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stood before Bethune and Mr. Sanders, his feet
planted somewhat apart.

"I'll tell you gentlemen the honest truth," he
declared, raising his right arm high above his head ;
" my heart bleeds night and day for every wound
the war inflicts on both sides. If I know my own
mind, I know no North and no South. All that I
hope for and pray for is the Union the Union
preserved, and the Union at peace, with all factions
and all parties working together for the glory and
greatness of the Republic. I would, if I could,
take the South in my arms and soothe all her
troubles, and wipe out all the old difficulties and

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ON THE WING OF OCCASIONS

differences, and start the Nation on a new career.
I have the will, but not the power." He paused a
moment, and then resumed with a smile, " Stanton
there says I'm a politician, and I reckon I am, but
if I were nothing else, I'd be ashamed of myself."

"Mr. President," said Bethune, gravely, "if we
had found you to be a politician, petulant and
intriguing, you wouldn't be here to-night."

"Ain't it the truth!" exclaimed Mr. Sanders,
with unction.

" Well, Mr. President," remarked Mr. Stanton,
arising from his chair, "your friends are more
agreeable than I supposed they would be. But
hereafter I hope you will believe that I know what
I am talking about."

"Why, I never doubted it," Mr. Lincoln de-
clared; "but you'll have to take me as you find
me."

" The trouble wF him, Mr. President," said Mr.
Sanders, " is that he's afraid he'll not be able to
find you."

The Secretary regarded Mr. Sanders from be-
hind his inscrutable glasses, smiled faintly, and
exclaimed, " Ain't it the truth ! " Then, as if the
effort to mimic Mr. Sanders had thawed him out,
he shook hands with the two Southerners, laugh-
ing softly to himself, and went out. The episode
was sufficient to show that the great War Secretary

242



THE KIDNAPPING OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN

(and he was truly great in his line) could be agree-
able when he chose to be.

"That's the only fun he's had since the war
begun," Mr. Lincoln asserted.

Nothing more remains to be told. Bethune, Mr.
Sanders, and Mrs. Elise Clopton had no difficulty
in making their way South. They had -an escort
through the Federal lines, and were turned over to
their compatriots under a flag of truce.



343



THE WHIMS OF CAPTAIN
MCCARTHY



THE WHIMS OF CAPTAIN McCARTHY



COLONEL ALBERT LAMAR, of Georgia, who was
secretary or clerk of the Confederate Senate at
Richmond, used to tell his intimate friends that the
mystery of Philip Doyle was one of the few things
in his experience that had kept him awake o' nights.
Those who have followed the course of the preced-
ing narratives will remember Mr. Doyle as the
obliging gentleman who was kind enough to af-
ford Francis Bethune an opportunity to run his
neck in a halter. This mystery, briefly stated, was
this : Given the fact that Mr. Doyle was in the
employ of the Federal secret service, how did he
manage to obtain an important position in one
of the departments of the Confederate govern-
ment ?

It should be remembered that up to the moment
when one of Captain McCarthy's clerks in the New
York Hotel interpreted the cipher despatch which
had been intrusted to young Bethune, there were
but two men in the Confederacy who suspected Mr.

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ON THE WING OF OCCASIONS

Doyle. One of these was Colonel Lamar and the
other was John Omahundro, who, while acting as
one of Jeb Stuart's scouts, was also connected
with the Confederate secret service.

Doyle seemed to be high in the confidence of
the chiefs of the various bureaus, but Colonel
Lamar soon discovered that this impression had
been produced by Doyle himself, not alone by his
attitude and manner but by his general conversa-
tion. Inquiry also developed the fact that none of
Doyle's superiors knew anything about him beyond
the fact that he had managed by some means or
other to secure a position to which were attached
few duties and a very comfortable salary. Colo-
nel Lamar, who seemed to be always taking his
time, was one of the most indefatigable of workers.
His easy-going and genial manner was a cloak to
a temperament at once fiery and reckless. Step
by step, he pushed his way back through various
channels of information until he found that Mr.
Doyle had been appointed on the recommendation
of a firm of London bankers which was not as
prominent in the financial world then as it is to-
day. Of course this firm had connections with
Wall Street, just as it had with all the money cen-
tres of the world. But the problem that presented
itself to the mind of Colonel Lamar was this : why
did this British firm desire to have Mr. Doyle

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THE WHIMS OF CAPTAIN MCCARTHY

appointed to a position which was a very responsi-
ble one, even if its duties were light ?

