But the scout had not reckoned on the fact that there was a hollow at the base of the mountain, and that the heavy rains had filled this full to overflowing. It was Larry who first called attention to the fact that the ground was growing damp. Then of a sudden the whole party stepped into the water up to their ankles.
Here was a new dilemma to face, and each looked at the others in anything but a happy mood. "Beats everything what luck we're having!" cried Leroy, in deep disgust. "I'd give a year's pay to be safe on board the Yorktown agin, keelhaul me if I wouldn't!"
"I suppose the best thing we can do is to march around the swamp-hole," replied Larry. "What do you say, Boxer?"
"Let us try it a bit further," replied the scout, and they moved forward with care. At first the ground appeared to grow better, but then they went down again halfway to their knees and in a muck that stuck to them like glue.
"It's no use, we'll have to go back," groaned Leroy, and turned about. Silently the others followed him, wondering where the adventure would end.
THE DEPARTURE OF THE OLYMPIA
The advances of both General MacArthur and General Lawton had been so far nothing but a series of successes, and so hard were the insurgents pressed, that they scarcely knew what to do next. Again they sued for peace, but as the Americans were not inclined to grant them anything until they had surrendered unconditionally, the war went on, but in more of a guerilla-fight fashion than ever.
Near San Fernando the rebels continued to tear up the railroad tracks, and likewise attacked a train of supplies, killing and wounding several who were on board. They also attacked several gunboats coming up the San Fernando River, keeping themselves safely hidden, in the meantime, behind high embankments thrown up along the stream. While this was going on General Aguinaldo called a council of war, at San Isidro, at which fifty-six of his main followers were present. By a vote it was found that twenty were for peace, twenty for war, and sixteen wished to negotiate with the United States for better terms. This gathering gave rise to a rumor that the war would terminate inside of forty-eight hours. Alas! it was still to drag on for many months to come.
The day after the tornado found Ben safe in camp again, with Gilbert in the hospital receiving every attention. It was Sunday, and a day of rest for the majority of the troops. At a small tent a short service was held, and Ben walked over, to hear a very good sermon on man's duty toward God under any and all circumstances. The sermon was followed by the singing of several hymns, and the soldiers remained at the spot for an hour or more afterward, talking over the general situation.
"It always takes me back home to hear the preachin'," remarked Ralph Sorrel. "I'm mighty glad we have it. It shows we ain't no heathens, even though we air livin' a kind o' hit-an'-miss life a-followin' up these yere rebs."
On Monday the scouts went out to the front, and a small brush was had with a number of the insurgents in the vicinity of San Miguel de Mayumo. They reported that the Filipinos had a number of intrenchments placed across the roads, but seemed to be retreating toward San Isidro.
"If Aguinaldo makes a stand anywhere, it will be at San Isidro," said Ben to Major Morris, as the two discussed the situation. "Oh, but I do wish we could have one big battle and finish this campaign!"
"How about the big battle going against us?" demanded the major, but with a twinkle in his eye.
"It would never go against us," answered the young captain, promptly, "and the insurgents know it. That is why they keep their distance."
The scouts had brought in a dozen or more prisoners, and among them were a Filipino and a Spaniard, both of whom could speak English quite fluently. As soon as he could obtain permission, Ben hurried over to have a talk with the prisoners.
He found that the Filipino had belonged to those having some of the American prisoners in charge.
"And do you know anything of my brother?" he asked eagerly. "He is a young sailor from the Olympia, and his name is Larry Russell."
"Yes, yes, I know him," answered the Filipino, nodding his head. "He was at the cave where they have kept some of the prisoners for a long time." And he described Larry so minutely that Ben felt there could be no mistake about the matter.
"Is my brother well? How do they treat him? Please tell me the truth."
"You may not believe it, but we treat our prisoners good," said the Filipino. "And when I saw your brother last he was very well."
"And where is this prison cave?"
At this the insurgent shrugged his shoulder. "Now, capitan, you are asking me too much. I am pleased to tell you that your brother is safe. More than that I cannot tell, for it would not be right."
This was not encouraging, yet Ben could not help but admire the prisoner's loyalty to his cause. "Very well," he said. "I am thankful to know that my brother is well. I was afraid that prison life might make him sick."
A little later the young captain got the chance to talk to the Spanish prisoner, who was making an application for his release, claiming that he was friendly to the United States and had never encouraged the rebels. Seldom had the young captain met more of a gentleman than Senor Romano proved to be.
"Ah, the war is terrible! terrible!" said the senor, after Ben had introduced himself. "It is bloodshed, bloodshed, all the time. Where it will end, Heaven alone knows—but I am afraid the Filipinos will be beaten far worse than was my own country."
"I think you are right there," replied Ben. "But we can't do anything for them now until they lay down their arms."
"The war has ruined hundreds of planters and merchants,—whole fortunes have been swept away,—and the insurgents have levied taxes which are beyond endurance. To some, Aguinaldo is their idol, but to me he is a base schemer who wants everything, and only for his own glory. But he cannot hold out much longer,—you are pressing him into the very mountains,—and once away from the civilization of the towns, his followers will become nothing but banditti—mark me if it is not so."
"You are a resident of Luzon?" went on Ben.
"Hardly. I belong in Spain—but I have lived here for several years."
"Do you know one Benedicto Lupez, or his brother Jose."
At this question the brow of Senor Romano darkened.
"Do I know them? Ah, yes, I know them only too well. They are rascals, villains, cheats of the worst order. I trust they are not your friends."
"Hardly, although I should like first-rate to meet them, and especially to meet Benedicto."
"And for what? Excuse my curiosity, but what can an American captain and gentleman like you have in common with Benedicto Lupez?"
"I want to get hold of some bank money that he carried off," answered the young captain, and told the story of the missing funds and the part the Spaniard was supposed to have played in their disappearance.
"It is like Lupez," answered Senor Romano. "He is wanted in Cuba for having swindled a rich aunt out of a small fortune; and in Manila you will find a hundred people who will tell you that both brothers are rascals to the last degree, although, so far, they have kept out of the clutches of the law—through bribery, I think."
"Not during General Otis's term of office?"
"No; before the city fell into your hands. The government was very corrupt and winked at Lupez's doings so long as he divided with certain officials."
"And what did he work at?"
"Land schemes and loan companies. He once got me interested in a land scheme, and his rascality cost me many dollars, and I came pretty near to going to prison in the bargain." Senor Romano paused a moment. "If your troops take San Isidro, you will have a good chance to catch both of the brothers."
"What! do you mean to say they are at San Isidro?" exclaimed the young captain.
"They are, or, at least, they were two or three days ago. How long they will stay there, I cannot say. They were at the council of war held by Aguinaldo's followers."
"I see." Ben mused for a moment. "Of course you do not know if they had the stolen money with them?"
"They appeared to have some money, for both were offered positions in the army, and that would not have happened had not they had funds to buy the offices with. They appeared to be very thick with a general named Porlar,—a tricky fellow of French-Malay blood. I believe the three had some scheme they wished to put through."
"Well, I'd like to catch the pair. I wonder if Aguinaldo would keep them around him, if he knew their real characters?"
