Daniel spotted him in the inn right away.
“Jon, you old wharf rat. Where have you been hiding your ornery self –respectfully, that is?”
Jonathan Plowman looked amusingly at his young friend.
“Staying out of trouble, Daniel. Who is this young fellow?”
“May I introduce my cousin Finn Laverty, from the old country. And you know John Stevenson.”
“Pleased to meet you, sir. More recently, I hail from Virginia”, Finn said.
“Ah, the king’s home port”, said Plowman. “I won’t hold that against you, or your Irish blood”, the older man added with a smile on his face”.
“Oh please, Jonathan”, said Daniel. “Finn, this man is almost as Irish as you and I. He is one of Doctor Stevenson’s best friends, and his cousin to boot”, said Daniel.
“Tis true, Mr. Laverty. My mother was the sister of John’s father’.”
“Call me Finn, sir.”
“And you can call me Jon, Finn.”
“Please gentleman, sit down. I’ve ordered us some dinner.”
A Negro servant came out with some stew and side dishes.
“Looks like I may take up my own trade again soon, Daniel,” said Plowman, as he chewed on a pickle. “We’ve just replaced one king with another.”
“Jon was a privateer during the war. There’s no love lost between him and the British”, said Daniel.
“To think that a man like George Washington would renounce democratic principles,” said Jon. “Ten years ago he helped me get a ship back which the British navy had stolen out from under me.”
“Now he’s made of the same cloth”, said Finn. “His hooligans destroyed my print shop in Virginia after I printed some material he didn’t take kindly to.”
“Well, you know my boy, I am not so sure King George knows everything that’s going on”, replied Plowman. “He has been getting a lot of bad advice from some of his Continental Army blokes.”
“Jon’s the man that told me about the General’s acceptance of the crown, Finn. On top of being a good thief, he is also a pretty damned good spy,” said Daniel.
A messenger came in to the inn looking for Dr. Stevenson.
“Gotta go boys. Mrs. Phelan is about to have her little one.” Stevenson walked out the door.
“I’ve learned a little more since we last talked, Daniel. I know who the ringleader is.”
“Well don’t just stand there Jon. Tell us so we can deal with the bastard,” said Daniel.
“The man is a Colonel out of Philadelphia by the name of Nicola. Apparently he has been browbeating the General on the need for a monarchy. Seems he doesn’t believe the masses can be trusted.”
“Well, Jon, I think we need some of those masses to help us convince them of his wrong thinking”, said Finn.
“Well, I would have just the men for such an endeavor. However, they are locked away on a hulk in the harbor.”
“Mary and Joseph, Jon. That was a death sentence under the Brits”, said Daniel.
“It’s pretty much the same business with the new royals, too. These men need to be saved. They are heroes of the revolution. They served with me on the ships I took out to raid the British.”
“So what to do you propose, sir?”, asked Finn.
“I propose that we row out to that damned ship and take it over.”
“Easier said than done, wouldn’t you say?”, said Daniel.
“Under normal circumstances, yes. But I have been making a plan with some of the boys who escaped capture and have gone underground. You’re welcome to get in on it.”
“Now you’re talking, sir!”, said Finn. ‘It’s about time I had the chance to take a swipe at those debutante royals.”
“Well, the more the merrier, I’d say,” said Daniel. “How many men can we muster, Jon?”
“With the sailor boys and some of the servants who owe me, I would guess about 50.”
“Who will be leading the assault?”, asked Daniel.
“If you had your sea legs, I would ask you to do it. But since you are a landlubber, I have my second in charge. I’m a little to old to be engaging in combat.”
There was a loud bang on the door to the inn and suddenly about 20 troops rushed in the door.
“Good day, Mr. Plowman”, said a handsome blonde gentleman in a well-tailored Continental uniform.
“Captain Ridgely. What brings you down from Hampton with such a fine array of talent?”
“I think you know, Plowman. It’s time you join your men out in the harbor.”
“Can I have a tart, first, Charles? I haven’t even finished my meal.”
Plowman, Finn and Daniel were put in cuffs and rushed out the door.
The ship entered the Patapsco River slowly on a beautiful November day. It was unseasonably warm and sunny for Baltimore.
“It was a good voyage, Mary”, said Hildy.
“You are right about that, Hildy. Look, there’s the town!”, said Mary.
