When Santiago Fell: or, The War Adventures of Two Chumsñêà÷àòü êíèãó áåñïëàòíî
“Then that will save us a good deal of trouble,” replied my father. “But of course we can’t go aboard openly – the Spanish authorities wouldn’t allow that.”
How to get into the town unobserved was a question. Finally Alano’s father said he would ride in as a horse dealer, taking all of our animals with him. To disguise himself he dirtied his face once more, and put on my hat and coat, both rather small for him. Then driving three of the horses before him, he went on.
We went into camp under some plantains, and it was not until three o’clock in the morning that Captain Guerez came back. He returned with a smile on his face, for he had sold two of the worst of the steeds at a good price and had in addition found the Rosemary and interviewed her captain.
“The captain said he couldn’t do anything for you to-night,” he explained. “But to-morrow, if it is dark, he will send a rowboat up the shore to a rock he pointed out to me with his glass. You are to be at the rock at one o’clock sharp – if it’s dark. If it is not, you are to wait until the next night. He says to try to come on board from the quay will only bring you to grief.”
“Good for Captain Brownley!” cried Mr. Raymond. "I felt sure he would not go back on me. Once on board, Mr. Carter, and the three of us will be safe."
“There is, therefore, nothing to do but to wait,” went on Captain Guerez. “I shall see you safe off, and then return to Father Anuncio’s convent with Alano and join the rest of my family once more.”
As soon as it was light we rode and tramped through the woods and the swamps to the seacoast, where it did not take long to locate the rock the captain of the Rosemary had pointed out to Captain Guerez. This accomplished, we retired to a near-by plantain grove, there to eat and rest, and spend a final day together.
The thought of parting with my chum was a sad one, yet I felt it my duty to remain with my father. Alano was also affected, and often placed his brown hand affectionately on my shoulder while we conversed.
“Let us both hope that this cruel and senseless warfare will soon cease, and that Cuba will be free,” I said.
“Yes, Mark, and that we will soon be together again,” he replied. “I hope your journey proves a safe one; and when you get back you must remember me to all of the other boys.”
“I’ll do it; and you must remember me to your mother and your two sisters,” I said.
With it all, however, the day passed somewhat slowly, for we were impatient to see what the night would bring forth. The sun set clearly, and soon the heavens were bespangled with countless stars.
Mr. Raymond shook his head. “Captain Brownley won’t risk coming to-night,” he remarked. “They could easily spot a boat from the town shore, it is so clear.”
But about ten o’clock it began to cloud over, and at eleven it started to rain, a gentle but steady downpour. Not a star remained, and out on the water it was as dark as Erebus.
“A kind Providence is with us!” cried my father.
“We could not possibly imagine a better night.”
Slowly the time wore on, until Captain Guerez' watch indicated ten minutes to one. We sat close beside the rock, paying no attention to the rain, although it was gradually soaking us to the skin.
“Here they come!” whispered my father, and a few seconds later a rowboat containing four sailors loomed up through the darkness. As silently as a shadow the boat glided up past the rock and into the swamp grass.
“On time, I see,” said Mr. Raymond, as he advanced. “Is Captain Brownley here?”
"No, he’s watching at the ship, and will give us the signal when to come aboard," replied one of the sailors, who was in command. “Come aboard, if you are ready, sir.”
“We are,” said my father.
There was a short but affectionate good-by on both sides. Captain Guerez wrung my hand tightly, and I gave Alano a warm squeeze. Then Mr. Raymond, Burnham, father, and myself stepped into the rowboat, and the sailors pushed off with their long oars. In another instant the craft swung clear of the shore and was turned in the direction from whence we had come. I was going to cry out a last parting to my chum, when the sailor sitting nearest checked me.
“Be silent, my lad; if we’re discovered we’ll all be shot.”
“Yes,” put in my father, “don’t make a sound. Leave everything to these men. They have their instructions and know what they are doing.”
On and on over the Bay of Guantanamo glided the rowboat. The rain still came down, and if anything the night was blacker than ever. I wondered how the sailors could steer, until I saw one of them consulting a compass which lay in the bottom of the craft, looking it by the rays of a tiny dark-lantern.
I reckoned that the best part of half an hour had gone by, when the sailors rested on their oars, while one took up a night-glass. For five minutes he waited, then put the glass down.
“It’s all right,” he whispered. “Let fall. No noise now, on your life!”
Forward went our craft again, and now I noticed that each oar was bound with rubber at the spot where it touched the rowlock, to keep it from scraping. Thus we moved onward in absolute silence.