At this Senor Romano laughed outright. "You do not know how bad are some of the men around the arch rebel, capitan. He has some bad advisers, I can tell you that. To some of the worst of the crowd, Aguinaldo is but a figurehead."
The pair discussed the matter for half an hour; and during that time Ben became convinced that Senor Romano had small sympathy for the insurgents, and was certainly not of their number.
"I will do what I can for you, senor," he said, on parting. "I do not believe you will be kept a prisoner long." And the young captain was right on this score; the Spanish gentleman was released inside of forty-eight hours, and journeyed to Manila in company with a detachment bound for the capital of Luzon.
The two talks made Ben do a good deal of sober thinking. He now knew to a certainty that Larry was alive and well, and he knew also that Benedicto Lupez was at or near San Isidro, and more than likely had the stolen money on his person. "I wish we could push ahead without delay," he muttered. "I might make a splendid strike all around. I know Larry is just aching to be at liberty once more."
But supplies were again slow in coming to the front, and General Lawton did not feel like risking his men when the Filipinos might surrender at any moment. So a delay of several days occurred, with only a little skirmish here and there to break the monotony.
"Hullo, here's news!" cried Major Morris, as he rushed up to Ben's quarters one morning. "Dewey is going to sail for the United States."
"With the Olympia?" queried the young captain.
"Yes. The warship leaves next Saturday, with all on board. Won't he get a rousing reception when he arrives home?"
"Larry won't be with him," said Ben.
"By Jove, captain, that's so. It's too bad, isn't it? I suppose he would like to go, too."
"I can't say as to that. Perhaps he would just as lief stay here and join some command on land, or some other ship, especially if he knew that my brother Walter was coming on. But I am sure he would like to see his old messmates off," concluded Ben.
Admiral Dewey started for the United States at four o'clock in the afternoon of Saturday, May 20. The departure proved a gala time, the harbor and shipping being decorated, and the other warships firing a salute. The bands played "Auld Lang Syne," "Home, Sweet Home," and "America," and the jackies crowded the tops to get a last look at the noble flagship as she slipped down the bay toward the China Sea, with the admiral standing on the bridge, hat in hand, and waving them a final adieu. In all the time he had been at Manila, Admiral Dewey had served his country well, and his home-coming was indeed to be one of grand triumph.
THE ADVANCE UPON SAN ISIDRO
"Why, Luke Striker, is it possible! I thought you had sailed for the United States on the Olympia."
"Well, ye hadn't no right to think that, captain," responded the old gunner, as he shook hands warmly. "It might be that the others could go away and leave Larry behind, but he's too much my boy for me to do that—yes, sirree. When I hears as we were to set sail for the States, I goes up to the admiral himself, an' says I: 'Admiral,' says I, 'do you remember how Larry Russell an' yer humble servant comes on board of the Olympia?' says I. 'Yes,' says he. 'I remember it well,' says he. 'Well,' says I, 'Larry is ashore, a prisoner of the enemy,' says I. 'I don't want to go for to leave him, nohow. Can't you leave me behind,' says I. And he laughs and asks me all about Larry, and finally says I can go ashore and report to Rear Admiral Watson—who is comin' on—sometime later. And here I am, come to the front, to find Larry, ef sech a thing is possible."
The old sailor's honest speech went straight to Ben's heart, and he saw very plainly how deep was Luke's affection for his younger brother. "You're a messmate worth having, Luke!" he exclaimed. "I don't wonder Larry thought so much of you."
"Avast, I'm only a common sea-dog at the best, captain,—an ef I remained behind to cast around fer the lad, ye mustn't think thet Jack Biddle an' the others have forgotten Larry, fer they ain't, not by a jugful. Every man jack o' them is his friend, an' was, almost from the start."
Luke had come up to the camp by way of Malolos, accompanying a pack-train of caribao carts carrying rations and army equipments. He had left the Olympia several days before, and had not waited to witness the departure of the flagship.
As Luke wished to remain with Ben, the latter lost no time in presenting the matter to Colonel Darcy and to Major Morris, and Luke was taken into the regiment camp as a cook, for he had once been a cook on a merchantman, years before. The position was largely an honorary one, and the sailor was permitted to leave his pots and kettles whenever he pleased.
"It's good news," he said, when the young captain had told him what the prisoners had said about Larry and Benedicto Lupez. "I've an idee we'll get to Larry soon, an' down thet tarnal Spaniard in the bargain."
The conversation took place on Tuesday. On Wednesday orders came to strike camp, and the march of the regiment was taken toward San Isidro by way of Baluarte, a small village seven miles to the southeast of the new rebel capital. In the meantime, although the Americans were not aware of it, Aguinaldo was preparing to decamp, with his so-called congress, into the mountain fastnesses, still further northward.
"We are in for another fight," said Major Morris, as he came to Ben that afternoon. "And I've an idea it is going to be something to the finish."
"That means, then, that we are bound for San Isidro!" cried the young captain. "Hurrah! that's the best news I've heard in a week."
The regiment was soon on the road, spread out in proper battalion form. The day was close, and it looked as if a thunderstorm was at hand. The growth along the road was thick, and at certain points the overhanging branches had to be cut off that the troops might pass. The trail was bad, and often a gun, or wagon, had to stop so that a hole might be bridged over with bamboo poles. Here and there they passed a nipa hut, but these places were deserted, excepting in rare instances, where an aged native would stand at the door, holding up a white rag as a signal of surrender, or to show that he was an amigo, or friend.
"It's pitiable," said Ben to Major Morris, as they trudged along side by side. "I reckon some of these ignorant creatures have an idea that we have come to annihilate them."
"You can be sure that Aguinaldo and his followers have taught them something like that," replied the major. "Otherwise, they wouldn't look so terrified."
At one point in the road, they came to a tumble-down hut, at the doorway of which rested a woman and her three small children, all watching the soldiers with eyes full of terror. Going up to the woman, Ben spoke kindly to her, but she immediately fled into the dilapidated structure, dragging her trio of offspring after her.
"You can't make friends that way," cried Major Morris. "They won't trust you. I've tried it more than once."
There was now a hill to climb, thick with tropical trees and brush. The regiment had scarcely covered a hundred feet of the ascent, when there came a volley of shots from a ridge beyond, which wounded two soldiers in the front rank.
"The rebels are in sight!" was the cry. "Come on, boys, let us drive 'em back! On to San Isidro!" And away went one battalion after another, fatigued by a two miles' tramp, but eager to engage once more in the fray. It was found that the insurgents had the ridge well fortified, and General Lawton at once spread out his troops in a semicircle, in the hope of surrounding the ridge and cutting off the defenders from the main body of Aguinaldo's army.
Ben's regiment was coming, "head on," for the top of the ridge. The way was over ground much broken by tree-stumps, rocks, and entangling vines, that brought many a soldier flat.
"Sure, an' it's a rigular fish-net!" spluttered Dan Casey, as he tried in vain to rise, with vines ensnaring both arms and legs. "I don't know but phwat a fellow wants a wire-cutter here, just as they had 'em in Cuby to cut the wire finces wid."