Now, the present writer has no intention of un-
covering and parading in print the various inter-
esting facts which this investigation brought to
light. The details do not belong to history as it
is written. Almost without exception, since money
became a power, the real politicians in all ages and
countries have been and are the leading financiers.
Since the dawn of civilisation, history has been
made up of conclusions and deductions that are
not only superficial but false. Your true historian
will be the man who is fortunate enough to gain
access to the records of the most powerful financial
institutions of the various nations of the earth.

The great political leaders of the world who
have not been dominated by the financiers may
be numbered on the fingers of your hands Wash-
ington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and a few others. This
is true, not because politicians are corrupt (though
many of them fall in that category), but because
the financial interests of the world are more pow-
erful, and in the minds of a majority of men, more
important, than all the superficial issues of poli-
tics. Thus it is that parties, political contests,
wars, and all great movements are so manipulated
by the master minds of finance that neither the
beneficiaries nor the victims have any notion of

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ON THE WING OF OCCASIONS

the real issues that have been contended for, or
the results that have been brought about.

These manipulations do not constitute, they are
the origin of history, and it is only occasionally
that they may be said to become obvious. Suffi-
cient has been said to indicate why the facts and
names which yielded themselves up to the pressure
of Colonel Lamar's energetic investigations cannot
be made public. It should be said in Mr. Doyle's
behalf that he, himself, had no actual knowledge
of the real interests he was serving. He had very
genuine feelings of patriotism those feelings
which cool heads and master minds find it so easy
to take advantage of. He was heartily for the
Union, and, in addition to that, he was ambitious
to rise and shine in the service to which he was
devoting himself.

Indeed, it was his personal ambition that de-
stroyed his usefulness at the Confederate capital.
He had a great deal more adroitness and dexterity
in his profession than has been indicated, but he
was anxious to attract Mr. Stanton's attention, and
he supposed that something sensational was neces-
sary to that end. The trap he laid for Francis
Bethune would have succeeded beyond all question
if his scheme had provided against such a contin-
gency (for instance) as Mr. Sanders. In the
nature of things this was impossible, for the reason

250



THE WHIMS OF CAPTAIN MCCARTHY

that the personality of Mr. Sanders was unique.
Nor could Mr. Doyle provide against the swift
suspicions of John Omahundro. Nevertheless,
when all his energies were aroused, Philip Doyle
was a very shrewd and capable man.

The morning after Bethune and Mr. Sanders
started on their journey, he got hold of a piece of
information that seemed to him to be of the ut-
most importance. Quite by accident, he learned
of the bureau of the Confederate secret service
which had its headquarters in the New York
Hotel. Careful inquiry in the right direction
enabled him to procure a list of the officers and
employees serving this bureau.

Now this was information of the first class, and
Mr. Doyle deemed it of sufficient importance to
justify his prompt retirement from Richmond.
He was delayed for several days by urgent busi-
ness but, as we have seen, he arrived in Washing-
ton on the night that President Lincoln insisted on
having himself kidnapped. The next morning his
presence became known to Omahundro, who car-
ried this information to McCarthy's lieutenant at
the Federal capital. The day after, this advertise-
ment appeared in the " Personal " column of the
New York Herald:

" To Terence Nagle, late of Augusta, Georgia :
Jack sends this message to Mack. Fix up the

251



ON THE WING OF OCCASIONS

house for company, and be sure the dishes are
washed clean. The web-patterned doylies should
be well laundried. Jack."

This advertisement appeared twice, and on its
second appearance it caught the eye of a cabman
who was waiting for a fare near the New York
Hotel. He dismounted from his seat and saun-
tered toward the entrance, where a porter was
sweeping.

"Where's the Nagle lad?" he asked.

The porter looked around. " Answerin' a bell, I
dunno."

"So. I'd have a worrud wit' him, whin it's
convaynient."

The cabman went back to his vehicle and paced
up and down beside it. Presently Terence came
to the door, flourishing a whisk broom. " Oh ! 'tis
you, Mike."

" Hev ye seen the Hurld the day ? " He took
it from his pocket and laid his heavy forefinger
upon the advertisement.

Terence scanned it carefully i Then he laughed
and held up both hands in admiration. " What a
man is Captain Mack!" he exclaimed. "He
heard the news ahead of the editor ; upon me soul
he did. Before the breakfast hour yisterday morn-
in' the clane-up was over an' done wit' an' the ould
man an' the b'ys was gone."

252



THE WHIMS OF CAPTAIN MCCARTHY

"An' Terence lift in the lurch, b'gobs!" said
the cabman.

