'* *-- -~
Under the Lone Star
A STORY OF REVOLUTION
WITH SIX FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS
BY W. S. STACEY
T NELSON AND SONS
London, Edinburgh, and New York
I. I MAKE A FRIEND, .... .... .... 9
II. FAIRLY STAR'ED, .... ... .... .... 22
III. I RECEIVE MY COMMISSION, .... .... .... 35
IV. THE FIRST BLOW, .... .... .... .... 52
V. THE RETREAT FRO RIVAS, .... .... .... 66
VI. A PLEASANT INTERLUDE, .... .... 81
VII. TAKEN PRISONER, .... .... .... .... 95
VIII. FRIENDS IN NEED, .... .... .... .... 114
IX. MAKING FOR GRANADA, .... .... .... 137
X. A HAPPY REUNION, .... ... .... .... 157
XI. UNEARTHING A CONSPIRACY, .... .... .... 171
XII. AN ANCIENT FAITI, ... .... .... .... 188
XIII. THE MOUSE IIELPS TIE LION, .... .... .... 205
XIV. A TERRIBLE DISASTER, .... .... .... 220
XV. A STRUGGLE FOR LIFE, .... .... .... 237
XVI. A BRUSH WITH THE "COSTERS," .... .... 255
XVII THE BARRICADE AT RIVAS, .... .... .... 272
XVIII. MASAYA, .... .... ... .. .... 289
XIX. THE EVACUATION OF GRANADA, .... .... .... 307
XX. A DEATH-TRAP, .... .... .... .... 325
XXI. IHEM IED IN, .... .... .... .... 343
XXII. IC ABOD .... ... .... .. .... 361
XXIII, MERRY ENGLAND, ....... ... 378
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
"TREVETHIK RAISED ME GENTLY, ....
A PRISONER, ....
"TIHE INDIANS MADE FOR TIE BOAT,".
I MADE A SPRING,"
" I TURNED AND LOOKED AT IIE," ....
"I DARED NOT TRUST MYSELF TO SPEAK,
. .... 65
UNDER THE LONE STAR.
I MAKE A FRIEND.
IT was the last night in the year 1854 A.D., and I, Colin
Foster, crouched shiveringly in the doorway of a
tumble-down house in a side street of San Francisco.
The old year was dying hard-the cruel, sad old year
that had worked such woe to me-and all the forces in
nature had gathered to attend its obsequies. The heavens
were obscured by dark clouds; a cold, piercing wind swept
the streets with savage fury; the thunder pealed forth, as
it were, a solemn death-chant, and occasionally a brilliant,
snaky streak of lightning darted through the black cur-
tain, zigzagging in fantastic lines to the earth.
It was bitterly cold, and drawing my poor thin coat
tightly across my chest, I crept yet more closely into the
angle of the doorway for shelter.
Presently a light springy step sounded on the pavement,
and the figure of a man passed before me. The next
moment he was struggling fiercely with two other men,
who had sprung from a neighboring recess.
I MfAKE A FRIEND.
Though very young, I had been too long habituated to
hardship and danger not to recognize that the passenger
was in extreme peril.
To have cried for help would have been madness; the
locality was infested by reckless and unscrupulous people,
who held life in light esteem, and who would have inter-
fered only with the object of sharing in the plunder.
Yet it was impossible to remain quietly there whilst
the unequal combat was being waged; and stealing cau-
tiously out, I leaped suddenly upon one of the ruffians
from behind, and pinioning his arms in mine, we rolled
over into the mud.
The second scoundrel, alarmed by this unexpected diver-
sion, disappeared; and my own antagonist, a strong, brawny
man, freeing himself by a vigorous jerk from my embrace,
struck me a violent blow on the head, and rushed off in
the same direction as his comrade.
The stranger turned and assisted me to rise. Thanks,"
he said, in a peculiarly slow and low-toned voice; "you
have rendered me good service. Come with me."
I tried to speak, but could not; the blow had made me
dizzy, and it was with difficulty I crawled along at his
side. Fortunately we soon reached the busier part of the
town, and my companion led me into a building which
still showed signs of bustle and activity.
Each moment the pain grew greater, my head burned,
black spots danced before my eyes, and with a faint cry I
fell on the floor.
Of what happened afterwards I have only a confused
I MfAKE A FRIEND.
recollection. I could hear the murmur of voices, without
being able to distinguish the words; then came the sensa-
tion of being lifted with womanly gentleness, and carried
somewhere; then I was dimly aware of a jolting, uneven
motion, and after that I remember no more.
I suppose I must have been very ill, but it was a de-
lightful time to me, for the present was all forgotten, and
I was once more a tiny child toddling at my mother's
knees. She came back to me, my dead mother, with her
sweet, beautiful face, and happy tears flowed from her
dear eyes as she hugged and kissed her little one again.
Afterwards my father joined her, and there was a holy
peace in his calm grave face as he whispered words of
comfort, bidding me not to be afraid, for they were watch-
ing over and guarding me from evil.
Ah me! what a beautiful thing is even the memory of
a parent's love 1
When at length I once more awakened to the outer
world, I found myself lying in bed in a small room, with
a tall man smiling kindly into my face.
"Ah, my lad!" he said pleasantly, "that is better; now
we shall soon get you strong and well."
It seemed very strange lying there, for I did not remem-
ber what had occurred; but I was too comfortable to
wonder much, and when the gentleman gave me a glass of
something that looked like tea, I drank it submissively,
and fell asleep.
The next time I awoke the sun was shining brightly
into the room, and presently the gentleman who had been
I MAKE A FRIEND.
attacked by the robbers came in. He was not very tall,
and to me he did not seem strong; but that, I discovered
later, was a mistake. His hair was cut quite close, and it
was very thin and sandy. He did not wear a beard, and
his face was covered with freckles. He had a large, round
forehead and sharp grey eyes, but he looked at me so
kindly that I felt sure I should like him.
Coming to the bed, he asked cheerfully, "Well, my
boy, do you think you are strong enough to get up this
"Yes, sir, I feel quite well now," I answered; but
where are my clothes ? "
Ah that is a matter of some importance. No getting
up without clothes, eh ? and leaving the room, he came
back in a short time carrying a beautiful new suit.
sir!" I began, and a great lump came into my
throat, "these are not mine; mine are quite old and rag-
ged." But he only smiled, and told me to dress myself
and come downstairs, where breakfast was waiting.
I noticed that my host ate and drank very sparingly;
but he filled my plate with good things, and would not
permit me to speak until I had fully satisfied my hunger.
Then rolling a cigarette between his hil.-:-:. he said,
"Now, my young friend, tell me all about yourself."
"There is very little to tell, sir," I answered, "except
my name, and that is Colin Foster. My parents are dead,
and I am alone in the world."
"Yes; my father was a doctor in Yorkshire. My
I MAKE A FRIEND.
mother died when I was ten years old, and the next year
my father sold his practice and came to California. He
died three months ago. Since then I have been living
anyhow-earning sufficient sometimes to procure food and
shelter; sometimes half-starved, sleeping in the streets."
Hum tall, well-made, and plenty of bone. Ought to
be strong with enough nourishing food. Well, what do
you propose to do now ?"
This was an exceedingly difficult question to answer, for
I had not a single idea in my head. As far as my know-
ledge went, I was absolutely without a friend either in
America or in England.
The gentleman, perceiving my hesitation, continued,
"You can read and write, I suppose ?"
This question cheered me wonderfully, and my face
brightened. Oh, yes I answered eagerly; "my father
never neglected my education. He himself taught me all
the usual school subjects, in addition to French and
"Can you speak Spanish ?"
"Well, listen to me. You have done me a good turn,
Colin Foster, and you shall not find me ungrateful. My
name is Walker-William Walker-and I am at present
the editor of a newspaper. I daresay I can find you
work, and you can board and lodge in my house. I have
only one warning to give-you must be perfectly honest
14 I --.1 A FRIEND.
and obedient. Half a lie, and we part company. Do you
For nearly a minute I sat without making answer, my
good fortune overpowered me. A short time previously I
was hungry, homeless, and half naked; now I had secured
a powerful friend, a good home, and a prospect of regular
employment. The happy tears chased each other down
my cheeks as I thanked my benefactor for his kindness.
You shall begin to-morrow morning," he said; to-day
you had better rest. I am going out now, and shall not
be home until the evening, but my housekeeper will take
good care of you. If you are fond of reading, there are
books in my study. Keep up your French and Spanish;
you may find them useful."
He took me to the library and went out, leaving me in
a kind of earthly paradise.
The room was a small one, bare of actual furniture save
one or two chairs and a plain deal table, upon which stood
a worn, ink-stained writing-desk; but all around the walls
were rows of well-filled book-shelves.
Of the contents of many of the books I was entirely
ignorant, but one shelf, which I could just reach without
the aid of the step-ladder, was filled with soberly-bound
volumes which instantly excited my interest.
I opened the first; it was a portion of Prescott's "His-
tory of the Conquest of Mexico," and carrying it to the
table, I was speedily absorbed in its fascinating pages.
For two or three hours I sat reading, heedless of the flight
of time, until Mr. Walker's housekeeper-a pleasant,
I MAKE A FRIEND.
motherly woman-came to tell me that dinner was
Directly I could beat a retreat from the dining-room, I
hurried back to my beloved book, and eagerly devoured the en-
trancing narrative, until the fading light warned me to desist.
The next morning my work at the office began, and for
several weeks I had not a single cause for uneasiness or
complaint. My duties were light, my employer kind, and
every evening I was permitted to sit in his library until
bed-time, reading or studying as I chose.
Suddenly an alteration occurred, the reason for which I
did not at first comprehend. Mr., or Colonel Walker, as
people called him, became engrossed in some business
which had nothing to do with the newspaper. Letters and
packets were constantly arriving at his office: government
communications; missives bearing foreign post-marks;
notes marked 'Urgent'; dirty scraps of paper scrawled
over with unintelligible hieroglyphics-unintelligible at
least to any one save my employer.
Then strange men began to drop in-now singly, now
in twos and threes, or even larger groups-huge, bearded
men, broad-shouldered and deep-chested, dressed in coarse
woollen shirts, and having the bottoms of their trousers
tucked into thick, heavy boots.
Others came, too, of a different class-moneyed men,
merchants and ship-owners, and, once or twice, well-
dressed men from the Eastern States, whose faces looked
grave and serious, sometimes downcast. But they all
wanted the colonel, and were all in a desperate hurry.
I MAKE A FRIEND.
Looking back on those days, I often wonder when
my employer slept. At the earliest dawn he left his
house, and frequently did not return until after midnight.
Nothing seemed to worry him; he opened every letter
with the same apparent unconcern, and none could tell,
judging by the still unmoved features, whether he had
received good news or ill.
One morning, upon leaving the office, I was accosted by
a man who wished to know where the colonel was, and
who appeared greatly disappointed on finding that I could
not tell him.
"Perhaps," I i.1- :i .d1, "it might answer your purpose
were you to leave a message with me. I must see him
directly he returns, as I have important news for him."
Do you live at his house?" he asked; and when I
answered in the affirmative, he continued eagerly, "Then per-
haps you can tell me if it's true that the colonel is organ-
izing another little picnic down south. Oh, you needn't
be afraid; I'm Phil Trevethik; I was with him in Sonora,"
and the man drew himself up proudly.
"See here," pointing to a deep scar on his left cheek,
"that's what I got in Sonora; but I'm ready again. He's
thorough grit, is the colonel, God bless him! and if what
Brogan and the others are saying is true, you tell him that
Phil Trevethik is on hand. I'll come up again in the
morning, and you can give me his answer."
"But what is the story?" I inquired timidly, for I
was intensely curious to learn the meaning of what was
I MAKE A FRIEND.
"Don't you know ? Dennis Brogan says-and Dennis
went through the Sonora business-that the colonel is go-
ing down into Nic-Nicar something or other, among the
Dons and Indians and half-breeds, to help some Don to do
something, I don't exactly know what; but anyway you
say to the colonel that where he goes, Phil Trevethik goes
This explanation was not very lucid, but I gathered
sufficient to understand that Colonel Walker was organiz-
ing an expedition into Nicaragua; and having made an
appointment with the stranger for the following morning,
I hastened home in the hope that the colonel might have
I must confess that my anxiety was not so much on
Trevethik's account as on my own. Possessing an inhe-
rent love of travel and adventure, the vagabond existence
of the last few years had not tended to lessen it; be-
sides which, my employer had become endeared to me, and
I did not like to think of his rushing into danger, unless I
were there to share it with him.
The evening was far advanced when he entered the
library, where I was busily engaged in studying a map
of Central America, and beyond the customary greeting I
said nothing until he had finished with the pile of dis-
patches which lay upon his desk.
"Is there anything I can do, sir?" I asked, as he
opened the desk and drew out some writing materials.
"Thanks, no! I have only a letter or two to write,
and then I am going to the office for an hour. But what
I MAKE A FRIEND.
have you there?" he added abruptly, glancing at the atlas
on my knees.
"A map of Central America. I have been studying the
situation of 'Nicar something or other,' as Phil Trevethik
terms it. I was to tell you, sir, that if you are organizing
a picnic down there, Trevethik is looking for an invitation;
and, O Mr. Walker!" I concluded with a rapid burst,
"you will take me too, will you not ?"
I had never before seen him so moved. His eyes were
quite soft and womanly, and he spoke in a low gentle
"Trevethik is a strong man," he murmured, "inured to
danger; but you, my lad," and he placed his hand on my
shoulder with a half-caress, do you know what you ask ?
I am going to toil, exposure, privation, perhaps death.
Unless I succeed in this desperate enterprise, I shall be
exposed to the taunts and mockery of my countrymen.
They will blacken my character; they will brand my
name with infamy; they will accuse me of being a lawless
freebooter with nothing but low, sordid aims. For all
these things I care little, because I have what I believe to
be a noble end in view; but why should you run heed-
lessly into peril ? You are doing well; even without me
your future is assured, though I have not forgotten your
"That is it, sir !" I cried impulsively ; "you have sup-
plied the reason. In all the world I have but one friend,
and that is yourself. You have been a father to me, you
have saved me from starvation, you have fed and clothed
I MAKE A FRIEND.
me, and given me your friendship; let me make this small
return for all your kindness. I am only a boy, but I am
strong and faithful, and it may perhaps happen, as in the
old fable, that the lion may have need of the mouse."