From a distance, the city looked crowded. The place was jammed tight with shops, warehouses and ships.
Their own vessel pulled up in Fells Point. The inner harbor itself was too shallow for large ships.
Coming down the gangplank, the two ladies drank in the scene. The neighborhood was made up of narrow streets and quaint row houses.
“Is someone meeting you, Mary.”
“Yes, a person from the group that employed me is supposed to come here and help me get settled. What about you?”
“A merchant known by my father is to meet me. I am to board with the family during my stay.”
Mary saw a woman holding a sign with her name and the name of the organization employing her: Plowman and Stevenson.
“Hello, I am Mary Sweeny,” she said to the young woman.
“Chloe White. Pleased to meet you.”
“Will I see you again, Mary?”, asked Hildy.
“I hope so. The town can’t be that big.”
“All the best, my dear.”
Mary clung to her bag and followed Chloe out of the dock area.
Hildy began to look for her own host. After a short walk she saw a man about her father’s age holding a sign with her name on it.
“Welcome, Miss MacCool. I am James McCormick.”
“Oh, thank you so much Mr. McCormick.”
“How is your father? I have known him through my business for a number of years.”
“He is in good health, sir.”
“Good. Please come with me. I will take you home, introduce you to my family and get you settled.”
The next morning at breakfast, Mrs. McCormick and Hildy talked over porridge and cider.
“What brings you to Maryland, Miss MacCool? It’s a long voyage for one as young as you, and just a girl, too.”
“I have come to bring my intended home, Mrs. McCormick. But first I have to find him.”
“You mean you do not know where he is? That’s astonishing and a little perplexing that you would come here and not know that.”
“Well, ma’am, his home is in Virginia. However, the last letter I got from him said he was in Baltimore with a cousin from here.”
“Do you know the name of the cousin?”
“Well, when James comes home tonight I believe he might be able to help you. He is well connected in the city of Baltimore.”
“Thank you, ma’am.”
After a day of unpacking, getting her belongings in order and helping Mrs. McCormick with chores, Hildy discussed her search with James McCormick.
“Have some more potatoes and eggs, dear”, Mrs. McCormick said to Hildy. “You are so thin you could blow away in the breeze.”
“Thank you, ma’am.”
“Now, Hildy, what is the name of this cousin of Finn’s?”, asked James.
“His name is Daniel Connell, from County Antrim like me and Finn.”
“Well, Hildy, there is one man who knows a lot of the Irish in town. He brings many of them over as indentured servants.”
“Oh, I met a young lady on the ship I came over on who was employed as one.”
“It’s probable that Dr. John Stevenson brought her here.”
“Yes, I remember the name on the sign held by the girl that met her-it had the name ‘Stevenson’ on it.”
“That would be ‘Plowman and Stevenson’. Dr. Stevenson’s office is down on Charles Street. Let’s go there in the morning and ask him if he has heard of him.”
The next morning Hildy and James arrived at John Stevenson’s office about 9 am. His waiting room was already full of patients.
Coming in to the room to call the next sick person, Stevenson was greeted by James.
“Good morning, doctor. I am sorry to disturb your busy schedule, but I have someone I would like you to meet.”
“You are always welcome, James, as are any friends of yours.” He looked at Hildy.
“How do you do? I am Dr. John Stevenson.”
“Pleased to meet you, doctor. My name is Hildy MacCool.”
“Hildy just came here from Ulster, John. She is looking for someone from there, and given your contacts I thought there would be a good chance you would know his whereabouts. He is with his cousin, a man from Baltimore named Daniel Connell.”
Stevenson gave James and Hildy a startled look.
“Daniel Connell was rounded up last month by the Continentals with my partner Jonathan Plowman. Is your friend’s name Finn?”
“Why yes!”, said Hildy.
“My guess is that he is with them. I was having dinner with all three when I was called away on a case. Those at the inn tell me they were hauled off in cuffs after I left.”
Hildy began to cry.
“Now, now, my dear. We’ll get to the bottom of this. Dr. Stevenson, do you have any idea where they might be?”
“My sources tell me they may be out in the harbor on the prison hulk.”
“I need to get him out of there! What can I do?”, said Hildy.
“Very little, young lady. Leave it to me. I will keep you informed.”
This blogger is participating in National Novel Writing Month, which began on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000 word plus novel in 30 days. This is an excerpt of his endeavor