HotFreeBooks.com
Young Glory and the Spanish Cruiser - A Brave Fight Against Odds
by Walter Fenton Mott
1  2     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

YOUNG GLORY.

Patriotic War Stories.

Issued Semi-Monthly—By Subscription $1.25 per year. Entered as Second Class Matter at the New York, N. Y., Post Office, March 26, 1898.

Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1898, in the office of the Librarian of Congress, Washington, D. C., by Frank Tousey, 29 West 26th Street, New York.

No. 3. New York, April 22, 1898. Price 5 Cents.



Young Glory and the Spanish Cruiser;

—OR—

A BRAVE FIGHT AGAINST ODDS.

BY AUTHOR OF YOUNG GLORY.



TABLE OF CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I.

SHOOTING A PRISONER OF WAR—A COMRADE TO THE RESCUE.

CHAPTER II.

FLYING FOR THEIR LIVES—A BOLD EXPEDIENT.

CHAPTER III.

MORE VISITORS TO THE HUT—DAN DALY ROWS DOWN THE CREEK.

CHAPTER IV.

YOUNG GLORY AND CAPTAIN RUIZ CALDERON—IN THE CAMP OF THE PATRIOTS.

CHAPTER V.

AT VALMOSA—YOUNG GLORY DENOUNCED.

CHAPTER VI.

FIGHTING IN THE BOATS—DAN DALY ARRIVES.

CHAPTER VII.

ARRIVAL AT THE BROOKLYN—DISCOVERING A RAFT.

CHAPTER VIII.

YOUNG GLORY ON THE NASHVILLE—AT SAN JUAN DE PORTO RICO.

CHAPTER IX.

THE FIRST SHOT—A HOT FIGHT.

CHAPTER X.

BOARDING THE CRUISER—THE LAST STAND.

CHAPTER XI.

YOUNG GLORY TO THE RESCUE—A SURPRISE FOR THE BROOKLYN.

CHAPTER XII.

THE SPANISH PLOT—YOUNG GLORY'S DANGER.

CHAPTER XIII.

FORTUNE FAVORS YOUNG GLORY—CAPTURE OF THE MAGAZINE.

CHAPTER XIV.

JUAN AND LIEUT. TYLER—WHAT YOUNG GLORY DID.

CHAPTER XV.

THE CRUISER IN DANGER—A PRICE ON YOUNG GLORY'S HEAD.

CHAPTER XVI.

CONCLUSION.



CHAPTER I.

SHOOTING A PRISONER OF WAR—A COMRADE TO THE RESCUE.

"Sorry to keep you waiting, senor."

"Faith, an' it's a polite nation I always said ye were."

The first speaker, a Spanish officer, laughed mockingly as he uttered this apology.

The man to whom he addressed his words was Dan Daly.

Dan had been a boatswain's mate on the battle ship Indiana, then on the Cruiser Columbia, and he was now filling a similar position on the Cruiser Brooklyn. Dan Daly was Young Glory's bosom friend, and the Irishman had been the companion of the gallant young hero in many of the daring exploits that had given him world-wide fame.

Dan's position now appeared desperate.

A landing party from the Brooklyn had been surprised by a body of Spaniards in a small village, not many miles from Matanzas, an important town on the north coast of Cuba.

After a short but desperate encounter, the American sailors, overwhelmed by numbers had retired to their boats, leaving Dan Daly behind, a prisoner in the hands of the Spaniards.

A short, quick trial took place. Dan was denounced as a spy, and instantly sentenced to death. It was ordered that the sentence should be carried out at once. So now Dan stood looking death calmly in the face as he had so often done before.

A file of soldiers was rapidly marching to the place of execution, and their heavy tread could be plainly heard as each moment they drew nearer.

The prisoner was standing against a wall, and immediately behind him was a closed door, which was the rear entrance to a large house in the village.

The house itself was at least fifty yards from this wall.

"Ah! how are the men?" said the Spanish officer. "So your waiting days are over."

The file of soldiers drew up about thirty yards from the doomed man, and as they grounded arms the sound sent a sickening sensation through the brave Irishman's heart.

"Shure, it's not war, but murther's your trade," said Dan. "It's the haythins thimselves wouldn't be afther tratin' me this way."

"Talk on," said the Spaniard, coolly, "if it does you any good. It won't alter matters. You have been condemned, and must die."

"Ah, but it's revenged I'll be."

"How?"

"You won't ask when you see the Stars an' Stripes, the flag of the free, floatin' over this island."

The Spaniard laughed contemptuously.

"That day will never come. Bah!" he added, stamping on the ground, "why do I waste time talking to a miserable Yankee spy?"

The man turned away. But in an instant he came back to the prisoner.

"Spy or not," he growled, rather than spoke, "I suppose you're a human being."

"Faith, an' if you are, I'm not."

The Spaniard's face grew dark with passion.

"Silence! I ask you if you have any request to make. If possible, it shall be carried out."

"Shure, an' I have, then."

"Quick! my men are waiting. Speak!"

"It's Young Glory I'd like to spake to. I'd like to shake his hand—" Dan's voice faltered here—"before I die."

"That young wretch!" cried the Spaniard, savagely. "So you're his friend?"

"The truest he iver had."

"Then, as Young Glory is not yet in our hands, your request is denied."

Dan's eyes twinkled with fun. The nearness of death could not depress him.

"Shure, it's in no hurry I am. I can wait till you catch him."

The Spanish captain glared fiercely at Dan. Then he faced round towards his men.

"Are your rifles loaded?" he cried.

"Yes, yes, senor capitan!"

"Shoulder arms, then. Wait for the word."

Dan stared round, taking his last look of the earth.

The brave fellow had refused to have his eyes bandaged, and now he was staring defiantly at the men who were to be his executioners.

"They may miss you, senor, the first time," said the Spaniard. "Our men can't fire as straight as you Yankees."

Dan Daly understood what this speech meant. It was virtually a command to the firing party not to kill at the first volley. They intended to prolong Dan's agony.

"Ah! you tremble," cried the Spaniard, gleefully.

Dan held out his hand.

"Faith, it's not you can make my hand shake. It's firm as a rock."

The Spaniard bit his lips with passion. He saw that he could not subdue the proud spirit of the American sailor, and he had hoped to see him writhing on the ground with fear, begging for mercy.

"Yankees are animals, not men," he said, savagely. "No matter, the world is about to be rid of one of them."

"We shall see."

The words were not spoken by Dan, yet they seemed to come from the spot where he was standing.

Instantly the door in the wall was thrown open, and a man dashed through. He seemed to be a Spaniard, for he was wearing the Spanish costume.

Before the officer could raise a hand to defend himself, the stranger was within a yard of him, holding a six-shooter at his head.

Dan was paralyzed with astonishment.

The firing party had lowered their rifles. They had broken their ranks, and were talking together excitedly and rapidly.

By this time the Spanish officer had somewhat recovered from his surprise, and the color which had left his cheeks began to return.

"Who are you?" he demanded, sternly.

"Speak lower, senor, a little lower. I allow no one to address me thus."

"Address you! Caramba! I speak as I please. I am master here!"

The stranger laughed mockingly.

"We won't discuss that point, for I see we shall not agree."

"What do you want?"

"Ah! That's a different question, and I'll give you an answer. You have a prisoner here, an American sailor."

"What of it?"

"He is your prisoner no longer. He is mine."

"You dare to interfere between me and an enemy of your country!"

"I dare do even more than that, senor capitan."

"I will soon put an end to this farce. Hold!"

The officer called to his men, and instantly they were all attention.

"Put a bullet into this impudent rascal."

Quick as lightning the rifles went to the shoulders of the soldiers.

But the stranger was quite prepared for this maneuver.

Like lightning he grasped the Spanish officer and drew him towards himself.

"Now, senor capitan, you are between me and your soldiers. Your late prisoner is behind me. If your men fire, whom will they hit?"

The officer trembled. He saw that it was impossible for his assailant to receive one bullet. The soldiers were also aware of this fact, and so they stood motionless, not daring to fire.

The Spaniard then assumed an air of bravado.

"This is all childish," he said.

"You think so?"

"I know it. You have, by a trick, got me in your power, but for how long?"

"For a sufficient time."

"You are foolish. You have sacrificed your life without helping the prisoner."

"We shall see."

"Yes, and quickly. Supposing you kill me. What follows?"

"Faith, you're dead!"

It was the first word the Irishman had spoken.

The Spaniard glanced ferociously at him.

"I was not speaking to that fool, but to you. I ask, supposing you kill me, what follows?"

"Senor capitan, that won't happen, so we'll not talk of it. Come!"

"Come!"

"You heard me. Walk steadily forward. I'll step backwards keeping my eye fixed on your soldiers. I don't want any harm to happen to you, and they may fire without thinking."

The stranger made a sign to Dan to go before him, so now the prisoner, the stranger and the captain stood in single file, the last named being nearest the soldiers and thus acting as a perfect shield.

"Oh, you won't stir. Very well!"

With these words, finding the officer did not move, the stranger held his six-shooter a little nearer to him, and gave the Spaniard a threatening look.

"Ah, I thought so. Now you walk."

"You have me in your power. I must, but I will have a bitter revenge. Senor, you are cowardly!"

"Cowardly! Ha! Ha! a pretty accusation from you. What! you talk about cowardice! You, who don't know how to treat a brave enemy as a prisoner of war, but place him up against a wall to have him shot down as if he was a dog. Senor capitan," continued the stranger, speaking very sternly, "you have excited my hatred. Another such speech as your last and you will earn my contempt."

Dan Daly was moving along like one in a dream.

By this time he had reached the door which still stood open.

"Pass through," cried the stranger in a commanding tone.

Instantly Dan did so.

"And me?" asked the officer.

"You will stay where you are."

"And yourself, senor, where shall I find you?" asked the officer, sarcastically.

"That you will know when you discover me!" answered the stranger, defiantly.

