Gomez's Yankee scout or, The blow that told for Cuba

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Gomez's Yankee scout or, The blow that told for Cuba
Series Title:
Starry flag weekly
Wells, Douglas
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New York
Street & Smith
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1 online resource (32 p.) 26 cm.: ;


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Dime novels. ( lcsh )
Spanish-American War, 1898 -- Fiction ( lcsh )
serial ( sobekcm )

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University of South Florida
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University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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025604933 ( ALEPH )
71125977 ( OCLC )
S52-00003 ( USFLDC DOI )
s52.3 ( USFLDC Handle )

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Dime Novel Collection
Starry Flag Weekly

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$+' n,1 .l We exchange all kinds of 2nd-hanc.I P\Jblic Bo7k_ s .and the large:.t of fJaper-covered n .ovels IJl the city ... Starry Flag Weekly Imte

, / 2 STARRY FLAG WEEKLY. proviuce, had finally decided that to cap-He had been a clerk to an American ture the forts at La Puncha would cost planter. Unable to get away from more Cuban lives than the forts would be Havana on the. ninth of April, the last worth. day of General Lee's famous American Nevertheless, it was exasperating to exodus, Hal had been left behind, had haYe a Spanish stronghold in the centre fallen in to the hands of the Spaniards, of a district througT1 which the Cuban and had been especially persecuted by a army maneuvered. Spanish merchant, Senor Vasquez. As a final resort, Betancourt had re-Escaping all the snares of this murder-solved npon starving out the garrison. ous Spaniard, through the assistance of Henceforth, all attempts to get sup-a young Cub.1u, Jna Ramirez, Hai had plies from Havana to La Pnncha had accompanied his new-found comrade out been frrn;trated by the Cuban soldiers. into the "long grass," where they had Instead of going to La Puncha, the volunteered with the Cuban. troops. supplies invariably went into Cuban Acts of valor, folly described in a pre-camps. ceding narrative, ha d won for Hal May-As a result, the men at La Puncha nard hearty recognition in the shape of were on very short iations. a sergeant's rank. Ramirez, who was no In less than another week tl1ey would less heroic, had been made a corporal. be suffering pangs of starvation, unThe two were now inseparable, even in less food were got through to them. battle. This food was now on its way through. Hence they were together no on this Until night, tI1e wa _gon train had halted scouting at Cautaleva, some fffteen miles away. "Senor Hal,'' suggested Juan, impa-From Cantaleva to La. Puncha was tiently, ''shall we not go further down twenty miles; the spot at which our two the road? The Spaniards are slow in young scouts lrnd stationed themselves coming. If we ride nearer to Cantaleva, was barely six miles away from La we shall know the sooner of their com-Puncha. ing." Colonel Ragado had under his com"I see only one objection," replied mand some hundred and twenty Cuban Hal. infantry, and, in addition, eighty cavalry"And that?' under Major Alvaredo. ((Om orders.,, On the other hand, the battalion conld ((\Ve were to to go out a mt e or so voying the food train was reported to be 011 the road.', six hundred strong. "And we are fully a mile now away Desperate chances these were for the from the major." Cubans-to attack three times their num-ber, but it was just the kind of battle that "But we were not told to keep exactly to the mile." the Cubans had delighted to wage through three years of hard, heroic fight"I thi_ nk, Juan, our orders were sufficiently plain. My hot-blooded friend, mg. Now to return to the two scouts. you must learn to control yonr imThe slightly taller one, who wore a patience." sergeant's chevrons, was an American, "It is hard," sighed Ramirez. ''I Hal Maynard. would fight all the time, 'et I am told to BEST NAVAL STORIES FOR BOYS-TRUE BLUE.


I I . STARIW FLAG WEEKLY. 3 sit on nothing, with my 1iands ever :in my pockets!" Hal's low laugh broke in on his comrade's plai11 t. "Try to keep cool, Juan. For my part, I believe that w11en to-aay's fight opens we shall have plenty of outlet for onr excitement." .. "And meantime," grunted the Cuban disconsolately, "we must remain 11ere Eke two puppies tied to a post!" "Oh, come, now!" protested Hal. "It would be both more gracious and more trut11ful to liken 11s to two watchdogs that are determined not to wander from t11eir trust.'' "You are always cool, and always right," sighed Ramirez, half envionsly. Hal smiled, but said nothing, while Ramirez, able to keep still in only one way, lay down upon the grounil with one ear pressed close against the earth. ''Do you hear anything now?'' Hal. "Mi amigo (my friend), rest assured that when I do I shall not lose a second in telling you." Hal nodded smilingly, and sat with his back agaiust a tree trnnk 'watching his comrade. Between fatigue, broken rest and the soothing night air, Hal soon closed his eyes without meaning to. Ramirez had 110 thought of sleep. To his fiery nature, under the circnmstatl(.:es, sleep would have been an im possibility. No sound broke the night's stillues.s. Even the ponies, as if accustomed to the stealthy ways of their riaers, utteted no w In 11 ;1 ies. An hour went by, the darkness melt ing slowly into the first light of dawn. Hal speaking no word, Ramirez re mainecl silent, listening with his ear ever to the ground. At length the Cuban caught the sound for which he listened-or thought 11e did. Without raising his head, he whispered: "Senor Hal!" No answer. "Senor Hal," whisperect Juan once more, and a trifle louder. "Pou!" came the sleeper's light breath. Ramirez rose and turned swiftly. 1 "Senor Hal!" he repeated, ana gave the young sergeant's foot a gentle shove. "Eh?'' gruuted Hal, awaking witb a start. "The enemy--" I "Coming?" "l think so." Upon his feet with a rush, Hal clasped the trunk of the tree in his arms. Up he went, and up, until he reached the branches. Now l.iis progress was more swift. Close behind him came the Cuban. It was almost broacl daylight now. There was full light eno11gh to see anything within the range of vision. "There]" i ndicated Hal", pointing be tween the branches. Somewhat obstructed though their view was, they were able to make oi.1t the fig ures of advancing men. "Mere pacificos," grunted Juan, in disgust. "Very well armed, for pacificos," 111 ut tered Hal, whose eyes were keener. "True; they have guns," admitted Ramirez, after a close scrutiny. where is the wagon train we Jieard of? Have we waited all night to see only t!iis handful of vagabonds of Spanish soldiers?" "It must be an advance guard-a. scouting party," mused Hal. "Those fel lows are a half a mile away, do you not say so? We can safely wait here, since the road winds, until they have covered half of the clistance." "If there are no more than those twe11Are You a Patriotic Boy? Read True Blue.


