The Baldwin Library
I omR U
SOME OPINIONS OF THE PRESS
THE ORCHID SEEKERS
A STORY OF ADVENTURE IN BORNEO
ASHORE RUSSAN AND FREDERICK BOYLE
UNIFORM WITH THIS VOLUME.
The Daily Telegraph.-" Boys will be grateful to the joint authors.
. No reader can complain of lack of interest or sensation in the narra-
The Saturday Review.-"A capital story of adventure, such as would
delight most boys, and gratify many of their elders. Written with
great spirit. The authors are to be congratulated on producing a story full
of thrilling incident without violating probabilities."
The Morning Post.-" Very marvellous are the adventures related. If
those in an average work of this kind were multiplied by ten, some idea
might be arrived at of the multiplicity of hairbreadth escapes and wonderful
sights described. Very taking also are the descriptions of the lovely flowers,
the cultivation of which has of late years made such rapid progress in this
The Glasgow Herald.-"Plenty of adventure there is, with thrilling
accidents and hairbreadth 'scapes in the land of Dyaks, and head-hunters,
and pirates, and of Chinese secret societies. Through all danger and
adventure, however, the orchid hunt is eagerly pursued in Bornean forests,
and with the interest of the story is infused a large measure of scientific and
historical information. Will delight more than boy readers."
The Pall Mall Gazette.-" The men who compose boys' stories of
adventure which are commendable as works of art do not draw generally on
personal experience ..... Mr. Boyle had not only the advantages of a
practised littdrateur, but also those of a traveller who has seen the countries
and peoples with which it deals. Thus the tale marches steadily from open-
ing to conclusion. Mr. Boyle's authority suffices for the truth of every
The Academy.-"A vast deal of good workmanship-scientific no less
than literary. The authors are thoroughly acquainted with every branch
of their subject. Their hairbreadth escapes, their bloody combats with
sanguinary Dyaks and treacherous Chinamen, are quite as good as their
botany, geography, and ethnology. The enthusiasm of the blue orchid
is manifestly as entrancing as any other of the enthusiasm of the day, and a
good deal purer."
LONDON: FREDERICK WARNE AND CO.
BEDFORD STREET, STRAND
OR THROUGH FOREST AND
Four ,nen were tied to trees.
FOREST AND SAVANNAH
"THE RED COCKADES"
ASHORE RUSSAN AND FREDERICK BOYLE
AUTHORS OF "THE ORCHID-SEEKERS"
ILLUSTRATED BY ALFRED PEARSE
FREDERICK WARNE AND CO.
BEDFORD STREET, STRAND
[All rights reserved]
Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON & CO,
At the BallanItne Press
IN THE HANDS OF THE "WHITE COCKADES" 17
WITH THE FALANGE" AT RIVAS . 34
AN INDIAN'S GRATITUDE-AND THE BEGINNING OF
A TRAGEDY . 47
THE END OF THE TRAGEDY-PREPARING FOR FLIGHT 61
IN THE WOODS . 77
A STRANGE REFUGE . 94
AT NIHAPA-A STRANGE ECHO 105
AN ODD RECRUITING OFFICER ... 123
AN ENCOUNTER WITH GUARDIOLA . 136
ON LAKE NICARAGUA.. . 155
THE CAPTURE OF GRANADA . 169
IN THE GUATUSO COUNTRY . 182
THE FIRST EXPEDITION . 201
A MIDNIGHT HUNT .
A DRAMATIC SPECTACLE
A DISCOURSE ON INSECT AND PLANT MIMICRY AND
THE SHADOW OF THE MIGHTY .
IN AMBUSH WITH THE GUATUSOS .
IN THE CITY
THE HOME OF THE CATTLEYA "
THE VOICE OF THE GOD.
A CHAPTER OF MAGIC . . 379
AN ANCIENT PLAYGROUND . 391
IN CONCLUSION 403
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Four men were tied to trees Frontispiece.
Upon the very crest he reined in 34
The crooked fingers clenched with awful significance 47
Ye don't mean it! No-no!" he went on frantically 62
Come away-quick !" 85
"A place of sacrifice !" criedJack 94
"Jack-Mr. Hertz! Come here" 6. 6
Tell me what you know". 123
Jack sat, panting, on a gun he had captured single-handed 150
Next instant they were struggling in the waves 155
Dropped to the groround from the balcony 169
Every figure transfixed with spear or arrow 01
Fell with all her weight upon his spears 215
Saw Joe raise his right arm 230
"Steady, men-take your paddles; we cannot escape" 243
The serpent lifted its head and stared at the intruders 254
xiv LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
The muzzle almost touched the great heaving side 283
"Now thank the Lordfor all His mercies!" 301
The calf was transfixed 305
A thrilling stoy 317
All shouted and fought wildly-mad with terror 339
Seizing Jack by the arm, he spun him round 63
A dense vapour kid the Idol 377
In an agony offright he rushed into the building 379
As the boat came beneath they lowered it 391
Stormed barricade after barricade 409
MEANING of the names of orchid genera mentioned in this story.
It is usual to transform the Greek "on to the Latin um."
Barkeria . After G. Barker, Esq., of Springfield, Bir-
mingham, an amateur orchidist.
Brassavola After Signor Antonio Brassavolus, a great
Brassia . After Robert Brass, Esq., an eminent bota-
nist, who assisted Sir Joseph Banks.
Cata-setum. .. Downward bristle." From the two horns
of the column.
Cattleya .. Named after Mr. Cattley, a celebrated horti-
culturist of Barnet.
Cory-anthes "Helmet Flower." From the shape of the
Cycnoches .. "Swan's Neck." From the shape of the
Dendro-bizum Living on a tree."
Epi-dendrum "Upon a tree."
Grammato-phfylhum. Lettered leaves." From the marking of
Lelia. .... A fancy name. Lmlia was the eldest
daughter of Caius Lmlius, distinguished
for the purity of her Latin, and a leader
of society at Rome, about B.C. 130.
A fancy name. A Greek woman called
Lycaste, said to have been a native of
Drepanum, in Sicily, was renowned for her
beauty. Nothing more is known of her.
um "Tooth-tongue." From the form of the lip.
S. A tumour-referring to protuberances at
base of the lip.
S. "A dove." From the astonishing resem-
blance of the column to a figure of that bird.
S Kidney anthers." From the shape of the
a Named after Sir Robert Schomburgk, the
After Senor F. M. Sobral, a Spanish botanist.
After Earl Stanhope, President Medico-
Botanical Society, London, about 1830.
S. "Hairy-cap"-referring to the fringe of the
It is commonly understood that this word
was made up." If so, there is a curious
coincidence. Sanscrit scholars tell us that
Vanda signifies "mistletoe" in that lan-
guage. It was applied, however, to all
parasites, among which orchids were
classed, even by botanists, until late years.
Warcewiczella Named after Warcewicz, a famous collector.
Ubrougb forest anib 5avannab with the
IN THE HANDS OF THE "WHITE COCKADES"
DON'T heed ignorant laughter, Mr. Hertz. I have
Seen too many marvels. Exaggeration is perhaps
excusable-it's intelligible, anyhow, in- our business
-but Warcewicz is not the man to tell an untruth. He
wouldn't exaggerate the most wonderful thing he saw.
What is your opinion ?"
Mr. Rider, the famous orchid importer of Draythorpe,
knew pretty well what would be the answer of the
bronzed gentleman beside him-Ludwig Hertz, the same
experienced traveller and collector of orchids whom we
last saw in the Far East-Borneo.'
They were standing in Mr. Rider's private office at
Draythorpe-a room littered with samples of merchandise
which at that period-we are writing of nearly four
decades ago-could scarcely be seen elsewhere. There
were drawings of orchids-flowers and plants-dried
1 Vide "The Orchid-Seekers in Borneo." F. Warne & Co.
specimens pasted on sheets of paper, blooms newly
gathered, dying, or dead, lying among maps, letters,
written, as could be perceived at a glance, under great
difficulties, with very bad ink, and all sorts of odds and
ends. A few plants in pots stood here and there; on
a chair was a saucer full of beetles, emerald and gold,
sent home by some kindly collector to please the "boys;"
in one corner were spears, bows and arrows, blow-pipes,
krises, swords, and nondescript weapons of savagery; a
hideous idol occupied another. Some of the things had
been packed up with orchids and shipped as gifts for
the "boys;" others were trophies collected by the
Mr. Hertz did not hesitate. He had made up his mind.
"I don't heed the scoffers either, sir," he said. "I
take my friend Warcewicz's word. He described this
Cattleya to me, and I would stake my life that the plants
he sent home, which unfortunately died, bore in their
native land a bloom every whit as glorious as that he
painted; and the land is Costa Rica."'
"Costa Rica is a rather vague habitat, Mr. Hertz."
The collector's blue eyes twinkled. "Warcewicz let
fall a hint. He didn't offer any information, and I didn't
try to pump him- "
"I'm glad of that," Mr. Rider interrupted. "The
world is big enough for all of us, and it's full of beauti-
ful things! My collectors can find enough for them-
selves, I hope."
"Yes, I hope so. But there are not many things so
beautiful as this Cattleya, and if, without prying into
other men's business, we can hit upon the track, I think,
sir, that it's no less than your duty, in the position you
hold, to introduce it to Europe."
1 In deference to the many friends of Mr. Hertz, who found his broken
English unintelligible, we have ventured to translate it in this story.
IN THE HANDS OF THE WHITE COCKADES" 19
"I agree with you there, so long as all is above-board.
Well, what was the hint?"
"He said they were getting on nicely with the railway.
I concluded that he crossed the Isthmus from Panama.
That points to the Pacific shore."
Mr. Rider laughed out. "You have not lived among
savages for nothing,. Hertz. Just describe the lovely
thing again. I should like to have it in black and
As he took out his note-book two stalwart young men
burst into the room.
"Hullo!" cried the taller of the two cheerily. "I'm
jolly glad to see you, Mr. Hertz."
"So am I," added the other. And gripping the col-
lector's hand in turn they shook it heartily.
These were the "boys," the importer's sons, Jack and
Harry Rider, whom we last saw in Borneo also. Jack,
the elder, now in his twentieth year, was almost as tall
and strongly built as Hertz, who stood over six feet in
his stockings. Harry, two years his junior, was of a
different type-shorter, fairer, and less powerfully built,
though quite as bronzed and as healthy-looking. He had
a thoughtful face. Jack's expression was more happy-go-
"Go on with that description, Mr. Hertz!" cried the
elder of the brothers when the greetings were over.
We know what's afoot-Warcewicz's new Cattleya-and
we mean to be in it!"
"Oh, indeed! Very well," the collector rejoined,
straightening some of the specimens on the table with
the hook which he wore in place of his right hand,
lost by an accident. "Get out your note-books, and
don't sit on those new Vanda blooms I've just put down.
Are you ready? Four to six blossoms on a scape, each
half a foot across. Sepals and petals rich golden yellow
with crimson pencillings-got that?-heavenly lip frilled,
crimson, broadly lined and reticulated with gold. Have
you got it? "
"Yes," all answered.
"Then you have a description, poor enough, I know,
of the most imperial flower on earth, or I misinterpreted
the agitation of a heaven-born collector and botanist,
which Warcewicz is, or he is nothing."
"Thank you," said the importer. "I am quite satis-
fied. The next point is, When can you start for Costa
Rica in search of this marvel? You will have gathered
that I have discussed the matter with Jack and Harry,
and that they wish to accompany you ?"
"Yes, sir," Hertz answered, twisting his heavy mous-
tache, bleached almost white by the tropic sun, "they
certainly have given me that impression. I am quite
willing to take them."
"Their mother is not so willing to let them go. But
the trip to Borneo did Harry so much good, and," dropping
his voice, "made such a man of Jack, that I think you
may count upon their assistance. Now, boys, you had
better be off. Mr. Hertz and I are going to discuss
"All right, dad," said Harry. "We shall see more of
you before you go, Mr. Hertz;" and he led the way
into one of the many great glass-houses which contained
the Draythorpe treasures, a collection of orchids second
to none of that era, unless it were those at Chatsworth,
the palace of the Duke of Devonshire.
Repetition is wearisome to both reader and writer;
and many of the marvels at Draythorpe have already
been described in the account of the adventures of our
heroes in Borneo. Therefore we now pass them over.
Mrs. Rider acceded to her sons' wish, for had they not
returned safely from a land far less civilised than Costa
IN THE HANDS OF THE WHITE COCKADES" 21
Rica-teeming with pirates and head-hunting Dyaks?
A fortnight after the meeting in the office they sailed
with Mr. Hertz for Central America in search of the
glorious Cattleya, which, when described by the discoverer,
Warcewicz, had excited derision among stay-at-home
orchidologists. Thither we also will proceed.
Are you nearly through it, Mr. Hertz ?"
"Hush! pray to God, boys! If those murderers will
allow us only five minutes longer- "
Four men were tied to trees in a glade of the forest
-three whites and an Indian. It was on the road from
Granada to Rivas, two important towns, as towns go in
Nicaragua, on the great lake of that name. Very charm-
ing was the scene. The highway, just broad enough to
admit a bullock-cart, ran through the midst. It was
the old Indian track in use before the Conquest, enlarged,
but never remade, and now worn so deep by the traffic
of ages that only the edge of its steep bank was visible
from above at some few points where the brushwood fell
back. Its course might be traced, however, by the out-
line of the forest, for every tree had been felled over a
space of fifty yards on either hand, saving those four to
which the prisoners were tied. This was done to deprive
highwaymen of cover. In Europe it would be a futile
precaution, seeing that the brushwood was three feet
high, and stretched mostly to the very brink of the
sunken road. A regiment might hide there unsuspected.
But the country is Nicaragua, where climbing plants
spring and grow as by magic when the shadowing trees
are removed. So densely matted were the bushes with
convolvulus, and a creeper not unlike clematis, that they
showed scarcely a twig above the cloak of broad green
leaves and blossoms. To cut a path through that tangle
would be labour which highwaymen do not undertake
when the chances of profit are so small. Behind the
strip of clearing grew the forest, its branches draped
with grey moss.' Here, on the edge, stood a tree-fern;
there, a clump of feathery bamboo; yonder, high above
its fellows, a great Ceiba, or cotton-tree, of which the
bursting pods had clothed all the space around with silky
fleeces that waved and glistened in the sunshine.
This was a camping-place for travellers, and the trees
named had been left to give them shade. Bushes also
had been rooted up for a certain area about them.
Along its farther edge, beneath the forest, horses were
picketed and muskets stacked. Ragged ruffians on
guard stood by, eyeing discontentedly the main body, who
were gambling or sleeping in the middle of the glade.
At the farther end stood a sentry posted to keep watch
along the road, which turned abruptly to the left at
this point; but he also watched the idlers longingly,
with his back to the highway.' Somewhat aloof sat
three officers with a bottle of aguardiente on the ground
It was a troop of cavalry from Rivas at the midday
halt-an assortment of loafers and scoundrels collected
from every part of Central America by the prospect of
loot and rapine in Nicaragua. The officers wore a knot
of frowsy ribands in their hats, the men a frowsier bunch
of rags representing the white cockade of the Aristocrats,
or Granada faction, which garrisoned Rivas. Civil war
had been raging in the country for two years, and the
Provisional Director, Don Francisco Castellon, leader of
the Democrats or Leon party, reduced to despair, had
lately begged assistance from Colonel Walker, an Ameri-
can soldier of fortune renowned for feats of great daring
and energy in Mexico. It was known that Walker and
his levy had embarked at San Francisco, but the United
1 Tillandsia usneoides. Not properly a moss, though so called.
IN THE HANDS OF THE WHITE COCKADES" 23
States authorities detained them. However, Don Fruto
Chamorra, chief of the Granadinos, who had worsted
Castellon at the polls and was styled President, received
intelligence that they had escaped and landed at Realejo,
whence they marched to Leon, Castellon's headquarters.
