Part 4 out of 5
when at the review to take up his position at the point nearest
to his own body-guard, and as far as possible from the troops led
by Mendoza. Stuart added that he had absolute confidence in the
former. The policeman who had attempted to carry Burke's note to
Mendoza had confessed that he was the only traitor in the camp,
and that he had tried to work on his comrades without success.
Stuart begged Clay to join him as quickly as possible. Clay went
up the hill to the Palms, and after consulting with Mr. Langham,
dictated an order to Kirkland, instructing him to call the
men together and to point out to them how much better their
condition had been since they had entered the mines, and to
promise them an increase of wages if they remained faithful to
Mr. Langham's interests, and a small pension to any one who might
be injured ``from any cause whatsoever'' while serving him.
``Tell them, if they are loyal, they can live in their shacks
rent free hereafter,'' wrote Clay. ``They are always asking for
that. It's a cheap generosity,'' he added aloud to Mr. Langham,
``because we've never been able to collect rent from any of them
At noon young Langham ordered the best three horses in the
stables to be brought to the door of the Palms for Clay,
MacWilliams, and himself. Clay's last words to King were to have
the yacht in readiness to put to sea when he telephoned him to do
so, and he advised the women to have their dresses and more
valuable possessions packed ready to be taken on board.
``Don't you think I might see the review if I went on
horseback?'' Hope asked. ``I could get away then, if there
should be any trouble.''
Clay answered with a look of such alarm and surprise that Hope
``See the review! I should say not,'' he exclaimed. ``I don't
even want Ted to be there.''
``Oh, that's always the way,'' said Hope, ``I miss everything. I
think I'll come, however, anyhow. The servants are all going,
and I'll go with them disguised in a turban.''
As the men neared Valencia, Clay turned in his saddle, and asked
Langham if he thought his sister would really venture into the
``She'd better not let me catch her, if she does,'' the fond
The reviewing party left the Government Palace for the Alameda at
three o'clock, President Alvarez riding on horseback in advance,
and Madame Alvarez sitting in the State carriage with one of her
attendants, and with Stuart's troopers gathered so closely about
her that the men's boots scraped against the wheels, and their
numbers hid her almost entirely from sight.
The great square in which the evolutions were to take place was
lined on its four sides by the carriages of the wealthy
Olanchoans, except at the two gates, where there was a wide space
left open to admit the soldiers. The branches of the trees on
the edges of the bare parade ground were black with men and boys,
and the balconies and roofs of the houses that faced it were gay
with streamers and flags, and alive with women wrapped for the
occasion in their colored shawls. Seated on the grass between
the carriages, or surging up and down behind them, were
thousands of people, each hurrying to gain a better place of
vantage, or striving to hold the one he had, and forming a
restless, turbulent audience in which all individual cries were
lost in a great murmur of laughter, and calls, and cheers. The
mass knit together, and pressed forward as the President's band
swung jauntily into the square and halted in one corner, and a
shout of expectancy went up from the trees and housetops as the
President's body-guard entered at the lower gate, and the broken
place in its ranks showed that it was escorting the State
carriage. The troopers fell back on two sides, and the carriage,
with the President riding at its head, passed on, and took up a
position in front of the other carriages, and close to one of the
sides of the hollow square. At Stuart's orders Clay,
MacWilliams, and Langham had pushed their horses into the rear
rank of cavalry, and remained wedged between the troopers within
twenty feet of where Madame Alvarez was sitting. She was very
white, and the powder on her face gave her an added and unnatural
pallor. As the people cheered her husband and herself she raised
her head slightly and seemed to be trying to catch any sound of
dissent in their greeting, or some possible undercurrent of
disfavor, but the welcome appeared to be both genuine and
hearty, until a second shout smothered it completely as the
figure of old General Rojas, the Vice-President, and the most
dearly loved by the common people, came through the gate at the
head of his regiment. There was such greeting for him that the
welcome to the President seemed mean in comparison, and it was
with an embarrassment which both felt that the two men drew near
together, and each leaned from his saddle to grasp the other's
hand. Madame Alvarez sank back rigidly on her cushions, and her
eyes flashed with anticipation and excitement. She drew her
mantilla a little closer about her shoulders, with a nervous
shudder as though she were cold. Suddenly the look of anxiety in
her eyes changed to one of annoyance, and she beckoned Clay
imperiously to the side of the carriage.
``Look,'' she said, pointing across the square. ``If I am not
mistaken that is Miss Langham, Miss Hope. The one on the black
horse--it must be she, for none of the native ladies ride. It is
not safe for her to be here alone. Go,'' she commanded, ``bring
her here to me. Put her next to the carriage, or perhaps she
will be safer with you among the troopers.''
Clay had recognized Hope before Madame Alvarez had finished
speaking, and dashed off at a gallop, skirting the line of
carriages. Hope had stopped her horse beside a victoria,
and was talking to the native women who occupied it, and who were
scandalized at her appearance in a public place with no one but a
groom to attend her.
``Why, it's the same thing as a polo match,'' protested Hope, as
Clay pulled up angrily beside the victoria. ``I always ride over
to polo alone at Newport, at least with James,'' she added,
nodding her head toward the servant.
The man approached Clay and touched his hat apologetically,
``Miss Hope would come, sir,'' he said, ``and I thought I'd
better be with her than to go off and tell Mr. Langham, sir. I
knew she wouldn't wait for me.''
``I asked you not to come,'' Clay said to Hope, in a low voice.
``I wanted to know the worst at once,'' she answered. ``I was
anxious about Ted--and you.''
``Well, it can't be helped now,'' he said. ``Come, we must
hurry, here is our friend, the enemy.'' He bowed to their
acquaintances in the victoria and they trotted briskly off to the
side of the President's carriage, just as a yell arose from the
crowd that made all the other shouts which had preceded it sound
like the cheers of children at recess.
``It reminds me of a football match,'' whispered young Langham,
excitedly, ``when the teams run on the field. Look at
Alvarez and Rojas watching Mendoza.''
Mendoza advanced at the front of his three troops of cavalry,
looking neither to the left nor right, and by no sign
acknowledging the fierce uproarious greeting of the people.
Close behind him came his chosen band of cowboys and ruffians.
They were the best equipped and least disciplined soldiers in the
army, and were, to the great relief of the people, seldom seen in
the city, but were kept moving in the mountain passes and along
the coast line, on the lookout for smugglers with whom they were
on the most friendly terms. They were a picturesque body of
blackguards, in their hightopped boots and silver-tipped
sombreros and heavy, gaudy saddles, but the shout that had gone
up at their advance was due as much to the fear they inspired as
to any great love for them or their chief.
``Now all the chessmen are on the board, and the game can
begin,'' said Clay. ``It's like the scene in the play, where
each man has his sword at another man's throat and no one dares
make the first move.'' He smiled as he noted, with the eye of
one who had seen Continental troops in action, the shuffling
steps and slovenly carriage of the half-grown soldiers that
followed Mendoza's cavalry at a quick step. Stuart's picked
men, over whom he had spent many hot and weary hours, looked
like a troop of Life Guardsmen in comparison. Clay noted their
superiority, but he also saw that in numbers they were most
woefully at a disadvantage.
It was a brilliant scene for so modest a capital. The sun
flashed on the trappings of the soldiers, on the lacquer and
polished metal work of the carriages; and the Parisian gowns of
their occupants and the fluttering flags and banners filled the
air with color and movement, while back of all, framing the
parade ground with a band of black, was the restless mob of
people applauding the evolutions, and cheering for their
favorites, Alvarez, Mendoza, and Rojas, moved by an excitement
that was in disturbing contrast to the easy good-nature of their
The marching and countermarching of the troops had continued with
spirit for some time, and there was a halt in the evolutions
which left the field vacant, except for the presence of Mendoza's
cavalrymen, who were moving at a walk along one side of the
quadrangle. Alvarez and Vice-President Rojas, with Stuart, as an
adjutant at their side, were sitting their horses within some
fifty yards of the State carriage and the body-guard. Alvarez
made a conspicuous contrast in his black coat and high hat to the
brilliant greens and reds of his generals' uniforms, but he
sat his saddle as well as either of the others, and his white
hair, white imperial and mustache, and the dignity of his bearing
distinguished him above them both. Little Stuart, sitting at his
side, with his blue eyes glaring from under his white helmet and
his face burned to almost as red a tint as his curly hair, looked
like a fierce little bull-dog in comparison. None of the three
men spoke as they sat motionless and quite alone waiting for the
next movement of the troops.
It proved to be one of moment. Even before Mendoza had ridden
toward them with his sword at salute, Clay gave an exclamation of
enlightenment and concern. He saw that the men who were believed
to be devoted to Rojas, had been halted and left standing at the
farthest corner of the plaza, nearly two hundred yards from where
the President had taken his place, that Mendoza's infantry
surrounded them on every side, and that Mendoza's cowboys, who
had been walking their horses, had wheeled and were coming up
with an increasing momentum, a flying mass of horses and men
directed straight at the President himself.
Mendoza galloped up to Alvarez with his sword still in salute.
His eyes were burning with excitement and with the light of
success. No one but Stuart and Rojas heard his words; to the
spectators and to the army he appeared as though he was, in
his capacity of Commander-in-Chief, delivering some brief report,
or asking for instructions.
``Dr. Alvarez,'' he said, ``as the head of the army I arrest you
for high treason; you have plotted to place yourself in office
without popular election. You are also accused of large thefts
of public funds. I must ask you to ride with me to the military
prison. General Rojas, I regret that as an accomplice of the
President's, you must come with us also. I will explain my
action to the people when you are safe in prison, and I will
proclaim martial law. If your troops attempt to interfere, my
men have orders to fire on them and you.''
Stuart did not wait for his sentence. He had heard the heavy
beat of the cavalry coming up on them at a trot. He saw the
ranks open and two men catch at each bridle rein of both Alvarez
and Rojas and drag them on with them, buried in the crush of
horses about them, and swept forward by the weight and impetus of
the moving mass behind. Stuart dashed off to the State carriage
and seized the nearest of the horses by the bridle. ``To the
Palace!'' he shouted to his men. ``Shoot any one who tries to
stop you. Forward, at a gallop,'' he commanded.
