NO DEFENSE - VOLUME 1.
NO DEFENSE - VOLUME 1.
I. THE TWO MEET
II. THE COMING OF A MESSENGER
III. THE QUARREL
IV. THE DUEL
V. THE KILLING OF ERRIS BOYNE
VI. DYCK IN PRISON
VII. MOTHER AND DAUGHTER
VIII. DYCK'S FATHER VISITS HIM
IX. A LETTER FROM SHEILA
X. DYCK CALHOUN ENTERS THE WORLD AGAIN
XI. WHITHER NOW?
XII. THE HOUR BEFORE THE MUTINY
XIII. TO THE WEST INDIES
XIV. IN THE NICK OF TIME
XV. THE ADMIRAL HAS HIS SAY
XVI. A LETTER
XVII. STRANGERS ARRIVE
XVIII. AT SALEM
XIX. LORD MALLOW INTERVENES
XX. OUT OF THE HANDS OF THE PHILISTINES
XXI. THE CLASH OF RACE
XXII. SHEILA HAS HER SAY
XXIII. THE COMING OF NOREEN
XXIV. WITH THE GOVERNOR
XXV. THEN WHAT HAPPENED
THE TWO MEET
"Well good-bye Dyck. I'll meet you at the sessions or before that at
It was only the impulsive cheery warning exclamation of a wild young
Irish spirit to his friend Dyck Calhoun but it had behind it the humour
and incongruity of Irish life.
The man Dyck Calhoun after whom were sent the daring words about the
sessions and the assizes was a year or two older than his friend and
as Michael Clones his servant and friend said "the worst and best
scamp of them all"--just up to any harmless deviltry.
Influenced by no traditions or customs under control of no stern records
of society Calhoun had caused some trouble in his time by the harmless
deeds of a scapegrace but morally--that is in all relations of life
affected by the ten commandments--he was above reproach. Yet he was of
the sort who in days of agitation then common in Ireland might
possibly commit some act which would bring him to the sessions or the
assizes. There never was in Ireland a cheerier braver handsomer
fellow nor one with such variety of mind and complexity of purpose.
He was the only child of a high-placed gentleman; he spent all the money
that came his way and occasionally loaded himself with debt which his
angry father paid. Yet there never was a gayer heart a more generous
spirit nor an easier-tempered man; though after all he was only
twenty-five when the words with which the tale opens were said to him.
He had been successful--yet none too successful--at school and Trinity
College Dublin. He had taken a pass degree when he might have captured
the highest honours. He had interested people of place in the country
but he never used promptly the interest he excited. A pretty face a
fishing or a shooting expedition a carouse in some secluded tavern were
parts of his daily life.
At the time the story opens he was a figure of note among those who
spent their time in criticizing the government and damning the Irish
Parliament. He even became a friend of some young hare-brained rebels of
the time; yet no one suspected him of anything except irresponsibility.
His record was clean; Dublin Castle was not after him.
When his young friend made the remark about the sessions and assizes
Calhoun was making his way up the rocky hillside to take the homeward
path to his father's place Playmore. With the challenge and the
monstrous good-bye a stone came flying up the hill after him and stopped
almost at his feet. He made no reply however but waved a hand
downhill and in his heart said:
"Well maybe he's right. I'm a damned dangerous fellow there's no doubt
about that. Perhaps I'll kill a rebel some day and then they'll take me
to the sessions and the assizes. Well well there's many a worse fate
than that so there is."
After a minute he added:
"So there is dear lad so there is. But if I ever kill I'd like it to
be in open fight on the hills like this--like this under the bright sun
in the soft morning with all the moor and valleys still and the larks
singing--the larks singing! Hooray but it's a fine day one of the best
that ever was!"
He laughed and patted his gun gently.
"Not a feather not a bird killed not a shot fired; but the looking was
the thing--stalking the things that never turned up the white heels we
never saw for I'm not killing larks God love you!"
He raised his head looking up into the sky at some larks singing above
him in the heavens.
"Lord love you little dears" he added aloud. "I wish I might die with
your singing in my ears but do you know what makes Ireland what it is?