He still hesitated, but at length, yielding to my earnest
entreaties, he agreed that if, after thinking the matter over
carefully, I still wished to go, he would take me as his
"You must serve in some capacity," he remarked, "and
I cannot enrol you either as a private or as an officer."
"And Trevethik, sir; what answer am I to give him ?"
"Tell him to call here to-morrow evening at nine.
Now I must go out; but remember there is yet plenty of
time for you to draw back."
When the colonel had gone I returned to my map, but
for a long time sat staring at it without seeing anything,
my brain was too excited; so, giving it up in despair, I
went to bed.
From that time I began to be more intimately ac-
quainted with my employer's private concerns, and to
understand something of the motives which actuated him.
I also set diligently to work to refresh my memory with
the Spanish language; and recognizing that my mind was
finally made up, Colonel Walker afforded me every assist-
ance in his power.
As the days wore on, he became, if possible, busier than
ever, so that often neither of us was able to snatch
more than three or four hours' sleep out of the twenty-
I MAKE A FRIEND.
Now, too, I began to perceive what a host of difficulties
surrounded him; but he never appeared discouraged.
Speaking little and rarely smiling, he went on in a cool,
even way, brushing aside some obstacles, surmounting
others, unheeding the sneers of his enemies, blind to the
timid counsels of lukewarm friends. Calm and unflinch-
ing, he pursued his course with a high faith and noble
resolve, that forced respect and admiration from all those
with whom he came into contact.
At length everything was in readiness. A vessel had
been purchased-a slow, unwieldy, clumsy-looking craft
called the Vesta. Trevethik irreverently designated it the
TW-.F'i-.-Tb, though, as he added philosophically, it
would probably carry us over, and we need not trouble
ourselves about the means of coming back.
On the morning of May 14, 1855, we proceeded on
board, and were congratulating ourselves on bidding adieu
to San Francisco, when an unexpected .1ii,-iil-'- presented
itself. The captain, alarmed at the idea of coming into
collision with the law-for some creditors of the former
owners of the Vesta had secured an injunction forbidding
her to sail-refused to proceed, and went ashore.
Every one save the colonel was in consternation. What
was to be done ? We could not sail without a captain,
and every moment's delay increased our embarrassment,
more especially as a United States revenue cutter lay close
at hand, and an order from the authorities might arrive at
any moment to detain us.
After a hurried consultation between the officers, one of
I MAKE A FRIEND. 21
them got into the boat and was rowed ashore; while the
men hung about the deck in little knots, discussing the
All the afternoon and evening we waited, until the
shades of night fell, wrapping the ship in a black mantle.
The majority of the men had already sought their bunks,
and I was leaning over the vessel's side lazily watching
the distant lights of the town, when a low hail aroused
my attention, and peering into the gloom, I could just
descry the shadowy outlines of a boat.
The officer had returned, bringing with him the new
captain of the Vesta, and our initial difficulty was at an
FAIRLY Y STARTED.
T HE morning after the Vesta had been got under way,
the company was mustered on the after-deck to
receive an address from the leader.
The experiences of my Californian life had brought me
into contact with all sorts and conditions of men, but I
had never seen, collected in one band, such a determined,
resolute set as now stood facing Walker and his officers.
There were, as nearly as I could judge, about fifty of
them, and not a man who did not reach several inches
above the average height. They were not in uniform,
save that each man wore a red ribbon decorating his black
slouch hat, but there was a striking similarity in their
picturesque if rough attire.
A rough woollen shirt, blue or red in colour, and open
at the front, covered the brawny shoulders; while thick,
coarse trousers were tucked into heavy, high-topped boots.
In the broad belt worn round the waist were displayed
conspicuously a revolver and that cruel-looking weapon the
bowie-knife, which is peculiarly the property of the wild
Striking, however, as was the picture thus formed, the
eye soon ceased travelling over the details of their dress,
attracted by the men themselves. They were of various
nationalities, though the majority were undoubtedly
genuine Americans. A fair sprinkling belonged to my
own country, and here and there one detected the laughing
features of a merry-hearted son of Erin and the impassive
countenance of a taciturn Scot.
As I have stated, they were all tall and, without excep-
tion, strongly built. For the most part they carried little
flesh, and the well-developed muscles of their arms stood
out like iron. Many, like Trevethik, bore the traces of
previous adventures in deep scars on their weather-beaten
faces; and even to a youngster like myself it was plainly
evident that these were no ordinary men whom my em-
ployer had banded together to take part in his daring and
Of what manner of men they were, morally speaking,
I knew nothing. That they were brave, resolute, and
unflinching, capable of enduring terrible hardships and
privations, dogged, determined, and absolute strangers to
fear, could be easily read in the keen, flashing eyes and
firm, compressed lips.
Hitherto I had known Colonel Walker only as a civilian,
a peaceful citizen directing the affairs of a prosperous
newspaper; now he appeared in his true capacity-a born
leader of men.
To me at first it appeared marvellous that this slight,
spare man, who scarcely reached to the shoulders of some
of the giants confronting him, and who certainly was not
the equal of any one of them in physical strength, should
aspire to the leadership of such a reckless band.
He was very simply dressed, without the slightest pre-
tensions to martial appearance, and yet, in a short time, I
felt he was the truest soldier there.
His face was calm and emotionless. His sharp grey eyes
fl i- -.1 for an instant over his assembled followers, and
then, without preamble, he spoke.
Boys," he began in his slow quiet voice, "you all know
more or less the nature of the business which has brought
us on board this vessel; but, in case any one does not
clearly understand our errand, I am going to put it to you
again. First, our destination is Nicaragua, which I hope
to reach about the middle of June. There we shall find
matters in a very unsettled state. There are two parties-
the Serviles and the Liberals-in the country, each striving
to gain the mastery over the other. Last October my friend,
Byron Cole, made an agreement with Don Francisco
Castellon, the leader of the Liberals, to send a body of
Americans to his aid on certain conditions. With these
conditions you have already been made acquainted, but I
will repeat the two most important. As long as the war
lasts you will draw your military pay; at the end of it
you will receive a liberal grant of land, with full liberty
to settle down as citizens of Nicaragua. One thing only
I have to impress upon you-we go into Nicaragua as
soldiers, not as freebooters. I see amongst you many
trusty comrades who followed my lead in Sonora;
they will tell you what serving under William Walker
"Faith, we will," cried Dennis Brogan, with a comical
grin: "hard knocks and hard work in plenty, with precious
little comfort to balance them, but fair play and a leader
who goes in front of his men."
A sympathetic growl of approval greeted the Irishman's
speech, and Walker continued quietly: One word more and
I have done. We are going to make war upon soldiers,
and the man who disgraces my command by robbery or by
any act of violence will get a short shrift. Nicaragua is a
glorious country; we have a grand opportunity, and if we
do not make the most of it we shall have none but ourselves
to blame. Now, that's enough speechifying; one brush
with the enemy will be worth a month of speeches."
The men saluted and broke up into groups, while Walker,
accompanied by two of his officers, retired to the cabin
which had been set apart for him.
Perceiving Trevethik standing chatting with Brogan, I
crossed the deck and joined them. To the Irishman I had
not yet spoken; but between his companion and myself
there had sprung up a curious friendship, which grew and
strengthened day by day.
Well, Mr. Foster," he exclaimed genially, "and what
do you think of our company now ?"
"They look capable of rendering a good account of
themselves," I answered honestly; "I rather pity the Dons
with whom they come into contact."
"Faith !" ejaculated the Irishman, "when the colonel
gets inside his fighting shirt, and the green light comes
into his eyes, ye may well pity the Dons."
"Is the colonel then such a tremendous fighter ?" I
asked. "To me he seems quite a nice, mild-tempered
The two men laughed uproariously, as if I had perpetrated
some merry jest, and Trevethik, laying his hand on my
arm, said, Ah, Mr. Foster, you are young as yet, and this
is your first campaign with him; if you live until the end
of it, you will be able to answer your own question.
Pardon me, sir, if I offer you a word of advice: don't you
ever cross the colonel. He is true as steel and tender as a
woman; but I would rather hug a grizzly bear robbed of
her cubs than set what Dennis calls the 'green light'
dancing in his eyes."
"And yet you seem to be fond of him !"
"Ay, I would sacrifice my life for him willingly; he
has saved it more than once, and will again should the
I am glad to hear you say that," I cried enthusiastically,
"for he is my best, I might almost say, my only friend."
Before Trevethik could reply, a man brought an order
for me to repair to the cabin, where the colonel required
my assistance in copying out some papers, so, bidding adieu
to my companions, I hastened away.
It is, I have since discovered, a common observation that
life on board ship brings people into far closer intimacy
than life on shore, and so it was now.
Every day, nay, almost every hour, presented some
opportunity for studying the colonel's character, watching
his behaviour, and listening to his conversation.
One evening, which afforded me the first real glimpse of
his true motives and boundless ambition, I well remember.
We were seated-the colonel, his officers, and myself-
in his little cabin, when the conversation turned upon the
expedition in which we were engaged.
Some one, I think it was Timothy Crocker (afterwards
Major Crocker), made a remark which induced our leader to
reply more freely than was usual with him.
Gentlemen," he said with grave earnestness, whenever
I return to this subject, I am impressed anew with a sense
of the tremendous possibilities before us. Let us glance
at the case dispassionately. Here is one of the fairest
portions of the earth-a beautiful country combining
within itself every advantage of the tropics and the tem-
perate zones. Here Nature has lavished her most bounteous
blessings. Fruits of almost every variety-the citron, the
lemon, the orange, and the banana-spring in reckless
profusion from the bosom of the bountiful earth, almost
untended by the hand of man. Hundreds of thousands of
acres of fertile soil lie waiting the care of the husbandman,
ready to repay his labour a thousand-fold. Immense
forests require only man's energy and toil to yield a princely
revenue. Magnificent waterways abound for the develop-
ment of enormous trade. The country commands a splendid
geographical situation; yet, with all these advantages, it is
a blight and curse on the earth. And whose is the fault,
gentlemen? I answer-man's! What is the average
Nicaraguan of to-day ?-a mere eating, drinking, and sleep-
ing animal. He is ignorant, worthless, and debased. His
rulers know not how to govern; his country is torn by
revolution after revolution-a prey to internal dissensions
and outside attacks. Without our aid, all this misery will
be perpetuated; Don Francisco will fall before the Serviles,
and all chance of an enlightened policy will perish with
him. If, on the contrary, our expedition should succeed,
what a glorious future lies before Nicaragua When this
devastating war is ended, we will establish order and a
stable government. Under the flag of the Lone Star, life
and property shall be as secure as beneath the St and
'.f 11.. -. I foresee, in the course of a few years, the growth
of a powerful navy, the formation of a brave and trusty
standing army, the erection of great cities, the development
of trade, agriculture, and manufactures, the spread of
education, the elevation of morality, and everything con-
ducive to the welfare of a strong and powerful country,
respected at home and feared abroad."
From the lips of an ordinary man this language would
perhaps have sounded extravagant and absurd, but coming
from him it seemed quite natural. In his presence the
difficulties which surrounded our undertaking faded away;
we forgot the paucity of our forces and ignored the dangers
which beset us.
Even to this day I cannot quite understand the secret
of our leader's influence. His appearance was not striking.
With the exception of an expansive forehead and keen
grey eyes, his features were rather plain and commonplace.
His speech was slow, and betrayed no mark of eloquence
and oratory; he made no pretensions to 1 li-l, ,-; his only
previous military expedition-that to Sonora-had ended
in disastrous failure, yet in our little circle I am sure there
was scarcely a man who did not thoroughly believe in his
Perhaps the secret of his power lay in his implicit con-
fidence in himself. The name by which, as I learned after-
wards, he was popularly known seemed to me to suit him
admirably. He was emphatically the Grey-eyed Man of
Destiny." In his calculations there existed no element of
doubt; to him the certainty of the sun's rising with the
morrow's dawn was no more assured than the successful
completion of his own enterprise. Nicaragua, free and
independent, was for him but a question of time.
Our voyage proved monotonous and uneventful. The
old washing-tub, as Trevethik had nicknamed the Vesta,
tossed and rolled alarmingly; still she managed to keep her
course without any real mishap, and slowly, very slowly
she approached the port of Old Realejo, at which we were
Touching at Tigre Island, we took on board a pilot, and
on the sixteenth of June, to every one's unaffected delight,
we cast anchor.
All was now briskness and activity, for we were eager to
bid farewell to the Vesta, and the men worked with a will.
Old Realejo was but the wreck of a former town; the
proper port being situated some five miles inland, whither
we were to be conveyed in canoes.
These latter, called by the natives bongoes, were primi-
tive-looking structures, being merely hollowed-out logs from
the ceiba tree.
What are these things ?" exclaimed Phil Trevethik in
a tone of disgust as he caught sight of them.
Arrah, now be aisy, lad," returned the Irishman; shure
they're the old Vesta's childher-the darlint. When they
grow up they will be rale ships like their mother."
A volley of laughter greeted Brogan's good-humoured
satire, and as it died away the colonel's voice was heard.
Instantly every man stood to attention while he spoke a
few simple words.
"My lads," he said, "our work now begins in earnest.
To-day we plant our feet for the first time on Nicaraguan
soil; let us remember we are American soldiers, ready to
do our duty whatever may happen. Captain Doubleday
awaits us at New Realejo with instructions from the
president, and he has sent these canoes for our use."
