The Spectres of Barcelona by Edmund Leamy

(From the Memoirs of an Officer of the Irish Brigade).

I was little over twenty when, as one of “The Wild Geese,” I entered, in the year 1695, the infantry regiment of the Honourable Charles Dillon, who was serving under the Marquis de Sylvestre, then conducting a campaign against the Spaniards in Catalonia. I was travel-stained and weary when towards the close of a May evening I arrived in camp, and, having shown my credentials, I was directed to the quarters of the Irish regiment, and very glad I was to receive the hospitality of the mess, I need not say that they gave me Cead mile failte. Every recruit to their ranks seemed to bring with him some of the atmosphere of the home which so many of them were destined to see nevermore—the home which often rose before them in a vision on battle eves, and to which they so often returned in their dreams. After the first fervent welcome was over, and after the many enquiries as to how affairs were in Ireland, they began to recount the services of the regiment, and to sing the praises of their gallant colonel. They spoke of battles and sieges of which I had never heard, but in which they had participated, and in all of which Colonel Dillon had taken a distinguished part. Many of them bore on their persons evidences of fierce encounters, but they said nothing in praise of themselves; ’twas all of the colonel, who was, they said, as beloved by every man serving under him as he was esteemed by the great generals of the army of King Louis. These enconiums naturally heightened my desire to meet Colonel Dillon.

I informed my new comrades that I was the younger son of a County Mayo family, who were friends of the colonel’s, and that I brought with me letters of recommendation from his kinsmen, the Lallys of Tullenaghdaly.

“You come well credited, young gentleman,” said the senior sergeant, whose name, I learned later, was O’Kelly, a man of forty or thereabouts, whose right cheek was marked by a sabre slash, and whose left sleeve was empty (I heard afterwards that he had lost his arm the previous year at the capture of Palamos from the Spaniards), “and you are sure of a hearty welcome from our colonel; but let me tell you, without offence, that if you came with nothing but your sword you would be equally sure of a cordial welcome, for our colonel esteems his men for their valour, and not for birth or connections, and if I may say it, without boasting, wherever he leads we follow, and will, boys, to the end. Here’s to the colonel!”

Every man rose to his feet. There was a clinking of glasses, and a cheer that nearly lifted the roof off the tent.

I joined heartily in the toast, and made an indifferent attempt to take part in the chorus of a song which followed, but my eyelids began to feel very heavy, and, notwithstanding my efforts, were closing on my eyes.

This was noticed by my comrades, and one of them got up, and, putting his arm around me as tenderly as if I were a child, said:—

“You’re tired out, my lad. Come with me, you can’t see the colonel to-night; he is dining with the Marquis; but, to-morrow when you are refreshed, I’ll take you to his quarters.”

I bade my new friends a sleepy good-night, and remembered nothing till I heard the reveille sound the next morning. I started up to find myself lying in a tent with a half-dozen others. For a moment I was a little bewildered. I rubbed my eyes. The bugle had ceased, and I heard the voices of the birds saluting the bright May morning. The curtain of the tent had been withdrawn, and the bright light and the sweet air came in.

“You can lie there as long as you like,” said one of my comrades. “There’s no need for you to get up yet.”

But I was eager to be up and about. It was a glorious morning. The sun shone from a cloudless sky, and the tents, stretching far, were flashing in its light. Everywhere was stir and motion, and many salutations of comrade to comrade resounded on all sides.

I was delighted with the scene, the well-ordered tents with wide streets between, the flags and bannerets fluttering in the brisk morning air, the bustling soldiers, the neighing horses, the fanfare of the trumpets. It was just the scene to captivate the heart of a youth. Here was all the glorious pageantry of war untarnished, and that buoyant sense of life that forbade all thoughts of disaster or defeat, and their woeful consequences.

“That tent yonder,” said one of my comrades, who was drying his hair after dipping his head in a bucket of water, “with the French standard over it is the tent of the Lieutenant-General, the Marquis de Sylvestre, and that to the right of it at the end of our lines is the colonel’s. The Marshal, the Duke de Noailles ought to be in command, but he is ill, and the marquis takes his place.”