From out of the darkness we now saw a number of lights, coming from the town and the shipping. A few minutes later we ran up to the dark hull of a large vessel. A rope ladder was thrown down to us, and a sailor whispered to us to go up. We followed directions as rapidly as we could, and once on the deck we were hurried below, while the rowboat was swung up on the davits.
“Ah, Mr. Raymond, glad to see you!” said Captain Brownley, a bluff New Englander, as he extended his hand. “A fine night to come on board.” And then he turned to us and we were introduced.
The Rosemary was bound for Philadelphia, but would not sail for three days. She was under strict Spanish watch, so it was necessary for us to keep out of sight. We were locked in a stateroom, but made as comfortable as circumstances permitted.
From time to time during the three days the captain came to us with various bits of news. One was to the effect that the Spanish detachment which had had my father and Mr. Raymond in charge had reported a conflict with a Cuban force fifty or sixty strong. Another was that the United States had declared war upon Spain and was going to bombard Havana.
“I wonder if it is true that we are to fight Spain?” I said to Burnham. “What do you think?”
“We ought to fight Spain,” answered the newspaper man. “Cuba deserves her freedom, and if she can’t help herself against Spanish imposition and brutality we ought to give her a friendly hand.”
We talked the matter over at some length; but neither of us knew the truth – that war was really declared, and that not Havana, but Santiago, was to be attacked by the time the year was half over.
At last came the hour when the ship’s anchors were hove apeak and the sails were set. We sailed at high noon, and, having a good wind, soon passed outside of Guantanamo Bay, which, as my readers may know, is situated but a few miles to the eastward of Santiago Bay.
“Free at last!” cried my father, as he came on deck to get the fresh air. “I must say I am not sorry to leave Cuba – since the times have grown so troublesome.”
He had scarcely spoken when a small Spanish revenue cutter hove in sight, steaming down the coast evidently from Santiago Bay. While Captain Brownley was examining the craft, there was a flash of fire, and a dull boom sounded over the water.
“Great Scott! What does that mean?” demanded Burnham, leaping up from his seat near the rail.
“It’s an order to heave to,” answered Captain Brownley grimly. “We are not yet out of the woods, it would seem.”
“Then that means for us to get out of sight again,” said my father, and, as the captain nodded, the four of us ran for the companion-way, descended to the cabin, and secreted ourselves in the cabin pantry.
Five minutes later the Spanish revenue cutter steamed alongside, and we heard the tramp of half a dozen strange pairs of feet on the deck above.
CAST INTO A SANTIAGO DUNGEON
“Those fellows evidently mean business,” whispered Mr. Raymond, as an angry discussion drifted down to us. “Is it possible they got wind that we are on board?”
“Let us hope not,” shuddered my father. “Hist! they are coming down into the cabin!”
After this we remained as quiet as mice, hardly daring to breathe. We heard loud talking, partly in Spanish and a few words in very bad English. “I know they are here,” growled one Spaniard. “We shall make a large hunt, capitan.”
“If you insist, I cannot help myself,” answered Captain Brownley. “But it is a most unusual proceeding.”
At this the Spaniard muttered something in his own language. He began to hunt in one direction, while his followers hunted in another. Soon two of the men came to the pantry and forced the door. We tried to escape observation, but could not manage it, and were ordered forth at the point of several long pistols.
“Ha! as I suspected! All Americanos!” muttered the Spanish commander of the revenue cutter. “A fine haul! A fine haul, indeed!”
Then turning to his second in command he issued orders that some irons be brought on board. At the same time a dozen Spanish marines from the cutter were formed in line, with loaded carbines, to cover the crew of the Rosemary.
“I place all of you under arrest,” said the Spanish captain. “You” – pointing to my father, Burnham, Mr. Raymond, and myself – “as spies; and you and your men” – this to Captain Brownley – “as enemies of Spain, assisting these spies to escape.”
In vain Captain Brownley tried to argue the matter. The Spanish commander would not listen to a word. “The Yankee pigs have declared war on us!” he burst out at last. “Now let them take care of themselves.”
“Then war is really declared?” came from several of us simultaneously.
“Yes, war has been declared. More than that, we have already whipped the Yankee pigs who dared to attack our noble ships in the Philippines,” said the Spaniard bombastically.
But, as all American boys know, the Spaniard was mistaken. The American squadron under Commodore, afterward Admiral, George Dewey, was not defeated. Instead, it gained a most glorious victory, some of the particulars of which will be related in a volume to follow this, of which more later.
The news was staggering, and while we talked it over among ourselves, each of us was handcuffed, I being linked to Mr. Raymond, while my father was linked to Burnham. Captain Brownley and his first mate were also handcuffed, and the sailors were told to obey the Spanish captain’s orders or run the risk of being shot down.
