The Woman with a Stone Heart
A Romance of the Philippine War.
O. W. Coursey, (U. S. Vols.)
"History and Geography of the Philippine Islands." "Who's Who In South Dakota." "Biography of General Beadle." "School Law Digest."
All of these books are published and for sale by THE EDUCATOR SUPPLY COMPANY Mitchell, South Dakota
By O. W. Coursey
THE WOMAN WITH A STONE HEART
To those whose love of adventure would cause them to plunge head-long into an abyss of vain glory, hoping at life's sunset to reap a harvest contrary to the seed that were sown, let me suggest that you pause first to read the story of "The Woman With a Stone Heart," Marie Sampalit, dare-devil of the Philippines.
Perhaps we might profitably meditate for a few moments on the musings of Whittier:
"The tissue of the life to be We weave in colors all our own, And in the field of destiny We'll reap as we have sown."
To Her, who, as a bride of only eighteen months, stood broken-hearted on the depot platform and bade me a tearful farewell as our train of soldier boys started to war; who later, while I was Ten Thousand miles away from home on soldier duty in the Philippine Islands, became a Mother; and who, unfortunately, three months thereafter, was called upon to lay our first-born, Oliver D. Coursey, into his snow-lined baby tomb amid the bleak silence of a cold winter's night, with no strong arm to bear her up in those awful hours of anguish and despair,
My Soldier Wife, Julia,
this book is most affectionately dedicated.
"Only a baby's grave, Yet often we go and sit By the little stone, And thank God to own, We are nearer heaven for it."
—O. W. Coursey.
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Marie Sampalit 10 Region Around Manila Bay 29 Admiral Dewey 39 Aguinaldo 61 Marie, Her Mother, etc 82 Filipinos at Breakfast 100 End of the Boat-Battle 113 The Rescue 126 Floating Down The Rapids 129 General Lawton and Staff 139
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. Love Defeated 9 II. First Shot of A New War 25 III. Avenged Her Lover's Death 41 IV. The Interval 57 V. Filipino Uprising 69 VI. As A Spy 81 VII. Off For Baler 93 VIII. The Gilmore Incident 105 IX. The American Prisoners 113 X. Death of General Lawton 131 XI. North-bound 141 XII. Crossing the Sierra Madres 153 XIII. Compensation 167
Marie Sampalit and her fiancee, Rolando Dimiguez, were walking arm-in-arm along the sandy beach of Manila bay, just opposite old Fort Malate, talking of their wedding day which had been postponed because of the Filipino insurrection which was in progress.
The tide was out. A long waved line of sea-shells and drift-wood marked the place to which it had risen the last time before it began to recede. They were unconsciously following this line of ocean debris. Occasionally Marie would stop to pick up a spotted shell which was more pretty than the rest. Finally, when they had gotten as far north as the semi-circular drive-way which extends around the southern and eastern sides of the walled-city, or Old Manila, as it is called, and had begun to veer toward it, Marie looked back and repeated a beautiful memory gem taught to her by a good friar when she was a pupil in one of the parochial schools of Manila:
"E'en as the rise of the tide is told, By drift-wood on the beach, So can our pen mark on the page How high our thoughts can reach."
They turned directly east until they reached the low stone-wall that prevents Manila bay from overflowing the city during the periods of high tides. Dimiguez helped Marie to step upon it; then they strolled eastward past the large stake which marked the place where the Spaniards had shot Dr. Jose Rizal, the brainiest patriot ever produced by the Malay race.
When they came to the spot, Marie stopped and told Dimiguez how she had watched the shooting when it took place, and how bravely Rizal had met his fate.
"If it hadn't been for this outrage committed by the Spaniards," remarked Dimiguez, "this insurrection would not have lasted these two years, and we would have been married before now; but our people are determined to seek revenge for his death."
Then they started on, changed their course to the northward, entered the walled-city by the south gate, walked past the old Spanish arsenal, and then passed out of the walled-city by the north gate. Here they crossed the Pasig river on the old "Bridge of Spain" (the large stone bridge near the mouth of the river, built over 300 years ago) and entered the Escolta, the main business street of Manila. After making their way slowly up the Escolta they meandered along San Miguel street until they finally turned and walked a short distance down a side street to a typical native shack, built of bamboo and thatched with Nipa palms, happily tucked away beneath the overhanging limbs of a large mango tree in a spacious yard,—the home of the Sampalits.
Here Marie had been born just seventeen years before; in fact the next day, April 7, would be her seventeenth birthday. When she was born, her father instituted one of the accustomed Filipino dances which last from three to five days and nights, and at its conclusion she had been christened "Maria," subsequently changed by force of habit to "Marie."
Late that evening, while they were seated side-by-side on a bamboo bench beside of her home, tapping the toes of their wooden-soled slippers on the hard ground, and indulging in a wandering lovers' conversation, Marie said to him (calling him affectionately by his first name), "Rolando, when did you first decide to postpone our wedding day?"
"Well, I'll tell you how it was," answered he, meditatingly. "The thought of serving my country had been lingering on my mind all last summer—in fact, ever since the insurrection first broke out in the spring of 1896. You know I intended coming down to see you last Christmas, but I couldn't get away. That night I walked the floor all night in our home at Malolos, debating in my mind whether we had better get married in March, as we had planned, or if it would not be wiser and more manly for me to go to war, take chances on getting back alive and postpone our wedding day until after the war is over. Toward morning, I decided that it was my duty to become a soldier; so I called my father and mother, got an early breakfast, bade them goodby and started for Malabon, which was Aguinaldo's headquarters, and enlisted. He was glad to see me. You know, he and I attended school together for one year at Hongkong. Well, Aguinaldo at once commissioned me a spy and assigned me to very important duty."
"My God!" interrupted Marie, "you are not on that duty now, are you, Rolando?"
Dimiguez arose. "Marie," said he firmly, "I must be off."
"But won't you tell me where you are going and what task lies before you?" pleaded Marie, as she threw both arms about his neck and began to sob, "I'll never tell a living soul, so help me God, but I must know!"
"A spy never tells his plans to anyone, Marie," said Dimiguez slowly. "He takes his orders from his chief, plays his part; and if he gets caught, he refuses to speak and dies without a murmur, like a man. Good night, Marie, I must be off; duty lies before me."
Marie cried herself to sleep.
The next morning she started down town, as usual, for the market place, with her bamboo basket filled with bananas, sitting on her head, and a cigarette in her mouth. She had only gone a block when she met a neighbor girl, one of her chums of equal years to her own, who was a chamber-maid in the German consul's home on San Miguel Street.
Her friend looked excited. "Have you heard the awful news, Marie?" said she.
"No!" exclaimed Marie, "What is it?"
"Why, Dimiguez was caught last night by Spanish guards inside the yard of the governor-general's summer palace up on the Malacanan, just as he was slipping out of the palace itself. How he got in there, nobody knows."
Marie dropped her basket. "Heavens!" gasped she, "Did he do anything wrong?"
"They found in his pocket diagrams of the interior of the palace, showing the entries to it, the room where the governor-general sleeps, and many other things; also your picture. See here! the morning paper gives a full account of it."
Marie glanced at the head lines and then started on a vigorous run for the building in which the Spanish military court was sitting. Rushing in, past an armed guard, she began to plead for her lover's life. But he had already been tried, convicted and sentenced to death by strangulation in the old chute at Cavite. Dimiguez never moved a muscle when he saw Marie. Armed guards forced her abruptly out of the building and ordered her to leave.
Inside of two hours, on the same day, April 7, the anniversary of Marie's birth, he was taken to the little town of Cavite, seven miles southwest of Manila, and was there placed in the lower end of a long chute built out into Manila Bay. This chute was just wide enough for a man to enter. Its sides, top and bottom were all built of heavy planks. The side planks lacked a few inches of connecting with the top, although of course the side posts ran clear up and the top was firmly bolted to them. The entrance to it was well elevated near the docks. The lower end protruded into the bay, so that it was visible about eighteen inches above the water during the period of low tide, and submerged several feet during high tide.
Tides come in slowly at Cavite, each succeeding wave rising but a trifle higher than the others, until the usual height is reached. Thus, a prisoner placed in this chute, forced to the lower end and then fastened securely during low tide, can look out over the side planks at the hideous spectators, watch the tide as it begins to rise and see slow death approaching. It was in this chute that Marie's lover met his death.
Marie saw the launch that carried him away as it left Manila. She rushed down to the Pasig river, loosened her little boat from the tree to which it was tied, jumped in, seized the oars and started in pursuit. The launch on which he was being carried had for its power a gasoline engine, and, of course, it soon left her far behind. When she first started, the swells caused by the launch rocked her little canoe quite roughly and impeded her progress. As she approached the mouth of the river, passed the monument of Magellan and came between the walled-city on the southern bank and the docks on the northern bank, a crowd of excited natives thronged the shore, and many of them recognized her. She heard some one cry out, "Vive Marie!" With might and main she strove forward.
The launch made its seven-mile run to Cavite; the victim was placed in the chute; the tide had risen to the danger line; her lover, with his head thrown back, had just begun to gurgle the salt water, when Marie, in frantic agony, almost exhausted, rowed around the lower end of the chute and came near enough to the dying hero to be recognized by him. Straining ever muscle to keep his head above the water a second longer, he cried out in chocking tones that were interrupted by the merciless sea which was rapidly filling his mouth, "Goodby, Marie, God bless you. Avenge my death!"