Further information came to hand that Walker had dis-
embarked a force at El Gigante, eighteen miles north of
San Juan del Sur, on the Pacific, with the intention of
attacking Rivas. General Bosque, the commandant at
that town, at once despatched a reconnoitring party, which
we have before us.
And the men tied to trees? They are Mr. Hertz,
Jack and Harry Rider, and their guide, a very aged
Indian named Joaquin.
They had reached Panama by rail from Aspinwall.
There were no mail-steamers then, and they were glad
to embark on a small coasting vessel bound for Realejo,
in Nicaragua, the captain of which engaged to take them
back to the Costa Rican port of Nicoya after a week's
detention at the former place. But in entering Realejo
Bay the vessel ran upon a rock, and they decided cheer-
fully to return southward overland, thinking themselves
fortunate in being able to hire a bullock-cart which was
just setting out for Virgin Bay, on the Lake of Nicaragua.
The owner, Joaquin, was that luckless Indian who shared
their fate. A little boy, Pedro, his companion, had
escaped. Halting in the glade, as usual, they were sur-
prised by the cavalry, who promptly seized and searched
them, taking all they possessed. Don Ramon, the captain,
himself unlocked their portmanteaus under pretence of
seeking treasonable documents, and on his order they
were attached to the trees by strips of hide which a giant
could not break.
But in removing their knives and weapons these
marauders overlooked the hook which Hertz wore in
place of the hand he had lost. It was shaped like a
boat-hook, and for an hour past he had been painfully
and laboriously drilling holes in the reim which crossed
his body. The task was almost impossible, but stubborn
perseverance will do wonders.
Five minutes had gone by. Again Jack Rider asked,
"Have you nearly cut it through, Mr. Hertz ?"
In one moment, please Heaven !"
"We'll have a fight for our lives at least," Jack
But at this juncture the captain rose and approached
with his subalterns; he had drunk enough aguardiente
to give his brutal face an expression yet more savage.
Hertz ceased his operations.
"You swear you are not spies?" said Don Ramon
"We swear we are not," Hertz answered in fair
"Nor Americans ?"
"No. These young gentlemen are English. I am
"And you know nothing of the Filibusteros ."
"I believe you. Then it is no use taking you to Rivas.
You can give General Bosque no information."
Thank you, captain If we had any information, why
should we conceal it? Honest travellers do not take
either side in war. Then we may go on our way ?"
"Yes, I'll put you on your- way, machos !" 1 He
paused, chuckling. "Here, Sergeant Riaz! Take a file
of men "-he paused again, then burst into a savage roar
-" Take a file of men, dear sergeant, and string these
I Machos-"he-mules." A term of reproach applied mostly to
North Americans, citizens of the United States, who retaliate with
IN THE HANDS OF THE WHITE COCKADES" 25
machos up!" The troopers had gathered round. Loud
and long they laughed at this excellent piece of humour.
"You cannot mean it, sir! I warn you! These youths
are English, and I am German! There are English ships
now on the coast! Our deaths will be fearfully avenged."
The younger officers drew their captain aside, and remon-
strated in eager whispers. He laughingly took them by
the arm, and made some brief remarks. All glanced at the
portmanteaus lying open on the grass. Hertz understood.
They were to be murdered for the sake of their clothes
and goods, simple enough, but priceless to a Nicaraguan
freebooter. Who would ever know ?
The subalterns still protested, and Hertz urged them
passionately. But Don Ramon broke away.
"String them up, Riaz-string them up!" he shouted;
and the. executioners drew near.
"Good-bye," Hertz muttered. "I fear our hour has
come, boys. But that wretch I'll mark before I die!"
With all his weight and force he strained the perforated
reim-it gave way-he drove the iron hook full in Don
Ramon's face with all his strength. The ruffian fell back-
wards and lay yelling among the ferns.
Horse-guards and sentries had left their posts, but none
dared fire-the crowd was too thick. They jostled and
tripped each other up in rushing upon Hertz. Jack and
Harry screamed with fury and impatience, tearing at
their bonds. In an instant all would have been over.
"Good-bye, boys!" Hertz cried again above the din.
"Pray-- He did not finish the sentence. Such was
the uproar and confusion that nobody had marked a head
rising above the bushes where the sentry should have
been, or heard the shout-" Come on-quick-quick!"
Hertz was down-the centre of a struggling throng.
One of the men fell over him suddenly; the others
dragged their comrade aside, but paused in amaze-he
was shot through the back! Another fell on the instant,
and another. They faced round-a score of men, tall,
long-haired, and bearded, stood on the roadside with rifles
levelled; others were clambering up.
Los Filibusteros I Los Filibusteros !"
With that panic-cry the "White Cockades" rushed
towards their horses. Few reached them. The bullets
sped so fast and sure that they turned, leapt into the
hollow road, and fled under shelter of its banks.
Hertz lay still whilst the balls were flying; the Ameri-
cans ran past him laughing and cheering. When he rose
cautiously some were returning; others stood round the
trees to which the youths and Joaquin were still tied,
observing them in silence; whilst Jack and Harry, though
puzzled by this odd behaviour, poured forth incoherent
thanks and entreaties.
"Wal," said one at length, thoughtfully discharging
a stream of tobacco-juice, "this air a set-out!"
"Seem mostly Christ'ans, don't they ?" said another.
"An' tied to trees! Comrades! I'd hear without sur-
prise as them Christ'ans was uncomfortable." But no
Hertz, like Ulysses, knew many lands and peoples of
men, but this conduct puzzled him. Ach!-if you
think they are uncomfortable," said he, with some
warmth, "you might release them." And he began
cutting the thongs with a machete taken from the
"I've an idee that this is a Dutch Christ'an," said one,
"in his war-paint," alluding to the crimson stains on
Hertz's linen garments.
Shaw! Did you ever see a Dutchman with a boat-
hook for a hand? He's a mermaid!"
Just then a very tall Filibuster with a feather in his
ragged hat came striding up.
IN THE HANDS OF THE WHITE COCKADES" 27
"There, boys," said he, "ha' done with yer funning!
Guess you was as near Eternity, gentlemen, as a man may
be an' live-- Now then, boys! Here's the colonel!
Fall in-fall in !"
The men had had their joke. Before forming line
each shook hands with the rescued, and gave them a
quaint but kindly congratulation.
Harry meanwhile freed the old Indian. Then the
three Orchid-Seekers hastily recovered their arms-double-
barrelled guns, bowies, and revolvers-and picked up
their shady hats, shaped like mushrooms. While strap-
ping on their backs the specimen-box-flung down in
contempt by the "White Cockades "-which each bore,
and the field-glass they carried to examine the tree-tops,
a little group was seen approaching, which they scanned
with keen interest,
Of Colonel Walker they had heard much in the last
few weeks. But the small man in black, walking briskly
towards them, could not be he. Surely this must be
a lawyer or a clerk, not even a soldier, much more a
hero, or a desperado, as conflicting opinions describe
He was but five feet four inches in height, thin and
pale, with sloping shoulders and long, narrow, hairless
face. But the colonel he was, evidently, for the men
stood at attention as he walked past.
Halting in front of our little party, he looked at them
inquiringly. When Hertz met those pale grey eyes, not
brilliant, but keen and hard as steel, and marked the
firmness of the mouth-a slit between two long wrinkles
from the nostril almost to the chin-he knew this must
be the famous chief, and bowed, acknowledging a master-
"Who are you, sir ?" Walker asked. "And how came
you into this difficulty ? "
Hertz told the circumstances in few words, and so
gained favour at the outset. As briefly, Walker asked
what troops lay at Granada, and what they had seen
upon the road. Finding they had no information, he
"I am glad to have been of service to you gentle-
men- Kewen! We will resume the march in the
former order. Press on! Some of those fellows got off
with their horses- Who is that man? Bring him
His quick eye had noticed a movement of Don Ramon,
whose hat, tied with a strap, had not fallen off; it bore
the riband cockade of an officer. In the late excitement
the Orchid-Seekers had forgotten their enemy.
Don Ramon was brought up groaning; his face was
badly torn, and he could scarcely articulate. After
obtaining a full report of the disposition of the troops
at Rivas-which he compared with the entries in his
note-book-Walker ordered him to be placed in the
bullock-cart with the recovered portmanteaus.
Give the order to march, Kewen !" he added. "You
gentlemen will attend on me."
The Filibusters filed off down the road. Their baggage
-it was scarcely worth the name-had been left aboard
ship. Then, as Walker prepared to descend, a mob of
native soldiers appeared, headed by an officer on horse-
back-Colonel Ramirez. They differed only from the
Granadino ruffians in the hue of their dirty cockades,
which was red. And their manners were similar. Ramirez
commanded twenty of the leading files to take possession
of the horses picketed beneath the trees. They obeyed
with a will, scrambling up the bank; but at sight of the
dead and wounded no order would recall them to duty
until they had plundered every one. Walker looked on
powerless, his lips so tightly compressed that they
IN THE HANDS OF THE WHITE COCKADES" 29
vanished altogether. But he said nothing. It was not
Before the bullock-cart started Joaquin picked up the
spears-one two feet shorter than the other-which he
always carried, and entering the forest, uttered the cry
of a bird. He was immediately joined by Pedro, the
boy whom he called his son-probably his great-grandson
-a little fellow of ten. So they marched away, Hertz
by desire at the colonel's right hand; but the creaking
bullock-cart made such a din that they could scarcely
hear one another speak. A spoked wheel is still un-
known in those parts. Solid discs cut from a tree-trunk
as round as Nature made them support the body of the
vehicle, and their screaming is heard literally a mile
But after a long silence, filled no doubt with anxious
calculations, Walker roused himself to talk. He chose a
topic very strange under the circumstances. Hertz was
not surprised, however; he already began to understand
something of this extraordinary character.
"I am very ignorant of the natural sciences, sir," said
the colonel; "of botany in particular, maybe. If it please
the Almighty I'll learn one day, I reckon. You have
come all the way to this unhappy country in search of
a plant? Yes! An orchid you called it, sir? Now
what may be the use of that plant?"
"None, colonel, at present. I incline to think that
very great and striking uses will be found for these
vegetable products one day. There is no order of plants
so widely distributed, nor any which has so many species;
yet I could count upon the fingers of my hand all those
which serve a purpose useful to mankind-that is, yet
"I follow you, sir. The Universal Benevolence which
assigns its utility to everything created would not make
the largest of all its orders-orders, you said, sir, I think ?
-unserviceable to man? Then you hope to find some
precious medicine or other boon in this orchid ? "
"No, colonel. I cannot enter on such experiments
as yet. It is my business and livelihood to collect
these things, and at present I am in the service of
Mr. Rider of Draythorpe, the father of these young
Walker nodded to them, smiling faintly but kindly,
"Then tell me, sir, as an ignorant man, what is the
virtue of this plant you have come so far to seek ? Does
it exist in the United States ? "
No. Its only virtue recognized at present is beauty;
but there, if we may believe my colleague and friend, Mr.
Warcewicz, it has no rival on earth. Ah, colonel! words
will not paint that loveliness! My friend described it to
me; but, alas! I lack the inspiration that prompted him-
he saw it in bloom in its native land. I hope to do so.
It is six years since Warcewicz brought plants home from
Costa Rica, but all have died without flowering. Very
few believe his report. But Mr. Rider does, and when
the last specimen died some months ago he resolved to
send me in search of it. And these young gentlemen
persuaded him to let them go with me."
Walker looked at him sternly-
And he risks the life which God gave his sons for
a vain thing-a pretty weed? 'And the flower thereof
falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth.'"
Hertz was silent; it is not well to argue with a leader
of Filibusters. But Jack felt the imputation on his
Is not ambition a vain thing, colonel ?" he said hotly.
"You risk many lives for it!"
But Walker was not offended. "If I was conscious
IN THE HANDS OF THE "WHITE COCKADES" 31
of ambition, young man, I'd pray to die just here. The
Lord has set me on a great work-a holy work. Lives
will be lost in the doing of it, but no man perishes in
vain if he fights for me. You see this land-God's
garden, wasted by devils! Is it ambition or righteous-
ness to sweep them out ?" He stopped suddenly.
Hertz began to see more and more clearly that these
mercenaries, hired by Castellon to oust his rival, or, as
the democratic chief preferred to phrase it, to repress a
rebellion, would not be so easily disposed of when they
had done their work as that good man fancied in his
innocence; and he said to himself, "The sooner we get
out of this country the better-if we can!"
"That would be a great work, indeed, colonel," he re-
marked, and I earnestly hope you may achieve it. But,
now, may. I ask your intentions towards us ? We must
get on," he added pleasantly, "before the sweeping
Walker smiled faintly, turning his steely eyes on the
youths-desirable recruits both.
"You will get much farther than you've a mind,
sir, I guess, if you leave the Falange Americana as
far as the next world," he added meaningly. "There's
a-many Don Ramons about, and we shan't be at hand
to save you another time. Crocker! summon Colonel
"We might get back to Realejo, colonel, or forward
to Virgin Bay, which is close to San Juan del Sur, the
nearest port to Nicoya. The plant we want grows in
Again the faint smile flickered. "You might get
yourselves hanged in either direction, if you fancy one
more than the other. After to-morrow a small party like
yours is certain to be cut up, I guess. Do you want
plainer speech, sir ?"
The leader of the native contingent rode up and dis-
mounted. Hertz fell back.
You heard what the colonel said? He doesn't mean
to let us go. He wants recruits, I think. In one sense
he's right, so far as I can see, boys. We can't leave
the Americans without an awful risk-not now, at any
"If we must stay with them, we must, that's all," said
Jack, by no means dissatisfied with the prospect.
"Stay with them? Achl That's easy to say. But
where are they going? This road will lead them to
Rivas, a hostile town, well garrisoned. Surely they're
not mad enough to think of attacking it. So far as I
can see, they're en l'air, without reserves or supports
nearer than Leon-they might as well be at New York.
There'll be a battle to-morrow, if not to-night; for those
fellows who got away will alarm the garrison, and if the
Americans don't attack the town, they will be attacked.
We shall have to fight, I fear; for this man may
shoot us if we refuse, and the White Cockades will
surely hang us if he's defeated. It is a mess, and no
"Then we'll fight our best," said Jack. And Harry
added, "If the Filibusters win, they'll let us go, Mr.
Hertz only answered Humph !"'
There was a movement. The advance-guard halted,
while Colonel Ramirez and his ragged troops pushed by
them to the front.
"This looks like fighting, or camping," muttered
It proved to be the latter. Presently the Falange
resumed its march, and half an hour afterwards halted
at Tola, a village of mud huts, deserted by the natives
who had run before Ramirez's troops. There, when
IN THE HANDS OF THE WHITE COCKADES" 33
sentries had been posted, the Filibusters lay round the
camp-fires, eating a frugal supper and cleaning their
arms-an example followed by the Orchid-Seekers. Jack,
though very tired, wished to talk; but Hertz, who was
extremely thoughtful and depressed, refused to answer.