"Nefer mind, so long as we got by der dop of dot hill," answered Carl Stummer, as he hauled his mate out of the entanglement. "Be dankful dot you ain't parefooted by dem dorns." And on went both once more. There was many a slip and a tumble, but very little grumbling.
"Down!" The cry came from the front, and down went Ben's company into a little hollow, for the rebels had them in plain view now, and the two lines were less than three hundred yards apart. A volley from the insurgents followed, but nobody was struck.
"Forward twenty-five yards!" cried Ben, and up went the company for another dash. It was a soul-trying moment, and none felt it more than the young commander, who ran on ahead to inspire his men. He knew that at any instant a bullet might hit him to lay him low forever. But his "baptism of fire" had been complete, and he did not flinch.
"Hot work, this!" The words came from Gilmore as he came up the hill close to Ben. "It's going to be no picnic taking that ridge."
"True, Gilmore; but it's got to be done," answered the young commander. "Down!" he shouted, and again the company fell flat. Then began a firing at will, which lasted the best part of ten minutes. The insurgents, likewise, fired, and a corporal and a private were wounded and had to be carried to the rear.
Looking around, Ben espied Luke Striker in the ranks of Company D. The old sailor had provided himself with a rifle and an ammunition belt, and was popping away at a lively rate.
"I couldn't help it," said Luke, when the young captain came up to him. "It's the best fun I've had sence thet air muss in Manila Bay, when we blowed old Montojo out o' the water, off Cavite. Say, but we'll git to the top o' the hill afore long, jes' see ef we don't!" And Luke blazed away again, and so Ben left him.
The rest of the battalion was now closing in, and soon another advance was made, until the first line of the American troops was less than a hundred and fifty yards away from the insurgents' outer intrenchments. Then a yell came from a jungle on the left.
"What's that? more rebels?" cried Ben, and listened.
"No, no, the Filipinos are retreating!" came from a score of throats. "See, they are scattering like sheep! Up the hill, fellows; the fight is ours!" And a regular stampede occurred, each command trying to get to the top of the ridge first. The rebels were indeed retreating into a thicket behind the ridge. They went less than half a mile, however, and then made another stand, this time on the upper side of a mountain stream,—the very stream at which Larry and his companions had stopped after the escape from the caves under the mountain.
To ford the stream would have been an easy matter under ordinary circumstances, but with the rebels guarding the upper bank, it was extremely hazardous, and the regiment came to a halt on the edge of the brush overhanging the water.
"They are straight ahead, boys," said Major Morris, after his scouts had reported to him. "We will make a detour to the right. Forward, and on the double-quick!"
Every soldier felt that delay would mean a serious loss, and a rapid rush was made through the jungle to a point where the stream became rocky and winding. Here an excellent ford was found, and they went over in column of fours. They could now enfilade the rebels' position, and this they did so disastrously that the Filipinos speedily threw down a large part of their arms and fled helter-skelter into the mountain fastnesses still further to the northward.
The battle over, the battalion came to rest under the shade of the trees lining the stream, many of the soldiers throwing themselves down in a state bordering upon exhaustion, for the humidity in the air told upon them greatly. There was not a breath of a breeze, and the water hardly quenched the thirst that raged within them. As Major Morris declared, 'It was the primest place to catch a fever in' he had ever seen.
Ben was sitting at the foot of a tall tree talking to Gilmore, when he saw the advance guards bringing in two Americans, one evidently a sailor. At once he sprang to meet the sailor, thinking the man might know something about Larry.
The two men proved to be Dan Leroy and Boxer, the scout, and when he mentioned his brother's name to them, both were of course astonished.
"Do we know him!" cried Leroy. "Sure and didn't he and I run away together from the rebels, and Boxer, here, helping us to get out of the prison caves. Yes, yes, I know Larry well." And then Leroy told of the escape from the caves, and of how all three of the party had become lost in the swamp lands.
"We were in the swamps two days, and thought we would never get out," he continued. "Luckily, we had some caribao meat with us; otherwise we should have starved to death. The swamps were full of mosquitoes and lizards and lots of other things, and we were almost eaten up alive, eh, Boxer?"
"So we were," replied the scout.
"But what of my brother?" asked Ben, impatiently.
At this the faces of both of the men fell.
"We can't say what became o' him," said the sailor from the Yorktown. "You see, after we got out of the swamp, we determined to stick to the high ground until we found a regular trail leading to the south. Well, our walk took us up to a high cliff overlooking a gorge filled with trees and bushes. We were walking ahead, with Larry at our heels, as we thought, when Boxer chanced to look around, and the boy was gone."
"Gone!" gasped Ben, in horror.
"Yes, gone! We couldn't understand it, and called to him, but he didn't answer. Then we went back about quarter of a mile, past the spot where we had seen him last, and fired the pistol as a signal. But he had disappeared totally, and we couldn't find hide nor hair o' him, try our level best."
The confession was a sickening one, and for several minutes Ben could not trust himself to speak.
"And—and what do you think became of my brother?" he asked, at length.
Both men shrugged their shoulders. "I'm afraid he fell over the cliff," said Boxer. "You see, the footpath was narrow and mighty slippery in spots."
At once Ben's mind went back to that scene in far-away Cuba, when Gerald Holgait had fallen over a cliff. Had a similar fate overtaken his brother? and if so, was he still alive or had he been dashed to his death?
"How far is that spot from here?" he demanded abruptly.
"Not over a mile, cap'n," answered Boxer.
"I see you are a scout. Can you take me to the place?"
"Certainly—but—but—it's mighty risky, cap'n—so many rebs lurking about."
"Never mind—I must find Larry, alive or dead. Take me to him, and I'll pay you well for your services."
"I ain't asking a cent, cap'n—that ain't my style."
"Then you will take me?"
"I will," said Boxer, promptly. "Only I'll have to report first and get official permission."
"Major Morris will arrange that for you, I feel certain," answered Ben, turning to the major, who sat near, drinking in the conversation.
"Yes, I'll arrange that," said the major. "But I don't see how I am going to do without you, captain."
"Would you keep me from looking for my brother?"
"No, no, go ahead, and Gilmore can take the company."
So it was arranged; and inside of quarter of an hour Ben and Boxer were ready to depart.
"Captain, can't I go with ye?" It was Luke Striker who asked the question. The anxious look on his face spoke more eloquently than words, and Ben consented without argument.
And so the three set off on the search for Larry, little dreaming of the strange happenings in store for them.
LARRY IS SENTENCED TO BE SHOT
To go back to Larry, at the time mentioned by Dan Leroy, when the boy had been following the old sailor and the scout along the cliff overlooking the valley in which both the Filipino and the American troops were encamped.
The adventures in the swamp had been exceedingly tiring, and the youth could scarcely drag one foot after the other, as the party of three hurried along over rocks and through thickets which at certain points seemed almost impassible.
"O dear! I'll be glad when this day's tramp comes to an end," he thought. "I wonder how far the American camp is from here?"
He tried to look across the valley, but there was a bluish vapor hanging over trees and brush which shut off a larger portion of the view. The party had been walking over a trail which now brought them directly to the edge of the cliff. Here the footpath was scarcely two feet wide, and was backed up by high rocks and thorn bushes, around which it was difficult to climb without injury.