Hush! At this moment another tidal wave engulfed the apex of the chute. Not a sound could be heard save the slight flapping of the waves against the pier, and the dismal chant of three priests, who stood on the shore near by, and who had not been permitted to attend the young spy before his death. Marie trembled; she dropped the oars; her eyes fell; for a moment it seemed that her young heart stood still: then her face flushed; the tears stopped flowing; anguish gave vent to determined revenge; pent-up sorrows yielded to out-spoken threats; and in tones sufficiently audible to be heard ashore, she cried, "I'll do it."
The Spaniard knows no pity. If Marie were to have stepped ashore immediately after her lover's strangulation, she might have come to grief. It is strange that she escaped punishment for having followed. She, therefore, rowed directly east and landed on the beach of the bay, about four miles south of Manila, just west of the little city of Paranaque.
From sheer exhaustion, she needed food; therefore, she walked northward along the shore until she found a Mango tree heavily laden with fruit. After eating a few luscious mangoes, she crept into a clump of bamboo and had a good cry: tears so ease a woman's soul.
From her position on the beach she could readily see the Spaniards as they took her dead lover from the chute when the tide had lowered toward evening. She saw them even strike his corpse, and she bit her finger nails as she watched them place him in a rough wooden box and haul him up through the streets of the village on an old two-wheeled cart drawn by a caribou.
With the approach of sunset, things grew strangely quiet. The spring zephyr that had blown modestly during the day died away. There was no longer even a dimple in the blue surface of Manila Bay. Not a leaf was astir. It seemed to Marie that the only sound she could hear was the the throbbing of her own heart. To her the whole world seemed like an open sepulcher. Looking down she discovered that she was unconsciously sitting on a flowery terrace and that all about her was life. She pulled one of those exquisite white flowers with wide pink veins, peculiar alone to the Philippines, and pressed it to her lips.
The sun was just setting beyond Corregidor. The island's long shadows seemed to extend completely across the bay to her feet. As the solar fires burned themselves out, the orange tint which they left behind against the reddened sky reminded Marie of the night before, when she and her lover had strolled along the shore of the bay about three miles farther north; and as the sun slowly nodded its evening farewell and buried its face in the pillow of night, she remembered how he, on the previous night, had called to her attention the lingering glow of its fading beams. Before her lay the Spanish fleet, it, too, casting shadows that first grew longer and longer and then dimmer and dimmer until they in turn had died away in the spectral phenomenon of night.
Marie's thoughts turned toward home. What about her mother? She walked back to her little boat, pushed it out into the bay, and, stepping into it, sat down, took hold of the oars and started northward near the beach. Just opposite Fort Malate, she swung westward, and, passing outside of the break-water a mile from shore, she entered the Pasig river and hurried homeward. When she arrived, about nine o'clock, she found her mother on the verge of prostration; for that very day, strange to say, Marie's father, who was a colonel in the Filipino infantry, had been killed at San Francisco del Monte, six miles north-east of Manila, in a battle with Spanish troops.
"Don't cry, mother," expostulated Marie, "from now on I intend to kill every foe of ours in these islands!"
FIRST SHOT OF A NEW WAR
Three weeks passed by. Marie had gone down town late in April to do some shopping. While she was standing in the door of the old postoffice on the Escolta, she heard the shrill voice of a Filipino lad piping out: "Papers! Papers! All about the war with the United States. Dewey's comin'!" He had a bundle of newspapers under his right arm and was waving one in his left hand. Everybody rushed out of the bazaars and offices along the Escolta where they were transacting their business, and each one who could get near enough to the boy, eagerly bought a morning paper.
The lad's papers were all gone but one. Marie Sampalit snatched it from his hands, and dropped into one of them a small coin. She stepped into the corridor of the post office, to escape the annoyance of the crowd, and read the large head lines:
"WAR BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND SPAIN
dewey en route to manila great naval battle friday or saturday in manila bay
The Stone Wall Around the City will be Razed to the Ground. Great Loss of Life."
"Then, I'm off for Corregidor Island right away!" exclaimed Marie. "Dewey can't get into the Bay except by that route. That's where the fight will begin. Mother doesn't know this. I'll tell her I am going to take some supplies to the Spanish garrison. I will go at once!"
She set out from Manila in a small casco, or flat-bottomed native boat, heavily laden with fresh fish, pine-apples, mangoes, bananas, tobacco and cigarettes—all intended for the Spanish garrison on Corregidor Island. Manila is situated on the eastern shore of Manila Bay. From there to the island it is nearly thirty miles. Her little boat was driven forward on its journey by an easterly wind that gently swelled the tiny sails.
She reached the island at five o'clock that afternoon and was given a royal welcome by the Spanish soldiers. Marie gave them the morning paper containing the news of Dewey's prospective arrival. She asked permission to take part in the fight.
Marie was a favorite with the Spanish garrison. Her genial disposition, added to her almost inconceivable daring, had won for her the friendship and admiration of all. The gunners had playfully taught her all about loading, firing and swabbing their cannon. She had also learned the art of good marksmanship, so that at a target practice she was an adept.
Impatiently she awaited the arrival of the American fleet. She heard the Spaniards discuss among themselves the cowardice of the American soldiers, and saw them wager the Dewey would not come to Manila at all but that he would sail down around the Malay Peninsula and hasten home by way of Good Hope to save his vessels from certain destruction. All this sounded plausible to her and she grew restless and enthusiastic as the dull hours dragged away.
Dewey was so long in coming from Hongkong and the garrison on the island had been kept at their guns ready for action for so many hours without rest that many of them were completely tired out by the last day of April, and asked for relief. It was hard to give it. Marie's opportunity had come. Her ability as an expert rifle shot was known alike to officers and enlisted men. She offered to serve. The Spanish commandant could not well refuse. He needed her services; besides, the Spaniards were just then doing all within their power to win the temporary friendship of the natives. Consequently, he promised to assign her to duty for the night.
The sunset, as viewed from Corregidor Island on the evening of April 30, was most glorious. Not a cloud was in the sky; a dead calm prevailed, so that the sea was unusually smooth. As the sun sank to rest behind the shimmering horizon it caused the island to cast a long shadow over Manila bay as far as the eye could reach, but this soon disappeared.
When the sun had sunk from view, Marie noticed that a comparatively new moon was visible in the sky, and she remarked to the Sergeant of the Guard, "It will not be very dark to-night. We can see the Americanos a long way off."
"Yes," replied the Sergeant, "the only difficulty with the cowards is that they will not come near enough to be seen at all. They have had plenty of time to run from Hongkong to Manila and back again; still they have not been seen or heard of. I'll bet you a peso (Spanish dollar) that they have gone home and that all of this excitement has been for nothing. Dewey is getting old, Marie; he doesn't want to go to a watery grave so far from home. If he were young and ambitious, it would be different. Old men do not care much about real fighting, especially on the sea. It is different with old generals commanding land forces. They can sit away back in the rear of the battle-field, receive messages that come to them; plan certain movements based upon these reports; and while they do have considerable responsibility, still they are not in the actual fight. As for Dewey, nobody has ever heard of him. He is not a recognized naval commander. Besides, the old fellow, according to reports, is slow and easy going. If he should come to make us an unfriendly call tonight, mark my word, Marie, there will not be a sliver of his entire fleet left floating above the water yonder inside of thirty minutes after the first shot is fired."
He had scarcely concluded speaking when the Officer of the Guard, Lieutenant Orlando, called out, "Sergeant of the Guard! Fall in the First Relief!" The Sergeant threw his arm over Marie's shoulder in an affectionate manner, smacked a hurried caress against her olive cheek, jumped up from the little bamboo bench on which they were sitting, rushed up to the guard house and cried out, "First Relief! Fall in!"
Marie hastened after him. As the relief was forming in line, she seized a Mauser rifle that stood leaning against a huge rock, grabbed up a cartridge belt well filled with Mauser ammunition that was lying on the ground near by, hastily adjusted it to fit her waist measure, buckled it on and fell into the rear rank.
"Count fours!" ordered the Sergeant. As is usual in military affairs, the front and rear rank men count in unison; that is, number one in the front rank and number one in the rear rank both count "one" at the same time; second file counts "two," etc. When it came to Marie she piped out simultaneously with the corporal who stood in front of her, "quatro." (four).
As the guard was marched along the stony pathways on Corregidor Island and the various sentinels were relieved, Marie soon saw that there was not going to be a place for her. She tip-toed up to the corporal who was posting the relief and asked him where he was going to station her.
"Never mind," said the corporal, "we have a place for you." And sure enough, they had.
Every soldier or civilian who has ever been on this island will readily recall the rough, hard-beaten, winding path that led from the summit of the hill, in a south-westerly direction, down over precipices, around clumps of bamboo, to a beautiful fresh water spring which bubbled out of the coral rocks at a point just high enough to prevent it from being inundated or even infiltrated during the season of high tides.
A few feet from this spring and elevated but slightly above it, is a massive, flat rock. Along the north and west sides of this rock is a vertical stone precipice some eight feet high, which from its upper edge inclines back gradually at an angle of about twenty degrees above a horizontal plane, toward the crest of the island.
On this rock Spain firmly bolted one of her most modern cannon—a good seven-inch gun. It was so situated on a revolving casement that its shots could be made to sweep the whole Boca Grande channel, as the large entrance south of the island is called. Marie had often operated this gun. She had done splendid work with it on a floating target two miles distant. Its deadly roar was her delight. Oh! if she could but use it just once on an actual enemy instead of firing it at an indicated one!
When the old guard had been relieved and the sentries were marched back to the guard-house to be dismissed, poor Marie, heavy hearted, marched along. Just as they approached the guard-house, the sergeant motioned to her to fall out and to come toward him. This she did.
Into her ear he whispered the information that was to start her on her eventful military career. "Marie," said he, "the officer of the Guard informs me that we cannot use you in the infantry service tonight, but that you will be needed with the artillery."