"There'll be a battle to-morrow," he said. "Go to
WITH THE "PALANGE" AT RIVAS
T-HE camp was astir
at daybreak, but an
hour passed before
the bugle sounded. It
seemed strange to Hertz,
\ who had some experi-
ence of war. But the
y neither surprise nor im-
pati lence. They had one
confidence in their
1 tleaderand inthem-
And Hertz began to
S -, .' ." sh'itre it. The youths-
!1 in especial saw only
the romantic side; but
Upon the very crest he reined in." the Collector recognized
in Walker a man of the
strongest character, whose natural firmness was stiffened
to inflexibility by the assurance of a "mission." Such
qualities may not make a general, but they go far to win
Similarly the men he watched-be could count only
WITH THE "FALANGE" AT RIVAS
fifty-five, though he reckoned again and again-lounging
and chatting with many a twinkle in their eyes, but
seldom laughing, were not soldiers. They did not even
wear uniform. Each had embarked in his ordinary
clothes, but these were much alike-woollen overshirts
and trousers of coarse cloth, with rusty boots to the knee.
Every man had a large felt hat with the red cockade-the
badge of the Democratic party-therein; non-commis-
sioned officers added a feather. But if not soldiers, every
one could hit a parrot flying with a bullet, and every one
wore revolver and bowie as naturally as though they had
been articles of dress. The best word to describe them,
perhaps, is "formidable." All were Americans, and
nearly all Western men very tall and big-boned,
sallow, bearded, curiously slow of speech and grave of
look. But a very short experience convinced the
stranger that this air was a fashion overlying the most
reckless vivacity. There was no sort of liquor in camp, be
They paid no attention to the Orchid-Seeklers. Hertz
commanded notice by virtue of his hook, and many a
quaint jest went round, acknowledged at most by a
smile. But Harry felt sure that these odd fellows bore
them no ill-will. Jack was a little indignant at their
Though the Falange remained so long inactive, the
native allies marched out early, led by Colonel Ramirez.
He had now more than twenty horsemen-a great advan-
tage for scouting-but few shots were heard, and those
far away. There was no sign of an engagement. About
half-past eight one of the native officers galloped in and
reported to the Colonel, who had not yet shown himself.
Two minutes later the bugle sounded, -and the Falange fell
"We shall have to go with them," said Hertz, "and we
36 THE RIDERS
may as well appear willing. Get your guns and come
They waited at the door of the headquarters hut. It is
needless to describe their emotions. Even Jack muttered,
" I should like to know what we are going to fight for!"
With a rope round our necks Harry added.
Walker came out and greeted them cheerfully. You
gentlemen," said he, "will remain' with Colonel Ramirez
during the action. I have given him particular instruc-
tions to take care of you-so far as he may, I guess."
"Then you are going to fight, Colonel ?" Hertz
"Yes, sir. General Bosque won't come out to meet us,
so I reckon we'll have to turn him out."
"You are going to attack Rivas?" asked Hertz in
Yes, sir." And he strode on.
The Filibusters swung out of the village, and our
adventurers followed, leaving their portmanteaus, food,
everything save their arms, knapsacks, and field-glasses,
in the care of Joaquin and little Pedro.
"Well," said Hertz to himself, if Walker takes that
city with fifty-five men-for the natives don't count-I
shall believe he has a mission of some kind."
For an hour they marched, the ground rising; then
from the top of a gentle hill they beheld the plain of
Rivas. Peaceful as lovely in the morning sun it lay
spread below. They looked down on the great lake,
sparkling like a sea, foaming, restless, to the far eastern
bound-on forest and river, peaked volcano, sweeping,
rolling tablelands, wastes of savannah, soft little pools like
pellucid eyes of earth. Here and there, small and few,
lay pale green fields of native husbandry. In the wide
lake, island after island gleamed like gems in a setting
of gold sand and quivering wave, from Omotepec to the
WITH THE "FALANGE" AT RIVAS 37
thousand lovely rocks that edged the distant shore of
Chontales. In the midst of that fair plain, between dark
wood and golden water, with red tiled roofs set in
green, and ruinous church towers, they beheld the city
Just below the crest of the hill, keeping watch, stood
the bulk of the native contingent, with Ramirez himself.
Walker borrowed Hertz's field-glass and swept the plain.
I commend you to your Maker, gentlemen," he said
as he gave it back.
The Falange had not paused; it almost dropped into
the double descending that steep road. But Ramirez
was in no such haste to meet the enemy. He had re-
ceived his charge without a word of greeting, and his
salute to the Colonel was almost insolent. They marked
the tightening of Walker's lips again. But he said
nothing. The time had not arrived.
Twice did Ramirez actually halt when scouts came
riding in, under pretence of hearing their reports. Lieu-
tenant Doubleday hurried back at length with a stern
message from the Colonel, and he moved a little faster;
but his conduct was so suspicious that Jack cried-
"Let us join the Americans! Walker won't be angry,
It was the safest course if Ramirez meant treachery.
They pushed on and overtook the Falange, keeping just
in rear of the last files. Ramirez paid no attention. He
had enough upon his mind that day, still unresolved
whether to support the Americans in their mad enter-
prise or to desert them-death threatened him whatever
Walker was ahead. The rear-guard of the Filibusters
looked round as the Orchid-Seekers drew closer, and
passed the word along. All turned their heads with
curiosity to see the new recruits, but no one addressed
them. They were chatting coolly and pleasantly among
It was near ten o'clock, and the sun grew hot. Parrots
and parroquets which had been feeding in the orchards
began to seek the forest shade. They passed overhead in
flocks, but each pair kept apart, croaking softly to one
another as they flew. Harry marked a tall tree bearing
great scarlet flowers of strange form that bobbed and
quivered though no wind was perceptible below; before
he could call attention to it the huge flowers opened and
spread wide, the tree itself seemed to burst into flame,
and fifty macaws soared into the air, screaming like so
many steam whistles.
And then they reached the plain, where hedges of
" wild pineapple (pinuela) bordered the road, with here
and there an opening which led into an Indian compound.
No human being they saw there, but dimly through the
palms and orchard trees glimmered the hut, clothed in
flowers. The alarm had been given, evidently, but still
there was no sound nor movement in the town, more and
more clearly outlined at each step.
Just beyond a cross-road the leading files overtook a
group of market-women, and intercepted them before
they could fly. All were Indians, and they stood fixed in
terror, their eyes wide and months gaping, as the big
strangers seized their baskets of fruit and promptly
emptied them; but none uttered a cry. Every man
paid for what he took, reckoning the value at San Fran-
cisco prices, and asking no change; but still they were
mute, and when the Falange had passed on they quietly
picked up their baskets, turned back to the cross-road,
and vanished without speaking. Such is the Indian
A mile from Rivas, Walker commanded a halt, and
sent back an imperative summons to Ramirez; he him-
WITH THE "FALANGE" AT RIVAS
self, with some of his officers, Colonel Kewen, Major
Crocker, and Captain Hornsby, climbed a bank beside
the road-an old Indian tomb, doubtless, covered now
with earth and bushes-to view the scene of action.
After them went the guide, a tall, gaunt, full-blooded
Indian named Mendez, but commonly called the Hang-
man," from his ruthless exploits in a former war. He
was mounted, and he charged up the tiny hill full gallop
-not without danger, for the bushes were thick and
matted. Upon the very crest he reined in, pulling his
horse back upon its haunches, while its fore-feet pawed
A young Filibuster, cleaving a pineapple with his
bowie, stopped to watch this performance. Resuming
the operation, he said-
My! They're reel Ind'ans, after all, Sergeant Tucker."
Sergeant Tucker was the very big man with the feather
in his hat who had interposed between his joking com-
rades and the Orchid-Seekers the day before.
"Pshaw! he replied. They're as ugly an' as fause.
So's a muck-beetle, an' so's a turkey-buzzard, but I guess
they're not the same creeturs." He turned to Harry and
said, kindly enough in his way, "Well, Rosebud, we're
glad to see yer; but how d'yer reckon to get through yer
time this next half-hour? Maybe yer don't know as
there's going to be a rumpus in these parts?"
"I know it very well, Sergeant, I'm sorry to say,"
Harry replied. "And as it wouldn't be very wise to
trust to the protection of your doubtful friends behind,
I'm afraid we shall have to rumpus too "
Shall ye, really ? Wal, I admire Comrades, here's
David come from the island of Great Britain ter put this
thing through for us "
All in hearing looked at Harry gravely. He coloured;
Jack fumed; but Hertz quieted him.
Then their ain't no need ter make our wills this time,"
said the young Filibuster.
"Hes any comrade got a dime trumpet in his sack?"
asked another. "It's not a big insterment yer'll want,
David, to knock down them adobd1 walls." The good
fellow's recollection of Biblical history had got mixed.
"David fought a bigger giant than any of you," cried
Harry, and maybe a bigger boaster."
"That's yer trail, Rosebud," laughed the Sergeant.
"They're a snarling pack if yer front 'em. But"-he
grew serious, and turned to Hertz-"it's not fitting
to lead a couple of brave boys into deadly peril when
they ha'n't no concern in the outfit. I give you my
That's so," all murmured.
Hertz was about to explain the necessity of the case,
when a church bell in the town clanged out-then another
and another, till the air quivered with sound; not the
modulated peal so frequent in these lands, but the wild
jangle caused by men pulling their hardest without a
break. The Filibusters listened with curiosity.
Them Greasers won't leave us a sound bell to call the
Falange to dinner," grumbled the Sergeant.
Walker hurried down; his men were already standing
in their ranks.
"You will make for the Plaza!" he shouted above
Ramirez had closed up, as uncertain as ever what course
to follow. Through blinding dust the Filibusters pressed
on. The mounted men in advance reported no movement
outside the town. The White Cockades" meant to
defend themselves.among the houses.
"Double! shouted Colonel Kewen.
In the rear, at least, where the Orchid-Seekers were
1 Adobds are sun-dried bricks, commonly made of mud and straw.
WITH THE FALANGE" AT' IVAS 41
forced to run, or risk the treachery of Ramirez, the dust
was so thick they could not see one another. They knew
not where they were, but Hertz reckoned that the town
must be very close, when suddenly a roar in front-the
"sing" of bullets overhead, an outburst of yells-an-
nounced the enemy's position. They occupied a group
of small houses beside the main street, supported by a
stronger party on the rising ground of Santa Ursula to
Charge! cried Walker. Nobody heard him, and
there was no need. When such men see a foe they fly
at him. In an instant the houses were carried. The
windows had been blocked and loopholed; the doors
were narrow. By sheer weight and strength of body
the Americans drove back the swarm struggling to pass
out, and pursued them-all in panic flight-through the
buildings. In breathless haste the bugler sounded the
Forward! cried Walker. "To the Plaza !"
But as they streamed back the troops posted on Santa
Ursula fired a volley into their flank. Colonel Kewen
forgot his orders.
Charge the hill!" he cried, and led the way. Thirty
men followed him.
Carried on by his natural impetuosity, Jack had entered
the houses with the rest. Hertz and Harry, more prudent,
conscious that the quarrel was not theirs, and resolved to
run as little risk as possible until such time as they could
safely leave the Palange, remained in the rear. But they
now found themselves with Walker, who, unaware of
Kewen's desertion, was pressing on up the street. The
smoke and the dust were clearing. Presently, from houses
on the right and from a barricade in front, such a storm
of fire burst on the little band that they recoiled, taking
shelter behind a wall. Furious with disappointment, but
never dreaming of retreat, the Filibusters crouched here,
pouring a stream of bullets through every window of the
houses occupied by the enemy.
Suddenly Harry cried, "Where's Jack?" Until this
moment the youth had not been missed.
Hertz glanced swiftly round. Jack was not with the
party. Could he have been struck down in the rush?
He rose to his feet.
"Stay here, Harry. I'll find him!"
But Harry would not. No, no! He's my brother,
Mr. Hertz. I must look for him !"
How can I face your mother without both of you?"
Hertz answered, running beyond the shelter of the wall.
Harry was beside him in a moment, but he was dragged
Mendez, dismounted, rushed past, and they heard
Walker shout after him, By the side street, remember!
If they advance that way there is no danger, and the
town is ours."
Let me go! I will go !" cried Harry, struggling
desperately. "If we're defeated they'll murder Jack!"
It was evident. Hertz loosed him, and both started after
Several bodies lay in the road; many wounded had
crept under the house-walls. Jack was not there. They
ran to the spot beneath the hill of Santa Ursula, where
the fight began. Bullets were still flying overhead. At
a hundred yards' distance, in front of his men, stood
Ramirez, smoking a cigar. Mendez was rushing towards
him, shouting vehemently.
More bodies lay around the enemy's first position and
in the buildings. But Jack had not fallen there either.
They returned to the roadway. Ramirez was marching off.
Even Mendez,.the bravest, if almost the cruellest, of his
race, stood hesitating, so desperate was the situation now.
WITH THE "FALANGE" AT RIVAS 43
"Jack-Jack!" cried Harry in tones so hoarse that
a whisper would have carried almost as far. "Oh, we
must go back! We must find him!"
"Hi, Mendez!" Hertz shouted, "you won't desert
your colonel ?"
"No-never he answered, making his decision;
"I'll live or die with Walker !"
They sped back with the gaunt Indian. Aimless
volleys still swept the street, though, save themselves,
nothing stirred therein. But the "White Cockades"
made no reply to the steady rain of balls entering their
windows from the flank; for if a hand showed there
it was struck.
Hertz judged the position as he ran. "Ah!" he
thought, "if Walker had fifty men to charge now the
victory would be his, and our lives would at least be
But fifteen minutes had passed since the fight began,
so long it takes to tell the story of events that follow
without a pause! As Hertz and Harry and Mendez sped
past the mouth of that narrow road leading to Santa
Ursula, they were enveloped in a mob of White
Cockades," broken and panic-stricken, rushing headlong
down. A few aimed blows in passing; all three re-
ceived wounds; but none stopped. Then the pursuing
Filibusters burst into sight, and with the foremost-
eager and clamorous as any-Jack Rider!
"Thank Heaven!" cried Harry. It was no time for
reproaches. They caught his hand and ran on.
Some of the fugitives turned to the left and gained
the open country, but the bulk sought shelter with their
comrades. Jack saw the advantage and burst away again,
disregarding Harry's appeal. Colonel Kewen lay dead
upon the hill; there was no officer left with this party.
Charge !" he cried, and dashed on. Hertz and Harry
knew by experience the futility of attempting restraint
when his blood was up, as now.
The Filibusters would have charged, probably, without
an order, but in desultory fashion; the word of command
brought them together, and no one asked who gave it.
Shielded from the enemy's fire by the crowd of fugitives,
they rushed forward with Jack, followed perforce by
Hertz and Harry. Walker's party sallied out to join
them as they passed. In an instant the barricade was
carried, and the houses-five hundred men, armed and
unwounded, fled before forty !
"To the Plaza! to the Plaza Walker roared. His
men responded with a husky cheer, and on they went.
But the effect of Kewen's disobedience or mistake
showed itself now. It gave Bosque time to drag his
artillery into the great square, and as the Filibusters
debouched he fired point-blank with grape. Had the
gun been well aimed every man must have perished, but
Major Crocker alone fell dead. This was not all. At
the same moment a volley poured into their flank; the
garrison of San Juan del Sur, recalled, came up in the
nick of time. Then those fearless spirits were dismayed;
not waiting for orders, they fell back, but steadily, front-
ing the foe and carrying their wounded.
They were scarcely pursued, but in every direction
the bugles sounded. When they emerged from the
street they saw the troops from San Juan del Sur
posted in the open ground to head them back while the
Rivas garrison rallied and closed in. Wearied out now,
but far from despairing, the Falange sought refuge in
one of those houses so often mentioned. A few picked
marksmen kept the enemy at a distance.
Some moments' breathing-space they must have, what-
ever the cost. But if those dauntless fellows could have
quailed, that was a trying moment. Mustered now, they
WITH THE "FALANGE" AT RIVAS
could count their losses. Of six officers, two were killed,
two disabled; happily Walker had not been touched.
Forty men only remained out of fifty-five, and every one
hurt. But neither sorrow nor anxiety unnerved them.