As the colonel's secretary I took my place in the first
boat, and, all being in readiness, the novel procession
started. Very soon we made the satisfactory discovery
that the Vestc's childher" were much more comfort-
able than the Vesta, and I at least quite enjoyed the
At New Realejo the colonel jumped ashore, landed his
men, formed them into a solid phalanx, and, putting himself
at the head, gave the order to march, amidst a few feeble
Vivas from the little crowd which had assembled to watch
In the plaza we were met by two mounted officers, who
rode forward and saluted our leader, a courtesy which he
Vaulting lightly from their horses, they approached
on foot, and one of them, a bronzed, bearded man, who,
from his gait and general appearance, I decided was an
inhabitant of the States, extending his hand, exclaimed
heartily, Welcome, colonel, to Nicaragua. Allow me to
play the part of master of the ceremonies. I am Captain
Doubleday, my colleague is Colonel Ramirez, and we have
both the honour of belonging to the Nicaraguan army,
under General Jose Trinidad Munoz."
Colonel Walker bowed, and in turn presented his officers,
Achilles Kewen, Timothy Crocker, and, to my unbounded
astonishment, myself, Colin Foster.
This formality being at an end, the colonel continued,
"Now, captain, I shall be glad to learn what arrangements
have been made for our reception."
Captain Doubleday repeated this observation in Spanish
to Colonel Ramirez, and, after a whispered consultation,
answered, "For the present we have decided to lodge your
men at the Hacienda Rivina, the seat of Don Jose Camenza,
about six miles further inland, where they can remain until
you have ascertained the general's orders. He is at Leon,
and will be glad to receive you at the very earliest oppor-
tunity. To speak truth, we are in a sore strait, and your
arrival is most opportune."
"Let me see my men comfortably settled, and I am at
your service the next instant."
We will accompany you to the hacienda; it is on our
way to Leon, where General Munoz awaits us."
The colonel issued his orders; the men, who had been
standing at ease, promptly fell into their ranks, and once
more we prepared to march.
Very soon we had left the town of Realejo in our rear.
The day was bright and warm, but a cool wind blew
refreshingly in our faces as we tramped cheerfully along,
while the men whistled or hummed snatches of music to
beguile the tedium of the march.
Presently our guides turned off abruptly to the left,
where the road became merely a trodden track, cut up by
the wheels of heavy carts, and bordered on either side by
huge, heavily-branched trees.
"A sweet pretty place this for a trap, Mr. Foster,"
whispered Trevethik grimly, for I had fallen back from
the front, and was marching beside him; fifty men in our
rear, and a dozen or so good shots behind that timber,
would wipe out the colonel's command as completely as if
it had never been."
But there are no enemies within fifty miles of us," I
No, the colonel's pretty well posted, you may be sure;
but from what I can learn of these Dons and niggers, you
can never be too careful. Keep your eyes and ears open,
Mr. Foster. There'll be plenty of promotion in this corps
before long; and if you should be trusted with the lives of
a body of men, you would not like to lose them for want
of a little forethought."
"You are talking nonsense, Trevethik," I answered, but
at the same time blushing furiously; "why, I am only a
boy, and not yet even an officer."
How much older than you is young O'Neill, and he is
a lieutenant, and none better either ? Hallo! there's the
The track had broadened considerably-we were getting
clear of the trees-and raising my eyes I saw what at first
appeared to be a little village enclosed by a stout fence.
The sight astonished me considerably, for until then my
notions of a hacienda had been very vague and indefinite.
This one, owing to its situation and the troubled state of
the country, had been converted into a kind of rude fortress;
but, with that exception, it was very similar to others which
I afterwards saw.
As we approached, we perceived that the building was
surrounded by a ditch some twenty feet wide and, perhaps,
twelve feet deep, on the other side of which was a strong
adobe wall. Access to the yard could be gained only by a
drawbridge, which led directly to the first yard or patio.
Our coming had apparently been anticipated. The draw-
bridge was lowered, and as we crossed, a tall, soldierly man,
dressed in Spanish costume, came slowly down the patio,
followed by a motley group of serving-men.
Having saluted Ramirez and Doubleday, with whom he
seemed well acquainted, he was introduced to Colonel
Walker, whom he welcomed with a grave, stately courtesy.
"Your men, colonel," he said, "will find their quarters
rough; our resources are not ample, but to what we have
they are freely welcome. At any rate we can provide them
with a dry shelter and -,tl:-i. it food, and soldiers do not
generally look for luxuries. Pray follow me, and I will
show you the apartments. Yourself and your officers will
perhaps do me the honour of joining my own family."
"I thank you cordially for your hospitality, Don Jose,
but the officers remain with the men," replied the colonel-
" at least those who stay here; I myself am departing
almost immediately for Leon. But we are delaying the
troops. With your leave, we will get them settled."
The old Don bowed, and led the way into the second
patio, surrounded, like the first, by low rooms, the walls of
which were of immense thickness, and were constructed of
stones mixed with mud.
Here our company was divided into three groups, and,
entering the rooms which had been hastily prepared for
their reception, the men ranged themselves round some
rough wooden tables, and were speedily supplied with a
generous meal, which the kindly Don had had the fore-
thought to provide.
Then pipes were produced and lit; the hum of conversa-
tion broke out afresh, song and jest went merrily round,
and, despite the strange situation and the grave dangers
confronting us in the immediate future, every one seemed
bent upon pleasure and enjoyment.
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T HUS far the expedition had proved quite an enjoy-
able pleasure trip, and I was congratulating myself
on my comfortable quarters, when Colonel Walker, who
had previously left the room, returned and called me to
I am starting for Leon in a quarter of an hour," he
said briskly. "Ask Mr. Kewen to come here, and be
prepared yourself to accompany me."
In a short time Mr. Kewen stood before the chief, who
was now joined by Mr. Crocker and Captain Doubleday.
"We are going to Leon, Mr. Kewen," he said, "in order
to have an interview with the president. During my
absence you will please take command. The men are on
no account to leave the hacienda. You will post sentries
and keep a sharp look out, and be prepared to march at a
Kewen saluted; the colonel spoke a few words to the
men, explaining his movements; and we passed out into the
courtyard, where Don Jose had caused horses to be brought
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In addition to the two Nicaraguan officers, the party
consisted of the colonel, Mr. Crocker, and myself. Colonel
Ramirez, who knew the road, led the way, accompanied by
Mr. Crocker, and they were followed by the colonel and
Captain Doubleday, while I brought up the rear.
In this order we proceeded for several miles without
meeting with any interruption, as that part of the country
was practically free from the Serviles. Indeed I heard
Captain Doubleday express his surprise that our leader
should have troubled himself about posting sentries at the
About four o'clock in the :..- ,in Ramirez drew rein at
the gates of a large farm-house, where we procured food
for our horses and a little refreshment for ourselves.
Fortunately the weather continued fine, though this was
rather unusual, as the rainy season had already commenced,
and we knew that until the end of October we might ex-
pect a succession of violent rains.
By this time all the members of our party, with the
exception of Colonel Walker, began to show the effects of
want of sleep and the long ride; but he seemed to scorn
fatigue, and as soon as the horses were sufficiently rested,
was once again in the saddle, much, I could perceive, to
our guide's disgust.
As we approached the city we were met and stopped
several times by small bodies of mounted soldiers; but a
few words from Colonel Ramirez satisfied them as to our
designs, and with a military salute from their officers, to
which we responded, they rode off.
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Colonel Walker now pushed forward with the guide;
while Mr. Crocker fell back to Captain Doubleday, and
bade me join them.
I was by this time very stiff and sore with the unusual
exercise; but I soon lost all sense of fatigue in the excite-
ment produced by the novel sights and sounds which
presented themselves on every hand.
The town was full of soldiers, whose picturesque uni-
forms gave warmth and colour to the strange scene. As
we advanced further into the city my astonishment became
greater and greater. I do not exactly know what I had
expected to see, but certainly it was not that which
actually met my view.
The streets were long, rectangular, and spacious, with
broad open squares intervening. We passed numerous
private houses, mostly confined to one story; some white
and shining, others grey and venerable. All alike, how-
ever, possessed few windows, and these were surrounded
by a heavy iron balcony. The bars of this balcony were
secured from above in the form of a cage, admitting neither
of ingress nor of egress.
To me the sight of these iron cages, though novel, was
far from pleasing; they seemed somehow to suggest more
of a prison than of a home.
Just after entering the town we met a heavy cart with
clumsy wooden wheels, drawn by a pair of oxen yoked
together by the horns.
Nothing but the presence of the soldiers in unusually
large numbers showed that the country was in a state of
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anarchy. The shops were open and plying a brisk trade;
while in the market-places which we passed the stalls
literally groaned under the heavy weight of fruits and
vegetables, which were to be seen in almost endless variety
and boundless profusion. The people, too, passed along in
a constant stream, chatting and laughing gaily, as though
their lives were spent in uninterrupted security. I would
gladly have lingered in order to watch the puzzling but
animated kaleidoscope they presented; and Captain Double-
day, noticing my wonder and admiration, very kindly rode
round to my side and directed my attention to the chief
points of interest.
I did not remember having seen many finer public build-
ings, which he informed me were the most splendid in
Central America, especially the cathedral, a large, massive
and noble-looking edifice, crowned by a lofty central
dome, and flanked by two towers; but at the moment my
interest was centred in the people.
I had seen many varieties of the human race in San
Francisco, but this was a new experience. All classes
found representatives in the crowds which filled the streets.
Here a caballero, or native gentleman, dressed in European
style, sauntered along with a certain stately grace inherited
from some far-distant Don of the Iberian Peninsula; there
a group of dofias and sefioras with costly shawls or silken
hoods with lace mantillas. Next to them came a bevy of
women of the lower classes, their heads covered with the
universal mantilla, and their glossy black hair braided with
bright, gaudy silk ribbons.
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These women seemed to delight in the most startling
tints, for their costumes, though exceedingly graceful, were
of the gayest and most gorgeous colours. Mingling and
contrasting with the bright hues of the women's dresses, I
caught sight occasionally of the black cassock and long
shovel hat of some reverend padre or priest, pacing along
with slow step and eyes downcast.
Presently our guide stopped in front of a long building
facing the great plaza, and to my disappointment I learned
that our journey was ended. Numbers of soldiers were
passing in and out through the capacious gateways, before
each of which stood a man armed with a loaded rifle on
"This is the Cuartel General," Captain Doubleday
said-by which I knew he meant the head barracks-
"where we shall probably find both General Munoz and
the president. At the least, we shall enjoy a rest, and I
reckon we shall all appreciate that; what do you say, Mr.
That as likely as not it will be a short one, as far as
Mr. Foster and I are concerned. Directly the colonel gets
his business settled, we shall be en route for the hacienda.
Ah !" he added laughingly, "you do not know William
Walker yet; he will waken up some of your old Dons, I
warrant. We had better follow them into the courtyard.
-Foster, my boy, do not neglect my advice: if you can
secure an hour's sleep, do so at the first opportunity."
By this time the colonel had dismounted, and bidding
us follow Captain Doubleday, he himself accompanied our
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guide into a capacious apartment, where we understood
President Castellon and the general awaited him.
We were now joined by a group of native officers, who
treated us with the greatest kindness, carrying us off to
their mess-room, where in a short time we were provided
with quite a sumptuous meal, to which both Mr. Crocker
and myself did hearty justice. Several of the dishes were
quite unknown to me then, although afterwards I became
well acquainted with them.
Naturally the conversation turned upon the war, and
the part we were likely to take in it. Now I found how
fortunate it was that I had brushed up my Spanish, for to
my great delight I was able to follow the discussion readily.
I learned that the Serviles were in great force at
Granada, which city they had made their capital, but that
they had a considerable body of troops lying near Rivas, a
small town farther south.
Some of our hosts thought that General Munoz, while
maintaining the greater part of his army near Leon, would
dispatch a regiment or so to the south by sea, and thus
place the enemy between two fires; but this idea did not
meet with much favour.
"Depend upon it," said one, a grizzled, weather-beaten
old veteran, Munoz will keep all his troops together, and
act upon the defensive."
Crocker smiled grimly when he heard this. "Whatever
their old Don does," he said to me, "our swords are not
likely to rust where Colonel Walker is in command."
I was about to answer when a subaltern officer brought
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a message that the president wished to see Major Crocker
and Lieutenant Foster.
A pleased smile came over my comrade's face at the
sound of his new title, and he clapped me upon the back.
" Come, lieutenant," he said; "we must not keep Don
I rose to my feet in a sort of stupid wonder, hardly
knowing what to make of it. Almost before I could re-
cover from my astonishment, the major hurried me off to
the room which our leader had previously entered, where
we found him talking to two gentlemen, one dressed as a
civilian, while the other was in uniform, and who I knew
could be no others than Don Francisco Castellon, the
president, and his general, Don Jose Trinidad Munoz, the
commander-in-chief of the Leonese army.
The president was a fine-looking man with clear intel-
lectual features, and possessing an air of nobility.
Gentlemen," he said, speaking in Spanish, "I have
sent for you because I wished to have the pleasure of de-
livering to you with my own hands your commissions in
the Nicaraguan army, or, more strictly speaking, that
portion of it which will be known as 'La Falange Ameri-
cana,' under the immediate command of Colonel Walker.
I am confident that you will prove yourselves worthy of
your chief's recommendation."
The newly-made major, whose knowledge of Spanish
was not extensive, motioned me to reply, and I said, Your
excellency's confidence is not misplaced; we are ready to
follow our leader wherever he bids us."
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As we prepared to depart, Colonel Walker remarked,
"! M ,'. we leave in three hours' time.-Lieutenant Foster,
I have a word for you," and, with a bow to the others, he
followed me into the courtyard.
I have heard it said that our chief was a hard, stern
man, with no sympathy in his breast for any one but him-
self ; but to me he ever proved friendly and kind-hearted.
Placing his hand on my shoulder he said, with a grave
seriousness, Colin, my lad, you now have your foot upon
the ladder; it remains for you to mount. Let me give you
a few words of advice. Remember that you are now a
soldier, and a soldier's first duty is obedience. Thus far
you have proved honest and trustworthy. Persevere in
that course; do not be turned aside from the path of honour
by any seeming advantages to be gained by dishonesty.
Life without honour is worthless. Set before your eyes
a high standard, and strive to live up to it. Be kind-no
good man is ever cruel-give freely of your strength to
help the weak and oppressed. Live your life nobly; be
loyal and true-hearted to your God and your conscience; so
that if you fall in the approaching contest, your spirit may
appear unstained before its Judge. Now I must give you
your first orders as an officer of La Falange Americana.