"Good!" exclaimed Marie, "Where shall I serve?"
"At the new gun on the large rock near the spring," answered the Sergeant.
"Thank heaven!" said Marie. "Dewey will surely come, and when I put a solid shot through the 'Olympia' just below the water line—the battle will be half over. Oh! I'm so anxious! May I go down there tonight and take charge of the gun at once?"
The Sergeant told her to report to the headquarters of the artillery department where she would receive instructions.
At last she found herself on actual duty. How her young heart throbbed as her black eyes peered forth into the darkness. Toward midnight, small clouds began to drift oceanward. For a few moments at a time they would obscure the quartered cheek of the young moon. Oh! if Dewey would but come. The hopes of a life-time were poised on that painful "if." Before her was the dream of glory; behind her, the dreary forgetfulness of the past. Hour after hour whiled away. The tiny lights in the natives' shacks along the opposite shore began to go out and grow fewer and fewer until the closing day had died safely away into the solemn night. As usual, "taps" were blown at ten o'clock and things on the island grew very quiet. Days—yes, weeks—seemed to crowd themselves into those long hours. Would he ever come?
Presently she heard the sentry's shrill cry on the brow of the hill, "Twelve o'clock! All's well!" The echo of his repeated call had scarcely died away when Marie thought she saw something dark on the water near the center of the channel, perhaps three miles away. She whispered to a member of the artillery corps, who sat near her watching the shadow of his pipe on the rock near the base of the cannon. They both looked. Surely! it's Dewey! The artilleryman sent up a rocket as a warning. Marie took hurried aim. "Boom!" went her cannon, and from its mouth a seven-inch shot was hurled over the "Concord," between its main and mizzen masts. It went a trifle high and did no harm.
"Bang!" went one of the port batteries on the "Raleigh" and before its flash was gone a shudder shot through every vein, every nerve and every fiber of Marie's body. Such a crash she had never heard before. "War is hell" to be sure. She sniffed the smoke from her own gun, and looked around to see what had happened. The stone precipice behind her was torn into fragments. A man's hand protruded from the debris. "My God!" she murmured. Yes, there was the evidence. The man who had sat by her side and who sent up the rocket, lay cold in death. His head was torn off and his body was mangled among the pieces of broken rock. The gunner on the "Raleigh" had done his work well; and Marie's dream of American cowardice, of their poor marksmanship and of her ability to sink Dewey's flag ship, were shattered in an instant. She had fired the FIRST gun of the war, but not the LAST!
AVENGED HER LOVER'S DEATH
After Dewey's fleet had passed the island and entered the bay, proper, Marie crept up to the top of the cliff and awaited the results. As she sat there shivering with fright, day began to dawn. Presently she heard the Spanish batteries on Point Cavite fire a heavy shot—then a second one; and a few minutes later she saw flames of fire and smoke belching forth from the starboard sides of Dewey's entire squadron. Then the Spanish fleet, lying off of Point Cavite, commenced a united and simultaneous action.
Shells rent the air; the men on both fleets cheered as they beheld the effect on the enemy of a well-directed shot; smoke-begrimed gunners, with the perspiration washing light-colored furrows down their manly cheeks, stood at their guns and worked like demons as they swabbed their cannon and crowded into them shot after shot. Hissing projectiles that missed the opposing ships and plunged into the bay, were throwing volumes of splashing foam into the air. Dewey's vessels were moving in a figure eight and using alternately the several guns on their port and on their starboard sides, while the Spanish ships moved about promiscuously among each other in an awkward fashion, over a small area, and fired only as an opportunity offered.
"Thank God, I'm out of range of the demons," said Marie to a Spanish officer who had come to her side.
Just then, there was a lull in the battle. Dewey's ships ceased firing and withdrew to the middle of the bay. No apparent damage had been sustained by the vessels of either command.
"The old fellow is going to quit," said Marie to the Spanish officer who stood erect with his field glasses carefully trained on Dewey's squadron.
"They're coming this way, Marie," said the officer.
"My God! where will we go, if they come past the island and open fire on us again?" shouted Marie. "We haven't a mounted gun left to shoot with."
The officer remained quiet. Presently he said, "They've stopped and are dividing up their ammunition. Evidently they are going to resume the fight."
He guessed it right. In thirty minutes Dewey's vessels were heading straight for the Spanish fleet. His first shot set on fire the beautiful Spanish flag-ship, the "Reina Christina." Then her magazine blew up. She was hastily scuttled on the beach near Cavite and deserted amid great disorder by that portion of her crew which was able to leave. The dead and the dying were left to their fate. Magazines in several other Spanish ships soon blew up. In a few minutes most of them were on fire. Dewey's gunners were doing deadly execution. Hundreds of Spanish soldiers could be seen jumping from their burning vessels into the ocean.
"Now what is he going to do?" said Marie, with some excitement, as she saw one of Dewey's ships, the "Concord," disengage herself from the rest of the fleet and head straight for a large Spanish gun-boat that was lying off to herself and whose sole business it seemed was to keep up a deadly fire on Dewey's flagship, the "Olympia." The Concord literally disembowled her.
"The heartless wretches!" exclaimed Marie, as she watched another American ship, the "Petrel," leave the line of battle and make a rapid run right past the Spanish fleet for the village of Cavite. "I wonder what the villains are up to now." In a few minutes the Petrel returned, with six small vessels in tow as prizes. In addition, she was flying at her mast head this signal, "Have destroyed eight vessels."
Dewey's ships moved over toward the city of Manila, took their positions in line and remained quiet.
"What time is it?" asked Marie of the Spanish officer who stood near her.
"Twelve-thirty," answered he, as he looked at his watch.
Marie whiled away the afternoon watching the Spaniards on Corregidor island burying their dead comrades. She wanted to go home, but she feared to go past Dewey's fleet.
That evening things became solemnly quiet; and the blazing sun, as its face reddened into nightly slumber beyond the watery horizon of the Pacific, bade farewell to a finished deed, which, in the history of naval warfare, has never been surpassed; while the pale-faced moon, moving slowly up her appointed path, looked calmly down with her quartered cheek in silent benediction on the blazing hulls of the Spanish ships as they slowly cremated their dead and dying.
The next day the Spanish Commandante on Corregidor discovered that Dewey had blockaded the port of Manila, so he restrained Marie from starting home for nearly a week.
Finally, she got permission to go. As she passed Dewey's fleet she was surprised to find everything so peaceful and to see dozens of native canoes hovering along the port-holes of his vessels, selling fruit and curios to his men.
Marie reached home in the early evening, and found her old mother frantic because of her absence and the excitement that had taken place.
During the next few weeks while Dewey was waiting for reinforcements from home, many strange things occurred on shore. The Filipinos captured or killed nearly all of the smaller Spanish garrisons distributed throughout the islands. On May 26, they secretly cut down the Spanish guards walking their beats along the western side of the little town of Cavite, and let in a horde of Tagalos well armed with bolos, who crept up near a large stone cathedral, built in 1643, in which the Spaniards, as a military necessity after their defeat by Dewey, were making their headquarters. These Filipinos made a mad rush through the back door of the building and captured all the Spaniards being quartered therein. This feat also gave them possession of another lot of Mauser and Remington rifles and a goodly store of ammunition, for which they had been yearning.
Dewey had no men whom he could spare to send ashore; therefore, he had left these surrendered Spaniards to take care of themselves. Evidently he did not anticipate an attack upon the garrison at Cavite, or he might have landed enough marines from his battleships to have prevented it.
When Marie heard about the capture of the Spanish garrison at Cavite by the Filipinos, she at once rowed over there to see what was going to be done with the prisoners. This was the first time she had been at Cavite since the day of her lover's tragic death. She found the Filipinos jubilant over their new fire-arms. But many of them had never before used a gun and they were very awkward with them, so that accidents were constantly occurring. The privileges of target practice given to Marie by the Spaniards, in times past, now found a new reward. She organized the Filipinos into squads for this training, arranged suitable targets for them, supervised the loading and cleaning of their guns, and by voluntary assent became the leader in a whole lot of nefarious mischief in the neighborhood.
But what about her lover's dying request and the vow she registered in her aching soul as she left the scene of his death? By remaining away from the graves of our loved ones we may check memory and enthrone reason, thus more rapidly overcoming sorrow. By constantly resorting to places of grief we keep that grief, whatever may have been its cause, fresh on the tablets of our memories. The fact that Marie had not returned to Cavite, the scene of her sorrow, for about two months, helped her to forget it and to flirt with fate among the very troops who had caused it. Now that she had returned to Cavite, old visions began to haunt her. Shooting at wooden targets was not desperate enough to appease her nature; she longed for bloodshed.
Between herself and a few Filipino leaders she concocted a scheme that would be hilarious, avenge the death of him whom she had briefly mourned, as well as the deaths of Rizal and thousands of other Filipinos who had been shot or strangled by the Spaniards, and satisfy the longings of her innermost nature. It was this: a pit twenty feet in diameter and ten feet deep was to be dug on the higher ground a few miles southwest of Cavite. Each morning twenty of the captured Spaniards were to be marched out to this pit and made to slide down a bamboo pole into it. The Filipino soldiers, armed with their newly-captured rifles, were then to stand around the brink of this pit and use these half-starved Spaniards for living targets. Marie gloated over her new enterprise. What sport! How she enjoyed it! The Filipino's marksmanship was poor and many of their unfortunate prisoners were shot over a dozen times before they were stilled in death. This bloody practice was kept up until over two hundred Spaniards had been slain.