The wounded tried to jest, but they alone. All who
could still fight dressed their hurts or a comrade's with
So they rested while the enemy grew closer and thicker.
Of the Orchid-Seekers, Jack had a bullet in his arm;
Hertz was lame, and he had received several cuts from
the fugitives of Santa Ursula; Harry had escaped with
a blow on the head. He was dazed, but not seriously
hurt. The Collector seized the opportunity to take Jack
"You have no business to fight except in defence of
your life," he said severely. We are here against our
will; we know next to nothing about the quarrel, even."
You are right, Mr. Hertz," Jack answered. "And
if the Falange was able to protect us, I'm not sure that
I should have helped. But it is not; so I _thought it
most prudent to do what I could."
They could not seriously deny this.
Suddenly a cannon boomed, and a round-shot passed
through the adobd wall just above their heads.
Who volunteers to capture that gun ?" Walker
shouted, and every Filibuster who could rise stood up.
Mendez appeared in the doorway-a terrific figure, black
with dust and smoke; but so were they all.
"Here!" he cried. "I show you the gun." And he
hurried out, followed by all the Americans save the
The firing redoubled on the instant, then ceased; a
few minutes afterwards the party came back, laughing
grimly as they regained the shelter. The gun had been
spiked without the loss of a man.
But it was time to go. Unperceived, the thatch of the
house had taken fire. It mattered little; they had found
a moment's rest. Calmly Walker made his dispositions
to retreat, and steadily the men fell into their places.
A forlorn hope, the least seriously hurt, swung out of
the compound, fired a volley, and raced at the troops of
San Juan del Sur, drawn up in front. They aimed at
the officers, and scarcely one of them missed. The men
fled without firing a shot. A few of those lately be-
leaguering the house discharged their muskets, but they
were only too glad to see the back of these terrible
Americans. There was no pursuit.
Wearied out, famishing, they dragged themselves along
that road traversed so confidently in the morning. But
there was no word of complaint. They looted the Indian
gardens for food, but even then such as had money left
it upon the ground. Late in the afternoon they reached
the village of Tola, their halting-place the night before,
and-luck they had not dared to count upon-found the
provisions hidden there by Walker's thoughtful foresight
So ended the first battle of Rivas. Fifteen men and
two officers they left upon the field; the enemy confessed
a loss of seventy killed and two hundred wounded.
"We've got to fix this up next time, comrades," said
Sergeant Tucker when he had completed his list of killed,
wounded, and missing.
"That's so !" they growled.
AN INDIAN'S GRATITUDE-AND THE BEGINNING
OF A TRAGEDY
XTN OTHING short of deadliest
N danger could have forced Hertz
or Jack to move when they had
Dropped upon the ox-hide stretched
between four posts, which served as
a b ed for the absent owner of the hut
of which they had taken
i possession. Harry alone
could bestir himself in a
feeble way. He gotwater
and washed them, bound
up their wounds under
SHertz's direction, and
went out despairingly to
search for food. He did
The crookedfingers clenched wit awful visit the de where
signtflcance." not visit the glade where
Joaquin had hidden the
cart and oxen-Hertz said it would be useless. The aged
Indian must be far on the road to Virgin Bay, or back
to Realejo. Of course, he had taken their baggage with
him, and they would never see it again. Nothing else
could be expected in such a country. Besides, the man
would risk his life by remaining.
But Harry's quest soon ended. Sergeant Tucker had
set aside rations for all three, and he delivered them with
hearty if quaint acknowledgment of their support and
the good service which Jack had rendered. All the.
Filibusters sitting round muttered approval-they were
too weary to speak. Moreover, seeing that Harry looked
with dismay at the strips of black leather-charqui-
and the loose flour which were given him, the Sergeant
"Leave 'em just here, Rosebud. We'll fix the onnat'ral
things so far as they can be fixed decent."
You are very kind, indeed," Harry murmured. "Is
there a surgeon in the Falange ? My brother has a bullet
in his arm."
Yer don't say? That staunch young brave ? Wal,
we haven't no surgeon, but the most of us has seen a shot-
wound, T reckon. I'll go with you myself."
A very unpleasant half-hour Jack spent under the
Sergeant's hands, but the bullet was cut out of his arm-
with a bowie-knife!
"You're a brave, young man! said the big Filibuster,
admiringly. I reckon ye haven't a father in these parts,
an' we're a rough crowd, that's a fact! If any of 'em
looks ugly at yer, just whisper to him, perlitely, See
here, Sergeant Tucker is my father, or as good, an' he'll
talk to you!' The chap '11 study over them words!"
The good fellow went away, and henceforth Jack was
known among the Filibusters, who did not use surnames,
except for an officer, as "Tuckerson;" Harry was "Rose-
bud." But neither of them ever had occasion to invoke
the Sergeant's authority.
The rations came-charqui blacker than ever and almost
as leathery, with tortillas-pancakes wanting in every
quality which a pancake should have. There was abso-
lutely no taste in one or the other, except of fire and smoke,
but they ate and were thankful. Hertz had lost so much
blood that he fell asleep over the meal.
AN INDIAN'S GRATITUDE
Oh dear said Jack presently. It's no use wishing
but I should like a clean shirt to sleep in."
"I don't know," said Harry. "The village seems
quite undisturbed. Perhaps Joaquin and the cart and
portmanteaus are here still. I'll go and see. I'm sorry
I didn't do so before."
Don't distract me with false hopes. You heard what
Mr. Hertz said. Old Joaquin is half-way to Virgin Bay
I'm not sure, Jack. The old fellow looked honest.
Anyhow, it's worth while to see."
They had hired the cart at Realejo, paying a monstrous
sum for transport as far as Virgin Bay, whence they could
easily reach San Juan del Sur-only twelve miles distant.
None of the regular carriers would accept any terms, for
one or other of the contending parties would assuredly
seize oxen and vehicle, and probably impress the driver.
It was by the merest chance they met with Joaquin, who
was about to set out on business of his own, and he agreed
to carry their baggage. As for impressment, he was too
old to fear it. Afterwards they became aware of another
reason for his courage.
The Indians of Central and South America live to an age
which seems incredible to us. Stevenson, a very careful
observer, examined the church registers at Barranca, in
Peru, and found eleven cases, in the seven years previous,
which gave an average of one hundred and nine years
to each Indian. The famous Tschudi recalled this state-
ment on visiting the spot, and he not only confirmed it-
more than that, he found a living Indian whose baptismal
registration showed him to be one hundred and forty-two
years old, and the venerable man was still hearty! 1 It is
certain, at least, that all these people are very long-lived,
STschudi's Peru, p. 452.
and that their hair seldom turns white-nor even grey
till they have passed fourscore.
Hertz recollected these statements in observing Joaquin.
Certainly he was very, very old. Though lean to the
degree that every bone in his anatomy was visible, the
skin of his cheeks and throat drooped so low as to hide
the neck entirely. But his long hair was black, his front
teeth at least were sound, his eyes still gleamed in a
tangle of wrinkles. Upright he was also, and much
taller than the average of his race.
They all took an interest in Joaquin from the first,
but he did not return it. Scarcely could he be tempted
into speech, plodding on, silent and tireless, beside his
oxen. Even little Pedro scarcely got a word; he did not
seem to look for it, indeed. Almost as strange as the old
man, in a different way, was this child. We are not used to
see a healthy boy of ten years who never laughs nor plays.
But one day, at the halt, Harry came upon the pair
so tightly interlaced-little Pedro sitting on Joaquin's
knee, with both hands round his withered neck-that he
well knew henceforth they shared one human passion-
love. When the "White Cockades" caught them Pedro
was not close at hand, but he came running up; Joaquin
shouted to him sternly in the Indian tongue, and when
the lad disappeared he seemed ready to meet his fate.
To satisfy himself, but not with any great hope of find-
ing the old man and their goods, Harry visited the glade,
which was some two hundred yards from the village.
When close by, as he judged, the shrill voice of a child
broke the stillness of the wood. There was no need
for an interpreter-the tones meant entreaty. A man's
rough voice replied, jeering, as Harry thought, and next
instant two pistol-shots re-echoed. Simultaneously the
child screamed, as if breathless with passion-the man
gave a yell of pain and Harry, shouting, burst into
AN INDIAN'S GRATITUDE 51
the glade. There stood the cart, the oxen breathing their
last near by, and Mendez holding one of Pedro's feet,
grappling for the other, with intent to dash his head
against a tree. Harry flew-straight from the shoulder
he hit the ruffian behind the ear, and felled him. Then
he caught up Pedro, who nestled to his breast, sobbing.
But Harry knew there was no time for that. He kissed
the boy, set him down, drew his revolver and covered the
Hangman, who was groping furiously in his belt as he rose.
But the pistol had dropped; Harry set his foot upon it.
Then Joaquin ran in from the wood, panting. His dusky,
wrinkled face had a strange hue, and the glare of his
sunken eyes was terrible. Pedro bounded towards him.
Without pausing, he took up the boy and advanced.
Mendez looked with scornful fury, but there was astonish-
ment inhis expression also; how could a naked peon dare
to gaze at him thus ? But the old man spoke sternly in
threatening tones; at the sound of his voice the Hangman
recoiled, astonishment changing to fear. Without paus-
ing, Joaquin stretched out his skinny arm, with the hand
widespread, and as he finished began to close it slowly.
Attitude and gesture were full of weird menace; even
Harry felt a thrill as he watched the crooked fingers
clenching with some unknown but awful significance.
Mendez dropped on his knees.. Hurriedly he offered
excuses,'his eyes fixed the while in sickening anxiety upon
those closing fingers. Joaquin spake again briefly, with an
air of command; then dropped his arm. Mendez rose,
bowed sullenly, picked up his revolver, and withdrew.
When he had gone, the old man approached Harry, took
his hand, kissed it, and stooping, placed it on his own head,
then on Pedro's. Afterwards he raised himself to his full
height, spread his hands to heaven, and laid them upon
It was a very strange scene, and the language used was
Indian, but Harry thought he could trace the significance
of it in a measure. Joaquin threatened to curse the man
who had ill-treated his child; but why was a daring
ruffian like the Hangman so much alarmed ? Perhaps the
aged Indian had a reputation for sorcery, but it did not
seem that Mendez knew him until he heard his voice, or
surely he would not have provoked the magician wantonly.
True, the sun was near setting and the light dim, but a
man of so striking appearance as Joaquin, once seen,
must instantly have been recognized. However, Harry
recalled that he was utterly ignorant of these people
and their ways, so he dropped speculation for the time.
Joaquin's behaviour towards himself could scarcely be
misunderstood. He and Pedro would be the white youth's
slaves henceforth, and he called Heaven to witness-or
perhaps invoked a blessing on his head.
Harry returned to the hut, carrying Jack's portmanteau
and what provisions remained in the cart. Their journey
being nearly over when interrupted by the "White
Cockades," the supply had run low. But the food left
was ambrosia in comparison with charqui and tortillas of
flour. Hertz, who was awake, expressed pleasure feebly,
and Jack gratitude. Harry was eager to tell the story of
his adventure, but that would keep-the beef would not,
if allowed to remain in a forest swarming with coyotes
and vultures. Both Joaquin and Pedro had followed him
with more baggage, and he was not sure that, under the
circumstances, Mendez would report fresh meat close at
hand, though of course he had killed the oxen for food.
He sought Sergeant Tucker at once-the big Filibuster
was not difficult to find.
"Mendez shot our oxen just now," he said. "Some-
thing happened, and he may leave them for the coyotes."
Wal, now, Rosebud," rejoined the Sergeant, springing
to his feet with a show of alacrity, though he was dead-
AN INDIAN'S GRATITUDE 53
tired, like the others, "that would be onnat'ral, wilful
waste, an' a sp'iling of the points of good bowies, as the
1'alange is picking its teeth with at this present moment,
an' like to do for some time to come-barrin' the sort of
miracle as you report. You just acquaint me with the
locality, Rosebud, an' I'll undertake to pervide beefsteaks
Harry directed him, and returned to Hertz and Jack,
who listened to his story.
Mendez seemed terrified," he added; and from what
I've seen of him I don't believe any ordinary peril would
"Perhaps he thought old Joaquin was the spirit of one
of his victims," said Jack, with a weak laugh. "The old
fellow is almost transparent enough for a ghost, and alto-
"That's nonsense," said Harry, spreading a rug on the
bare floor of beaten earth, swarming with fleas and other
torments. "It wasn't his appearance that frightened the
Hangman-not likely-but the words and the actions I've
tried to describe."
The subject dropped. Hertz was too feeble to take
any interest. All went to sleep.
Had their defeat not been a moral victory, the Fili-
busters would have been in desperate peril that night.
Sentries were posted, of course, but human endurance
has its limit. With every sense dulled by utter weari-
ness and pain, they could not have heard the approach
of a reasonably cautious enemy. But a surprise was the
last thing the White Cockades" thought of. Certainly
they did not attempt one. The camp was guarded, how-
ever, though none of the Americans knew it; old Joaquin
passed the night outside the hut occupied by the Orchid-
Seekers. Harry, rising to throw wood on the fire, saw
him standing a few paces off, leaning on his spears, but
watchful, and little Pedro curled up under the wall of
sticks and mud. Not at that time did he grasp the full
meaning of the act and the measure of his own good
At daybreak the Filibusters rose, ravenously hungry.
In a few minutes portions of Joaquin's oxen were roast-
ing over the fires. Mendez had disappeared. Meantime
the men dressed their wounds, looked to their arms, and
tore the red ribands from their hats. Some replaced them
with rude white cockades whence came the material
can only be surmised: there had already been a general
cutting up of linen for bandages. A few donned cockades
of both colours, in readiness for either party-this by way
of a joke; the spirits of these men seemed proof against
The Orchid-Seekers awoke greatly refreshed, and able
to enjoy the steaks which Sergeant Tucker brought them.
Breakfast over, Harry busied himself with their baggage,
making up a portion into parcels that could be carried
easily; the bulk would have to be left behind. Presently
Walker looked into the hut, and thanked them for their
assistance. His face, always pale, was now livid, and his
eyes were heavy.
"I guess you'll be anxious to know the route," he
added. "We shall march for the Transit road and
follow it to San Juan del Sur. That place I shall hold
Hertz thanked him, and he went out.
"The Colonel's mighty sick," Sergeant Tucker mur-
mured. "Major Crocker and he was uncommon friendly
-a sort of David an' Jonathan over ag'in, I guess, though
William Walker isn't the man to wear his heart on his
sombrerer for the John Crows ter peck at. For the matter
o' that, I'll own to more'n a friendly feeling' for Crocker
myself. He was uncommonly like Rosebud, here-sort
AN INDIAN'S GRATITUDE
of good-looking in a girlish fashion-a sight too smart
-an' bright ter go into Etarnity chockful of Greaser bullets,
which ain't honest lead in a general way; mostly they're
window-bars cut into short lengths."
"It's surprising the supply hasn't run out," said Jack.
"Wal, it's this way, my son. Them old Spaniards
built houses to last a'most as long as the cliffs their peons
quarried the stones from, barrin' war an' airthquakes.
They've a sight o' windows, an' every one fixed up like
a lion's cage I see in Sacramento."
At nine o'clock Walker gave the order to fall in.
-Almost immediately the Falange marched, or rather
limped, out of Tola. Many tottered along, supported by
their comrades; some.were carried in hammocks slung
Close behind Harry walked the old Indian, silent and
impassive, with his little boy. Nobody asked him to go.
Hertz had paid him the value of the slaughtered oxen.