4 STAHRY FLAG WEKLY. ty," snapped Juan, his eyes gleaming, "we can wait and give them battle here among the trees." "Your mind is always running on fight -a fight iv which you .wouldn't have a ghost of a chance,'' smiled Maynard, but there' was a grimness in his smile which showed his words were by no means 114eant for ridicule. "Well, could we not fight them, mi amigo?'' demanded Ramirez, argu\llentatively. "Wait," was all the answer Hal made. In the tropics the sun rises quickly. It was up by the time that the score of advancing Spanish soldiers were within a quarter of a mile. "There!" cried Hal, suddenly, "what do you say to that?'' As Juan pushed a11ide a sprig of leaves that hindered his view, h.e uttered a cry of delight. Away back at the spot where they had first seen the Spanish handful the sttn now glinted on the rifles of a large body of men. "That's the battalion," uttered Hal. ''Yes, I see the wagons.'' the food train and its convoy." "Jupiter! but that advance guard must be made up of brave fellows. They are marching, a mere handful, into certain death in the enemy's country, in order that the death-shots sent against them warn the convoy and put it upon its guard." "That food train shall soon be ours." "Don't boast, uld man." "Who boasts? Do I not fight better than I brag?" Juan, looking offended. "You surely do, old fellow. But let us use our eyes to see how many men there are with the convoy." It required some time to do this, for a battalion of men in marchiug order make a long line. Meanwhile, the Spanish advance guard was slowly but surely approaching them along the winding road. "Fully six hundred soldiers and twelve wagons. Is it not so?" breathed Hal. "You are right, mi amigo." "Now let us hustle out of this on the double-quick," proposed Hal. "It wouldn't"' do to have the advance guard catch us here." As he spoke, Maynard dropped from the lowest limb to the ground. But Juan, who disagreed with his comrade's last remark, hesitated,. perched on the same limb. "You do not want the advance guard to catch us?" he quivered. "Now, mi amigo, I am not so certain that it would not be highly desirable." Now, when Juan Ramirez got such .A1 idea in his head, he was likely to prove stubborn. CHAPTER II. A CUBAN AMBUSH. "Corne down," called Hal. "I am no't so sure, mi amigo." "Do you want the advance guard to catch up with us?" "I assure that it would suit me to per fection. '' "And spoil Colonel Ragado'scl1ance of ambuscading the foe?" "If he hears our shots," meditated Juan, wickedly, "he will charge for ward." "And cost the lives of more Cubans than are otherwise needed to accomplish to-day's work.'' But still Ramirez hesitated. He could never be made to see the necessity of run ning from Spaniards. "Come do'Wn," ordered Hal. "I com, mand it." TRUE BLUE-THE LATEST PATIUOTIC NAVAL WEEKLY FOR BOYS.


STARRY FLA.G WEEKLY. 5 cavalrymen to dismount, but they Erocee

6 STARRY FLAG WEEKLY. Bo the two columns continued going in opposite directions-the Spanish infantry to the eastward, the Cuban cavalry to the westward. Crash! A quick, crackling volley rang out, followed by a louder bang. The Spnish convoy had walked into the ambuscade. Now a startling change came over Al varedo's men, up to this moment so many moving sphinxes. Alvaredo's machete flew upward, flash ing back a signal. All along the line that signal was repeated. Men vaulted into their saddles, at the same time swingin g their machetes as if warming up those blades for the furious work to come. Up by the ambuscade furious volleys were beiug fired by Cuban and Spaniard. Over all came a babel of voices, Span ish shout and Cuban battle yell addiug to the din of carnage. "Viva Cuba Libre!" roared Alverado, in his deep, powerful voice, bringing from eighty lusty throats the tumultuous echo: "Cuba libre Cuba libre !" There was no order given to charge. It was not needed. Alverado set spurs to his horse and plunged for the road, followed by the close ranks of his command. On the flank of .the frout rode Hal Maynard. Just behind him came Juan Ramirez. Into the road they struck and wheeled. Just ahead of them was the rear of the Spanish column. Yell answered yell as foes faced each other. There was a line of flashes, a roaring crash, and several Cuban saddles were empty. Rising in his stirrups, facing about, Alvaredo shouted: "Al machete!" "Al machete!" came the grim re sponse from his adoring followers. Wherever that cry was heard in Cuba it meant that Spaniards were to be put to the sword. It meant. battle without quarter, in which the Cubans, closing at arm's length with the Spaniards, slew the latter as fast as they could wield their keen -whetted machetes. Squarely in the faces of the charging horsemen came a second volley. So close was the range that a dozen Cubans perished. Hal Maynard felt the whizz of bullets all around him. Though he

I ST ARHY FLAG WEEKLY: 7 Other riders made the same effort, but n varn. The hollow square was invu1erable to a charge. Several of the foremost Cubans un-lung their carbines, or reached for their revolvers. j "No firing," spoke up Hal, "until the frder is given." I Other officers repeated the order. Am Ftmition was too scarce to use it when tot needed. "A bont face, charge!" roared Major Alvaredo. In an instant the C11ban horsemen I ere in full retreat. Yelling themselves hoarse, the Spanish oldiers rose to pour a volley after the upposed fugitives. A mistake it proved to to be, for once 10re wheeling the cavalry rode back to he attack. Crack! crack! crack! The volley came, but, taken by surprise, the Spanish im was poor, while the Cubans, riding t full length upon their horses' backs, scaped almost unscathed. Down they thundered upon the in fantry, their horses' hoofs making a noise hat deadened the sounds of command. Straight forward they rode, at full mo entum, apparently destined, this time, o sweep the foe before them. Vet equally swift the Spanish proved to Like lightning their hollow square was eformed, bringing the abatis of bayonets o the fore just as the rushing horses eached them. In vain the Cubans, swinging their nachetes, strove to urge their horses gainst that wall of steel. Falling back upon their haunches, the animals flatly balketl. steel, lowered its head, at the same in stant tossing its hind heels in the air. It was a "buck" of the classic broncho kind-a buck totally unlooked for by our hero. Hal rose involuntarily out of his sad dle, described an upward curve as if shot from a bow, and lunged over the fringe of bayonets. Up over the heads of the hollow square he flew, then plunged head first to the earth. He-alone-was inside the Spanish lines! CHAPTER III. "SAVE WHO CAN." "This settles me!" Hal grated the remark aloud as he found himself in mid-air. He struck the ground heavily. "There's some fight left in me," he muttered, as he sprang to his feet. He was surprised that lie had not already heen shot. This most certainly would have been his fate had not the Spanish soldiers been taken by surprise as he was himself. For a moment each soldier thought it some one else's business to settle with the American. They were being attacked from in front. All" depended on keeping their hollow square formation unbroken. To that fact our hero owed his. second of co .ntinued life. "Hert!'s a big chance," gasped the boy. His machete, being fastened to his wrist by a thong, had not got beyond his grasp. Taking swift but firm hold of the hilt, he swung it over his head. Swish : Down it came, with cleaving All except Hal Maynard's mount. force. 'I'hat brute, made frantic by the sight of Squarely across a soldier's head it A Naval Cadet's Torpedo Boat Command." See True Blue /