The populace had not discovered what had occurred until it was
finished. The coup d'etat had been long considered and the
manner in which it was to be carried out carefully planned. The
cavalry had swept across the parade ground and up the street
before the people saw that they carried Rojas and Alvarez with
them. The regiment commanded by Rojas found itself hemmed in
before and behind by Mendoza's two regiments. They were greatly
outnumbered, but they fired a scattering shot, and following
their captured leader, broke through the line around them and
pursued the cavalry toward the military prison.
It was impossible to tell in the uproar which followed how many
or how few had been parties to the plot. The mob, shrieking and
shouting and leaping in the air, swarmed across the parade
ground, and from a dozen different points men rose above the
heads of the people and harangued them in violent speeches. And
while some of the soldiers and the citizens gathered anxiously
about these orators, others ran through the city calling for the
rescue of the President, for an attack on the palace, and
shrieking ``Long live the Government!'' and ``Long live the
Revolution!'' The State carriage raced through the narrow
streets with its body-guard galloping around it, sweeping down in
its rush stray pedestrians, and scattering the chairs and
tables in front of the cafe's. As it dashed up the long avenue
of the palace, Stuart called his men back and ordered them to
shut and barricade the great iron gates and to guard them against
the coming of the mob, while MacWilliams and young Langham pulled
open the carriage door and assisted the President's wife and her
terrified companion to alight. Madame Alvarez was trembling with
excitement as she leaned on Langham's arm, but she showed no
signs of fear in her face or in her manner.
``Mr. Clay has gone to bring your travelling carriage to the rear
door,'' Langham said. ``Stuart tells us it is harnessed and
ready. You will hurry, please, and get whatever you need to
carry with you. We will see you safely to the coast.''
As they entered the hall, and were ascending the great marble
stairway, Hope and her groom, who had followed in the rear of the
cavalry, came running to meet them. ``I got in by the back
way,'' Hope explained. ``The streets there are all deserted.
How can I help you?'' she asked, eagerly.
``By leaving me,'' cried the older woman. ``Good God, child,
have I not enough to answer for without dragging you into this?
Go home at once through the botanical garden, and then by
way of the wharves. That part of the city is still empty.''
``Where are your servants; why are they not here?'' Hope demanded
without heeding her. The palace was strangely empty; no
footsteps came running to greet them, no doors opened or shut as
they hurried to Madame Alvarez's apartments. The servants of the
household had fled at the first sound of the uproar in the city,
and the dresses and ornaments scattered on the floor told that
they had not gone empty-handed. The woman who had accompanied
Madame Alvarez to the review sank weeping on the bed, and then,
as the shouts grew suddenly louder and more near, ran to hide
herself in the upper stories of the house. Hope crossed to the
window and saw a great mob of soldiers and citizens sweep around
the corner and throw themselves against the iron fence of the
palace. ``You will have to hurry,'' she said. ``Remember, you
are risking the lives of those boys by your delay.''
There was a large bed in the room, and Madame Alvarez had pulled
it forward and was bending over a safe that had opened in the
wall, and which had been hidden by the head board of the bed.
She held up a bundle of papers in her hand, wrapped in a leather
portfolio. ``Do you see these?'' she cried, ``they are drafts
for five millions of dollars.'' She tossed them back into
the safe and swung the door shut.
``You are a witness. I do not take them,'' she said.
``I don't understand,'' Hope answered, ``but hurry. Have you
everything you want--have you your jewels?''
``Yes,'' the woman answered, as she rose to her feet, ``they are
A yell more loud and terrible than any that had gone before rose
from the garden below, and there was the sound of iron beating
against iron, and cries of rage and execration from a great
``I will not go!'' the Spanish woman cried, suddenly. ``I will
not leave Alvarez to that mob. If they want to kill me, let them
kill me.'' She threw the bag that held her jewels on the bed,
and pushing open the window stepped out upon the balcony. She
was conspicuous in her black dress against the yellow stucco of
the wall, and in an instant the mob saw her and a mad shout of
exultation and anger rose from the mass that beat and crushed
itself against the high iron railings of the garden. Hope caught
the woman by the skirt and dragged her back. ``You are mad,''
she said. ``What good can you do your husband here? Save
yourself and he will come to you when he can. There is
nothing you can do for him now; you cannot give your life for
him. You are wasting it, and you are risking the lives of the
men who are waiting for us below. Come, I tell you.''
MacWilliams left Clay waiting beside the diligence and ran from
the stable through the empty house and down the marble stairs to
the garden without meeting any one on his way. He saw Stuart
helping and directing his men to barricade the gates with iron
urns and garden benches and sentry-boxes. Outside the mob were
firing at him with their revolvers, and calling him foul names,
but Stuart did not seem to hear them. He greeted MacWilliams
with a cheerful little laugh. ``Well,'' he asked, ``is she
``No, but we are. Clay and I've been waiting there for five
minutes. We found Miss Hope's groom and sent him back to the
Palms with a message to King. We told him to run the yacht to
Los Bocos and lie off shore until we came. He is to take her on
down the coast to Truxillo, where our man-of-war is lying, and
they will give her shelter as a political refugee.''
``Why don't you drive her to the Palms at once?'' demanded
Stuart, anxiously, ``and take her on board the yacht there? It
is ten miles to Bocos and the roads are very bad.''
``Clay says we could never get her through the city,''
MacWilliams answered. ``We should have to fight all the way.
But the city to the south is deserted, and by going out by the
back roads, we can make Bocos by ten o'clock to-night. The yacht
should reach there by seven.''
``You are right; go back. I will call off some of my men. The
rest must hold this mob back until you start; then I will follow
with the others. Where is Miss Hope?''
``We don't know. Clay is frantic. Her groom says she is
somewhere in the palace.''
``Hurry,'' Stuart commanded. ``If Mendoza gets here before
Madame Alvarez leaves, it will be too late.''
MacWilliams sprang up the steps of the palace, and Stuart,
calling to the men nearest him to follow, started after him on a
As Stuart entered the palace with his men at his heels, Clay was
hurrying from its rear entrance along the upper hall, and Hope
and Madame Alvarez were leaving the apartments of the latter at
its front. They met at the top of the main stairway just as
Stuart put his foot on its lower step. The young Englishman
heard the clatter of his men following close behind him and
leaped eagerly forward. Half way to the top the noise behind him
ceased, and turning his head quickly he looked back over his
shoulder and saw that the men had halted at the foot of the
stairs and stood huddled together in disorder looking up at him.
Stuart glanced over their heads and down the hallway to the
garden beyond to see if they were followed, but the mob still
fought from the outer side of the barricade. He waved his sword
impatiently and started forward again. ``Come on!'' he shouted.
But the men below him did not move. Stuart halted once more and
this time turned about and looked down upon them with surprise
and anger. There was not one of them he could not have called by
name. He knew all their little troubles, their love-affairs,
even. They came to him for comfort and advice, and to beg for
money. He had regarded them as his children, and he was proud of
them as soldiers because they were the work of his hands.
So, instead of a sharp command, he asked, ``What is it?'' in
surprise, and stared at them wondering. He could not or would
not comprehend, even though he saw that those in the front rank
were pushing back and those behind were urging them forward. The
muzzles of their carbines were directed at every point, and on
their faces fear and hate and cowardice were written in varying
``What does this mean?'' Stuart demanded, sharply. ``What are
you waiting for?''
Clay had just reached the top of the stairs. He saw Madame
Alvarez and Hope coming toward him, and at the sight of Hope he
gave an exclamation of relief.
Then his eyes turned and fell on the tableau below, on Stuart's
back, as he stood confronting the men, and on their scowling
upturned faces and half-lifted carbines. Clay had lived for a
longer time among Spanish-Americans than had the English
subaltern, or else he was the quicker of the two to believe in
evil and ingratitude, for he gave a cry of warning, and motioned
the women away.
``Stuart!'' he cried. ``Come away; for God's sake, what are you
doing? Come back!''
The Englishman started at the sound of his friend's voice, but he
did not turn his head. He began to descend the stairs slowly, a
step at a time, staring at the mob so fiercely that they shrank
back before the look of wounded pride and anger in his eyes.
Those in the rear raised and levelled their rifles. Without
taking his eyes from theirs, Stuart drew his revolver, and with
his sword swinging from its wrist-strap, pointed his weapon at
the mass below him.
``What does this mean?'' he demanded. ``Is this mutiny?''
A voice from the rear of the crowd of men shrieked: ``Death to
the Spanish woman. Death to all traitors. Long live
Mendoza,'' and the others echoed the cry in chorus.
Clay sprang down the broad stairs calling, ``Come to me;'' but
before he could reach Stuart, a woman's voice rang out, in a long
terrible cry of terror, a cry that was neither a prayer nor an
imprecation, but which held the agony of both. Stuart started,
and looked up to where Madame Alvarez had thrown herself toward
him across the broad balustrade of the stairway. She was silent
with fear, and her hand clutched at the air, as she beckoned
wildly to him. Stuart stared at her with a troubled smile and
waved his empty hand to reassure her. The movement was final,
for the men below, freed from the reproach of his eyes, flung up
their carbines and fired, some wildly, without placing their guns
at rest, and others steadily and aiming straight at his heart.
As the volley rang out and the smoke drifted up the great
staircase, the subaltern's hands tossed high above his head, his
body sank into itself and toppled backward, and, like a tired
child falling to sleep, the defeated soldier of fortune dropped
back into the outstretched arms of his friend.
Clay lifted him upon his knee, and crushed him closer against his
breast with one arm, while he tore with his free hand at the
stock about the throat and pushed his fingers in between the
buttons of the tunic. They came forth again wet and colored
``Stuart!'' Clay gasped. ``Stuart, speak to me, look at me!''
He shook the body in his arms with fierce roughness, peering into
the face that rested on his shoulder, as though he could command
the eyes back again to light and life. ``Don't leave me!'' he
said. ``For God's sake, old man, don't leave me!''
