Beyond the Breakers a Story of the Present Day

Cover of book Beyond the Breakers a Story of the Present Day
Categories: Fiction » Historical Fiction

CHAPTER I. THE ACCUSATION. IT was in the old days, now almost forgotten, when bits of gold and sil ver passed current among us as money. As we mortals reckon time, it was some twelve or fourteen years


ago, but if one estimates by thick-crowding events and revolutions, social and political, there has passed a generation since the inci dents that are to be related occurred in the sober Quaker State of Pennsyl vania. One cold, rainy evening, late in the spring, there sauntered into a tavern kept in Water street, Philadelphia, a man not beyond middle age and somewhat shab bily dressed. It was a tavern, not only in the strict old sense of the term to wit, a resort of the thirsty, where wines and sundry hot potations might be had at re tail, as eighteen hundred years ago they were in the thermopolia of Pompeii whose marble tabula are cup-stained still but also taken according to the modernized American phraseology for its hearty, bright-eyed owner furnished quotFrom seeming evil still educing good And better thence again, and better still, In infinite progression.quot THOMSON. to the emigrant and to the chance trav eler board and lodging, as well as grog and punch. Terence O Reilly was an inch of him one saw Irishman, every that at a glance. The high cheek-bones, the ruddy color, the touch of the brogue, came unmistakably from the Green Island. The world had gone well with Terence. He liked it he thoroughly enjoyed life, and sought to make it as pleasant to others as to himself. He had selected a sorry mode of doing so, it is true, not being satisfied to dispense Cowper s cups that quot cheer but not in ebriate.quot I dare say he had not heard Gough lecture, and probably had never taken a serious thought as to whether the world was the better or the worse for the gin and the whisky that are made in it. He had imbibed, with his hardy mother s milk, her careless, thoughtless, hopeful temperament. His father, hailfellow-well-met with every one, had not improved his son s habits by suffering him, when he had outgrown the mater nal beverage, occasionally to taste a lit tle of the potheen that had the sweet ness of stolen waters about it, being manufactured of nights in a small under ground still, of which the masked en trance could be reached only through the intricacies of an Irish bog, and so had escaped, for years, the argus-eyed reve nue officers. The lad grew up lighthearted, jovial, but not intemperate, nor yet without a wholesome ambition to better his condition, and attain the res pectability which he saw that money was wont to bring. His first step in life had been as hos tler in a country inn. There the hard working fellow served faithfully, finally attracting the attention of a young offi cer in the Guards, the eldest son of the Honorable Patrick Halloran, a wealthy landed proprietor, on whose property Terence s father lived. Captain Hallo- ran, pleased with the lad s spirit and goodhumor, took him into his service as groom, promoting him, in gay livery, to a seat behind his stylish curricle when he drove that fine-stepping pair of blacklimbed bays of his in Hyde Park...

Beyond the Breakers a Story of the Present Day
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