, 8 STARin FLAG WEEKL.Y. landed, just as that unfortunate wretch wheeled about. Like a clod the man with the split head fell to the ground. Eut the follow's comrade had turned. Instantly he tried to level his rifle at Hal Maynard. But the boy's machete rose, slashing the second soldier across the abdomen. Crash! Down came the blade, ajmost severing a third soldier's head his shoulders. Swish! Seemingly part of the same motion the machete whizzed upward, and a fourth soldier was out of the fight. It was all accomplished in two or three seconds, so swiftly can the terrible weapon be wielded. "Bueno muchahco!" (good boy!) roared the delighted Alvaredo. Calling to his me1i to follow him, the major rode through the gap made by the loss of four men from the line. Wheeling as he rode through, worked havoc with his machete, sending, three foes quickly to the ground. The square was broken-utterly de molished. It would have been worse than folly for the Spaniards to attern pt longer to keep their formation. Cubans had ridden into the centre-were hacking right and left. "Save who can!" shouted one soldier. It became the battle cry of rout. Now Alvaredoa's horsemen, making their machetes ply about them like avenging lightning, repaid with interest the deaths of their own comrades at the beginning of the fight. Those of Spain's soldiers who could fell l;iack upon the main body of the battalion. But here the work of death was busy, too, for Ragado's men, mostly concealed in the were doing splendid work for Cuba. Massing about the food train, Spain's soldiers prepared for a lqst desperate stand. Alverado's cavalry, dividing into small squads, harassed them on all sides. One. of these squads, of a dozen men, was led by Hal Maynard. Everywhere was hand-to-hand fightin g. Shots rang out, but no longer in ''olleys. Most of the combatants relied upon steel, fighting with desperation on both sides. "Cut your way straight through them, boys!" shouted Hal, leading the way, and plying fearful strokes on either side with his machete. Here was where the Spaniards payed their trump card. In one of the wagons was a Maxim gun. Remembering it, one of the officers suddenly sprang up on the wagon, jerked the machine gun to the ground, and fired the first shot. This formidable weapon was as devastating as a pair of Gatlings. Its succession of reports came faster than they could be counted. Its hail of bullets tore through the Cuban ranks, striking men and hor5es alike Such a weapon, if used to the best ad vantage, is capable of decimating a regiment in a minute or two. "Tht!y'll win the day, if they're al lowed to keep using that thihg," ttashecl Hal. His dozen brave Cubans were behind him Turning, Maynard waved his machete, pointing to the gun that was spitting ou bullets faster than human mind could count. "Muchachos," roared that!" A yell, ready as it greeted his demand. Wheeling their horses close togeth wielding their glistening A NAVAL CADET l:JNDER FIRE-SEE TRUE BLUE. I


.-THE -.. -'"Ir, --E T 071 L i \ I h We exchanae au klnds o f 2nd-hand School Bo:>tts. aacl .._ lat_. tock of ,.aper-covered novels ift U.. c-.. STARRY FLAG WEEKLY. i some huge human reaper, the;r rushed to "Save who can!" once more shouted the attack-:-Spain's harrassed soldiers. "Do or die!" cheered Hal. Hal sprang to his saddle, but sat there First on one side oChis horse and 'then motionless. Past him surged on the other flew his matchete. horsemen, pursuing the Spanish survivors Backed by his few comrades, with Juan along road to Cautaleva. Ramirez by his side, Hal marked a swath After the cavalry came Ragado's foot-of death through the opposing Spaniards. s 9 ldiers, eager to join in the pursuit. Had they possessed the presence of Back through the throng rode Ramirez, mind to fire they might have annihilated seeking some one. this desperate handful at arm's. length, As soon as his eyes rested on Hal, sit-but Spain's soldiers, becoming rattled, ting motionless in saddle, Cuban resorted to steel. cried: This was where the Cubans, armed with their fearful machetes, and mounted into "How it, mi amigo, that you do not join in the chase? I missed you and came the bargain, had the advanntage. back to see if you had been killed. I "At 'em-a last rush! The gun's thank Heaven that you are not." ours!" Hal. For the moment he was transformed to "I feel as if I had earned a rest," a fury. panted Hal. "Besiges, I've no notion to Certain it was that the Spaniards feared J>Ursue and cut down men who are runhim, for they fell back as though seek-ning for life." ing escape from a cyclone. "Yet all who throw down their One, two, three, four men now stood weapons and submit are spared," de. between our hero and the death-dealiug dared Juan, opening his eyes very wide. Maxim. "True; but how many surrender?" Down they went, one after the other. "Few, I admit," laughed the Cuban. Uttering a frantic cheer, Maynard grimly. "We Cubans and Spaniards hate sprang from bis horse, reaching, in that each other with'so cordial a hate that we same leap, the breech of the gun. even surrender to save our lives. Around he swung it, training it upon But ride after our fellows, mi amigo.'' _the. massed Spaniards just ahead. "None for me, thank you," Hal re-At the same time, Ramirez and his sponded. other ranged themselves on Juan hesitated, for an instant, then reeither side of the piece, resolved to die joined coolly: rather than permit its recapture. "If you go not, neither do I." "Al machete!" rose the cry, once "Here are twelve fine wagQn loads of more. food," commented Hal, pointir.g his Hardly had the Maxim gun fired its machete to the abandoned wagon train. last cartridge, when Ragado led his men "Surely, at le:;ist two should guard it." out of the woods, falling like furies upon "You are right, mi amigo. Besides, the demoralized survivors of the bat-we have forgotten something. The adtaiion. vance guard, which got through. Hear-'' They run!" screamed Juan Ramirez, ing the firing, they may return. If so, in ecstasy. we shall be well occupied, fighting twenty It was rout indeed. men." BEST NAVAL STORIES FOR BOYS-TRUE BLUE.


' .. 10 STARRY FLAG WEEKLY. Juan spoke so seriously and yet modestly, that Hal could not help laughing. So insatiab1e for fighting was this Cuban that he never appeared to any odds too great. Yet they had not long to wait before both Ragado and Alvaredo returned, for the food train was far too precious a prize to be risked. Then began the work of sorting the wounded from the dead. This accomplished, and the former provided with couches in the wagons, a start was made. "Sergeant," cried Ragado, riding up, "when we go into camp to-night I shall have many to praise for bravery. But this mnch I will say now: For your splendid fighting, you shall be rewa1ded with the command of the advance guard. Major Alvaredo will allow you twelve troopers. Hasten forward, and use all vigilance." A strange reward? For in warfare where ambuscades\ prevail it is often the fate of the advance guard to be wiped man of so distinguished appearance that our hero turned to Rami.:.-ez. "I do not know who he is," answered Jua n. "It is General Bdancourt," murmured a soldier near them. Gtneral Betancourt; one of Gomez's most distiguished officers, commanded the insurgents in Matanzas province. Both Ragado and Alvaredo hurried to meet the distinguished visitor. The trio withdrew, conversing earnestly in whispers for a few minutes. Then they called an orderly, spoke to him, and that worthy came running to where Hal lay. "General Betancourt sends for you," stated the orderly. "I?" repeared Hal. "And Corpcnal Ramirez, also." "I?" echoed J nan. CHAPTER IV. ON A MISSION FOR GOMEZ. entirely out. a twinkling, Maynard was on his Bnt such are the prizes drawn in the feet. game of war. Blushing like a school-girl, Hal stam "Colonel, yo11 overrate what I did." "Ride forward, sir," came the crisp answer . "I am pleased with you." Off at right angles with the road to La Puncha moved the victorious column, never halting until ten miles had been covered. Quickly as could be he brushed some of the dirt out of his clothing. Ramirez did the same. Then, trying to look 1111. conscions, they marched side by sicie to where the three officers stood con versing. Betancourt turned with a smile that warmed Hal's heart. "So! An American volunteer?" he cried. Here, through the heat of noon-day, "Yes, general." the victors halted. "And a brae one, too." Hal, not being on guard duty, now "As to that, I cannot say, general." threw himself under the trees, reveling "You have no need to. Yonr colonel in the coolness of the grass. and your major have said enough to make Two horsemen dashed into camp. me admire you." They were couriers, evidently, for soon Then, as if fearing that Juan wonl