Just then Sergeant O’Kelly came up to me.

“I am glad to see you looking so fresh, young gentleman,” said he, “this morning. We shall have breakfast soon, and after it you shall call on the colonel. The marquis intends to inspect all the troops to-day, and we must be early on parade. Hard work is expected in a day or two, and as the colonel is likely to be very busy you had better see him as soon as possible.”

About nine o’clock I presented myself at the colonel’s tent, and learned that he had just finished breakfast.

I handed my letters to the guard, and requested him to send them to the colonel. He called one of the colonel’s servants and gave him the letters. In a few seconds the servant returned, and ushered me into the presence of his master.

Young as I was I was surprised at his youth. He hardly looked his twenty-five years, and he was one of the handsomest men I had ever seen. He looked every inch a soldier—tall, well-knit and with an indefinable suggestion of strength and activity in his shapely figure. I bowed as I entered, and before I had well lifted up my head his hands were on my shoulders.

“You’re welcome, my lad,” said he in the cheeriest voice, “and you are not a day older than I was when I joined, and you are from the old country, too. Well, I wish ’twas in my power to do something for you for your people’s sake and for your own; but, you see, since the new formation of the Irish army of King James in the French service many Irish gentlemen who had served as officers at home in the Williamite wars, have been reduced; some even to the rank of privates, and not a few are in my regiment in that category, and it would be invidious of me were I to put a youth like you above them; but, courage mon camarade, there are stirring times before us, and Dillon’s regiment is sure to be found where the bullets fall thickest and where ranks are thinned, and a gentleman is sure of promotion if he be put beyond caring for it.”

Here the colonel paused for a second, and looking full in my eyes, added, “if he win his spurs.”

I confess I was a little disappointed. I had hoped that, backed up as I was by my family connections and my letters of recommendation, I would have obtained the post of ensign. The colonel doubtless noticed my disappointment.

“You were in camp last night?” he said.

“Yes, colonel.”

“With whom did you stay?”

“In Sergeant O’Kelly’s tent,” I replied.

“Sergeant O’Kelly!” he exclaimed. “By right of service and of valour, since he came to France, he should be captain. He was one in Ireland; he has not grumbled at his reduction.”

I felt the rebuke.

“I shall be glad to serve under him, colonel,” I said.

“Good, my lad. You will serve under a gallant Irish gentleman, and it will not be his fault if he does not give yon a thousand chances of ‘a bed on the field of honour.’ “Death or Victory” is the motto of the regiment.”

An officer riding up to the tent announced that the lieutenant-general was waiting for the colonel.

Au revoir, mon camarade,” as he held out his hand to me, adding, with a laugh, “perhaps you have not yet caught up this foreign lingo, which would hardly pass current in the County Mayo. So slan leat.”

The colonel vaulted lightly into his saddle, and many an admiring eye followed him as he rode with tossing plumes towards the tent of the Lieutenant-General, the Marquis de Sylvestre.

I returned to that of Sergeant O’Kelly.

“Well, young gentleman, you saw the colonel, and what did he say to you and what do you think of him.”

“I think he is worth fighting with,” I replied, “and worth dying with, and he said—well he said that in serving under you I should serve under a gallant Irish gentleman who would give me every chance of death or glory.”

The sergeant drew himself up.

“My faith, lad, the colonel himself will give it you, but I am proud to have you with me.”

For the next week we were kept very busy. The colonel was a strict disciplinarian, and his men were exercised for several hours every day. I quickly picked up a fair knowledge of my duties, and it was with a certain self-confidence I heard the news that we were ordered to revictual Ostalric which had been captured from the Spaniards a year or two previously. The task was easily accomplished, as the enemy retired on our approach, but when returning towards the evening, our regiment, which formed the rearguard, was suddenly attacked by over three thousand miquelets or guerillas. They seemed to have sprung out of the ground, and charged us with the utmost fury; but our men, facing round, were as steady as a rock against which the wave dashes impotently. Some of the guerillas impaled themselves on our bayonets, and a well-directed volley threw their front ranks into confusion.