The men were as tired as the boy, and it must be confessed that for a half hour or more they paid little attention to Larry. Gradually the youth lagged behind, until those ahead were lost to view around a sharp turn of the cliff.
And it was then that an accident happened which put Larry in great peril all in an instant. In trying to make the turn, the boy got hold of a slender tree by which to support himself. Leroy and Boxer had grasped the same tree, and their swinging around had loosened its frail hold on the rocks, and as Larry grasped it, down went the sapling over the edge of the cliff, carrying the youth with it.
The boy had no time to cry out, and he clung fast, not knowing what else to do, until the tree landed with a mighty crash on the top of another tree at the foot of the cliff. The sudden stoppage caused Larry to loose his hold, and he bumped from limb to limb in the tree below until he struck the ground with a dull thud; and then for the time being he knew no more.
When the boy came to his senses, he found it was night and pitch dark under the thick tree, through the branches of which he had fallen. He rested on a bed of soft moss, and this cushionlike substance had most likely saved him from fatal injury.
His first feeling was one of bewilderment, his next that his left foot felt as if it was on fire, with a shooting pain that ran well up to his knee. Catching hold of the foot, he felt that the ankle was much swollen, and that his shoe-top was ready to burst with the pressure. Scarcely realizing what he was doing, he loosened the shoe, at which part of the pain left him.
"I suppose I ought to be thankful that I wasn't killed," he thought, rather dismally. "I wonder where Leroy and that scout are? I don't suppose it will do any good to call for them. The top of that cliff must be a hundred feet from here."
The fall had almost finished what was left of Larry's already ragged suit, and he found himself scratched in a dozen places, with a bad cut over one eye and several splinters in his left hand. Feeling in his pocket, he found several matches which Leroy had given him on leaving the prison cave, and he lit one of these and set fire to a few dried leaves which happened to be ready to hand.
The light afforded a little consolation, and by its rays the boy made out a pool of water not far off, and to this he dragged himself, to get a drink and then bathe the ankle. This member of his body had been so badly wrenched that standing upon it was out of the question, as he speedily discovered by a trial which made him scream with pain.
"I'm in for it now," he thought. "With such an ankle as this, I can't go on, and what am I to do here, alone in the woods and with absolutely nothing to eat? I'd be better off in a Filipino prison."
Slowly the night wore along, until a faint light in the east announced the coming of day. During the darkness the jungle had been almost silent, but now the birds began to tune up, and here and there Larry heard the movements of small animals, although none of the latter showed themselves.
It was more pleasant under the big tree than down by the pool, and as daylight came on, Larry dragged himself back to his first resting-place. As he came up to the tree he saw a broken branch resting there and on it a bird's nest containing half a dozen speckled eggs.
"Here's a little luck, anyway," he murmured, and taking some of the tree limbs, he made a fire and cooked the eggs in the hot ashes. When they were done, he broke off the shells and ate the eggs, and although the flavor was by no means to be prized, yet they did much toward relieving the hunger he had felt before taking the fall over the cliff.
The day that followed was one which Larry says he will never forget, and for good reason. Neither human being nor beast came near him, and even the birds flying overhead seemed to give him a wide berth. Time and again he cried out, but the only answer that came back was the echo from the cliff, repeating his own words as if in mockery. Occasionally he heard firing at a great distance, but toward nightfall even this died out. He could scarcely move from his resting-place, and it was not until darkness came on that the pain in his ankle subsided sufficiently to allow of his sleeping in comfort.
The long sleep did the boy a world of good, and when he awakened he found the swelling in his ankle gone down, along with much of the pain, and on getting up he found that he could walk, but it must be slowly and with care. He was again hungry, and his first effort was to supply himself with something to eat.
To bring down even a small animal was out of the question, but he thought he might possibly knock over a bird or two, and with this in view cut himself several short, heavy sticks. The birds were coming down to the pool to drink, and watching his chance he let fly with the sticks and managed to bring down two of the creatures, and these formed the sum total of his breakfast, although he could have eaten twice as many. There were a number of berries to hand, but these he refrained from touching, fearing they might be poisonous.
Larry felt he must now go on. To gain the top of the cliff was out of the question, so he decided to strike out directly for the southwest, feeling that this must sooner or later bring him into the American lines. To be sure, he had first to pass the Filipinos, but this could not be helped, and he felt that the best he could do would be to keep his eyes and ears open and walk around any body of the enemy that he might discover, instead of trying to steal his way straight through. This would require many miles of walking, and on the sore foot, too, but this hardship would have to be endured.
Half a mile was covered in a slow and painful fashion, when Larry reached a small clearing, and here he sat down to rest on a fallen tree and to examine the ankle, which he was afraid was again swelling. He was engaged in looking at the wounded member, when a rough Tagalog voice broke upon his ears.
"What do you here?" demanded a heavy-set native, in his own tongue, as he strode forward, gun in hand, followed by several others.
Larry was startled and leaped up. In a twinkling he found himself surrounded, and several Mausers were levelled at his head.
To resist would have been the height of foolishness, and Larry did not try. The Tagals asked him a number of questions in their own tongue, but he shook his head to show them that he did not understand. On their part, not one could speak English, so neither party could communicate with the other.
The natives, however, soon understood that he was alone, and when he pointed to his ankle and limped, also understood that he had sprained that member. One went into the bushes, and presently returned with some leaves, which he crushed and packed inside of the boy's stocking. The juice of the leaves proved very cooling, and presently much of the pain from the sprain went away.
The Tagals were bound for the cliff, but by a route different from that which Larry had travelled. As the boy was unarmed and could scarcely hobble along, they did not take the trouble to bind him in any way. He was made to march with half of the crowd before him and the others behind; and thus they proceeded until the cliff was reached, at a point where the jungle hid a series of rough steps leading to the top. Beyond the top of these steps was a mountain trail, which by nightfall brought them to a plateau where were encamped at least three hundred Filipinos of all classes, the Tagals predominating.
A shout went up as Larry appeared, and he was at once recognized as one of the prisoners who had escaped from the caves, which were fully four miles away.
"So they have caught you again?" remarked an under-officer, as he strode up with a sinister smile on his swarthy countenance. "You did not get very far."
"No, I had a bad fall and lamed my foot," replied Larry, as cheerfully as he could. He was never one to "cry over spilt milk."
"A fall? Where?"
"I fell over the high cliff just below here."
"And you live to tell it? Impossible!"
"No, it is true. I fell into a large tree, and that broke my fall. But I was badly scratched up, and my ankle was sprained."
"A rare fall truly, boy. It would have been better, though, if you had been killed."
"Thank you; I like that!"
"I say it because you are a prisoner who has tried to escape from us. Do you know the fate of all such?"
At these words Larry could not help but shiver. He knew what the officer up at the cave prison had said,—that any prisoner trying to escape would be shot at the first opportunity which presented itself.
"Surely, you would not kill me for trying to get away?" he cried quickly.
The under-officer shrugged his shoulders. "It is not for me to change our regulations of war, boy. Your words prove that you knew beforehand the risk you were running."