But the head on his shoulder only sank the closer and the body
stiffened in his arms. Clay raised his eyes and saw the soldiers
still standing, irresolute and appalled at what they had done,
and awe-struck at the sight of the grief before them.
Clay gave a cry as terrible as the cry of a woman who has seen
her child mangled before her eyes, and lowering the body quickly
to the steps, he ran at the scattering mass below him. As he
came they fled down the corridor, shrieking and calling to their
friends to throw open the gates and begging them to admit the
mob. When they reached the outer porch they turned, encouraged
by the touch of numbers, and halted to fire at the man who still
Clay stopped, with a look in his eyes which no one who knew them
had ever seen there, and smiled with pleasure in knowing himself
a master in what he had to do. And at each report of his
revolver one of Stuart's assassins stumbled and pitched heavily
forward on his face. Then he turned and walked slowly back up
the hall to the stairway like a man moving in his sleep. He
neither saw nor heard the bullets that bit spitefully at the
walls about him and rattled among the glass pendants of the great
chandeliers above his head. When he came to the step on which
the body lay he stooped and picked it up gently, and holding it
across his breast, strode on up the stairs. MacWilliams and
Langham were coming toward him, and saw the helpless figure in
``What is it?'' they cried; ``is he wounded, is he hurt?''
``He is dead,'' Clay answered, passing on with his burden. ``Get
Madame Alvarez stood with the girl's arms about her, her eyes
closed and her figure trembling.
``Let me be!'' she moaned. ``Don't touch me; let me die. My
God, what have I to live for now?'' She shook off Hope's
supporting arm, and stood before them, all her former courage
gone, trembling and shivering in agony. ``I do not care what
they do to me!'' she cried. She tore her lace mantilla from her
shoulders and threw it on the floor. ``I shall not leave this
place. He is dead. Why should I go? He is dead. They
have murdered him; he is dead.''
``She is fainting,'' said Hope. Her voice was strained and hard.
To her brother she seemed to have grown suddenly much older, and
he looked to her to tell him what to do.
``Take hold of her,'' she said. ``She will fall.'' The woman
sank back into the arms of the men, trembling and moaning feebly.
``Now carry her to the carriage,'' said Hope. ``She has fainted;
it is better; she does not know what has happened.''
Clay, still bearing the body in his arms, pushed open the first
door that stood ajar before him with his foot. It opened into
the great banqueting hall of the palace, but he could not choose.
He had to consider now the safety of the living, whose lives were
still in jeopardy.
The long table in the centre of the hall was laid with places for
many people, for it had been prepared for the President and the
President's guests, who were to have joined with him in
celebrating the successful conclusion of the review. From
outside the light of the sun, which was just sinking behind the
mountains, shone dimly upon the silver on the board, on the glass
and napery, and the massive gilt centre-pieces filled with great
clusters of fresh flowers. It looked as though the servants
had but just left the room. Even the candles had been lit in
readiness, and as their flames wavered and smoked in the evening
breeze they cast uncertain shadows on the walls and showed the
stern faces of the soldier presidents frowning down on the
crowded table from their gilded frames.
There was a great leather lounge stretching along one side of the
hall, and Clay moved toward this quickly and laid his burden
down. He was conscious that Hope was still following him. He
straightened the limbs of the body and folded the arms across the
breast and pressed his hand for an instant on the cold hands of
his friend, and then whispering something between his lips,
turned and walked hurriedly away.
Hope confronted him in the doorway. She was sobbing silently.
``Must we leave him,'' she pleaded, ``must we leave him--like
From the garden there came the sound of hammers ringing on the
iron hinges, and a great crash of noises as the gate fell back
from its fastenings, and the mob rushed over the obstacles upon
which it had fallen. It seemed as if their yells of exultation
and anger must reach even the ears of the dead man.
``They are calling Mendoza,'' Clay whispered, ``he must be with
them. Come, we will have to run for our lives now.''
But before he could guess what Hope was about to do, or could
prevent her, she had slipped past him and picked up Stuart's
sword that had fallen from his wrist to the floor, and laid it on
the soldier's body, and closed his hands upon its hilt. She
glanced quickly about her as though looking for something, and
then with a sob of relief ran to the table, and sweeping it of an
armful of its flowers, stepped swiftly back again to the lounge
and heaped them upon it.
``Come, for God's sake, come!'' Clay called to her in a whisper
from the door.
Hope stood for an instant staring at the young Englishman as the
candle-light flickered over his white face, and then, dropping on
her knees, she pushed back the curly hair from about the boy's
forehead and kissed him. Then, without turning to look again,
she placed her hand in Clay's and he ran with her, dragging her
behind him down the length of the hall, just as the mob entered
it on the floor below them and filled the palace with their
shouts of triumph.
As the sun sank lower its light fell more dimly on the lonely
figure in the vast diningDhall, and as the gloom deepened there,
the candles burned with greater brilliancy, and the faces of the
portraits shone more clearly.
They seemed to be staring down less sternly now upon the
white mortal face of the brother-in-arms who had just joined
One who had known him among his own people would have seen in the
attitude and in the profile of the English soldier a likeness to
his ancestors of the Crusades who lay carved in stone in the
village church, with their faces turned to the sky, their
faithful hounds waiting at their feet, and their hands pressed
upward in prayer.
And when, a moment later, the half-crazed mob of men and boys
swept into the great room, with Mendoza at their head, something
of the pathos of the young Englishman's death in his foreign
place of exile must have touched them, for they stopped appalled
and startled, and pressed back upon their fellows, with eager
whispers. The Spanish-American General strode boldly forward,
but his eyes lowered before the calm, white face, and either
because the lighted candles and the flowers awoke in him some
memory of the great Church that had nursed him, or because the
jagged holes in the soldier's tunic appealed to what was bravest
in him, he crossed himself quickly, and then raising his hands
slowly to his visor, lifted his hat and pointed with it to the
door. And the mob, without once looking back at the rich
treasure of silver on the table, pushed out before him, stepping
softly, as though they had intruded on a shrine.
The President's travelling carriage was a double-seated diligence
covered with heavy hoods and with places on the box for two men.
Only one of the coachmen, the same man who had driven the State
carriage from the review, had remained at the stables. As he
knew the roads to Los Bocos, Clay ordered him up to the driver's
seat, and MacWilliams climbed into the place beside him after
first storing three rifles under the lap-robe.
Hope pulled open the leather curtains of the carriage and found
Madame Alvarez where the men had laid her upon the cushions, weak
and hysterical. The girl crept in beside her, and lifting her in
her arms, rested the older woman's head against her shoulder, and
soothed and comforted her with tenderness and sympathy.
Clay stopped with his foot in the stirrup and looked up anxiously
at Langham who was already in the saddle.
``Is there no possible way of getting Hope out of this and back
to the Palms?'' he asked.
``No, it's too late. This is the only way now.'' Hope opened
the leather curtains and looking out shook her head impatiently
at Clay. ``I wouldn't go now if there were another way,'' she
said. ``I couldn't leave her like this.''
``You're delaying the game, Clay,'' cried Langham, warningly, as
he stuck his spurs into his pony's side.
The people in the diligence lurched forward as the horses felt
the lash of the whip and strained against the harness, and then
plunged ahead at a gallop on their long race to the sea. As they
sped through the gardens, the stables and the trees hid them from
the sight of those in the palace, and the turf, upon which the
driver had turned the horses for greater safety, deadened the
sound of their flight.
They found the gates of the botanical gardens already opened, and
Clay, in the street outside, beckoning them on. Without waiting
for the others the two outriders galloped ahead to the first
cross street, looked up and down its length, and then, in evident
concern at what they saw in the distance, motioned the driver to
greater speed, and crossing the street signalled him to follow
them. At the next corner Clay flung himself off his pony, and
throwing the bridle to Langham, ran ahead into the cross street
on foot, and after a quick glance pointed down its length
away from the heart of the city to the mountains.
The driver turned as Clay directed him, and when the man found
that his face was fairly set toward the goal he lashed his horses
recklessly through the narrow street, so that the murmur of the
mob behind them grew perceptibly fainter at each leap forward.
The noise of the galloping hoofs brought women and children to
the barred windows of the houses, but no men stepped into the
road to stop their progress, and those few they met running in
the direction of the palace hastened to get out of their way, and
stood with their backs pressed against the walls of the narrow
thoroughfare looking after them with wonder.
Even those who suspected their errand were helpless to detain
them, for sooner than they could raise the hue and cry or
formulate a plan of action, the carriage had passed and was
disappearing in the distance, rocking from wheel to wheel like a
ship in a gale. Two men who were so bold as to start to follow,
stopped abruptly when they saw the outriders draw rein and turn
in their saddles as though to await their coming.
Clay's mind was torn with doubts, and his nerves were drawn taut
like the strings of a violin. Personal danger exhilarated him,
but this chance of harm to others who were helpless, except
for him, depressed his spirit with anxiety. He experienced in
his own mind all the nervous fears of a thief who sees an officer
in every passing citizen, and at one moment he warned the driver
to move more circumspectly, and so avert suspicion, and the next
urged him into more desperate bursts of speed. In his fancy
every cross street threatened an ambush, and as he cantered now
before and now behind the carriage, he wished that he was a
multitude of men who could encompass it entirely and hide it.
But the solid streets soon gave way to open places, and low mud
cabins, where the horses' hoofs beat on a sun-baked road, and
where the inhabitants sat lazily before the door in the fading
light, with no knowledge of the changes that the day had wrought
in the city, and with only a moment's curious interest in the
hooded carriage, and the grim, white-faced foreigners who guarded
Clay turned his pony into a trot at Langham's side. His face was
pale and drawn.
As the danger of immediate pursuit and capture grew less, the
carriage had slackened its pace, and for some minutes the
outriders galloped on together side by side in silence. But the
same thought was in the mind of each, and when Langham spoke
it was as though he were continuing where he had but just been
He laid his hand gently on Clay's arm. He did not turn his face
toward him, and his eyes were still peering into the shadows
before them. ``Tell me?'' he asked.
``He was coming up the stairs,'' Clay answered. He spoke in so
low a voice that Langham had to lean from his saddle to hear him.