About this time rumors of what was being done reached the ears of General Anderson. He ordered it stopped, and sent food ashore, under American escorts, for the Spanish prisoners. These prisoners, before being led to the slaughter, were housed by the Filipinos in an unfinished portion of the old convent at Cavite, and in some large stone buildings without floors and with only a few windows, heavily barricaded with iron bars, formerly used by the natives for storage purposes for various cargoes of raw materials, preparatory to exportation. These buildings were dark, damp and infested with a multiplicity of insectivora.
The Spaniards, imprisoned therein, were fed by the Filipinos on a very small ration of uncooked rice. This they had to pound into meal, and eat it out of their hands. Water, although plentiful, was denied them, except in small quantities. They had no beds, but slept on the bare ground. Many of them were practically nude. They had staid by their guns on the Spanish fleet until their ships began to sink; then they had jumped overboard and swam ashore, taking off most of their clothes before making the attempt. The Filipinos had little clothing to give them and no disposition to share what they did have.
These half-starved wretches, pale, lean and ghostly looking, many of them sick with fever and other ailments, none of them with a cent of money, were a sickening sight to the American troops whom General Anderson sent ashore to investigate their circumstances and conditions. Of course the healthier ones were marched out and killed first. Some of them began to cry when the American officers, pushing the Filipino sentries aside, poked their vigorous manly faces through the openings of the massive doors to see who and what was on the inside; but most of them propped themselves up on one elbow and held out the other hand for something to eat. Others indicated by motions that they wanted paper and pencils, so as to write letters home, telling their loved ones in far-off Spain that they were still alive, and asking for money.
As the Americans began to empty their haversacks and hand hard-tack and Boston baked beans to them, some of the prisoners seized them by the fingers and kissed the backs of their hands in grateful homage for their kindness. A few of the more ignorant ones, who had heard so much about the cruelty of the American soldiers, and who, upon sight of our officers, believing the end was near, had sought a kneeling attitude and begun to pray, gradually sank back into a reclining posture and held out their hands for a morsel of food.
The Filipino guards sulked when they were displaced by the American sentries, and some of them had to be forced from their posts of fiendish duty at the point of the bayonet. They considered these Spaniards as reprisals, constituting their own private property, with whom they could do as they pleased without any justifiable interference on the part of anybody. Marie Sampalit slapped an American private who had been sent to displace a Filipino sentry whom she had just stationed at one of the prison doors. He promptly knocked her down with the butt of his rifle. What she said in reply he could not understand.
After avenging her lover's death, Marie returned again to Manila where she remained at home until the Filipino uprising against the American troops in the spring of 1899. During this interval of nine months, she daily frequented the places of rendezvous of the American troops stationed in and around Manila. She also went to the officers' homes in the city where their wives and children were stopping. She did their washing, and cared for the children. Her congeniality made her a favorite. Some of the American ladies offered to bring her back to America with them for a house-hold servant.
From them she learned to speak the English language nearly as fluently as Spanish. The American soldiers were kind and polite to her. She made considerable money by doing washing for them. It was noticeable that she was gradually improving the old bamboo home in Manila. In a few months she had come into possession of more money than she thought there was in the entire world. Most of it was American gold—largely in five dollar denominations. (This is what the United States used in paying the soldiers.) These she took to the Spanish bank in Manila and exchanged them for Mexican silver, which, until the United States began to issue special coins for the Philippine islands, was the standard medium of exchange in the archipelago.
Marie began to dress better. Her penia cloth gave way to Chinese silks; her wooden hair combs to expensive ones inlaid with gold, bought at the Spanish bazar down town. Many little comforts were bought for her home. Still the washings kept growing larger. She and her mother could be seen back of their shack, in the shade, pounding American soldiers' white uniforms on large boulders from early morning till night.
Aguinaldo, who had previously sold out his country and gone to Singapore, after commissioning Dimiguez, upon hearing that war was about to begin between the United States and Spain, made his way northward to Hongkong. After the battle of Manila Bay, Dewey despatched the revenue cutter, "McCulloch," to Hongkong to cable home the news of his splendid victory. On her return to Manila, she permitted Aguinaldo to come along.
After a brief conversation with Admiral Dewey on board the "Olympia," he went ashore at Cavite, his boyhood home, began to organize the Filipinos into a powerful army, captured 1500 Spanish soldiers who were holding out-lying posts, and hemmed in the city of Manila.
On August 13, following, Dewey and General Merritt, by a union of their forces, captured the city of Manila which offered but slight resistance. Aguinaldo's native troops rushed forward with the Americans in the charge that was made by the land forces and they insisted on looting the city. General Merritt refused this and ordered them to withdraw beyond the city limits. This they did after considerable wrangling. Then the Americans established out-posts on every road and pathway leading to and from the city, completely around the town; and they were given instructions by the commanding officer not to allow any Filipino troops to enter the city.
Aguinaldo discarded his uniform one evening, completely disguised himself as a Filipino fruit-vender, and made his way into Manila. Naturally, he slipped around to the home of his old friends, the Sampalits. He sat in a semi-darkened room, with all the hinged-windows to the shack tightly closed and stroked Marie's soft black hair with his left hand. As he engaged her and her mother in conversation in subdued tones, he little thought that in so short a time Marie would be associated with him in a series of bloody tragedies that would revolutionize the government of the islands forever.
"Marie," said he, "I'm going to force the Americans to acknowledge the independence of the Philippine islands, or I shall not permit the rest of their army to land. Dewey tells me he has sent home for reinforcements. There is no use for us to let these troops land, if America instead of Spain is going to govern the islands. What we want is absolute independence with myself as president of the new Filipino Republic. If the Americans won't concede this to us, let's fight!"
"That's what I say!" declared Marie. "Let's drive the foreign devils off the islands or slay them all. Here's father dead and—Dimiguez, too"—Marie's voice trembled—"I tell you it's too much. Let's kill every one of them!"
"Yes; but say Marie, we must keep quiet about all this," cautioned Aguinaldo. "I'll tell you what I have in mind. We'll wait about four weeks and by that time if Dewey hasn't received definite instructions from Washington, and if he won't give me any satisfaction, I'm going to go to Malolos, proclaim myself Dictator of the Philippines, appoint a cabinet and a congress from among some of the bright young Filipinos here in Manila who have been educated abroad, draw up a Revolutionary form of government, and begin to administer the affairs of these islands just as I please.
"We'll keep our present army in the field, and if the Americans do land we'll shut them up in Manila, so that they will have nothing at their command but the city to regulate. This won't amount to much as compared with the rest of the islands which I will dominate."
"Are you sure the Americans won't land a powerful army, cut through your lines around Manila and drive you out of Malolos, or capture you and your officials at that place? It seems to me I would go farther inland—say to San Isidro," said Marie.
Aguinaldo thought a moment, then replied: "That's true, in a sense, Marie; but I have got to be on or near the railroad where I can have easy and rapid access to Manila. Malolos is not far from here and it is situated on the railroad. It has some very large buildings in which our legislative sessions could be held. I think it the place for the undertaking.
"To be on the safe side, I believe I will have our troops erect a series of fortifications between here and there along the railroad track, so that if the Americans do attempt to advance by that route I can easily stop them."
"I think that would be a good scheme," said Marie. "Malolos is about twelve miles from Manila Bay; besides, the bay is shallow in the north end, so that heavy boats could not go up there. This will make it impossible for Dewey to shell the place with his fleet. We've got to watch out for that—no matter what we do. My! but those American ships can shoot! Did you hear about me shooting at 'em with that cannon on Corregidor island when they entered the bay? I mighty near got one of their vessels."
"No," said Aguinaldo, "I have not heard very much about the firing off Corregidor, but as I came from Hongkong the other day on the "McCulloch" I noticed that the Spanish fortifications on the island had all been dismantled."
"Why! they killed a man right at my feet, the very first shot," said Marie; "and then one of their boats drew nearer and fired several times more and they killed every Spaniard in the relief guard which was near by,—seven of them in all."
"And I was terribly worried about Marie," interrupted her mother who had listened to the conversation with deepest interest. "She had been gone for a week, and I hadn't heard a word from her."
"Oh! well, I don't pity the Spaniards any for what the Americans did to them," interjected Aguinaldo, with some emphasis.
"Be careful," said old lady Sampalit, putting her finger on her lips, "don't speak too loud."
Aguinaldo continued in a lower voice: "They killed your husband. They shot Rizal. They strangled Dimigeuz. They tortured to death several hundred of our young fellows in the dungeons. They have left ridges of dead wherever their armies have moved among us. I tell you they deserved all they got."
Mrs. Sampalit and Marie had grown heavy hearted. Aguinaldo looked at his watch. It was after ten P. M.
"I wonder," said Aguinaldo, hesitatingly, "how I shall be able to get back to our lines tonight."
"Don't go!" said Marie, in an emphatic whisper, "stay over night!"
"Yes, do!" entreated the old lady, "I'm nervous."
"It might be best; it would surely be the safest thing to do," said Aguinaldo, in a meditating manner.
"We sleep on bamboo beds," said Marie. "There stands mine. You may use it tonight, and I will sleep on the floor. I don't mind. Mother and I frequently lie down on the floor near the window, when the nights are sultry."
The next morning Aguinaldo arose very early, made his way to the edge of the city and stealthily stole out threw the Americans' lines, never again to return to Manila until General Funston brought him back, two years later, a captive.
He made his way to Malolos, a few weeks after this conversation, declared himself "Dictator of the Philippines," appointed a Filipino congress, set up a government of his own and began to run the general affairs in the interior of Luzon.
The close of the eventful year of 1898 was near at hand. General Otis had been made governor-general of the islands. He had received about 15,000 troops from home. These had all been landed and were quartered in the city of Manila.