With these words he grasped the Spanish officer by the shoulders, and using all his strength to throw him backwards, sending him with such force to the ground that he rolled many yards.

Then like lightning he dashed through the doorway, closing the door behind him, instantly.

Bang! Bang!

A volley of bullets came, burying themselves in the wood.

They were too late to do any damage, for the door was closed before the soldiers fired.

"Now, Dan Daly," said the stranger, "if you value your life, follow me."

"Young Glory!" cried the Irishman, astounded.

"And who else did you think it was?" retorted Young Glory, as he led the way through the garden.



CHAPTER II.

FLYING FOR THEIR LIVES—A BOLD EXPEDIENT.

Behind, a furious rush was being made at the door.

Even if this did not give way, it was an easy matter to scale the wall. So Dan Daly and Young Glory had no time to lose.

"Friends of yours live here?" questioned Dan.

"No, no! Don't talk, but look about you!"

A narrow passage led to the side of the house, and as the fugitives reached it, a man stood in their way.

"You cannot pass," he said.

"But we do," retorted Young Glory, bounding forward, and giving the man a furious blow in the face with his fist. Down he went like a log.

"Shure, he's punished for not kapin' to the truth," laughed Dan.

"Now our troubles commence," said Young Glory. "Across this court-yard, or patis as they call it, Dan, and then we're in the street."

Several people, evidently servants belonging to the house rushed into the patis, but none of them attempted to interfere with the two Americans. They seemed completely scared, and stood with startled looks on their faces as the fugitives dashed past.

Now they were in the road.

This part of the village was deserted, for all the people had gone round to the rear of the house where the execution of Dan Daly was to have taken place. It was a sight they did not care to miss.

So Young Glory and Dan crossed the road and then entered a thick wood, which seemed to them to have no paths in it.

Through it they pushed their way, listening intently for sounds of their pursuers. Their progress was slow, but so would that be of the men who were after them. The only advantage the latter possessed was that they knew the country.

"Water!" cried Young Glory.

"It's a river, shure," said Dan.

"No, there's no river in these parts. I'm certain of that. It must be a creek—part of the sea, in fact."

"Faith, it's small use talkin' about it. It's there, an', begorra, our goose is cooked; we can niver get any further."

"It's a bad lookout."

"An' why shouldn't we swim, Young Glory?"

"And be shot down. How long would it take us to get to the other side? Why, if we escaped the bullets the Spaniards would send after us, we'd find the enemy waiting for us when we landed. That's so, Dan; take my word for it."

Dan turned slowly round. Young Glory regarded him with amazement.

"Where are you going?"

"It's savin' time I want to be. We can't escape. It's yourself said so, an' shure I'll jist go back an' meet the Spaniards."

"Pshaw! We are not captured yet, Dan! There are more ways than one of getting out of a difficulty. We'll keep along by the creek, close to the trees, ready to get amongst them if anybody shows up."

"It's in your hands, I am," said Dan Daly, resignedly.

Now, Young Glory knew the position was very serious. He had not the faintest notice how they were to escape.

It might have been possible for him to have got away, but not for Dan. The Irishman was wearing an American naval uniform. To desert Dan, of course, never entered Young Glory's head.

Dan put his hand on the boy's arm at this moment.

"It's back ye must be kapin'."

"Why?"

"Shure, there's a house."

"I see it."

Young Glory's face brightened instantly.

"By jingo, this may be our salvation!" he cried.

"It's puzzled I am!"

"I'm not. Stay where you are, Dan. That is to say, get amongst these trees till you hear from me."

"But where are ye goin'?"

"Going to call on some friends of mine who live in that house."

Before Dan could say a word, Young Glory was gone, and the Irishman, mindful of his safety, hid himself amid the bushes, still keeping a watch on the house to which his comrade was going.

Young Glory walked boldly up to the hut, for it was no more, and hammered sharply on the door.

He had no cause for fear. He was dressed in the native costume, and spoke the language perfectly.

It was some few minutes before any one answered his summons, and then the door was opened by as villainous-looking a man as Young Glory thought he had ever set eyes on.

The man was apparently about forty years old, not tall, but broad-shouldered and strong.

"Good-day, comrade," said Young Glory, gayly.

The man growled forth a reply.

"Come, come, that's not very civil. A drink and a rest is what I should expect you to invite me to have."

"Go on expecting," answered the man, savagely, showing his teeth as he spoke. "It's all you'll get out of me, senor."

"You're not polite. Caramba! it's living alone has made you like this."

"If I want to live alone," answered the man, adopting a threatening attitude as he spoke, "is it anybody's business but mine?"

"Certainly not," said Young Glory, aloud.

Then to himself he said: "Now, I know there's no one else in the house. Good, that decides me."

"Well, comrade," said Young Glory, smilingly, "people tell me that I've a way with me there's no resisting."

"It has no effect on me."

"Are you sure?"

Quick as a flash, just as the words came from his lips, Young Glory drew his six-shooter from his belt, and held it at the man's head.

"Ha! Ha!" laughed Young Glory, "you change color. You see I was right. Don't you think so?"

"What's your game?" asked the man, sullenly. "I've done you no harm, never seen you in my life before, so you can't want to kill me. And as for robbing me, well, try it. If you get enough to buy yourself a drink I'll be surprised."

"Get into the house," said Young Glory. "Back with you. Hi! Hi!"

The last two cries were meant for Dan, who heard them, and was in time to see Young Glory entering the hut. Dan noticed that his comrade had signed to him, and he immediately ran towards the place.

In a moment he was in the hut.

"A friend of mine, Dan Daly," said Young Glory.

"The top of the mornin' to ye, senor," cried Dan, taking off his cap, gravely. "It's meself's plased to meet you."

"You're an American?"

"Yes."

"Curse you!"

"Our friend's not polite, Dan," said Young Glory. "I've found that out already. But, to business."

"Business!"

"Yes, Dan. We've much to do. Take this man, gag him, and tie him up securely."

Dan rushed at the fellow without another word.

"Quiet! or I'll shoot you," said Young Glory, seeing the man about to resist.

The sight of the pistol effectually settled the matter, and Dan did his work so expeditiously that the man was lying at the rear of the hut hidden under a heap of rubbish in a very few minutes.

"Now, you must skip, Dan."

"Me?"

"I said so."

"But you?"

"Oh! I stay here," answered Young Glory, carelessly. "You see, the men in pursuit of you will come up very soon, and I must be here to receive them."

"Begorra, it's murther!"

"I think not."

"Young Glory, it's throwin' your life away ye'll be; they'll know you at once."

"We shall see."

"But where shall I hide?" cried Dan.

"Rush to the woods and stay there."

"They will search the woods."

"Not after they've heard my story. I'll put them off the trail. Quick! Get away!"

Young Glory ran to the door of the hut. Then he came back with a look of dismay on his face.

"Too late!" he cried.

"What!"

"Too late, I said. The Spaniards are coming up by the creek. You can't get away from this house now without being seen."

It was Dan's turn to look scared now.

"It's your own fault," answered Young Glory, impatiently. "You would waste the precious moments by arguing the point, so see what you've brought us to. There's only one thing for you to do now. Under with you."

"Where?"

"Get alongside our friend. Keep him company. Lie still, Dan. It's your only chance."

Young Glory assisted in covering Dan up, and this done, he threw off the hat and cloak he was wearing, and secreted them. Then he hastily assumed some old garments he found in the hut, rubbed some dirt over his face, pulled his hat over his eyes, and with a cigarette between his lips took his station at the door to wait for the soldiers.

Spanish soldiers are not very ceremonious in their treatment of civilians. So Young Glory found himself roughly addressed by the officer in charge of the detachment.

"You live here?" said the officer.

"Yes, senor capitan," answered Young Glory, "this is my poor house."

"Very well. You're the man I want. Have you seen anybody pass this way?"

"No."

"Have you been standing here long?"

"Yes, for an hour."

"And you saw no one pass?"

"I said no, senor capitan."

"They must have passed this way," said the officer, in a low voice, to his sergeant. "The fellow's deceiving us."

"Pardon, senor capitan," said Young Glory. "I have something to say. Just now I saw two men."

"Two men!" cried the captain, excitedly. "It must be they. Where! Where!"

"They came out of the wood about two hundred yards below, and seeing me standing at the door they darted back again into the trees."

"Ask him what they were like," whispered the sergeant. "That will test his story."

The officer, pleased with the suggestion, put the question.

"Like! well, now, it wasn't as if I had many minutes to examine them, and, besides it was too far off for me to tell the color of their hair or eyes."

"Fool!" exclaimed the captain, savagely. "Their dress! that's the point."

"One of them seemed to be a civilian, a Cuban I should say, capitan. The other, was certainly a sailor, a navy man, the——"

The captain waited for no more.

"Our men," he cried enthusiastically. "They cannot escape us now."

Young Glory threw away his cigarette and smiled as he looked after them.



CHAPTER III.

MORE VISITORS TO THE HUT—DAN DALY ROWS DOWN THE CREEK.

"You can crawl out of your shell, Dan, now," said Young Glory, when the last soldier had disappeared.

"Faith, that's a comfort. An' what did them sogers want?"

"They were looking for you, Dan. They found me, but didn't know me."

"It's great ye are, Young Glory. There's nobody but yourself could decave them. It's time we have for talkin' now, an' it's mesilf 'd like to know how ye stopped them spalpeens from shootin' me."

"When I saw you taken prisoner, Dan, I determined to save you. The boats went back to the cruiser, but I didn't."

"Ye stayed on shore?"

"Yes. By good luck I managed to get into a house while everyone was away, and get a change of clothes. Then I came to look after you. Why, I was present when they tried you."

"No!"

"But I was. It's not Young Glory's way to desert a comrade, Dan."

The Irishman pressed his hand warmly.

"It's the lucky man who has yourself for a friend, Young Glory."

Dan began foraging about the hut now.

"It's food an' drink I'm afther," he explained, "an' partic'larly the last. Ha! what's this? Wine! Well, it can't be helped."