"Yes, yes—but— You would try to get away too, if our soldiers caught you."
"Possibly—I understand you treat your prisoners very badly."
"Our prisoners are treated as well as yours. And we would not kill a Filipino for having tried to escape,—unless, of course, he was shot in the attempt."
"It is you who say that—I have heard vastly different stories; how our men were starved and shot down without mercy,—not one man, but hundreds of them. I have it from friends in Manila that your General Otis is a monster who would rather kill than save at any time."
"Your friends have told you that which is not true!" exclaimed Larry, warmly. "If anything, General Otis is too kind-hearted, especially with those who have done their best to put the city in a state of rebellion and those who have tried to burn it to the ground. I suppose your friends had a purpose in telling you what was not true."
"I take my friends' words in preference to yours, boy," was the angry answer. "Who are you that come to take our country away from us—the country that we tried so hard to liberate from the iron grasp of Spain? The land is ours, and no Americans shall govern us. We will fight to the last,—from the cities to the towns, and from the towns to the villages, and then to the mountains, from one island to another,—and you shall never conquer us, no matter how large an army you send from across the ocean. But, bah, I am talking to a mere boy, when I might have better sense." And turning on his heel the under-officer strode away, out of humor with himself as well as with Larry.
The youth felt utterly crushed, and sitting down on a rock, with a heart as heavy as lead, he wondered what was going to happen next. Would they really shoot him? The thought was agony itself.
There were no other prisoners in the camp, so he was left for a long time alone, although several soldiers kept their eyes upon him, that he might not wander away. Soon supper was served, and one of the Tagals brought him a bowl of rice and meat. It must be confessed that he was now tremendously hungry, and ate all of what was given him, despite his down-heartedness.
The meal finished, the Filipinos were sitting around their camp-fires, when a certain General Drummo was announced. At once there was a parade, which the general reviewed with satisfaction. The newcomer was served with supper, and then Larry was brought before him.
The general had his head full of his plans for the morrow and gave the boy but scant attention.
"You knew the risk you ran when you stole away," he said, in broken English. "It is true you are but a boy, yet I'll wager you can use a gun better than some of our own men. I cannot pardon you, for that would be setting a bad example. So I hereby sentence you to be shot at sunrise to-morrow,—and may your death be an example to others who are thinking of escape."
Before Larry could say a word, if indeed he wanted to speak, he was led away to a hollow back of the camp. Here he was tied fast to a tree, and two soldiers were detailed to guard him until the hour for his execution should arrive.
A RESCUE UNDER DIFFICULTIES
"Nothing here, cap'n."
It was Boxer the scout who spoke. For two hours he, Ben, and Luke Striker had been examining the trail running along the cliff. They could find footprints without number, but no trace of Larry.
"He must have gone somewhere," replied Ben, who could not bring himself to give up the hunt. "He wasn't spirited away. I've a good mind to make a hunt at the bottom of the cliff."
"As you will, cap'n. But, remember, this air side o' the valley is full of rebs, and if they catch us—"
"We must be on our guard, Boxer."
"I've got my eyes wide open," put in Luke. "I reckon on it as how I can see as far as any on 'em, too."
The walk to the cliff had not been accomplished without difficulty. Twice had they come close to running into the Filipino pickets, and once Luke had been almost certain they were being followed, but the alarm proved false. A night had been spent in the jungle, and at a point within half a mile of where Larry lay senseless under the big tree!
The hunt had revealed to the party the series of rough steps mentioned in the last chapter, and down these they now went and continued their search at the base of the cliff.
"What's this?" came from the old sailor, presently, and he pointed to the broken sapling hanging in the branches of the big tree. With the sapling was a shred of a garment, fluttering in the breeze like a signal of distress.
A close examination caused them to reach a conclusion which was, as we already know, true; namely, that Larry had come down with the sapling and landed in the big tree.
"And he wasn't killed, either," said Boxer. "For here is where he built a fire and cooked some birds' eggs."
"And he visited the pool, too," added Ben, examining the tracks with care. "Funny tracks these," he added, a second later.
"He was hopping on one foot," announced the scout, gravely. "That looks as if he had one leg hurt."
It was an easy matter to follow the trail through the jungle, for the ground was damp and covered with a moss which was torn with ease. Soon they reached the clearing where Larry had stopped to examine his ankle.
"Hullo, more footprints!" ejaculated Boxer, his face falling. "And rebs, too, I'll wager a new hat. Cap'n, I'm afraid your brother has run into worse trouble."
"It certainly looks like it," answered Ben. "Where do the footprints lead to?"
Where but back to the very rocks down which they had come but a few hours before! Soon they were back at the top of the cliff again.
Before leaving the valley Boxer studied the footprints closely, and now, although there were other footprints above, he followed the party having Larry in charge without making a single error. But it was slow work, and the encampment of the Filipinos was not discovered until nightfall.
"We've tracked 'em to a finish," announced Boxer. "Don't go any further, cap'n—unless you are ready to do some tall shooting."
"I can do some shooting if it's necessary," answered Ben, with a determined look on his face which was not to be mistaken. "I should like to make sure my brother is here."
"We'll walk around the camp and see," said Boxer, and this they did, slowly and cautiously, each with his weapons ready for immediate use. But the Filipinos were busy eating their suppers and smoking cigarettes, and did not discover them.
"There's Larry!" cried Luke, after a while. And he pointed to one side of the camp. The guards were just taking the lad to the general to be sentenced.
"Yes, yes!" answered Ben. He handled his pistol nervously. He could hardly restrain himself from rushing forward and embracing the long lost. Boxer saw what was in his mind and held him back.
"Don't be rash, cap'n," whispered the scout. "If you are, it may cost all of us our lives."
"I will try to be careful," was the answer, with an effort. "But what are they going to do with him?"
"They are taking him over to yonder tent."
Soon Larry disappeared inside the tent, and they crouched behind the bushes to await developments. While waiting, Ben made a mental calculation of the number of the enemy.
"A battalion, or more," he said to Boxer. "I wonder what they are doing so far from the main body of the troops?"
"Oh, their army is becoming badly scattered, cap'n. General Lawton has 'em on the run, and there won't be any of 'em left when he gets through with 'em."
As we know, the scene in the tent was a short one, and soon they saw Larry come out again, and saw him tied to the tree. The two soldiers detailed to guard him sat on either side of their prisoner, on rocks about six or eight yards from the tree.
"He seems to be the only prisoner in the camp," whispered Ben. "I wonder if I can't crawl up and cut him loose. I did that once for Gilbert Pennington."
"No, no!" interposed Boxer. "Those guards are wide awake and will shoot you in a minute. Wait till it gets darker—we may get a chance to do something then."
Slowly the minutes drifted by, Ben watching Larry every instant. He saw that his younger brother was exceedingly tired and held one foot up as if in pain. The young sailor had asked if he might not lie down, but this comfort had been denied him.
Both of the guards were puffing vigorously on their cigarettes, when one chanced to throw down a lighted match close to the rock upon which he was sitting. It set fire to some dry grass, but instead of putting it out, the guard watched the tiny conflagration grow stronger.
