Chapter 13: A Dangerous Mission.
“Walter,” Captain Davenant said to his son one day, when he returned from a council in which he had taken part, at the quarters of General Sarsfield, “I have a mission for you in Dublin. It is necessary, in the first place, to communicate with some of our friends there, and in the second to ascertain, as far as we can, the plans of the enemy during the next campaign. There are few of us here who would not be readily recognized in Dublin; therefore, when there seemed a difficulty in selecting someone to undertake the duty, I said that I thought you would be likely to succeed better than most.
“You have not been any time in Dublin, and I question whether a single person there would be likely to recognize you. You will, of course, be in disguise, and your youth will be in your favour. I don’t say there is no danger in such an undertaking, but I do not think the risk is greater than that which you have frequently run. I was sure you would readily undertake the mission, and I thought I could answer for your intelligence as well as your discretion.”
“I will undertake it, certainly, father, if you think me capable of it,” Walter said. “It is dull enough here, now that the wet weather has thoroughly set in, and I shall really like the adventure. When am I to set out?”
“Tomorrow. Your instructions, and the letters you are to carry, will be drawn up tonight, and you can set off after breakfast. I shall ride with you, with a part of the troop, until you are past the point where you are likely to fall in with any body of the enemy’s cavalry. After that you will, of course, shift for yourself. We think you had best travel on foot, dressed as a peasant. In that way you will attract no attention, and pass through towns occupied by the enemy without questioning.”
“I think, father, I will take Larry with me, if you have no objection. He would be the real thing, and could do most of the talking. Besides, sometimes it is very useful to have someone to send with a message, or to put on guard when one went in anywhere.”
“Take him, by all means, Walter, and, indeed, I agree with you that you may find him very useful.”
Accordingly, the following morning Walter and Larry, dressed as young peasants, mounted, and with the troop started from the camp. No signs of any parties of the enemy were seen during their ride, and after proceeding some five-and-twenty miles, they dismounted, and with a hearty farewell from Captain Davenant, and a cheer from the men, they started on foot.
The letters of which Walter was the bearer had been written on very small pieces of paper, and had been sewn up inside the collar of his coat. His instructions, as to the persons on whom he was to call, had been learned by heart and the paper destroyed. Larry was in high glee at taking part in the adventure, and laughed and jested as they made their way along.