I am returning almost immediately with Major Crocker.
You will remain here, and attach yourself to the command
of Captain Pacheco, who will march at daybreak for Realejo.
Do not forget that the c, i--..-i has practically begun, so
that it will be necessary to be on the alert."
He shook me kindly by the hand and strode off to his
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quarters, while I hastened to rejoin my newly-formed
Captain Pacheco I discovered to be a young man about
five years my senior. He had just received his marching
orders, and expressed himself delighted at having me for a
You are weary, lieutenant," he observed considerately,
"and I have yet many matters to arrange. Come with me
and I will find you a bed; a few hours' sleep will do you
I was indeed feeling frightfully fatigued, and my head
scarcely touched the pillow before I was fast asleep; neither
did I waken until my new friend shook me energetically
by the shoulders, informing me that in half an hour the
soldiers would march. Springing up hastily, I washed and
dressed, by which time Pacheco's attendant had prepared
an appetizing meal, to which we both did ample justice.
As we I,:l .. I the last cup of coffee, the door opened and
several of Pacheco's brother-officers entered to bid him
Every one, including ourselves, was entirely ignorant of
the real nature of the expedition upon which we were en-
gaged, Pacheco's orders being simply to report himself to
Colonel Walker at Realejo without delay, and to place
himself under his command.
The men, about one hundred strong, were drawn up in
the courtyard, and as we placed ourselves at their head
and prepared to march, a loud Viva broke from the
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The day had scarcely dawned, and the city lay buried in
sleep. Nothing but the tramp, tramp of our marching
column broke the silence, save occasionally the sharp cry
of a solitary sentinel who momentarily challenged our
advance, and then, presenting arms as we swept by, bade
Once outside the town the captain relaxed his discipline,
and the men beguiled the tedium of the journey with jokes
and laughter and snatches of merry songs.
For some distance we continued along the highroad
which I had recently traversed; but about six miles from
Leon, Pacheco suddenly swerved to the right, and entered
what at first appeared to be a dense thicket nearly im-
As we proceeded, however, I noticed that a fairly good
track, capable of accommodating two men abreast, had been
formed by the constant passage of men and horses.
There is no danger," he said, in answer to my inquiry;
"the Serviles are far enough away, and this will save the
men many weary miles. It is a short cut, which we
habitually use, to Realejo."
My colleague was in excellent spirits at the thought of
joining the Americans, and plied me with numerous ques-
tions concerning our leaders, and the probable object of
our journey to Realejo.
"Perhaps," I-ii ,- f. 1. "it is intended that we should
sail southward and make a forced march to Granada, while
General Munoz advances his army from the north."
He shook his head. We are not strong enough. The
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Serviles are out in force at Rivas, and would drive us back
pell-mell to the coast."
"Is there no hope of the matter being settled in a
friendly way ?" I asked. "It is a dreadful idea to me
that the inhabitants of the same country should fight
against each other in this way."
His bright face clouded. "It is indeed a terrible thing,
Senor Foster; to me doubly terrible, for my only brother,
whom I love dearly, is in Corral's army at Granada. But
the difference between us is too great to be bridged over.
Don Jose Estrada, whom the Serviles have chosen as their
president, is a good man, and means well in his way, but his
policy is to keep the country (as it is) in the hands of a few
powerful men. He is extremely afraid of outside influence,
and he and his friends would gladly banish every foreigner
from the land. We, on our part, welcome them; with their
aid we can make our country great and strong and a power
in the world. We have many natural advantages, and if
we could once establish a firm government, money and men
would flow into the republic and develop its resources.
At present we do nothing but cut each other's throats.
Thrift is almost unknown amongst us; for what is the use
of acquiring property which may be taken away at any
time ? The soil is so fertile that work is not necessary,
and thus deprived of all motive for exertion, our people
remain idle and ignorant. No; there is but one remedy,
a firm and resolute government; and neither Castellon nor
Estrada can establish that without the assistance of the
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"Are you not afraid that the foreigner, having once
made himself master, will wish to retain his power ?"
I shall not forget the expression of his face as he turned
and looked at me. His dark eyes flashed with passion as
he made answer, "You do not know us yet. Rather than
that, we would band ourselves with the Costa Ricans, we
would welcome even Guardiola, the Tiger of Honduras,
with his murdering savages, and drive every cursed alien
into the sea. Pardon me, I grow excited; it is inexcusable.
Let us talk of something else. In a few minutes we will
call a halt and let the men rest. Did I understand that
your troops were stationed at the Hacienda Rivina ?"
"Yes; the seat of Don Jose Camenza."
"Ah! he is a true patriot, a personal friend of the
president. His eldest son is the colonel of my regiment."
Shortly afterwards, having reached a tolerably open
space, the men were ordered to halt, a command which they
obeyed with great alacrity. Scribbling a note to Colonel
Walker, asking for instructions, Pacheco dispatched a
messenger with it to the hacienda. This, he assured me,
lay at no great distance to our left, if one knew the nearest
"It is very fortunate for us that the weather continues
so wonderfully fine," he remarked presently. "You have
not as yet, I think, experienced a sample of our rainy
"No; there has been no rain since our landing."
"Ah! you have a treat in store. But I will not antici-
pate. Why spoil the pleasure of the present with gloomy
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forebodings of the future? The truly wise man is he who
seizes upon all the good which comes in his path, and
brushes the evil lightly aside. Look at these men; they
are perfectly happy. They have forgotten the fatigues of
the march already past; and as for the future, why, time
enough to consider it when it becomes the present. Your
true philosopher, believe me, is always to be found amongst
the ignorant and uneducated."
It certainly was a striking scene to which he directed
my attention. The open glade-open only in the sense that
it was not quite so dense as the surrounding neighbourhood
-was dotted with little groups of N;. -I -,i In soldiers in
every conceivable attitude, some : i -., others lounging in
an indolent position which one might well believe habitual
to them, while others again lay stretched at full length,
fast asleep on the tangled undergrowth.
Suddenly, in obedience to Pacheco's signal, the bugle's
notes sharp and clear rang out, the men formed in line,
and without further delay we recommended our journey.
What about the messenger ? I suggested; "will he
not return here ?"
"No; he will strike our line of march further on; and
even if we are to rendezvous at the hacienda, it will be
necessary to follow this track for several miles yet. It
would be impossible to march my body of men over the
route he has taken."
However, we were not to pay a visit to Don Jose's
estate, as the messenger returned with a brief note from
Colonel Walker directing us to continue our march to the
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barracks at New Realejo, whither he would repair in
"Depend upon it," exclaimed my companion musingly,
as he handed me the paper, "your idea is correct. It is
intended that we shall strike a blow at Granada, from the
south; though what good the general expects will come
from -.r I r- two hundred men against an army I cannot
conceive. However, that is not my affair; I have but to
Later on we discovered that our supposition was a sound
one; for the morning after our arrival at Realejo we re-
ceived a visit from Colonel '.11l i.. who directed that, after
a short rest, the men should be conveyed in the bongoes
down to the old port, there to embark on board the Vesta,
whose captain only awaited our coming in order to weigh
Whatever doubts might have remained concerning our
destination were dispelled on the morning the Vesta left
the harbour, when a council of the officers was called in
the cabin, where the colonel sat with a large map spread
out before him.
"Gentlemen," he began, "the campaign is about to
commence. In a few days we shall have struck our first,
and, I trust, a -.i. -..--ili, blow for the freedom of Nicaragua.
To us has been *..i-,;..1 the post of greatest danger, and
therefore of greatest 1..., -. The .-.-ii. -, as you are aware,
is massed in strength at I ....i i. with a strong outpost at
Rivas. Ar-. design is a -- simple one. I purpose mak-
ing the harbour of Brito, which is about two days' march
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from Rivas. The enemy are not expecting an attack from
that quarter, and are probably living in fancied security.
With a little energy and foresight, I reckon we can steal a
march to Rivas, seizing the pickets on the way, and capture
that place. General Munoz is meanwhile hastening for-
ward overland, and the Serviles will thus be placed between
two fires. Captain Pacheco, as a native officer, and there-
fore acquainted with the country, I shall be pleased to
hear your opinion."
The Nicaraguan, to whom I translated these remarks,
for he was not well conversant with spoken English, sat
playing restlessly with his moustache, and with a gloomy
expression on his face.
"It is unfortunate, colonel, to differ from you," he said;
"but if you seek my real judgment, I will not disguise
the fact that I consider the proposed scheme eminently
hazardous and totally impracticable."
On what grounds ? "
"On one alone-that of numbers. We can land at
Brito truly; we can march perhaps to Rivas; but our force
is altogether too small to capture it. The Serviles are
advantageously posted and strongly intrenched. They will
outnumber us by probably four to one; they will fight
stubbornly; and they have at their back a well-drilled and
well-equipped army from which to derive support. If we
do not carry the place at the first rush, our position is
hopeless. There will be nothing for it but a hurried re-
treat to the coast, with the loss of many valuable lives, and
a re-embarkation on board our ship. I have stated my
I RECEIVE AMY COMMISSION.
opinion freely, colonel; but at the same time I need scarcely
add that my sword is at your service whenever and wher-
ever you desire."
"Fairly put; but your main objection will not weigh
heavily with us. We are not accustomed to consider the
odds against us."
Still a dead Servile is worth as much as a dead Ameri-
can, and even your bravest men are not proof against a
bullet from a Nicaraguan rifle."
I must admit that to me there seemed great force in
Pacheco's remarks, but of course I could only stand by and
listen, interpreting a phrase here and there which the
Nicaraguan did not grasp. To the others his estimation
of the dangers to be encountered appeared overrated, and
both Kewen, who had received his commission as lieu-
tenant-colonel, and Major Crocker heartily approved of
their commander's design.
Captain Pacheco appeared somewhat disconcerted at the
tone of the discussion; but it was not until the next day,
when we were pacing the deck together, that I began to
understand the reason of his gloomy looks.
We had been reviewing the plan of campaign as un-
folded by the colonel, and I was endeavouring to show how
it might possibly be carried to a successful termination,
when he exclaimed abruptly, It's no use, Foster; I tell you
the enterprise is doomed. Do your people think they are
going to fight against children ? You Americans may be
very brave-I for one do not doubt it-but my countrymen
are no cowards to run away at the first shot. If Colonel
I RECEIVE MY COMMISSION 51
Walker fancies the Servile army will melt away at the
sight of a few Americans, he is very much deceived."
What a glorious thing is the love which fills our breasts
for our native land Though opposed to the Serviles, and
heartily desirous of their subjection, the young officer did
not forget he was a Nicaraguan, and his pride revolted
against the assumption that his countrymen could be over-
thrown by a mere handful of foreign troops, even though
every one of the filibusters was a picked man.
THE FIRST BLO W.
THE weather, which had hitherto remained beautifully
fine and clear, now began to show every sign of
breaking up. The sky became obscured by dark masses
of clouds, the wind increased in force, and the huge waves
rolled and tossed with a sullen roar, as though eager to
break loose from some restraining leash.
Our position on board the Vesta, even before the approach
of the storm, had been far from pleasant; now it was posi-
tively wretched. The old tub appeared to be absolutely
deficient in every requisite for sailing. She pitched and
tossed in the most perilous manner; her timbers creaked
audibly as each succeeding billow met her; and, to add
to our :,,i..:.fii,..- the carpenter reported that she had
sprung a leak, and the pumps were in constant requisi-
Fortunately we had nearly arrived at our destination,
and though cold and drenched with rain, the men so far
forgot their misery as to raise a loud cheer when the pilot
turned the vessel's head to the shore.
In a short time he had steered her safely into a little
THE FIRST BL W.
harbour which sheltered us from the full violence of the
tempest raging outside.
Even now the situation was not in any degree enviable,
but for the present we were secure from actual danger, and
to men who had been in momentary expectation of a watery
grave this meant a great deal.
The next morning we took our last meal on board the
vessel, which, alas! so many gallant men were doomed
never to revisit, and prepared for our long and harassing
march over the sodden road to Rivas.
La Falange Americana, headed by the colonel, led the
way, followed by Pacheco and his Nicaraguans, who already
showed signs of discontent and ill-humour, in spite of all
their leader could do to raise their drooping spirits.
The outlook indeed was cheerless and gloomy in the
extreme. The sky was curtained with sombre clouds heavy
with rain, which fell in torrents; the road was a mere bog
covered with a thick muddy paste, through which, ankle-
deep, we pushed our way laboriously, with the knowledge
that every step brought us nearer to an enemy who out-
numbered us in the probable ratio of four to one.
We had proceeded about a mile from the harbour when
the colonel ordered me to take a dozen men and push on
"Do not advance too far," he said; "allow no one to
pass you; and should you meet with the enemy in force,
fall back as rapidly as possible."
Selecting twelve of the best men, amongst whom I in-
cluded Trevethik and the Irishman, I set off, delighted at
THE FIRST BLOW.
the thought of holding a real command, although a small
The rain still continued to fall in a steady downpour,
and the road became nearly impassable; but not a single
murmur, not a word of complaint, escaped the men, who
trudged patiently along through the soft sticky mud, keep-
ing a sharp look-out for any signs of the enemy.
"Faith, Phil," exclaimed the Irishman with a merry
twinkle in his black eyes, "this is a rale illigant christen-
ing, me boy; if we had only a wee drop of the rather
now to mix with all this water! Sure, it's a terrible
waste," and he shot a stream of rain from the brim of his
"It's almost as bad as the retreat from San Vincente,
when we scuttled out of Sonora."
"By the way, Trevethik, you have never told me about
that expedition to Sonora. I should like to hear of your
adventures there; the account must be interesting."
The giant smiled grimly, as though his recollections
were not altogether pleasant, but he readily promised a
recital of his experiences whenever a favourable opportunity
It was late that night when, having dispatched a mes-
senger to the colonel, I halted the men at a solitary and
deserted hut quite destitute of furniture, and barely capable
of accommodating my little party. Still it afforded a pro-
tection from the pitiless rain, which had been beating down
upon us with a steady persistency during the whole of
that wretched day; and thankful for small mercies, we
THE FIRST BLOW.
wrung the water from our outer garments, and proceeded
to make ourselves as comfortable as possible.