Preparations had begun by the American troops for a great day of field sports to be held on the Luneta—a beautiful narrow park paralleling Manila bay and extending southward from the walled-city about four miles—on New Year's day, 1899.
On the afternoon of January I, as planned, the exercises were begun. The afternoon program consisted of foot races, running high jumps, wheelbarrow race, fat man's race, running broad jump, high kicking, fancy club swinging, tumbling, shot-put, sack race, tugs of war, five boxing contests, base ball, foot ball, and pole vaulting.
Situated on the Luneta, about a mile south of the walled city, and distant from Manila bay about 100 feet, is a large bandstand. This served as headquarters for the exercises. The day was perfect—clear, cool and calm.
About 2:00 P.M. over 40,000 natives, soldiers (including jack-tars from Dewey's fleet, Spaniards and Americans) and foreign residents had assembled around this bandstand to hear the Address of Welcome and to witness the sports. When the speaker arose to deliver the address, for which he was afterward voted, and presented with, a medal by the Eight Army Corps, he said in part (verbatim report):
"On behalf of these committeemen who have spared no efforts to make these Field Day Exercises a success, and this occasion one long to be remembered by those who have assembled here this afternoon, I bid you, one and all—officers, soldiers, sailors and civilians of every nationality—a hearty welcome."
"Again to you, the members of Admiral Dewey's fleet, I feel obligated to extend a separate and special welcome; for without your chivalrous devotion to duty last May Day, yon shell-riven wrecks (part of unraised Spanish fleet visible above the bay) would not bespeak the down-fall of a sister nation, and we ourselves would not have been permitted to assemble here this afternoon. There is no braver man on land or sea than the American marine; and on behalf of the entire American army of occupation, I bid you a most cordial welcome."
Touching upon the question of territorial expansion, the speaker said:
"This was a war for humanity, not for conquest. But simply because it suddenly closed and left us in possession of large tracts of new territory, is no reason why these spoils of war should be given up. I hold this to be true Americanism: that wherever the old flag is established through sacrifice of American blood, whether it be on the barren sands of the desert, at the frigid extremes of the earth, or on the rich and fertile islands of the sea, there is should remain triumphant, shedding forth beams of liberty to the oppressed, shouts of defiance to the oppressor, and furnish protection and enlightenment to all who come beneath its streaming folds forever!" (applause).
A chubby Filipino maiden, standing near the speaker's stand, and who had listened intently to every word of the address, because she now understood the English tongue, quietly elbowed her way through the dense crowd which was gradually becoming more compressed, until she reached a car drawn by two Chinese ponies on the old street car line running south from Manila to Fort Malate and back. Taking the car she rode up town to the Escolta. Going into the postoffice, she hastily wrote and mailed to Aguinaldo at Malolos a letter containing an account of what was said. It follows:
"Manila, P. I., Jan. 1, 1899.
My Dear General:
Those wretched Americans are holding some kind of exercises on the Luneta this afternoon. I heard one of the speeches. It was awful bad. The fellow talked loud. He swung his hands in the air and the crowd seemed to get terribly excited over what he was saying.
He told about that treaty of peace, and he said no power under the sun would haul down the American flag from over Manila.
It made me angry. I am going right out to the Filipino trenches to see my Uncle (Colonel Miguel). He'll fix those fellows. I'll bet he'll haul down their flag before tomorrow morning.
The evening program on the Luneta, which followed the afternoon exercises, was largely literary in its nature. It consisted of music by the California band, singing by the famous Washington Male Quartet, fancy dancing, selected recitations, and stump speeches. In addition, Privates Green and Martin boxed four rounds, much to the satisfaction of the natives.
The program had just been completed when the Master of Ceremonies received from the American general in charge a note telling him to announce the conclusion of the program at once and to order all soldiers to report immediately at their respective regimental headquarters;—trouble had been reported at the out-posts. Reinforcements were hastened to several of the out-post reserves, and it appeared that the expected insurrection was at hand.
After the out-break by the Filipinos on New Year's night, it was evident to both sides that it was only a question of a short time when blood would be spilled in abundance. The Filipinos occupied all of the block-houses—some seventeen in number—around the city of Manila. This forced the Americans to stand in the open and do guard duty exposed.
The Filipino troops were saucy. They couldn't understand why men should be armed with rifles and not be permitted to shoot. They tormented the American soldiers daily with hideous pranks. They grew bolder, and pushed their out-posts forward until they stood within a few feet of the American sentries.
Marie went out and back through the American lines at will. She secretly kept the Filipino army thoroughly posted on the arrival of new troops from America. Occasionally she would take the train and go up to Malolos to see Aguinaldo. She was the best posted person in the Philippines as to what was going on in each of the hostile armies. Nobody suspected her. She was respected by the American troops. Everybody came to know her.
Just before dusk, on the evening of February 4th, 1899, Marie and her mother left the city of Manila, in a cariole, drawn by a Chinese pony which they had recently purchased. They had in it all of their most precious household trinkets. As they passed Colonel John M. Stotsenberg, commanding the 1st Nebraska volunteers, stationed on McLeod's hill at the eastern edge of Manila, he recognized them, and called to Marie, "Where are you going?"
"Out on a little trip," retorted Marie.
"How soon will you be back?" asked he.
"O, I can't tell," responded Marie. "Mother is getting so nervous that we thought best to go away for awhile."
"Say, Marie," said the colonel, "do you know who the Filipino officer is in command of all those thousands of troops that are now assembling in the ravines between the hills along the far side of the river valley, yonder?"
"No, I do not," she declared with an emphatic swing of her head.
But she was lying. It was Colonel Miguel, her own uncle. She knew about it. He had secretly informed her that he was preparing to attack the city and burn it and that he was going to exterminate the American army of occupation and all foreign residents that fell into the hands of his mighty army. He told her that he had chosen the east side of the city as his main point of attack, so that Dewey could not reach his troops with the shells from his gun boats in case he tried to assist the American army, without elevating his guns and shooting completely over the city—a thing wholly impractical within itself, as Dewey could not determine whether his shells would be falling among the Filipino or the American troops. It was he who advised her to take her mother and flee to the hills for refuge.
Colonel Stotsenberg then asked Marie if she knew anything about the proposed attack on the city by her people. This, she denied also. The colonel's face flushed. Pulling back the flap of his tent, he said emphatically: "Do you see that gun, Marie? Tell those fellows over there when you pass their lines that I said they could have trouble whenever they want it."
Marie drove on.
Inside the colonel's tent stood a large gun from the Utah battery, mounted, loaded, ready for action; its threatening nose was pointed directly at the line of little brown men assembled across the valley. The Filipinos were smarting for trouble. They wanted it badly. Wherever and whenever possible they improved every opportunity to bring it about. The trouble came. Colonel Stotsenberg that night used the cannon he had pointed out to Marie. A long pile of mangled forms lying at the base of the river hills on the opposite of the valley next morning told the results.
AS A SPY
Marie was well equipped by instinct and experience for a spy. The tragic nature of such work was exceptionally inviting to her. When a chance came to undertake it, she lost no time in embracing the opportunity.
After passing out through the American lines, she drove on down the slope of the hill and crossed the San Juan River on the old stone bridge where the fighting was begun that night by young Grayson of the Nebraska regiment. After reaching the Filipinos' lines she at once reported to her uncle, Colonel Miguel, and had an extended interview with him.
Secret plans were agreed upon whereby she was to become the colonel's chief scout. Two Filipino soldiers were sent to accompany her old mother to the little town of Angono on the eastern bank of Lake Laguna de Bay, near its northern end. A native family, quite familiar with the Sampalits and related to them, lived in this village. Marie stayed with the troops in the field. Her young brain danced at the thought of more bloodshed. She must be in the fight.
Just what part Marie took in the attack made upon the Americans by the Filipinos on the night of February 4th, and in the fighting on February 5th, the world will never know. The two main figures in these operations were Colonel Miguel, in command of the main portion of the Filipino forces, and Colonel Stotsenberg, who commanded the 1st Nebraska volunteers. Before the close of the war these men were both shot; consequently, there is no one left to tell the story, and history is silent on the point.
After the fight of February 4 and 5, the entire line of block-houses and intrenchments circumscribing Manila, were in the hands of the Americans. From the Pasig river on the east, around the city to the bay on the north, this line was commanded by Major-General MacArthur; the corresponding semi-circle on the south, by Major-General Anderson.
During the next seven weeks, fresh troops were constantly arriving. Each side was preparing for the long, inevitable conflict.
At day break, on March 25, General MacArthur, leaving Hall's brigade in the trenches and placing those of Otis and Hale on the firing line, which was over seven miles in length, made a brilliant charge along the entire front on the Filipinos' breastworks about a mile and a half distant and constructed parallel to those of the Americans'.
Before night he had cut the Filipino army into hopeless fragments; had advanced his own army over nine miles; had inflicted a terrible loss upon Aguinaldo's troops; had demonstrated to them the difference between a determined American advance and an irresolute Spanish one; and had taken up in earnest the invasion of Luzon, the capture of the Filipinos' temporary capital, Malolos, the overthrow of their provisional government, and the establishment of American sovereignty throughout the entire archipelago.
That night, about eleven o'clock, a nervous Filipino woman came walking down along the American out-post reserves which, during actual war, are usually only from 100 to 200 feet in the rear of the sentries. She reached Company "G's" reserve of the 1st South Dakota Volunteers, where she was ordered to halt. She refused, but acted as though she did not understand. Drawing a large bamboo bonnet down over her face to conceal her identity, she mumbled something apparently to herself, and walked rapidly on. In a moment she was seized; her bonnet was torn off; her identity revealed: it was Marie.