Our colonel, who had been riding in front, dashed round and put himself at our head.

“Charge, boys!” and quick as the flash of his sword in the sun, he was in the midst of the enemy.

We followed him with a ringing cheer. I was half beside myself with excitement. The rattle of the musketry and the smell of powder were intoxicating. Suddenly I was blinded. A warm spurt that I knew instinctively was the blood of a wounded comrade hit me in the eyes. I put up my hand; then I felt a sharp pang, and remember nothing more of the combat.

I learned afterwards that it lasted only a few minutes. The miquelets were driven off, leaving many dead and wounded on the field, and they vanished almost as quickly as they had appeared.

We had only two killed and three or four wounded, of which I was one. I was hit in the breast.

When I came to myself I was in hospital, and learned that the colonel had been frequent in his inquiries, as had also O’Kelly, who had distinguished himself in the repulse of the enemy.

My wound was rather serious; however, I expected to be up and about in a few months. But in this I was disappointed, for when it was nearly healed, owing to my headstrong ways, as I insisted on leaving my bed too soon, it broke out afresh, so it came to pass that I missed several engagements, notably the raising of the siege of Palamos by the Duke of Vendome, in which our regiment took part, defeating the combined Spanish and English forces, and the subsequent defeat of the Spanish cavalry under the Prince of Hesse Darmstadt, who had fought at the Boyne. Like every other Irishman I would have given one of my eyes for a blow at the English enemy; but the day was to come.

Well, well; all this was a good many years ago. I was a stripling then. I am an old man now; but I am not writing a history of my life, and, indeed, I began this story not intending to speak much of myself, but only to relate a curious incident which made a very deep impression on me that time has not yet wholly effaced, but old men are apt to be garrulous, and old soldiers like to talk of the

“Battles, fortunes and sieges through which they have passed.”

While I was lying ill of my wound outside Ostalric, I was attended by one of the men of Dillon’s regiment who also had been wounded, though slightly, in the affair, and who I learned afterwards had begged permission to attend me as a special favour. He was as tender to me as a woman could have been, but he was curiously reserved, seldom speaking except when spoken to, and there was a sad look in his eyes which scarcely left them even when he smiled, which he rarely did, provoked by some sally of mine. He was a brave man they told me afterwards—they who themselves were brave—fought like a devil, they said, and was never wounded except in that affair of Ostalric, and that was when trying to save me, who was nearly trampled to death when I fell.

Well, in time I recovered my full health and strength, and rejoined my regiment along with my kind attendant, whose name, by the way, was Ryan, from the borders of Limerick and Tipperary, and I was in time to take part in the reduction of Barcelona in the year 1697.

It was one of the most difficult tasks of the French commander, the Duke of Vendome. The fortifications were so strong as to be deemed almost impregnable, and were defended by at least two hundred and forty pieces of artillery. The garrison consisted of eleven thousand regular troops and four thousand militia, and there was also one thousand five hundred cavalry, and it was well supplied with munitions of war. A complete investment was impracticable owing to the compass of the walls and the outlying very strong fortress of Monjuich, situated on a lofty hill, commanding the town and port and a large extent of the plain. Moreover, the Count de Velasco lay encamped about six miles outside the town with a force mustering, all told, about twenty thousand men, mostly composed, it is true, of irregulars and guerillas. The French troops did not amount to quite thirty thousand men, including the marines landed from the fleet.

We approached the town on the 13th of July, Vendome having the day before surprised and routed the Count de Velasco, and on our approach the Spaniards abandoned the Convent of the Capuchins, which was some distance from the walls, and the Duke of Vendome ordered our regiment to occupy it, and that night I found myself for the first time in my life in a convent cell, having Ryan as my comrade.