Unlike the Orchid-Seekers, he was under no necessity to
remain with the Falange; he would have been safer in
the woods. He might finish his journey, or return to
Realejo; prudence, indeed, pointed to that town. But,
strangely enough, he had chosen to cast in his lot and
Pedro's with his late employers. He did not say so-he
never uttered a word; he was there, and no one knew
why-at that time-though Harry began to have an
Presently he took the load from Harry's shoulders
without speaking, leaving him free to assist Hertz,
whose every step was accompanied by a twinge. Harry
thanked the old man, but he was mute; he did not even
After a wearisome and painful march of two hours,
they struck the excellent road made by the Californian
Accessory Transit Company to facilitate the crossing of
Nicaragua by their passengers. At this period many
thousands of miners and others, comprising almost every
nationality, passed through the republic each year on
their way to or from California. But they took no part
nor interest in the affairs of the country, not so much as
speaking to a native all the way perhaps, and no native
dreamed of speaking to them. The short road between
Virgin Bay on Lake Nicaragua and San Juan del Sur on
the Pacific was the only one worthy the name in Central
Soon after leaving the forest the advanced guard chal-
lenged a man on horseback, and conducted him to Colonel
Walker. He was oddly attired, for that region, in glossy
black cloth, wore shiny boots, and a profusion of gold
chain over a black velvet waistcoat. But his bloated, evil
face was not in keeping with the garments of respecta-
bility. Hertz and the youths heard what passed.
"Now's yer time, Colonel!" cried the stranger. "I
guess you'll be able to fit out Californys an' Greasers
enow to conquer the hull of Central Emurrica! All as
I asks is a share-a share, Colonel, all fair an' above-
"Them are not words to address to me, Mr. Dewey,"
said Walker sternly. "What is your business?"
Oh, you'll not take it amiss when you hear-not you,
Colonel. My business is Vanderbilt's1 treasure-train! I
reckon it'll pass this spot in less'n half-an-hour. An' I
ask you, without meaning no offence, what's a pardner's
Walker's eyes gleamed. "If you hint at such a thing
again, sir, I guess I'll have you shot!" was his brief
What does it mean ?" Jack whispered.
1 Mr. Vanderbilt was President of the Oalifornian Accessory Transit
AN INDIAN'S GRATITUDE
Hertz whispered back, "The fellow proposed that
Walker should rob the Transit Company of the gold en-
trusted to it by thousands of toiling miners in California."
"Why-why- began Dewey.
"Silence, sir! You have come from San Juan del Sur.
Are there any troops there ?"
Quite crestfallen, Dewey answered that there were
"You will remain here," returned Walker. Sergeant
Tucker, I give Mr. Dewey into your charge."
The man was too astonished to protest. Jack and
Harry watched the scene with interest, but little thought
they were listening to the prologue of a terrible tragedy.
To avoid alarming the native muleteers, Walker im-
mediately marched the Falange off the road into the
forest, where all lay concealed until the treasure-train
had passed. He then set Dewey at liberty; the Fili-
busters returned to the road, and two hours afterwards
tramped painfully into San Juan del Sur.
San Juan was not much of a port at that time, nor is it
greatly improved now, but once a month, when the Transit
passengers made a brief stay, it became lively. The town
had about forty houses, nestling among palms and forest
trees; they were mostly drinking-bars, kept by Americans.
Prominent among them stood the barracks, a long, low
building of wood and adobds, with many unglazed windows
facing the sea. It was unoccupied, the garrison being
at Rivas. The arrival of the Falange caused a stir in
the little place even greater than that occasioned by the
periodical influx of miners.
Leaving vedettes on the Transit road, Walker immedi-
ately seized all the boats on the beach, and placed a guard
over them; he then took possession of the barracks,
where the severely wounded were made as comfortable
as the rude beds of hide permitted.
An hour afterwards Harry, who stood at one of the
windows looking seaward with his field-glass, perceived
a vessel which was apparently making for the port. He
at once informed Walker, who was standing in the road
below. The Filibuster leader joined him, took the glass,
looked, and hurried away. A messenger was sent to the
men guarding the boats. These hastened to the barracks,
dispersing the groups of scowling natives as they came by
threats and hustling; in a few minutes the little town
wore its ordinary deserted aspect.
Walker came back presently and watched the approach-
ing vessel with Harry's glass. The men gathered in
knots, discussing the chances of her capture. All eyes
were turned seaward. Hours passed. The ship drew
nearer and nearer.
"That flag's Costa Rican, I guess," said Walker at
length. "Sergeant Tucker, take a couple of men and
board her. We want that craft, mind you, at all risks !"
The Sergeant chose two of his comrades--one able to
speak Spanish more fluently than himself; they shouldered
their rifles and left the building. As the anchor dropped
they stood on the schooner's deck. The big Filibuster
afterwards told Jack and Harry what transpired.
"I reckon we'll borrow this ship," he began.
The words were duly translated, but the Costa Rican
captain only stared.
"I reckon Colonel Walker wants the loan o' this ship-
temporally," Sergeant Tucker went on in a louder tone.
"There's a sight o' Californys in San Juan as ha'n't no
fancy to be trapped by murdering Greasers. They want
to quit right smart, an' they've a fancy ter go by sea.
Sea v'yages air healthy, I've heered tell."
Not a word said the captain.
"Ef their's any damage, send in the bill to Don
Francisco Castellon, Provisional Director of Nicaragua.
AN INDIAN'S GRATITUDE 59
He'll pay, I make no doubt. William Walker '11 fix it
for you all right an' proper."
Still the captain did not appear to understand. How-
ever, a dozen more Filibusters tumbled aboard. The
whole of the Falange followed. Soon all were safe from
Meanwhile the Orchid-Seekers held a consultation.
Jack, yielding to his passion for adventure, wished to
see more of the campaign. But Hertz and Harry were
agreed that they must part company with the Falange at
the very first opportunity. But-had that time come?
To await a vessel bound for Costa Rica at San Juan del
Sur, within a few miles of a thousand infuriated White
Cockades," or to travel overland, would be risking almost
certain capture and death. They would be recognized as
present at Rivas, and shot or hung without trial. So
they also put off for the San Josd, as the schooner was
named; Joaquin, silent as ever, and Pedro, accompanied
them. The last boat to leave shore brought Mendez.
He started at sight of the old Indian, but- did not
The schooner was bound for Realejo, the next port
northwards. But now that the Falange was safe, Walker
seemed in no hurry to depart. Indeed, he expected the
Vesta brig, which had brought the Filibusters to Nica-
ragua. Night found the San JosJ still at her anchorage.
Hertz was lying down. Jack and Harry were con-
versing of their awkward situation-the former by no
means so disconsolate as he ought to have been. Sud-
denly there was a rush of Filibusters to the vessel's side,
and a hubbub of voices, above which rang Walker's clear
tones, raised in anger.
"Take a file of men, Hornsby, and bring the scoundrels
aboard! I reckon I'll make an example of them."
A column of smoke was rising from the barracks-as
they watched, it took a lurid glare. Next moment flames
issued from the roof. Walker paced the deck in growing
anger as they mounted, lighting up the masses of foliage
behind the town, and throwing a strong red glare across
the water to the San Josd.
The boat had put off. All the building was ablaze
before it returned, bringing a prisoner-the owner of a
coasting bongo, named Sam. He did not recognize his
position at all. Mad with drink and exultation, the fellow
staggered towards the spot where Walker stood. The
blazing barracks lit up the scene.
"I did it!" he shouted. "Dewey bore a hand! There's
Dewey!" pointing to a bongo which had followed labo-
riously and was now close to the schooner. "We're
pardners, Colonel-share and share alike. What d'yer
reckon yer a-goin' ter pay us for the night's work? "
Walker was standing full in the red glare of the flames.
Jack and Harry, who had approached, recoiled before the
righteous anger in his eyes, but they heard the terrible
sentence when the close-pressed lips parted-
"Take him ashore and shoot him, Hornsby !"
THE END OF THE TRAGEDY-PREPARING
FOR an instant the drunken fellow stood dumb-
founded. His eyes seemed starting out of his head.
"Eh!-what?" he cried at length. "Ye're a-
playin' a game on me, Colonel! Ye don't mean it! No-
no!" he went on frantically, as two of the Filibusters
gripped him; "the Colonel's playing' a game-don't yer
They threw him, shouting, threatening, raving, into a
boat. Five minutes the clamour lasted, growing fainter
in the distance, but more terrible. Rifles cracked. Then
all was still.
Walker had turned away before the wretch left the
deck. He spoke a few words to Sergeant Tucker in a
low tone; the Sergeant at once took up his rifle, and with
a comrade strode to the stern, where the bongo had been
Hi, Dewey! he shouted. But there was no reply.
For a while Jack and Harry did not understand. They
saw the Filibusters take their station by the wheel, but
the situation only became clear when the Sergeant sud-
denly cried, "Drop that knife, Dewey! Don't 'e touch
the rope! D'e hear? I'll not speak agin."
They looked over the bulwarks. Growling to himself,
Dewey was creeping back beneath the half-deck of the
bongo, which was just long enough to shelter him. Upon
it sat a woman. Just then Captain Hornsby appeared
"Order Dewey to come aboard," said he briefly and
roughly. "If he won't come, shoot him at sight!"
" Ye don't mean it! No-no 7' ke went on frantically.
"If you'd give me that command three minutes ago,"
the Sergeant grumbled, "I'd ha' been off duty by this
time-Hi, Dewey! it ain't no use 'cooning in a hole. If
you won't come aboard an' front the Colonel, stand
THE END OF THE TRAGEDY
up an' be shot like a man, so as we 6an get about our
But Dewey answered not a word, and the Sergeant
settled himself to watch again, rifle in hand.
"Is it possible," whispered Harry, that such a good-
natured fellow will really shoot a man in cold blood ?"
And Jack added, "Can't we do anything, Mr. Hertz?
This is awful! "
"You must restrain yourself, Jack," Hertz replied.
"Remember that we don't know all the circumstances,
nor half." He turned to a Filibuster at his elbow:
"Who is this man Dewey? What is he doing in
I can't jest say what he's doing in this happy country,"
answered the man, the same who had suggested a trumpet
for Harry. :" Cracking Ind'an graves for gold rattles,
maybe. Onc't a month he'd have a high time sp'iling the
Transit passengers of their yeller dust. Dewey were a
sportsman in Californy."
A professional gambler," Hertz explained. -
"Jest so. They're mostly crooked, but Dewey could
give points to a coiled rattler for crookedness. Swindler
-hoss-thief-murderer-ther' ain't no name too hard for
Dewey. But he made a mistake when he took Colonel
William Walker for a train-robber."
But he is to be shot for burning the barracks ?" said
"That's so, Rosebud. I hear tell as he'd a spite again'
the Greasers downright venomous. They put him in
prison for a muss with the Transit folks; so he sot fire to
the barracks to square' the account some."
The stars appeared. The moon rose. Only a faint
glimmer and a cloud of smoke remained to show where
the barracks had stood. Every time Jack and Harry
looked aft they saw the tall figures of the watching
Filibusters. The hours passed. They never moved. And
still Dewey gave no sign.
Walker came on deck, followed by Hornsby, who was
talking in excited tones. His words reached the Orchid-
"I don't hold with it, Colonel. It was just a mistake.
They thought they were doing the Falange a service, I
You have ventured to disobey me once to-night already,
sir !" said Walker sternly. "I am not ignorant that you
suffered Dewey's accomplice to escape."
"I don't see that his offence merited death," Hornsby
"You don't see, sir-you don't see ? That is an excuse
for a blind man-not for a soldier. But this once I will
explain, Captain Hornsby. We have come here, invited
by the lawful authorities, to restore peace to the most
unhappy land under God's heaven. We ask the people to
trust us-and they hear that we have begun by burning
and plundering. This night's work, sir, has wrought us
more harm than our late defeat. What's done is done,
but the people shall see that justice has been meted
Hornsby was silenced-that thought had not occurred
to him. Walker turned away abruptly, and, going aft, ex-
changed a word with Sergeant Tucker and left the deck.
So the other fellow escaped, then ? Harry whispered.
"It appears so," Hertz answered. "But we heard
the shots, and these men can't miss such a mark unless
Rations were served round more palatable than the
charqui and flour tortillas of the previous evening. The
Orchid-Seekers lay down on the deck to eat, and re-
mained there. Hertz soon went to sleep, but Jack and
Harry scarcely took their eyes from those still figures
THE END OF THE TRAGEDY 65
beside the wheel. Allied with wild, head-hunting Dyaks,
they had fought Chinese desperadoes in Borneo, but no
incident of that stirring campaign resembled this. They
watched for the end, not doubting now that Dewey de-
served the fate which threatened, nor Walker's right to
execute him. Still, they pitied the culprit.
"Why don't they fetch him out and let Walker hear
what he has to say ?" asked Jack of the young Filibuster
who had told them something of Dewey's history.
Wal, Tuckerson," he answered, I should opine the Ser-
geant's waiting for a smart young chap to show him how to
fix the business proper. But I'd not advise yer to hurry
any. If you'll heed me, you'll just stop behind right
here. Dewey's a mean skunk, no doubt of it, but yer
wouldn't get him outen his hole an' 'scape a clawing."
It was the darkest hour-just before dawn. Stars and
moon had disappeared. A sudden movement caused Jack
and Harry to spring to their feet and run aft. Faintly
they saw a portion of the bongo's deck lift. The sound
of a scuffle reached them-a woman's voice in expostula-
tion. Next moment Dewey crept forward to cut the rope
which fastened the bongo to the schooner, holding the
woman as a shield. A shot rang out.
"Missed him!" growled the Filibuster who had fired.
" I were afeared I'd hit the woman! "
The bongo drifted away. Dewey laughed loud.
I won't come aboard, an' I won't be shot this turn-;"
he ended with a savage imprecation.
But the woman struggled violently, and the increasing
distance-the obscurity-made him a little careless. His
head was exposed an instant; quick as thought the Ser-
geant fired, and he fell lifeless.
"You won't burn nary anotherr barracks, anyhow," mut-
tered the marksman, dropping the butt of his rifle to the
Justice had been done. But Jack and Harry turned
away with a shiver.
At daybreak the San JosS sailed for Realejo. Early in
the afternoon she fell in with the expected Vesta. The
Filibusters began to tranship at once, and Walker for-
mally surrendered the San Jos6 to her captain.
"Now," said Harry, "is our opportunity. We can
return to Costa Rica on this vessel and set to.work."
Hertz was not less eager to escape. He, indeed, had
been most indignant, uncomfortable, and impatient all
along to find himself-and more especially the young
men in his charge-embarked upon an enterprise which
might possibly be justifiable for those who understood the
circumstances, but certainly not for themselves. Justi-
fiable or no, the civilised world condemned it; and he did
not conceal from himself that if they were taken prisoners
and hanged-as they certainly would be, if not shot-no
one would understand they were guiltless. But he had
said nothing of this to the boys, who had but a very vague
notion of what the fighting was about, and allowed them-
selves to be carried away by the spirit of adventure.
What could be the use of exciting them further when
there was no escape ?
But the incidents at San Juan del Sur roused Harry to
attention. In the first place, Dewey's proposal to rob the
treasure-train, loudly declared in full confidence that it
would be accepted then the burning of the barracks, the
release of one of the guilty men against Walker's order-
above all, that command to shoot Dewey at sight, the long
watch, the patient and cheerful alacrity with which these
men undertook to kill a fellow-creature, and the easy in-
difference they displayed when the deed was done-might
well shock a thoughtful youth. It seemed to Harry that
the Sergeant's frankness and good-nature actually made
THE END OF THE TRAGEDY 67
the case more horrible; in a surly ruffian such conduct
would not have been so surprising.