STARRY WEEKLY, 11 "A worthy comrade for Sergeant Maynard." -.,..liat is great praise, general," glowed loyal Juan. "You are a great admirer of Sergeant Maynard?'' "My general," replied Juan, saluting, "there may be many in the army as brave, but none, in n1y belief, who are cooler.'' "It is true," spoke up Major Alvaredo, gravely. "I am glad to hear it," responded the gen er. al. n Sergeant, and you, too, cor poral, your officers have praised both of you. That was why I sent for you. I have work for two young, brave, cool, ac tive men to do. They must be also young n1en of impeachable loya1ty. Are you ready to take upon yourselves the most dangerous mission to which I can assign you?'' "Yes, general. "Yes, my general." From each the answer came without an instant's hesitation. ''I warn you that you must go among the enemy." "We ha\e been there before, geueral," replied Hal. "But on this mission you will have very little chance to fight, even should you find yourselves in danger. Besides, the risk of yourselves is not the greatest risk 1ou run. It is the risk of failure that troubles me." As he spoke, General Betancourt stud ied narrowly the faces of both young men. "As to success, general," replied Hal, promptly, "we can gaurantee nothing. Only Heaven could do that." "You have spoken wisely," replied Betancourt, smiling again. "I am in clined to trust you." Both saluteil, and stood at attention. "The mission," went on the general "if performed, will be performed for Gomez. It is at his order that I send you. You will remember that you are com missioned by the general of the Cuban forces." "We will rem em her tJiat general." "And if you fail--" "We will notify you, if possible, bnt you will never again see the faces of either of us." Hal spoke with deep feeling. "You will go first, then," resumed General Betancourt, "to Havana. As to how you are to get into the city without being captured, you yourselves must find the way. "You will deliver this sealed letter, the contents of which you will know nothing, to the address on the envelope. It is addressed, as you will see, to a Senor Galvez, who is a loyal Cuban. "Senor Galvez will give you the address of two pilots, who live near Havana. The government of the great and glorious United States is about to begin war in our behalf against Spain." Though they had endeavored to listen without interruption, it was impossible for either Hal or Juau to repress cries of JOY at this news, which they heard for the first time. '"The United States government has not yet acted,'' went 011 Betancourt. "But within a few days it will These two pilots, who are experienced, must find a way to put off in a small boat and go to Key West. You are to go with them, both to help them, in case of troub1e, and in order to place in the hands of our Cuban representative at Key West a letter which will be for warded to Brigadier Generals Nunez and Castillo, who are now in the United States. Here is the letter." Hal also received this. epistle. TRUE BLUE-The Latest Patriotic Naval .weekly for Boys.


12 STARRY FLAG WEEKLY. "And here," continued General Betan court, produciJ1g two more sealed envel opes, are duplicates of tl:e same letters. Corporal Ramirez, you will take the duplicates. "Now, pay particular heed to my ,further instructions. I am sending you two together for a special reason. It is that if anything happens to either, the other will have a chance left to get through. The one who finds himself in danger of captt1re by the Spanish will at once utterly destroy the correspondence in his possession. You are corr.rad es?" "More so than brothers would be, gen eral," replied Juan Ramirez, slipping his hand through Hal's arm. ''Then here comes the hardest part of my instruct-ions. Should yo u find your selves in danger, neither will delay, even to save the life of the other. At the expense of abandoning one another, you will carry the mission through to suecess. '' Hal and Juan ]ooked deeply into each other's eves, then turned to salute the general. ,. "Cuba first, general," replied both. A tea r glistened in Betancourt's eye, for the bravest men are apt to be the most emotional. "Colonel have you writing paper and pen and ink?'' "Yes, my general." the way, then. Gentlemen, will start, as soon as you can get into clothes which bear no resemblance to uniforms." In three minntes both youths were 111 different attire. "Go, and God bless and prosper you, gentlemen," cried Betancourt, em brac ing them. With parting salutes, Hal and Jua.n sprang horses. Six them. into the saddles of waiting cavalry privates accompanied Our friends had instructions to ride at a gallop as far as they could safely go on horseback, sending back their mo1111ts with their escort as soon as they decided to take to their feet. Both rode off in highest spirits. No wo:ck could be more dangerous than theirs, as they knew, but soldiers feel an elation in peril that leads to great re sults. By four in the afternoon they were within fifteen miles of Havana. "It is time to leave our horses," sug gested J Uan. "Yes," agreed Hal. Reining up, they sprang to the ground, transferring the bridles to two of the troopers. Acknowledging the salute of the troop ers, both boys plunged ahead through the woods, keeping, howey_er, close to the road. wait." "You are the guide," whispered Hal. In five minntes Betancourt came back. "Yon know the way; I do not." "Gentlemen," he began, holding ont "I know the way," nodded Ramirez. a paper to each, "when you reach the "I wish I also knew the way to pass the United States fleet, you will want to be guards into Havana at ten o'clock to received by the officers on a footing of night." equality. Here are your commissions as "We have hours to thi11k out onr lien tenants. They are provisional, of plan.'' course, on Ge11eral Gomez's approval, Then, in silence, they tramped along but I have 110 hesitation in assuring you for five miles. that my act will he approved. Now, you Nestltng in a cleared space away from TRUE BLUE-THE LATEST PATRIOTIC NAVAL WEEKLY FOR BOYS.