"Now, Trevethik," I said, as I returned from posting
a sentry, "unless you are too fatigued, I should be glad to
hear the story of Sonora."
Removing a little black pipe from his mouth, he an-
swered slowly, Well, lieutenant, if it will interest you, I'll
go on, though story-telling is rather out of my line. It
was in 'Fifty-three I sailed with Walker to Western Mexico.
Our numbers were small, less than fifty all told, but at
first everything went well. We captured La Paz with the
Mexican governor in it, and Walker was elected president.
Meanwhile our friends in California were busy on our
behalf, and shortly before C'! i 1 .,ii..... we learned that a fresh
body of men, nearly three hundred in number, had arrived
in the Anita, and had gone into camp at San Vincente.
They were a rough lot, no-account' men for the most
part, with little stomach for fighting or hard work.
"Their arrival was the beginning of our misfortunes.
Some of the worst banded together and formed a plot to
blow up the powder-magazine, which was placed in the
middle of the camp. Luckily a whisper of their intentions
reached the colonel's ears, and then for the first time we
discovered what manner of man he was who led us. Seizing
the ringleaders, he had them tried by court-martial, which
sentenced two to instant death, and two others to be pub-
licly whipped and drummed out of camp. It was a danger-
ous situation, I can assure you; but Walker never flinched,
and after the sentences were carried out he had the troops
THE FIRST BLOW.
all mustered, and made them a little speech. 'Boys,' he
said, in that quick sharp way he sometimes has, 'I hear
that some of you are discontented and wish to get away.
There is nothing to prevent you. Fifty good men and
true are worth more to me than five hundred cowards.
All those who are prepared to follow my fortunes hold
up their hands !'
"About forty of the new men responded; the others
surlily shouldered their rifles and turned to leave the camp.
They had reckoned without Walker, however. His sharp
eyes dilated and kindled with a greenish light like that of
a bird of prey's, his thin lips shut together like a vice, and
before we could even guess at his movement, he sprang
forward confronting them. 'Halt he cried scornfully.
'Cowards have no need for weapons; stack your arms.'
"I reckoned we were in for a nasty scrimmage. They
were two hundred strong-fierce, desperate men-and it
looked as though his life was in their hands. But he has
absolutely no fear; and though they growled under their
breath, they did his bidding. 'Now go,' he said. 'You
are not men; you are chickens,' and they skulked off, while
we gave them a derisive cheer.
"This defection left us less than a hundred strong, but
it mattered little to our leader, who, leaving a score of men
at San Vincente, began his march over the mountains
toward Sonora. Very soon our -ni-._ i,,-. became terrible.
Provisions began to fail; several of the men deserted; clouds
of Indians hovered round our scanty ranks, killing the
wounded and the stragglers, and harassing us with con-
THE FIRST BLO W
tinual showers of arrows, which did fearful execution
owing to our lack of proper surgical appliances. Our
clothes were in rags, and, to crown our disasters, we were
ravaged by a cruel disease. Every day some one dropped
out of the ranks and died; each succeeding morning found
fewer men to answer to their names at the roll-call; and
at last it was decided that we should turn back.
"If hitherto our misfortunes had been great, now they
became overwhelming. The Mexicans, emboldened at the
sight of our retreat, never left us night or day. They
hung upon our flanks, they harried our rear, they poured
a galling fire into the head of our column, disappearing
instantly over the mountain sides, to reappear further
ahead. Our provisions were almost exhausted, our clothes
were tattered fragments, the sharp rocks cut and bruised
our naked feet, and the blood flowed from our wounds as
"In spite of every difficulty, however, we marched
steadily forward, and not a murmur arose against our
leader. Nothing disheartened him, nothing broke down
his indomitable spirit. He fought everywhere, in the
front, in the rear; in fact, wherever danger threatened there
he was to be found. When a man was struck by an arrow,
his was the hand that extracted it, and bound up the gaping
wound with the gentleness and care of a woman. Did
some poor fellow, wounded and exhausted, drop to the
ground, feebly expressing a wish to lie down and die ? it
was the colonel who lingered by his side, and inspired him
with heart of grace to rise and renew the almost hopeless
THE FIRST BLOW
struggle. It was on the colonel's shoulder the poor wretch
leaned as he toiled painfully along; and when, as sometimes
happened, the unhappy sufferer succumbed to his fate, it
was the colonel's hands that closed the lifeless eyes.
Once his coolness and courage saved us all from certain
destruction, We had entered a gorge, which, though per-
haps half a mile wide in the centre, narrowed considerably
at either end. A body of 31. : i..,i hung closely upon our
rear, and closed the entrance after we had passed through.
This of course we expected, but on reaching the middle we
found to our dismay a crowd of Indians in our front.
Instinctively each man realized the fatal truth-we were
in a death-trap. Even then our leader showed no sign of
despondency. Hastily throwing a dozen men into a thicket,
he coolly marched the remainder of us back toward the
entrance. The Indians came on with a wild yell and
savage cries of exultation; but as they passed the ambush
a sharp report rang out, and twelve of them fell lifeless
to the ground. At the same instant we once more faced
about, and poured in a second volley, which completed their
discomfiture. Before they recovered from their confusion
we charged solidly through them, and traversed the danger-
ous defile. The rest is soon told. Fil'l-. ,i by this
repulse, the enemy kept at.a respectful distance during the
rest of the march; and on May 8, 1854, we recrossed the
boundary into the United States. But the night grows
late, and as we shall have to start by daybreak, we had
better get a little rest."
Replacing his pipe in his pocket he doubled up his arm
THE FIRST BLOW.
for a pillow, and in a few moments was sound asleep, an
example which I hastened to follow.
The next day's march was but a repetition of our former
troubles. The rain descended in a steady flood, chilling us
to the bone, and the mud rendered our progress slow and
difficult. The country around appeared deserted, and it
was not until nightfall that we caught our first glimpse of
We were approaching a moderately-sized village, and, im-
pressed with the necessity for caution, I stole noiselessly
forward accompanied by Trevethik, leaving the rest under
the command of the Irishman.
Everything was wrapped in profound darkness, and this
rendered our design comparatively easy, since we were
enabled to creep unperceived to the very entrance of the
Suddenly we heard the challenge of a sentinel, and
Trevethik, laying his hand lightly upon my arm, drew me
silently behind a large tree. Again the alerte of the watch-
ful sentry broke the stillness, and was repeated from a
The man was scarcely more than two yards away, and
we could distinctly hear him muttering to himself. "It
must have been an animal," he said presently, "or the
falling of a bough. Quie s8abe?" Satisfied that his
alarm had been groundless, he recommended his dreary
pacing to and fro, while we fell back with the utmost
stealth from our dangerous position.
Sending Brogan to the rear with the news of our dis-
THE FIRST BLOW.
cover, I placed my little troop under the shelter of the
trees, and waited until the main body could come up, which
they did in a much shorter time than I had ventured to
The colonel listened to my report. Major Crocker,"
he said, "the enemy have no doubt established a picket in
the village. Take Lieutenant Foster with twenty men and
work your way without noise to the other side. It is
necessary that every one of the Serviles should fall into
The major saluted, and while Walker proceeded with his
instructions to the other officers we silently filed off with
the intention of making a wide detour to the right, and
thus placing ourselves between the enemy and Rivas.
By this time the inhabitants of the village were wrapped
in slumber. A few lights burned here and there, but no
sound was heard save the monotonous tramp of the weary
sentinels, who, all unconscious of their imminent danger,
paced to and fro.
At length all was ready, and at a given signal a simul-
taneous rush from every side was made upon the un-
suspecting foe. The movement was a complete success.
Surprised and overpowered by numbers, the Serviles offered
no resistance, and within a very brief space the village
was in our possession, and a new cordon of sentries drawn
This trifling success, added to the comfortable quarters
in which we now found ourselves, put every one in good-
humour; and when the morning broke fine and dry, the
THE FIRST BLO W
men forgot their previous miseries, and moved out from
Tola in the highest spirits.
For myself, the charming beauty of the scene so engrossed
my attention, that for a time I actually forgot the reason
of our presence there. Before us lay Lake Nicaragua, a
magnificent sheet of water some thirty miles broad, its
placid bosom studded with islets, from several of which
towered huge volcanic peaks standing like monstrous sen-
tinels. Young as I was, I had already beheld some of
the grandest scenery in the North, and since then I have
grown familiar with the beauties of the European continent;
but nothing has ever succeeded in effacing the impressions
produced by my first sight of the Nicaraguan lake.
There was little time, however, for indulging in poetic
sentiment. Between us and the lake stood the important
town of Rivas, where six hundred Serviles under General
Boscha awaited our attack.
Stern work was in front of us, and my heart beat fast
as we took up our position. The plan of attack was sim-
plicity itself. The Fi 1.!e, led by Kewen and Crocker,
was to push the Serviles back into the town, while Pacheco
held his men in readiness to convert the retreat into a rout.
"Shoulder to shoulder, boys," exclaimed Walker. "Re-
serve your fire until you get to close quarters, and do net
waste a bullet."
Silently and in perfect order our little party moved
down toward the Serviles, who, lining the narrow streets,
were prepared to offer us a warm reception.
The gintlemen are in a mighty hurry entirelyy" said
THE FIRST BLOW
Brogan, as a volley of bullets fell just short of the head of
our column. "Phil, me boy, these beggars mean business."
Trevethik nodded, and as if in confirmation of the Irish-
man's statement, another volley, which wounded one man,
fell this time in our midst. Still our order remained un-
broken, and we continued steadily to advance without
noticing the enemy's polite attentions, though each man
grasped his rifle more firmly.
At length we arrived within short range, and Kewen
gave the order to fire. "Aim low, boys, and then give
them a taste of cold steel."
Like one man our little body raised their rifles and
poured in a deadly volley; then, without waiting for the
smoke to clear away we rushed on with a yell of defiance.
It was a maddening moment. We did not pause to consider
the danger, but pushed on through the tortuous streets,
driving the flying enemy before us until we reached the
Here for the first time we turned, and a cry of rage
broke from the Falange. Our allies, whom we believed to
be close behind, had never moved from their position. We
could see Pacheco gesticulating wildly, waving his sword
toward us and apparently appealing to them, and threaten-
ing alternately, but to no purpose. For another moment
they stood irresolute; then a perceptible shiver passed
through them, like branches of forest trees swayed by the
wind; and the next instant the whole force of our reserves,
with the single exception of their gallant leader, was in full
THE FIRST BLOW
Our position had now become critical in the extreme.
We had driven the enemy to the plaza, but beyond this
our most desperate t..., i could not force them. Each
succeeding moment, too, told against us. The Serviles,
who greeted the flight of our allies with shouts of derision,
fought with the most stubborn courage, and became in their
turn the assailants.
In vain we fired at the advancing horde with fatal pre-
cision; for every man that dropped, another pressed eagerly
forward, and our little band grew steadily less and less.
Major Crocker, fighting like a madman, was already
wounded in two places, and suddenly I saw his right arm,
broken by a musket ball, fall heavily to his side. Still he
scorned to yield, and shifting his revolver to his left hand,
he stood with head erect and flashing eyes firing at the foe,
until a bullet crashed through his brain, and the gallant
fellow had fought his last I ._ 1I.
The colonel, whvo, true to his character, was in the thickest
of the fray, now directed us to. retreat to a row of adobe
huts, whose mud-built walls would afford some protection
against the enemy's overwhelming fire.
Still with our faces to the foe, we fell back in a
leisurely manner, the Serviles following like dogs on the
track of the quarry; and here I noticed to my delight that
we had been joined by Pacheco. Disgusted at the cowardice
of his troops, this true-hearted soldier, perceiving our deadly
peril, had rushed unattended to our aid, willing rather to
perish with us than live dishonoured by the action of his
THiE FIRST BLOW.
By this time my brain seemed on fire, my throat was
parched, and I was conscious of a dull aching pain in my
left leg. However, there was little opportunity for reflec-
tion. The enemy, believing us to be trapped, came on with
piercing cries, only to fall back in disorder before the short,
sharp volley poured in by the Falange.
Again and again they returned undauntedly to the
attack; and though their losses must have been enormous
compared with ours, yet even to me it was clear that only
a question of time stood between us and destruction.
We had left Crocker in the plaza, his body riddled with
bullets,, and now Kewen fell with a musket ball through
his heart. I glanced at the colonel. His features were calm
and unruffled as a mask, but the grey eyes gleamed and
the thin upper lip was tightly compressed. He seemed to
bear a charmed life; wherever danger threatened there he
was, cheering his men, urging them to renewed exertions,
and repelling every fresh attack with a steady coolness
that extorted the admiration of friends and foes alike.
Inspired by his courage, no one spoke of yielding or
surrender, but all continued to fight with a sort of hopeless
despair. For several hours the combat lasted almost with-
out pause, when, as if tired by their exertions, the Serviles
withdrew a short distance, giving us a little breathing-space.
Boys," exclaimed the colonel, glancing compassionately
at our little group of dead, this cannot last. There is but
one course left; we must cut our way through."
A mighty cheer-a cheer which made the enemy glance
toward us in astonishment-went up from the reckless men,
]L ,U;,i. aX a'isll ac i, rt
THE FIRST BLOW.
and grasping their pistols firmly they made ready for a
bold dash. It was a desperate venture, but, as the colonel
rightly said, it was our sole chance.
Every moment rendered our present position more
dangerous. Many of our men had already fallen, and the
rest, weakened by loss of blood-for every man was
wounded-and want of food, became more and more
unequal to continuing the savage combat.
For myself, the pain in my leg was growing intolerable,
blood flowed into my eyes from a nasty gash in the head,
and I ached in every limb. As the men gathered for the
final rush, I strove to join them; but the effort was too
great, and with a cry of despair I sank helpless on the
Luckily the brave-hearted Trevethik recognized my voice,
and turning back raised me gently in his brawny arms.
