I couldn’t help Daphne, Mrs. Douglas, Willie, the servant girls or the driver of the carriage. I dropped the pistols to the sides of my legs and uttered, “Oh, no.”
They were left to their fate and the expertise of the carriage driver. I felt totally deficient and at fault. I had caused the carriage team to run away with my firing at the robber and it probably caused bodily harm to all the occupants of the carriage. I dreaded what I would find once I got to the top of the hill.
I glanced at the form of the robber, but I had no light to try to identify him. I started to climb the steep hill to the Ferry Hill mansion with a deep sense of anguish. To take my mind off the situation and the physical effort of walking up the 30-degree incline, I changed out the six-shot cylinders of my pistols by feel alone. I had gotten quite good at loading and changing out cylinders, but performing this in the dark was an added challenge. I had taken to carrying two preloaded cylinders in the inside pockets of my coat. Once loaded, I plunged the Colts with the handles to the front into the sides of my waist belt.
I reached the top of the hill and had to stop to catch my breath. I looked around but saw only the dark road ahead. I advanced about 60 yards and spied the lights of Ferry Hill mansion off to my left. I turned toward the house and was relieved to see the carriage in front of the house. There was a lot of commotion near the front door.
Quickly a servant ran into the house and came back out with a shotgun in his hand and two backup male servants. He stood in front of the carriage and waited until I came closer. Then he said, “That’s as far as ya can come. What does ya want?”
“I want to know if Daphne Jane, Mrs. Douglas, Willie and the servants are okay,” I snapped.
“Who wants to know?” he retorted.
“James Edward Hager,” I countered.
He lowered his firearm and apologized.
“Sorry, suh. I ain’t never met cha befo, but I done heard of ya from Ms. Daphne and Miss Douglas.”
I quickly asked again, “Are they all right?”
“Well, suh, they’s plenty shook up, but I ‘spect they’s gonna be all right.”
“Good,” I said, and rushed into the house.
Servant ladies were scurrying everywhere when I walked into the house foyer.
I asked in a loud voice, “Where’s Daphne?”
It startled all the servants so much so that they stopped and turned to see who had interrupted their machinations.