The announcement that a naval battle had been fought in the Philippines seemed to worry Mr. Raymond a good deal. “I wonder if Oliver knows anything of this?” he half muttered.
“Oliver, who is he?” I asked.
“Oliver is my son,” answered the merchant. “He took a trip to China a year ago, and from there went to Manila, the principal city of the Philippines. I haven’t heard of him for a number of months now. He is perhaps a year older than you.”
“I never heard much of the Philippines,” I answered. “I know they are a good way off – somewhere between Australia, the Hawaiian Islands, and China. Do they belong to Spain?”
“Yes, but she is having as much trouble to hold them as she is having to hold Cuba.”
We were now ordered to keep silent, and compelled to march from the cabin of the Rosemary to the deck of the Spanish vessel. Here we were made to stand in a line, our weapons having previously been taken from us. The course of the sailing vessel had been eastward toward Cape Maysi, but now both craft were headed westward.
“I’ll wager we are bound for Santiago,” murmured Burnham, who stood beside me, and he was right, for in a little over an hour the narrow entrance to Santiago Bay came into view, with Morro Castle, a famous old fortress, standing high upon the rocks to the right.
The bay is several miles long, and Santiago stands well in on the northeast shore. The land-locked harbor was alive with vessels, but not one of them floated the familiar Stars and Stripes of our own country.
“There is where we made our way across the bay when first Alano Guerez and I escaped from Santiago,” I whispered. “I am afraid I’ll not get another such chance now.”
Soon one of the numerous docks in front of the city was reached, and we were marched ashore. The news of our capture had spread, and a large crowd of curiosity-seekers gathered, to jeer and pass all sorts of unpleasant remarks. The city was now under stricter Spanish rule than ever before, and as we marched from the dock to the city prison not another American was to be seen.
At the prison a brief examination was held. When it was learned that my father was present, I was thrust aside and told that he could speak for me. Yet he was allowed to say but little. The authorities were certain that he, Burnham, and Mr. Raymond were spies, and the four of us were sentenced to confinement in another prison several squares away – a low, dingy pile of stone, every opening of which was heavily barred and grated.
Within this prison came the hardest parting of all. I was separated from my father, and, when I remonstrated, received a sharp blow on my shoulder from a jailer’s sword. Mr. Raymond and I were paired off as before, and conducted through a long stone passage-way and down a dirty flight of steps. Sunshine and fresh air were left behind, and the way was lit up by a smoky kerosene lamp. We were taken to a dungeon cell several feet below the sidewalk and locked in, and then our jailer left us.
I was too overcome to speak when we were left alone. Mr. Raymond strained his eyes and peered around at the four bare walls, the bare ceiling overhead, and the stone flooring with its water pitcher and heap of musty straw in one corner.
“This is awful!” he murmured. “Mark, how long do you think you can stand living in this place?”
“No longer than I have to!” I cried. “I’ll get out just as fast as ever I can.”
“If we ever do get out!” he concluded significantly.
The remainder of the day passed slowly. For supper the jailer brought us some stale bread and some more water, no fresher than that already in the pitcher. That night I did not sleep a wink.
I expected that another examination would be held the next day, or, at the latest, within a week; but I was doomed to disappointment. No one but the jailer came near us, and he only to bring us our bread and water and occasionally a stew of ill-flavored meat and potatoes, reeking with garlic. Of this both of us tried bits of the potatoes, and sometimes mouthfuls of the meat, but it was all we could do to choke them down.
“How long is this to last?” I asked Mr. Raymond one day, as both of us walked up and down the narrow cell like two caged animals.
“God alone knows, Mark,” he answered. “If there is no change soon I shall go mad!”
“It is inhuman!” I went on. “A Christian would not treat a dog like this.”
“They are very bitter against us Americans, Mark. Now the United States have declared war against them, they must realize that Cuban freedom is assured.”
Another week went on, and then we were taken up into the prison yard. Here I saw my father, – thin, pale, and sick, – but I was not permitted to converse with him. We were placed in two rows with a hundred other prisoners, and inspected by General Toral, the military governor of Santiago and surrounding territory. After the inspection we went back to our various dungeon cells; and many weary weeks of close confinement followed.
One day a curious booming reached our ears, coming from we knew not where. I heard it quite plainly, and called Mr. Raymond’s attention to it.
“It is the discharging of cannon,” he said. “And it is not a salute either,” he added, as the booming became more rapid and violent.