"Playing with fire, eh?" said his mate, lightly.
"Yes," was the slow answer. "How I would like to see Manila go up like that!"
"Yes, I would like to see that, too, Carlos, and the Americans in the flames. Ah, but the day when we are to take the capital seems a long way off now."
"Never mind; Aguinaldo says he is soon to have reenforcements from the south. When they come, let the American dogs beware!"
The talk was carried on in the Tagalog dialect, so Larry understood not a word. In the meantime, the fire crept up, making the guard's seat anything but comfortable.
"That's too much," he observed, and was on the point of kicking the fire out with his foot, when of a sudden he uttered a wild yell that startled everybody near him. "A snake! a snake! Oh, what a long creature!"
For from under the rock a huge reptile had glided, roused up by the heat. It was a snake peculiar to those mountains, and all of ten feet long and as thick as a man's arm. It struck the guard in the knee, and then whipped around in increased anger, for its tail had come in contact with the fire.
"A snake!" echoed the second guard, and fired his Mauser at the reptile. But he was too excited to shoot straight, and the bullet glanced along the rock and struck the first guard in the cheek, inflicting a fairly serious wound.
The cries of the two guards' were taken up on all sides of the camp, and especially in the vicinity of the rock from under which the reptile had appeared. All the soldiers recognized the snake as a dangerous enemy; and as the reptile moved about, first one and then another ran to get out of its way, several in the meantime taking hasty shots at it, but failing to do any serious damage. For several minutes the prisoner was entirely forgotten.
It was Ben who saw the opportunity,—Ben and the ever-faithful Luke,—and rushing up, they cut Larry's bonds and fairly hustled him into the depth of the jungle behind the encampment. The young sailor could hardly understand what was taking place, but when he recognized his brother and his old messmate, he gave a shout of joy.
"You, Ben! and Luke! Oh, I must be dreaming!"
"No, you are not dreaming, Larry. We've been watching you for a long while, trying to do something. Can you run?"
"No; I sprained my ankle, and it is still sore."
"I'll carry him," said Luke. "You lead the way, cap'n. And Boxer had better bring up the rear guard."
"Right you are," came from the scout. "Have your weapons ready, cap'n. We may catch it hot, in spite of the alarm over the snake. Those rebs will be as mad as hornets when they find the lad is missing."
Away they went, Ben trying to find an easy path,—which was no small thing to do in that utter darkness,—and Luke coming up behind, breathing like a porpoise, but vowing he could carry Larry a mile were it necessary. Boxer kept as far to the rear as he dared without missing their trail, and the life of any Filipino who might have appeared would not have been worth a moment's purchase at the scout's hands.
They had covered but a few hundred yards when the shouting and firing at the encampment ceased. "I guess the snake is dead," said Ben. "Now they'll be after us."
The young captain was right; and soon they heard the enemy breaking through the jungle in detachments of three or four men each, all hot-footed to recapture the prisoner. They had observed the cut ropes and wondered if it was possible that Larry had severed them without assistance.
It was not long before Boxer got a good shot at the nearest of the pursuers. His aim was true, and the Tagal went down without so much as a groan. His companions stopped short, and then called some other soldiers to the scene. "The boy is armed and shoots like a sharpshooter," they told each other; and after that the search was continued with extra care. Of course Boxer kept out of sight; and as soon as he could, he joined Ben and the others.
"I think there must be a stream close at hand,—the one we crossed a few days ago," said he. "If we can get to that, we'll have some chance to hide."
"Let's get to it, then," gasped Luke, who felt that he could keep up but a short while longer.
"I'll take Larry, Luke," put in Ben, and the transfer was made, in spite of the old sailor's protests. Then Luke plunged ahead and soon announced that he could see the river through the bushes to the right. Soon they came out on some rocks. The stream was a mountain torrent, a rod wide and from two to three feet deep. They plunged in without delay.
As they could not walk against such a current, they followed the stream on its downward course almost to the edge of the cliff, where the torrent formed a pretty series of waterfalls. Then they crossed to the other side, and climbed into a tree growing directly at the water's edge,—a species of willow, with long, drooping branches.
"We ought to be safe here—at least for a while," said Boxer.
"It's hard to tell where one would be safe here," answered Ben. "The whole country seems to be invested with scattered bands of the insurgents."
He asked Larry about himself, and in a few words the younger brother told his story. Then Boxer stopped the talk.
"In a situation like this, it's best to have only ears and eyes," he said, and all saw at once the aptness of the remark.
But though they remained on guard the larger part of the night, nobody came to disturb them, and the only sound that broke the stillness was that of the water as it tumbled over the rocks below.
Ben was much worried over Larry's ankle, which had begun to swell again through having stood so long on it while being tied to the tree. He brought a canteen of water up from the stream and bathed it with this. This moistened the mashed-up leaves once more, and then the injured member felt better, and Larry caught a nap.
"I reckon we had better be moving again," said Boxer, while it wanted yet an hour to daylight. "Those rebs may be waiting for to see us, you know."
"Well, my brother can't run, so perhaps it will be just as well if you take a scout around and see if the coast is clear," said Ben.
"Certainly, cap'n." And Boxer made off without delay, moving through the jungle and along the stream as silently as some wild animal in search of its prey.
Fifteen minutes and more passed, and they began to wonder when the scout would come back, when a low whistle reached their ears.
"It's all right," came from Boxer.
"Nobody in sight?" questioned Ben.
"Nary a reb, cap'n."
"I'm glad of it," put in Larry, with a sigh of relief. "I never want to fall in with them again!" And he shuddered. He would never forget how close he had been to death at their hands.
They came down the tree, and after a drink from the stream, set out again, this time following the watercourse over the rocks until the cliff was left behind. Here they struck a bit of marsh and had to make a detour, finally coming out, much to their surprise, on what appeared to be a regular highway through the forest.
"Now, if we only knew where this leads to," cried Ben.
"I reckon it leads to San Isidro," came from Boxer. "But we may be a good number of mil—"
"Look! look!" ejaculated Striker, pointing up the road. "The rebels, as sure as you air born! An' they air comin' about a thousand strong, too. Boys, we air lost!"
THE FALL OF SAN ISIDRO—CONCLUSION
Luke Striker was right; a large force of Filipinos were sweeping down the road at a rapid rate, bringing with them two old field-pieces and a rapid-firing gun. They were commanded by several officers on horseback, and presented a formidable appearance to the worn-out Americans.
"Out of sight, quick!" The cry came from Ben. "It's our only chance to escape."
The words had scarcely left his lips when the pop-pop of several Mausers was heard, as the Filipino sharpshooters, who were in advance of the main body, opened fire upon them. Their aim was excellent, and both Striker and Boxer were hit, although neither seriously.
"They've caught me!" ejaculated the old sailor, and staggered up against Ben. At the same time Boxer pitched headlong.
"Oh, Luke!" The call came from Larry, who was limping painfully. "Where did they hit you? This is the worst of all!"
"I'm struck in the shoulder. But come, Ben is right. To the jungle!" And Striker clutched Larry's hand in a death-like grip, bound to live or die with his closest friend, as the case might be.