-STARRY FLAG WE.l!.KLY. 13 the road was a little hut, a poor, one story affair with a thatched :roof. "I cannot help taking a last look," whispered Ramirez. "' "Your home ?11 queried Hal. "The home of Inez Constancia. My sweetheart. She was driven into Havana, she and per father.' I have not seen them in more than a week. I do not know if they are still alive." "By Jove," murmured Hal, pointing through the bushes to one of the pane less wiudows of the hut, "perhaps you can learn something by inquiring there." "What do you mean?" "I saw the whisk of a garment by the window, just then." "I could not see, through my tears," cried Juan. "Can it be poso;;ible that the hut is desecrated by the presei:ce of Span iards.'' "Unless somethi11g has happened to my eyes," projected Hal, "it was a woman's dress that I saw." "Can it be possible that--" began Juan, eagerly, but broke down. "Mi amigo, do you think that I have a right to go softly to the door?" "I hardly believe I could blame you it you did,'' was Hal's response. Juan was off at once, though .he went as stealthily as a cat . At the door, he bent forward to look m. There was a shout, a scream from within, then Juan vanished from vie.w. "Noching in that, I guess, to worry me," smiled Hal. He waited until Juan, radiant, reap peared in the doorway, waving his hand to beckon. In another moment Hal was before door. "Enter, mi amigo," cried Juan, tremulously. "Inez permits tn6 to invite you to e n ter. Then Hal was presented to a dark eyed, graceful Cuban girl, of whom Juan seemed tremendously proud. Iuez told them quickly how it hap pened that she was 'back in her home. To appease the States, Spain had to allow the reconcentrrdos to retrn into the country. J In most cases this was mere mockery, for, since the country was bare of food, the reconcentrados who left the cities would have merely the opportunity to die more quickly of starvatio11. "But we felt that we must see our home again," said Inez, tearfully. "Father and I came to-day. He is still out now, in the forest, to see if hecan dig some roots that will take the place of food.'' Hal couJd not help noticing with pity how thin Inez was. "If we had not had some of the food which Consul General Lee distributed," she explained, "we should have been dead ere this. B ,ut--11 S11dde11ly Inez in her speech, L ;or eyes growing large with terror. Looking througl1 the window, down the road, she saw a platoon of Spanish soldiers approaching. Her companions saw the sight in the same instant. "We must fly like the wind," falte red Juan, then looked mistily at Inez. 11It is for Cuba," he added, "or we would not leave you.'' "Cuba's women, 11 responded Inez proudly; "urge men to duty." "How can we escape unseen?" dered Hal. Inez pointed to a door at the rear o!: the room. "The woods are but ten feet from 'that door,'' she whispered. "There is a Yankee pig there! For-CLIF FARADAY IN ACTION-READ TRUE BLUE. '


STARRY FLAG WF.EKLY. ward on the double quick!" shouted the officer at the head of the troops. Hal Maynard's eyes blazed with sud den resolve. "Juan," he whispered, "I have been seen. Were I to try to escape, we might' both be caught. If you can get away unseen, you can succeed. Run, t!Jis instant! I must destroy my pap. ers before they are found.'' "The papers!" cried Inez, quickly. "Drop tbem there!" She pulled up a short, loose board in the floor. Hal quickly dropped the papers out of sight. "If the soldiers search?" he queried. "I will set the cabin afire," responded Iuez, with spirit. "It will burn like tinder.'' "You have not gone?" cried turning upon Juan. "Mi amigo," breathed the distressed Cuban, "it would be base to Ieave my comrade in the jaws of death." "It would be baser still to betray Cuba," retorted HaI,.vimfully. 1'In an instant it will be too late for even you to escape. Remember your pledge-for Cuba f" "Cuba first,!) answered Juan, l:rrokenly. Inez threw open the door, whgile Juan stepped tYirongh to the back of the hut. Softly the door closed, and Inez turned to look at Lieutenant Maynard. He stood by the door with folded arms, watching the soldiers who now spread before the front of the house. "For Cuba!" he murlllured, under his breath. ''For dear old Uncle tooL" Second Part. CHAPTER V. FACING THE FIRING SQUAD. Jnze gave a sucldt!n gasp of terror. Spanish soldiers were rusbing toward the rear of the house. But Hal turned to flash a swift look at her. "They will not catch Juan. He is already out of sight in the woocls.'' That was the message of comfort con veyed by a flash of the eyes. In the doorway appeared the figure of a Spanish captaiu. ''He's cold-blooded-not excitable.," was Hal's swift first impression. "Senor," began the captain, nodding, ''you will have some questions to an swer." "I am quite at your service, sir," an swered Hal. His assumption of coolness was a sple11dicl piece of acting. "You are an American." "As you guessed a iew moments ago." "You have no right to be here." "I have the senorita's permission. It is her father's house.'' The Spaniard appeared disappointed. Evide11tly he lrnd expected to put Bal on the defensive. "No Americans, have at1y business ant here in the cot111try," continued the cap tain. As a race, you. are enemies to Spain. It is my d11ty to arrest you." "1 will submit," retorted Hal, cooUy. "Do not attempt to make a virtue of your said the Spaniard, coldly. "You submitbecause you ha. ve no chance to escape. Is it not so?" '' V. es.'' Turning to two of -his men, the cap. commanded: ''Arrest him.'' The soldiers placed themselves on either side of Hal. "Take him out of here," was the next order. Hal was led out of the hu1, and at least a hundred feet away from it. It was five mii111tes later when the cap tain came 011t. "CUF FARADAY UNDER FIRF. "-READ TRUE BWE.


STARRY FLAG WEEKLY. 15 He walked briskly to wl1ere Hal evasio11 wonla be l-int to lead himself into stood. "Now, Senor American.o, I rnnst ques tion you. You are here ou innocent business?'' .'Yes, captain." 'Ttant cap ture. "Senor," he said, coaxingly, "are yon aware that, if you are able to give me information of any value, you wi11 earn, not only my thanks, bnt yom own safety?" At this insimiation, Hal looked the other steadily in the fa-ce, bnt aid not speak. ''Your answer, Senor America no ?11 "I have no such information." "That is your great 111isfortm1e, senor." "You mean, I suppose," projected Hal, "that you win have me sent i11to Havana? That I shall be kept a prisoner?11 "Aud let British Consul Golian add an other to the list of A11)ericans whose re lease l1e has secured?" sneered the captain "I am not so simple. Si_ nce yon re fuse to te11 me as J1111ch as I am certain yon could, I shall dispose of your case at once. Senor, I do not wish to be crne1. If you are a Christian, I grant you five minutes to prepare yourself for death." "Death?" echoed Hal. Then instantly he became cold and hard as marble. "Death, certainly," responded the captain. "I myself impose the ientence; four of my soldiers will execute H CLIF FARADAY IN ACTION-READ TRUE BLUE.