It was not until long afterward that I learned the truth, that a fleet of Spanish warships commanded by Admiral Cervera had been “bottled up” in Santiago Bay by our own warships under Admiral Sampson and Commodore Schley, and that the Yankee gunners were now trying what they could do in the way of bombarding Morro Castle and the ships which lay hidden from them behind the mountains at the harbor’s entrance.
The booming of cannon kept up for several hours and then died away gradually, but a few days later the bombardment was continued. We now felt certain that a battle of some sort was on, and Mr. Raymond questioned the jailer.
“The Yankee pigs will be well whipped,” growled the fellow, and that was all we could get out of him.
Again the days lengthened into weeks, and nothing of importance happened – to us. But in the outside world great events were taking place. The entrance to Santiago Bay was being blockaded by the vessels under Sampson’s command, and an army of invasion was gathering at Tampa, Fla., to land on the southeastern coast of Cuba and attack Santiago from the rear. The army of invasion, under command of General Shafter, was sixteen thousand strong, and left Tampa in between thirty and forty transports.
A landing of the army was effected at Baiquiri and other points, and here General Shafter consulted with General Garcia, and it was decided that about three thousand Cuban troops should co-operate with the United States forces. Among the Cuban troops was the company commanded by Alano’s father; and my chum, let me add right here, was in the fight from start to finish.
The Spanish authorities now saw what the Americans were up to, and without delay Santiago was fortified from end to end. Every road leading from the city was barricaded with logs and earthworks, and barriers of barbed wire were strung in various directions. Thousands of Spanish troops had been gathered in the vicinity, and these were hurried to San Juan Hill, El Caney, and other points of vantage just outside of Santiago proper.
As the American forces advanced closer and closer to the city Admiral Cervera became anxious for the safety of his fleet. He knew that if Santiago was captured there would be nothing left for him to do but to try to escape from the bay, and that would mean to go forth and fight the American warships stationed on the blockade beyond Morro Castle.
One day the jailer came in evidently much depressed. We had expected the usual stew that day, but got only a chunk of dry bread. “And you are lucky to get even so much,” said the Spaniard, as he hurried out.
“Something has gone wrong,” remarked Mr. Raymond, as he translated the fellow’s words to me. “I begin to believe that Santiago is suffering some sort of an attack.”
He had hardly spoken when the dull booming of cannon broke once more on our ears. It was a strange sound, and I threw myself down on our straw bed to listen.
I was half in a doze, – dreaming of my school days at Broxville, – when suddenly came an awful crash that to me sounded like the crack of doom, and the dungeon was filled with pieces of stone, dirt, and cement, and a thick smoke that all but choked us. Mr. Raymond was hurled flat on top of me, and for the space of several seconds neither of us could speak or move.
THE FALL OF THE SPANISH STRONGHOLD
“Wha – what does this mean?” I managed to gasp at last.
“The dungeon has been struck by a shell!” answered Mr. Raymond, breathing with difficulty. “There is a bombardment going on!”
“But we may be killed!”
“Let us trust not, Mark. Are you hurt much?”
“I have a cut in my cheek, and another in my left arm.”
“And I have a bad bruise in the right leg,” answered my fellow prisoner. “But still – Oh, Mark, look! The sunshine!”
Mr. Raymond broke off short and pointed upward. He was right. The shell which had torn up the sidewalk above us had left a hole in the dungeon ceiling nearly a foot in diameter.
“Can we get out?” I burst out eagerly.
“Perhaps – but the city is in the hands of our enemies.”
“I don’t care,” I went on recklessly. “Anything is better than staying here.”
“That is true.” Mr. Raymond arose and measured the distance from the hole to the cell floor. “It’s all of ten feet, Mark.”
“Let me balance myself on your shoulders,” I said, and now my athletic training at the military school stood me in good stead. Mr. Raymond raised me up into the air, and I caught the edge of the hole with ease.
Yet to pull myself up was no mean task. But I worked desperately, and finally found myself on the pavement. Crowds of people were rushing hither and thither, and no one paid any attention to me. Slipping off my jacket, I let down one sleeve.
“Take hold of that, and I’ll pull you up!” I cried to Mr. Raymond; and he did as bidden, and soon stood beside me.
A guard was now running toward us, and as he came on he discharged his Mauser rifle, but the bullet flew wide of its mark. “Halte!” he yelled, but we did nothing of the sort, but took to our heels and ran as if the very Old Nick was after us. Our course soon took us into a crowd of Cubans, and leaving these we made our way into a street which was little better than an alleyway for width. Finding the door of a house wide open, we slipped into the building and hid ourselves in an apartment in the rear.ñêà÷àòü êíèãó áåñïëàòíî
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