"You wouldn't desert the colours now?" Jack ex-
"They're not our colours, Jack, thank Heaven! Harry
Hertz interposed: "You are right, Harry. Walker
and his men must answer for their own doings, and I'll
admit that they have a much better case than many people
think in Europe. But we are not soldiers, and we have
no quarrel with any man in Nicaragua. So far we have
been defending our lives; but if we neglect an oppor-
tunity to get away, it will not be in self-defence but in
wantonness that we shoot henceforward and that is
Jack was silent, if not convinced.
Nevertheless," Hertz continued, we must make sure
of our ground."
He crossed the deck to the captain of the San Josd, and
held a few minutes' talk with him.
"It won't do," he said, returning in vexation. "We
are not out of the mess yet! This man is not going
from Realejo to Nicoya direct. His Government sympa-
thises with Chamorra and the 'White Cockades;' he
dare not go home before justifying himself to them; so
he intends to call at San Juan, where we should most
assuredly be hanged. There's no help for it, Harry!
We must remain with the Filibusters for some time
It was evident; and they went aboard the Vesta. In
the evening, however, when all had settled down, Harry
"Now, Mr. Hertz, do tell us what this row is about,
if you know ?"
"Ah! that would be a long story, my boy," Hertz
68 THE RIDERS
answered, "and I am not well acquainted with it. But
the points which concern us I can explain. The quarrel
is, in fact, a rivalry of cities-between Granada, the
capital, and Leon, the richest and largest town in
Nicaragua. They represent two principles also, Granada
naturally favouring an aristocratic government, and Leon
taking the other side-but that is only for the look of
the thing, as they say; no one really cares for principle.
At the last election the Aristocratic party succeeded,
returning Don Fruto Chamorra as President. He
banished his rival, the Democratic candidate, forthwith.
Some months ago this man, Don Francisco Castellon,
returned. Leon and other towns of the party declared
in his favour, and he made war upon Granada. But
Castellon can do no more than hold his own, so he has
called upon Walker to help him with a band of Americans.
It's quite clear to me that the fable of the Stag and the
Horse' is going to be acted here. Walker does not mean
to be a mere instrument of the Democrats. You heard
what he said? He thinks he has a mission to deliver
the country from the murderers and villains who are
That's a cause to fight for! muttered Jack.
"Well, but, Mr. Hertz," said Harry, "who is Walker ?
Why did Castellon apply to him?"
I cannot tell you his history. But Castellon applied
to him because he has won a name for desperate fighting
in Mexico, and because hundreds of wild fellows will flock
to him when he gives the word."
We may state briefly the facts which Hertz did not
know at this time. William Walker was born at Nash-
ville, Tennessee. His father was or had been a banker
at Dundee, Scotland-it does not appear that he emigrated
to America with his wife. The boy was restless and
THE END OF THE TRAGEDY 69
enterprising. He studied the law, but found it too tame.
He went to New Orleans-what he did there is unknown.
He then went to Philadelphia, where he practised medicine.
After visiting Europe he returned to New Orleans, where
he edited a newspaper. He was next heard of on the staff
of the San Francisco Herald, practised law at Marysville,
and went to Guaymas in Mexico, on the Gulf of California.
There he was first struck by the wretched government of
these lovely lands, and vague schemes of ambition, justified
by philanthropy, formed in his mind. Returning to San
Francisco, he organised a force, and in October 1853
landed at La Paz, Lower California-at that time a
province of Mexico-with forty-five men, proclaimed the
Republic of Sonora, fought and won several battles, but
eventually was forced to surrender to an officer of the
United States. At San Francisco he was tried for viola-
tion of the Neutrality Laws, and acquitted. After this
he became editor of the Sacramento State Journal, then
editor of the San Francisco Commercial Advertiser, and
presently returned to the editorship of the State Journal.
That was his employment when Castellon invited him to
Nicaragua. At this time Walker was thirty-one years old.
Next morning the Vesta entered the pretty island-
dotted Bay of Realejo. Without delay the Filibusters
disembarked and proceeded in boats to the little town,
which is six miles from the anchorage. There, and for
many miles round, the people were devoted to Castellon,
and they welcomed his allies. The Falange went into
quarters until the wounded should be able to march,
and the Orchid-Seekers shared the Americans' lodging.
Hertz's foot troubled him, and he seldom stirred out;
but Jack-with his arm in a sling-and Harry wandered
about the thriving little place, whose adobd houses nestled
among palms and plantains and orange-trees. Many
orchids they saw in the woods, but collected none. They
had no means of transport, and the poor things would
It will be remembered that it was at Realejo they
first met Joaquin. He had a hut-a sort of bird-cage-
on the Chinandega road. The walls were of bamboos
planted half an inch apart, plastered with mud, which
had fallen off in flakes and never been replaced. A
ruinous hovel, but the palm-thatched roof was glorified
by a great bush covered with scarlet and purple blossoms,
among which yellow honey-birds flitted from morning to
night. Above, plantains stretched their silky leaves;
convolvuli, blue and pink, intertwined, hid the squalor
On arriving Hertz paid him for his services, and all
bade him good-bye, never expecting to see him again.
He took the money and withdrew. But when, three
weeks afterwards, Walker resolved to quarter the Fili-
busters at Chinandega, nearer Leon-the chief town of
the Democratic party-and the Falange marched out of'
Realejo, Joaquin and Pedro stood by the roadside. The
old Indian had his spears over his shoulder and his naked
machete1 in the hollow of his left arm. They fell in
"Are you coming with us ?" the youth asked in
"Yes, niio (young gentleman), Joaquin replied.
"There, Jack !" cried Harry triumphantly. You
never half believed my story of the adventure at Tola.
What do you think of it now ?"
"It's very strange," said Jack. And Hertz agreed.
1 A heavy, guardless sword, used for all sorts of purposes as well as
for defence, carried by almost every male native, whether Indian, white,
THE END OF THE TRAGEDY
Three days the Falange stayed at Chinandega, a prettily
situated town of 5000 inhabitants, "Red Cockades to a
man. Thence Walker marched to Leon, at Don Francisco
Castellon's earnest request. This movement suited the
Orchid-Seekers very well, for Leon was on the direct road
to Costa Rica. There, unless Walker interfered, they
would leave the Falange, and once more brave the dangers
of the overland journey. Joaquin, consulted, had informed
them of an alternative road, or rather route, in the event
of that vid Granada and Rivas being blocked by the
" White Cockades." But first Walker's disposition to-
wards them must be learned.
Hertz found his opportunity on the way. Walker,
passing, stopped to chat, as he often did.
"We are very anxious to get to work," said the
Collector in the course of conversation. I have been
thinking we might make a start at Leon and explore
the woods round that city."
Walker looked at him keenly. I wouldn't advise
you, sir," he rejoined. Castellon informs, me that
General Guardiola is raiding Segovia with an army of
Hondurans. I guess he's expected to march on Leon;
and I warn you that the Tiger of Honduras don't know
the name of mercy. If you fall into his hands he won't
give you time to say your prayers, let alone be rescued."
Humph !" Hertz muttered. That's awkward!"
"Yes, sir. You'll be a sight safer with the Falange,
and you'll be in Costa Rica sooner. I guess I'll be able
to provide you with an escort-to Virgin Bay, anyhow-
before you think."
"You are very good, Colonel," said Hertz cautiously.
"It may be news to you, sir," Walker continued, "to
hear that General Corral is at Masaya, on the Granada
road, with a thousand 'White Cockades,' and General
Bosque is expected to march from Rivas as soon as his
72 THE RIDERS
troops have got over their victory. You don't want to
meet them, I reckon ?"
No, indeed "
Walker strode on. Hertz turned to Jack and Harry-
"He doesn't mean' to let us go if he can help it.
Very well; we must watch for an opportunity to escape.
Waiting at Leon for an escort is out of the question.
If Guardiola and Corral and Bosque are marching to the
attack, that city is doomed. Not even the Falange will
save it. We must get beyond the lake as quickly as
The road from Chinandega to Leon was perhaps the
best native-made camino in Nicaragua-the country
charming; everywhere palms and flowers, groves of
oranges and bananas, cacao and tobacco plantations.
On that level track even the wounded could march at
fair speed, and they reached Leon an hour before sun-
down, to the great joy of Provisional Director Castellon
and of the inhabitants, who turned out to welcome them
in thousands, bringing garlands of flowers, which they
cast down in the road. Never before had Jack and
Harry marched over orchids-Hertz, indeed, lifted his
feet like the proverbial cat.
"My!" said Sergeant Tucker to Jack. "Them
muchachas (girls) do look sweet! Tell you what, my
son, if this yer welcome '11 last till the day after to-
morrow, the Falange '11 be that proud they'll want silver
spoons to eat their b'iled plantain, an' peons to carry 'em
In the Plaza they were drawn up for inspection. A
horse was brought for Colonel Walker. Then Castellon,
tall, thin, grave, and looking very ill, rode along their
front, surrounded by a brilliant staff, said a few words
extolling their courage, and dismissed them to quarters
in some empty houses near the great Cathedral.
THE END OF THE TRAGEDY 73
At night there were great rejoicings. The bells rang
almost ceaselessly, and Leon was illuminated.
When, in the morning, Jack and Harry rose and went
abroad, they looked upon a city which had been sacked
five times within thirty-two years-six times in all, for
Dampier and his buccaneers sacked and burned it, with
the Cathedral, in 1685.
Just sufficient of the old buildings remained to show
what Leon had been and redeem it from meanness; here
and there, among mounds of brick, empty spaces, totter-
ing, blackened walls, and huts of adob, stood a fine
palace, more or less ruined, of stone, with many heavily
barred, unglazed windows. Many of the patios, or court-
yards, were paved with marble; in the centre of most
stood a fountain of the same material, surrounded by a
They visited the Cathedral, an immense pile, half
church, half fortress-the towers casemated, the roof a
redoubt. Five millions of dollars it cost to build.
"Awfully ugly," said Jack, and Harry agreed.
They climbed to the roof, which supported sixteen
cannon, and was occupied by a force of artillery-men,
mostly sullen, barefoot Indians, stolidly drilling. Scarcely
a stone unpitted with bullet-marks was to be seen.
But the view!
To northward rose the nine craters of the Marabios,
famous as the source of the bluish flame called by the
natives El bailey de los demonios-" the Devil's dance"-
which at night lights up the whole district, sometimes
flashing across the land, at others leaping up, a column
of fire, and mysteriously disappearing. In the south
soared the tall mountains of Costa Rica, towards which
they gazed with longing eyes; westward lay the Pacific
Ocean; while volcanoes, with sonorous Indian names-
Momotombo, Mombacho--towered in the east. Below
stretched a vast expanse of forest and savannah as' far
as the eye could see-the fruitful plain of Leon.
Let us go," said Harry. To-morrow, if all is well,
we shall be in the woods!"
Meanwhile Hertz was endeavouring to hire mules
to assist their flight. Oxen and a cart were not
to be thought of now; the creaking wheels would
betray them. Besides, they could not take a cart where
they intended to travel. But the mule-owners were
alarmed by the rumoured advance of the Tiger of Hon-
"Have you not heard, senor? Guardiola is on the
march-a devil, selor, loosed upon us for our sins!
He will kill you all and take the mules. Only a fool
would let his animals go out of his sight! "
Hertz offered a high price in vain, woefully short
of money though the natives were. Denunciations many
and fierce were showered upon the Honduran who stood
between them and the coveted dollars, but no one would
part with his animals for less than their full value, and
Hertz did not wish to buy. Eventually he returned
to the big stone house occupied by the Orchid-Seekers
in common with a score of Filibusters, and found Jack
and Harry resting in the verandah which ran on three
sides of the patio-once trim, full of flowers, and musical
with the plash of falling water from the fountain, which
still stood, shattered and moss-grown, amid a wilderness
of shrubs, overtopped by a ragged banana.
"There isn't a mule to be had," he said. "The
Leonese would be shaking in their shoes if such
articles weren't as scarce as gloves almost. It's Guar-
diola-Guardiola-nothing but Guardiola! I'm sick of
hearing his name!"
"Why not ask Joaquin to try ?" Harry suggested.
"Happy thought !"
THE END OF THE TRAGEDY 75
They went to the Plaza, where they found the old
Indian leaning against a wall, sheltering from the sun,
with Pedro curled up at his feet. Hertz made their
Joaquin listened stolidly, and then, with the boy at
his heels, trotted off in the direction of Subtiaba-the
He returned within the hour, accompanied by a squat,
muscular mestizo, whose prominent inky-black eyes, and
coarse straight hair, revealed more Indian than Spanish
blood, though his face lacked the stealthy expression
which centuries of wrong have stamped upon the de-
scendants of the ancient people of the land. Pepe was
remarkably cheerful of countenance at most times. Just
now, however, discontent was stamped upon his face. He
wore the usual wide trousers, rolled up to the thigh on
one leg-a very strange fashion, but almost universal-
and a huge petate, or straw hat.
You want three mules, serZores ? he began
abruptly. "My price is five dollars strong a-day
each !" And he stopped, looking at them with a dogged
sort of air.
This was an extraordinary way of doing business for
Central America. Hertz began to bargain, of course,
but he would not diminish a cent. When told that
they could not think of paying such a monstrous sum,
this odd mozo muleteerr) shrugged his shoulders and
turned without reply.
"One would think he's glad we refuse," said Harry.
Joaquin had been standing by, silent as usual. He
followed the mozo and stopped him. They exchanged
some words-the latter apparently expostulating with
warmth. At last he threw his hat upon the ground
The Nicaraguan dollar-" short"-contains only 80 cents. A dollar
" strong" is one of 100.
76 THE RIDERS
with unmistakable passion, picked it up, and shouted
You may have the mules for two and a half dollars
Some words in a lower tone which they did not catch
sounded very much like a malediction. Hertz accepted
gladly, appointed a meeting at dawn next day a mile
from the city, on the Pueblo Nuevo road, and the mozo
went away. Hertz then gave the old Indian money with
which to buy provisions for the journey, and they returned
to their quarters.
Joaquin is a sort of fairy godmother to us! laughed
"He seems to have a great deal of influence," said
Hertz. We are lucky to have found him."
That night they chatted so cheerfully with the Fili-
busters, and spoke so hopefully of Walker's prospects in
Nicaragua, that those honest fellows must have thought
their Colonel would soon obtain three desirable recruits.
But before dawn they rose quietly, took down their ham-
mocks, and strapping on knapsack and specimen-box in
silence, so as not to alarm the sentry, crept with extreme
caution along the verandah towards the rear of the patio,
where Hertz had assured himself there was a breach in
the wall. They had almost reached this spot when
they heard the sentry's challenge, "Who goes Ihere?"
followed instantly by a click, as he cocked his rifle.
Don't move for your lives! Hertz whispered.
IN THE WOODS
FOR ten seconds they stood motionless in the shadow.
Their hearts beat fast, though aware that the sentry
could not possibly see them. Then each pulled off
his boots, and, stealing through the hole in the wall, they
gained a side street which ran at the back of the ruinous
palace, and without further challenge reached the Pueblo
Nuevo road. Joaquin and Pedro awaited them at the
meeting-place, but Pepe and his mules had not arrived.
Study a map of Nicaragua. Near Leon, to the south-
east, you will see the Lake of Leon or Managua. South-
ward of this another much larger sheet of water-Lake
Nicaragua-stretches to the frontier of Costa Rica. In
some maps these inland seas are apparently connected by
a stream, though there is now no channel between them.
An arm of Lake Nicaragua, called the Panaloya, extends
part of the way, but the bed of the Tipitapa, a river
which at one time probably completed the connection, is
dry-the result, it is supposed, of an earthquake.