Look at it now. Years ago just when the cotton-mills and the linen-
mills were doing well they came over with their English legislation and
made it hard going. When we begin to get something over the English
come and take the something away. What have we done we Irish people
that we shouldn't have a chance in our own country? Lord knows we
deserve a chance for it's hard paying the duties these days. What with
France in revolution and reaching out her hand to Ireland to coax her
into rebellion; what with defeat in America and drink in Scotland; what
with Fox and Pitt at each other's throats and the lord-lieutenant a
danger to the peace; what with poverty and the cow and children and
father and mother living all in one room with the chickens roosting in
the rafters; what with pointing the potato at the dried fish and gulping
it down as if it was fish itself; what with the smell and the dirt and
the poverty of Dublin and Derry Limerick and Cork--ah well!" He threw
his eyes up again.
"Ah well my little love sing on! You're a blessing among a lot of
curses; but never mind it's a fine world and Ireland's the best part of
it. Heaven knows it--and on this hill how beautiful it is!"
He was now on the top of a hill where he could look out towards the bog
and in towards the mellow waving hills. He could drink in the yellowish
green with here and there in the distance a little house; and about two
miles away smoke stealing up from the midst of the plantation where
Playmore was--Playmore his father's house--to be his own one day.
How good it was! There within his sight was the great escarpment of
rock known as the Devil's Ledge and away to the east was the black spot
in the combe known as the Cave of Mary. Still farther away towards the
south was the great cattle-pasture where as he looked a thousand
cattle roamed. Here and there in the wide prospect were plantations
where Irish landlords lived and paid a heavy price for living. Men did
not pay their rents. Crops were spoiled markets were bad money was
"Please God it will be better next year!" Michael Clones said and
there never was a man with a more hopeful heart than Michael Clones.
Dyck Calhoun had a soul of character originality and wayward
distinction. He had all the impulses and enthusiasms of a poet all the
thirst for excitement of the adventurer all the latent patriotism of the
true Celt; but his life was undisciplined and he had not ordered his
spirit into compartments of faith and hope. He had gifts. They were
gifts only to be borne by those who had ambitions.
Now as he looked out upon the scene where nature was showing herself at
her best some glimmer of a great future came to him. He did not know
which way his feet were destined to travel in the business of life. It
was too late to join the navy; but there was still time enough to be a
soldier or to learn to be a lawyer.
As he gazed upon the scene his wonderful deep blue eyes his dark brown
hair thick upon his head waving and luxuriant like a fine mattress his
tall slender alert figure his bony capable hands which neither sun
nor wind ever browned his nervous yet interesting mouth and his long
Roman nose set in a complexion rich in its pink-and-cream hardness and
health--all this made him a figure good to see.
Suddenly as he listened to the lark singing overhead with his face
lifted to the sky he heard a human voice singing; and presently there
ran up a little declivity to his left a girl--an Irish girl of about
seventeen years of age.
Her hat was hanging on her arm by a green ribbon. Her head was covered
with the most wonderful brown waving hair. She had a broad low
forehead Greek in its proportions and lines. The eyes were bluer even
than his own and were shaded by lashes of great length which slightly
modified the firm lines of the face with its admirable chin and mouth
somewhat large with a cupid's bow.
In spite of its ardent and luscious look it was the mouth of one who
knew her own mind and could sustain her own course. It was open when
Dyck first saw it because she was singing little bits of wild lyrics of
the hills little tragedies of Celtic life--just bursts of the Celtic
soul as it were cheerful yet sad buoyant and passionate eager yet
melancholy. She was singing in Irish too. They were the words of songs
taught her by her mother's maid.
She had been tramping over the hills for a couple of hours virile
beautiful and alone. She wore a gown of dark gold with little green
ribbons here and there. The gown was short and her ankles showed. In
spite of the strong boots she wore they were alert delicate and
shapely and all her beauty had the slender fullness of a quail.
When she saw Dyck she stopped suddenly her mouth slightly open. She
gave him a sidelong glance of wonder interest and speculation. Then
she threw her head slightly back and all the curls gathered in a bunch
and shook like bronze flowers. It was a head of grace and power of
charm and allurement--of danger.
Dyck was lost in admiration. He looked at her as one might look at a
beautiful thing in a dream. He did not speak; he only smiled as he gazed
into her eyes. She was the first to speak.