She had been counting the American out-posts and the reserves to see if the defeated Filipinos, with the reinforcements which they had received, would be warranted in making a night attack.
She boldly denied her identification; fought, scratched, scrambled—making it necessary to employ two privates, a corporal and a sergeant to send her to the rear.
When she was taken before Major William F. Allison, commanding the 3rd battalion of the South Dakotas, who was acting as field-officer that night, he ordered her restrained until morning. A tired private was detailed to guard her. He gave her a rubber poncho, and insisted that she wrap herself up in it and lie down to sleep. Although she drew the poncho about her to keep herself warm (it grew very chilly before morning) she refused to sleep, and made repeated efforts to escape. Her teeth chattered and she seemed distressed—evidently through fear of what the morning might bring to her.
The next day she was set free, after taking a solemn oath to return to Manila and not take any further part in the insurrection. She pleaded earnestly for her liberty, and voluntarily promised that after her return to Manila she would do washing free of charge for the American soldiers who were sick in quarters.
After being liberated, Marie walked eastward, following an irregular sled-road; that is, a road-way used by the Filipinos for sledding their rice to market. This is done by means of a bamboo sled drawn over the dry ground by a caribou. She followed this road for over two miles until she came to the San Mateo river.
Although given a few hardtack by her captors at the time of her release, she was getting hungry. As she approached the stream she noticed an old Filipino standing near his bamboo cabin which was neatly tucked away oh the slope of a deep ravine near by. Turning from her pathway which had now grown somewhat indistinct she approached the old gentleman.
When quite close to him she said, "Buenos dias," (Good morning in Spanish.)
"Magandang umaga," (Good morning, in Tagalo), muttered the old man.
After a brief conversation during which Marie told him that she had been captured by the Americans, had been terribly misused and he had a miraculous escape, he invited her into his cabin where his aged wife gave her something to eat. This breakfast consisted of boiled rice, some fish which the old man had just brought from his set lines in the San Mateo river, and some bacon which he had found along the trail made by the American's pack train the day before.
While the old couple were outside of their home—he breaking up some bamboo with which to re-kindle the fire, and she, cleaning the fish—Marie ransacked the house. She stole a large diamond ring which the old man had taken from the finger of a Spanish officer during the previous insurrection. She opened an old mahogany chest and took from it a rosary valued at several hundred dollars; also a gold lined cup which the old man, himself, had stolen from a Spanish priest, and some Spanish coins.
After a hearty lunch, she started on.
Crossing the river at the rapids, on the boulders which projected above the water, she quickened her steps and hurried along. Changing her course to the southward, she started for the northern end of Lake Laguna de Bay to see her mother.
She had not gone far through a small clump of timber when she came upon the corpse of a Filipino soldier who had been shot in the previous day's engagement,—perhaps by a stray ball. Hastily stealing the cross which hung from a small cord about his neck, and a valueless ring from one of his fingers, she seized his Mauser rifle and his cartridge belt which was partly filled with ammunition, and then resumed her journey.
A short distance ahead was a large opening—an old rice field well cleared. She had scarcely begun to cross it when she heard a noise. She turned and saw the bow-legged old man whom she had robbed, with a machete in his hand, coming after her as fast as he could. He had discovered that the rosary was missing, and upon looking around, that several other things were gone; therefore he at once started in pursuit of the fiend who had just enjoyed his hospitality. Marie was not disturbed. Raising to her shoulder the rifle which she had just found, she took deliberate aim and at the first shot laid him low in death.
She reached the small native village of Angono, where her mother was stopping, about four o'clock in the afternoon of March 26th.
The old lady was wonderfully elated to receive the new jewels which Marie had stolen. She put on the rosary and danced about in the native hut like a young child on Christmas morning, when it sees the gorged stocking fastened to its bed.
OFF FOR BALER
That night Marie had a good rest. The next morning, fired with ambition and discontent, she lit her accustomed cigarette and started for Manila. Instead of going overland, she went in a row boat via the Pasig river which drains the lake into Manila bay and which flows through the city of Manila situated at its mouth.
While stealthily prowling around through Manila during the next few days, Marie accidentally discovered that plans were being carried out by the Americans to relieve the remnant of the old Spanish garrison of fifty men stationed at the little town of Baler, near the eastern coast of Luzon. This garrison was of course surrendered to the American forces with the remainder of the Spanish army on August 13, 1898, but as all lines of communication with them had been destroyed by the Filipinos they had never been officially notified of the capitulation. Scouting parties brought in the information that they were being besieged by a horde of blood-thirsty Filipinos which outnumbered them ten to one, and that it was only a question of time before all would be exterminated.
Accordingly, Admiral Dewey and General Otis decided that something must be done at once to relieve them. A rescuing party was formed and placed aboard the "Yorktown," which carried them around the southern point of Luzon and then northward to the mouth of the Baler river.
Marie, nerved by the thought of a new exploit, forgot her oath not to take up arms against the Americans again during the insurrection, and hastily departed overland for Baler to notify the besieging Filipinos of what was to take place, and to help them as best she could to resist the advance of the rescuing party.
Although Baler is situated on the Baler river, near the eastern coast of Luzon, and Manila is on the west side of the island Baler is, nevertheless, almost directly north of Manila. This is caused by the deep indention of Manila bay, on the extreme eastern side of which Manila is situated, and by the abrupt inclination to the westward of the eastern coast line of Luzon directly above a point straight east of Manila.
In starting on her journey Marie left Manila by a little Filipino foot-path which enters the city in the northeastern part near the San Sebastian church. She followed it to Block-house No. 4, which is situated about three miles north and a trifle east of Manila. At that point she took a road which veered off perceptibly to the east for a short distance and which was made by the Americans' commissary train on the morning that the advance was begun toward Malolos, March 25, preceding.
She had gone but a quarter of a mile when her attention was attracted to a board used as the head-stone for a grave only a few feet distant from her pathway. She walked over to in and found these words inscribed thereon:
"R. I. P. D. O. M.
Wat Erbuf Falo
Born — (?) Died, February 12, 1899.
To those who bring flowers to this lonely grave, Some facts on its headstone we wish to engrave; If this mound could speak no doubt it would tell Bill Sherman was right when he said, 'War is Hell.' He charged on two pickets whose names are below; They took him for niggers,—poor wronged buffalo. As to the way he met death, everybody knows how; As to whom he belonged we don't caribou.
Signed: Barney and Barkley, Co. "M," 1st. Col. Vols."
It was now April 2nd, and Marie had ahead of her about ninety miles overland to be made on foot or else on horse-back; and it was necessary for her to hurry along, as the rescuing party was scheduled to reach the mouth of Baler river April 10th, or 12th.
Her course led past the little shack on the bank of the San Mateo river, where she had robbed the elderly couple who had been so kind to her and near where she later had shot the old man when he was pursuing her to regain possession of his stolen property.
She found it deserted; but in a little bamboo corral nearby she found three Chinese ponies. Evidently they had made their escape from the scene of battle and had drifted into this yard for refuge. There was a small stack of rice straw just outside the corral. From this Marie soon made a stoutly-twisted rope which she hastily arranged in the form of a bridle. Placing it over the head of the largest pony she mounted him and rode off.
She got ten miles beyond this last stopping place before sunset. That night she stopped at a small inland village. As she lay down to sleep on the bamboo floor in the hut of a Tagalo family whose acquaintance she had readily formed, recollections of the place which she had passed during the afternoon where she had previously robbed the old couple immediately after she was released upon oath by the Americans, suggested to her the thought that she was violating her oath; that she was now out in a country where she might be betrayed at any moment by her own people, or else be captured by a squad of American infantry or cavalry; therefore, she decided that on the following day she would destroy her identity.
Upon retiring the previous night Marie coiled up for a pillow her head of long black hair. "I hate to give it up," thought she, "but what will the Americans do to me if they capture me another time? Oh! well, after the war is over it will soon grow out again."
The next morning, after a scanty breakfast of bananas and rice, and a pineapple which Marie salted heavily before she ate it, she went to a native barber and had her long hair cut close to the scalp, except for a little tuft on top which she had him brush up for a pompadour.
Before cutting off her hair the barber tied a piece of hemp very tightly around it, just back of her neck. After he had detached it, he held it in front of Marie and asked her what she wished done with it. She took it in her own hands.
The barber kept on trimming her shortened hair. Marie stopped talking and seemed to be in deep meditation.
Presently the barber said. "That's all."
Marie arose from the rough mahogany slab on which she had been sitting, handed him a puesta (twenty cents, Mexican), looked out of the window and said, "I'll tell you what I'll do: I'll trade you my hair for that quilas (two-wheeled cart) standing there."
"All right"; said the barber, "My pony is dead, and the war has so devasted the country, and money has become so scarce, that I can't afford to buy another one."
"The harness hanging on it goes with the cart," said Marie.
"Oh no!" exclaimed the barber, "my wife borrowed that, and I must return it."
"It doesn't make any difference to whom it belongs," said Marie, emphatically, "you traded me the cart, and everything that was in it goes with the trade. How do you suppose I could hitch my pony into the cart without a harness?"
Just then she pulled a bolo out from under her apron. The barber said no more.
Marie hitched her pony into the cart and started on toward Baler.
That day she followed a good road leading toward the mountains near the eastern coast of Luzon. By night her pony had made twenty miles.
She had already reached the foot-hills. It was impossible for her to make head-way any longer with the cart. She would soon be across the mountains and be in the region to be approached by the American relief party. What was to be done?
A happy thought came to Marie. She clasped her hands and muttered to herself, "I'll trade the cart for a suit of men's clothes and trade the harness for a sombrero," (bamboo hat.)