16 STARR)'. FLAG WEEKLY. Senor, while you are praying, you may, if you see fit, say a brief prayer for the soul of Captain Manullo Lucha when it comes his turn to follow you into the next world. Possibly you can pray for the man who declares your life forfeited." "Perhaps you will tell me," proposed Hal, "for what reason I am to be shot?" "Because I am convinced that you are an enemy to Spain. I am doing my duty. But we are intruding upon the five minutes that I would recommend you to de vote to the good of your soul." And Lucha, turning on his heel, walked away. Hal remained standing where he was, but closed his eyes and prayed. It was a soldier's prayer-but fervent. Then, opening his eyes, he approached the captain. "I am reagv, sir!" It was simply, bravely said, but Lucha heard him without emotion. I .Remove your hat and coat, senor. I wilI show you where to kneel while facing the squad." "Your men will shoot straight, I trust. "They are marksmen," was Lucha's cold answer. Hal dropped his hat to the gro1111d, next coolly drew off his jacket and pro ceeded to fold it. Prom the hut came a sob. Tears streaming from her eyes, Inez ran forth, darted tov;ard Captain L11clia, and fell upon his knees before him. "Captain," she cried, wildly, "I be g you not to do this infamous thing." "Senorita, an officer of Spain needs no advice about his duty from Cubans." "But I assure you, senor capitan, that this American has bP.en guilty of no offense against Spain." "Poor child, I don't want her to lie for me," thought Hal, with a choking in his throat. "Rise and go away, senorita," ordered firmly. "This Yankee pig has been offered a chance to save his life, but he refuses to accept the boon of pardon." Inez rose, brushing the tears from her eyes. There was a hard, defiant look in her eyes as she went on, hurriedly: "Captain, if you commit this awful crime, what will become of your own soul when you stand before the Seat of Mercy?'' "I shall give the or

STARRY FLAG WEEKLY. ear by with a cord dangling from one CHAPTER VI. 17 and. In a moment more thatcord was wotted securel y about Hal's wrisb. "Kneel," came the command. All of Hal M aynard's blood seemed 11ddenly turned to i ce. He w a s face t o ce with death at last! Not the death hat a soldier meets while charging g a l ntl y with his comrades i11 the moment f triu'mph; not the d e a th a hero meets hiJe stubbornly :fighting a last forlorn ope It was the death of ignominy-the eath that 1s meted out to spies anrl eserters. It would be false to say th&t he was ot afraid. He was frigid with fear, so rigid that he did not tremble. "Thirty seconds more of courage," lllrmured the boy, inwardly. "Thirty econd s and then--'' Even while thi' s broken thought was assing through his mind he sank to his nees. Outwardly he was calm. No sign of 1is thoughts showed in his face. "A brave man," thought the captain, almly. "What a good soldier he would 1ake for Spain!" The soldiers were lifting their rifles. al watched them. His last qualm of eat was gone now. In these last seconds of life he was as onished to note how closely his resigna ion resembled indi.fference. In that very instant a wild shriek was eard. Inez, watching from the doorway, gain felt forced to run for ward. Agitated as she was, her voice rang and clear: "I have prayed the Virgin," she cried, 'to destroy your aim-to spoil your car ridges, so that they will do no harm.'' you vixen," uttered the cap-m. But Inez, unheeding, ran forward, as intent on casting herself between our. ero and the firing squaEl. "Aim!" came in Captain Lucha's ear, cold tones. Inez threw herself forward, only to be epulsed as the fatefu l word came: "Fire!" INE Z S "MIRACLE.'! f'nap With one sound the hammers of tb e four pieces de s cended. The flash was minus. Noi s e there w a s none. A JI' four pieces had mi s s ed fire. "Ho w, n ow?" d e m a nded C ap t ai n .Luch a angrily "Did you four dolt s fail to load your pieces? One after the other the soldiers open e d their pieces at the breech. Each to o k out a cartridge, stari11g blankly at it. "You see, my captain," replied one o f the men, "my rifle 'Was loaded a s it should have been." "But how could fourpiecesmissfire at It was Inez who supplied the answer: "My prayer was heard. It triumphed. Thus did Heaven interfere to save a n innocent life!" She fell upon her knees in au ec s t asy of thanksgiving. "A miracle!" cried se v eral of the sol diers. Then, for a few moments, a husli of awe fell over the command. Even Captain Lucha looked perturbed. Hal looke

18 STARIVl FLAG WEEKLY. "It wonld be safer, my captain, I believe," replied an old sergeant. "At least," responded their command er, "it wonld be more satisfactory to me if it pleased the heroes who follow me." That diplomatic speech won the men. "We11," said the captain, dubionsly, as he approached our hero, seems that yon are not to be s11ot. We shall 1iave to send you in to Havana, instead." "If yon take him as a prisoner,,, put in,Inez, "some disaster will befall your corn mand. '' ''Ra, you vixen! You prophesy that?'' crie

STARRY E.LAG WEEKLY. 19 '1t is true," admitted Inez, blushing. Ill Maynard had already been su:i:. ed up to the limit. That was why he not now break in to demand how it pened that J nan, instead of being es away, was 110 more than two feet Vhile the dialogue had been goiug on, n remained with only his ht:ad and ulders above the floor. ow he disappeared briefly. When he 1rned to view, it was to observe: 'Your papers, mi amigo. So far we e neither lost our papers, nor been iged to destroy tliem. '' hen, d0rawing himself up, and replacthe board, Ramirez rattled on: 'Yon are curious to know 11ow it is t I am here, instead of nearer to vana. '' 'Guilty," acknowledged HaL 'Well, then," resumed Juan, "when door closed, I became fiIIed with mis irrgs that I could not reach the woods bout being seen by some of t!re sol rs. If that happened, they were likely fire upon me before r could dispose of papers. What was I to do? In m:r dicamerrt I looked aronnd me. Down ny feet I noticed a bit of board that been kicked off. There was room to wl under the floor of the cabin. ere,' thought 1, 'is an excellent hiding ce foj. both myself and my papers.' I wled in without more ado.'' with. The powder fo each had been with drawn, but the bullets replaced. "Dowir below there in the semi-dark I made fingers fly with pencil and paper. Just as I had finished, I I?eard this dear girl's step on the floor. As she came nearer, I hissed, s11oved the paper up. Inez did tbe rest.'' "TJiat writing," put in Inez, "told me what to say about praying that their car tridges would prove worthless. I did as you asked, did I not, my Juan. n "You did, and more," laughed her lover. "Well did I know the dear girl's devout nature. As soon as the cartridges missed fire, she to believe that Heaven had worked a miracle in your be half, mi amigo. But how about the in spired prophetess, carissima? How abou t the Joan uf Arc?" "Now yoll are laughing at me," re monstrated the girl. "Not I," answered Juan, instantly returning to seriousness. "All came out about as 1 had hoped. Yonr devoutness, combined with the seeming miracle, filled the soldiers with sucI1 awe that--" Juan shrugge