"What did you expect to find?"

"A drop of the craythur, shure. It's much I'd give for three fingers of whisky."

The two seamen made a good meal of some cold fish and bread and the bottle of wine, most of which latter going down Dan's throat.

Then Dan lit his pipe.

"Hurroo! but it's great. It's happy as a king I'm feelin'."

"For how long? We can't stay here, Dan; we must get out of this."

"But not till it's dark."

"Perhaps not."

"It's Captain Miles won't go away, Young Glory. He'll be afther kapin' the cruiser near."

"Yes, I feel certain he will. I've no doubt he's doing his best to rescue you, Dan."

And so the two talked on, Dan smoking and Young Glory thinking how they might make their escape.

It seemed as if night would come and find them chatting.

An interruption took place.

Young Glory from time to time went to the door of the hut and glanced up and down the road. Now he came back quickly.

"Your hiding-place again, Dan."

"Why?"

"There are more soldiers coming."

"Murther!"

"There will be if you don't hurry."

The warning was enough. Dan was out of sight in a moment.

This second visit to the hut alarmed Young Glory greatly.

He saw that things were in a very critical position.

In the event of a thorough search it was absolutely certain that Dan would be discovered.

As the soldiers approached the hut, Young Glory tried hard to maintain his calm. He saw with surprise that all these men were officers. So much he could tell from their uniforms.

When they came to the hut they found Young Glory sitting at the table, busily engaged in mending some fishing lines which he had found in the hut.

He sprang up quickly as the leader entered, and saluted him respectfully.

"Welcome, senor capitan."

"My good fellow," answered the Spanish officer, "myself and my friends here won't interfere with your work. Go on, I beg. We only seek a short rest."

Young Glory put the fishing lines away.

"It is nothing," he said. "My friend who lives here is away to-day, and I am keeping house for him, so I thought I would do a little work."

"Has he anything in the drinking line?" cried a young lieutenant. "That's more to the point."

A shout of approval followed.

"You don't speak very often, Ruiz," said one of the officers, "but when you do, you display the wisdom of Solomon."

The officers, making themselves quite at home, bustled about the hut, as Dan had done, searching for drink.

Young Glory was on thorns all the time. Detection seemed imminent.

"Sit down, senores," he cried. "I will myself search for the wine."

"But it's found," cried one of the officers, gayly. "Why, my good fellow, your friend must be in the liquor business. He's a regular cellar of wine here. Come on, gentlemen; take your choice. Here's claret from France, Rhine wine, brandy, Amontillado from Spain, and whisky and wine from America."

"Nothing American for me!"

"Good sense again, Ruiz. Let us try the Amontillado. It will remind us of our country."

The proposition found favor, and several bottles were opened, and the soldiers helped themselves.

"Your friend's a smuggler," said one of the officers to Young Glory.

The latter shook his head.

"My good fellow, it's a matter of indifference to us what he is. He's a benefactor of his species, anyway. Don't you agree with me, gentlemen?"

They all raised their glasses and shouted boisterously.

Young Glory began to breathe more freely now. There was not a word said as to the escape of Dan Daly and the search for him.

Very soon he discovered from the talk that the officers were in complete ignorance of it. They were posted with their regiment a considerable distance from the village, and were now on their way to headquarters there.

What they had said was true. They had merely stopped at the hut in the hope of obtaining refreshment. No doubt they would soon take their departure.

The wine loosened their tongues, and they began to talk freely. Young Glory lost not a word of what was being said, for it seemed likely that he would hear something that might prove valuable.

"Where to to-night, Ruiz?" asked one man.

"Why ask him? He'll be waiting for the fair Julia. Her eyes will glance at him from the balcony."

"Wrong for once, gentlemen," said Ruiz.

"Captain Calderon is inconstant," laughed another officer.

"Oh! Ruiz, I did not think that of you."

"And if you did, you would be wrong. No, comrades, luck's against me to-night. I'm on duty."

"Garrison duty?"

"Worse."

"Can anything be worse?"

"I said so."

"Tell us, Ruiz."

"I'm going to Valmosa."

"What for?"

"There is a lot of ammunition collected there."

"I heard of it."

"Well, it's to be moved to-night to this place."

"You'll have hot work. The rebels are in force between here and Valmosa."

"Everybody knows that."

"I wish you good-by, Ruiz," said one of the officers, solemnly. "Old fellow, I pity you!"

"Pshaw! there's no danger. It's only the discomfort I'm thinking of. We are going to bring the ammunition to this place by water."

"What!"

"There's no cause for surprise. It's the simplest way."

"But the American cruiser. Think of that, Ruiz. She's sure to be hanging around."

"And if she is, it's a matter of very little consequence."

"But you'll be stopped."

"No. We shall be in small boats and keep close in to shore. Now, the Yankee cruiser must stay a good way out, for the water's not deep enough to let her in. To-night will be dark. There's no moon till two o'clock, and so it's simplicity itself to get the stuff through."

"Why did they send you? You don't belong to those fellows at Valmosa."

"Never saw one of them in my life. But the order was given me, and that's enough."

"The old general had had his dinner when he gave the order?"

"Yes."

"Then we know what that means. He had more wine than wit in his body."

"I must get away," said Ruiz.

"There's no hurry."

"Not for you. Stay, if you please."

"No, no; we'll all go together."

Ruiz Calderon rose.

"I have to get a good horse. The most dangerous part of the business is getting to Valmosa, because I must go near the rebel lines."

"Good luck to Ruiz!" cried all his comrades, emptying their glasses as they spoke.

"Thank you, gentlemen, thank you. My good fellow, your wine was excellent. If you should hear a horseman gallop past your hut to-night, don't be alarmed. It will only be me."

Scarcely had they gone, when Dan Daly rushed out.

"Faith, it's more than flesh an' blood could stand. Arrah! but me mouth watered when I heard the glasses clinkin'. The spalpeens!" he cried in dismay, "they've not left a drop for me."

"There's plenty."

Dan gazed in amazement at the hoard of liquor that had been discovered.

"What a find! It's meself could put in a week here in this blessed hut."

"But you won't."

"Eh?"

"I say you won't. It will be dark, Dan, in one hour. There's a boat lying down on the creek."

"An' faith, what's that to me?"

"Everything. You'll get on board that boat, go down the creek into the sea, and try and find the cruiser. The Brooklyn won't be far off. You must take a light with you and give a signal."

Dan was astounded.

"An' is it by mesilf I'm to go?"

"That's exactly what it is, Dan. You're old enough to be trusted alone, you know."

"But you?"

"Oh, I have work on shore. Never mind me."

"It's more danger ye're runnin' your head into."

"Trust me to get it out again. Now, don't interrupt me. I've a letter to write."

Dan busily employed himself with the whisky whilst Young Glory was writing his letter.

"Here it is."

"An' who's it for?"

"Captain Miles."

"Our skipper?"

"He's the only Captain Miles I know. Now, Dan, it's very important that that letter should reach Captain Miles as soon as possible. You understand me?"

"Yes, an' if it's to be done I'll do it."

"That I know. Now, to start you."

The two men left the hut. The boat was moored immediately opposite, and in it were a pair of sculls.

Young Glory would not allow a moment to be wasted. He unhitched the painter and pushed off the boat. Then, having seen Dan start on his dangerous mission, he went back to the hut.



CHAPTER IV.

YOUNG GLORY AND CAPTAIN RUIZ CALDERON—IN THE CAMP OF THE PATRIOTS.

The project Young Glory had conceived was incredibly bold.

If he had told Dan what it was, the Irishman would have done his best to dissuade him from it.

But Young Glory instead of changing his mind, became more fixed in his purpose as the time flew by.

"I don't see why it should fail," he said to himself, as he sat listening intently. "Ah! there he is. Well, the die is cast, or will be in a few minutes, anyway. I'll go through with it to the end."

He passed his hand through his thick golden curls which his sombrero had hitherto concealed. Then he hurriedly went out and posted himself behind a large tree a few yards from the hut.

Nearer and nearer came the noise that had attracted his attention. A horseman was approaching at a rapid rate, that was clear.

"Captain Calderon for certain," said Young Glory to himself. "There won't be any time to see, so I must assume it's he and take my chances."

It was so dark that he could not see the horseman, though he knew he must be very near by the sound. Then, suddenly, out into the road he sprang.

"Halt!" he cried in ringing tones, "or I will put a bullet into you."

The horseman seemed astounded. Many men could have dashed by regardless of consequences, but this man reined in his steed instantly, drawing the animal back on its haunches.

As he did so Young Glory drew up close to him, still keeping him covered with his six-shooter.

"I must ask you to dismount," he said, "and at once."

There was a light coming from the hut, for Young Glory had left the door open, and by it both men were able to distinguish each other.

Young Glory recognized Captain Calderon instantly.

"My man!" he muttered.

"The fellow from the hut!" cried the officer.

"I asked you to dismount, senor capitan," repeated Young Glory.

"I heard you, and I demand to know the meaning of this insolence."

"Demand! A strange word from a helpless man, senor. Are you aware that you are in my power, senor. Come, come, don't drive me to extremities. I should be sorry to have to injure a gallant young officer like yourself, but I tell you plainly, captain, that if you hesitate, my duty will compel me to kill you!"

There was something in the tone with which these words were spoken, more than in the words themselves, which impressed the officer.

He realized now that he had not, as he had supposed at first, a drunkard to deal with. But he was still completely at a loss to know what was meant.

However, he reasoned that a few minutes' chat in the hut, would certainly lead to a satisfactory explanation.

"The less time lost the better," said the Spanish captain.

So he dismounted, and Young Glory took possession of his pistol and also his horse. The latter he instantly hitched up to a hook driven in the wall of the hut.

"Now, fellow," said the captain, when the two men found themselves in the hut, "what does this foolery mean?"

"Take off your clothes!"

The officer colored with passion.

"My clothes," he gasped. "Never!"

"I will make you."

"What! are you a thief?"