The pair started forward. Ben hesitated and looked at Boxer, and saw the latter try to stagger up once more. "He's not dead," thought the young captain, and picked the sharpshooter up. In a few seconds more the whole party were in the jungle again.
But the Filipinos were not going to let them escape thus easily, and coming up on the double-quick, a detachment began to search the bushes, at the same time calling on the Americans to surrender if they wanted to save their lives.
With Larry limping painfully, and both Luke and Boxer groaning in spite of their efforts to keep silent, the Americans looked about for some spot which might prove a safe hiding-place. But the ground here was level and the jungle rather spare, and for those who were wounded to climb trees was out of the question.
"We'll have to make a stand, I'm afraid," said Ben, looking to his pistol to see if it was fully loaded. "They are coming— Hark!"
The young captain broke off short, as a loud shouting from the road interrupted him. Then came a volley of musketry, followed by a steady stream of shots.
"We've got them this time, boys!" came in a ringing, English-speaking voice. "Forward, and don't let a man of them escape. On to San Isidro!"
"Our troops!" cried Larry. "Oh, God be praised that they are coming this way!"
"Yes, yes, our troops!" ejaculated Ben. "And what is more, my regiment!" The revulsion of feeling was so great that he felt like dancing a jig.
The shouting and firing now increased, until it was almost upon them. Then followed a rush into the woods, and the little party found itself face to face with a score of Filipinos.
At first our friends were greatly alarmed, and Ben and Larry did their best to defend themselves by firing as rapidly as possible at the Tagals as they appeared. But the enemy was retreating, and gave the little party scant attention. Then came a yell close at hand, and in a few seconds a squad of American soldiers burst through the thicket.
"Dan Casey!" cried Ben, as he recognized the Irish volunteer.
"Sure, an' is it Captain Russell?" came from the soldier, joyfully. "It is, the saints be praised! We've been a-wonderin' what had become of yez!"
"Town mit dem Filibinos!" The call came from Carl Stummer, and soon he also put in an appearance. "Dis vos von lucky tay," he said, when he saw the party. "Ve haf dem repels on der run like neffer vos."
"Then send them a-flying, Stummer," answered Ben. "Where is our camp?"
"Pack dere apout half a mile. Ve vos move up las' night und steal von march on dem Filibinos."
There was no time to say more, excepting to stop several of the soldiers, and assisted by these, the whole party moved to the rear, through line after line of American troops now hurrying to the firing line, for it was General Lawton's plan to give the Filipinos no rest until San Isidro and the territory in its vicinity were captured.
Inside of half an hour, Ben had seen to it that Larry, Luke, and Boxer were all made comfortable, and then, hastily swallowing a bowl of coffee and some bread and meat, he hurried after his command, which was threshing the jungle just outside of San Isidro for scattered bands of the enemy such as the young captain and his party had met. Soon Ben was on the firing line once more, and warmly greeted by Major Morris, Gilmore, and his other friends.
The fighting was hot, for the rebels felt that if San Isidro was taken, nothing would remain to them but the mountains. They had constructed a high embankment just outside of their capital, and this they were defending vigorously, many of their leading generals being at the front to direct the movements.
But General Lawton was now in his element, and feeling that his troops would do whatever he asked of them, he began to spread out to the right and the left, thus enfilading the trenches behind the embankment, which presently became so uncomfortable that the rebels had to leave them. At the same time a centre column continued the attack from the front—a centre column composed principally of Minnesota troops and the regiment to which Ben belonged.
"They are leaving the trenches!" exclaimed Major Morris, who was watching the progress of the battle through a field-glass. "Forward, boys! They are on the run again!"
A rattle of rifle-shots followed, and the battalion carried the middle of the embankment with a wild rush, planting Old Glory on the very top a minute later. Then the regiment pushed on for San Isidro proper. A hot skirmish was had on the main street of the town; but the Filipinos had had enough of it, and by nightfall were making for the mountains as rapidly as their demoralized condition would permit.
Senor Romano had told Ben where Benedicto Lupez and his brother Jose had been stopping in San Isidro, and as soon as the young captain could get the opportunity he hurried around to the place, which was a large private boarding-house.
"There is a man here by the name of Lupez, I believe," he said, as he presented himself, followed by a detachment of half a dozen of his men.
The boarding-house keeper, who had just hung out a white flag, eyed him suspiciously. "How do you know that Senor Lupez is here?" he questioned slowly.
"I know it, and I want to see him at once," returned Ben, sharply.
"He is—is not here—he—he went away this morning," came with much hesitation.
"Don't ye believe him, captain," put in Dan Casey, who was in the detachment.
"I will search the house," said Ben, quietly.
The keeper of the boarding-place protested, but his protest was of no avail. The house was searched from top to bottom, and in a back wing they found Benedicto Lupez in bed, suffering from a badly injured leg, the result of trying to ride a half-broken horse which the insurgents had captured from the Americans. He greeted the visitors with a villanous scowl.
At first he tried to deny his identity, but the Americans had been furnished with his photograph, and a wart on his forehead proved a clew that was conclusive. At once his effects were searched, and under his pillow was found a leather bag containing fifty thousand dollars in gold and in American bank bills.
"This is the money you stole from Braxton Bogg," said Ben, severely. "You need not deny it. Where is the rest?"
At first Benedicto Lupez refused to talk, but with a long term in an American prison in Manila staring him in the face, he confessed that just previous to the fall of San Isidro, he had divided what was left of the money with his brother Jose, who had now left for parts unknown. This confession was afterward proved to be true, and, later on, Ben learned that with five thousand dollars of the stolen funds Jose Lupez had purchased himself a general's commission in the insurgent army.
"Well, I suppose we are lucky to get back the fifty thousand dollars," said Ben, when he was telling Larry of how he had found Benedicto Lupez. "A half-loaf is far better than no bread at all, you know."
"Yes," answered the young sailor. "And who knows but that we may run across this Jose Lupez some day, and get the balance? Anyway, the recovery of that fifty thousand dollars means at least eight or ten thousand dollars in our pockets, as well as something for Uncle Job. I'll wager uncle and Walter will be mighty glad to get the good news we have to send them." And then he added enthusiastically, which was just like Larry, "Hurrah, Ben, score one more victory for Young America and Old Glory!"
* * * * *
Here we must bring to a close the adventures of Ben and Larry Russell previous to and during "The Campaign of the Jungle" under gallant General Lawton. The campaign had lasted three weeks, and during that time the troops had covered about a hundred and fifty miles of territory, fought twenty-two battles, captured twenty-eight towns, and destroyed large quantities of army stores, including three hundred thousand bushels of rice. The losses to the Americans had been about fifty killed and wounded, while the losses to the Filipinos were nearly ten times as great!