"Poor lad," I heard him mutter, "we must not leave him
here for those blood-thirsty niggers. Brogan, put him on
my back; he's no light weight, but it shall never be said
that Phil Trevethik left his officer to be tortured by
I tried to utter my thanks, but my throat was too
parched, I could only squeeze his hand feebly; then my
eyes closed, my head fell forward, and I remembered noth-
THE RETREAT FROM RIVAS.
WHEN I recovered consciousness it was night-time,
and I was lying in a sort of al-fresco hut formed
of a few stakes and thatched with enormous palm-leaves,
hastily constructed for my comfort, as I afterwards learned,
by Pacheco, who had come safely out of the terrible fray.
Round about gleamed the lights of the watch-fires, and
I could distinguish the dusky forms of our men as they
lay asleep, thoroughly worn out and exhausted.
Presently the sound of a familiar voice reached me, and,
looking up, I recognized the Irishman peering into my
"Arrah, then, liftenant, may the saints be praised !" he
exclaimed joyously. The colonel will be played when he
learns that the rascally Dons haven't kilt ye entirely.
Ye may thank him and Trevethik that ye aren't opening
your eyes in the next world. That captain, too, anybody
would think, to watch his capers, that ye were his own twin
Where are we ? I asked; "what has happened ?"
Faith, then, it's meself that can't answer the first ques-
THE RETREAT FROM RIVAS.
tion, except that we are on our way to the coast; but the
second part is easily told. When the colonel gave the word,
we rushed out from behind the walls, yourself on Treve-
thik's back, with the friendly Don and me one on each side
to prevent the enemy from coming too close. They had
had their fill of fighting for one day, however, and did
not try to stop us, so we jogged along quite comfortably.
Presently Walker casts his eyes round, and says quite
sharply, Trevethik, who is that ye are carrying ?' Mr.
Foster, sir,' says Trevethik; 'and I am afraid the poor boy
is little better than a corpse.' With that the colonel says,
'Put him down there. Where's he hit, I wonder ? Ah I cut
across the head-that doesn't amount to much. Oh, here's
the mischief-bullet in the left leg; we'll soon have that
out.' 'That's plunder,' says I, 'that the young rascal
has been filching from the Serviles, and hiding in a safe
place.' The boys laughed, but Walker gave me one of his
pretty looks, and turned me into a dumb baste. Then
he knelt down, and with a little instrument, just for all the
world as though he were a rale doctor, began to search
for the uncivil bullet, which, sure enough, was snug and
comfortable in your leg. Then he put some powerful-
smelling stuff into the hole, bound it up with his handker-
chief, and said to Phil, 'Now, Trevethik, my man, we'll
carry him turn and turn about, for ye must be getting
tired.' When we halted, your friend the captain with the
heathenish name made this illigant bower, and-but what's
that ?" as a lurid flame of light shot up into the eastern
THE RETREAT FROM RIVAS.
It seems to come from the direction of Rivas," I sug-
That's it; the beggars are making a bonfire to cele-
brate our retreat. Won't the colonel be in a pleasant
humour when he sees it!"
It was certainly very annoying to think that our foes
were thus making merry over our defeat; but fortunately
we did not then know what was actually taking place in
the little plaza we had fought so stoutly to maintain.
Had we guessed the truth; had we suspected that the
cowardly Serviles, in their savage attempt to wreak a piti-
ful vengeance for their heavy losses, were feeding their
bonfire with our beloved dead; had we known that the
bodies of the valiant Crocker, the sturdy Kewen, and the
remainder of our fallen comrades, were being committed to
the flames, I verily believe that, in spite of fatigue and
wounds, and the almost certainty of a terrible death, every
man in the Falange would have retraced his steps to Rivas.
Presently the Irishman took his departure, and I was
just dozing off, when the colonel himself appeared. "Well,
Colin," he said in his kindly way, "how do you find
yourself now ? Is the wound still painful ?"
I scarcely feel it at present, thanks principally to your
kindness. Believe me, sir, I am deeply grateful; I shall
never forget that you have saved my life."
Nonsense even had I done what you imagine, it would
have been merely cancelling the debt I owe you. But your
thanks are really due to Trevethik. I congratulate you on
having secured his friendship; he is a splendid fellow."
THE RETREAT FROM RIVAS.
He is indeed," I answered warmly. "He and Brogan
are friends worth having."
After chatting for a few minutes longer, he bade me
Good-night; and watching him walk slowly away, I knew
that, in spite of his stern features, his heart was heavy
with grief for the loss of the gallant men who would
follow his flag no more.
The grey dawn had scarcely heralded the approach of
morning when, feeling a hand laid lightly on my shoulder,
I opened my eyes sleepily and beheld Trevethik.
His honest face glowed with genuine pleasure, and he
grasped my proffered hand cordially. We march in half
an hour," he said. "Dennis is cooking you a bit of break-
fast, though the bill of fare is far from a lengthy one, and
consists chiefly of a can of hot coffee; but that will be
better than nothing. I don't exactly know whither we
are bound, but Dennis and I have fitted up a comfortable
stretcher, so that you shall suffer as little pain from your
wound as possible."
While he was speaking I could hardly keep the tears from
my eyes, his kindness touched me so deeply. What had I
done to deserve such affectionate devotion from this strong,
rugged man ? Why should he peril his life to save mine,
and afterwards watch over and tend me with the eager
solicitude of a loving parent ?
I put the question to him once when I had learned to
know him better, and his answer seemed so strange to me
that I have never since forgotten it.
"Well, Mr. Foster," he said slowly, "in the first place
THE -ETREAT FR OM -RIVAS.
it was easy to see you were a gentleman, and you treated
me as if I was one. You spoke to me hearty and pleasant
like, just in the same way as you talked to the colonel;
and you didn't try to make me feel that though I might
be a very good sort of man in my way, I wasn't made
of the same clay as yourself. Now some gentlefolk as
mean to be very kind always make that mistake. They
think we ought to be grateful because they take notice
of us, and pat us on the head, so to speak; but depend
upon it no true man likes that kind of thing. They
should either let us alone, or meet us on equal ground.
Now you are genuine. You would not be ashamed to
take my hand in face of all your friends and say, 'Gentle-
men, this is my old friend Philip Trevethik,' and every
one would know you really meant it."
Often since then have his words given me food for
serious reflection, and I am convinced of the deep truth
underlying his remarks; but this is not the place for an
essay, so I will return to my story.
I tried to thank him for all his kindness; but he would
not listen, saying he had done no more than Brogan and
Pacheco, and not so much as the colonel.
By the way, where is Pacheco ? I asked; he has not
been to see me."
No; after erecting this shelter he left the camp,
and has not since returned. He is most likely hunting
up his men. Poor fellow! their cowardly conduct has
depressed him terribly, though no one blames him. The
colonel indeed thanked him publicly for his pluck in
THE RETREAT FROM RIVAS.
coming to our assistance.-But here is Dennis with the
"Phil, me boy," exclaimed the warm-hearted Irishman,
unless ye mane to go exploring on an empty stomach, ye'd
better hurry; I'll see to the liftenant. I've had my break-
fast, praise the saints! and faith they can't accuse Dennis
Brogan of gluttony this very morning," finishing with a
comical grimace at the recollection of its scanty proportions.
"Mr. Foster, if ye'd only got a strong imagination now,
and would shut your eyes, ye might have a lovely banquet,
like the man in the book I once heard about. I could say,
'Shall I pass you a leg or a wing of this chicken, Mr.
Foster ? or maybe ye'd like a bit of the breast. Ye might
try a little of this pigeon-pie, the birds are very tender
and the crust is beautiful and flaky.' By the powers, it
makes me mouth water 'Dry sherry, sir, or madeira ?'
Faith, it's a mighty convenient way of procuring a good
meal at very little expense "
In spite of my weakness, I could not resist laughing at
the Irishman's comical conceit, though, truth to tell, I
should not have been sorry had there been a little more
reality in the performance. However, there was not much
time in which to i,,i1,-, in lamentation, for presently the
bugles sounded, and hastily abandoning the camp-fires the
men prepared to march.
Meanwhile Trevethik and the Irishman had brought
their improvised stretcher, and placing me carefully upon
it, took their places in the centre of the Falange, where I
discovered a similar conveyance to my own.
THE RETREAT FROM RIVAS.
"That is Captain Doubleday," Trevethik whispered,
following the direction of my eyes, "shot through the
head. The wound would have killed any other man; but
he has more lives than the proverbial cat, and no one
doubts his recovery,"-a prediction which later events fully
To any one unacquainted with the facts of the case, our
little body of troops that day must have presented a sin-
gular appearance. Many of the men were without hats,
some even were destitute of shoes, all were dusty and
smoke-begrimed. Every other man appeared with a ban-
dage more or less clumsy, hiding in many cases a gaping
wound, and as they toiled painfully onward the track was
stained with blood.
Grievous, however, as was the plight of the Falange,
there was no sign of murmuring or complaint. The men
marched doggedly onward, prepared to receive the attack
of the enemy. The Serviles, however, did not venture to
pursue us. The enormous losses they had sustained at our
hands on the previous day had completely discouraged
them, and they were content to remain in possession of the
post from which we had vainly attempted to dislodge
Once or twice during the tedious journey Colonel
Walker came to my side for a few minutes' conversation.
He informed me that we were marching on San Juan, a
seaport town to the south of Brito, and that he anticipated
reaching it by eventide.
For the present," he remarked, "the campaign is over;
THE RETREAT PROM RIVAS.
our attempt has failed, and under the circumstances it
would be folly to remain here. We shall re-embark on
the Vesta, and return to Realejo."
On our arrival at San Juan the old brig was nowhere in
sight; but finding a Costa Rican schooner in the harbour,
the colonel gave orders that she should be seized and made
ready for the accommodation of the troops.
Meantime my faithful attendants carried me to the bar-
racks, and having made everything comfortable as far as
lay in their power, returned to their duties.
Poor Doubleday lay in the next bed to mine, affording
me a kind of melancholy companionship. Though no
longer insensible, he could not speak; his head was
swathed in bandages; and from the nature of his wounds
he must have zi, t. i .. an agony of pain. Now and again
he gave utterance to a low groan, but for the most part he
lay quite still, sternly repressing any signs of the torture
which was racking him.
The barracks being situated near the shore, I could dis-
tinctly hear the noise of the men as they passed to and
fro, and the occasional exclamations of the natives who
had been attracted by the novel sight.
Gradually a sense of drowsiness stole over me and I fell
into an uneasy slumber, from which I was awakened by a
strong smell of burning. I glanced hastily at Doubleday,
who was wide awake and conscious of our perilous situa-
"Captain," I cried excitedly, "the barracks are on
fire !" and he made a feeble gesture of assent.
THE RETREAT FROM RIVAS.
Outside we could hear the tramp of many feet mingled
with the voices of the spectators, and presently across the
narrow grated window shot a forked flame of light. The
room grew hot and stifling; every moment lessened our
chances of escape, and still no one came to the rescue.
I shouted aloud, nay, let me confess truly, I screamed
the names of Trevethik and Brogan, till at length, mad-
dened at the horrible prospect of being roasted to death, I
crawled from the bed and made a desperate endeavour to
reach the door.
Doubleday's eyes followed me with a plaintive expres-
sion as I toiled painfully along. I gave him a reassuring
glance which apparently satisfied him; but my -ui.lii-
was so intense, that before a quarter of the distance had
been traversed I knew my design would fail.
"It is all over," I cried to'my fellow victim; "I can do
no more." Then strangely enough all my anxiety van-
ished, my spirits became calm, and I lay quietly awaiting
Suddenly the door was burst open, and I recognized
with a sense of the liveliest joy half a dozen of the Fa-
lange, headed by Trevethik and the Irishman.
"Do not forget the captain," I exclaimed, as they raised
me from the ground.
After that I must have fainted, for I remember nothing
more until I awoke in my old quarters on board the Vesta,
and knew from the rolling motion of the vessel that we
were once more at sea.
Trevethik, who had requested permission to wait upon
TIME ]UZTJ'?EAT FROAM L RVAS.
me, was sitting in the little cabin, and seeing my eyes
open, came forward.
"You have had a good long spell, Mr. Foster," he said
pleasantly, "and look all the better for it. No questions,
sir-at least until after you have taken some nourishment.
I will be back shortly. I am going to the cook for some
broth;-the colonel's orders, you know, and he does not like
his commands disobeyed."
Very soon he reappeared with a basin of hot, delicious
broth and a spoon, with which he gravely proceeded to
feed me; for I found myself even weaker than on the
retreat from Rivas, though my head was clear and I felt
in capital spirits.
Now, Philip," I exclaimed, "tell me what has occurred.
I judge we are on board the Vesta and at sea, but there
are one or two little matters I cannot exactly understand.
What, for instance, caused the fire at the barracks ?"
His frank, open face grew cold and stern at my ques-
tion, and he replied with reluctance, "It was a shameful
business, Mr. Foster; the barracks were fired of set
By our men ? I cried. Impossible !"
No; it was not quite so bad as that, though the actual
miscreants were Americans. But if you get so excited, the
colonel will call me a bad nurse and send me about my
business. He is on deck at present, but he frequently
comes to have a look at you."
Having received my assurances to remain very quiet,
Trevethik continued: "You remember that not finding
TIME -RETREAT FIROM RIVAS.
the Vesta at San Juan, the colonel ordered a Costa Rican
schooner to be seized, and preparations at once made for
our embarkation. In the midst of the bustle a cry was
raised that the barracks were in flames, and on reaching
the buildings we found that they must have been burning
for some time. Our first thought, of course, was of you
and Captain Doubleday, whom we luckily were able to
rescue. The fire meanwhile, fanned by a steady wind
from the sea, was fast spreading, and had not our men
worked with might and main, the whole town must have
been burned down. As it was, we only just managed to
save the place from destruction. I told you in the begin-
ning that the mischief was caused by two Americans.
They were men of notoriously evil characters, and had
lived in San Juan for some considerable time. What their
motive could have been it would be hard to tell, but either
from sheer wickedness, or possibly with the hope of ob-
- training plunder during the confusion, they set fire to the
barracks in several different places.