" In the lurch, is it ? " retorted Terence, glowing
with good humour. " Says the Captain to me, ' My
lad, I'm lavhY ye for to do the head worruk,' says
he. 'Ye have a cool head,' he says, 'a keen eye,
an' a clane mind,' he says, 'an' I'm trustin' in ye
discrateness altogether.' "

" Did he say that now ? " cried the cabman, ap-
pearing to be highly pleased.

"He did," replied Terence, " an' he said more;
he said, says he, ' Do ye give my regards to Mike
an' the b'ys,' he says, 'an' tell 'em for to tip
Terence the wink whin they have fares for 231
Plaisdell Avenue, Brooklyn.' "

"B'gobs, we'll do't! " said Mike, the cabman.

" If there's no more'n four, ye're to give me the
wink, drive about a bit, an' then take 'em straight
to the number, where they'll find rist an' refrish-
ment for man an' baste. An' if me two eyes tell
me no lies, the chanst is runnin' right at ye head-
foremost." This last remark was made pertinent
by the appearance of two men in the doorway of
the hotel. One of them turned back to buy a
couple of cigars ; the other came toward the cab.
Just then Terence was hitting the rolled curtains
of the vehicle a lick or two with the whisk broom
and saying, " If ye were a bit tidier maybe ye'd

253



ON THE WING OF OCCASIONS

play to a bigger aujience." He turned when the
gentleman came up.

" Are you acquainted with Brooklyn ? " asked
the newcomer.

"'Twas there I lived whin I first landed," re-
plied the cabman.

" Well, my friend and I want to go to 23 1 Plais-
dell Avenue ; are you acquainted with the local-
ity?"

" I know it well enough to drive ye there, sir ;
but ye'll find it chaper to go by 'bus and ferry."

"But we're in a hurry," the gentleman ex-
plained. "We have a friend there who may
perhaps desire to return with us."

The cabman bowed and opened the door of his
vehicle. From under his own seat he drew a
duster, and with this he carefully brushed the
cushions inside. This done, the two gentlemen
took their seats, and the cab moved off.

In this case the cabman had been under no
necessity of tipping the wink to Terence, the bell-
boy. That lively lad' had been on hand with his
ears open, and, in answer to an imaginary sum-
mons from the office, he went running into the
hotel.

"I'm for Brooklyn, sir," he said to the clerk,
and that functionary smiled, and bowed an affable
consent. But an instant was required for Terence

254



THE WHIMS OF CAPTAIN MCCARTHY

to change his blouse working-jacket for coat and
waistcoat. Running out through the ladies' en-
trance, he climbed to the side of a burly-looking
cabman, said something in his ear which caused
him to arouse himself with a smile. He looked at
his watch as he gathered up the reins, and smacked
his lips over its white face. His cab was drawn
by two horses, and they seemed to be very spirited
animals when in motion.

" Now, Barney, do ye know what's to be done ?"
asked Terence.

"If Mike knows as well," replied Barney, "both
jobs'll be well done. But mind you, what chasin's
to be done, must be done in the village where
there's nothin' but preachers an' babies."

"Mike knows," said Terence, confidently.

" Then we'll be first at the finish, with forty-five
minutes to spare. Does the old man need more'n
that ? "

Terence laughed exultantly. "Says Captain
Mack, says he, ' Give me tin minutes, me lad,' says
he, * an' we'll have court "in session whin our
friends come,' he says."

As Barney, with his two smart horses, was turn-
ing out of Broadway to go into a street where
there were fewer obstacles, he nudged his com-
panion and pointed with his whip. A block away,
Mike and his fares had been caught in one of the

255



ON THE WING OF OCCASIONS

jams for which the lower part of Broadway is
famous. This particular jam seemed to be as
impassable as a lumber boom, and it was all occa-
sioned by a half dozen words in Gaelic spoken to
the drivers of two big trucks.

The cabmen and the two truckmen shook their
fists at one another defiantly, and used language
which, to say the least, was not invented in the
mild atmosphere of the parlour. The blockade
attracted attention for several blocks. It had
sprung up, as it were, unexpectedly. It was
begun and carried out with great vehemence of
language and gesture. A half dozen policemen,
men of long experience in such matters, did their
utmost to straighten out matters and provide a
channel for traffic. If the jam had occurred at
a crossing, all would have been well, but its centre
was in the middle of two long blocks, and the
vehicles that were caught in it found it impossible
to beat a retreat.