"Well who are you?" she asked with a slightly southern accent in her
voice delicate and entrancing. Her head gave a little modest toss her
fine white teeth caught her lower lip with a little quirk of humour; for
she could see that he was a gentleman and that she was safe from
anything that might trouble her.
He replied to her question with the words:
"My name? Why it's Dyck Calhoun. That's all."
Her eyes brightened. "Isn't that enough?" she asked gently.
She knew of his family. She was only visiting in the district with her
mother but she had lately heard of old Miles Calhoun and his wayward
boy Dyck; and here was Dyck with a humour in his eyes and a touch of
melancholy at his lips. Somehow her heart went out to him.
Presently he said to her: "And what's your name?"
"I'm only Sheila Llyn the daughter of my mother a widow visiting at
Loyland Towers. Yes I'm only Sheila!"
"Well just be 'only Sheila"' he answered admiringly and he held out a
hand to her. "I wouldn't have you be anything else though it's none of
For one swift instant she hesitated; then she laid her hand in his.
"There's no reason why we should not" she said. "Your father's
She looked at him again with a sidelong glance and with a whimsical
reserved smile at her lips.
"Yes he's respectable I agree but he's dull" answered Dyck. "For an
Irishman he's dull--and he's a tyrant too. I suppose I deserve that
for I'm a handful."
"I think you are and a big handful too!"
"Which way are you going?" he asked presently.
"Oh I'm bound for home." He pointed across the valley. "Do you see
that smoke coming up from the plantation over there?"
"Yes I know" she answered. "I know. That's Playmore your father's
place. Loyland Towers is between here and there. Which way were you
"Round to the left" he said puzzled but agreeable.
"Then we must say good-bye because I go to the right. That's my nearest
"Well if that's your nearest way I'm going with you" he said
"If you won't talk very much!" she rejoined with a little air of
"I don't want to talk. I'd like to listen. Shall we start?"
A half-hour later they suddenly came upon an incident of the road.
It was alas no uncommon incident. An aged peasant in a sudden fit of
weakness had stumbled on the road and in falling had struck his head
on a stone and had lost consciousness. He was an old peasant of the
usual Irish type coarsely but cleanly dressed. Lying beside him was a
leather bag within which were odds and ends of food and some small books
of legend and ritual. He was a peasant of a superior class however.
In falling he had thrown over on his back and his haggard face was
exposed to the sun and sky. At sight of him Dyck and Sheila ran forward.
Dyck dropped on one knee and placed a hand on the stricken man's heart.
"He's alive all right" Dyck said. "He's a figure in these parts. His
name's Christopher Dogan."
"Where does he live?"
"Live? Well not three hundred yards from here when he's at home but
he's generally on the go. He's what the American Indians would call a
"He needs his own medicine now."
"He's over eighty and he must have gone dizzy stumbled fallen and
struck a stone. There's the mark on his temple. He's been lying here
unconscious ever since; but his pulse is all right and we'll soon have
him fit again."
So saying Dyck whipped out a horn containing spirit and while Sheila
lifted the injured head he bathed the old man's face with the spirit
then opened the mouth and let some liquor trickle down.
"He's the cleanest peasant I ever saw" remarked Sheila; "and he's coming
to. Look at him!"
Yes he was coming to. There was a slight tremor of the eyelids and
presently they slowly opened. They were eyes of remarkable poignancy and
brightness--black deep-set direct full of native intelligence. For an
instant they stared as if they had no knowledge then understanding came
"Oh it's you sir" his voice said tremblingly looking at Dyck. "And
very kind it is of ye !" Then he looked at Sheila. "I don't know ye"
he said whisperingly for his voice seemed suddenly to fail. "I don't
know ye" he repeated "but you look all right."
"Well I'm Sheila Llyn" the girl said taking her hand from the old
"I'm Sheila Llyn and I'm all right in a way perhaps."
The troubled piercing eyes glanced from one to the other.
"No--never met till a half-hour ago" remarked Dyck.
The old man drew himself to a sitting posture then swayed slightly. The
hands of the girl and Dyck went out behind his back. As they touched his
back their fingers met and Dyck's covered the girl's. Their eyes met
too and the story told by Dyck in that moment was the beginning of a
lifetime of experience comedy and tragedy.