I I 20 STARRY FLAG WEEKLY. drawn up in line. The spot was so near the outer line.of sentinels that the soldiers escorting the wagons had gone into the inn to drink a few bottles of wine for which they would not pay. "Wagons loaded with grass. In .tended for the cavalry horses of Havana no don bt," conjectured Ramirez. "Headed for the city, too." Ascertaining this much, both stole up to the wagons. There was little difficulty in burrowing themselves under the grass. Before long the horses were started. Without even an alarm of possible dis covery they reached Havana in this fash ion. There the wagons were left in a square, near one of the barracks. There being no danger that the starving people of Havana would attempt to eat the grass, the three wagons were left standing there, while the guard tramped off to its rest. Juan was first to crawl out and step to the ground. "The way is clear, mi amigo," he whispered. "And now to find the house of Senor Galvez." CHAPTER VII. HAVANA'S REIGN OF TERROR. There was no need to look at the ad dress written on the duplicate envelopes. Both knew it by heart: In addition, Ramirez knew the city like a guide book. ''It is only a question of getting along. the streets, at this late hour, without fall in g into tne hands of .the patrol,'' he whispered. Fortunately, they had not far to go. Twice on the JNay they were compelled to hide in doorways, and both times they narrowly escaped being discovered; but at the end of fifteen minutes they stood before Senor Galvez's house. "If we make any racket arousmg him," comme11ted Hal, dryly, "we shall have had all our pains so far for nothing. The streets seem fairly alive with patrols." "We shall make no noise," responded Juan. "Fortunately, our man has an electric bell to his door.'' They pressed the button, and waited Presently, they pressed it again. After what seemed an age, the doo opened an ]nch or two. "What do you want?" demanded vo1ce. "To see Senor Galvez." "Who are yon?" and the door was almost closed before Juan could whisper: "Viva Cuba libre !" Thereupon the door would have flosed altogether had not Juan already suc ceeded in getting the toe of his boot into the crack. "Would yon like to hear from Genera Gomez?" propounded Juan. This question had the effect of causing the door to open some six inches. Both youths saw an anxious face-the face of a man 9f forty-five. ".Who f.lre you?" muttered this man agarn. "Two officers from the Cuban army." The door opened a little more, though the man still continued to block the way. "What do you want?" he demanded. "First of all to come in, so that we shall not be pounced upon by a patro party. For you will subject us to grave peril, if you do not instantly admit us." Perceiving that they were alone, the house's tenant swung the door wide open. ".fltep in," he whispered. No sooner had they done so than their host, after noiselessly closing the door, bolted it securely. ... All three now stood in the dark. "Will you allow me to suggest," c

S'.l'ARRY FLAG WEEKLY. 21 rithin the last few days. Morro's dunons must be very well filled, if all the spected Cubans who have been sent ere have passed safely over Havana rbor." Sinking his voice to a whisper of horr, their host added: "But many of them, I fear, have never rvived the passage of the harbor. here are frightful stories told of what s been done to our poor people. Appar-1t1y, the Spanish are determined that, if ie United States drives them out of this land, they will leave no Cubans behind. am a marked man. Really, senors, I 1 surprised to find myself still free. very night I ha\e looked for a police sitation. When my bell rang a few inutes ago, I was sure that the blow as about .to fall. But your letter?" "Is addressed to Senor Galvez," re onded Hal. "I am he." Hal and Juan each produced their letrs. "Take your choice," smiled Ramirez, for they are both the same. '' Galvez took both envelopes, and broke eir seals. "You have told me t ruly," he cried, ter glancing at the signature of vne of e letters. "It is from General Gomez j For some minutes he read attentively, thout looking up. When he did glance at his visitors, it s to observe: ''There are matters in this which re ire the consideration of the Junta." The Junta, or Revolutionary Commitof the insurgents, existed in Havana well as in New York. "The Jnnta ?" echoed Hal. "Then must have some time to wait before ceeding further?" "Do you not know?" smiled Galvez. ut I see that you do not. Well, since u were intrusted with this letter, it is dent that you are young men who are be trusted. Therefore, I will tell you t the Junta meets here. All the mems are at present sleeping in this house. ill rouse them; and lay before them matters upon which General Gomez's ter touches." Then, as he was leaving the room, Galvez turned to say: ,'I can see that you are both tired out. There is a sofa for one to sleep in, a big chair for the other. Sleep well, gentlemen, if you can." Tired out as they were, neither Hal nor Juan needed a second invitation. But Galvez looked in again, a minute later, to add : "Gentlemen, if there is a visitation by police or soldiers, remain where you are until I appear to lead you to a place of hiding. Above all, should you hear the blows of sledge-hammer descending on my door, do not make any sound that can be heard from the street. And, with your permission, I will -extinguish the light. ll Neither young Cuban officer knew when their host left the room again. They slept without waking or stirring, until their host returned some hours later. Bnt at the first touch of his hand, Hal Maynard awoke and sat up. That mueh came of their life in the field. An ii;istant later Juan was rubbing his eyes. "Why," he exclaimed, looking toward the windows, "it is daylight." "Judge how soundly you have slept," smiled Galvez. "Well, the1:1, the Junta has been in'session all the time you slept. We have made our plans. We are ready to in truct you in the next steps in the programme.'' "And we," rejoined Hal, rising, "are real'ly to carry them out." "Lieutenant Ramirez, do you know where La Jova is?" "Yes, senor; a fishing village ten miles west of Havana.'' "Perhaps, then, you are also awa re where the brothers Cantalba live?" "No,.senor; my knowledge does not go that far.'' "Do yon know where a small cabin stands, at the inner bend of the inlet?" "I know it well. And that is where we shall find the two brothers?" "It is where they wi11 find you," re plied Galvez, with a shrewd twinkle in his eyes. "They are not so silly as to live at home in these times. You will HAVE YOU READ TRUE BLUEP


STARRY FLAG WEEKLY. walk in front of the cabin. One will walk with his h a t off; the other will carry a handkerchief in his hand. After being thus five minutes in front of the cabin, you will go inside. At least one of the brothers will soon join you. At your re quest be will show you a half a card, which will matcb the piece I am now handing you. The completed card will be instructions for the Cantalba brothers to set sail for Key West. You will go with them, in order to mail the letters you bear. Having completed your work, in case you find it to return to Cn ba, you are both at 1 iberty to offer your services to the United States, since Free Cuba and Uncle Sam are now allies.,' "All is plain, senor," replied Ramirez, bowing. "We have but one difficulty left-to find a way out of Havana, past the sentries.'' "Oh, as to that," laughed Senor Galvez, "you should not find it Here are two passes, which should take yon past any sentries or guard posts that you may encounter.,, "Passes?" echoed Hal. Galvez shrugged his shoulders. "Forged, of course, you understand, senor lieutenant. But the work is so well done that many of our people have used them successfully. To be sure, if you are suspected and detained, it will mean the end of your careers before the rifles of a firing squad." "If that experience is no more harmful than my last one in that line," smiled Hal, "I shall not mind it." "Then, gentlemen, you decide to use the pa.sses ?" "I think," replied Hal, "it is safer than to make the attempt without passes at all." Ramirez promptly nodded approval. "Good! excellent!" cried Galvez, beaming. "Now, I would advise yon to show further boldness by engaging a car riage to take you out of Havana." This advice was accepted. Leaving Galvez, after warm handshakings, Hal and his comrade went to the next square, where they were fortunate enough to secure a carriage. Into this they got, giving the driver hi directions. The latter regarded them seriously. "You have passes, senors, to go be yond the lines?,' "Oh, assuredly," responded Hal, producing his. Then, lowering his voice, h added: "We go on business that is o great moment to General Blanco.'' Which statement was utterlv true, though far from true in the sense in which the jehu understood it. But the man on the box now gav prompt response by whipping his horses ahead. Though halted fully a dozen times by sentries and patrols, the forged passes proved sufficient to send them each time on their way again. "I breathe more easil y," admitted Hal, when Havana had beep left three miles to the rear. "We will not. use the driver much further," whispered Juan. "I have pur posely given him somewhat wrong direc tions. Le a ve it all to me." Hal nodded. Accordingly, when th carriage had gone two miles fu.rthe alon()' the road, Juan looked about h11n. There were no houses in sight at that point. "Stop here," directed Juan. "Driver, you will wait for 11s one-half hour. W will pay you now, so that, if at the end of just thirty minutes we have not. re turned, you will go back to Havana with out us.', "I sha11 do as vou direct, senor." "And remember that, as we are from General Blanco, vou wi11 not gossip abou our rip to any outside of officials who may question you. If you do,,, added Juan, with a quiet menace tha made the jehu fidget, "you are likely t find yourself iii trouble at the Palace.,, "Oh 'our excellencies!" protested th driver.' ''I am a loyal subject of Spain.' Juan smiled comically at his American comrade as they plodded along the roa out of sioht of the conveyauce. "I am"' feeliug more comfortable,,, ad mitted Hal, in a low tone. "So long a we were in Havana, or near it, I dreade lest our plans should be spoiled by tha '"CLIF FARADAY UNDER FIRE." READ TRUE BLUE.