With the fall of San Isidro, General Aguinaldo and his followers retreated to the mountains, twelve miles to the north of that town. At the same time the rebels who had been opposing General MacArthur's advance fell back to Tarlac, thirty miles beyond San Fernando. But the Americans had not sufficient troops at hand with which to garrison the many towns they had taken, and so it was not long before some of the rebels came back to one place and another, to take what they could get, and to harass those natives who had been friendly to our soldiers. In the meantime the rainy season put a stop to further activity on a large scale, and while the Filipinos sued again for peace (but upon their own terms), General Otis sent for additional troops, so that the next dry season might see the rebellion brought to such a finish that its resurrection would be an impossibility. Many Americans pitied the sad condition of the Tagalogs, but all felt that as matters were now situated the supremacy of the United States throughout the Philippines must be maintained. Once the insurgents submitted to American authority, we would do the very best we could by them.
Shortly after the fall of San Isidro, General Lawton's command marched to join that of General MacArthur. In the meantime Larry and his wounded friends were removed to the hospital at Manila, whither Gilbert Pennington had already been taken, along with many others. Here the sick were given every attention, and soon the majority of our friends were on a speedy road to health.
Ben felt that there was no need to write to Walter, as his brother would ere long be in the Philippines, but he wrote to his Uncle Job, telling about the capture of Benedicto Lupez, and adding that the prisoner had been sent to join Braxton Bogg, and that the recovered money was safe in the United States bank at Manila, waiting to be returned to Buffalo. He also told about Larry, and added that since the Olympia had sailed away without him, the young sailor was now going to throw in his fortunes with the soldiers.
The letter brought great joy to Job Dowling, and he immediately wrote back, stating how pleased he was, and adding that he hoped Ben would catch Jose Lupez and recover what was still missing.
"That is easier said than done," said Ben to Larry, as the pair read the letter together. "Still, if this Jose Lupez is now a general in the rebel army, we may meet some day." Strange as it may seem, that day was not far off, as will be related in a sixth and concluding volume of this series, in which we shall meet all the Russell boys, as well as Gilbert, Luke, and many of our other friends again, and see what each did toward carrying our flag to a final and lasting victory in the Philippines.
But now let us leave Ben and Larry, and also the others. All had done well and richly deserved the rest that came to them. Many adventures were still in store for them, but it is doubtful if any were to be more thrilling than those encountered during "The Campaign of the Jungle."
* * * * *
THE OLD GLORY SERIES.
By EDWARD STRATEMEYER,
Author of "The Bound to Succeed Series," "The Ship and Shore Series," etc.
Cloth. Illustrated. Price per volume, $1.25.
UNDER DEWEY AT MANILA Or the War Fortunes of a Castaway. A YOUNG VOLUNTEER IN CUBA Or Fighting for the Single Star. FIGHTING IN CUBAN WATERS Or Under Schley on the Brooklyn. UNDER OTIS IN THE PHILIPPINES Or a Young Officer in the Tropics. THE CAMPAIGN OF THE JUNGLE Or Under Lawton through Luzon.
"'Under Dewey at Manila' is a thoroughly timely book, in perfect sympathy with the patriotism of the day. Its title is conducive to its perusing, and its reading to anticipation. For the volume is but the first of the Old Glory Series, and the imprint is that of the famed firm of Lee and Shepard, whose name has been for so many years linked with the publications of Oliver Optic. As a matter of fact, the story is right in line with the productions of that gifted and most fascinating of authors, and certainly there is every cause for congratulation that the stirring events of our recent war are not to lose their value for instruction through that valuable school which the late William T. Adams made so individually distinctive.
"Edward Stratemeyer, who is the author of the present work, has proved an extraordinarily apt scholar, and had the book appeared anonymously there could hardly have failed of a unanimous opinion that a miracle had enabled the writer of the famous Army and Navy and other series to resume his pen for the volume in hand. Mr. Stratemeyer has acquired in a wonderfully successful degree the knack of writing an interesting educational story which will appeal to the young people, and the plan of his trio of books as outlined cannot fail to prove both interesting and valuable."—Boston Ideas.
"Stratemeyer's style suits the boys."—John Terhune, Supt. of Public Instruction, Bergen Co., New Jersey.
"'The Young Volunteer in Cuba,' the second of the Old Glory Series, is better than the first; perhaps it traverses more familiar ground. Ben Russell, the brother of Larry, who was 'with Dewey,' enlists with the volunteers and goes to Cuba, where he shares in the abundance of adventure and has a chance to show his courage and honesty and manliness, which win their reward. A good book for boys, giving a good deal of information in a most attractive form."—Universalist Leader
For sale by all booksellers, or sent, postpaid, on receipt of price by
LEE & SHEPARD, Publishers, BOSTON.
THE SHIP AND SHORE SERIES
By EDWARD STRATEMEYER.
Three Volumes. Cloth. Illustrated. Price per volume, $1.00.
THE LAST CRUISE OF THE SPITFIRE Or Luke Foster's Strange Voyage. REUBEN STONE'S DISCOVERY Or The Young Miller of Torrent Bend. TRUE TO HIMSELF Or Roger Strong's Struggle for Place.
PRESS OPINIONS OF EDWARD STRATEMEYER'S BOOKS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE.
"Mr. Edward Stratemeyer is in danger of becoming very popular among the young people of the country."—Burlington (Iowa) Hawk-eye.
"'The Last Cruise of the Spitfire' is of deep interest to the bounding heart of an enthusiastic boy. The book leaves a good impression on a boy's mind, as it teaches the triumph of noble deeds and true heroism."—Kansas City (Mo.) Times.
"Let us mention in passing two admirable books for boys, 'Reuben Stone's Discovery' and 'Oliver Bright's Search,' by Edward Stratemeyer, with whom we are all acquainted. This last bit of his work is especially good, and the boy who gets one of these volumes will become very popular among his fellows until the book is worn threadbare."—N. Y. Herald.
"A good sea-tale for boys is 'The Last Cruise of the Spitfire,' by Edward Stratemeyer. There is plenty of adventure in it, a shipwreck, a cruise on a raft, and other stirring perils of the deep."—Detroit (Mich.) Journal.
"In a simple, plain, straightforward manner, Mr. Edward Stratemeyer endeavors to show his boy readers what persistency, honesty, and willingness to work have accomplished for his young hero, and his moral is evident. Mr. Stratemeyer is very earnest and sincere in his portraiture of young character beginning to shape itself to weather against the future. A book of this sort is calculated to interest boys, to feed their ambition with hope, and to indicate how they must fortify themselves against the wiles of vice."—Boston Herald.
For sale by all booksellers, or sent, postpaid, on receipt of price by
LEE & SHEPARD, Publishers, BOSTON.
* * * * *
Illustrations have been moved closer to their relevant paragraphs.
The author's archaic and variable spelling and hyphenation are preserved.
The author's punctuation style is preserved.
Typographical problems that were changed are listed below.
Page 13: Was 'reconnoissance' (General MacArthur made a reconnaissance in the direction of Calumpit)
Page 42: Changed single quote mark to double quote mark ("Get in front of me and take to the woods opposite, Luke," was the hurried reply.)
Page 46: Changed single quote mark to double quote mark ("We must get out of the enemy's territory before the sun rises," said Larry.)
Page 177: Removed extra double quote mark ("Silence! Not another word until the lady has finished her story.")
Page 212: Was 'acount' (for men were dropping out every day on account of fever and other tropical troubles.)