The cell was small, and bore evidence not very agreeable of its recent occupation by the Spanish soldiery, but Ryan, who persisted in treating me as if he were my servant, soon set to work, cleaned it out, and brought in some hay and made comfortable beds for himself and me in opposite corners of the cell. It was quite bare of furniture of any kind, but this we did not miss, as we were to use it only for sleeping quarters.

We turned in about half-past ten, and I was soon sound asleep. I was awakened by a shout from Ryan:

“Did you see it? Did you see it?”

“See what?” I answered bewildered.

The moon was shining in through the window and the cell was half in light and half in shadow. The moonlight fell on Ryan’s share of it. I saw that he was sitting up and that his usually dark face was very pale, and there was a wild gleam in his eyes.

“What was it?” I repeated.

“Oh nothing! What a fool I am. I had a horrible nightmare. I am sorry for disturbing you.”

“Well, you did startle me, I confess,” said I. He lay down again, and I did likewise, and slept without interruption until morning. I thought no more of the incident of the previous night, although I could not help noticing that my companion’s face looked rather haggard.

Our second night in the cell passed, for me, very quietly, and Ryan said nothing to suggest that it was otherwise with him. The third night the incident of the first night was repeated. Ryan started up, shouting:

“Did you see it? Did you see it?”

I jumped from my bed and struck a light. The cell was, of course, empty, the door fast closed.

“I am afraid you are ill, comrade,” said I, and as I went towards him I could see the perspiration in large beads on his forehead, and he was trembling like a scared child.

“Yes, yes, I must be getting ill, I suppose—but you saw nothing?” he added eagerly.

“Of course I saw nothing,” I replied. “What was there to see?”

“And—and you saw nothing on the wall there?” He pointed his hand towards one of the walls of the cell.

“Nothing. Wake up, man. You are still dreaming.”

He shuddered like one feeling a sudden chill, and then he said:

“It’s very foolish of me, and I’m sorry to be such a trouble to you.”

“Oh, that is nothing,” I said. “You had better see the doctor in the morning.”

The next day there was no time to see the doctor. We were early under arms, and marched several miles in the direction of Llobregat on a reconnoitring expedition. The day was very warm, and a good part of the way was rough, and when we returned to our quarters in the evening, I, for one, was pretty well tired out, and Ryan confessed to me that he was also; but I suspected that a hardened soldier such as he, was not fatigued by the march, and that want of rest and the disturbance of the previous nights were what had done him up.

“I expect to sleep well to-night,” he said, as we extinguished our lights.

“And I also,” said I.

But we were to be disappointed. Towards midnight a terrific thunderstorm burst over the town and our camp, and the rain came down in torrents. Nevertheless our battalions in the trenches, which had been opened the night before, were pushing on their work. The enemy suspecting this turned on them the fire of forty pieces of cannon, which, notwithstanding the tempest, were very well served, and gave the quietus to not a few of our men. The booming of the guns and the peals of thunder made sleep impossible. Suddenly a vivid flash of lightning illumined the cell.

“My God! my God! Do you see him now?” cried Ryan in a tone of agony.

I was spellbound. I couldn’t answer.

There, standing between Ryan and me, was the figure of a Capuchin monk in his brown habit and cowl, and holding up in his hand a plain unfigured cross that in the lightning gleamed like fire. I saw the figure only for a second or two. It retreated towards the door and vanished.

“Look at the wall, look at the wall!” cried Ryan, hoarsely.

I looked, and on the wall appeared a cross, also without a figure, but this too disappeared in a second.

The roar of the tempest still continued, and the booming of the guns. Sleep now was out of the question. I got up and dressed myself. Ryan, who appeared unable to speak or move, lay back in his bed, his eyes closed. I roused him up.

“Tell me, did you see him, did you see him?” he whispered, clutching convulsively my arm.

“Let us get up and go down to the guard room,” I said. “The day is breaking, and we are not likely to sleep any more, and you are ill.”