Near the western shores of these lakes runs the road
to Granada, Rivas, and Virgin Bay, at this period blocked
by the "White Cockades" at the two cities named, and
also Masaya. The eastern or Chontales shore of Lake
Nicaragua was open, but it was terra incognita to them.
Nevertheless, the fugitives had resolved to cross the bed
of the Tipitapa, and make for the San Juan river, if the
western road should prove too perilous.
An hour after the time agreed Pepe sauntered up with
two mules. He said the other was ill; they did not be-
lieve him, but two sufficed. Having made up his mind
to accept the terms, he was too sensible, or too volatile,
to show ill-humour, and when they at once commenced
their dangerous journey he chattered to little Pedro in-
cessantly as he strode ahead.
Hertz, still slightly lame, rode one of the mules, with
his wooden specimen-box, padded with felt to exclude
the sun, and field-glass on his back. He also carried a
gun, one barrel of which was rifled, revolver, and hunting-
Jack and Harry were similarly armed and accoutred.
Each wore a linen suit, much the worse for wear now, and
the mushroom-shaped hat of pith already described.
The second mule, laden with provisions, a pot and
kettle, rugs, mosquito-nets, and sundries, was in charge
of Pepe. In the rear for the present marched Joaquin,
with his spears over his shoulder.
For some distance the track was bordered by small
fields of tobacco, indigo, and sugar-cane, and plantations
of cacao '-the most valuable product of the country-
protected by hedges of wild pineapple.
From time to time they passed an Indian hut of the
bird-cage description, set back from the road and fenced
off with pinuela and columnar cactus. Poor hovels they
were as regards accommodation, but the surroundings
made them bowers of beauty. Each was the centre of a
mass of colour, mostly scarlet, gleaming through a veil of
1 The cacao, from which is obtained chocolate, being very delicate, is
first protected from the sun by a plantain tree. At the same time another
tree of rapid growth, called the Mother of the Cacao," is planted beside
it, and when this is tall enough the first protector is cut down. The beans
are contained in a pod of the size of a large lemon and something of the
shape, but reddish-chocolate in hue. They are sometimes used as small
IN THE WOODS 79
palms, fruit-trees, and plantains. Grenadillas, bearing
golden fruit and purple flowers almost as thickly as
leaves, overran the walls; on the ground beneath stood
guava bushes and beds of pineapple. Every Indian is a
born gardener. Groves of oranges and lemons lined the
road here and there; stately mangoes, graceful papaws,
glossy-green avocados overshadowed it.
What a time the children must have in these parts! "
Harry exclaimed. I wonder whether they get stomach-
ache much, Mr. Hertz?"
"I can assure you they don't," Hertz laughed. That
is one of the blessings of civilisation-I mean that a great
quantity of fruit disagrees with us because we are accus-
tomed to such a variety of food. People who eat nothing
but vegetables do not suffer."
"What a garden it is! Oh, if they would only make
up their quarrels and cultivate the land!"
"That's what Walker intends they shall do," said Jack.
Harry shrugged his shoulders. "Do try to forget Colonel
Walker for a day or two, Jack," he pleaded.
Jack laughingly promised not to offend again, and
actually did contrive not to speak of the Falange for
Presently they entered the forest, never far from the
towns in Nicaragua. Every big tree was a hanging
garden, so covered were its branches with epiphytes-
arums that sent down roots like cords to the earth, orchids,
which as yet they dared not stay to examine, ferns, lianas
that ran from tree to tree and hung in ropes and loops
like, as has been remarked, "the rigging of an ancient
three-decker after a battle," the branches fringed with
pale grey moss.
Not until they had put at least four miles between
themselves and Leon, and he felt comparatively safe from
pursuit, would Hertz permit the youths to leave the road.
When they did so it was not with any idea of collecting
orchids, but simply for the pleasure of finding themselves
once more in a tropical forest.
Look at those birds!" cried Harry, pointing out a
flock of toucans, hopping with odd agility along a dead
branch. I wonder their beaks don't overbalance them."
All laughed at the quaint jerks with which they turned
their monstrous red and brown-and-yell6w bills from side
Jack threw up his gun, fired, and brought down a huge
fellow (Eramphastus Tocard), black, with a red-and-yellow
breast, measuring two feet from the end of its beak, which
was six inches long by four broad, to the tip of its tail.
Steady, Jack cried Hertz, dismounting, If
Walker is pursuing us, you will tell him where we
are!" He did not really think the Filibuster leader
would venture to arrest them now; but caution was
desirable on account of Guardiola, who, though supposed
to be a hundred miles away, in Segovia or in Chontales,
might be close at hand. However, he joined the youths,
as delighted as either to be in the woods.
Neither Joaquin nor Pedro-strange boy-showed the
slightest interest in Jack and Harry's doings. Silent and
seemingly apathetic, they tramped along the road, which
wound through an undergrowth not dense enough to
require machetes to cut a path, as it consisted mostly of
small palms and tree-ferns, with here and there a begonia,
or helicon, or cecropia with white stem and large, rough,
palmated leaves, which reminded the youths of a great
Something like the Vale of Bidi in Borneo, isn't it,
Mr. Hertz ? cried Jack enthusiastically.
Not to my eyes," Hertz answered. Leaving out all
generic differences, the trees are nothing like so big as in
IN THE WOODS 81
How do you account for that ?" Harry asked.
"They are not so old. Three hundred years ago all
this ground was cultivated like a garden. Twelve thou-
sand villages stood round Lake Nicaragua. Consider
what that means in area of cultivation. Ach I What is
A gleam of yellow shining through the foliage overhead
had caught his eye. Next moment the ready glass was
levelled. Jack and Harry followed his example.
"An Oncidium I" they cried together.
"Yes; and we'll examine it, whether Walker is after
us or not."
Joaquin-Pepe !" cried Jack.
Hertz laughed. "You are not in Borneo, Jack. The
Indians are not like Dyaks; they don't care about climb-
ing trees. It is customary to cut them down in America."
"What-for one orchid ? "
Yes-often, and sometimes for none. But perhaps
Pepe will oblige. He looks willing."
The mozo assented cheerfully enough, and clambering
up the tree by the aid of the lianas and creepers, brought
down a long spray, bearing the great flower at the tip and
others opening-the sepals and petals rich golden-yellow
with reddish blotches, and a pale-yellow lip with reddish
spots near the margin the whole singularly like a
butterfly. Hertz regarded it with loving admiration, as
an old friend.
"I thought so! "-he cried. "A grand variety of the
papilio (Onicidium papilio Kramerianum)._ After all, there
are few new orchids a match for the old favourites!"
No," said Harry; and all botanists and orchid-lovers
owe to Oncidium papilio a great debt. Don't you re-
member the story, Jack--how the Duke of Devonshire
was strolling through one of his hothouses at Chatsworth
where the papilio had been established, and was so fasci-
82 THE RIDERS
nated by it that he sent out collectors pretty nearly all
over the world? Of course there were plenty of great
and fashionable people enthusiastic about orchids before,
but until the 'Butterfly' charmed the Duke, none of them
thought of sending travellers to collect new species."
Quite right, Harry," said Hertz. Not orchids alone,
but thousands of other plants are known to us through
the charm of 0. papilio. Well, we must leave it."
Tenderly removing the open bloom, he placed it in his
specimen-box, and they pushed on. Beside a sparkling
stream, overhung with tree-ferns and tufts of feathery
bamboo, they halted for the midday meal and rest. Here
towered a forest palm, there a flowering shrub blazed in
scarlet and'gold. Just beyond the fallen trunk on which
they sat was a tiny pool, evidently a favourite bathing-
place of humming-birds. Like tiny jewelled arrows they
shot from the shadow and hovered above the pool on wings
quivering so fast that they seemed only to surround the
glowing little body with a faint blur-for an instant hung
over the water, then dropped like stones-but precious
stones-and now up again, tossing a shower of finest spray
from their fairy pinions as they hovered once more.
The youths could not speak. They cried Oh!" and
"Ah! breathlessly, and stood entranced. That is indeed
a sight which words cannot describe.
One beauty came again and again, with head and
shoulders of amethyst, throat emerald, breast sapphire
(Thalurania venusta a species very rare north of
Panama). Another, purplish-red with green reflections,
had a snow-white crest; so swiftly it flew. that the
colours were invisible, and it seemed a snowflake
driven before the wind.
Other birds, unseen in the forest, were there. A king-
fisher flashed across like a steely-blue prism. Brown and
yellow fly-catchers sat on the boughs watching for insects.
IN THE WOODS 83
Orange and black sisistotis warbled. Far off they heard
the Toledo bird, that dainty demoiselle in black velvet
skirt, with double train of feathery ribands, shawl of sky-
blue, and scarlet head-dress. Glorified woodpeckers clung
to the dead branches, industriously tapping. Paroquets
chirped as they nestled in loving couples, or flew from
tree to tree. Parrots chattered noisily, rousing the hoarse
macaws to swell the clamour-but to mention all the
birds they saw or heard by that lovely brook would re-
quire a page.
Soon after resuming their journey they found them-
selves in the chief street of Pueblo Nuevo, a town of
adobd huts, lining roads fenced with columnar cactus, above
which only the roofs could be seen. The Indians looked
hard at them, but Joaquin spoke from time to time, and
they passed on unquestioned. As suddenly as they had
left the forest they re-entered it-scarcely a step sepa-
rated town from wood.
Here the undergrowth was scarcely denser than in an
English cover; they could see far along the glades. Two
miles from Pueblo Nuevo the smaller forms of animal
life became abundant. A comical guatuso, like a big
red rabbit, raised itself to blink at the travellers before
disappearing in its hole with a final kick of long yellow
hind-legs. An iguana, a reddish monster, six or seven
feet long, scurried across the road and clattered up the
farther side of a big tree, where it lay along a stout
branch with one claw, a glassy eye, and taper tail, crossed
with bars of red and rusty black, only visible.
Excellent eating is that hideous lizard, whose lank,
rough body and ugly head, crowned with a red crest
resembling a drooping cockscomb, are like nothing so
much as a shape seen in a nightmare, and Jack and
Harry were aware of its one great quality. They ran to
the farther side of the trunk in the hope of getting a
better shot, when suddenly a sound was heard like the
ring of an axe against wood.
What's that ?" cried Jack.
Before Harry could utter the words on his tongue-" A
pig whetting his tusks, I fancy "-a sleek boar crashed
through the undergrowth with a grunt, and fixed his
wicked little eyes on Jack, who levelled his gun.
Wari !--Wari!" cried Joaquin, suddenly waking to
life as it were, and flinging up his right arm in imperative
warning. He was too far away to interfere, but in two
bounds Hertz reached the youth and knocked up his gun
-just in time, for the bullet cut off a fern-frond scarcely
a foot above the animal's back. With another fierce
grunt the boar plunged into the underwood on the oppo-
site side of the road.
"That was a narrow escape!" cried the Collector in
excited, grating tones. Come away-quick!"
As he spoke a herd of boars and sows dashed across
the track after their companion. Pepe had sprung on
the back of the spare mule at the first alarm, but Jack
and Harry only stared in amazement.
"Why, what's the matter?" asked the elder youth.
I should have killed the brute. It was a splendid shot;
and we might have bagged a couple more."
Yes; and every one of us would have been compelled
to climb a tree as quickly as that iguana, if we could, and
nobody knows when they would have let us come down."
I don't understand."
"They're javalinos. Luckily for us they have gone
away. Had you hit that fellow the herd would most
assuredly have attacked us. Unless you are mounted and
in the open there is only one thing to do-climb a tree,
and stand a siege that may last days. Javalinos have
been known to 'tree' a jaguar until hunger forced the
brute down, when they tore him to pieces. Half the herd
"' Come away-quick /'"
IN THE WOODS
will feed while the other half is on duty. We have had
a fortunate escape, and I hope you will be less rash in
But Jack only laughed. The idea of being "tree'd"
by a drove of pigs amused but did not alarm him. He
had much to learn. However, he forgot the iguana, which
also had a fortunate escape.
Presently they emerged on a savannah dotted with
wild calabash-trees, the Santa Cruz jicara of the Indians,
thrusting out rectangular branches which bore rectangular
leaves in sets of four, forming a cross-whence the name.
Every branch was almost covered with tufted parasites
very like stained horsehair, bearing a large pale crimson
blossom with a purple centre. These were Tillandsias of
varied species, very few of which will live in our conserva-
tories. One jicara stretched an arm over the road. Many
bits of rag fluttered from it, and Harry saw Pepe add
"It is superstition," Hertz explained. "The resem-
blance to the cross may be at the bottom of it, or perhaps
the Indians held the jicara sacred, which is probable."
Beyond the strange-looking trees could be seen a large
herd of cattle, with here and there a vacquero sitting
statue-like on his horse. Skirting the savannah, they
again entered the forest; but Harry, who was behind,
called them back in great excitement.
"Here's the strangest sight I've ever seen !" he cried.
Hertz and Jack hurried to him. He pointed out a
path about eighTt inches wide on the edge of the forest,
running parallel with it, thronged with ants in two. well-
defined streams, travelling in opposite directions. Every
ant of one column held up a circular green banner as
large as a fourpenny-bit.
"Look !" cried Jack. What are they doing?"
Going home with their plunder, as we hope to do one
88 THE RIDERS
day," laughed Hertz. "They are Leaf-cutters-very in-
teresting little creatures. Their nest cannot be far away;
let us follow them."
For nearly a quarter of a mile they walked beside the
well-worn path, then came to a space perfectly clear of
shrubs on the edge of the forest. Near the centre stood
two clay mounds, one about six yards in diameter, the
other rather smaller. Both were honeycombed with
tunnels of various size. In every direction paths radiated
from the mounds like the spokes of a wheel, each thronged
with ants, either going for leaves or returning with their
burden, which they held vertically in their jaws. Here
and there among the columns of workers stalked ants
twice their size, carrying nothing. *
"They look like endless bands of green riband in
motion! Harry exclaimed.
What are those big fellows doing?" cried Jack.
They are the officers," said Hertz.
"Marvellous! But what on earth do they do with the
Hertz's blue eyes twinkled mischievously.
"The leaves ? Oh, they make them into a compost for
Jack laughed loud. Spare us, Mr. Hertz! We also
are travellers, you know!"
But Harry could not associate Hertz with a traveller's
tale of the Munchausen order.
Can that really be true ? he asked.
"Why not? I am a botanist, but I ought to know
something about ants. I have come into painful contact
with them often enough."
I admit that," rejoined Jack. I've witnessed some
of the encounters. Every one who collects orchids knows
something about ants; but what of the mushrooms? "
Ach I yes-the mushrooms. It used to be thought
IN THE WOODS 89
that the ants cut leaves for food or to roof their nests.
But if we opened that mound-perhaps we will open
one some day-we should find a number of chambers as
large as a man's head, connected by tunnels, every one
half full of a brownish, spongy substance, held together
by a tinfi white fungus that ramifies in every direction.
Dispersed through the mass we should see a number of
working ants, considerably smaller than the cutters, with
.their pupw and larvae. Once upon a time I examined
Some of the stuff with a strong glass; it proved to be
minute particles of leaves rotted to a brown manure. It
is clear that they neither eat the leaves nor roof their
Houses with them. Moreover, when they are exhausted
as manure they pack them into a refuse-chamber."
Then you think they eat the fungus? said Harry.
"I never saw them doing it, but that is easily explained.
When disturbed they get terribly excited; feeding would
be out of the question. My belief is-mind, I have no
Sproof-that the small workers stay at home cutting up
the leaves, which are used to grow fungus for food."
Practically, then, they do cultivate mushrooms?"
"If my theory is correct-yes. I don't think those
small workers ever cut leaves, but they sometimes go out
for an airing, climb on a leaf, and get a ride home; I
have seen them."