"What's the trouble?" asked one of Mike's
passengers, putting his head out of the window.

" 'Tis' the divvle an' all to pay, sir," answered
Mike, looking at his watch. Ten minutes and
more had been gained. He nodded his head to
truckman No. I, who waved his hand at truckman
No. 2.

Then, " Hi, there ! " said No. I. " Look sharp,
356



THE WHIMS OF CAPTAIN MCCARTHY

there ! " cried No. 2. And, lo ! what the police-
men had failed to do, was accomplished in five
minutes, for in that space of time, the blockade
melted away, and traffic resumed its tireless march.

The ferry at which Mike, the cabman, crossed
was thirty minutes farther from ( Plaisdell Avenue
than the one at which Barney and Terence had
crossed, and he made the distance still longer by
indulging in some of those tricks of driving that
are a part of the cabman's trade.

Finally, however, the vehicle drew up at 231,
and Mike dismounted from the seat to open the
door.

" You will wait for us," said the gentleman who
had engaged the cab.

" Will ye be long, sir ? " Mike's tone was ex-
tremely solicitous as he consulted his watch.

"Why, no," replied the gentleman who had
acted throughout as spokesman.

" As much as an hour, sir ? " insisted the cabman.

"Why, certainly not. Ten minutes at the
most," the gentleman asserted.

"Oh, I see," remarked the cabman, and he
regarded the two men with an expression on his
face which they remembered afterward.



257



ON THE WING OF OCCASIONS



II



Now, one of those gentlemen was Mr. Philip
Doyle, of whom we have heard, and the other was
Mr. William Webb, the accomplished officer who
had fallen into conversation with our old friend
Sanders in the dining room of the New York
Hotel. Mr. Doyle had a fair reputation with his
superiors for energy and sagacity, but Mr. Webb
was the pride of the secret service bureau, and he
was very ambitious. Moreover, he was almost as
intensely devoted to the cause of the Union as Mr.
Stanton. No fatigue was too great for him to
undergo in the performance of his duties. He
had a clear head and high courage, and all his
faculties were keenly developed.

When Mr. Doyle came up from the South,
Webb was naturally the first person he sought out,
after reporting to his chief. He had worked with
Webb, and liked him, and, while in the South, had
been under Webb's direction. The trouble with
Doyle was that he set too much store by his per-
sonal ambition. He was for the Union, of course,
but first and foremost he was for Mr. Philip Doyle.

Therefore, instead of laying the information he
had before the chief of the bureau, he kept it to
himself, until he found an opportunity to consult
258



THE WHIMS OF CAPTAIN MCCARTHY

with Webb. The temptation which the situation
presented to the latter was not as strong, perhaps,
as it was in the case of Mr. Doyle ; but it existed.
It would be a great stroke if he, with Doyle, should
be the means of unearthing the conspiracy against
the Government and arresting the man who was
responsible therefor.

" Have you the documentary proof in your pos-
session ? " Mr. Webb asked Doyle at their private
consultation. "It is very important to have that.
It is easy enough to arrest men promiscuously,
as has been done on too many occasions. What
we want is the actual proof."

For answer, Mr. Doyle took from the breast-
pocket of his coat a package of papers and handed
them to his companion, who examined them very
carefully.

" If you think that settles it," Webb said with
a smile, "wouldn't it be best to lay these docu-
ments before the chief, get an order for a provost's
guard, and make an end of the matter ? "

" And when that is done, where would the credit
lie ? " Mr. Doyle inquired.

"Why, with the bureau, of course," was the
response.

" But if we undertake it and carry it out success-
fully : what then ? "

"That is true," said Mr. Webb. "You are
259



ON THE WING OF OCCASIONS

sure you have said nothing of this to any one
else?"

" Why, I haven't had time to think about it until
now," Mr. Doyle declared. "I hoped to make
a big strike by the arrest of the fellows who were
plotting to kidnap Mr. Lincoln; but you know
what a failure that was."

"I do, indeed," replied Mr. Webb. "Alto-
gether, it is the most peculiar case I ever heard
of. I have been trying to unravel it to my satis-
faction ; but the more I think about it, the more
mysterious it becomes. And then, there's that
chap, Awtry. He has resigned and gone South
with Bethune and the old buffoon."

" Well, Awtry is a Southern man, you know, and
the people down there or the most of them
act on principles that are dim to me," remarked
Mr. Doyle. "But about this case of ours: what
shall we do about it? Can't you get a signed
order for the arrest of this man?"