He thought her fingers were wonderfully soft warm and full of life; and
she thought that his was the hand of a master-of a master in the field of
human effort. That is if she thought at all for Dyck's warm powerful
touch almost hypnotized her.
The old peasant understood however. He was standing on his feet now.
He was pale and uncertain. He lifted up his bag and threw it over his
"Well I'm not needing you any more thank God!" he said.
"So Heaven's blessing on ye and I bid ye good-bye. You've been kind to
me and I won't forget either of ye. If ever I can do ye a good turn
I'll do it."
"No we're not going to leave you until you're inside your home" said
The old man looked at Sheila in meditation. He knew her name and her
history. Behind the girl's life was a long prospect of mystery. Llyn
was her mother's maiden name. Sheila had never known her father. Never
to her knowledge had she seen him because when she was yet an infant her
mother had divorced him by Act of Parliament against the wishes of her
church and had resumed her maiden name.
Sheila's father's name was Erris Boyne and he had been debauched
drunken and faithless; so at a time of unendurable hurt his wife had
freed herself. Then under her maiden name she had brought up her
daughter without any knowledge of her father; had made her believe
he was dead; had hidden her tragedy with a skilful hand.
Only now when Sheila was released from a governess had she moved out of
the little wild area of the County Limerick where she lived; only now had
she come to visit an uncle whose hospitality she had for so many years
denied herself. Sheila was two years old when her father disappeared
and fifteen years had gone since then.
One on either side of the old man they went with him up the hillside for
about three hundred yards to the door of his house which was little
more than a cave in a sudden lift of the hill. He swayed as he walked
but by the time they reached his cave-house he was alert again.
The house had two windows one on either side of the unlocked doorway;
and when the old man slowly swung the door open there was shown an
interior of humble character but neat and well-ordered. The floor was
earth dry and clean. There was a bed to the right also wholesome and
dry with horse-blankets for cover. At the back opposite the doorway
was a fireplace of some size and in it stood a kettle a pot and a few
small pans together with a covered saucepan. On either side of the
fireplace was a three-legged stool and about the middle of the left-hand
wall of the room was a chair which had been made out of a barrel some of
the staves having been sawn away to make a seat.
Once inside the house Christopher Dogan laid his bag on the bed and
waved his hands in a formula of welcome.
"Well I'm honoured" he said "for no one has set foot inside this place
that I'd rather have here than the two of ye; and it's wonderful to me
Mr. Calhoun that ye've never been inside it before because there's been
times when I've had food and drink in plenty. I could have made ye
comfortable then and stroked ye all down yer gullet. As for you Miss
Llyn you're as welcome as the shining of the stars of a night when
there's no moon. I'm glad you're here though I've nothing to give ye
not a bite nor sup. Ah yes--but yes" he suddenly cried touching his
head. "Faith then I have! I have a drap of somethin' that's as good
as annything dhrunk by the ancient kings of Ireland. It's a wee cordial
that come from the cellars of the Bishop of Dunlany when I cured his
cook of the evil-stone that was killing her. Ah thank God!"
He went into a corner on the left of the fireplace opened an old jar
thrust his arm down and drew out a squat little bottle of cordial. The
bottle was beautifully made. It was round and hunched and of glass
with an old label from which the writing had faded.
With eyes bright now Christopher uncorked the bottle and smelled the
contents. As he did so a smile crinkled his face.
"Thank the Lord! There's enough for the two of ye--two fine
tablespoonfuls of the cordial that'd do anny man good no matter how bad
he was and turn an angel of a woman into an archangel. Bless yer Bowl!"
When Christopher turned to lift down two pewter pots Calhoun reached up
swiftly and took them from the shelf. He placed them in the hands of the
old man who drew a clean towel of coarse linen from a small cupboard in
the wall above his head.
She and Dyck held the pots for the old man to pour the cordial into them.
As he said there was only a good porridge-spoon of liqueur for each. He
divided it with anxious care.
"There's manny a man" he said "and manny and manny a lady too born in
the purple that'd be glad of a dhrink of this cordial from the cellar of
"Alpha beta gamma delta is the code and with the word delta" he
continued "dhrink every drop of it as if it was the last thing you were
dhrinking on earth; as if the Lord stooped down to give ye a cup of
blessing from His great flagon of eternal happiness. Ye've got two kind