Ryan dressed himself, and we went down, he more dead than alive, to the guard room. His illness was manifest to all, and he was quickly restored by portion of the contents of a brandy flask which seemed to work wonders with him.

We did not sleep in the cell again, and the weather being very warm we were not sorry when sometime after we were ordered to the outlying posts of the left wing of our army.

Before we quitted the convent I paid a visit, in the daytime, to the cell. There was nothing about it to suggest a ghostly visitant; but, on looking at one of the end walls, I noticed the faint sign of a cross. I was considerably startled by it, but on closer examination, I discovered it was such a mark as anything placed against a wall for a long time generally leaves, less through its own action as to that of the atmosphere, on the uncovered portion of the walls. But it did seem a little strange that it should be on the very part of the wall on which I had seen the vision of a cross. Perhaps, I said to myself, Ryan had noticed this mark, and it worked in some way on his disordered imagination. But this could not explain the vision as seen by myself, either of the cross or of the Capuchin, and it was with a feeling akin to awe that I left the cell for the last time, wondering whether anything would ever occur which might throw a light on the mystery.

Ryan, who shared the bivouac with me, had begged me not to mention to anyone what he fancied (as he put it) he had seen, for I had not told him that I had seen anything, and, after my promise to this effect, he never alluded to the matter; but I noticed that, henceforth, he became, even for him, unusually reserved, and that there was a deep seated trouble in his eyes; but he continued to be attentive, more attentive, if possible, to me than before.

For some weeks we lay close to the outposts, chafing under the inactivity to which we were condemned. Meanwhile, the trenches were being pushed forward, and, at intervals, we saw the flash and heard the roar of the cannon from the ramparts; but this after a time ceased to have much interest for us. Occasionally there were rumours of an attempt about to be made by the enemy to revictual Barcelona, where provisions had run low; but they came to nothing, and they no longer served to rouse any hope of a brush with the Spaniards.

At last, however, the scouts brought us the news that nearly the whole of the enemy’s cavalry were moving from the side of Llobregat, covering a large convoy, which they hoped to be able under the protection of the guns of Fort Monjuich, to take safely into the town. The Duke at once despatched a large body of troops to intercept the convoy, but, unfortunately, as we thought, we were not of the number, and expected another idle day at our posts. But our troops had hardly moved out against the enemy when from a mountain in the rear of the posts a large body of Spanish infantry swept down like a torrent, while from around its base appeared several hundred cavalry. Their object, of course, was to effect a diversion. They could not have hoped for a surprise; still, I confess, they came on so suddenly and so swiftly, that we had but just time to be ready to receive them.

We repelled their first fierce onset. They came on again and again, but under the steady fire of our men, aided by the fire from the French regiment under Colonel Solre, they at last gave way and broke, the cavalry galloping off down the valley and the infantry climbing the hill like goats, but with our colonel at our head we climbed up after them, pausing only to fire and bring them down in dozens. Foremost in the ascent was Ryan. With difficulty I kept within view of him, and when at length I reached the top of the mountain with several others, I found him lying thoroughly exhausted, and in his eyes was the wild look which I had noticed on the occasion of the apparitions. His musket was some paces from him.

Fortunately close to where he was lying was a mountain spring of perfectly cool, clear water. I filled my shako with it, and put it to his lips. The draught revived him and I sat down beside him, glad enough of the rest. Ryan continued silent and so did I, gazing down on the magnificent panorama that lay stretched before me—the wide, far-reaching plains, the camp and the beleaguered town all framed in the blue gleaming waters of the Mediterranean. Away in the distance to the far right a cloud of dust and smoke and an incessant rattle of musketry betrayed the whereabouts of the conflict between our troops and the Spanish cavalry. On the mountain the firing had ceased, except for a stray shot. The escaped Spaniards had fled precipitately down its opposite side. Our colonel ordered the recall to be sounded, and with the light hearts of victors we stepped down the mountain to our posts, counting on our way some hundreds of killed of the enemy.