"Call me what you please, but do as I say or it will be worse for you."

The Spanish captain made a dash at Young Glory.

The latter stepped back quickly, raising his six-shooter as he did so, and pointing it at his captive.

"You are foolish," said Young Glory. "You cannot compete with me, and you ought to understand that."

What was causing the Spaniard to stare so? Not the fact that he was threatened by Young Glory's six-shooter. No, but because when Young Glory had moved backwards, his sombrero had dropped off his head, thus exposing his thick yellow curls.

"You are not a Spaniard," said Captain Calderon, astounded at the change in his captor.

"No."

"Neither are you a Cuban."

"No."

"Who are you, then?"

"I will tell you. I am Young Glory."

The Spaniard dropped into a chair.

"So you are the man who released the prisoner who was to be shot?"

"Yes."

"And you've done terrible injury to the Spanish cause, both here and in Spain."

"You pay me a high compliment, senor."

"We have a heavy debt against you, Young Glory," said the Spaniard, gloomily.

"You will when this night is over. My work has only just commenced. Come, captain, you and I must not quarrel. You are a brave man, I know. Don't drive me to extremities. I must have your uniform and I'll give you—these."

Young Glory laughed as he pointed to the rags he was wearing.

A soldier soon recognizes the truth. A civilian is more disposed to argue. So the result was that Captain Calderon yielded with the best grace he could, and commenced to undress.

Young Glory, meanwhile, was doing the same, and in a few minutes the exchange had been effected.

Captain Calderon was a Cuban fisherman. Young Glory was a Spanish officer.

"They fit me beautifully, capitan. Don't you think so? Why, really, I'm not a conceited chap, but I don't think it would be well for you if the fair Julia saw me to-night."

"So you were listening to what I and my comrades were saying?" asked the captain, with a black look on his face.

"I heard every word. It's a way I have, and I find it extremely useful sometimes. I shall to-night."

"And now I suppose I can go?"

Young Glory smiled pityingly.

"For a man of your intelligence that is a very foolish question, senor. No, you will stay here. I shall have to secure you, bind you up in fact, and also gag you."

"Gag me?"

"Yes, you might raise an alarm. You have an excellent voice as I heard when you were drinking."

Young Glory, as a seaman, had no difficulty in fixing the cords so that they would hold, and whilst he was talking, he went on with the work.

The captain was trussed up like a chicken now.

"You will repent this," hissed the captain, through his clinched teeth.

"I am of a different opinion."

"Some day I will have a bitter revenge."

"Why? All is fair in war. You would do the same to me if it served you and I was in your power. But we shall talk all night if we get on this strain. You won't be lonely for I have provided a companion for you. See!"

Young Glory raised the clothes that covered the owner of the hut and exposed him to view.

Whilst the captain was staring in astonishment at what he saw, Young Glory extinguished the light, left the hut, and closed the door securely after him.

Then he unhitched the horse, sprang into the saddle and galloped away.

Sailors do not excel as horsemen, but Young Glory was an exception to the rule. Before he had enlisted he had passed several years in the west, and the animal who tried to unseat him had a very difficult task to perform.

"The road to Valmosa," he muttered. "Guess that won't be hard to find. I know where Valmosa lies, and roads are not very plentiful in this benighted land, so I won't have much trouble if I stick to the one I'm on."

Young Glory's danger was in falling into the hands of some Spaniards. They might happen to be comrades of Ruiz, and it would be almost impossible to deceive them. But this did not daunt him. He had understood all these dangers before he took this desperate project in hand, and he thought of them now, merely because he had nothing else to do.

The ride exhilarated him, and his spirits rose as he proceeded.

Gradually the path—it was really little better than a mule path—descended towards the sea, and Young Glory was pleased because he knew Valmosa was on the coast, and this seemed to show him he was on the right road.

However, his reflections were cut short with startling rapidity.

A dozen men sprang from the surrounding trees. Two men sprang forward and seized his horse's bridle, the others, with threatening gestures, threw themselves in his way, barring his further progress.

"Caramba, senor, but you're in a hurry," said a man, who appeared to be their leader.

"You have judged rightly, senor," answered Young Glory, "I am in a hurry. Let me proceed."

The men laughed loudly.

"You are a Spanish officer. You must be mad to talk in this way," was the stern answer.

"And who are you?" asked Young Glory.

"We are Cuban patriots."

"Patriots! Then I'm safe!" exclaimed the boy, softly.

"He must die!" whispered several of the men. "We give no quarter now, since those Spanish wretches have commenced shooting their prisoners in cold blood."

Half a dozen pistols were leveled at the boy, and as many machetes flashed in the air.

A crisis had come.

"Stop!" cried Young Glory, boldly. "I am no Spaniard."

"Then what are you?"

"I am an American sailor."

The weapons that had threatened Young Glory's life were at once lowered, but the men seemed to receive his statement with great suspicion. They conferred together hastily, still retaining their hold on the young hero's horse.

At length the leader spoke.

"We cannot decide this question. You may be an American sailor, or you may be a spy. That is for others to determine. You must come with us to the general."

"Hurry, then, I beg. For, senors, a project I have in view for the benefit of your cause will fail if I am long delayed."

They pushed through the woods, the patriots finding paths that Young Glory would have searched for in vain.

Some half mile was traversed in this fashion, when a sentinel challenged. The answer was satisfactory, and on they went.

Then past one picket after another they went, showing what faithful guard the patriots kept, until the order to halt was given, and Young Glory found himself near a large fire around which were a number of Cuban officers.

"A prisoner, general!" said the leader of the party.

"And a valuable one, too," was the answer, as the general glanced at Young Glory. "A captain at the very least. Has he been searched?"

"No."

"Do so. He may be a bearer of despatches."

"It is needless to search me," said Young Glory, advancing slightly towards the general. "I am not what I seem. I am an American seaman. My name is Young Glory."



CHAPTER V.

AT VALMOSA—YOUNG GLORY DENOUNCED.

This startling announcement caused a sensation.

"Young Glory!" cried several of the officers.

"Yes, that is my name."

"Have you any proof?" said the general.

"No."

"Then we cannot let you proceed."

Young Glory's face fell. Here he saw all his hopes dashed to the ground. He determined to make one more effort.

"But if you stop me, a certain scheme against the Spaniards that I can carry through to success, will fail. I tell you it is so."

"No matter. I have said before we do not know you, so we must detain you for inquiries."

"Have you ever heard of Young Glory, general?"

"That is a foolish question. His name is a household word."

"Very well; I again repeat I am Young Glory."

"And again I ask for proof."

Suddenly an idea occurred to the boy.

"Have you ever heard of Captain Ruiz Calderon?"

"Yes. He's a distinguished officer in the Spanish army. What of it?"

"I'm Captain Calderon, or rather," said Young Glory, with a laugh, "I'm supposed to be to-night."

"How?"

"I took him prisoner."

"And released him?"

"No. Made him change clothes with me, tied him securely, and left him in a cottage on a creek belonging to a fisherman."

"I know the place!" cried one of the soldiers.

"You did this?" asked the general, incredulously.

"Certainly. It was necessary for the success of my plans. Send to the cottage, if it's possible to do so."

"It can be done."

"Very well. I entreat you to be quick, general. Much depends on it."

It was rather dangerous work to venture so near the Spanish lines, but four patriots volunteered at once, and the general, after giving them a few brief instructions, sent them on their way.

Well mounted, if no mischance happens to them, they would soon be back, and Young Glory, who was in a boiling passion, quite ignored the presence of the Cubans, and threw himself on the ground to rest while awaiting the result.

"I believe he is Young Glory," said the general to one of his officers. "He doesn't look like an impostor."

"No, sir."

"Well, he's in a temper because I've done my duty. Let him alone. His young blood will soon cool."

So it did, and Young Glory, on thinking calmly over the matter, saw that he could not have expected any different treatment to what he had received.

"General," he said, going up to him, "I was hasty. You must pardon me."

The general smiled.

"I have thought no more of it. Have a cigar. You'll find them good. They taste better perhaps to me," he added, with a laugh, "because the tobacco was grown by a Spaniard, one of our bitterest enemies, and they cost nothing."

The time seemed long. In reality the men—or at least two of them—were back in an incredibly short space of time.

"Well?" questioned the general.

"We have been there."

"And your comrades?"

"They are safe. We left them behind."

"And this young man's story?"

"Quite true, general, only he forgot to say that he had left two prisoners in the hut."

"Two!"

"Yes, general," said Young Glory. "One of them is the man who lives in the hut."

"How did it all happen?"

As Young Glory told the story of the marvelous escape of Dan Daly from the firing party, with the subsequent details of the pursuit and eventful safety, the men gathered round and listened with bated breath.

"Senor, it is marvelous!" exclaimed the general, when the recital was ended. "I had heard something of the extraordinary escape of the American prisoner before. Now tell me of your future plans."

"That is for your ear alone."

"Stand back, senores," said the general, waving his hand, "except Colonel Mendez, my chief."

"That is the same as yourself, general," replied Young Glory, bowing to the officer who had been named.

When Young Glory had told them what his plan was, they were lost in amazement.

"And you mean to do it?"

"Certainly. That's what I'm here for."

"Do you want any of my men?"

"If you can send some of them on the road with me to point out the way I shall be glad, but they must not go near Valmosa. If they were seen with me that would spoil all."

"Success to you, Young Glory," said the general, pressing his hand as he was riding off.

"Oh! then you believe I'm Young Glory now?"

"Caramba! my friend, your deeds show that. There's not another man would do such things. Adios."

Once more Young Glory was in the saddle with two of the patriots riding alongside him. Under their guidance he made rapid progress.

"We must leave you now, senor," said one of the men.

"Thank you for coming."

"Yonder, where you see the lights is Valmosa. Goodness only knows how you will reach it."

"Leave that to me."

Once more Young Glory was alone, riding rapidly to the scene of his desperate undertaking.

"Halt!"

It was a challenge by the sentry. Young Glory had, of course, expected this, and he was ready.