Since the middle of the afternoon she had been driving parallel to a stream that wound its way, nearby, from the mountains across the plains to the sea. Villages along the banks were numerous. At night fall she was still in Tagalo territory. It was her own tribe. She soon found a place to stay over night. Her pony was turned loose in a vacant yard, with an old bamboo fence around it, and given some young rice.
That evening while smoking cigarettes, and while inflaming the minds of the villagers with startling stories about the atrocities, of the American soldiers, Marie finally succeeded in making the trade which she had planned during the afternoon.
Next morning, April 5, she rode on. Before her lay sixty miles of unknown territory to be covered during the next four days, if she were to reach Baler in time to warn the besieging Filipinos of the contemplated attack by the Americans.
A half mile out from the village, Marie came to an abrupt turn in the road. Near by was a dense cluster of banana trees. She dismounted, and while her pony was nibbling young rice she went into the thicket and changed her attire. Then she tied a good-sized stone up in her old clothes and threw them into the river. As she stood on the bank watching them sink, she saw her shadow in the water. How changed she looked! The sombrero was such a relief in keeping the hot sun off her head.
"Now, I'll not be recognized," thought she. "How nice it is to be dressed like a man. From now on I mean to play a man's part and be a full-fledged soldier."
THE GILMORE INCIDENT
Marie reached her destination late in the evening of April 9th, and she at once notified the officers commanding the Filipinos who were besieging Baler, what to expect. Knowing that with so small a force, if the Americans undertook to relieve the Spanish garrison, it would necessarily have to be done by way of the Baler river—as the town of Baler where the Spanish garrison was located is some two miles up the river from where it empties into the Pacific ocean, and the American troops were too greatly outnumbered by the Filipinos to make a land expedition safe,—she suggested to them the advisability of fortifying the river at specific intervals along either bank and of taking the precaution to cover the fortifications with freshly-cut brush so that the Americans could not locate them for the purpose of bombarding them in case they saw fit to load some of the smaller cannon on cascoes and make their way up the river for an attack in that way.
The Filipinos took her suggestions, and the entrenchments and places for the sentries were quickly, yet very wisely, arranged. It was during the dry season and the river was very low at the time. This made it possible to dig ditches on the sand bars which extended far out into the stream; and by throwing into the river the loose sand taken therefrom, to conceal these entrenchments by strewing over them some fresh-cut limbs and old under brush which had the appearance of having drifted to their lodgment.
The Yorktown arrived off the mouth of the Baler river, April 11, as scheduled. Ensign Stanley went ashore, under a flag of truce, where, to his surprise, he was cordially received by the Filipino officers; but their exceptionally good behavior and the twinkle of their eyes told only too plainly to the ensign that something was wrong. He therefore returned to the Yorktown without having accomplished anything in particular.
The next morning, at four o'clock, Lieutenant Gilmore and sixteen brave associates left the Yorktown in a row boat, and entered the mouth of the river. Ensign Stanley and Quartermaster Lysac were put ashore to reconnoiter. In a few minutes daylight broke forth and those left in the boat were discovered by the Filipino sentry who was walking his beat along the shore. He gave the alarm. Lieutenant Gilmore and his party could easily have pulled out to sea and gotten away, but humanity forbade it. What would become of the two scouts who went ashore? Their comrades in the boat could not desert them, so they rowed up the river into the very jaws of impending danger.
Presently out of a concealed trench hundreds of armed Filipinos opened a deadly fire on Gilmore and his comrades, at only fifty yards distance. The water at this point was shallow. The boat got stuck in the mud. There was nothing to do but to fight. In a moment Morrisy fell dead, having been shot through the head; Dillon followed; then McDonald, then Nygard;—Marie was doing deadly work with her Mauser rifle.
The Americans returned the fire as best they could; but what was the use. They could see nothing to fire at, so perfectly had the Filipinos screened their trenches; besides, the Filipinos were using smokeless powder.
Four of Gilmore's men were already dead, two were mortally wounded and begging their comrades to shoot them before they fell into the hands of the Filipinos, and two more were slightly wounded. Most of the oars had been badly shattered by the enemy's rifle balls. In this moment of desperation, Ellsworth, Woodbury and Edwards jumped overboard and tried to push the boat out to mid-stream. It was no use; the tide was coming in and the current was so strong that they could not compete against it.
Lieutenant Gilmore was firing his revolver. He decided to change and use one of the dead men's rifles. As he picked it up he noticed the lock had been struck by a Remington ball and the clip had been jammed in. He handed it to an apprentice lad, named Venville, to be fixed.
The boy had scarcely begun to examine the gun, when a bullet struck him in the fleshy part of the neck. He had never been under fire before. Looking up calmly, he said, "Mr. Gilmore, I'm hit."
In a moment another bullet struck him in the chest and came out of his arm pit. With his attention riveted on his task, he remarked, "I'm hit again, Mr. Gilmore."
Only a moment later another ball grazed the side of his head and cut a painful wound in his scalp. "Mr. Gilmore, they've hit me again," he muttered, while he kept on working at the gun, with blood running down all over him.
In a few minutes a fourth ball passed through the lad's ankle, one of the most painful parts of the body in which to get shot. This time, with a slight tremble in his voice, he said, "Mr. Gilmore, I'm hit once more; but I've fixed your gun, Sir."
Just at this moment the Filipinos saw that the Americans' fire had practically ceased. Throwing back from off their trench the limbs and underbrush that had concealed them, the Filipinos, armed with guns, spears, bolos and clubs, made a bold dash for the boat and captured the entire crew.
THE AMERICAN PRISONERS
Those of the Americans who were alive and able to help themselves were ordered to go ashore on the sand bar, where the Filipinos robbed them of their personal effects and then lined them up preparatory to shooting them all down in a body. Gilmore, being an officer, protested against having his hands tied. He claimed, according to the accepted rules of warfare, that on account of his rank he had a right to die honorably with his hands free. The Filipinos have great superstitions about "rank" in military affairs. Marie knew the significance of Gilmore's request; she respected it.
The Filipinos had loaded their rifles, cocked them, raised the same to their shoulders, had taken aim, and Marie was about to give the fatal command, "Fire!", when a shout from the bank stopped her and for a moment engaged the attention of both the Americans and the Filipinos. It came from a Filipino officer, running down to the shore. He ordered them to stop. One second longer would have been too late.
This Tagalo officer ordered the Americans to get back into their boat and to row across to the opposite shore. After bailing the water out of the boat and plugging up the holes in it made by the enemy's rifle balls, they obeyed his command.
When they went ashore, Lieutenant Gilmore asked permission to bury his dead comrades. This privilege was emphatically denied. What was done with their bodies by the Filipinos is hard to tell, but in all probability, as was customary with the natives, they cut them into fragments and threw them away.
The ones who were mortally wounded, but who were still alive, were placed under a tree by Gilmore and his comrades, and left to die. The Lieutenant asked that a native doctor be summoned to give them aid, but it was not done. What their fate was Eternity alone will reveal.
Gilmore and his comrades picked up the lesser wounded and carried them, and together the whole procession was marched inland about a mile to the Filipino Commandante's headquarters.
Here they were questioned at length. Gilmore asked permission to write a note to the commander of the Yorktown telling him of their fate. Permission was granted, but the note was never delivered. The two scouts who went ashore, returned to the Yorktown in the afternoon and reported that they had heard heavy firing up the river.
After waiting several days for news of some kind for them, and finally concluding that they were either captured or killed, the crew of the Yorktown, heavy-hearted over their failure and their sacrifice, steamed back to Manila.
During the afternoon of the same day that the battle took place, the American prisoners were ordered to march to an old bamboo church in the northern outskirts of the little town of Baler, a mile and a half farther on. By this time the wounded men were suffering terribly. Little Venville's ankle had swollen badly. From his four wounds he had bled so much that he had grown faint. Therefore, he and several of the others had to be carried.
En route to their new destination, the Americans passed in sight of the old stone church being used as a fortress by the Spanish garrison whom they had originally set out to relieve. The Americans had gone to the Philippines to fight the Spaniards. They were now sacrificing their lives to save them.
At the bamboo church, an old Filipino with a kindly face and a manner that elevated him above his fellow tribesmen, came in to see them. He examined the wounded and then disappeared. Presently he returned with some large leaves that resembled rhubarb, under his arm. Out of the big stems of these native herbs he squeezed a milky secretion which he permitted to drop into the gaping wounds of the Americans. The torture of the wounded occasioned by this liquid was damnable. The men grew deathly pale. They rolled and screamed and begged to be shot. But it did not last long. In ten minutes the torture had ceased, the men became quiet, the swelling around their wounds was gradually reduced, and their temperatures soon lowered. The herb doctor evidently knew his business.
The next day the Filipinos received orders from Aguinaldo, who, with his appointed congress, was now at San Isidro, to march the captured Americans to his headquarters. Accordingly, the trip was undertaken. But the apprentice lad, Venville, was unable to go along. Obeying the stubborn orders of the rapacious Filipinos his comrades left him lying on the floor of the old rickety bamboo church,—wounded—uncared for—suffering—hungry—thirsty—dying. A year later the assistance of the entire naval organization in the Philippines was given to the task of trying to ascertain from the Filipinos in the neighborhood of Baler some information concerning the lad's whereabouts or his burial place, but no trace of him, dead or alive, could ever be found.
An aged mother, ill and bowed, Keeps asking, "Where's my boy?" But zephyrs from the Orient Refuse to bring the joy.