"Oh, there's no difficulty about the order of
arrest. Such orders are thick as leaves on the
trees," replied Mr. Webb. "I am well acquainted
with the head waiter of the New York Hotel.
If he is the man we want, there can be no diffi-
culty about arresting him. He is rather a shrewd
man. He sees through all my disguises without
trouble ; but I judge from his face that he was

260



THE WHIMS OF CAPTAIN MCCARTHY

once an actor, and that he has some weakness
which has prevented him from following his pro-
fession. That's the way I've sized him up. A more
amiable man I have never met, and he seems to
know how to hold his tongue. Now, the character
of work that has been mapped out at the New
York Hotel, and successfully carried out by the
Confederate agents, would never be in the hands
of a man willing to accept a menial position.
Take the case as it stands : why should a man
capable of such work desire to figure in a position
that is at least servile? All he has to do is to
lock himself in a room, and his whereabouts would
never be suspected."

"But here are the documents," Mr. Doyle
insisted.

" True," replied Webb ; " but how do you know
these very documents were not intended to mis-
lead ? You must remember that the business we
are engaged in requires considerable headwork.
We must never underrate the abilities of an oppo-
nent. That a very shrewd and shifty man is doing
this secret service work for the rebels is very evi-
dent to me. Is it likely that his name and object
would be spread out on the Records in Richmond ?
Now, I think not."

" But they were not ' spread out/ as you call it,"
said Doyle. "They were in a very safe place,

261



ON THE WING OF OCCASIONS

and it was only by accident that they came into
my hands."

"There is another fact to be taken into con-
sideration," pursued Webb, who was very fond
of his theories, and very happy, as he supposed,
in inventing them. The reader will admit, too,
that his deductions were logical. " Another fact,
and a very important one," he repeated, and then
paused.

" What is it ? " inquired Doyle.

"Why, the general character of the Southern
people, and the particular characteristics of a
Southern man capable of managing a secret ser-
vice bureau in the heart of the enemy's country.
I know something of these people, but you know
more. Now, I ask you again, is it at all likely
that a man who is in a position to command men
would stoop to flourish a towel and usher guests
to their seats in a public dining room ? Why, such
service would leave a bad taste in my mouth, and
in yours. This being the case, how would it affect
the pride of our friend, the enemy ? "

"Still " Doyle was going on to repeat his
belief in the records he had abstracted, but Webb
interrupted him.

" I'm only trying to prepare you for the inevi-
table," he said. " I'm going with you, and I pro-
pose to act just as if I placed as much confidence
262



THE WHIMS OF CAPTAIN MCCARTHY

in these documents as you do. More than that,
if we succeed, the credit shall all be placed to your
account. If we fail, I'll share the failure with you.
I am simply trying to show you that what is true
must be reasonable."

" But if we fail," suggested Doyle, " no one
need know about it."

"True enough," responded Webb; "but I'll
know it, and you'll know it. That is the reason
I have been at some pains to give you my views
on the subject. The head waiter's name is
McCarthy; that much I am certain of. And
your documents say that an inquiry for McCarthy
means an inquiry for the chief of the bureau in
New York. Well, we'll try our hands. If we
fail, well and good."

Mr. Doyle was careful not to produce his list
of active agents and clerks of the bureau. He
kept this for his own use, hoping to bring himself
still more prominently to the attention of his
superiors by arresting the agents and clerks one
at a time. He had mapped out a very successful
programme in his mind, and saw himself advanced
in the line of promotion until he became famous
all over the world. His professional pride, as
such, was devoted wholly to his own advancement,
whereas, Mr. Webb,- with less energy, rather liked
his work; and when one of his theories turned

263



ON THE WING OF OCCASIONS

out to be the true one, he rejoiced over it as the
artist does who makes a happy stroke with his
brush.

The two men took the night train for New
York, where they arrived at an early hour, and
were driven at once to the New York Hotel.
They secured a room and were soon in the dining
room. A head waiter was on hand, but he was
not McCarthy. Presently Mr. Webb called the
man and asked for McCarthy.

" Why, I think he is ill, sir, but the gentleman
in the office can tell you more about it. I was
suddenly called to take his place yesterday, and
I heard some one say he was ill."

The man who brought their breakfast had prac-
tically the same report to make. He had heard
that the former head waiter was ill. He was not
sure, but he thought it was a sudden attack of
inflammatory rheumatism.

At the office the gentlemanly clerk was cool, but


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Online LibraryJoel Chandler HarrisOn the wing of occasions → online text (page 13 of 16)