``They were close behind; but when they saw her they stopped and
refused to go farther. I called to him to come away, but he
would not understand. They killed him before he really
understood what they meant to do. He was dead almost before I
reached him. He died in my arms.'' There was a long pause. ``I
wonder if he knows that?'' Clay said.
Langham sat erect in the saddle again and drew a short breath.
``I wish he could have known how he helped me,'' he whispered,
``how much just knowing him helped me.''
Clay bowed his head to the boy as though he were thanking him.
``His was the gentlest soul I ever knew,'' he said.
``That's what I wanted to say,'' Langham answered. ``We will let
that be his epitaph,'' and touching his spur to his horse he
galloped on ahead and left Clay riding alone.
Langham had proceeded for nearly a mile when he saw the forest
opening before them, and at the sight he gave a shout of relief,
but almost at the same instant he pulled his pony back on his
haunches and whirling him about, sprang back to the carriage with
a cry of warning.
``There are soldiers ahead of us,'' he cried. ``Did you know
it?'' he demanded of the driver. ``Did you lie to me? Turn
``He can't turn back,'' MacWilliams answered. ``They have seen
us. They are only the custom officers at the city limits. They
know nothing. Go on.'' He reached forward and catching the
reins dragged the horses down into a walk. Then he handed the
reins back to the driver with a shake of the head.
``If you know these roads as well as you say you do, you want to
keep us out of the way of soldiers,'' he said. ``If we fall into
a trap you'll be the first man shot on either side.''
A sentry strolled lazily out into the road dragging his gun after
him by the bayonet, and raised his hand for them to halt. His
captain followed him from the post-house throwing away a
cigarette as he came, and saluted MacWilliams on the box and
bowed to the two riders in the background. In his right hand he
held one of the long iron rods with which the collectors of the
city's taxes were wont to pierce the bundles and packs, and
even the carriage cushions of those who entered the city limits
from the coast, and who might be suspected of smuggling.
``Whose carriage is this, and where is it going?'' he asked.
As the speed of the diligence slackened, Hope put her head out of
the curtains, and as she surveyed the soldier with apparent
surprise, she turned to her brother.
``What does this mean?'' she asked. ``What are we waiting for?''
``We are going to the Hacienda of Senor Palacio,''
MacWilliams said, in answer to the officer. ``The driver thinks
that this is the road, but I say we should have taken the one to
``No, this is the road to Senor Palacio's plantation,'' the
officer answered, ``but you cannot leave the city without a pass
signed by General Mendoza. That is the order we received this
morning. Have you such a pass?''
``Certainly not,'' Clay answered, warmly. ``This is the carriage
of an American, the president of the mines. His daughters are
inside and on their way to visit the residence of Senor
Palacio. They are foreigners--Americans. We are all
foreigners, and we have a perfect right to leave the city
when we choose. You can only stop us when we enter it.''
The officer looked uncertainly from Clay to Hope and up at the
driver on the box. His eyes fell upon the heavy brass mountings
of the harness. They bore the arms of Olancho. He wheeled
sharply and called to his men inside the post-house, and they
stepped out from the veranda and spread themselves leisurely
across the road.
``Ride him down, Clay,'' Langham muttered, in a whisper. The
officer did not understand the words, but he saw Clay gather the
reins tighter in his hands and he stepped back quickly to the
safety of the porch, and from that ground of vantage smiled
``Pardon,'' he said, ``there is no need for blows when one is
rich enough to pay. A little something for myself and a drink
for my brave fellows, and you can go where you please.''
``Damned brigands,'' growled Langham, savagely.
``Not at all,'' Clay answered. ``He is an officer and a
gentleman. I have no money with me,'' he said, in Spanish,
addressing the officer, ``but between caballeros a word of honor
is sufficient. I shall be returning this way to-morrow morning,
and I will bring a few hundred sols from Senor Palacio
for you and your men; but if we are followed you will get
nothing, and you must have forgotten in the mean time that you
have seen us pass.''
There was a murmur inside the carriage, and Hope's face
disappeared from between the curtains to reappear again
almost immediately. She beckoned to the officer with her hand,
and the men saw that she held between her thumb and little finger
a diamond ring of size and brilliancy. She moved it so that it
flashed in the light of the guard lantern above the post-house.
``My sister tells me you shall be given this tomorrow morning,''
Hope said, ``if we are not followed.''
The man's eyes laughed with pleasure. He swept his sombrero to
``I am your servant, Senorita,'' he said. ``Gentlemen,'' he
cried, gayly, turning to Clay, ``if you wish it, I will accompany
you with my men. Yes, I will leave word that I have gone in the
sudden pursuit of smugglers; or I will remain here as you wish,
and send those who may follow back again.''
``You are most gracious, sir,'' said Clay. ``It is always a
pleasure to meet with a gentleman and a philosopher. We prefer
to travel without an escort, and remember, you have seen nothing
and heard nothing.'' He leaned from the saddle, and touched
the officer on the breast. ``That ring is worth a king's
``Or a president's,'' muttered the man, smiling. ``Let the
American ladies pass,'' he commanded.
The soldiers scattered as the whip fell, and the horses once more
leaped forward, and as the carriage entered the forest, Clay
looked back and saw the officer exhaling the smoke of a fresh
cigarette, with the satisfaction of one who enjoys a clean
conscience and a sense of duty well performed.
The road through the forest was narrow and uneven, and as the
horses fell into a trot the men on horseback closed up together
behind the carriage.
``Do you think that road-agent will keep his word?'' Langham
``Yes; he has nothing to win by telling the truth,'' Clay
answered. ``He can say he saw a party of foreigners, Americans,
driving in the direction of Palacio's coffee plantation. That
lets him out, and in the morning he knows he can levy on us for
the gate money. I am not so much afraid of being overtaken as I
am that King may make a mistake and not get to Bocos on time. We
ought to reach there, if the carriage holds together, by eleven.
King should be there by eight o'clock, and the yacht ought to
make the run to Truxillo in three hours. But we shall not
be able to get back to the city before five to-morrow morning. I
suppose your family will be wild about Hope. We didn't know
where she was when we sent the groom back to King.''
``Do you think that driver is taking us the right way?'' Langham
asked, after a pause.
``He'd better. He knows it well enough. He was through the last
revolution, and carried messages from Los Bocos to the city on
foot for two months. He has covered every trail on the way, and
if he goes wrong he knows what will happen to him.''
``And Los Bocos--it is a village, isn't it, and the landing must
be in sight of the Custom-house?''
``The village lies some distance back from the shore, and the
only house on the beach is the Custom-house itself; but every one
will be asleep by the time we get there, and it will take us only
a minute to hand her into the launch. If there should be a guard
there, King will have fixed them one way or another by the time
we arrive. Anyhow, there is no need of looking for trouble that
far ahead. There is enough to worry about in between. We
haven't got there yet.''
The moon rose grandly a few minutes later, and flooded the forest
with light so that the open places were as clear as day. It
threw strange shadows across the trail, and turned the rocks
and fallen trees into figures of men crouching or standing
upright with uplifted arms. They were so like to them that Clay
and Langham flung their carbines to their shoulders again and
again, and pointed them at some black object that turned as they
advanced into wood or stone. From the forest they came to little
streams and broad shallow rivers where the rocks in the fording
places churned the water into white masses of foam, and the
horses kicked up showers of spray as they made their way,
slipping and stumbling, against the current. It was a silent
pilgrim age, and never for a moment did the strain slacken or the
men draw rein. Sometimes, as they hurried across a broad
tableland, or skirted the edge of a precipice and looked down
hundreds of feet below at the shining waters they had just
forded, or up at the rocky points of the mountains before them,
the beauty of the night overcame them and made them forget the
significance of their journey.
They were not always alone, for they passed at intervals through
sleeping villages of mud huts with thatched roofs, where the dogs
ran yelping out to bark at them, and where the pine-knots,
blazing on the clay ovens, burned cheerily in the moonlight. In
the low lands where the fever lay, the mist rose above the level
of their heads and enshrouded them in a curtain of fog, and the
dew fell heavily, penetrating their clothing and chilling
their heated bodies so that the sweating horses moved in a lather
They had settled down into a steady gallop now, and ten or
fifteen miles had been left behind them.
``We are making excellent time,'' said Clay. ``The village of
San Lorenzo should lie beyond that ridge.'' He drove up beside
the driver and pointed with his whip. ``Is not that San
Lorenzo?'' he asked.
``Yes, senor,'' the man answered, ``but I mean to drive around
it by the old wagon trail. It is a large town, and people may be
awake. You will be able to see it from the top of the next
The cavalcade stopped at the summit of the ridge and the men
looked down into the silent village. It was like the others they
had passed, with a few houses built round a square of grass that
could hardly be recognized as a plaza, except for the church on
its one side, and the huge wooden cross planted in its centre.
From the top of the hill they could see that the greater number
of the houses were in darkness, but in a large building of two
stories lights were shining from every window.
``That is the comandancia,'' said the driver, shaking his
head. ``They are still awake. It is a telegraph station.''
``Great Scott!'' exclaimed MacWilliams. ``We forgot the
telegraph. They may have sent word to head us off already.''
``Nine o'clock is not so very late,'' said Clay. ``It may mean
``We had better make sure, though,'' MacWilliams answered,
jumping to the ground. ``Lend me your pony, Ted, and take my
place. I'll run in there and dust around and see what's up.
I'll join you on the other side of the town after you get back to
the main road.''
``Wait a minute,'' said Clay. ``What do you mean to do?''
``I can't tell till I get there, but I'll try to find out how
much they know. Don't you be afraid. I'll run fast enough if
there's any sign of trouble. And if you come across a telegraph
wire, cut it. The message may not have gone over yet.''
The two women in the carriage had parted the flaps of the hoods
and were trying to hear what was being said, but could not
understand, and Langham explained to them that they were about to
make a slight detour to avoid San Lorenzo while MacWilliams was
going into it to reconnoitre. He asked if they were comfortable,
and assured them that the greater part of the ride was over,
and that there was a good road from San Lorenzo to the sea.