Amid great privations the marching column crossed the mountains and the fertile plains on the opposite side, to the city of San Isidro. It was heralded in advance that the Americans were coming through the country. Obeying their greatest national instinct—curiosity—the natives assembled by thousands in the villages along the road. Every one of them kept crowding forward to get to touch the Americans to see what their skins felt like. Others were looking for the long feathers in their hair, which they had heard so much about. It was all the Filipino guards could do to restrain their own people. The latter, like monkeys, jabbered incessantly. Gilmore's men hurled back at them defiant epithets. They realized that involuntarily they had become the chief actors in a new moving circus.
Again, when they reached San Isidro, a great throng of curious natives had come to town to see them. These fellows were very hostile to the Americans. It was all the native guard could do to keep the Filipinos from doing violence to them. Gilmore was again questioned at length and then he was separated from his comrades and all were hurried off to jail.
In a few days it was rumored that the American army was approaching the city. Aguinaldo and his associates hurriedly prepared to leave. Orders were given to march the prisoners overland north and then westward across another range of high mountains to Arancay, on the western coast of Luzon,—a distance of 100 miles.
This time the crowd of prisoners was greatly increased. At San Isidro there were added 600 Spaniards; a small tribe of mountain Negritos whom Aguinaldo had originally sent to fight the Americans, but who, being armed only with spears and bolos, soon got tired of seeing their number decrease so rapidly before American riflemen, and refused to fight, and who were later imprisoned and terribly misused by Aguinaldo's selected guards; and eighteen Americans in addition to Gilmore's party (total twenty-six Americans), who had been captured in as many different ways around Manila by the crafty, cunning Filipinos. Among them was Frank Stone, of the U. S. Signal Corps, captured by some "amigos" (friendly natives) on the railroad track near Manila, while out strolling one Sunday afternoon; Private Curran, of the 16th U.S. Infantry who was grabbed within fifty feet of his own outpost, gagged and dragged into captivity; also a civilian who had gone to the Philippines to sell liquor.
This fellow was captured by the Filipinos in the outskirts of Manila while he was searching for a small boatload of stolen beer. He was the life of the expedition. He took his captivity as a joke, told stories to keep the prisoners good natured, and painted on ever boulder that he passed the seemingly sacrilegious words, "Drink Blank's beer on the road to H——." It was, however, this harmless practice that later on enabled the American relief party to follow the prisoners' trail.
After reaching the western shore of Luzon, the party was marched northward along the beach, another 100 miles, to the city of Vigan. Here they were imprisoned for three months longer. The sudden presence of an American war-ship in the harbor, off Vigan, caused the natives to abandon that city and start inland with their prisoners for some mountain fastness. The Americans were separated from the rest of the prisoners whom they never saw again.
High up in the mountains of northern Luzon, two of the American boys were taken sick with fever and fell down, exhausted. The Filipino lieutenant who had charge of the prisoners, ordered them to go on; they could not. He threatened to shoot them. Gilmore interceded for them without avail. The Americans refused to leave their Anglo-Saxon comrades and prepared to fight. At this moment the Filipino officer himself was suddenly taken ill, and by the time he was able to advance, the sick Americans were able to go along.
A few days later they struggled over the crest of the divide and came upon the headwaters of a beautiful mountain torrent dancing down the rocky ledges in its onward course to the sea. At a widened place in the canon, the Filipinos withdrew from the Americans, and with guns in hand took their positions on the rocks round-about and above them.
"Prepare to die," said Gilmore to his companions; "they are going to shoot us." Calling the Filipino lieutenant to his side Gilmore asked him why he did not shoot them on the opposite side of the mountains, and not have made them make all of that hard climb for nothing.
The native officer said in reply: "My orders were to shoot all of you when I got you up in the mountains, where, in all probability, your bodies would be destroyed by wild animals and no trace of them ever be found by your countrymen; but a few nights ago when you showed me that crucifix tattooed on your chest while you were a midshipman in America, I decided not to carry out my order, but to let you all go free. I may be punished for disobedience of orders; but we are both bound together by the great Catholic church, and my conscience forbids that I should kill you."
Gilmore replied: "You might as well shoot us as to set us free away up here in the mountains in our weakened condition with nothing to defend ourselves with against the savages whose territory we will have to cross in order to get to the sea. Can't you spare us at least two rifles and some ammunition? If you will do this, I will give you a letter which, should you fall into the hands of the Americans, will make you safe and bring you ample reward."
The Filipino looked meditatingly at the ground for several moments, then he calmly said, "I shall not dare to do it. An American relief party, seeking your liberation, is close on our heels. They will protect and care for you. Goodby!"
Gilmore did not believe him.
Under cover of the night the Filipinos disappeared. In the morning, after nine long, tedious months of captivity resulting from Marie Sampalit's depredations,—sick, nearly starved, practically nude, with nothing but two battle axes and a bolo for both weapons of defense and for tools—the Americans at last found themselves free men in the wilds of northern Luzon, with positive death left behind, and with possible life and all of its happy associations still before them.
Their first day of liberty was spent in preparing bamboo rafts on which to float down the tortuous, winding river to the sea. The next night they all slept well; and on the following morning, just after they had gotten up and begun to saunter around, everybody present was suddenly shocked by the shrill yell of a strong American voice. They all looked up, and while their hearts for a moment seemingly stopped beating and fairly rose in their throats, the liberated prisoners beheld the blue shirts and khaki trousers of Colonel Hare's rescue party that for several weeks had been on their trail.
What rejoicing! The bony, ill-clad prisoners fell on the strong bosoms of their rescuers and wept.
Colonel Hare's father, Judge Hare, of Washington, D.C., knew Gilmore personally. He had seen the military reports of his captivity among the natives. When his son bade him goodby as he started for the Philippines, Judge Hare said, "My boy, God bless you; find Gilmore and bring him home!" Colonel Hare had remained true to his trust.
The party could not retrace their steps over the mountains, owing to the weakened condition of the prisoners and the lack of food. Their only chance for self-preservation and a possible return to civilization lay in carrying out Gilmore's designs to build bamboo rafts and float down the river to the sea. This was done. In going over rapids and water-falls, many rafts were destroyed and new ones had to be built.
Two of the boys got the measles. The raft on which one of them, Private Day, was being transported, got smashed on the rocks and he was thrown into the water. He took cold and died the next day. His comrades took his body with them and did not bury it until they finally reached the little town of Ambulug, at the mouth of the stream they had been following, on the northern coast of Luzon. There, amid a simple but impressive ceremony, it was buried in the church-yard of the cathedral to await the resurrection morn.
At Ambulug the Americans secured ox-carts drawn by caribous and drove along the beach to the city of Aparri, at the mouth of the Cagayan river. Here they were met by a detachment of American Marines who took them aboard a war-ship, lying out to sea, which carried them around the northwest promontory of Luzon to the city of Vigan on the western coast, at which place they had been imprisoned for so long.
Here they met General Young who shook hands with each of them; congratulated the rescued and complimented the rescuers.
DEATH OF GENERAL LAWTON.
After the battle of Baler, Marie and a few native soldiers hastened westward in advance of the prisoners, to San Isidro to notify Aguinaldo who had moved his headquarters to that place, that the Americans were advancing northward in great numbers and that nothing could impede their progress. This information had previously been conveyed to the Filipino general from other sources, so that Marie found him in his so-called congress packed up and ready to move,—a thing they were forced to do a few days after the American prisoners arrived. She accompanied them for several long, tedious months, acting as cook for the expedition and serving in other capacities—none of them seeming to her to be ample reward for all she had done.
Early in the coming fall, Marie, tired of Aguinaldo's game of hide-and-go-seek, and anxious to find out about her mother and to get into more fighting, if there be a chance, made her way back to Manila.
But her conscience bothered her. She remembered that broken oath and many other acts of wanton treachery that would shock the civilized world. She feared that her own life would soon be sought either by the Americans or by the Filipinos. Accordingly she suggested to her mother that they again go to her aunt's in the little town of Angono at the north end of Lake Laguna de Bay, where she had left her mother stationed when last they had parted. Her mother, growing old and nervous through accumulated years, past grievances, hard work and the strain of the present conflict, favored the plan; and so they departed on December 2nd, taking the same road over McLeod's Hill and on down over the Santa Mesa bridge that they had traveled on February 4th.
Before leaving Manila she learned through the private Filipino Junta which was secretly assisting in the war by accumulating funds for its prosecution and by distributing among the native troops the inflammatory literature which was being promiscuously sent out by the people in the United States who opposed the war, that a secret reward of $10,000. had been offered for the death of General Lawton.
About the middle of December, 1899, the General had returned to Manila from another telling campaign northward, when he learned that the Filipinos were assembling in large numbers under one of their fearless leaders, General Geronemo, on the San Mateo river, but a few miles out of Manila, for the purpose of making one more attempt to break through the American lines guarding that city.
On December 17, Marie heard that another attack was to be made on Manila, so she left her mother at Angono and made her way to the Filipinos' camp along the San Mateo river, only a few miles south of where she had crossed it at the rapids the morning after she had been liberated under oath by Major Allison.
The next day, she was in secret consultation with Geronemo, and she disclosed to him all the information she had concerning the defenses of Manila.
That evening, Filipino scouts, dressed in female attire, brought to General Geronemo the news that the Americans, under General Lawton, who was supposed to be away up in the northern part of Luzon, had anticipated his movements and were assembling in the woods on the opposite side of the valley in large numbers, possibly for a night attack.
Marie told Geronemo what she had learned while in Manila concerning the reward that had been secretly offered for the killing of General Lawton. He knew all about it and confirmed the offer. She told him all about her training as a marksman with the Spanish on Corregidor island and of her subsequent experience, and said she knew General Lawton well; that she could single him out, and in case he led his troops, as he usually did in battle, she was sure she could capture the prize.