"Dispatches from Monterey!" he cried, instantly, thinking by so doing that the sentry would not demand the watch-word for the night.

The scheme was successful. The sentry told him to advance, keeping his rifle on him the while, until he had satisfied himself of the truth.

One look seemed to give him confidence.

"You are from Monterey, capitan?"

"Yes. I am Captain Ruiz Calderon."

"Pass, capitan."

One obstacle was surmounted. The rest was easy. In a few minutes Young Glory found himself in Valmosa.

There all was excitement.

Instantly Young Glory went to the commandant of the garrison.

"If he knows Ruiz Calderon, I'm lost," was Young Glory's reflection as he entered the commandant's room.

"A dispatch from General Lopez," said Young Glory, saluting.

The commandant took the letter and tore it open, scarcely giving Young Glory a glance.

"So you are Captain Calderon?" he said, after reading the dispatch.

"Yes, colonel."

"General Lopez says you are a brave and energetic soldier."

Young Glory bowed.

"To-night you have work before you that will prove your strength. You are to command the expedition that starts for Monterey."

"So the general told me."

"Everything is in readiness. There is no reason for delay."

"I think you are right, colonel. There seems to be every reason for hurrying. You spoke of danger."

"Yes."

"From what quarter do you expect it?"

"From the Americans. The rebels are on shore. They can do us no harm."

"How can the Americans do so?"

"They have a cruiser in these waters."

"She will not see us."

"Who knows? Those ships carry great searchlights now, and they can light up the water."

"Let them. They have to sink us after they find us and it's not easy to hit a small boat at long range."

"Good. That's the way to talk, capitan. You are a man after my own heart."

Young Glory was leaving the room when he passed a man he thought he knew, but it was somewhat dark and he only had a mere glance.

He heard a few words, though, that disquieted him somewhat.

"That's Captain Calderon—" it was the commandant speaking—"he leads the expedition."

"Calderon of Lopez' division?"

"Yes."

"Caramba! but he's grown."

With beating heart Young Glory hurried on.

"I know that voice," he muttered. "Strange! where can I have heard it?"

During the last few months he had been through so many scenes, and he had met with so many strange faces, that he was quite unable to satisfy himself as to the identity of the owner of the voice.

The boats were all in readiness.

Two large craft contained ammunition. A smaller one was in advance, filled with sailors and soldiers, in order to tow the heavier craft along.

Young Glory speedily took in the whole of the arrangements. He might have preferred to make some changes, but his object now was to get out of Valmosa with all speed. Rapidly he gave his orders. The men seemed to have no suspicion, and all was going smoothly. Yet Young Glory could not get out of his mind the stranger who had passed him at the commandant's headquarters.

"Cast off!" he cried.

Instantly the men on the pier let the boats loose, and the men bent to their oars.

"Row, my lads, long and steady. You've a hard pull before you," said Young Glory, "and you'll need all your strength."

The sailors showed at once they did not intend to overexert themselves.

"Rather different to our blue jackets," was Young Glory's reflection. "Why, Dan Daly and half a dozen of our fellows would lick the whole crowd."

There was commotion on shore at this instant. Anxiously Young Glory looked towards the pier. He could see nothing on account of the darkness, but he heard the pattering of feet. One man, if not more, was hurrying towards the end of the pier.

Then Young Glory heard some shouting, but the roar of the sea prevented him from distinguishing the words.

The shouting continued.

"Traitor!"

This word came distinctly across the water.

"They've caught a spy," exclaimed Young Glory, quickly, to turn the men's thoughts away from himself. "Hurry up, lads, and you may get back in time to see the fun, for he'll have to die, that's sure."

Not another word reached the boat. Yet, Young Glory felt by no means safe. He knew that a boat might be sent off to overtake him, and then he was lost entirely.

But as the minutes passed, and he heard no sound of pursuing oars, he became easier in his mind.

To get out of possible danger from shore, he ordered the men to row out towards the sea, but here he was beaten. The waves ran high and the boats were in great danger of being swamped. Back to the shore again he had to go, and adhere to the original plan of creeping along by the beach.

The coast was rocky hereabout.

Suddenly above their heads a figure, which looked unnaturally tall in the darkness, rose on a great bowlder which overshadowed the water.

"You have a traitor in that boat!" cried this apparition. "The man with you is not Captain Calderon. It is Young Glory!"



CHAPTER VI.

FIGHTING IN THE BOATS—DAN DALY ARRIVES.

These words produced a panic.

It was a wonder that the boats were not overturned. The men stopped rowing, and so the craft containing the ammunition drifted up against them, and they were all in a mass together.

The actions of many of the men were most violent and threatening. They uttered fierce cries, and assailed Young Glory with menaces.

"To your work," he cried, bravely, thinking yet that he might overawe them.

But they took no notice.

"I am your captain," said Young Glory. "Obey my orders!"

"You are a traitor!"

"Seize him! Kill him!"

These were the cries that were now heard. But a clear voice came from the shore. It was that of the man who had denounced Young Glory.

"Do not kill him," he said. "Traitors must be treated differently. Make a prisoner of him."

"Who are you who give your orders?" asked one of the men. "You seem to own us!"

"Own or not," was the stern answer, "it will be bad for those who refuse to obey me. I am Jose Castro!"

There was a buzz of astonishment.

Everyone had heard of the famous Spanish spy, whose services to Spain in the war had been immense.

"Jose Castro!" muttered Young Glory. "And I thought I had seen his hated face for the last time when he sank in the river at Seville. Such men never die. I am lost," he added, "but I will die fighting!"

Three men came towards him. They were bent on carrying out the spy's orders, and were about to seize him.

"Stand back!" he cried, defiantly.

"Yield!"

"Never!"

"We are fifty to one. To fight is useless," said the Spanish soldier. "You will be killed."

"Then I will die fighting. Back! I say," he added, as the men pressed forward. "I will never be taken alive!"

"We shall see!"

The three men rushed at Young Glory.

Instantly he drew his sword. Around his head it flashed.

Then down it came on the nearest man's head. He dropped. A moment later one of his companions was lying in his blood. The third man hesitated.

"This shall cost you dearly," said Young Glory, defiantly, as he faced the crowd.

"Shoot him!"

"No, no! There must be no firing," said one of the sergeants. "A noise will bring the guns of the American cruiser on us. Once more, will you surrender?"

"No!"

"Rush at him, men. Cut him to pieces if he resists."

Such an order is easier given than obeyed. Men cannot move about a boat with perfect freedom, and Young Glory standing in the stern was a desperate foe.

The fight was renewed.

It was a repetition of what had previously taken place.

Two men fell before Young Glory's terrible sword, and the boy himself was not hurt.

But now a diversion took place.

Young Glory heard the sound of oars behind him, and he saw on turning his head, that one of the Spanish boats was hastily coming up. Attacked on both sides the end was certain.

It was necessary to do something at once. To jump into the water was no good. The boats would row after him and capture him in a few minutes. In the sea he would be quite powerless to defend himself.

"Now will you surrender?" cried the sergeant.

"No!"

"The boat will be on you in a minute. You will be between two fires."

"I care not."

"He's a brave fellow!" cried the sergeant, tauntingly. "Look at him, lads."

"We can't see his face."

"He'll keep this bluff up to the last, lads. Then he'll whine for mercy."

"But let's see him."

"Good!"

The sergeant seized a torch, and instantly set fire to it.

There was a glare of light.

"Look at the hero!" he cried.

"Are you mad?" shouted Jose Castro, from the rock. "Do you want everyone to know where you are? Out with that flame if you value your lives!"

"Not yet!" cried Young Glory, springing forward like lightning. He seized the burning torch, and with a quick movement tore it from the sergeant's hand.

Then he jumped back to his post on the stern seat of the boat, and instantly he began to wave the torch above his head.

Jose Castro was furious.

"Kill him, kill him!" he shouted.

"He has a few minutes to live, that's all!"

Still Young Glory waved the torch, hoping it might be seen by those on the cruiser Brooklyn. Even then it was doubtful if they could do anything.

The boat that had been coming up at the stern missed its mark, and ran in between the two ammunition boats.

Then Young Glory saw that he was saved for a few minutes at all events. The torch still waved, and Jose Castro stormed and raved at the men in the boats.

"Listen," said Young Glory.

"Well?"

"I have a word to say."

"Don't let the traitor speak!"

"Be silent!" exclaimed the sergeant. "Well, what is it?"

"I will make terms with you."

"You make terms?"

"Yes. I have the best of the situation now."

The Spaniards roared with laughter at this view of the situation.

Young Glory was really only seeking to gain time.

"Put me on shore, and I will give up the torch."

"The torch!"

"Yes, don't you see that if I continue to wave it, the American cruisers will fire and send you all to the bottom of the sea?"

"You, too."

"Oh, that doesn't matter! If I can take fifty Spaniards there with me, I shall be satisfied."

Jose Castro had heard enough of this talk to know what it meant.

"Why parley with the dog?" he shouted. "If you are men, you will kill him!"

Now was the critical point. The end seemed at hand.

The second boat rushed at Young Glory.

Quick as a flash he sprang from the stern of the boat where he had been standing, into the nearest of the two boats that contained the ammunition.

The boat that was coming up, rushed in, locking itself between the other two boats.

"You will kill me, you say!" hissed Young Glory through his clenched teeth. "Try it on! If you move one step, or one of you raises a finger I will set fire to the powder, and blow you all up!"

A fearful cry arose from the men.

Many of them were so appalled that they sprang into the water and began to swim to shore.

The other men, afraid to move, stood motionless as statues.

"Dan! Dan!" shouted Young Glory now. "I believe he's near. I heard a noise."

The men looked suspiciously at him.

Jose Castro was very ready with his advice.

"Cut your boats adrift!" he cried.

"No," returned Young Glory. "No man must move or lift a finger, or I fire the powder."

Young Glory clearly commanded the situation, but how long would it last? One of the men who had swam ashore might have a rifle, and if so, no doubt he would fire at Young Glory.

