentorian tones a wild Bacchanalian

song :

"Oh, there's niver a day have I for drink,

But Saturday, Sunday, Monday," etc.

At the seven mile turning the men sprang down, and, throwing the reins to Macpherson, disappeared in the gloom.

Macpherson gathered up the reins, thankful to be rid of the two half-drunken

vagabonds, and, as he drove through the cold frosty air, he felt as benumbed mentally as he was physically. The tor- tures of apprehension he had suffered at the " Eagle's Nest " left a life-long mark on him, from which he never recovered.

Three days later the police were blind- folded as their leader had been, and driven to within five miles of their station, at which they arrived considerably crest- fallen, and adverse to any allusion to their

misadventure.