STA .mY FLAG WEEKLY. .. 23 lplacable enemy of mine, Senor Vas uez. '' "Speaking of--" began Juan. "The devil!" finished Hal; in a artled voice. Jnst ahead of them, there came around bend in the road a mounted man. Only one glance was needed to show 1e111 who the horseman was--Senor Enrique Vasquez! Third Part. CHAPTER VIII. "NEXT STOP, MORRO!" "Yes, the devil, indeed!" whispered ian Ramirez. So far neither had halted, nor, tbey ere confident, had their faces betrayed 1ei r surprise. "Does be know yon?" whispered Hal, ithout turning his hearl. "I think not,'' responded Juan. "Then we will pretend that we do not now him, either." Had the boys betrayed thtir actual surise it--might have escaped the notice of 1e Spaniard. For he was more than astounded-he peared badly frightened. His lips trembled, his eyes appeared lging from his head. "Is it possible?" he reining his horse. For Senor Vasquez at first thought he w a ghost! "Good-day, senor!" hailed Hal May rd, holdly approaching the Spaniard. Our hero smiled and lifted his hat as approa 'ched. 'rsenor Maynar<'I !" stammered the aniard, reaching for the pistol in his lster. "Surely," cried Hal, feigning astonishent, "yon are a gentleman . Then it ust be that you take us for highwaymen. eassnre yourself. We are honest en.'' "Serlor Maynard," repeated the Spanrd, now nervous] y fingering his revolver. Under the circumstances Hal required e ntmost ex rcise of his self-control to ntinne ontwardly cool. Again lifting his hat he asked: "Can it be possible that the senor mis takes me for some one else?'' By this time Vasquez had evidently as sured himself that the form facing him was not the unsn bstan ti al one of a ghost. He regardPd Hal with a puzzled look that was far from fri'!ndly. Jt was Juan who came to the rescue at this moment by observing in an undertone: "Senor Bascomb, I feel quite certain that this excellent man no longer suspects that we are unfriendly." As low as Ramirez's tone was, Vasquez overheard his words, as the Cuban had intended that 11e should. repeated Vasquez, wonderingly. "It is the name I have the honor to bear,'' replied Hal. You are not an American?" "N ; an Englishman." It cut Hal to the quick to deny his Americanism, even when dealing with such a fellow as this'Spanisb merchant, but he felt that the circumstances war ranted it, for he on an important mission in the way of which no delicacy con ld be allowe<'I to stand. "The resemblance is so striking," murmured the. Spaniard aloud. "Ah, I conjectured rightly, then when I supposed that the senor had mistaken me for oue he knew-a friend or perhaps au euemy ?" "Neither," stammered Vasquez. "Mere ly an acquaintance whom I thought had left the island." ''I am extremely to have been the cause of any nneasiness to the senor," responded Hal, again lifting his hat. Hal's manner was so friendly, his tone so courteous-his whole bearing so free from either or enmity, that Vasqnez was utterly puzzled. "I apologize for my mistake," he said, qnickly. "Should we ever meet again, Senor Bascomb, I trust I shall be able to be of service to you. I am named Vasquez." "Vasquez,'' repeated Hal. "Though I have never heard the before, I shall remember it. I return your hope that on some future occasion one will be able to be of service to the other." HAVE YOU READ TRUE BLUE.


24 8TAJ:tRY FLAG Still keeping the pistol in his hand, Vasquez edged his horse by on the side of the road. Past them be turned long enough to wave his hand, then galloped swiftly toward Havana. "A close squeeze," grimaced Juan. "Had he been inclined to be ugly, he would have had the advantage of us with his pistol, since we are unarmed." "He wasn't deceived," palpitated Hal. "He only declined to risk himself iu an encounter. By this time he must be talking with the driver whom we left waiting.,, ''It is time to take to the woods, then,,, declared the Cuban. Without delay, they plunged into the depths of the forest. From time to time they came to a spot whence they could get a glimpse of the road. Whenever they did so they surveyed the neighborhood with extreme caution. Yet they progressed for more than an hour without seeing any signs of pursuit. "Is there any telegraph line that would aid in stopping us further on?" queried Hal. "None,,, answered Ramirez, "that runs in the direction we are headed.,, "Don't think me a croaker,,, uttered Ha1, with a grim smile, but I am far from satisfied that we deceived our enemy. I shall expect news from Senor Vasquez up to the moment that we are safely on the water.'' Juan nodded, leading the way deeper into the forest. This way too, to be a shorter cut. Ere long they stood on a low hill, looking down at the tiny harbor of La Java. There lay the cabin described by Senor Galvez. In the neighborhood were other huts and cabins. "But not so much as the sign of a ... dweller there,,, sighed Ramirez. "What a wilderness of deserted homes Cuba has become!" Cutting short this mournful strain of thought, they strode down upon the beach. There, before the empty cabin of the Cantalbas 'our young scouts walked back and forth, giving the signal agreed upon: After .a few mit111tes a man bronzed a1 weatherbeaten came toward them fro the nearest strip of woods. He looked them over keenly. Both fe sure that he was one of the brothers th sought. "You are looking for something some one?'' bailed the newcomer. "Yes,,, spoke up Hal, "looking for piece of card that we have mislaid.'' "A half a card?" queried the strange "Yes." ''Let me see your half.'' Hal promptly proauced the piece giv him by Senor Galvez. "They match," nodded the stranger. "And you are Senor Cantalba ?" "I am one of them. So you are fro the--" But Cantalba sank his voice to a whi per before he finished "From the .1 u11ta in Havana?" "More recently,,, assented our he "But our mission started from Gener Gomez himself. '1 At mention of that revered name oft greatest of all Cuban patriots, Canta! pulled off the little that was left of cap. "You have come to order my brot and myself to go to Key West, to pi! the Yankee squa