The attack on the convoy was successful. The Spanish cavalry were put to flight, though not until after a sturdy resistance, and the convoy fell into our hands. This decided the fate of the siege, for the next day negotiations for the surrender of Barcelona were opened up, and on that very day the Marshal the Duke de Vendome rode down to our posts and publicly thanked Colonel Dillon and the Irish regiment for their services and complimented them on their matchless valour, and, indeed, to the last day of his life the gallant Duke never missed saying a good word for the soldiers of the Irish Brigade, and he insisted that no one had better opportunities of knowing what they could do in the face of an enemy.

For several days Ryan continued very silent and was almost morose, but on the day before that on which the enemy were to march out from Barcelona he found me as I was lying by a small stream at the base of the mountain up which we had chased the Spaniards, and enjoying what to me then was a novel luxury—a pipe.

“Would you mind coming up a bit of the mountain,” said he to me gravely, “I want to speak to you.”

The request seemed strange as the nearest soldiers were several yards away from where we were, but I rose and followed him. When we had ascended about thirty or forty yards he sat down under a bush and I beside him. I waited for him to speak.

“I saw him again,” he said, “when I came up here the other day. I had just reached the spot where you found me. I aimed, as I thought, at the back of a flying Spanish trooper. He whom I took for the trooper turned round. It was he.”

“Who?” I asked, although I anticipated the answer.

“The Capuchin!” and Ryan trembled as he said the word.

“I cannot bear it any longer. I must confess at last. God grant I have not done you irreparable wrong.”


“You! You are one of the Browns of the County Mayo; the youngest son of that Captain Brown, who, when he was not much older than you, fought against Cromwell and lost his patrimony, but who afterwards, having been an exile with Charles II. regained it, though not till several years after the Restoration.”

“And what do you know of him or his family?” I asked curiously.

“Not much more than I have told you,” he replied, to my surprise, “except that your father went abroad again, and died not long after you were born.”

“That is so,” I said.

“Your mother had not received a communication from him for some time prior to his death.”

“But how do you know that?”

“Let me go on,” he replied, “I shall be the sooner finished. He died in Madrid, and he sent home papers and valuables through a Spanish Capuchin monk, who was visiting Ireland on a mission, which, I understood, was part political and part religious.”

“From whom did you learn this?”

“From himself.”

“The monk?”

“Yes. He was riding by where I lived on a lonely, bare spot, that you may chance to have heard of, Knockcreggan. The night was bad, dark, and wild; the road couldn’t be worse. It was like the bed of a torrent, huge stones and boulders everywhere. Just opposite the door of my cabin the horse stumbled and fell. I heard a cry, and went out and found the prostrate monk bleeding badly from a wound over his temple. I brought him in, put him down on a truss of straw, and bandaged him as well as I could.

“After a while, for he was at first unconscious, he spoke faintly, and asked for ‘more light.’ I made a blazing fire of turf, and lit a couple of candles—all I had.

“‘I know I am dying,’ he said, ‘are you a Catholic?’ I told him I was.

“‘I am a monk,’ he said ‘a Spanish Capuchin monk. I want you to swear on this cross that you will do what I ask you; it being only an act of charity,’ and he held up the cross which had been hidden in the breast of his riding coat.

“It blazed, my God! as I saw it blaze in the cell the night of the storm,” and Ryan shuddered, although we were then in the full light of the evening, and the bustling camp below us. “I took the oath on the cross,” Ryan went on to say, “to carry to the captain’s widow—your mother—two parcels, one of papers, which the monk told me, while of the greatest importance to your family were of no use to strangers; and another containing some gold and valuable jewels.

“‘You will be well paid for your trouble, I know,’ the monk said to me; ‘but promise me again on the cross that you will deliver both these parcels safe and sound, and will not touch coin or jewel. If you do, I warn you, you will be struck dead when you least expect it, and by an invisible and supernatural hand. But tell no one of your mission.’