But the sergeant was not satisfied even with this. For he saw that if Young Glory fell dead in the ammunition boat the torch would fall too, and then what would happen? It was too dreadful to think about.

Bang!

It was Jose Castro who was firing. But as he was only possessed of a six-shooter and the distance was great, Young Glory did not stand in fear of any of the bullets the spy might send.

However, he told him to desist, as it was quite possible he might do some injury. Jose sternly declined, and when Young Glory threatened to blow up the boats, he told him to do so.

"Well, let him fire," muttered Young Glory. "He does good, really, for he's making a noise, and that's what I want. Dan! Dan!"

Here Young Glory began to shout again.

"Faith, it's here I am!" said a well known voice, and immediately the bow of a boat shot around the nearest point of land.

"Alone!" cried Young Glory, in dismay. He had expected to see Dan come with not less than three of the cruiser's boats.

It was a terrible disappointment.

"Shure, an' it was your cries that brought me."

"And you didn't see the light?"

"No."

"Where are the others?"

"The skipper didn't send them."

"Why not?"

"Begorra, it's not near the cruiser I've been at all, at all."

"That accounts for it," muttered Young Glory. "Well, I'm in a pretty mess now, and I've dragged Dan into it, which is worse."

"It's a great illumination ye have there, Young Glory."

"Yes."

"An' mebbe it's friends of yours these gentlemen are?"

"Very good friends. See! there's not one of them will do anything to hurt me."

"An' why?"

"Because, Dan, I'm standing with powder and shot all around me, and if I happened to drop this torch—I threatened to do it—the consequence would be very serious."

"Is it here ye're afther stayin' the night?"

"I can't go, Dan, an' I won't let these friends of mine leave me."

"It's mighty awkward."

"Yes, we'll go!" shouted Young Glory. "A good idea's just come into my head."

"It's the great head, is yours!"

"Now, Dan, have you a six-shooter?"

"Yes."

"Then take it."

"What for?"

"Go round the boats to each of the Spaniards you see sitting here."

"An' thin?"

"You'll make him hand over his arms, sword and gun, mind, and six-shooter. Even a stilletto, if he has such a thing."

"Faith, I won't be afther lavin' the spalpeens wid a pen-knife."

"Very well. Do your work, and do it quickly. Every moment counts now."

Dan went to work with a vengeance. Not a man offered resistance. What, between Young Glory's torch and Dan's six-shooter the men were fairly cowed, and one after another they handed over their weapons. Dan Daly threw them carelessly at the bottom of his boat.

"It's no arms they have, but fists now, Young Glory, an' shure they don't count, for a Spaniard wants a knife in his hand, anyway."

"Very good. Now take your oars," said Young Glory, sternly. "The boats' heads are pointed to sea. Pull right out with all your strength. If any man refuses, I'll shoot him dead!"



CHAPTER VII.

ARRIVAL AT THE BROOKLYN—DISCOVERING A RAFT.

Not a man refused to obey.

Young Glory's actions had terrorized them.

Instantly they bent over their oars, and the boats once more began to move. Young Glory, torch in hand, still stood in the bow of one of the ammunition boats.

Jose Castro danced about like a maniac on the shore.

"You shall all be shot!" he cried. "The general will have you killed as traitors."

But the men rowed on, despite Jose's threats.

Dan Daly had started up when he heard the noise.

"Faith, an' I know the gentleman," he said, "though it's his name that's not in my mind now."

"It's Jose Castro."

"What?"

"True, Dan. There's no killing him."

"Shure, an' there's no tellin'."

The Irishman took up one of the rifles that lay at the bottom of the boat. It was loaded. He put it to his shoulder and fired.

Bang!

Then he took another and fired.

But by this time Jose had vanished. He had no desire to become a target for Dan Daly's rifle practice.

Meanwhile, the boats were rapidly nearing the shore behind, and fortunately the waves had fallen, or it would have gone hard with everybody.

Young Glory was keenly searching the water for the cruiser. He thought it possible that seeing the torch burning, he might show a light. This, of course was doubtful, for war ships in an enemy's waters, never display a light of any kind at night.

Boom!

"The cruiser!" shouted Young Glory, joyfully.

"Arrah! but it's sinkin' us she'll be."

"No, no, Dan. It's a shot across our bows. I'll wave the light again."

"An' faith it's little good that'll do."

"But it will. It shows we are not an enemy, for enemies don't give notice of their coming."

Young Glory continued to wave the torch, and the boats proceeded slowly.

"I see it!"

"What! Young Glory?"

"The cruiser. Look, Dan, you can just make it out in the darkness."

"Shure, an' ye're right."

"Give them a hail."

"Ahoy there! Ship ahoy!"

"Who are you?"

"Faith, an' it's Dan Daly's squadron arrivin'!"

From the cruiser came a burst of laughter. Evidently the people there had recognized the Irishman's voice.

The boats were nearer to the cruiser than they appeared to be, and a few minutes after this talk they were alongside the Brooklyn.

Instantly Dan Daly bounded up the gangway.

"Dan Daly!"

"Yes, sir," answered Dan, saluting. "It's back I'm glad to be."

"And I'm very glad to see you, Daly," answered Captain Miles, for it was he.

There was a crowd of officers standing around him. Late though it was, they were mostly on deck, for the light shown near the shore had excited their curiosity, and for a long time past they had been watching it, and discussing its meaning.

"It's some friends of mine below, sir. It's meself wants to ask 'em aboard."

"Do so."

"Arrah! an' ye'd betther be steppin' up lively, ye spalpeens. It's the skipper himself's waitin' to see ye."

Not a word of this speech did any of the Spaniards understand, but Young Glory instantly translated it for their benefit.

One after another they slowly filed up the gangway.

There were not less than forty of them, and it may be imagined that their appearance created a great sensation.

"Spaniards!" cried Captain Miles. "Why, it's a regular army."

"Widout arms, Yer Honor," said Dan. "It's meself has their guns and swords."

"This is most extraordinary, and what's this?"

"I report myself returned, sir."

"Young Glory!"

The skipper staggered back a few paces, he was so astounded.

"There are about forty rifles and as many cutlasses in the boats below, sir."

"They must be brought on board at once."

"That is not all, sir."

"Is there more, Young Glory?"

"Yes, sir. There are two large boats also filled with ammunition."

"That must be brought aboard, too."

The captain turned to the lieutenant-commander, and gave the necessary orders.

"Now, Young Glory, you and Dan Daly will come to my cabin at once. I want to hear all that's happened."

And he sat spellbound whilst Young Glory related the whole story, beginning with Dan's escape, and ending with the capture of the boats.

"It's a letter I had for you, sir," said Dan, "but faith, I couldn't get out to sea."

"The letter is no good now, Dan. Tear it up."

"No, no!" exclaimed Captain Miles, eagerly, taking possession of it. "This letter shall be preserved. It will be a memento of one of the bravest actions ever done by an American seaman."

It was little rest that Dan and Young Glory had that night.

Their comrades insisted on hearing every detail of their marvelous adventures, and the day had dawned before they sank to rest.

Each of them was indulged with an unusual allowance of sleep that night, on account of their great exertions, and when they awoke and went on deck, the shores of Cuba had faded from sight, and the gallant Cruiser Brooklyn was steaming through the Caribbean sea in an easterly direction.

"Where are we bound?" was the universal question now.

"Ask Young Glory. He knows everything," laughingly said one of the men.

"It's Porto Rico we're going to," cried one of the sailors. "I heard an officer say so."

"Porto Rico! That belongs to Spain, eh?" asked one of the sailors.

"Spain! Why, no! China, of course!"

"Ha, ha!"

The men were in the highest spirits now. They had not enjoyed the work of the past few days, cruising about off Valmosa and Monterey. Inaction is the last thing a blue jacket appreciates.

Now there was always something to do, and Captain Miles, a first-class officer, saw that everything was done to perfection.

"If we do go into action," he said, "it will not be our fault if we are beaten!"

The run to Porto Rico took some days.

The lookout men were on the alert, expecting to sight land every minute.

Suddenly there was a shout from one of them.

"Porto Rico at last!" cried one of the sailors, joyfully.

"A sail!" cried the lookout man.

"Where?"

"On the port bow!"

One of the officers instantly went to the top with his binocular, bringing it to bear on a small, far distant speck on the ocean.

"A sail, surely," he said, "but what is it?"

"Well, sir?" shouted Captain Miles.

"It is a sail, sir."

"What do you make of it, Mr. Robson?"

"Hard to say. Certainly not a battle ship, nor even a gun-boat."

"What, then?"

"Looks like a small boat, sir. Perhaps there may be people aboard, but at present it's impossible to say."

Mr. Robson was a lieutenant on the Brooklyn. He had been early in the war on the battle ship Indiana. There Young Glory had served under him, and had learned to appreciate the attention to duty and the bravery displayed by this gallant officer.

He and Captain Miles paced the deck now, talking over what should be done.

"I should send a boat, sir."

"We shall see in a minute or two what is best to be done, Mr. Robson. We're running directly for the sail."

"It's not a boat, sir!" cried Mr. Robson, after a while.

"Not a boat?"

"No."

"What, then?"

"A raft."

"You're right," said the captain, after another look. "A raft, sure enough, and what's more, is that there are people on it. Order out two boats."

"Yes, sir."

"They must start for the raft at once."

"Instantly, sir."

To lower the boats and man them does not take long on board a man-of-war. Every man knows his place, and the operation proceeds like clock work.

In a few minutes they were flying over the water towards the raft. Very soon they saw it was crowded with people. Some of them raised their hands as they saw the boats draw near.

"Poor souls!" said Dan Daly. "It's shipwrecked they are, an' starvin' too."

"Well, it won't take many minutes to remedy that, Dan."

"Pull hard, lads!" cried Mr. Robson. "Every minute counts in a case like this."

What a sight met the eyes of the blue jackets.