MacWilliams rode down into the village along the main trail, and
threw his reins over a post in front of the comandancia. He
mounted boldly to the second floor of the building and stopped at
the head of the stairs, in front of an open door. There were
three men in the room before him, one an elderly man, whom he
rightly guessed was the comandante, and two younger men who
were standing behind a railing and bending over a telegraph
instrument on a table. As he stamped into the room, they looked
up and stared at him in surprise; their faces showed that he had
interrupted them at a moment of unusual interest.
MacWilliams saluted the three men civilly, and, according to the
native custom, apologized for appearing before them in his spurs.
He had been riding from Los Bocos to the capital, he said, and
his horse had gone lame. Could they tell him if there
was any one in the village from whom he could hire a mule, as he
must push on to the capital that night?
The comandante surveyed him for a moment, as though still
disturbed by the interruption, and then shook his head
impatiently. ``You can hire a mule from one Pulido Paul, at the
corner of the plaza,'' he said. And as MacWilliams still
stood uncertainly, he added, ``You say you have come from
Los Bocos. Did you meet any one on your way?''
The two younger men looked up at him anxiously, but before he
could answer, the instrument began to tick out the signal, and
they turned their eyes to it again, and one of them began to take
its message down on paper.
The instrument spoke to MacWilliams also, for he was used to
sending telegrams daily from the office to the mines, and could
make it talk for him in either English or Spanish. So, in his
effort to hear what it might say, he stammered and glanced at it
involuntarily, and the comandante, without suspecting his
reason for doing so, turned also and peered over the shoulder of
the man who was receiving the message. Except for the clicking
of the instrument, the room was absolutely still; the three men
bent silently over the table, while MacWilliams stood gazing at
the ceiling and turning his hat in his hands. The message
MacWilliams read from the instrument was this: ``They are
reported to have left the city by the south, so they are going to
Para, or San Pedro, or to Los Bocos. She must be stopped--take
an armed force and guard the roads. If necessary, kill her. She
has in the carriage or hidden on her person, drafts for five
million sols. You will be held responsible for every one of
them. Repeat this message to show you understand, and relay it
to Los Bocos. If you fail--''
MacWilliams could not wait to hear more; he gave a curt nod to
the men and started toward the stairs. ``Wait,'' the
comandante called after him.
MacWilliams paused with one hand on top of the banisters
balancing himself in readiness for instant flight.
``You have not answered me. Did you meet with any one on your
ride here from Los Bocos?''
``I met several men on foot, and the mail carrier passed me a
league out from the coast, and oh, yes, I met a carriage at the
cross roads, and the driver asked me the way of San Pedro Sula.''
``A carriage?--yes--and what did you tell him?''
``I told him he was on the road to Los Bocos, and he turned back
``You are sure he turned back?''
``Certainly, sir. I rode behind him for some distance. He
turned finally to the right into the trail to San Pedro Sula.''
The man flung himself across the railing.
``Quick,'' he commanded, ``telegraph to Morales, Comandante
San Pedro Sula--''
He had turned his back on MacWilliams, and as the younger man
bent over the instrument, MacWilliams stepped softly down the
stairs, and mounting his pony rode slowly off in the direction of
the capital. As soon as he had reached the outskirts of the
town, he turned and galloped round it and then rode fast with his
head in air, glancing up at the telegraph wire that sagged from
tree-trunk to tree-trunk along the trail. At a point where he
thought he could dismount in safety and tear down the wire, he
came across it dangling from the branches and he gave a shout of
relief. He caught the loose end and dragged it free from its
support, and then laying it across a rock pounded the blade of
his knife upon it with a stone, until he had hacked off a piece
some fifty feet in length. Taking this in his hand he
mounted again and rode off with it, dragging the wire in
the road behind him. He held it up as he rejoined Clay, and
laughed triumphantly. ``They'll have some trouble splicing that
circuit,'' he said, ``you only half did the work. What wouldn't
we give to know all this little piece of copper knows, eh?''
``Do you mean you think they have telegraphed to Los Bocos
``I know that they were telegraphing to San Pedro Sula as I left
and to all the coast towns. But whether you cut this down
before or after is what I should like to know.''
``We shall probably learn that later,'' said Clay, grimly.
The last three miles of the journey lay over a hard, smooth road,
wide enough to allow the carriage and its escort to ride abreast.
It was in such contrast to the tortuous paths they had just
followed, that the horses gained a fresh impetus and galloped
forward as freely as though the race had but just begun.
Madame Alvarez stopped the carriage at one place and asked the
men to lower the hood at the back that she might feel the fresh
air and see about her, and when this had been done, the women
seated themselves with their backs to the horses where they could
look out at the moonlit road as it unrolled behind them.
Hope felt selfishly and wickedly happy. The excitement had kept
her spirits at the highest point, and the knowledge that Clay was
guarding and protecting her was in itself a pleasure. She leaned
back on the cushions and put her arm around the older woman's
waist, and listened to the light beat of his pony's hoofs
outside, now running ahead, now scrambling and slipping up some
steep place, and again coming to a halt as Langham or MacWilliams
called, ``Look to the right, behind those trees,'' or
``Ahead there! Don't you see what I mean, something crouching?''
She did not know when the false alarms would turn into a genuine
attack, but she was confident that when the time came he would
take care of her, and she welcomed the danger because it brought
that solace with it.
Madame Alvarez sat at her side, rigid, silent, and beyond the
help of comfort. She tortured herself with thoughts of the
ambitions she had held, and which had been so cruelly mocked that
very morning; of the chivalric love that had been hers, of the
life even that had been hers, and which had been given up for her
so tragically. When she spoke at all, it was to murmur her
sorrow that Hope had exposed herself to danger on her poor
account, and that her life, as far as she loved it, was at an
end. Only once after the men had parted the curtains and asked
concerning her comfort with grave solicitude did she give way to
``Why are they so good to me?'' she moaned. ``Why are you so
good to me? I am a wicked, vain woman, I have brought a nation to
war and I have killed the only man I ever trusted.''
Hope touched her gently with her hand and felt guiltily how
selfish she herself must be not to feel the woman's grief, but
she could not. She only saw in it a contrast to her own
happiness, a black background before which the figure of Clay and
his solicitude for her shone out, the only fact in the world that
was of value.
Her thoughts were interrupted by the carriage coming to a halt,
and a significant movement upon the part of the men. MacWilliams
had descended from the box-seat and stepping into the carriage
took the place the women had just left.
He had a carbine in his hand, and after he was seated Langham
handed him another which he laid across his knees.
``They thought I was too conspicuous on the box to do any good
there,'' he explained in a confidential whisper. ``In case there
is any firing now, you ladies want to get down on your knees here
at my feet, and hide your heads in the cushions. We are entering
Langham and Clay were riding far in advance, scouting to the
right and left, and the carriage moved noiselessly behind them
through the empty streets. There was no light in any of the
windows, and not even a dog barked, or a cock crowed. The women
sat erect, listening for the first signal of an attack, each
holding the other's hand and looking at MacWilliams, who sat with
his thumb on the trigger of his carbine, glancing to the right
and left and breathing quickly. His eyes twinkled, like
those of a little fox terrier. The men dropped back, and drew up
on a level with the carriage.
``We are all right, so far,'' Clay whispered. ``The beach slopes
down from the other side of that line of trees. What is the
matter with you?'' he demanded, suddenly, looking up at the
driver, ``are you afraid?''
``No,'' the man answered, hurriedly, his voice shaking; ``it's
Langham had galloped on ahead and as he passed through the trees
and came out upon the beach, he saw a broad stretch of moonlit
water and the lights from the yacht shining from a point a
quarter of a mile off shore. Among the rocks on the edge of the
beach was the ``Vesta's'' longboat and her crew seated in it or
standing about on the beach. The carriage had stopped under the
protecting shadow of the trees, and he raced back toward it.
``The yacht is here,'' he cried. ``The long-boat is waiting and
there is not a sign of light about the Custom-house. Come on,''
he cried. ``We have beaten them after all.''
A sailor, who had been acting as lookout on the rocks, sprang to
his full height, and shouted to the group around the long-boat,
and King came up the beach toward them running heavily through
the deep sand.
Madame Alvarez stepped down from the carriage, and as Hope handed
her her jewel case in silence, the men draped her cloak about her
shoulders. She put out her hand to them, and as Clay took it in
his, she bent her head quickly and kissed his hand. ``You were
his friend,'' she murmured.
She held Hope in her arms for an instant, and kissed her, and
then gave her hand in turn to Langham and to MacWilliams.
``I do not know whether I shall ever see you again,'' she said,
looking slowly from one to the other, ``but I will pray for you
every day, and God will reward you for saving a worthless life.''
As she finished speaking King came up to the group, followed by
three of his men.
``Is Hope with you, is she safe?'' he asked.
``Yes, she is with me,'' Madame Alvarez answered.
``Thank God,'' King exclaimed, breathlessly. ``Then we will
start at once, Madame. Where is she? She must come with us!''
``Of course,'' Clay-assented, eagerly, ``she will be much safer
on the yacht.''
But Hope protested. ``I must get back to father,'' she said.
``The yacht will not arrive until late to-morrow, and the
carriage can take me to him five hours earlier. The family have
worried too long about me as it is, and, besides, I will not
leave Ted. I am going back as I came.''
``It is most unsafe,'' King urged.
``On the contrary, it is perfectly safe now,'' Hope answered.
``It was not one of us they wanted.''
``You may be right,'' King said. ``They don't know what has
happened to you, and perhaps after all it would be better if you
went back the quicker way.'' He gave his arm to Madame Alvarez
and walked with her toward the shore. As the men surrounded her
on every side and moved away, Clay glanced back at Hope and saw
her standing upright in the carriage looking after them.
``We will be with you in a minute,'' he called, as though in
apology for leaving her for even that brief space. And then the
shadow of the trees shut her and the carriage from his sight.