“The monk died that night. I sent for the neighbours, and we waked him and buried him, and I thought of setting out for your mother’s house, but the weather grew worse and worse, and the roads were impassable. ’Twas unlucky for me. I meant well, and intended to do what I promised, but the temptation came to me to look at the purse, and when I saw the gold and the jewels shining, the temptation came to me to keep ’em—who would be the wiser, and I was poor? I was living alone there on the side of the Knock, and here was a fortune in my hands. Well, the temptation grew stronger, and I yielded. I kept the money, and went to Dublin and spent it, and I sold the jewels, and when the money got for them was nearly all gone, the troubles broke out and the Viscount raised the regiment for the young colonel, and I joined it. And ’tis many and many’s the time I’ve looked death in the face since, and he passed me by. And when I saw you I thought I’d try and make up for my crime some little bit, and that I’d guard and give my life for you.”

I was so amazed at the story that I did not speak for a moment or two after he had concluded.

“Will you forgive me, for God’s sake?”

“The papers,” I said. “What about the papers?”

“I have them here,” he said, “here!” And with his bayonet point he ripped open the lining of his coat and produced a bundle of papers in a leathern wrapper. “I never opened them. I could not read. I don’t know what is in them. I thought they might be of use some day, and that I could give them up to the rightful owner, as I am doing now.”

I took the papers like one in a dream. I rose without another word, and went down the mountain. I sought out a sequestered spot where I was sure to be uninterrupted, opened the package and read. Well, it boots nothing to anyone now to know what was in them. There were family secrets which, if revealed at the time, would have changed the current of many lives, including my own; but it could serve nothing but a selfish purpose of my own were I to reveal them now; so having read the papers, and dropped a tear over the handwriting of him who was my father, I tore the papers into bits, set them alight, and waited until every vestige was consumed.

Ryan avoided me for the next few days, but if I had any resentment against him it died out. I might still have taken advantage of the information given by the papers, but deliberately decided not to do so. As for the money and the trinkets—well, they were gone, and Ryan had suffered terribly, was still suffering, had risked his life and shed his blood at Ostalric to save mine.

We did not meet again until we entered Barcelona, the enemy having marched out. That night it chanced that both he and I were ordered for duty on the ramparts as sentries. Before our time came I went to him, and holding out my hand, said, “Ryan, I forgive you with all my heart, and forget.”

“But he won’t,” he replied with a slight tremor.

“Nonsense,” I said, “you have confessed your wrong-doing, and all is over. You shall never see him again.”

The clock of the cathedral had sounded midnight. The officers went their rounds, and I from my station was looking down on the port and out over the Mediterranean, scarcely stirring beneath the stars. The clock sounded one. All was quiet. Two o’clock struck. Suddenly I heard fierce voices of challenge given in Spanish. I was on the alert, but could see nothing. The voices appeared to be in the air, and to come close to the ramparts. I shook myself to see if I were wide awake, but the voices continued. Then I heard the sentries challenging “Qui vive?” one after another. I too challenged. A musket shot rang through the night. The cry to arms was raised, and the ramparts were quickly crowded with officers and men. In the east the day was breaking. Its full light was soon on the ramparts. Men looked curiously at each other. The sentries questioned, all repeated the same story. They heard the voices, as they thought, of Spanish soldiers, and had replied by challenging.

Who fired the shot?

There was not much need to ask. Ryan was lying dead close to one of the batteries. His musket, which had been exploded, lay beside him. Even in death his face wore the scared look of a man who had seen a dreadful vision. I shuddered as I looked at him, and thought of the threat of the Capuchin of the “invisible and supernatural hand.” I kept my own counsel. I myself never heard anything after that night, but others did, or thought so, and this fact is attested by Captain Drake, of Drakerath, in the county of Meath, who was of our regiment, and one of the coolest and bravest officers of the brigade, and who has set forth in his memoirs that he, while on night duty on the ramparts, thought he saw and heard the Spectre of Barcelona.