"You may easily imagine that the colonel was furious
when he became acquainted with the real facts. A party
was instantly told off to effect the capture of the incendi-
aries; but one of them got away, and the other, accom-
panied by a native woman, took refuge in the boat lying
at the stern of the schooner.
He was a cool scoundrel, and gave us a lot of trouble.
We were afraid to fire at him because of the woman, and
he himself had the reputation of being a dead shot. How-
ever, the colonel was determined he should not escape, so
THE, EBTEL'A T -FORO RIVAS.
all through the night we kept watch over the boat. In
the morning the San Jose weighed anchor, which we knew
must settle the case one way or other. Either he must
remain passive, and allow his boat to be towed out to sea,
in which case he would be at our mercy; or he must ex-
pose himself to our aim in endeavouring to cut the painter.
He chose the latter alternative. Making a shield of the
woman's body, he moved cautiously toward the bow of the
boat. It was an anxious moment both for him and for
us. Suddenly he shifted his position, bringing his body
for a brief instant into view. The time could not have
exceeded the fraction of a second, but it was sufficient.
Dennis, who stood next to me, saw his opportunity. There
was a flash, a sharp report, and throwing up his arms
with a cry of despair the unhappy wretch fell dead. It
was a stern punishment; but he had committed a great
crime, and had himself alone to blame. The day after
leaving San Juan we encountered the Vesta, and changed
But how is it I remember nothing of these events ?"
"That is easily accounted for. When we carried you
on board the schooner you were insensible, and during the
night became delirious; the excitement of the fire in your
weakened state proved, I expect, too much for your brain.
But I must not let you talk any longer."
Just one more question-how is poor Captain Double-
day ? "
Progressing nicely; he will soon be fit for duty again."
THE RETREAT FROM RIVAS.
The effort of conversation had by this time fatigued
me, and though unwilling to lose Philip's society, I was yet
glad to close my eyes and doze off into a quiet sleep.
Nothing occurred during the remainder of the voyage
worth chronicling. My wound gradually healed, but I did
not recover sufficient -11 11i to leave the cabin; and
when we reached Realejo my weakness was still so great,
that the colonel procured a carriage for my removal to
Here I experienced a pleasant surprise. Instead of fol-
lowing the direction taken by the Falange, the coachman
turned to the right, and after traversing several of the
principal streets, which were crowded with Leonese hurry-
ing to catch a glimpse of the formidable foreigners, drove
into the courtyard of a handsome house.
"You must have made a mistake," I exclaimed in Span-
ish, as, descending from the box, he approached the door
of the vehicle; why have you brought me here ?"
"It was my master's command, senor," he answered
"My good fellow," I said, I fear a trifle testily, "I do
not know your master; I am an American."
The old fellow shrugged his shoulders and elevated his
eyebrows, as though he were an actor in a pantomime.
"Ah! he said, "the Americans are a curious people;
they have strange ways hard for us to understand. But the
sefor is keeping the ladies waiting; they have heard the
carriage; and see-here are the servants who will assist
the senior to alight."
THE RETREAT FROM RIVAS.
I did see, and began seriously to consider if I were not
suffering from a second attack of delirium. The hall door
was open, and a group of liveried servants stood on the
step waiting for the conclusion of my conversation with
"For heaven's sake, man," I cried in desperation, "tell
me your master's name."
"The senior is jesting," he replied in unruffled tones;
"surely he has no need to ask the name of Don Miguel
I hesitated no longer. The sound of the name uttered
by the old servant brought back to my mind the recollec-
tion of the young Ni'; :-,! -'1 n, who had behaved with such
conspicuous gallantry at Rivas. I had not seen him since,
but I looked forward with eagerness to meeting him.
One of the servants, a tall, portly man of grave demean-
our, now came forward, and making a profound bow begged
to know if ieo should assist me to alight. I accepted his
aid willingly, for my steps were feeble and uncertain.
My companion gazed at me attentively. "The master
was right," he murmured with an air of kindly pity; "you
are indeed young to have suffered so much."
Is your master at home ? I asked.
"No, he cannot leave his post at present; but he has
sent orders that you are to be treated as one of the family.
I heard my mistress say he had made arrangements with
your general that you were to be his guest."
I glanced ruefully at my soiled clothing and generally
THE RETREAT FROM RIVAS.
"The senior need not distress himself; Don Miguel has
thought of that, and has placed his wardrobe at the senior's
service," said the old servant cheerfully, interpreting aright
the dolorous expression of my countenance.
This was good news, for my dress was in a tattered
condition, and I had not even a change of linen.
Still leaning on the arm of my conductor, I entered the
house, and was ushered into a tastefully-furnished apart-
ment, which had been converted into a sleeping-room for
me. After setting out a complete suit of Don Miguel's
clothes, the domestic left me to arrange my toilet, telling
me that dinner would be served in a short time, after
which Don Miguel's mother and sister would be happy to
make my acquaintance.
This was certainly a very agreeable change in my for-
tunes. I felt that I could not be sufficiently grateful to
my kind friend for his thoughtful generosity.
Indeed, looking back on the last few months in my life,
I was struck with wonder at the many marks of kindness
which had been shown me, by those who were little more
than strangers, and for whom, except perhaps in the case
of the colonel, I had done ii -.i,;,1.
Here my reverie was broken in upon by the entrance of
the servant, with the information that dinner was ready,
which, as I had eaten nothing for several hours, was a
very welcome intimation.
A PLEASANT INTERL UDE.
A FTER a sumptuous repast, my attendant led me to a
large handsome apartment, where two ladies waited
to receive me. The elder I knew intuitively to be Don
Pacheco's mother, but who the other was I did not so
She resembled neither my absent host nor his mother.
Instead of being dark, with black eyes and hair, she had
a fair, almost pink and white, complexion, and her eyes
were blue. She was quite young, being apparently twelve
months my junior.
As I limped into the room there stole into her eyes a
sweet pitying smile that drew me to her as though she had
been my own sister.
They were very kind to me, those two ladies; they
could not have treated me with a more tender care had I
been Don Miguel himself. They would not allow me to
finish my halting expression of thanks, but led me to an
easy chair, and the young girl fetched a kind of hassock
for the purpose of resting my wounded leg.
"You will pardon our having left you to the care of our
A PLEASANT INTERLUDE.
servants, will you not ?" said my hostess sweetly; "we
thought-my daughter and I-that it would be better to
postpone our introduction until after you had refreshed
Truly," I answered, "it is I who should crave par-
don for causing you such trouble, I, who am an utter
Are you not my son's friend ? she asked, and is not
that sufficient ? Indeed," she continued, "for your own
sake, I am glad you are under our roof; you are far too
young to be mixed up in these terrible doings."
She spoke so feelingly and with such sincerity that I
could not refrain from telling her the story of my life.
As I spoke, first of my mother's death, and afterwards of
the loss of my father, tears came into her eyes; and though
the young girl had turned her head aside, I knew that she
too was weeping.
Poor boy," exclaimed the elder lady pityingly, as I
finished my sad tale, you are indeed to be pitied, so young
and alone in the world. You must keep a brave heart;
the good God will not forsake you," and she crossed herself
We were all silent for a few moments after this, and then
I asked when they expected to see Don Miguel.
"We scarcely know. He has sent to say that he will
come as soon as he can obtain leave of absence; perhaps
he will be with us to-morrow."
I expressed my satisfaction at this news, and then the
young girl-whose name, by the way, I have omitted to
A PLEASANT INTERL UDE.
mention was Inez-sang in a clear sweet voice some pretty
Spanish songs, accompanying herself on a guitar.
It was very pleasant to sit with half-closed eyes, leaning
back in my comfortable chair, listening to these gentle
strains of music, and I was quite sorry when the time came
for our little party to break up for the night.
Three or four days slipped happily by, and all this time
Dofia Inez and her mother treated me with the utmost
kindness. They sent for their own physician, who dressed
my wound with considerable skill. Moreover, he prophesied
a speedy cure, at which I was much pleased. All the
servants, too, seemed to have been placed at my disposal,
and I had but to express any wish for it to be immediately
Of what was happening in the town I remained ignorant,
but the colonel sent a kind note bidding me remain quietly
in my present quarters until completely fit for duty again.
My visit had lasted nearly a week, when one morning,
while seated in the room which had been set apart for my
use, a servant announced Don Miguel Pacheco. I rose with
difficulty, and the next moment we were grasping each
other's hand like old friends.
He inquired about the injured limb, and expressed himself
delighted with my rapid progress toward recovery.
After the gloss of the first excitement had worn off,
however, I noticed that his face looked gloomy, and that
there was a touch of despondency in his voice as he evaded
rather than answered my questions.
Come, captain," I said presently, "you do not give me
A PLEASANT INTERLUDE.
much information; remember I am dependent upon you
for all the news. What is going on ? What have our men
been doing since their return from Rivas?"
It was the first time that the subject of our unlucky
repulse had been alluded to between us, and his face flushed
"There is little to tell," he answered moodily, "and un-
fortunately that little is evil rather than good. The Serviles
are advancing steadily from Granada; their allies in Hon-
duras are massing in the north. As if that were not
sufficient, it is rumoured that the Costa Ricans have pledged
themselves to place an army in the field against us."
"But our side, captain! what are our men doing ?
They are not sitting with their arms folded, I presume,
waiting patiently to be overwhelmed."
He smiled at my speech, but it was rather a melancholy
performance. Presently he said bitterly, That proceeding
would be foolish enough, but, as a matter of fact, we are
committing a greater folly still. With resolute, determined
foes springing up on every side, we are employing our
energies in quarrelling amongst ourselves."
This was truly sorry comfort, and I no longer wondered
at the gravity of his countenance.
"It was a mistake from the beginning," he continued;
"we should have refused all outside aid, and fought our
own battles single-handed."
Why should they quarrel ? I asked; "what is the
"It is the old story," he answered; "jealousy and dis-
A PLEASANT INTERLUDE. 85
trust. I do not quite understand what has happened in
the higher ranks, but it appears that your colonel has made
some demand which the president cannot or will rot sanction.
However, let us not dwell upon this gloomy subject; I
have but a few hours' leave. If you do not object, we will
join my mother and sister. Come, lean upon my arm."
By the time we came into the presence of the ladies
Don Miguel had banished his sombre air, and during the
remainder of the day was the life and soul of the little
party. All talk of the terrible war and the fast-gathering
troubles which menaced his unhappy country was put away,
and he laughed and jested as though untroubled by a
We were all very sorry when the time came for him to
leave; but he bade us keep up our spirits, promising, if
possible, to return in a day or two.
I did not see much more of my hostess and her daughter
that night. They retired early, on the plea of fatigue,
though I rather fancy the real reason was to hide the signs
of the grief which Don Miguel's departure caused them.
The following morning brought another visitor whom I
was heartily glad to see. The day was beautifully fine,
and, my leg being much easier, I had hobbled out into the
magnificent garden, accompanied by Inez. She had just
seated herself in a pleasant bower, and I was preparing to
imitate her example, when, turning my head casually, I
caught sight of Trevethik.
His eyes brightened as they met mine, and he came on
hastily. Observing the beautiful girl at my side, however,
A PLEASANT INTERL UDE.
he paused, and removed his slouch-hat with a natural
courtesy which charmed Inez.
Who is he ?" she whispered; "he is a monster, a giant
such as one reads about in the story-books. Still," she
added thoughtfully, "I am sure he is a good-natured giant,
for he has a very pleasant face."
"You are right," I answered; "he is a very honest man,
and I owe him a deep debt of gratitude. He it was who
saved my life in the terrible fight at Rivas."
She clapped her pretty hands. Oh, yes, I remember,"
she cried. He placed you on his back and carried you
out of danger. Let him come up. Ah! I wish I could
speak your English Tell him he is a brave man, and that
I like brave men."
Phil," I said, in obedience to her order, this lady is
Captain Pacheco's sister. I have been telling her what
you did for me at Rivas, and she wishes me to compliment
you upon your gallant action."
The poor fellow's face flushed a rosy red, and he bowed
awkwardly to Inez. "I am very much obliged to you,
miss," he said, but I only did my duty, and any man who
is worth the name will do that. As to being brave, why,
the Don did as much as I did. You must be very fond of
your brother, I should say, if you like brave men."
I thought this was a neat speech coming from Phil, and
faithfully interpreted it to Inez, whose dancing eyes and
"' 'P.-, face showed how much it pleased her.
Presently she said in her pretty way, "Now I will go
while you transact the business which has brought your
A PLEASANT INTERLUDE.
countryman here. When it is finished, bring him to the
house; he will need some refreshment before returning."
She smiled an adieu to Philip, and as she disappeared
we heard the fresh young voice break out into a merry song.
After she had gone, Trevethik looked around him with
much curiosity. Well, Mr. Foster," he said slowly, "this
is a very pleasant way of carrying on the ei!I '' iI_. I
only hope the colonel hasn't sent you your marching orders,
for this must be a very comfortable billet."
It is," I laughed, very comfortable indeed-much more
to my taste than the road to Rivas. The young lady and
her mother treat me as though I were one of them. If
ever we have a chance of doing a good turn for the captain,
we must not forget it; it is all owing to him."
He is a good chap, that captain," mused Phil reflectively,
as though a trifle astonished at finding anything praise-
worthy in a foreigner; "I liked him before, I shall like
him better in the future. But," he added hastily, "I must
not forget my orders," and he drew a letter from his belt.
" This is from the colonel; it does not require an answer,
but he charged me strictly to inquire if you were recovering
from your wound."
Luckily that is easily answered. The wound has closed,
and I can walk without assistance. I shall soon be able
to report myself fit for duty, though, if what the captain
tells me is correct, there is very little to be done at present."
No; I can't understand the colonel's game at all, keep-
ing us cooped up here when by all accounts there's plenty
of work stirring; but our turn will come."
A PLEASANT INTERLUDE.