Half of the occupants of the raft were dead men. The survivors seemed to be, many of them, at the point of death. Very few had strength enough to rise even to a sitting position.

"No time for talking, lads," said Lieutenant Robson. "Get them back to the ship at once."

"And the dead, sir?"

"Throw them over. It's all that can be done."

Some stimulants had been taken with the boats, and by the time that the Brooklyn was reached one of the men had recovered sufficiently to talk. The others were carried below and given at once into the hands of the surgeon.

"You have suffered very much," said Captain Miles, kindly.

"Yes, but our troubles are over at last."

"You feel strong enough to talk?"

"Yes, captain. I'm the mate of the Mary Parker, a fruit ship bound from Rio Janeiro to New Orleans. We were attacked by the Spaniards, and our ship was captured."

"What was done with it?"

"The cargo—that is, the valuable part of it—was taken by the Spaniard, and our ship was sunk."

"And how came you on the water?"

"Oh, that is a terrible story. The Spaniards would not take us on board. The captain said that he had too many mouths to feed as it was."

"The wretch!"

"Wait. Many of the Spanish officers proposed that we should be sunk with the ship. It would save time, they said. Sometimes I think it would have been better if they had carried out their intention, for my poor comrades suffered torments before they died."

"It was merciless!"

"Then these men held a conference. After a lot of talk they came to a decision. It was decided that the carpenter should rig out a raft in a hasty fashion, and that we were to be put aboard it. And so we were. They sent us adrift on a few timbers without a bite to eat, or one drop of water."



CHAPTER VIII.

YOUNG GLORY ON THE NASHVILLE—AT SAN JUAN DE PORTO RICO.

Captain Miles was aghast.

The officers of the Brooklyn who had drawn close to listen, were loud in their expressions of indignation.

"The brutes! the inhuman brutes!" said the skipper. "And these are the men for whom some misguided people feel pity."

"An object lesson like this," said the lieutenant-commander, "shows how much pity they deserve."

"As we left the Spaniard," continued the mate of the Mary Parker, "the wretches on board hooted and jeered at us. We heard some of them propose that they should have some rifle practice on us, but this was rejected, because it was too merciful a death. Five days we passed beneath a burning sun, suffering cruel thirst and hunger. Of twenty men who went on the raft, but nine remain."

"Poor creatures!"

Captain Miles was silent. The horrors to which he had listened had affected him deeply, it was some moments before he spoke.

"Tell me, if you can, the name of the ship that captured you."

"It was a Spanish cruiser, the Cristobal Colon."

"The Cristobal Colon! That name will stick in my memory, my friend, until I have revenged you and your shipmates. Do you think it's likely that the Spanish cruiser is in these waters now?"

"Yes, I heard enough while I was aboard of her to make me think so. Her mission is to prey on American commerce."

"We will catch her."

"It's not easy. She does her work, then dashes into the harbor of San Juan and finds safety."

"We shall find a way, never fear."

The treatment of the American sailors by the Spaniards had roused the men's passions to the boiling point. The Cristobal Colon would have a bad time if the two ships came to close quarters.

For three days the Brooklyn cruised around Porto Rico. Not a sign did she see of the enemy.

"Faith, we'll never have a sight of her."

"How's that, Dan?"

"She knows we're around. It's one of their Spanish fishin' vessels has seen us, and that's enough. It's out of San Juan she'll not be comin'."

Captain Miles thought the same as Dan, but he determined to remain, because even if he could not get near enough to the Cristobal Colon to attack her, yet he was able by remaining, to prevent the Spanish cruiser from leaving the port in order to prey on American commerce.

The next day a ship was sighted.

She evidently recognized the Brooklyn, for she flew the Stars and Stripes in a very short time.

"One of ours, boys!" cried a sailor, "and I know her, too."

"You do?"

"Yes. She's a gun-boat. She's the Nashville, and I was aboard her for two years."

"A good boat, Bill?"

"A very smart craft."

It was not long before the captains of the Nashville and the Brooklyn were exchanging compliments. The skipper of the gun-boat came aboard the cruiser, and a long conference took place.

"So you'd heard of the Cristobal Colon, then?" said Captain Miles.

"Yes," answered Captain Long, of the gun-boat. "It was on her account I was ordered here. Admiral Jackson thought I might be able to help you. More than one ship has arrived in the gulf reporting a severe chase. She's doing great damage as a commerce destroyer, and the admiral says she must be checked."

"It's all very well for Admiral Jackson to talk that way," said Captain Miles, impatiently; "but just let him come here. He wouldn't be able to do any more than I'm doing."

"Of course, if she won't stir outside of San Juan it's difficult for us to act."

"Yes."

"What's to be done? A ship-load of wretches like that should not be at large. They're no better than wild beasts."

"I can't venture in shore."

"But I can, Captain Miles. My boat's very light draft. Supposing I have a look in at San Juan? I may find out something."

"A good idea, but be careful. The Cristobal Colon's a fast boat, and if she caught you, well, you know where you'd be, at the bottom of the sea in a very few minutes."

"I shall be cautious. My scheme will be to try and lure the Spaniards out of port."

"Ha! Ha! Try, by all means, but the fish won't always bite."

"You can do something for me."

"What?"

"Spare me twenty men. That is, if you're not short-handed. I am."

"I can lend you twenty, but they won't like it at all, for they're all spoiling for a fight with this Spaniard, and they want to be here when the fun begins."

"But I must have them."

"Very well. Mr. Robson!"

"Yes, sir."

"Twenty men wanted for the Nashville. We can spare them, and Captain Long is short-handed."

"Now," laughed Captain Long, "give me a fair selection, Mr. Robson. No cripple, mind."

"All our men are up to the mark."

"Good! The sooner you can send them aboard the better, for I want to start."

Lieutenant Robson lost no time. He had twenty men paraded on deck. Amongst them happened to be Young Glory and Dan Daly.

Lieutenant Robson passed his eye along them.

"If he doesn't like them," he said to himself, "he's hard to please."

In truth he would be, for a finer body of men never stepped the deck of a ship.

"What's up?" whispered one of the men.

"Shure, it's some fightin' for us!"

"Hope so, Dan."

"My men," said Lieutenant Robson, "the duty you are to be placed on, is not given to you because you have displeased the captain. On the contrary. But someone has to do it, and you have been chosen."

The men's faces fell at this speech.

"Yes, you are lent to the Nashville. You will go aboard at once, and my last word is—but I know it's unnecessary—that you will show your new skipper what the men of the Brooklyn can do."

The men were instantly dismissed. It took them a few minutes to collect their belongings, during which they received much sympathy from their comrades.

"You'll miss this fight, Young Glory."

"Don't talk about it," replied Young Glory, hotly. "It's enough to send a man crazy!"

"Shure, it's like desertin', I feel!"

"Do. There's no one to stop you, Dan, and it's very easy. You have only to step over the ship's sides into the mouth of the shark who's waiting there for you."

But Dan was too mad to reply.

He and his comrades very soon found themselves on the Nashville.

The first person they met aboard was Captain Long, whom they had not seen when he paid his visit to Captain Miles on the Brooklyn.

"Young Glory and Dan Daly!" cried Captain Long. "Well, this is a surprise. I can't complain now that they've sent me a poor lot of men."

Captain Long was a lieutenant of the Indiana, the first battle ship on which Young Glory had served during the war. He was only a young man, but he had on so many occasions displayed such conspicuous bravery, that he had been promoted to the rank of captain and placed in command of the gun-boat.

"It might be worse, Dan," said Young Glory.

"Why?"

"Because wherever Captain Long is there's fighting. That's a dead sure thing, and I wouldn't be surprised but what we'll have enough of it."

"Faith, an' it's plased I am to see an ould face."

"Old! Captain Long's young."

"Arrah! ye're a tasin' lad. It's yerself knows what I mane."

The Brooklyn had faded from sight now. The Nashville was running towards San Juan. The gun-boat did not mean to enter the harbor, but simply to cruise about in the hope that something might be seen of the Spanish cruiser.

One night the weather was very thick.

It was quite possible for a ship to leave the port without being seen, or even heard, for the waves stifled any sound she might have made.

Towards morning the weather cleared.

Young Glory was on watch duty and Captain Long happened to be near him.

"Can I have a word with you, sir?"

"Surely?"

"Well, sir, I may be mistaken, but I feel positive that the Cristobal Colon went out of port during the night."

"How do you make that out? You saw nothing."

"No, sir."

"And heard nothing?"

"Very little. But this is what happened. I was looking over the ship's sides during the night, and a little after midnight, when the fog was thickest, there was a great rush of water towards our boat. The waves rose high, almost to the deck. What caused that? I said to myself, and there was only one explanation."

"Well?"

"It was the wash from a big steamer. I've no doubt of it."

"You have spoken of this?"

"Certainly, sir. It was my duty. I drew the attention of the officer of the watch to this, and he said he thought it was a tidal wave."

"And you did not agree with him?"

"No, sir."

"Young Glory, I think your theory is the correct one. It seems reasonable. That boat's waited for thick weather so as to give us the slip. I must know."

"How, sir?"

"Why, if she's not in San Juan I must notify the Brooklyn at once, so that she may look after her; we don't want any more ships destroyed."

Captain Long lost not a moment.

All hands were called instantly.

The Nashville's course was changed, and she steered straight for the harbor of San Juan.

The men were all excited now. It was a desperate mission upon which they were bound, and they knew it. The enterprise affected men differently. Some of the sailors looked stern and determined. Dan Daly smiled the first time for a week.

As for Young Glory, he was in his element.

The Nashville had now entered the harbor, quite regardless of the guns or the forts. Captain Long held these antiquated weapons in contempt.

Rapidly his eye scanned the horizon.

"Young Glory was right," he exclaimed; "the Cristobal Colon has sailed from Porto Rico."

He ordered the ship put about, and the Nashville was once more steaming towards the ocean, when a startling sight met all eyes.

The Cristobal Colon hove in view. She was steaming into the harbor, coming towards the Nashville.