His footsteps made no sound in the soft sand, and except for the
whispering of the palms and the sleepy wash of the waves as they
ran up the pebbly beach and sank again, the place was as peaceful
and silent as a deserted island, though the moon made it as light
The long-boat had been drawn up with her stern to the shore, and
the men were already in their places, some standing waiting for
the order to shove off, and others seated balancing their
King had arranged to fire a rocket when the launch left the
shore, in order that the captain of the yacht might run in closer
to pick them up. As he hurried down the beach, he called to his
boatswain to give the signal, and the man answered that he
understood and stooped to light a match. King had jumped into
the stern and lifted Madame Alvarez after him, leaving her late
escort standing with uncovered heads on the beach behind her,
when the rocket shot up into the calm white air, with a roar and
a rush and a sudden flash of color. At the same instant, as
though in answer to its challenge, the woods back of them burst
into an irregular line of flame, a volley of rifle shots
shattered the silence, and a score of bullets splashed in the
water and on the rocks about them.
The boatswain in the bow of the long-boat tossed up his arms and
pitched forward between the thwarts.
``Give way,'' he shouted as he fell.
``Pull,'' Clay yelled, ``pull, all of you.''
He threw himself against the stern of the boat, and Langham and
MacWilliams clutched its sides, and with their shoulders against
it and their bodies half sunk in the water, shoved it off, free
of the shore.
The shots continued fiercely, and two of the crew cried out
and fell back upon the oars of the men behind them.
Madame Alvarez sprang to her feet and stood swaying unsteadily as
the boat leaped forward.
``Take me back. Stop, I command you,'' she cried, ``I will not
leave those men. Do you hear?''
King caught her by the waist and dragged her down, but she
struggled to free herself. ``I will not leave them to be
murdered,'' she cried. ``You cowards, put me back.''
``Hold her, King,'' Clay shouted. ``We're all right. They're
not firing at us.''
His voice was drowned in the noise of the oars beating in the
rowlocks, and the reports of the rifles. The boat disappeared in
a mist of spray and moonlight, and Clay turned and faced about
him. Langham and MacWilliams were crouching behind a rock and
firing at the flashes in the woods.
``You can't stay there,'' Clay cried. ``We must get back to
He ran forward, dodging from side to side and firing as he ran.
He heard shots from the water, and looking back saw that the men
in the longboat had ceased rowing, and were returning the fire
from the shore.
``Come back, Hope is all right,'' her brother called to him. ``I
haven't seen a shot within a hundred yards of her yet, they're
firing from the Custom-house and below. I think Mac's hit.''
``I'm not,'' MacWilliams's voice answered from behind a rock,
``but I'd like to see something to shoot at.''
A hot tremor of rage swept over Clay at the thought of a possibly
fatal termination to the night's adventure. He groaned at the
mockery of having found his life only to lose it now, when it was
more precious to him than it had ever been, and to lose it in a
silly brawl with semi-savages. He cursed himself impotently and
rebelliously for a senseless fool.
``Keep back, can't you?'' he heard Langham calling to him from
the shore. ``You're only drawing the fire toward Hope. She's
got away by now. She had both the horses.''
Langham and MacWilliams started forward to Clay's side, but the
instant they left the shadow of the rock, the bullets threw up
the sand at their feet and they stopped irresolutely. The moon
showed the three men outlined against the white sand of the beach
as clearly as though a searchlight had been turned upon them,
even while its shadows sheltered and protected their assailants.
At their backs the open sea cut off retreat, and the line of fire
in front held them in check. They were as helpless as chessmen
upon a board.
``I'm not going to stand still to be shot at,'' cried
MacWilliams. ``Let's hide or let's run. This isn't doing
anybody any good.'' But no one moved. They could hear the
singing of the bullets as they passed them whining in the air
like a banjo-string that is being tightened, and they knew they
were in equal danger from those who were firing from the boat.
``They're shooting better,'' said MacWilliams. ``They'll reach
us in a minute.''
``They've reached me already, I think,'' Langham answered, with
suppressed satisfaction, ``in the shoulder. It's nothing.'' His
unconcern was quite sincere; to a young man who had galloped
through two long halves of a football match on a strained tendon,
a scratched shoulder was not important, except as an unsought
But it was of the most importance to MacWilliams. He raised his
voice against the men in the woods in impotent fury. ``Come out,
you cowards, where we can see you,'' he cried. ``Come out where
I can shoot your black heads off.''
Clay had fired the last cartridge in his rifle, and throwing it
away drew his revolver.
``We must either swim or hide,'' he said. ``Put your heads down
But as he spoke, they saw the carriage plunging out of the shadow
of the woods and the horses galloping toward them down the
beach. MacWilliams gave a cheer of welcome. ``Hurrah!'' he
shouted, ``it's Jose' coming for us. He's a good man. Well
done, Jose'!'' he called.
``That's not Jose','' Langham cried, doubtfully, peering
through the moonlight. ``Good God! It's Hope,'' he exclaimed.
He waved his hands frantically above his head. ``Go back,
Hope,'' he cried, ``go back!''
But the carriage did not swerve on its way toward them. They all
saw her now distinctly. She was on the driver's box and alone,
leaning forward and lashing the horses' backs with the whip and
reins, and bending over to avoid the bullets that passed above
her head. As she came down upon them, she stood up, her woman's
figure outlined clearly in the riding habit she still wore.
``Jump in when I turn,'' she cried. ``I'm going to turn slowly,
run and jump in.''
She bent forward again and pulled the horses to the right, and as
they obeyed her, plunging and tugging at their bits, as though
they knew the danger they were in, the men threw themselves at
the carriage. Clay caught the hood at the back, swung himself
up, and scrambled over the cushions and up to the box seat. He
dropped down behind Hope, and reaching his arms around her took
the reins in one hand, and with the other forced her down to
her knees upon the footboard, so that, as she knelt, his arms and
body protected her from the bullets sent after them. Langham
followed Clay, and tumbled into the carriage over the hood at the
back, but MacWilliams endeavored to vault in from the step, and
missing his footing fell under the hind wheel, so that the weight
of the carriage passed over him, and his head was buried for an
instant in the sand. But he was on his feet again before they
had noticed that he was down, and as he jumped for the hood,
Langham caught him by the collar of his coat and dragged him into
the seat, panting and gasping, and rubbing the sand from his
mouth and nostrils. Clay turned the carriage at a right angle
through the heavy sand, and still standing with Hope crouched at
his knees, he raced back to the woods into the face of the
firing, with the boys behind him answering it from each side of
the carriage, so that the horses leaped forward in a frenzy of
terror, and dashing through the woods, passed into the first road
that opened before them.
The road into which they had turned was narrow, but level, and
ran through a forest of banana palms that bent and swayed above
them. Langham and MacWilliams still knelt in the rear seat of
the carriage, watching the road on the chance of possible
``Give me some cartridges,'' said Langham. ``My belt is empty.
What road is this?''
``It is a private road, I should say, through somebody's banana
plantation. But it must cross the main road somewhere. It
doesn't matter, we're all right now. I mean to take it easy.''
MacWilliams turned on his back and stretched out his legs on the
``Where do you suppose those men sprang from? Were they
following us all the time?''
``Perhaps, or else that message got over the wire before we cut
it, and they've been lying in wait for us. They were probably
watching King and his sailors for the last hour or so, but they
didn't want him. They wanted her and the money. It was pretty
exciting, wasn't it? How's your shoulder?''
``It's a little stiff, thank you,'' said Langham. He stood up
and by peering over the hood could just see the top of Clay's
sombrero rising above it where he sat on the back seat.
``You and Hope all right up there, Clay?'' he asked.
The top of the sombrero moved slightly, and Langham took it as a
sign that all was well. He dropped back into his seat beside
MacWilliams, and they both breathed a long sigh of relief and
content. Langham's wounded arm was the one nearest
MacWilliams, and the latter parted the torn sleeve and examined
the furrow across the shoulder with unconcealed envy.
``I am afraid it won't leave a scar,'' he said, sympathetically.
``Won't it?'' asked Langham, in some concern.
The horses had dropped into a walk, and the beauty of the moonlit
night put its spell upon the two boys, and the rustling of the
great leaves above their heads stilled and quieted them so that
they unconsciously spoke in whispers.
Clay had not moved since the horses turned of their own accord
into the valley of the palms. He no longer feared pursuit nor
any interruption to their further progress. His only sensation
was one of utter thankfulness that they were all well out of it,
and that Hope had been the one who had helped them in their
trouble, and his dearest thought was that, whether she wished or
not, he owed his safety, and possibly his life, to her.
She still crouched between his knees upon the broad footboard,
with her hands clasped in front of her, and looking ahead into
the vista of soft mysterious lights and dark shadows that the
moon cast upon the road. Neither of them spoke, and as the
silence continued unbroken, it took a weightier significance, and
at each added second of time became more full of meaning.
The horses had dropped into a tired walk, and drew them smoothly
over the white road; from behind the hood came broken snatches of
the boys' talk, and above their heads the heavy leaves of the
palms bent and bowed as though in benediction. A warm breeze
from the land filled the air with the odor of ripening fruit and
pungent smells, and the silence seemed to envelop them and mark
them as the only living creatures awake in the brilliant tropical
Hope sank slowly back, and as she did so, her shoulder touched
for an instant against Clay's knee; she straightened herself and
made a movement as though to rise. Her nearness to him and
something in her attitude at his feet held Clay in a spell. He
bent forward and laid his hand fearfully upon her shoulder, and
the touch seemed to stop the blood in his veins and hushed the
words upon his lips. Hope raised her head slowly as though with
a great effort, and looked into his eyes. It seemed to him that
he had been looking into those same eyes for centuries, as though
he had always known them, and the soul that looked out of them
into his. He bent his head lower, and stretching out his arms
drew her to him, and the eyes did not waver. He raised her
and held her close against his breast. Her eyes faltered and
``Hope,'' he whispered, ``Hope.'' He stooped lower and kissed
her, and his lips told her what they could not speak--and they
were quite alone.
An hour later Langham rose with a protesting sigh and shook the
``I say!'' he called. ``Are you asleep up there. We'll never
get home at this rate. Doesn't Hope want to come back here and
go to sleep?
The carriage stopped, and the boys tumbled out and walked around
in front of it. Hope sat smiling on the box-seat. She was
apparently far from sleepy, and she was quite contented where she
was, she told him.