For some time longer we sat chatting, and then I took
him to the house. Here the cook, in obedience to the
orders of her young mistress, had prepared a splendid
collation; and, as he was going away, Inez herself came to
pour him out a glass of wine and to bid him God-speed
on his journey.
It made me very glad to see how she was taken with
him. He was a noble-hearted man, and I was beginning
to love him in much the same way that I had loved my
father. In many respects he resembled my father, only
he lacked the latter's education. He was kind-hearted and
true as steel, brave and loyal to the core. I really believe
he had not one single vice belonging to him. I love to
linger over the memories of this noble-minded man, for it
is to his influence I attribute whatever virtues I possess.
He taught me to be honest and true and kind, to scorn a
lie or deceit of any sort, whether acted or spoken, to do
my duty fearlessly, and to live, so far as in me lay, that I
should not be ashamed to stand before the tribunal of
either God or man.
I stood waving my hand until he disappeared through
the gateway, and then turned slowly to my room in order
to read the colonel's letter.
It was very brief, and ran as follows: "Dear Colin, I
have not forgotten you. Pacheco tells me you are com-
fortable and -.,....,_.--; .' nicely. The proposal that you
should stay with his people came from him; I thought it
very kind. As I desire you to be completely recovered
before getting into harness again, you will remain in your
A PLEASANT INTERLUDE.
present quarters, whatever happens, until you hear from me
again. This is of course a private communication. From
your colonel and friend, William Walker."
I could not quite understand this. The words whatever
happens seemed to imply that he was meditating a move
of some kind, and just at first I was a little disturbed at
the idea of being left out.
Of course I said nothing to the Pachecos about my note,
but I awaited with considerable impatience Don Miguel's
next visit, feeling sure that he would be the bearer of
Nor was I mistaken. He looked more gloomy even
than on the former occasion, and, in response to my eager
questions, said, Ah! it is clear you have not heard of
what has happened. The alliance is broken, your country-
men are gone, and we are left to do battle with our three-
Had I not been forewarned, this information would have
caused me much anxiety; even as it was I felt rather
Are you quite sure ? I asked; "perhaps there may be
Oh, no! the matter is plain. The mischief has been
growing with each succeeding day, and yesterday it broke
into an open rupture. Colonel Walker marched the Falange
to R.:..1., i .. and embarked on board the Vesta. To speak
the truth, I scarcely expected to find you here; but your
leader's action was so sudden that I suppose he overlooked
A PLEASANT INTEERL UDE.
In which case," I answered lightly, "you must exert
your influence and get a commission for me in your army."
Do you really mean it ? "
"Certainly.. If my countrymen do not return, I shall
throw in my lot with you."
"It is very provoking," he continued disconsolately;
" Munoz, our general, you know, is making his arrangements
for a decisive battle, and the Falange would be simply in-
The ladies of the house received the news of my com-
rades' departure with a great deal of interest. Inez laugh-
ingly exclaimed that for the future I must consider myself
their prisoner, which I asserted would not prove a very
However, as several days passed without any information
of the filibusters' movements, I began to be a little uneasy,
in spite of the increased kindness of the captain's relatives.
My leg was now quite well, and I began to weary of my
peaceful life, so that it was with the greatest pleasure I
heard one evening that a "huge Americano" was in the
patio requesting to see Lieutenant Foster.
"It is our good-natured giant returned," exclaimed Inez
when the servant had delivered his message; "let him
While I hesitated-for I thought if it were Trevethik he
would probably have some private message to communicate
-we heard Don Miguel's voice in the hall, and in another
minute he entered the room.
This is a night of surprises," he exclaimed gaily, taking
A PLEASANT INTERLUDE.
my hand. I have sent the messenger into the kitchen to
recruit; he has ridden hard."
He was in high spirits. His face bore a pleased look,
and his voice had a joyous ring.
"You bring good news, my friend," I said; "what has
happened ? "
La Falange has returned, the breach has been healed,
and we are to make another attempt on Rivas."
Do you join us ?"
Yes; by your colonel's express wish. I start in another
hour for Realejo."
All this time his mother and sister had been listening
attentively. Now their cheeks grew pale and their eyes
became dim with tears. They were brave women, and
would not begrudge him to his country; but they knew his
reckless valour, and feared lest he should be going forth to
Leaving him to console them, I sought the messenger,
and found, as I had expected, that it was none other than
Trevethik. He was seated at a table in the kitchen, sur-
rounded by the Dofia's servants, who looked on with an
air of amusement at the rapidity with which he disposed
of the viands set before him.
He would have risen at my entrance, but I bade him
remain seated and continue his supper, which he did with
a keen relish.
"A man never knows the luxury of good food," he re-
marked presently, "until after a, spell on board ship. But
now I have really finished." he continued with a sigh, as
A PLEASANT INTERL UDE.
though sorry at being compelled to desist. If you take
my advice, sir, you will provide yourself with a good meal
before setting out; I don't know when you'll see another."
"Have you brought my marching orders, Phil ?"
Yes, sir. Lieutenant Foster will report himself without
delay to the commander-in-chief at Realejo. Colonel's
orders, sir, and the Vesta sails at daybreak."
Leaving Phil in the kitchen, I hurried to my room, and
proceeded to make the necessary preparations for my ap-
proaching departure. Just as I had concluded, a servant
knocked at the door, bringing a request from the captain
that I would rejoin him and the ladies as soon as con-
They had partially banished the traces of their grief,
and had prepared a nice little supper, to which Don Miguel
and I sat down.
Poor ladies! they strove hard to appear merry, and
laughed at my description of Trevethik's gastronomic per-
formance. I think, however, we were all pleased when the
meal came to an end, for the pretence at cheerfulness
deceived neither them nor us.
The time came at last to say Good-bye, and very sad
was the farewell greeting. As I thanked them for their
kindness to a poor wounded and destitute foreigner, I could
not keep the tears from my eyes.
"Farewell, Sefor Foster," said the elder lady; "you
have grown very dear to me. I will pray to the good
God that he will shield you from danger and keep you safe.
If, during this terrible war, it should chance that you meet
A PLEASANT INTERL UDE.
Luis, my other son, let the thought of his mother stay
Inez sobbed aloud. Good-bye, Colin," she cried; "we
shall never forget you; we shall join you in our prayers
with Miguel and Luis."
I bowed my head, I dared not trust myself to speak. I
had scarcely known a mother's love, never a sister's affec-
tion, yet I felt toward these two as if I had really been a
near and dear relative.
We formed a very quiet party as we rode through the
empty streets. Philip had dropped behind, and my com-
panion and I had not shaken of the gloom of our sorrowful
However, as we left the city behind, we began to take
more and more interest in the prospect of our future
campaign, and after a time I found Pacheco eager to
discuss the chances of this second expedition.
He did not tell me so, but I knew perfectly well he was
burning to wipe out the disgrace of his troops on the
previous occasion. Listening to his talk, I felt that not
even in the Falange would the Serviles find a more daring
or reckless enemy than this Nicaraguan officer, whose pride
had received such a heavy blow.
It was fortunate that we had him for a companion, as
the night was dark. Trevethik had only an imperfect
acquaintance with the road, so that had he and I been left
to ourselves we should most likely have mistaken the way.
As it was, our guide led us straight to our destination,
where, late though it was, we discovered everything in a
A PLEASANT INTERL UDE,
state of eager activity, and, as usual, the hardest worker
there was the colonel.
Glad to see you, Colin," he said with a smile. Fit
for duty? That's well; there's plenty to be done. I have a
heap of correspondence for you to begin upon to-morrow.-
Ah, captain," to Pacheco, your men seem in good spirits.-
Trevethik, house your cattle in that shed for the present,
and bear a hand with those barrels of powder.-Lieutenant
Foster, you had better go to your berth at once; I shall
require you early in the morning."
Threading my way carefully through the groups of men,
with an occasional greeting' from my old acquaintances, I
steered myself to the Vesta. Here I hastened to obey the
colonel's orders by seeking my berth, though I knew there
would be little likelihood of sleep.
The uproar on deck was tremendous. The constant
tramp of the men; the shouts of the officers, encouraging,
chiding, and giving directions; the pushing and dragging
of heavy packages; the rattle of the chains as the cargo
was lowered into the hold, made a din and clatter sufficient,
one would have imagined, to have awakened the Seven
My heart, too, beat fast with unwonted excitement. I
had not forgotten the parting from my friends in Leon;
but their grief and tears were partly buried by the thoughts
of the stirring enterprise in which I was about to embark,
and these alone sufficed to drive sleep from my eyes.
N OTHING of any importance occurred during the
voyage, and on August 29th we landed at San
Juan without opposition.
It was a dreary-looking place, but we were in good
spirits, and a slight gleam of pleasure rested on our com-
mander's face as he watched the hearty energy with which
each man bent to his allotted task.
Toward nightfall Pacheco came to my quarters. I had
seen little of him since the embarkation at Realejo, for he
had been busily engaged in drilling and disciplining his men.
"Colin, would you like to go with me ?" he asked. "I
have received orders to take a party of men and re-
"Certainly," I answered promptly; "that is, if the
colonel will allow it."
"His permission has already been given. I am to take
a score of my own men, and ten Americanos. If you are
willing I will leave the choosing of the latter to you, only
I stipulate for Trevethik."
"Have no uneasiness," I replied laughingly, "I will make
a good selection;" a promise which, with the assistance of
Trevethik, I was enabled to fulfil.
An hour later we were drawn up for the colonel's in-
spection. "I admire your taste, captain," he said good-
naturedly, as he walked down the line; "you have picked
out ten of my very best men."
Pacheco bowed, and turned toward me with a smile;
then after a few brief words of encouragement from the
colonel, we stepped out into the darkness of the night.
Our leader's orders were very precise. We were to push
steadily forward, take possession of any place likely to
prove useful to the main body of the troops, secure all the
information that could be obtained, and on no account to
engage the enemy, unless absolutely compelled so to do.
The march was far from inspiriting. The night was
shrouded in thick gloom, and the men, being ignorant of
the enemy's position, were obliged to preserve a rigid
silence. The only sounds were the screams of the night
birds, or, now and then, the sudden rush of some startled
animal bursting from the dense thickets which flanked our
course. At daybreak we entered a little village, or rather
hamlet, consisting of half a dozen adobe huts. Pacheco
ordered the inmates to come into the street, which they
willingly did, and showed no sign of fear.
They all belonged to the mixed race, partly Spanish,
partly Indian, and showed evident signs of poverty. The
men gathered around our captain, and answered his ques-
tions freely and without hesitation.
The Serviles, they told us, were at Rivas in great force,
and were commanded by Guardiola, the Tiger of Honduras.
His soldiers were patrolling the roads, but they had no
idea we had yet landed, and performed their duties in a
very careless manner.
The memory of their decisive victory had inspired them
with an overweening confidence. These villagers indeed
stated that the Serviles openly boasted they would allow
our troops to march inland, and then, placing themselves
between us and the sea, cut off our retreat.
This was the first place at which we broke our march;
and having rested a couple of hours, we resumed our journey,
taking even more precaution than we had done hitherto.
Nothing, however, of importance happened. We fell in
with a few natives, who all told a similar story to that
which we had already heard, but of the Serviles them-
selves we discovered not a trace.
At the approach of night, Pacheco halted in a favourable
place which had been selected by his scouts, and having
eaten a frugal supper, we rolled ourselves in our blankets,
and prepared to snatch a few hours' sleep.
About midnight I was considerably startled by feeling
a hand placed over my mouth. Jumping up in alarm I
recognized Trevethik, who whispered, Hush, do not make
a noise; where is the captain ?"
I pointed to Pacheco, who, wrapped in his cloak, was
sleeping soundly scarcely a yard away from us. Trevethik
nodded, and still speaking hardly above his breath, said,
When you have heard what I have to say, waken him
gently, and repeat it to him."
(212) ) 7
I pressed his hand to let him know I was listening, and
he went on guardedly: "There is treachery at work
already; one of the sentinels has fled. I have sent
Dennis to keep watch. Now you must waken the captain
and let him know, for I fear the fellow's desertion bodes
us no good. If the enemy happen to be close at hand in
any considerable numbers, the traitor's information will
enable them to catch us nicely, like rats in a trap."
I aroused Pacheco without much difficulty, and. confided
to him Trevethik's discovery, together with the fears with
which it had inspired him.
He listened at first as if incredulous, but when I had
made it clear to him he agreed with Trevethik that under
certain conditions the danger was extremely grave.
We must double the sentries and send out scouts," he
said. Colin, take Trevethik and the Irishman, with three
of my men, and search the thickets toward Rivas. You
had better scatter, but not too widely, and fall back at the
first sign of the enemy's advance. Meanwhile, I will make
every preparation to give them a warm reception."
Rapidly collecting my band, I hurriedly explained what
was to be done, and having allotted each man his station,
gave the order to march.
Our great difficulty lay in the darkness of the night
and our ignorance of the country.
If in order to attack us the Serviles were compelled to
proceed along the transit road, the danger would be slight,
unless indeed they appeared in overwhelming numbers.
Even in this latter case I reckoned that our men, well
posted and forewarned, would probably be able to give
a good account of themselves.
What we did not know was, if there existed a path
through the forest along which they could creep .stealthily
and silently until they surrounded Pacheco's party.
Keeping Trevethik in my own company, I dispatched
Brogan with one of our native allies to scour the country
on our left, while the two other N;. i iii i-: skirted the
"Remember," I said, as we parted, "there must be no
panic, no useless firing, and each man must depend upon
"Don't forget, Phil," I added, as the others disappeared
in the darkness, if I fall or am taken prisoner, your duty
is to get clear away. Those we have left behind depend
I said this because I knew the dear brave fellow would
willingly risk or even ,- iri:... his life to rescue me from
danger, which, considering the duty we owed to the others,
I could not allow.
The more I pondered, the more clearly I perceived the
necessity for preventing a surprise of Pacheco and his men.
I saw clearly that a successful attack upon him, right in
the very beginning of our enterprise, might, and probably
would, endanger us all. The slaughter of the Nicara-
guans under my old friend could have but one result-
the remainder of our native allies would immediately dis-
appear, leaving us to continue the struggle against over-