"What next ?" muttered Jack.
This," Hertz answered. There are bigger ants in
the nest than the officers you saw directing the working
columns-terrible fellows, three-quarters of an inch long.
They are the great chiefs, and seldom come out except
during a migration or an attack on the workers, when
they rush into the fray and do tremendous execution.
Some day we will follow a path to the working-place. I
have often seen them cutting leaves; they hold fast to
the edge and turn on their hinder feet as on a pivot."
90 THE RIDERS
They returned to the road. Pepe approached and ad-
He says Nagarotte, the next village, is a bad place,
full of brigands, and we had better avoid it," the Collector
But the mozo suddenly recollected something. Hertz
"He had forgotten. They will not molest us. They
dare not. This is rather interesting-we are not a large
party. Why will they not molest us, Pepe ?"
The mozo hesitated in evident confusion. Presently he
said, Joaquin is a great tigrero. More tigers he has
killed than years he has lived."
Humph !" Hertz muttered to himself. "There are
plenty of tigreros in Nicaragua, and I never heard that
they were thought so much of."
I tell you," Harry laughed, Joaquin is our fairy
He doesn't look it," said Jack, comically eyeing the
gaunt old man. But it's really curious. How do you
explain the mystery, Mr. Hertz?"
I confess it beats me. Perhaps we shall find out in
Turning a bend, they came suddenly upon a hut, of
which the porch was hung round with hollow logs, serving
as hives for bees-stingless, by the way.
Two Indian children, naked as newly-hatched sparrows,
ran out, one blowing a sort of green trumpet. Hertz
snatched it before the youngster bad recovered from his
surprise, offering a silver coin in exchange. The other
child ran away, leaving his companion staring at the tall
white man in silent awe.
Do you recognize it?" Hertz cried excitedly, holding
up the prize-a hollow, tapering tube a foot and a half
IN THE WOODS 91
Harry shook his head: "I might guess at it; but I
"Nor do I," said Jack.
"Ach! You never saw it in the mouth of a piper
before?" returned Hertz quizzically.
The word "piper gave Harry the clue.
"It's a pseudo-bulb of Schomburgkia tibicinis!" he
cried. What a donkey I am!"
"I didn't say so," Hertz rejoined, and he turned to
Pepe. "Make him take the money and show us the tree
where he got this."
The inozo spoke to the youngster, who took the coin
suspiciously, without a word or a look of thanks. He
turned and walked away so slowly that they doubted
whether to follow. But Pepe said, He will take you to
the place, seoores."
Presently they came to a felled tree in a space cleared
for planting maize. In the branches, near the top, they
saw a great plant with many pseudo-bulbs, from each of
which sprang three oblong leaves and a tall flower-spike
-some of these were eight feet high. Many of them
bore a dozen or more blossoms on the upper part, each
three and a half inches across-dusky mauve sepals and
petals, gracefully frilled and twisted, encircling a great
hollow purple lip, striped with dark crimson and ending
in a golden drop.
And this is Schomburgkia tibicinis I" cried Harry.
"What a strange and glorious thing! Tell me, Mr.
Hertz -has it' Qier been seen in Europe? I know we
have never flowered it at Draythorpe."
"I think I can venture to say-never. We are still
living in hopes."
And it's worth waiting for! Look out, Jack! Don't
you remember how careful our men are at home when
they have to unpack a lot of Schomburgkia tibicinis ?"
Jack had stretched forth his hand to grasp a spray,
forgetting, if he ever knew, that the trumpet-like pseudo-
bulb is the home of a savage black ant which, entering
by a hole at the bottom, makes its nest within the tube,
and rushes out to attack any person or thing so venture-
some as to disturb it.
"Now," said Hertz, giving the boy a handful of small
change, I'll tell you something. The Schomburgkia is
not the only plant which affords a home to stinging
insects, and we may be quite sure that they are useful to
it in some way. There is the Bull's Horn Thorn,' one
of the acacias, for instance- "
But at this moment Joaquin and Pedro came up in
haste. The old Indian's face was so grave that Hertz
ceased talking and turned to him with a hurried question.
Joaquin answered briefly.
"He says there is a force of 'White Cockades' from
Masaya at Nagarotte," Hertz explained; and he thinks
we had better get farther away. So do I."
He had scarcely spoken when Pepe uttered a smothered
warning and dragged the mules into the forest. A small
body of men were approaching by the main road, which
was separated from the clearing by a pinuela fence only.
Their bright muskets gleamed in the sun. It was plain
that they were soldiers, and the Orchid-Seekers promptly
followed the mozo's example.
Screened by a thicket of small palms and tree-ferns
overrun with convolvulus, Hertz questioned Joaquin at
greater length and interpreted his replies.
"He says the'White Cockades' are recruiting men
and animals. Of course, he means they are impressing
Indians and stealing horses and mules. There are parties
out in every direction from Masaya, and we must avoid
the road. He is acquainted with an Indian path running
almost due south from near here. We shall be able to
IN THE WOODS 93
follow it until we are opposite the Tipitapa, which I think
we shall have to cross-"
A child's scream in the road interrupted him.
It's the boy," Harry whispered. He ran back along
"Then he must have fallen into the hands of those
All stood motionless. They heard a gruff voice threaten-
ing, then a swish, as of a whip, and another scream.
"I thought so," Hertz whispered. He carried the
coins I gave him in his hand, of course. No doubt the
'White Cockades' have robbed him, and want to know
where the money came from."
A few paces nearer the road stood Joaquin, with
stooping body and head inclined, listening. Suddenly
he turned, touched Harry's arm, pointed in the direction
taken by Pepe and the mules, and, with little Pedro at
his heels, plunged into the forest.
Follow him-quick !" Hertz muttered. They are
A STRANGE REFUGE
T HE mules were
Sj overtaken in an
i bagsfromthe animal
he had ridden and
threw them over his
Scan!" he whispered;
and Jack and Harry
the other mule of a
portion of its load.
The sweat stream-
*ed down Pepe's
brown face; he
S called on some saint
or other between
"' A flace ofsacrifce/' cried Jack." every blow of his
stick; but he must
have known it was no use-mules cannot and will not run
in the forest. The mozo, however, had no mind to lose his
animals; he drove them before him until he came to a
place where the others left a trail so plain that the pur-
A STRANGE REFUGE
suers would be sure to follow with a rush, and there led
them behind a thicket.
Straight on went Joaquin. Luckily the undergrowth
was not dense, and they could creep along at a fair pace
without chopping a path, as is usual in untrodden jungle.
The clang of the machete would have betrayed them,
and at the same time encouraged the pursuers, whose
shouts they heard. Europeans have very little chance of
escape in the forest, when a company of barefoot natives
get on their trail; but it might be hoped that these ruffians
were only following with the object of plunder. If so, they
would soon give it up, probably. In fact, as the Orchid-
Seekers hurried on the shouts grew fainter, but Joaquin
did not slack his pace.
Advancing thus swiftly, they caught a peep of curious
creatures which would have scuttled away before the
sound of a more leisurely approach. Jack was badly
startled by an armadillo which rose beneath his feet and
ran off, dodging and doubling clumsily, though no one
dreamt of pursuing. They had just a glimpse of rac-
coons, a whole troop of them, feeding on the ground; they
scurried up the trees, their bushy, striped tails pendent
-boughs clashed, leaves fell in showers, and they dis-
appeared. Brown spider-monkeys barked and yelped at
the intruders, and from the tree-tops rained some hard
green fruit upon their heads-but Joaquin held on his
Visions they had of beautiful flowers in the glades-
of trees that bofe blossom instead of leaf-great domes
of colour-pink and red, and yellow, and blue, and white.
Jack and Harry followed Joaquin and his boy through
a thicket of reed-like plants eight or ten feet high, and
never saw the glorious yellow flower, seven or eight inches
across, which topped almost every stem. But Hertz
snatched a bloom.
"A Sobralia he cried, "fAnd new! If we could
But they could not stay even for a new species of that
genus whose splendour is rivalled among orchids alone,
though the blossom lives but a day.
Thus for nearly an hour they forced their way through
the forest, emerging at length, with clothes torn to rags,
on a grassy savannah-a tiny patch of sward such as leads
the thoughtful to wonder why the forest does not swallow
*it up. On the edge the old Indian stopped and' raised
his hand. All listened. Jack and Harry heard nothing
-probably Joaquin did, for in a moment he struck across
the prairie at a run.
"I've had enough of this! Jack grumbled. But Hertz
caught his arm and pulled him on. Joaquin knows what
he is doing," he said. He's too old to run without good
Presently, however, Hertz turned and swept the forest-
edge with his glass. Jack and Harry also looked back.
Not a White Cockade was to be seen-only the dark
wood, and beyond it the misty blue peak of Momotombo,
which had been on their left hand since they started from
Leon, and was now behind them.
They slackened speed somewhat, though the tireless
Indian a hundred yards ahead urged them on by frequent
signs. He held little Pedro's hand, and trotting rather
than running, covered the ground very fast.
It was a veritable flower-prairie they crossed. Here
and there solid masses of leaf and blossom were heaped
round some shrub-convolvuli, pink, blue, and blue and
pink, with many another bloom which they dared not stay
to examine. Conspicuous among a score of varied colours
gleamed splashes of some pale yellow flower half buried
in the long grass. Harry glanced at them wistfully as he-
A STRANGE REFUGE 97
"What are they ?" he-asked of Hertz.
I can't say at this distance; not orchids, certainly,"
was the breathless reply.
Butterflies more beautiful than those which fluttered
from bloom to bloom on that little savannah they had
never seen-not even in Borneo. Blue, semi-transparent
Morphos; Heliconidc striped and spotted with yellow,
red, and black; "swallow-tails," white and green and
yellow-all the species of Central America seemed to
have gathered there.
Just before they again entered the forest, Harry turned
aside, snatched a handful of the yellow flowers, and thrust
them into his specimen-box.
The trees here were bigger, the undergrowth much
more dense, than in the forest through which they had
rushed. Fortunately they had not to force their way far
through the tangle, for soon Joaquin and Pedro disap-
peared in a path about three feet wide, but worn here
and there at least six feet deep. All followed. It was like
a tunnel; just above their hands the spreading branches
met and interlaced, forming a roof so dense that the light
penetrated dimly. The Indian and his boy rested on a
gnarled root which stretched across the track. The youths
and Hertz chose another. After a while Joaquin rose.
I will look for the mules," he said, and walked back
towards the savannah.
"Do you think Pepe escaped ?" asked Jack.
"Joaquin seems to think so," Hertz answered.
Presently Harry bethought him of the yellow flowers.
Turning aside, he took them out secretly-one glance
was enough; but he said nothing. Watching his op-
portunity, however, he followed Joaquin-other marvels
might have escaped the Collector's keen eyes in that rush.
Climbing up the bank where the Indian had disappeared,
he began to force a way through the undergrowth, with
98 THE RIDERS
as little noise as possible; but he had scarcely gone a
dozen yards when a movement among the leaves at his
feet caused him to spring aside. Next moment a snake,
like a living jewel, coral-red, with yellow rings at intervals,
coiled slowly and hissed at him. Crushing on in no small
alarm-for, although he did not recognize the serpent,
he knew it must be deadly, or why those bright colours
if not to warn other creatures to beware ?-he had nearly
reached the savannah, when Joaquin suddenly stood
before him. So silently he had approached through the
twining creepers that Harry was startled again. The
aged Indian held up his hand as if to bar the road,
then pointed towards the path. Harry returned rather
crestfallen, taking care, however, not to go back the same
way as he had come.
"Where have you been ?" Jack asked.
"Well," said Harry, I intended to go to the savannah,
but our fairy godmother turned me back."
Serve you right, too!" exclaimed Hertz. You had
no business to leave this hiding-place; you might have
"By the way," rejoined Harry, "I nearly trod on a
stumpy red-and-yellow snake. Is it venomous, do you
think, Mr. Hertz ? "
"Was it coral-red with yellow rings ?"
"Then, my boy, you have been just as near sudden
death as your foot was to that reptile! It must be the
Corale. When a man is bitten by that serpent he falls
almost immediately; his blood coagulates and he dies!"
They had rested nearly an hour, when Joaquin came up
with Pepe and the mules.
"So you escaped, then ?" cried Hertz, glad to see the
moso safe, and pleased to recover their property.
Yes, senior," he answered. "The 'White Cockades'
A STRANGE REFUGE 99
ran past me. When they had gone I crossed the road
and found this path. I saw them no more."
Joaquin spoke to the mozo, toQ, Pedro's hand, and
strode off through the tunnel. But Pepe shouted
something in the Indian tongue, and he turned back.
Excitedly the mozo talked, with many gestures. Joaquin
,spoke seldom, but every word increased Pepe's agitation.
It was not difficult to understand the dispute-the mozo
objected to go farther on that road. Presently Joaquin
spoke angrily, and Pepe gave in. He turned the mules
round and followed the Indian, but with a sullen face.
Where are we going?" Hertz asked him.
To Nihapa," he answered, almost savagely. But
Hertz fancied he detected fear in the tones.
Is that a village ?"
No. Itis a place of devils !"
Pepe was evidently frightened as well as sullen, and
Hertz asked him no more questions.
Joaquin is probably taking us to an ancient ruin where
the' White Cockades' won't care to follow," he explained.
"I am not afraid of ghosts," laughed Jack. It was
close upon sundown. He had scarcely spoken, when a
hoarse rumbling howl, loud and threatening as thunder,
echoed through the forest. Louder and nearer it rolled,
now on this side, now that, now in the distance, again
almost within arm's-length, as it seemed.
"What's that?" he gasped, then laughed awkwardly.
"Of course, they're only harmless congos.1 I thought for
a moment the forest must be full of jaguars and pumas."
The sun was sinking, and twilight reigned already in
that deep cutting overarched with leaves. When the
congos ceased howling a while they heard the twitter
of nightjars, which fluttered softly from the dusk on
1 The congo is a black baboon, very sluggish and stupid, whose roar
would make a lion envious.
100 THE RIDERS
noiseless wings and lit upon the path, rising suddenly
at their very feet.
Pepe might well think there are devils here," Jack
muttered after starting back in real alarm as one of these
uncanny creatures brushed his face.
Other sounds they heard from time to time-grunts
and caterwaulings. No wonder the youths carried their
guns at the ready.
Presently they began to ascend, climbing up through
thin forest to a tableland. Joaquin halted in shadow
where the forest ceased. The moon had risen; its first
beams whitened a hill, evidently a volcano, on the farther
side of a narrow plain. On the left stood a hut of bamboo;
a mass of stone, rough blocks covered with trees and shrubs,
filled the space on the right. Joaquin led the way into
the hut, which was unoccupied. The Orchid-Seekers at
once took possession. Tired as they were, the old Indian
and his boy's obvious familiarity with the place did not
strike them. Joaquin fetched water for the mules and for
cooking; brought out several bundles of sacat4 (a coarse
grass used as fodder) from a shed behind the hut, and
swept the floor of beaten earth with branches, while
Pedro lit a fire outside; then both disappeared.
For a time Pepe seemed incapable of an effort. He
followed his masters into the hut, flung himself down,
and wrapped up his head and shoulders. Until Hertz
and Harry bestirred themselves to get supper he never
moved. But while they were boiling a fowl with broken
bread and frijoles-small beans-he rose and thrust two
or three chunks of sun-dried beef into the fire on a stick,
warmed them through, and devoured them.
After supper Hertz lit a tiny lamp which he had pro-
cured at Leon, and they hung up their hammocks within
the hut. But the place swarmed with insect pests.
Moths almost as large as birds fluttered about the flame,