``Do you know we haven't had anything to eat since yesterday at
breakfast?'' asked Langham. ``MacWilliams and I are fainting.
We move that we stop at the next shack we come to, and waken the
people up and make them give us some supper.''
Hope looked aside at Clay and laughed softly. ``Supper?'' she
said. ``They want supper!''
Their suffering did not seem to impress Clay deeply. He sat
snapping his whip at the palm-trees above him, and smiled happily
in an inconsequent and irritating manner at nothing.
``See here! Do you know that we are lost?'' demanded Langham,
indignantly, ``and starving? Have you any idea at all where you
``I have not,'' said Clay, cheerfully. ``All I know is that a
long time ago there was a revolution and a woman with jewels, who
escaped in an open boat, and I recollect playing that I was a
target and standing up to be shot at in a bright light. After
that I woke up to the really important things of life--among
which supper is not one.''
Langham and MacWilliams looked at each other doubtfully, and
Langham shook his head.
``Get down off that box,'' he commanded. ``If you and Hope think
this is merely a pleasant moonlight drive, we don't. You two can
sit in the carriage now, and we'll take a turn at driving, and
we'll guarantee to get you to some place soon.''
Clay and Hope descended meekly and seated themselves under the
hood, where they could look out upon the moonlit road as it
unrolled behind them. But they were no longer to enjoy their
former leisurely progress. The new whip lashed his horses into a
gallop, and the trees flew past them on either hand.
``Do you remember that chap in the `Last Ride Together'?'' said
``I and my mistress, side by side,
Shall be together--forever ride,
And so one more day am I deified.
Who knows--the world may end to-night.''
Hope laughed triumphantly, and threw out her arms as though she
would embrace the whole beautiful world that stretched around
``Oh, no,'' she laughed. ``To-night the world has just begun.''
The carriage stopped, and there was a confusion of voices on the
box-seat, and then a great barking of dogs, and they beheld
MacWilliams beating and kicking at the door of a hut. The door
opened for an inch, and there was a long debate in Spanish, and
finally the door was closed again, and a light appeared through
the windows. A few minutes later a man and woman came out of the
hut, shivering and yawning, and made a fire in the sun-baked oven
at the side of the house. Hope and Clay remained seated in the
carriage, and watched the flames springing up from the oily
fagots, and the boys moving about with flaring torches of pine,
pulling down bundles of fodder for the horses from the roof of
the kitchen, while two sleepy girls disappeared toward a mountain
stream, one carrying a jar on her shoulder, and the other
lighting the way with a torch. Hope sat with her chin on her
hand, watching the black figures passing between them and
the fire, and standing above it with its light on their faces,
shading their eyes from the heat with one hand, and stirring
something in a smoking caldron with the other. Hope felt an
overflowing sense of gratitude to these simple strangers for the
trouble they were taking. She felt how good every one was, and
how wonderfully kind and generous was the world that she lived
Her brother came over to the carriage and bowed with mock
``I trust, now that we have done all the work,'' he said, ``that
your excellencies will condescend to share our frugal fare, or
must we bring it to you here?''
The clay oven stood in the middle of a hut of laced twigs,
through which the smoke drifted freely. There was a row of
wooden benches around it, and they all seated themselves and ate
ravenously of rice and fried plantains, while the woman patted
and tossed tortillas between her hands, eyeing her guests
curiously. Her glance fell upon Langham's shoulder, and rested
there for so long that Hope followed the direction of her eyes.
She leaped to her feet with a cry of fear and reproach, and ran
toward her brother.
``Ted!'' she cried, ``you are hurt! you are wounded, and you
never told me! What is it? Is it very bad?'' Clay
crossed the floor in a stride, his face full of concern.
``Leave me alone!'' cried the stern brother, backing away and
warding them off with the coffeepot. ``It's only scratched.
You'll spill the coffee.''
But at the sight of the blood Hope had turned very white, and
throwing her arms around her brother's neck, hid her eyes on his
other shoulder and began to cry.
``I am so selfish,'' she sobbed. ``I have been so happy and you
were suffering all the time.''
Her brother stared at the others in dismay. ``What nonsense,''
he said, patting her on the shoulder. ``You're a bit tired, and
you need rest. That's what you need. The idea of my sister
going off in hysterics after behaving like such a sport--and
before these young ladies, too. Aren't you ashamed?''
``I should think they'd be ashamed,'' said MacWilliams, severely,
as he continued placidly with his supper. ``They haven't got
enough clothes on.''
Langham looked over Hope's shoulder at Clay and nodded
significantly. ``She's been on a good deal of a strain,'' he
explained apologetically, ``and no wonder; it's been rather an
unusual night for her.''
Hope raised her head and smiled at him through her tears. Then
she turned and moved toward Clay. She brushed her eyes with the
back of her hand and laughed. ``It has been an unusual night,''
she said. ``Shall I tell him?'' she asked.
Clay straightened himself unconsciously, and stepped beside her
and took her hand; MacWilliams quickly lowered to the bench the
dish from which he was eating, and stood up, too. The people of
the house stared at the group in the firelight with puzzled
interest, at the beautiful young girl, and at the tall, sunburned
young man at her side. Langham looked from his sister to Clay
and back again, and laughed uneasily.
``Langham, I have been very bold,'' said Clay. ``I have asked
your sister to marry me--and she has said that she would.''
Langham flushed as red as his sister. He felt himself at a
disadvantage in the presence of a love as great and strong as he
knew this must be. It made him seem strangely young and
inadequate. He crossed over to his sister awkwardly and kissed
her, and then took Clay's hand, and the three stood together and
looked at one another, and there was no sign of doubt or question
in the face of any one of them. They stood so for some little
time, smiling and exclaiming together, and utterly unconscious of
anything but their own delight and happiness. MacWilliams
watched them, his face puckered into odd wrinkles and his eyes
half-closed. Hope suddenly broke away from the others and turned
toward him with her hands held out.
``Have you nothing to say to me, Mr. MacWilliams?'' she asked.
MacWilliams looked doubtfully at Clay, as though from force of
habit he must ask advice from his chief first, and then took the
hands that she held out to him and shook them up and down. His
usual confidence seemed to have forsaken him, and he stood,
shifting from one foot to the other, smiling and abashed.
``Well, I always said they didn't make them any better than
you,'' he gasped at last. ``I was always telling him that,
wasn't I?'' He nodded energetically at Clay. ``And that's so;
they don't make 'em any better than you.''
He dropped her hands and crossed over to Clay, and stood
surveying him with a smile of wonder and admiration.
``How'd you do it?'' he demanded. ``How did you do it? I
suppose you know,'' he asked sternly, ``that you're not good
enough for Miss Hope? You know that, don't you?''
``Of course I know that,'' said Clay.
MacWilliams walked toward the door and stood in it for a
second, looking back at them over his shoulder. ``They don't
make them any better than that,'' he reiterated gravely, and
disappeared in the direction of the horses, shaking his head and
muttering his astonishment and delight.
``Please give me some money,'' Hope said to Clay. ``All the
money you have,'' she added, smiling at her presumption of
authority over him, ``and you, too, Ted.'' The men emptied their
pockets, and Hope poured the mass of silver into the hands of the
women, who gazed at it uncomprehendingly.
``Thank you for your trouble and your good supper,'' Hope said in
Spanish, ``and may no evil come to your house.''
The woman and her daughters followed her to the carriage, bowing
and uttering good wishes in the extravagant metaphor of their
country; and as they drove away, Hope waved her hand to them as
she sank closer against Clay's shoulder.
``The world is full of such kind and gentle souls,'' she said.
In an hour they had regained the main road, and a little later
the stars grew dim and the moonlight faded, and trees and bushes
and rocks began to take substance and to grow into form and
outline. They saw by the cool, gray light of the morning the
familiar hills around the capital, and at a cry from the
boys on the box-seat, they looked ahead and beheld the harbor of
Valencia at their feet, lying as placid and undisturbed as the
water in a bath-tub. As they turned up the hill into the road
that led to the Palms, they saw the sleeping capital like a city
of the dead below them, its white buildings reddened with the
light of the rising sun. From three places in different parts of
the city, thick columns of smoke rose lazily to the sky.
``I had forgotten!'' said Clay; ``they have been having a
revolution here. It seems so long ago.''
By five o'clock they had reached the gate of the Palms, and their
appearance startled the sentry on post into a state of
undisciplined joy. A riderless pony, the one upon which Jose'
had made his escape when the firing began, had crept into the
stable an hour previous, stiff and bruised and weary, and had led
the people at the Palms to fear the worst.
Mr. Langham and his daughter were standing on the veranda as the
horses came galloping up the avenue. They had been awake all the
night, and the face of each was white and drawn with anxiety and
loss of sleep. Mr. Langham caught Hope in his arms and held her
face close to his in silence.
``Where have you been?'' he said at last. ``Why did you
treat me like this? You knew how I would suffer.''
``I could not help it,'' Hope cried. ``I had to go with Madame
Her sister had suffered as acutely as had Mr. Langham himself, as
long as she was in ignorance of Hope's whereabouts. But now that
she saw Hope in the flesh again, she felt a reaction against her
for the anxiety and distress she had caused them.
``My dear Hope,'' she said, ``is every one to be sacrificed for
Madame Alvarez? What possible use could you be to her at such a
time? It was not the time nor the place for a young girl. You
were only another responsibility for the men.''
``Clay seemed willing to accept the responsibility,'' said
Langham, without a smile. ``And, besides,'' he added, ``if Hope
had not been with us we might never have reached home alive.''
But it was only after much earnest protest and many explanations
that Mr. Langham was pacified, and felt assured that his son's
wound was not dangerous, and that his daughter was quite safe.
Miss Langham and himself, he said, had passed a trying night.
There had been much firing in the city, and continual uproar.
The houses of several of the friends of Alvarez had been burned
and sacked. Alvarez himself had been shot as soon as he had
entered the yard of the military prison. It was then given out
that he had committed suicide. Mendoza had not dared to kill
Rojas, because of the feeling of the people toward him, and had
even shown him to the mob from behind the bars of one of the
windows in order to satisfy them that he was still living. The
British Minister had sent to the Palace for the body of Captain
Stuart, and had had it escorted to the Legation, from whence it
would be sent to England. This, as far as Mr. Langham had heard,
was the news of the night just over.