Everyone knew what it meant. There was no possibility of escape. The Spaniard barred the way to the ocean, and there was no passing her.

Cruiser against gun-boat! That was the situation.

It was to be a fight against odds!



CHAPTER IX.

THE FIRST SHOT—A HOT FIGHT.

Instantly all was excitement on the Nashville.

Captain Long saw how serious matters were.

Single-handed he had to fight against the Spanish cruiser, for it was certain that the Brooklyn could give no assistance.

"My lads!" he said, "the odds against us are terrific. All the more reason why we should fight bravely. Let us show the Spaniards to-day what Americans can do."

"Hurrah! Hurrah!" answered the crew, and a ringing cheer went up.

The men knew no fear, and strong hearts count for much in a sea fight.

"Clear the decks for action!" was the order now.

Everything movable was instantly carried away. The decks were stripped bare.

"You have your wish now, Dan," said Young Glory.

"Yes, faith, it's all the fightin' I'll want. Begorra, but it's glad I am I came."

Dan went away and Young Glory was alone.

On the deck of the ship stood Young Glory, ready for the fight, with his eyes on the Spanish cruiser.

Proudly the American flag flew, and when the men saw the Stars and Stripes waving in the breeze, they realized that they had something to die for.

The Spaniard was coming slowly along now.

The gun-boat had slackened speed, but had not changed its position.

Captain Long was discussing the situation with his lieutenant, and the men at the guns were busily doing the same thing.

"It's a fine ship," said one of the men.

"Which?"

"Why, Dan, how in thunder can you ask such a question? The Spaniard, I mean, of course."

"An' it's a quare name it has."

"Cristobal Colon! Oh! that's named after Columbus."

"Ah! it's himself would be the sad man if he could see his own people now."

"Never mind about that, Dan, this is a fine ship, and don't you forget it."

Dan shrugged his shoulders scornfully, and put a plug of tobacco in his mouth.

"Arrah! it's the little boat for me."

"But think of their guns."

"What of them?"

"Why, they've two ten-inch breech-loading rifles, and she has between thirty and forty quick firing guns."

"An' faith, we have eight."

"That's so."

"An' enough," answered Dan, obstinately. "One American equals ten Spaniards. That's my way of looking at it, so, begorra, eight guns equal eighty. Shure, an' it's all in our favor."

Having made this wonderful calculation, Dan walked away with a satisfied expression on his face.

Captain Long had been speaking to Young Glory. It was an unusual thing for an officer to take advice from a seaman, but then Young Glory was a seaman of no common order. Everybody knew that his place was the quarter deck, and that time and again he had refused the promotion which had been offered him.

"There can be only one result," said Captain Long.

"True, sir."

"And the fight won't last long."

"You think not, sir?"

"No, one shot from one of their big guns will put us out of the way if it strikes."

"Then it mustn't strike."

"It can't be prevented. The Spaniards are poor gunners, that's our only chance."

Boom!

"Hulloa, she's opened fire!"

The Spanish cruiser began the attack by firing one of her great guns from the barbette in the bows.

The shot went very wide of the mark, and the Yankee sailors shouted with derision.

They were all at the guns waiting the order to commence. But Captain Long was in no hurry.

Boom!

Another gun from the Spaniard.

"You see, sir, they can't hit us," said Young Glory.

"There's a heavy swell on, and it's almost impossible to train those big guns on us."

"We'll see if we can't do better. Her armor is only three inches thick, steel it's true, but what of that. One good shot may smash through a barbette, anyway."

Then the fight really began.

Boom! Boom!

The rapid firing guns were at work now. Occasionally the deep boom of one of the great ten-inch rifles would be heard, but these latter guns can only be fired at long intervals. It takes time to clean them, load again and fire.

What was Young Glory doing?

He was at one of the bow guns of the Nashville, the largest she was carrying, an eight-inch breech-loader.

Young Glory had for the time superseded the officer of this gun, for it was a critical moment, and Captain Long knew that if Young Glory could not do the required work, there was no one on board who could.

The accuracy of the young hero had been proved in many a hard fight at sea.

Coolly he directed operations, with Dan Daly assisting him.

"An' faith, it's a poor mark," said the latter.

"I have my orders."

"Shure ye have, Young Glory, but it's meself would rather be afther firin' at the big ship herself."

"Dan, you're a good fellow and I'm particularly fond of you, but you wouldn't make a great general. Now, see here, Dan, if I can manage to hit that turret I'll put one of their great guns out of action. That's a tremendous gain."

"It's yerself knows best," said Dan, and he added to himself, "or ye'd prove to me ye knew best anyway."

Dan was working like a hero.

Two of his comrades at the gun had been carried below, badly wounded by some splinters from a shell.

The sight of his comrades' blood infuriated the Irishman, and it animated the other men also.

As for Young Glory, there was apparently no difference in him. He was as cool as ever.

It was his work to sight and train the gun, and each time that it was fired, anxious eyes followed the shot to see whether it would be a success.

"Bah! I'll never hit it!" cried Young Glory, in disgust, after his last unsuccessful shot. "It's the swell on the water. It's almost impossible to take aim; you can't do it with any accuracy."

"Murther!" cried Dan, "but those spalpeens can!"

As he spoke a shot had come from the enemy's ship, and it tore away one of the ship's boats, but doing no other damage. Several men had narrow escapes from the splinters of the shell. Boats are invariably a source of danger in naval fights, and it is the custom for battle ships to get rid of most of their boats before the action begins.

Captain Long was very anxious now.

The last few shots from the Spanish cruiser showed that her gunners were getting the range and elevation. At any moment a shot might come and sink the gun-boat.

Several times he cast anxious eyes seaward, hoping that the noise of the fight might bring the Brooklyn to the port.

Alas! this was not to be. The fine American cruiser was yet far away.

The gun-boat had suffered a serious loss in men. A number of the seamen had been struck by shots fired from the machine guns, and Captain Long knew he could ill afford such losses.

"Young Glory!"

"Yes, sir."

"One good shot from you may give us a fighting chance."

"I am doing all I can, sir."

"That I know."

Boom!

Young Glory had been almost ready to fire as Captain Long spoke to him. Now he did so.

"A hit!" cried the man. "A hit!"

"A knock-out blow!" shouted Dan, excitedly. "It's yourself won't come up to time."

The wind blew the thick smoke away for a few minutes, and when it was clear all eyes were fixed on the Spanish cruiser. It was seen at once that Young Glory's last shot had been successful.

The barbette was smashed.

The eight-inch gun of the Nashville had sent a shot right against it. Confusion reigned on the cruiser. Men were running hither and thither. They were carrying off the wounded, and others, hastily summoned from below, machinists, carpenters and the like, were busily engaged in trying to make good the damage.

"Ye may work yer hardest," said Dan, shaking his fist at the enemy, "but it's that gun won't bark any more this blessed day."

"You never said a truer word, Dan!" exclaimed Captain Long, merrily.

Young Glory's shot had put him in a good humor.

"My lads," he cried, "the big do not always win in battle. First blood is ours! Work your hardest, and the last blood will be ours, too!"

"Hurrah!" came from a hundred throats.

Meanwhile, Young Glory was working busily at the gun again, having very little to say, but listening intently to what was going on, and feeling very much amazed at Dan's running comments on the progress of the fight.

Captain Long was on deck in the conning tower. He called his lieutenant, Mr. Tyler, over.

"A new move on, Mr. Tyler."

"Looks like it, sir."

"What does it mean?"

"They're trying to get at us with their broadside guns."

"By jingo, but you're right! Well, that move must be stopped if possible!"

Captain Long gave the necessary orders, and as fast as the Spanish cruiser tried to bring its broadside guns into play, so did the Nashville maneuver so as to keep its bow head on to the Spaniard.

Meanwhile, the guns of the Nashville were busily at work, and more damage had been done to the cruiser. The din was terrific, and for the most part the two ships were enveloped in such a thick cloud of smoke, that it was quite impossible to see what they were doing.

The Nashville had little steam on, for she had been lying to during the fight. Suddenly the Cristobal Colon put on a great burst of speed, and came dashing through the water toward the gun-boat.

"She's going to ram us!"

"Sink her! Stop her!"

These cries came from all parts of the ship.

The excitement was terrific. The Spaniard was firing her guns as she came on, the Nashville was replying. Captain Long was working to stave off the impending disaster. Hastily the engineer got up steam. The gun-boat was well under way again.

"This dodging about can have only one end, sir," said Young Glory to the captain.

"Yes, an end for us."

"Exactly. There's only one way to save ourselves."

"I know none. Once those broadside guns get into play on us it will soon be over. They are bound to sink us at this distance. The worst gunners in the world could not miss."

"Don't give them the chance."

"How, Young Glory?"

"Run boldly up to her, sir."

"What then?"

"It's neck or nothing. Let all hands be ready, and once we're alongside of the Spaniard, we must board her and take her by storm."

The captain was thunderstruck. This audacious proposal fairly took his breath away. It was difficult for him to reply. Meanwhile, Young Glory respectfully awaited an answer.



CHAPTER X.

BOARDING THE CRUISER—THE LAST STAND.

"Mr. Tyler."

"Yes, sir."

"Listen. Young Glory proposes to run into the Spaniard and board her."

"Great Heaven!"

"It's the only way to save ourselves."

"Save ourselves, Young Glory! Do you know what you're talking about?"

"I generally do, sir."

"Then take note of this. The Cristobal Colon has a complement of five hundred officers and men. What have we?"

"Two hundred."

"Exactly."

"And they are enough, sir."

"Mr. Tyler, it is not a question of whether we have enough, but what are we to do. We shall be sunk for a certainty in a few minutes."

"Board the Spaniard, sir. Board her. I'm with you heart and soul. We'll die fighting."

"No, we will live and triumph!"

As Young Glory said these words his eyes flashed fire, and his looks more than his words brought hope to each of his officers.

1  2     Next Part
Home - Random Browse