``Two native officers called here for you about midnight, Clay,''
he continued, ``and they are still waiting for you below at your
office. They came from Rojas's troops, who are encamped on the
hills at the other side of the city. They wanted you to join
them with the men from the mines. I told them I did not know
when you would return, and they said they would wait. If you
could have been here last night, it is possible that we might
have done something, but now that it is all over, I am glad that
you saved that woman instead. I should have liked, though, to
have struck one blow at them. But we cannot hope to win against
assassins. The death of young Stuart has hurt me terribly, and
the murder of Alvarez, coming on top of it, has made me wish I
had never heard of nor seen Olancho. I have decided to go
away at once, on the next steamer, and I will take my daughters
with me, and Ted, too. The State Department at Washington can
fight with Mendoza for the mines. You made a good stand, but
they made a better one, and they have beaten us. Mendoza's coup
d'etat has passed into history, and the revolution is at an
On his arrival Clay had at once asked for a cigar, and while Mr.
Langham was speaking he had been biting it between his teeth,
with the serious satisfaction of a man who had been twelve hours
without one. He knocked the ashes from it and considered the
burning end thoughtfully. Then he glanced at Hope as she stood
among the group on the veranda. She was waiting for his reply
and watching him intently. He seemed to be confident that she
would approve of the only course he saw open to him.
``The revolution is not at an end by any means, Mr. Langham,'' he
said at last, simply. ``It has just begun.'' He turned abruptly
and walked away in the direction of the office, and MacWilliams
and Langham stepped off the veranda and followed him as a matter
The soldiers in the army who were known to be faithful to General
Rojas belonged to the Third and Fourth regiments, and numbered
four thousand on paper, and two thousand by count of heads.
When they had seen their leader taken prisoner, and swept off the
parade-ground by Mendoza's cavalry, they had first attempted to
follow in pursuit and recapture him, but the men on horseback had
at once shaken off the men on foot and left them, panting and
breathless, in the dust behind them. So they halted uncertainly
in the road, and their young officers held counsel together.
They first considered the advisability of attacking the military
prison, but decided against doing so, as it would lead, they
feared, whether it proved successful or not, to the murder of
Rojas. It was impossible to return to the city where Mendoza's
First and Second regiments greatly outnumbered them. Having no
leader and no headquarters, the officers marched the men to the
hills above the city and went into camp to await further
Throughout the night they watched the illumination of the city
and of the boats in the harbor below them; they saw the flames
bursting from the homes of the members of Alvarez's Cabinet, and
when the morning broke they beheld the grounds of the Palace
swarming with Mendoza's troops, and the red and white barred flag
of the revolution floating over it. The news of the
assassination of Alvarez and the fact that Rojas had been
spared for fear of the people, had been carried to them early in
the evening, and with this knowledge of their General's safety
hope returned and fresh plans were discussed. By midnight they
had definitely decided that should Mendoza attempt to dislodge
them the next morning, they would make a stand, but that if the
fight went against them, they would fall back along the mountain
roads to the Valencia mines, where they hoped to persuade the
fifteen hundred soldiers there installed to join forces with them
against the new Dictator.
In order to assure themselves of this help, a messenger was
despatched by a circuitous route to the Palms, to ask the aid of
the resident director, and another was sent to the mines to work
upon the feelings of the soldiers themselves. The officer who
had been sent to the Palms to petition Clay for the loan of his
soldier-workmen, had decided to remain until Clay returned, and
another messenger had been sent after him from the camp on the
These two lieutenants greeted Clay with enthusiasm, but he at
once interrupted them, and began plying them with questions as to
where their camp was situated and what roads led from it to the
``Bring your men at once to this end of our railroad,'' he
said. ``It is still early, and the revolutionists will sleep
late. They are drugged with liquor and worn out with excitement,
and whatever may have been their intentions toward you last
night, they will be late in putting them into practice this
morning. I will telegraph Kirkland to come up at once with all
of his soldiers and with his three hundred Irishmen. Allowing
him a half-hour to collect them and to get his flat cars
together, and another half-hour in which to make the run, he
should be here by half-past six--and that's quick mobilization.
You ride back now and march your men here at a double-quick.
With your two thousand we shall have in all three thousand and
eight hundred men. I must have absolute control over my own
troops. Otherwise I shall act independently of you and go into
the city alone with my workmen.''
``That is unnecessary,'' said one of the lieutenants. ``We have
no officers. If you do not command us, there is no one else to
do it. We promise that our men will follow you and give you
every obedience. They have been led by foreigners before, by
young Captain Stuart and Major Fergurson and Colonel Shrevington.
They know how highly General Rojas thinks of you, and they know
that you have led Continental armies in Europe.''
``Well, don't tell them I haven't until this is over,'' said
Clay. ``Now, ride hard, gentlemen, and bring your men here as
quickly as possible.''
The lieutenants thanked him effusively and galloped away, radiant
at the success of their mission, and Clay entered the office
where MacWilliams was telegraphing his orders to Kirkland. He
seated himself beside the instrument, and from time to time
answered the questions Kirkland sent back to him over the wire,
and in the intervals of silence thought of Hope. It was the
first time he had gone into action feeling the touch of a woman's
hand upon his sleeve, and he was fearful lest she might think he
had considered her too lightly.
He took a piece of paper from the table and wrote a few lines
upon it, and then rewrote them several times. The message he
finally sent to her was this: ``I am sure you understand, and
that you would not have me give up beaten now, when what we do
to-day may set us right again. I know better than any one else
in the world can know, what I run the risk of losing, but you
would not have that fear stop me from going on with what we have
been struggling for so long. I cannot come back to see you
before we start, but I know your heart is with me. With great
love, Robert Clay.''
He gave the note to his servant, and the answer was brought
to him almost immediately. Hope had not rewritten her message:
``I love you because you are the sort of man you are, and had you
given up as father wished you to do, or on my account, you would
have been some one else, and I would have had to begin over again
to learn to love you for some different reasons. I know that you
will come back to me bringing your sheaves with you. Nothing can
happen to you now. Hope.''
He had never received a line from her before, and he read and
reread this with a sense of such pride and happiness in his face
that MacWilliams smiled covertly and bent his eyes upon his
instrument. Clay went back into his room and kissed the page of
paper gently, flushing like a boy as he did so, and then folding
it carefully, he put it away beneath his jacket. He glanced
about him guiltily, although he was quite alone, and taking out
his watch, pried it open and looked down into the face of the
photograph that had smiled up at him from it for so many years.
He thought how unlike it was to Alice Langham as he knew her. He
judged that it must have been taken when she was very young, at
the age Hope was then, before the little world she lived in had
crippled and narrowed her and marked her for its own. He
remembered what she had said to him the first night he had
seen her. ``That is the picture of the girl who ceased to exist
four years ago, and whom you have never met.'' He wondered if
she had ever existed.
``It looks more like Hope than her sister,'' he mused. ``It
looks very much like Hope.'' He decided that he would let it
remain where it was until Hope gave him a better one; and smiling
slightly he snapped the lid fast, as though he were closing a
door on the face of Alice Langham and locking it forever.
Kirkland was in the cab of the locomotive that brought the
soldiers from the mine. He stopped the first car in front of the
freight station until the workmen had filed out and formed into a
double line on the platform. Then he moved the train forward the
length of that car, and those in the one following were mustered
out in a similar manner. As the cars continued to come in, the
men at the head of the double line passed on through the freight
station and on up the road to the city in an unbroken column.
There was no confusion, no crowding, and no haste.
When the last car had been emptied, Clay rode down the line and
appointed a foreman to take charge of each company, stationing
his engineers and the Irish-Americans in the van. It looked more
like a mob than a regiment. None of the men were in
uniform, and the native soldiers were barefoot. But they showed
a winning spirit, and stood in as orderly an array as though they
were drawn up in line to receive their month's wages. The
Americans in front of the column were humorously disposed, and
inclined to consider the whole affair as a pleasant outing. They
had been placed in front, not because they were better shots than
the natives, but because every South American thinks that every
citizen of the United States is a master either of the rifle or
the revolver, and Clay was counting on this superstition. His
assistant engineers and foremen hailed him as he rode on up and
down the line with good-natured cheers, and asked him when they
were to get their commissions, and if it were true that they were
all captains, or only colonels, as they were at home.
They had been waiting for a half-hour, when there was the sound
of horses' hoofs on the road, and the even beat of men's feet,
and the advance guard of the Third and Fourth regiments came
toward them at a quickstep. The men were still in the full-dress
uniforms they had worn at the review the day before, and in
comparison with the soldier-workmen and the Americans in flannel
shirts, they presented so martial a showing that they were
welcomed with tumultuous cheers. Clay threw them into a double
line on one side of the road, down the length of which his
own marched until they had reached the end of it nearest to the
city, when they took up their position in a close formation, and
the native regiments fell in behind them. Clay selected twenty
of the best shots from among the engineers and sent them on ahead
as a skirmish line. They were ordered to fall back at once if
they saw any sign of the enemy. In this order the column of four
thousand men started for the city.
It was a little after seven when they advanced. and the air was
mild and peaceful. Men and women came crowding to the doors and
windows of the huts as they passed, and stood watching them in
silence, not knowing to which party the small army might belong.
In order to enlighten them, Clay shouted, ``Viva Rojas.'' And
his men took it up, and the people answered gladly.
They had reached the closely built portion of the city when the
skirmish line came running back to say that it had been met by a
detachment of Mendoza's cavalry, who had galloped away as soon as
they saw them. There was then no longer any doubt that the fact
of their coming was known at the Palace, and Clay halted his men
in a bare plaza and divided them into three columns. Three
streets ran parallel with one another from this plaza to the
heart of the city, and opened directly upon the garden of
the Palace where Mendoza had fortified himself. Clay directed
the columns to advance up these streets, keeping the head of each
column in touch with the other two. At the word they were to
pour down the side streets and rally to each other's assistance.